The blog.

9
Jul

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 9, 2019

Arlo Atlanta Lab Rescue

Arlo is a 9-month old male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Atlanta Lab Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Arlo, is a nine (9) month old lab mix and was part of one of our litters last year. His owner sold their house and are having another baby and they need to rehome Arlo. He loves other dogs and enjoys doggy daycare. He also plays well with their eight year old son.

Arlo looks like he could be a long-lost cousin to GaPundit Hound-in-Chief, Dolly.

Ruffus Atlanta Lab Rescue

Ruffus is a 5-year old, 43-pound adult male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Atlanta Lab Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Ruffus is very chilled out and loves being with people. Hes also good in play groups with other dogs, but isnt as playful as other dogs. He is cat friendly and loves to cuddle, great on a leash and seems to be house trained.

Bo Atlanta Lab Rescue

Bo is an 8-year old, 80-pound senior male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Atlanta Lab Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Bo is good in the house, and good with people and dogs. He loves to go for runs and hikes. His family is giving him up because he is not comfortable with their young children.

9
Jul

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 9, 2020

On July 9, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read aloud to General George Washington’s troops at the parade grounds in Manhattan.

President Zachary Taylor died of cholera on July 9, 1850 and was succeeded in office by Millard Fillmore.

On July 9, 1864, Confederate troops retreated across the Chattahoochee River from Cobb County into Fulton County. Upriver, Sherman’s troops had already crossed and moved toward Atlanta.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Albany City Commissioners may consider repealing the 2010 “saggy pants” ordinance, according to the Albany Herald.

The Albany City Commission, in November 2010, passed an ordinance that prohibited the wearing of pants or skirts three inches below the hips, imposing a $25 fine for an initial offense and up to $250 for subsequent offenses.

This week, Albany City Commissioner Demetrius Young requested that the commission take another look at the ordinance and vote on repealing the prohibition later this month.

Commissioner B.J. Fletcher also suggested in February that it might be time to re-examine the issue.

“Saggy pants laws criminalize the clothing wear and choices of young black men,” Young said during a Tuesday telephone interview. “In terms of these things, we see that (they) disproportionately affect black people — in crack cocaine sentencing vs. powder cocaine, saggy pants ordinances here and around the country.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an Executive Order requiring mask use in public, according to AccessWDUN.Continue Reading..

8
Jul

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 8, 2020

Baker Washington Wilkes Humane Shelter

Baker is a year-old, 50-pound male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Washington Wilkes Humane Animal Shelter in Washington, GA.

Dude Washington Wilkes Humane Shelter

Dude is a senior male Beagle and Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Washington Wilkes Humane Animal Shelter in Washington, GA.

Kiwi Washington Wilkes Humane Shelter

Kiwi is a young, 49-pound female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Washington Wilkes Humane Animal Shelter in Washington, GA.

8
Jul

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 8, 2020

On July 8, 1776, the bell now known as the Liberty Bell rang in the tower of the Pennsylvania State House, now called Independence Hall, to announce the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Rung to call the Pennsylvania Assembly together and to summon people for special announcements and events, it was also rung on important occasions, such as King George III’s 1761 ascension to the British throne and, in 1765, to call the people together to discuss Parliament’s controversial Stamp Act. With the outbreak of the American Revolution in April 1775, the bell was rung to announce the battles of Lexington and Concord. Its most famous tolling, however, was on July 8, 1776, when it summoned Philadelphia citizens for the first reading of the Declaration of Independence.

The Liberty Bell inscription includes a reference to Leviticus 25:10, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

The first of General William Tecumseh Sherman’s troops, under Major General Schofield, crossed the Chattahoochee River between Powers Ferry and Johnson Ferry on July 8, 1864.

Former United States Senator from Texas Phil Gramm (R) was born on July 8, 1942 in Columbus, Georgia, where his father was stationed at Fort Benning.

On July 8, 1975, President Gerald Ford announced his candidacy for President in the 1976 elections.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says Georgia National Guard troops aren’t needed after a weekend of stunning levels of gun violence. From Fox5Atlanta:

Kemp declared a state of emergency on Monday and authorized the activation of up to 1,000 Guard troops after a weekend of gun violence in Atlanta left five people dead, including an 8-year-old girl.

But Bottoms said Kemp issued his order without asking if the city needed extra help. The city had already been coordinating with the Georgia State Patrol, and “at no time was it mentioned that anyone felt there was a need for the National Guard to come in,” she said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Nikema Williams, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, called Kemp’s decision reckless. Critics of such mobilizations have said that deploying military troops on otherwise calm city streets could provoke more violence.

“His choice to deploy National Guard troops for today’s selfish purpose is outrageous and will endanger lives,” she said in a statement.

