The blog.

13
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 13, 2020

Mindy AJ Charles Smithgall Humane

Mindy (small, female, Cattle Dog/Heeler mix) and AJ (large, male, Hound mix) are a bonded pair of dogs who are available for adoption from the Charles Smithgall Humane Society and Adoption Center in Sautee Nacoochee, GA.

AJ is a wonderful older dog. He’s a seven-year-old hound/shepherd mix. He’s a larger dog, but he moves gracefully and calmly so don’t let his size fool you. He has beautiful manners. He’s calm, sweet and very friendly. He’s a lower energy sort of guy and prefers to relax with his people and his best friend Mindy. AJ walks well on a leash and he knows basic commands.

AJ is happy to go along to get along. He’s just a big love bug who will make for someone’s best companion. He’s very low-key, but loves to see what Mindy is up to and happily follows her around. AJ and Mindy are a bonded pair and must be adopted together. The way they depend on each other, it’s like a seamless ballet. Each dog brings out the best in the other and together they are probably less effort then having one dog, because they complement each other so well.

Mindy relies on AJ for comfort and security and AJ loves to be where Mindy is. Adopting this pair may be easier than having an only dog. Mindy is an Australian Cattle dog mix. She’s about five years old and of medium size.

They’re recent arrivals and we have yet to test them with other dogs or cats, but will do so for potential adopters. Our guess is they could be house-trained, because they are so polite and smart, but it may take some remedial training since they have been without a home for a little while now.

AJ is exceptional. He seems to be the quintessential family dog. It’s crazy to think he and Mindy ended up homeless. We have no idea of their back story, but they are a delightful pair who would make for a great addition to any family willing to open their hearts and home to them.

AJ Charles Smithgall Humane

Flower Charles Smithgall Humane

Flower is a 49-pound female Labrador Retriever and Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Charles Smithgall Humane Society and Adoption Center in Sautee Nacoochee, GA.

This sweet girl, Flower, is as beautiful as her name suggests. Since arriving, Flower has been a wonderful guest. She’s a sweet, sweet dog. She’s a one-year old Labrador/Terrier mix. She has a beautiful chocolate and white short coat, a well-shaped lab head, warm brown eyes and a happy grin. 

Flower seems to love being with other dogs and she is cat friendly, if not a little shy with them. She has a solid personality and is quietly confident. She loves being in the play yards where she can run and romp or simply lay in the sun.

Lacey Charles Smithgall Humane

Lacey is a young female Labrador Retriever and Australian Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Charles Smithgall Humane Society and Adoption Center in Sautee Nacoochee, GA.

This gorgeous girl, Lacey, is absolutely incredible. She is pure delight and love. She’s about six months old. She has a beautiful black coat with a little bit of white. She has a wonderful personality. She’s sweet and affectionate, a little submissive, but we’re working on bringing her confidence level up with lots of love and kindness. She is even-keeled and joyful.

Lacey loves to run and play in the yard. She can entertain herself, but she really loves playing with her new yard mate, Andy. The two of them run and chase each other. 

13
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 12, 2020

On August 12, 1492 by the current calendar, Christopher Columbus set sail from the port of Palos de la Frontera in southern Spain with the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Other accounts date his arrival at the Canary Islands off the coast of northwestern Africa on August 12, 1492.

Juan Ponce de Leon invaded Puerto Rico on August 12, 1508 and declared himself Governor.

On August 12, 1864, Confederate General John B. Hood prohibited Confederate soldiers from seizing civilian property.

The first Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line on August 12, 1904.

On August 12, 1908, Ford’s first “Model T” rolled off a Detroit, Michigan, factory floor. Within six years, the car, company and man were propelled to unprecedented success, thanks to the new Highland Park plant’s first-of-its-kind assembly line, which created the intricate product quickly and in large numbers.

“If it hadn’t been for Henry Ford’s drive to create a mass market for cars, America wouldn’t have a middle class today,” wrote [Lee] Iacocca.

Increased travel spurred appeals for better and more roads, the development of suburbs, the oil industry’s rise and a boom in gas stations, strip malls and motels.

But the assembly line itself had the biggest impact on American society, Hyde contended, in making possible the swift, mass production of everything from computers to “fast food.”

On August 12, 1910, Georgia Governor Joseph M. Brown signed legislation prohibiting the carrying of a pistol or revolver without a license.