When asked about a surge in violence in the city, the mayor said she thinks people are anxious and frustrated about the coronavirus pandemic and high-profile cases of police brutality.

“I think it’s just a perfect storm of distress in America,” said the mayor, who learned Monday that she, her husband, and one of their four children have tested positive for COVID-19.

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance requiring face masks in public, according to the Athens Banner Herald.Continue Reading..

7
Jul

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 7, 2020

Bentley Circle of Friends Animal Society

Bentley is a senior male Yorkshire Terrier who is available for adoption from the Circle of Friends Animal Society in Greensboro, GA.

Nestle Circle of Friends Animal Society

Nestle is a senior female Chihuahua who is available for adoption from the Circle of Friends Animal Society in Greensboro, GA.

Nestle is an adorable little girl who was loved by her person, who passed away. Other family members would love to keep her, but they all have other dogs who make Nestle nervous. She will do best in a quiet home where she is the only pet.

Athena Oconee Regional Humane Society Greensboro

Athena is a young female Hound and Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Oconee Regional Humane Society in Greensboro, GA. Several other puppies from the same litter are also available for adoption.

7
Jul

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 7, 2020

On July 7, 1742, General James Oglethorpe was victorious over the Spanish at the Battle of Bloody Marsh and the Battle of Gully Hole Creek; a week later Gov. Montiano would call off the invasion of Georgia from Florida, leaving Georgia to develop as a British colony.

Sliced bread was invented on July 7, 1928 at the Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri.

On July 7, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act.

The first female cadets enrolled at West Point on July 7, 1976.

Sandra Day O’Connor was nominated to the United States Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan on July 7, 1981.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp issued Executive Order 07.06.20.01, declaring a State of Emergency in Georgia through Monday, July 13, 2020 at 11:59 PM, and calling up 1000 Georgia National Guard troops to State Active Duty.

From the Press Release:

Following weeks of dramatically increased violent crime and property destruction in the City of Atlanta, the July Fourth weekend saw over thirty Georgians wounded by gunfire, including five confirmed dead. Today Governor Kemp issued Executive Order 07.06.20.01, which declares a State of Emergency across Georgia and authorizes the activation of as many as 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops.

“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead,” said Governor Kemp. “This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city. I have declared a State of Emergency and called up the Georgia Guard because the safety of our citizens comes first. This measure will allow troops to protect state property and dispatch state law enforcement officers to patrol our streets. Enough with the tough talk. We must protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”

The Georgia Guard will provide support at state buildings, including the Georgia State Capitol, Georgia Department of Public Safety Headquarters, and Governor’s Mansion. This aid will allow state law enforcement personnel to increase patrols on roadways and throughout communities, especially those in the City of Atlanta.

From the Capitol Beat News Service via the Forsyth County News:

The order authorizes Georgia National Guard troops to help quell any unruly protests and for state and local law enforcement “to do all things necessary to maintain peace and good order.”

Kemp’s state-of-emergency order levelled criticism at Atlanta officials, saying they had “failed to quell” recent acts of violence and property damage in the city.

His order also notes between 60 and 100 people “armed with rocks, spray paint and fireworks” vandalized the Public Safety headquarters early Sunday and tried to set it on fire.

“Criminals are now victimizing Georgians to inflict chaos, cause fear among residents and thwart law enforcement,” the order says. “This ongoing threat to public safety will not be tolerated.”

Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Nikema Williams issued a press release:Continue Reading..

6
Jul

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 6, 2020

Big Sky PAWS Atlanta

Big Sky is a young male Hound mix who is available for adoption from PAWS Atlanta in Decatur, GA.

Cash Money PAWS Atlanta

Cash Money is a young male Jack Russell Terrier mix who is available for adoption from PAWS Atlanta in Decatur, GA.

Butter PAWS Atlanta

Butter is a male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from PAWS Atlanta in Decatur, GA.

When Butter smiles at us, and he smiles at us a lot, everything feels right with the world. He’s a sleek, athletic, wildly-smart guy who is looking for a kindred spirit human. At 4, Butter bonds quickly with people who will spend time with him, engage him, and really get him. He is so crazy intelligent, he craves a job, or something to do – whether it’s training, or playing fetch in the yard, or going for a run together. Doesn’t matter. He needs that sense of purpose and connection.

6
Jul

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 6, 2020

On July 6, 1775, Congress issued the “Declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms” addressed to King George III, stating that they preferred to “to die free men rather than live as slaves.” The document was written by John Dickinson after a draft by Thomas Jefferson.

The Republican Party was formally organized on July 6, 1854.

The party was born of hostility to slavery.