East Germany began building the Berlin Wall on August 12, 1961.

[T]he government of East Germany, on the night of August 12, 1961, began to seal off all points of entrance into West Berlin from East Berlin by stringing barbed wire and posting sentries. In the days and weeks to come, construction of a concrete block wall began, complete with sentry towers and minefields around it. The Berlin Wall succeeded in completely sealing off the two sections of Berlin.

Three churches in Albany, Georgia first allowed African-Americans to attend their services on August 12, 1962.

On August 12, 1968, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham played together for the first time.

The first Space Shuttle, Enterprise, made its first flight in the earth’s atmosphere on August 12, 1977.

President Jimmy Carter was nominated for reelection as President by the Democratic National Convention in New York City on August 13, 1980.

President Ronald Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act on August 13, 1981.

The ERTA included a 25 percent reduction in marginal tax rates for individuals, phased in over three years, and indexed for inflation from that point on. The marginal tax rate, or the tax rate on the last dollar earned, was considered more important to economic activity than the average tax rate (total tax paid as a percentage of income earned), as it affected income earned through “extra” activities such as education, entrepreneurship or investment. Reducing marginal tax rates, the theory went, would help the economy grow faster through such extra efforts by individuals and businesses. The 1981 act, combined with another major tax reform act in 1986, cut marginal tax rates on high-income taxpayers from 70 percent to around 30 percent, and would be the defining economic legacy of Reagan’s presidency.

Reagan’s tax cuts were designed to put maximum emphasis on encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship and creating incentives for the development of venture capital and greater investment in human capital through training and education. The cuts particularly benefited “idea” industries such as software or financial services; fittingly, Reagan’s first term saw the advent of the information revolution, including IBM’s introduction of its first personal computer (PC) and the rise or launch of such tech companies as Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Sun Microsystems, Compaq and Cisco Systems.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released on August 13, 1982.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

On June 19, 2020, I wrote this:

My political analysis is that attacks by out-of-state Congressional leaders, and even Georgia congressmen, probably helps Greene win her Primary Runoff Election. All she needs now to assure her victory in August is an endorsement of her opponent by the very groups mentioned in the Washington Post editorial.

And on July 20, 2020, I wrote in the newsletter version about attacks against Greene by GOP insiders Steve Scalise, Kevin McCarthy, and 90 elected officials who endorsed her opponent:

My two-cent analysis is that I’m not sure any of that hurts Marjorie Greene or helps Dr. Cowan.

President Trump congratulated Republican nominee Marjorie Greene, according to CBS46:

President Donald Trump on Wednesday tweeted support for congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, a supporter of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory who’s been criticized for racist comments, following her Republican primary victory in Georgia.

Greene, a businesswoman and political newcomer, beat neurosurgeon John Cowan in a primary runoff Tuesday in Georgia’s deep-red 14th Congressional District, which stretches from the outskirts of metro Atlanta to the rural northwest corner of the state.

“Congratulations to future Republican Star Marjorie Taylor Greene on a big Congressional primary win in Georgia against a very tough and smart opponent,” Trump said on Twitter. “Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up – a real WINNER!”

“You inspired me to run and fight to Save America and Stop Socialism!!” Greene responded to Trump’s tweet. “No one will fight harder than me!!”

Greene will face Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal in November. Republican Rep. Tom Graves, who did not seek reelection, last won the seat with over 76% of the vote in 2018.

The Masters Tournament will take place this year without spectators, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Augusta National Golf Club made the announcement Wednesday, confirming what Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis predicted last week. The tournament is scheduled for Nov. 9-15.

“Since our initial announcement to postpone the 2020 Masters, we have remained committed to a rescheduled Tournament in November while continually examining how best to host a global sporting event amid this pandemic,” club and tournament chairman Fred Ridley said in a the release. “As we have considered the issues facing us, the health and safety of everyone associated with the Masters always has been our first and most important priority.”

The decision also affects the Augusta-area school systems that altered academic calendars for a November Masters. Following Wednesday’s announcement, several area counties were faced with an extra fall break.

11
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 11, 2020

Elliott Gwinnett Animal Shelter

Elliott is a 2-year old male Papillon mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Midnight Gwinnett Animal Shelter

Midnight is a 4-month old male Labrador Retriever and Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Miles Gwinnett Animal Shelter

Miles is an 8-month old male Chihuahua mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

11
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 11, 2020

On August 11, 1862, Confederate General Braxton Bragg declared martial law in Atlanta.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the summer commencement address at the University of Georgia on August 11, 1938. Later that day, Roosevelt endorsed Lawrence Camp over incumbent Governor Walter F. George, saying George had not been sufficiently supportive of the New Deal.

The Atlanta Braves signed legendary Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige on August 11, 1968. Here’s a story on what the Braves signing meant to Paige:

In 1968, the right-hander was 158 days shy of the five years’ playing time needed to qualify for the major league pension. He would reach out to 29 teams and 29 teams would turn him down.

The problem was, he was 62.

But Braves president Bill Bartholomay saw an opportunity. While it would help at the box office for a franchise that was in its third season in Atlanta, it was also about something more.

“I jumped all over it, because I just thought it was the right thing to do,” said Bartholomay, currently the team’s chairman emeritus. “I didn’t think of it so much from the standpoint of diversity, I thought it was just the right thing to do.”

After reaching his 158 required days, Paige left the Braves and less than three years later, began drawing that pension. He received $250 a month.

“It was momentous and he did quality for his pension,” Bartholomay said, “but more importantly, the slight recognition for one of the great athletes, maybe one of the .. certainly short list of greatest pitchers of all time.”

From the AJC:

“Baseball would have been guilty of negligence should it not assure this legendary figure a place in the pension plan,” the [Braves] owner said at the signing in 1968. Looking back 40 years on, Bartholomay says Satchel justified his faith by performing sensationally as a goodwill ambassador.

“He came to us four months after the King funeral in Atlanta,” says Bartholomay. “Those were pretty tough times for African-Americans and the country in its entirety. Satchel understood that. He helped in a way that went way beyond baseball.”

On August 11, 1984, Ronald Reagan jokingly announced that he had “signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever…we begin bombing in five minutes,” without knowing he was speaking into a live microphone.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp addressed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic yesterday. You can watch the entire address on Facebook or GPB News.Continue Reading..

10
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 10, 2020

Please note that the Paulding County Animal Shelter may be open only by appointment. Please call 770-445-1511 to schedule a time.

Compton Paulding County Animal Control

Compton is a female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Paulding County Animal Control in Dallas, GA.

Percy Paulding County Animal Control

Percy is a young 40-pound male Pibble (aka Pit Bull) mix puppy who is available for adoption from Paulding County Animal Control in Dallas, GA.

Gracie Paulding County Animal Control

Gracie is a 35-pound female Boxer mixwho is available for adoption from Paulding County Animal Control in Dallas, GA.

10
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 10, 2020

On August 10, 1774, a group calling itself the “Sons of Liberty” met at Tondee’s Tavern in Savannah, the first move in Georgia toward what would become the Revolutionary War. The Sons of Liberty adopted eight resolutions, among those one that reads,

Resolved, nemine contradicente, That we apprehend the Parliament of Great Britain hath not, nor ever had, any right to tax his Majesty’s American subjects; for it is evident beyond contradiction, the constitution admits of no taxation without representation; that they are coeval and inseparable; and every demand for the support of government should be by requisition made to the several houses of representatives.

Resolved, nemine contradicente, That we concur with our sister colonies in every constitutional measure to obtain redress of American grievances, and will by every lawful means in our power, maintain those inestimable blessings for which we are indebted to God and the Constitution of our country–a Constitution founded upon reason and justice, and the indelible rights of mankind.

The first copy in Georgia of the Declaration of Independence was read publicly in Savannah on August 10, 1776.

On August 10, 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”

Missouri was admitted as the 24th State, and the first entirely west of the Mississippi River, on August 10, 1821.

On August 10, 1864, the bombardment of Atlanta by Union force continued, with Sherman writing, “Let us destroy Atlanta and make it a desolation.”

Sherman-and-Cannon Atlanta

The first Georgia state Motor Fuel Tax was enacted on August 10, 1921, when Governor Thomas Hardwick signed legislation imposing a one-cent per gallon tax.

Japan accepted unconditional surrender on August 10, 1945, one day after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

Red Dawn, the first movie rated PG-13 was released on August 10, 1984.

Wolverines!

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The late Herman Cain was laid to rest Friday, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..