In February [1854] a gathering in Ripon, Wisconsin, resolved to form a new party and a local lawyer named Alvan E. Bovay suggested the name Republican for its echoes of Thomas Jefferson. In Michigan there were meetings in Kalamazoo, Jackson and Detroit, and after the Act had passed in May, the new party was formally founded in Jackson in July. A leading figure was Austin Blair, a Free Soiler lawyer who was prosecuting attorney of Jackson County. He helped to draft the new party’s platform, was elected to the state senate in Republican colours that year and would become governor of Michigan in 1860.

On July 6, 1885, Louis Pasteur successfully tested a rabies vaccine on a human subject.

Happy Birthday to George W. Bush, who turns 74 today.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Atlanta descended into lawless gun violence over the weekend. From the AJC:

Ninety-three people were shot in Atlanta during the four-week period of May 31 to June 27, up drastically from 46 in the same period last year, the latest complete data available. And fourteen people died of homicide in that span, compared to six during the same time frame in 2019.

Those shot have included a 10-year-old boy who survived, an 18-year-old who may have been selling water on the street in Midtown when he was killed, and an 80-year-old man who died as the unintended target of a drive-by in his home.

The numbers are still climbing.

“There seems to be withdrawal by police,” said Russell Covey, Georgia State University criminal law professor. “The lack of a police presence may create something of a vacuum of authority.”

Asked last week about the situation, Atlanta police officer Jason Segura, president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers’ local chapter, said police are indeed pulling back. The violence spike can likely be attributed to officers taking a less proactive approach to preventing crime, he said.

“Officers are afraid to do their job,” Segura said last week.

Governor Brian Kemp suggested the state may take action if local officials don’t, according to WSB-TV.

In a tweet Sunday night, Kemp says, “While we stand ready to assist local leaders in restoring peace & maintaining order, we won’t hesitate to take action without them.”

Kemp called the shootings “unacceptable.”

“This recent trend of lawlessness is outrageous & unacceptable,” Kemp tweeted.

Kemp urged that people need to feel safe from crime.

“Georgians, including those in uniform, need to be protected from crime & violence,” Kemp tweeted.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety headquarters in Atlanta was damaged by “protesters,” according to the AJC.

Between 60 and 100 people wearing dark clothing approached the DPS building on United Avenue about 1 a.m., Georgia State Patrol said in a statement. The building serves as the headquarters for GSP and houses several other state agencies.

The GSP statement referred to the group as protesters and said many of them were wearing masks.

“The group caused extensive damage to several windows along the front of the building,” GSP said. A public safety vehicle that was parked outside the headquarters was damaged, and the building itself was “spray painted heavily in several places,” the statement said.

“Peaceful” armed protesters made an appearance at Stone Mountain , according to the AJC.

Authorities said the event was peaceful. However, the participants, masked, clad head to toe in black, bearing weapons and marching from downtown Stone Mountain to the park, prompted a stir on social media.

John Bankhead, spokesperson for the Stone Mountain Park Police Department, said the marchers began with a rally in near downtown Stone Mountain and then decided to march on the park. While the majority of them were African American, a minority were of other races. Not every person was armed, but most were masked.

Bankhead said the group did not have a permit to march but that police decided not to stop the group.

“We’re aware there are certain sensitivities over what the park represents,” Bankhead said. “We felt it was better to let them give their speeches and leave. It was peaceful.”

“They were actually a very friendly group,” Bankhead said. “Very pleasant. I spoke to some of them.”

Georgia’s open carry laws allow those with gun permits to visibly carry firearms into most public settings, though with some restrictions. This wasn’t the first time armed protesters held a rally in the park. In 2016, a group known as “three percenters,” a loose network of white men who also see themselves as a militia, were involved in pro-Confederate flag rallies at the park.

United States Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) spoke to the Gwinnett Daily Post about potential federal measures on COVID-19.

Loeffler said that extension [of the the Paycheck Protection Program] means Georgia small businesses affected by the pandemic have until Aug. 8 to apply for the coronavirus relief funding and, if they get the money, continue paying employees.“I think we’re going to wait and see,” Loeffler said. “There’s about $130 billion left in the PPP program and, in Georgia, we’ve been able to deliver $14 billion to employers, to businesses to help keep their doors open.

“What we need to look at is who needs to get the relief that hasn’t received it, and how can we continue to refine the program. I have kept an open dialogue with (U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin) and (U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell) about the designs of the programs and I supported legislation that ensured nonprofits such as churches and YMCAs can get access to it while limiting the ability of organizations like Planned Parenthood to access it.”