7
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 7, 2020

Dahli Training To the Rescue

Dahli is a young female Mastiff and Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Training to the Rescue in Peachtree Corners, GA.

Charla Atlanta Humane Society

Charla is a female Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Atlanta Humane Society in Alpharetta, GA.

Broccolini Atlanta Humane Society

Broccolini is a young female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Atlanta Humane Society in Alpharetta, GA.

7
Aug

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

The first printed copy of the Declaration of Independence arrived in Savannah on August 8, 1776 and was read publicly for the first time on August 10, 1776.

General George Washington created the Purple Heart on August 7, 1782. Click here for an interesting history of the award.

On August 7, 1790, a delegation of Creeks met with the United States Secretary of War and signed the Treaty of New York, ceding all land between the Ogeechee and Oconee Rivers to Georgia.

On August 8, 1863, General Robert E. Lee offered his resignation in a letter to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, following the Battle of Gettysburg.

Theodore Roosevelt, who served as President from 1901 to 1909, was nominated for President by the Progressive Party, also called the Bull Moose Party, on August 7, 1912.

Herman E. Talmadge was born on August 9, 1913, son of Eugene Talmadge, who later served as Governor. Herman Talmadge himself served as Governor and United States Senator from Georgia.

On August 8, 1925, Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation outlawing the brazen act of dancing publicly on Sunday.

On August 8, 1929, Georgia Governor Lamartine Hardman signed legislation placing on the ballot for Fulton and Campbell County voters a merger of the two.

The old Campbell County Courthouse still stands in Fairburn, Georgia.

Campbell County Courthouse Fairburn GA 3

On August 7, 1942, Marine forces landed at Guadalcanal.

Voters ratified a new version of the State Constitution on August 7, 1945. Among the new features was the establishment of the State Board of Corrections to ensure humane conditions.

The board was directed to be more humane in its treatment of prisoners and abolished whippings, leg irons, and chains. Until 1945, prisoners in Georgia could expect to have heavy steel shackles put on by a blacksmith upon arrival. They were then taken out to work under severe conditions.

The caravan bearing 43 ounces of Dahlonega gold to be used in covering the Georgia State Capitol dome reached the Capitol and delivered it to Governor Marvin Griffin on August 7, 1958.

On August 7, 1964, Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which would be used as the legal basis for U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were nominated for President and Vice President by the Republican National Convention on August 8, 1968.

On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon resigned, effective at noon the next day.

On August 9, 1988, President Ronald Reagan announced his nomination of Dr. Lauro Cavazos as Secretary of Education, succeeding William Bennett. Cavazos was the first Hispanic to serve in a Presidential Cabinet position. Interestingly, he was born on the King Ranch.

On August 9, 1990, voters in the City of Athens and Clarke County chose to unify the two governments into Athens-Clarke County government.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Legislators are questioning Governor Kemp’s statement about calling a Special Session, according to the AJC.

“Fixing the error could easily happen within an hour or so, and could easily happen on day one of the 2021 session in January,” said state Rep. Teri Anulewicz, D-Smyrna.

“Best I can tell,” she said, “the tracking error is a pretext for convening a special session to consider a likely laundry list of issues the governor wants to attempt while he’s sure his party still holds the majority.”

Kemp said he had little other choice but to scramble for a swift update of House Bill 105, which includes a tax break for federal payments for victims of the storm. He said the bill is “far too important to our state to leave room for a legal challenge on its legitimacy.”

Rick Ruskell, the General Assembly’s legislative counsel, said in an interview that he doesn’t believe a fix is needed.

“It had no impact on the bill that was duly passed by both legislative chambers. I don’t see any problem with the legislative process of the bill,” he said. “I’m confident that the bill as passed was clear.”

State House Speaker David Ralston and Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan issued a joint statement:

Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan and Speaker of the House David Ralston issued the following statement regarding Governor Kemp’s suggestion of calling a Special Session of the Georgia General Assembly:

“While we respect Governor Kemp’s opinion, we disagree that the manner in which HB 105 was passed leaves the legislation vulnerable to a legal challenge. However, we are prepared to convene a special session, if called, to perform our constitutional duty to address his concerns and consider other important measures like House Bill 991, which provides critical oversight to taxpayer dollars.”