“There remains significant funding left in the CARES Act to make sure that our hospitals (and) our health agencies — our public health agencies — are funded, but also getting that relief to families and employers,” Loeffler said. “So, I’ve been really focused on the case work that we’ve done across the state to connect Georgians to that relief, but then also working with the governor to figure out what the needs are on the ground.”

“The left is pushing this dangerous effort to defund the police, and I have been working hard to support law enforcement,” Loeffler said. “I have introduced legislation that would cause municipalities and states to lose federal funding dollars if they, like New York City did (Tuesday) night, actively move to defund the police without a budgetary reason.”

More about former State Rep. Mark Burkhalter‘s appointment as Ambassador to Norway from the AJC Political Insider.

Terry Coleman, a Democrat who was briefly the state House speaker, told InsiderAdvantage that he’s “never seen anything from him but concern and compassion for all our fellow Georgians” from Burkhalter.

The outlet also reported that Fulton County Commission chair Robb Pitts, a Black Democrat, wrote a letter in support of the Alpharetta Republican.

The Chatham County Board of Health is moving the location for free COVID testing, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Bulloch County schools may start classes again online only beginning August 17, according to the Statesboro Herald.

“August 17th is the date that we’re using right now so we can have time for teachers and staff to return, as normal, during preplanning, to start preparing for what we can do to re-engage students, even if it’s online or virtually, so that we can move forward,” Wilson said during Thursday’s 9 a.m. session. “We all know this,” he continued, as 488 people logged in to listen during the livestreaming. “Our students need to be re-engaged in their learning. They need to be re-engaged socially and emotionally. We need to get back to school, somehow.”

“Our intent is to start virtually … with an option for parents to return their students to a traditional setting, a face-to-face setting, as soon as possible,” he said. “Now what that ‘as soon as possible’ means is yet to be determined. Under the state guidance, that would mean when we move out of substantial spread back to the minimal to moderate spread category.”

Right now, the plan is to start school for students learning from home, with the main part of each class provided using one of two virtual learning platforms.

Both of these platforms provide recorded lessons by teachers hired by the companies that operate the platforms, not Bulloch County Schools teachers.

But local teachers will provide supplemental instruction, working with students who need help and providing enrichment activities to those ready to learn more, much as they do in small-group breakout sessions in traditional classrooms, Wilson said.

For the supplemental instruction, and for lessons that local teachers may develop for all of their students, the school system will use Google Classroom and no longer a mix of Zoom and Google Classroom as was done for last spring’s voluntary online classwork.

Effingham County families are considering online or in-person options for fall schooling, according to the Savannah Morning News.

“Students won’t sit in front of a computer all day,” [Assistant Superintendent Travis] Nesmith said, but a full day’s work will be required. “The rigor will mirror face-to-face instruction,” the school system said on its web page.

Some teaching will be synchronous, with students seeing teachers live and some will be asynchronous, with students watching a recording of a teacher. Some work will be done offline, without using a computer at all.

Virtual students must have an adult to help them. “Courses will require a significant commitment by parents/guardians to help facilitate virtual learning,” the district said on its website. “Students must have a responsible adult who serves as the point of contact for the virtual classroom teacher(s).”

Among the issues the planners must take into consideration is being able to quickly increase virtual learning to include all the students in the school system, should the coronavirus take a nasty turn.

Dalton City Council canceled its in-person meeting this week after a staffer tested positive, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Glynn County and City of Brunswick are considering when to reopen in-person meetings, according to The Brunswick News.

The Glynn County Commission’s first in-person meeting isn’t a surefire thing, however.

“We are keeping track of (COVID-19) case numbers, and it is subject to change,” Glynn County Commission Chairman Mike Browning said last week. “We’re only making this decision to go back because we felt like it was the thing to do to serve the public.”

While the Brunswick City Commission had been seriously considering holding its July 15 meeting in-person as well, the recent leaps in COVID-19 cases has Mayor Cornell Harvey thinking it would not be the best idea.

The city continue with virtual meeting and look at holding regular meetings again in August.

Both the city and county have been meeting on virtual platforms for the better part of the last four months.

3
Jul

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 3, 2020

Swain BarkVille Dog Rescue

Swain is a 7-year old, 50-pound male Jack Russell Terrier & Australian Shepherd Mix who is available for adoption from BarkVille Dog Rescue in Roswell, GA.

Swain was picked up as a stray in Cherokee County and his future looked bleak until BarkVille was able to step in and place him in a wonderful foster home where he is putting on weight and regaining his strength. His foster mom says Swain is an inquisitive, quiet, snuggler who is good on a leash, knows basic commands, and likes to maneuver his blankets with his paws & teeth to make himself a pillow! He is a medium energy boy who likes playing fetch and destroying balls & toys in the yard (kongs recommended). He is housebroken, crate trained, neutered, fully vaccinated and microchipped. Swain is HW+ and is currently available for a foster-to-adopt situation until his HW treatment is complete and he is medically cleared for adoption.

Neely BarkVille Dog Rescue

Neely is a 2-year old, 58-pound female Terrier and Boxer mix who is available for adoption from BarkVille Dog Rescue in Roswell, GA.

Neely is a calm, cuddly, medium energy dog who was taken from an unlivable hoarding situation and has proven herself to be a very good girl. She gets excited when her foster mom comes home from work and is willing to do anything to please her people. She is a solid, chunky little low rider and needs a forever family without young children (teens are fine) because she plays hard & can knock a small child over when she jumps with joy. She also needs to be an only pet because she does not like other dogs in her space. She loves to take walks, is working on her leash manners daily, and does well with corrections when structure is given. She loves treats and will accept them gently from your hand in a sitting position.

Bella Rose BarkVille Dog Rescue

Bella Rose is a 3-year old, 39-pound female Cairn Terrier mix who is available for adoption from BarkVille Dog Rescue in Roswell, GA.

Bella Rose was picked up as a stray, but we believe she may have been someone’s pet because she has beautiful house manners and is friendly & obedient. She likes people of all ages, knows basic commands, is eager to please, and takes corrections well. She is a typical scrappy little terrier, but she gets anxious when she sees other dogs and she has scars on her back that suggest she may have been attacked by another dog in the past. She has a high prey drive so she’s looking for an only dog home with no cats or possibly a home with larger, well balanced dogs that she could coexist with after slow introductions. She is nervous & reactive on walks and has received professional training to address this behavior, but she needs a strong leader who will continue working with her to build trust so she feels safe.

3
Jul

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 3, 2020

On July 5, 1737, James Oglethorpe sailed from England to Georgia with a warship and troop transports carrying a regiment to be stationed at St. Simons Island.

On July 5, 1742, Spanish forces based in Florida sailed past Fort St. Simon, bypassing English forces there. That night, Oglethorpe’s troops left Fort St Simon and fell back to Fort Frederica.

Fort Frederica National National Monument on St. Simons Island

Fort Frederica National Monument on St. Simons Island

On July 4, 1776, the United States declared its independence from Great Britain.

On July 2, 1826, representatives from Georgia and Alabama met to begin surveying the border between the two.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826.

Union cavalry under Gen. Kenner Garrard reached Roswell, Georgia on July 5, 1864, setting the town alight.

On July 4, 1868, the Georgia General Assembly convened for the first time after passage of the Constitution of 1868 with a legislature comprising 186 members, of whom 36 were African-American.

On July 3, 1889, the Georgia General Assembly held its last session at the Kimball Opera House, located at the corner of Marietta and Forsyth Streets in downtown Atlanta before moving into a new Georgia State Capitol. On July 4, 1889, the Georgia State Capitol was dedicated, then housing all three branches of the state government.

Happy birthday to Idaho, which became a state on July 3, 1890.

On July 3, 1913, the Georgia state Senate tabled a motion to allow the Georgia Women’s Suffrage Association to address the chamber.

On July 3, 1970, the Atlanta Pop Festival was held in Byron, Georgia.

Among the artists playing at Byron were the Allman Brothers Band and Jimi Hendrix.

The Clash played their first live show on July 4, 1976 at The Black Swan in Sheffield, England.

Back to the Future was released on July 3, 1985.

On July 3, 1986, President Ronald Reagan reopened the Statue of Liberty after a two-year restoration.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

A federal judge has ordered Georgia to hold a special election for District Attorney, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

A federal judge has ordered Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to schedule an election for district attorney in the Western Judicial Circuit, composed of Clarke and Oconee counties.

The election had been canceled after Gov. Brian Kemp declined to appoint a replacement for retiring Western Circuit DA Ken Mauldin by a certain date.

U.S. Northern Circuit District Court Judge Mark Cohen on Wednesday held that a 2018 Georgia law allowing Kemp to derail the election process violates the state constitution.

“Nothing in this Court’s preliminary injunction order will prevent the Governor from exercising his right to appoint a person to fill the vacancy created by Mauldin’s resignation, and the Court finds no harm to the Governor if his appointee must run for office in 2020 to maintain his or her seat,” Cohen wrote.

Raffensperger now must conduct a special election for the post Nov. 3. The judge gave the parties in the lawsuit two weeks to prepare a proposed consent order setting procedures for the special election.