House Bill 991 was vetoed by Gov. Kemp, who wrote in a veto statement:

to ensure that members appointed to the Healthcare Transparency and Accountability Oversight Committee do not violate the separation of powers as delineated by the Constitution and laws of this state, I VETO HOUSE BILL 991.

Governor Kemp earlier this week signed legislation designed to narrow the broadband accessibility gap, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Tribune Ledger News.

Under House Bill 244, the state Public Service Commission will decide how much EMCs can charge telecommunications providers for broadband attachments to their utility poles. Some residents in Cherokee County are served by Cobb EMC and others by Sawnee EMC.

High pole attachment fees have been a key obstacle to extending broadband technology into underserved rural communities in Georgia. According to a state broadband service map, large portions of northern Cherokee County are without broadband service.

“The EMCs eagerly look forward to working with the Public Service Commission as an integral partner to expand access to broadband in rural Georgia, while keeping our neediest and most vulnerable citizens from shouldering the burden of that progress,” Dennis Chastain, president and CEO of Georgia EMC said Wednesday.

Georgia’s Secretary of State was initially rebuffed when he requested a Primary Runoff ballot in early voting, according to WSB-TV.

“I went to vote, and they said there’s nothing here to vote for, there’s only a Democrat election,” Raffensperger said.

Shortly after that, Raffensperger said other Republican voters in Fulton County called his office with the same problem.

They said they were told by poll workers there’s only a Democratic runoff.

“We’ve been getting reports of that from other people who’ve been going and actually leaving because they don’t think they can vote in any election,” Raffensperger said.

For the state’s top election official, the problems continued after he convinced the poll worker to let him vote.

“I went to the voting machine. What popped up was the Democrat ballot,” Raffensperger said. “My concern on that actually is I do not want to vote on a Democrat ballot. I’m a Republican, and so this is their runoff election. We want to make sure Republicans aren’t voting in Democratic races.”

Gray contacted Fulton County about the issue. They sent him a statement, saying:

“Fulton County understands that its responsibility is to provide experienced prepared poll workers throughout the election process. This includes making sure that our team of poll workers receive the necessary and required in-person training.”

The Golden Isles Republican Women will host a lunch Monday, according to The Brunswick News.

U.S. Senate candidate Kandiss Taylor and Glynn County Schools Superintendent Scott Spence will speak at the Golden Isles Republican Women’s Monday lunch.

Taylor, of Baxley, is one of 21 candidates running in the November special election for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Loeffler was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to replace former Sen. Johnny Isakson upon his retirement.

Due to state public health guidelines, attendance will be limited to 50 pre-registered guests.

No walk-ins will be admitted.

Fani Willis, Democratic candidate for Fulton County District Attorney, says her opponent and former boss, incumbent DA Paul Howard, will be indicted before the end of this year, according to 11Alive.

“I think it’s a choice actually between integrity and corruption, good and bad. I think it’s a classic fight,” Willis said. “We have a district attorney now that works for his own self interest and seems to care about the things that benefit him and not the community.”

Former prosecutor Fani Willis said Paul Howard took for himself nearly $200,000 that former Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed transferred to a nonprofit designed to help fight crime in underserved communities.

Howard told 11Alive News it was always intended for his bank account.

“I met with the mayor (Kasim Reed) asking him for a salary supplement from the city of Atlanta,” Howard told 11Alive’s Neima Abdulahi. “What I did was what Americans do all the time, which is ask for pay raises. Pay increases. And that’s what I asked for. That’s what the city of Atlanta sent over based upon the work I had performed for the city.”

“What he did was enrich himself. It’s really horrible,” Willis accused. “It’s not a pay raise. He can call that all he wants. But it’s a violation of (state law, OCGA 45-11-5), and it’s a criminal offense.”

“I believe he’ll be arrested for it and ultimately prosecuted … before the year is out,” she predicted.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says unemployment claims are declining, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

First-time unemployment claims in Georgia fell by 11,053 last week to 73,931, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said 92% of all valid claims submitted in the last 19 weeks have been paid. However, more than 135,000 other initial unemployment claims have been filed by Georgians who have not worked in the last 18 months and are, thus, ineligible for unemployment benefits, he said.

“Unemployment insurance is not a guaranteed benefit,” Butler said. “Each claim has to be thoroughly reviewed for eligibility and verified before payments can be issued.”