From the Daily Report:

The case mirrors an ongoing legal battle over Raffensperger’s decision to cancel a scheduled election for Georgia Supreme Court Justice Keith Blackwell’s seat. Blackwell submitted his resignation last February rather than face reelection this year, but with a proviso that he will remain on the bench until Nov. 11.

Former U.S. Rep. John Barrow, an Athens lawyer, and Atlanta attorney Beth Beskin were prevented from qualifying to run for Blackwell’s seat. Both unsuccessfully sought court orders that would have compelled Raffensperger to reinstate the election after the governor’s staff informed him Kemp intended to appoint Blackwell’s replacement.

Although the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled against Barrow and Beskin, a separate federal suit brought by several Georgia voters is pending in front of Senior Judge Orinda Evans. Barrow is an intervenor in that case.

At issue is a provision in the state Constitution that permits a judge appointed by the governor to fill a vacancy that occurs within six months of a general election to serve until the next election. But Cohen said in his order the state Constitution has no similar provision for district attorneys.

Cohen was dismissive of Raffensperger’s claim that the Georgia Supreme Court intended for the six-month provision to apply to all judicial offices, including district attorney.

From Patch.com:

Gonzalez, in a victory gathering held virtually on Zoom on Thursday evening, began her campaign by asking those gathered to help her get elected.

Brian Patterson, who, like Gonzalez, had been campaigning for the District Attorney race when Kemp effectively terminated the race in early May, said on Thursday he will launch his campaign again on Friday.

United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams joined Governor Brian Kemp for part of the “Wear a Mask” tour yesterday, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that the new coronavirus (COVID-19) has hit American hard, “especially our older folks.”

“But I want you to understand that we are in the different place than we were even a few weeks ago and certainly a few months ago,” Adams said Thursday outside Hamilton Medical Center. “The average age of folks getting COVID-19 just a few months ago was near 60. The average age now is 35. It is important for that group to understand that you are at risk for hospitalization. But you also are at risk for spreading it to someone you love and care about. But I don’t want this to be all about the bad. We are in a much better place than were we were. We have more supplies. We know more about the virus and how to keep people safe.”

“The power to slow this virus lies in the hands of the people of Georgia. Literally,” Adams said. “I want you to understand my surgeon general’s prescription for staying safe as we head into this holiday weekend. No. 1, know your risks. It’s important to know that people with high blood pressure, with diabetes, with obesity are at higher risk for this disease. No. 2, know your circumstances. Are you going to be going to a place that’s outside or inside? Are you going to be going to a place where it’s hard to social distance? No. 3, know how to keep yourself safe. … Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. Hand sanitizer is great if you are not able to wash your hands. … Maintain a safe distance from others where possible, and it if isn’t possible, please, wear a mask.”

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Wearing a face mask is a way Americans can fight for freedom, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams at the end of a visit to the Gwinnett County Health Department in Lawrenceville on Thursday night.

“One of the most important things that you can do is wearing a face covering, or a mask to prevent the spread of the disease,” Adams said. “Wearing a face covering, or a mask, is not a restriction of your freedom. As a matter of fact, it is an instrument of freedom because we know if we have less spread of the disease in the community, more places will be open, more places will stay open.”

“If we don’t wear face coverings, we will lose freedom because more places will have to close.”

“It is important to know that if you are a person of color, then you are at a higher risk of complications from COVID, based on the statistics that we have,” Adams said. “Blacks are hospitalized at five times the rate of whites for COVID. Hispanics are hospitalized at three times the rate, Native-Americans are hospitalized at four times the rate.”

From the Augusta Chronicle:

While Kemp has said wearing masks is the ticket to resuming college football in the fall, Adams had another take.

“This is the way to get us to the Masters,” he said.

On Monday, Kemp extended the state’s public health state of emergency and ban on gatherings of 50 or more to Aug. 11.

State Commissioner of Public Health Kathleen Toomey said during the news conference that the mindset must shift to “it’s cool to wear a mask.” Wearing a mask doesn’t make one a “sissy,” she said.

Toomey also said Georgians should answer the phone when caller ID says public health is calling.

Metro Augusta hospitals are prepared for the COVID surge, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

A surge in new coronavirus cases in Georgia and South Carolina so far has not inundated local health care providers with critically ill patients.

Metro Augusta’s largest health system, University Hospital, reported as of Thursday that 23 of its 68 COVID-19 intensive care unit beds are open.

AU Medical Center, the city’s second largest hospital, said 12 of its 52 COVID-19 ICU beds were occupied. Doctors Hospital reported two COVID-19 patients in its ICU.

A University Hospital spokeswoman said six of the 44 patients who tested COVID-positive on Thursday were in their COVID ICU wing at the hospital’s Summerville campus, the former Trinity Hospital of Augusta.

“We do have the capability to create more ICU beds quickly by transitioning pods in the (emergency department) and rooms at Summerville,” she said in a statement. “Fortunately, we are able to care for many more positive patients outside the ICU in intermediate units now with new treatment information.”

Herman Cain, who ran for President as a Republican in 2012, is receiving treatments for COVID-19, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“Mr. Cain did not require a respirator, and he is awake and alert,” according to the statement released Thursday.

Cain, as a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, was one of the surrogates at President Donald Trump’s June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“We honestly have no idea where he contracted it. I realize people will speculate about the Tulsa rally, but Herman did a lot of traveling the past week, including to Arizona where cases are spiking. I don’t think there’s any way to trace this to the one specific contact that caused him to be infected. We’ll never know,” Dan Calabrese, who has been editor of HermanCain.com since 2012, said Thursday in a post on Cain’s website.

Former State Rep. and one-time House Speaker Mark Burkhalter is under fire by Democrats who seek to stop his appointment as Ambassador to Norway, according to the Washington Post.

President Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Norway is facing demands that he abandon his pursuit of the diplomatic post following the unearthing of a 1994 court filing indicating his involvement in the production of a racist campaign flier against an African American politician in Georgia.

According to the filing, Mark Burkhalter helped create a flier that distorted and exaggerated the features of Gordon Joyner, a candidate for county commissioner in north-central Georgia. Joyner was pictured with some features darkened, a large Afro, enlarged eyebrows and a warped eye.

Burkhalter became a target of the lawsuit during his role as campaign chairman for Mitch Skandalakis, then-chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. The signed apology says the flier “contained a distorted photograph of you and inaccurate statements regarding you and attributed to you.”

Burkhalter approved of the flier’s release, authorized payment for some of the printing costs and directed that the flier be attributed to a fake Political Action Committee with a fake P.O. Box address, according to court filings citing his and other depositions.

From CNN:

In a letter sent Thursday to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Sen. Robert Menendez said that Mark Burkhalter “failed to disclose his involvement in a lawsuit and ethics investigation related to his role in the production of a racist campaign flyer.”

Burkhalter was nominated as top envoy to Norway in May. He served in the Georgia General Assembly for 18 years, where he served as speaker of the House and speaker pro tempore.

“Defendants mailed the cards bearing the false pictures captioned ‘Gordon Joyner’ primarily to white voters residing in the northern part of Fulton County, for the purpose of instilling and inciting racial fears and prejudices on the part of those voters,” the lawsuit said.

Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Meng Lim has been arrested on allegations of domestic abuse, according to NewsChannel9.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) says they arrested a Superior Court Judge Thursday, charging him with misdemeanor battery against his wife.

Judge Meng Lim was charged under the Georgia Family Violence Act. He is the Chief Superior Court Judge of the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit in the Seventh Superior Court District of Georgia.

The GBI says the investigation is closed and submitted to the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

The State Bar of Georgia says Meng Lim was sworn in on January 15, 2015, the state’s first-ever Asian American Superior Court Judge. He is in his second term as the Chief Superior Court Judge.

The Tallapoosa Circuit serves Haralson and Polk Counties.

Democrat Raphael Warnock raised almost $3 million dollars during the latest disclosure period in his race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Kelly Loeffler, according to the AJC.

Democrat Raphael Warnock will report raising more than $2.85 million over the last three months in his campaign to oust U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a growing warchest he’ll use to try to edge out rivals in the November special election.

Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, has now collected at least $4.3 million since entering the race against Loeffler in January. The contest is a 21-candidate special election in November with no party primary to hash out nominees.

Recent polls show Warnock in a tight race with both Loeffler and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, her most formidable Republican challenger. Several have also shown Lieberman within striking distance.

Warnock turned heads in April when he out-raised Collins and Loeffler in the first quarter. Both Republicans have yet to report their latest figures, though Loeffler is expected to add another $5 million to the $10 million she’s pumped into her campaign.

Legalized gambling failed passage in the Georgia General Aseembly again, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Proponents blamed state Senate Republican leaders for blocking both a constitutional amendment asking Georgia voters to decide whether to legalize casinos, horse racing and sports betting and separate legislation embracing sports betting. Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, the Senate’s presiding officer, and leaders in the Senate Republican Caucus made it clear on the session’s opening day in January that legalized gambling would not be a priority for them.

“We had support in the [Georgia] House,” said Billy Linville, spokesman for a coalition of Atlanta’s pro sports teams that banded together to push the sports betting bill. “We’ve got more work to do with Senate leadership.”

But it wasn’t just external opposition that sank the legalized gambling legislation. Advocates for the standalone sports betting measure and those favoring the constitutional amendment putting casinos, horse racing and sports betting on the statewide ballot got in each other’s way, said Georgia Rep. Alan Powell, chairman of the House Regulated Industries Committee and a key supporter of the constitutional amendment.

“You had such a mixed bag of folks involved in this … the Atlanta sports teams, the casino interests,” said Powell, R-Hartwell. “They were working at diametrically different purposes.”

Powell’s committee approved [a proposed] constitutional amendment following a presentation by Rep. Ron Stephens, perennially the driving force behind efforts to get casino gambling on the ballot in Georgia.

“I don’t understand how we can sit up in Atlanta and tell folks they’re not allowed to vote for themselves,” Stephens, R-Savannah, said last week. “It’s 50,000 permanent jobs, $1 billion in new revenue, no tax incentives and local control. That’s four things that are hard to vote against.”

A state lawsuit is seeking a Special Election for Athens-Clarke County Commission District 6, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

Jesse Houle found himself headed for a seat on the Athens-Clarke County Commission last month after his opponent, incumbent Jerry NeSmith, died in an accidental fall three days before the election. Now, Houle’s a defendant in a lawsuit over the election, along with the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections.

But NeSmith’s votes must be considered null and void, Athens-Clarke County Attorney Judd Drake concluded after studying applicable state and federal law.

The plaintiffs include NeSmith’s widow, Farol NeSmith; Gordon Rhoden, the chairman of the Clarke County Republican party; and Athens-Clarke County Planning Commission member Jim Scanlon.

Voiding votes for NeSmith deprives them of their “fundamental constitutional right to vote and to have their votes counted,” according to the complaint filed by Athens lawyer David Ellison.

They are asking a judge to rule that NeSmith’s votes be counted, that he be declared the winner of the June 9 election, and to order a special election for a four-year term beginning in January.

In the Democratic primary election for Gwinnett County Commission chair, the second-place finisher is supporting the first-place finisher, according to the AJC.

[Nicole Love] Hendrickson finished the five-candidate race just shy of 50% of the vote. But Thursday, after a recount put him into the second-place position by 13 votes, Lee Thompson, Jr. said he would suspend his campaign and ask Democrats to support Hendrickson instead.

“Rather than spend six more weeks working against each other, I want us to unite in support of Nicole’s campaign and begin working toward making her the first Democratic candidate to be elected Gwinnett County Commission Chair in over thirty-five years,” Thompson wrote in a lengthy Facebook post announcing that he would not compete in the Aug. 11 runoff.

Hendrickson will face Republican David Post in November.

Henry County Commissioners are canceling in-person board meetings after some staff members tested positive, according to the AJC.

Officials with the south metro Atlanta community on Wednesday released a vague statement that one or more people had contracted COVID-19, but did not offer further details. The leaders said they were notifying employees exposed to the workers who tested positive and instructing them to quarantine if they also have the virus.

“We are suspending in-person board meetings until we can assure the safety of county staff and the public attending meetings,” County Manager Cheri Hobson-Matthews said. “Henry County will remain vigilant in monitoring the situation and will take rapid steps to protect the health and safety of employees and citizens.”

Duluth is canceling several planned public events through October because of COVID concerns, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

 

Valdosta City Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Cason discussed options for reopening in the fall, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Cason said, based on plans as of Wednesday, employees would each be given one cloth face mask to wear. School employees would be required to wear masks except when teachers are teaching. Masks would be required when teachers have one-on-one discussions with students.

While he will strongly suggest parents have their children wear masks, Cason said it will not be a requirement.

“A dress code is hard enough to enforce,” Cason said. “So if a kid showed up without a mask, do we send those kids home? We can’t suspend them all or send them to ISS (in-school suspension).”

Thursday, Valdosta City Schools released two options for parents to select for returning to school: traditional and virtual.

The traditional model would include all of the mentioned safety measures. If the school were to shut down again, assigned Chromebooks would be used for at-home digital days. Parents need to fill out a form to state if their child will need transportation.

The virtual model will allow students to checkout a Chromebook and complete all work at home. The model requires a parent or other adult serve as a learning coach that facilitates and supports the student. An online commitment will be required. Elementary would have a one-year commitment and all other grades would have a one-semester commitment with an opportunity to withdraw in December.

Choices must be submitted to Valdosta City Schools, either online or in person, by July 16.

Whitfield County schools will announce later this month how they will reopen, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Thunderbolt City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem Kimberly Chappell-Stevens has died, according to the Savannah Morning News.

“Kimberly will be fondly remembered for her fierce dedication and loyalty, willingness to listen, warm smile and kind heart,” states the eulogy [posted on the city website]. “She will be missed dearly by all.”