“A claimant may not be granted benefits if they have not worked and earned insured wages in the past 18 months or were fired for cause or quit a job of their own accord. Many times, the employer and employee have different versions of what happened, and that takes even longer to gather information for a complete decision.”

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis predicts empty bunkers for the Masters Golf Tournament, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

“The PGA Championship begins at Harding Park without fans, and that’s likely what will probably happen in Augusta,” Davis said of the tournament that started Thursday in San Francisco without fans.

Should patrons be allowed to attend, Davis said the club likely has the resources to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Augusta National can do it better than anybody, and they have the wherewithal to test all patrons who show up at and the course and if you have a fever, they can tell you to go get in the car,” the mayor said.

Lester Miller and Cliffard Whitby met in two forums for runoff candidates in the race for Mayor of Macon-Bibby County, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Five Cherokee County schools are now subject to partial quarantines, according to the Tribune Ledger News.

Columbia County schools now have a fourth COVID case, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The Boys & Girls Club of the Chattahoochee Valley will host a camp for children during the online-only portion of school reopening, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Because local COVID-19 cases have surged, the Muscogee County School District changed its plan and will open its fall 2020 semester with online-only classes from Aug. 17 through at least Sept. 9.

Among the 169 parents or guardians who responded to MCSD’s survey in June, 20% said they didn’t have access to resources and teachers to help their children succeed with remote learning. A similar survey of students, with 167 responses, said 19% don’t have such access.

“The staff will be there to support the instruction,” she said. “. . . We’ve been hearing a lot of thank-yous, a lot of appreciation.”

The staff at the YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus also will use a similar experience to supervise students during their online-only classes.

My sincere appreciation to the Boys & Girls Club of the Chattahoochee Valley and the YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus for showing how private organizations can support parents and families.

Chatham County has lower homeless numbers, but that may changes as a wave of evictions is predicted, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The 2019 number was 4,590, down from the 4,641 for 2018, the annual count showed. Included in the new totals were 271 homeless veterans.

“This count does not reflect any homeless activity for January to present, 2020,” Kelley said. “We anticipate higher numbers for 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis and expected evictions for many.”

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners have decided how to spend $6.6 million in federal COVID aid, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The money must be obligated by Sept. 1 and spent by the end of the year, Athens-Clarke Manager Blaine Williams told commissioners in a Tuesday meeting.

Nearly $1.5 million is already spent, including more than $1 million for sick pay, according to documents prepared for Tuesday’s commission meeting. The police department submitted requests for more than $1 million in sick pay, and the airport requested a smaller amount..

About $200,000 will go for digital access points in parks and other places, Mayor Kelly Girtz said in a virtual Athens Area Chamber of Commerce community update Wednesday morning. Overall, the spending plan includes about $560,000 in expenditures to “provide wifi access to facilitate distance learning.”

County officials expect an additional $15.5 million in a second phase of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding, but will have more time to work on that spending plan.

6
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 6, 2020

Copper Augusta Animal Services

Copper is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA.

Blaze Augusta Animal Services

Blaze is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA.

Ginger Southern Souls Rescue

Ginger is a 1-2 year old female Beagle mix who is available for adoption from Southern Souls Rescue in Harlem, GA.

6
Aug

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

On August 6, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia began debating the first draft of the Constitution of the United States.

On August 6, 1958 the wagon train carrying gold from Dahlonega to gild the State Capitol dome reached Atlanta, where city officials were not prepared to receive them.

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act; Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in attendance and was given one of the pens Johnson used to sign the Act. Here is an auction for one of the pens used in the VRA signing. And another pen auction.

John Hughes, director of every meaningful teen angst movie of the 1980s (except Say Anything and Better Off Dead) died on August 6, 2009.

Molly Ringwald wrote in The New Yorker about working as a young woman with John Hughes.

USA Today looks at the history of the Voting Rights Act and the role black women played in its passage.

“Men always got the attention, but the ones who were really organizing it and were really making it work were women,” [author Lynn] Olson said. “And that was true going back to the time of the time of abolitionists.”

When Boynton Robinson’s husband died in 1963, she used his memorial service at Tabernacle Baptist Church as the first mass meeting for voting rights in Selma.

“Mrs. Boynton [Robinson] really was the organizer of this and I think the person who actually wrote the letter that invited Dr. King and SCLC to come to Selma to help them with the voting rights movement,” Dawson said.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp will call the General Assembly into Special Session to address Hurricane Michael tax issues, according to AccessWDUN.

Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday that he plans to call a special session of the state legislature in order to fix a technical error on a bill that exempts hurricane relief payments from certain taxes.

Kemp said in a statement that he signed House Bill 105 despite the problem.

The bill, passed by the legislature in June with bipartisan support, shields farmers from having to pay state income tax on relief payments received after Hurricane Michael, which caused widespread damage across southern Georgia in Oct. 2018. It also imposes a 50-cent tax on ride-hailing service, taxi and limousine rides instead of leaving them subject to higher, regular sales taxes.

“When House Bill 105 was amended, it appears an incorrect legislative counsel number (i.e., tracking number) was assigned to the draft,” Kemp said in a signing statement. “Whereas this error is not necessarily a fatal flaw, this bill is far too important to our state to leave room for a legal challenge on its legitimacy.”

Governor Kemp signed House Bill 838, designed to protect first responders, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The bill Kemp signed into law sets out punishments for those who commit crimes against police officers, firefighters and medics because of their “actual or perceived employment as a first responder.” Crimes would have to involve serious physical injury or property damage.

Backers of the legislation have highlighted it as a show of support for police and other first-responders amid nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice that have prompted tense and at times violent encounters between officers and protesters.

Late Wednesday, Kemp said he had “attended the funerals of far too many law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty,” and that the bill aims to help “those who are risking their lives to protect us.”

“While some vilify, target, and attack our men and women in uniform for personal or political gain, this legislation is a clear reminder that Georgia is a state that unapologetically backs the blue,” Kemp said in a statement.

“It’s disappointing that supporting law enforcement has become a partisan issue,” House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said Wednesday. “We value and stand with the men and women who wear the badge in Georgia, and House Bill 838 demonstrates that unequivocally.”

Shortly after the bill’s passage in June, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan called it necessary to help distinguish between officers who have violated the public’s trust on the job from those who have carried out their duties properly.

“At a time when officers feel under siege, when police fear politically motivated prosecution, when extreme voices are calling to ‘defund the police,’ our state must stand up for those who put their lives on the line for us,” Duncan said

Gov. Kemp signed Senate Bill 359 addressing business liability for issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

SB 359, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, absolves a wide range of entities from damages unless the injury or death stems from gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.

“It waives liability if someone is substantially abiding by the rules,” Hufstetler said. “I thought it was a pretty reasonable balance.”

It applies to a wide range of premises, covering healthcare facilities, medical providers and other business, nonprofit and government entities.

They can post signs on the door of their building stating that, under Georgia law, people are assuming the risk of contracting COVID-19 by entering.

Establishments also may print their admission tickets with the warning that a person “waives all civil liability against this premises owner and operator for any injuries caused by the inherent risk associated with contracting COVID-19 at public gatherings, except for gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm, by the individual or entity of the premises.”

Senate Bill 313 regulates Pharmacy Benefits Managers and was signed by Gov. Kemp, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The bill Kemp signed into law requires companies called pharmacy benefits managers to set drug prices within a national average, a move aimed at reining in excessively high prescription prices.

PBMs act as go-betweens for prescribers and insurance companies that contract with health insurers to negotiate lower drug prices for patients. But critics have long accused them of muddying the process, prompting increases in drug prices and unnecessary delays in filling prescriptions.

Senate Bill 313, by state Sen. Dean Burke, R-Bainbridge, also forces PBMs to offer up full rebates to health plans that are typically given by drugmakers, rather than pocketing a portion.

And PBMs will need to submit to new audits by the state Department of Community Health as well as requirements for publishing data on prescription prices online.

Gov. Kemp vetoed a bill to address the question of whether Glynn County should maintain its own police department, according to The Brunswick News.

Gov. Brian Kemp vetoed Wednesday a Senate bill that would place a non-binding referendum on the ballot asking Glynn County voters whether they would prefer to see the Glynn County Police Department merged into the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office.

Senate Bill 504 was passed by both houses of the Georgia General Assembly earlier this year as part of a package of three bills that would allow registered voters in the county to abolish the GCPD.

Sen. William Ligon, R-White Oak, said Kemp indicated earlier in the day that he would sign the other two, placing the question in the hands of the electorate.

The bills came as the direct result of alleged police misconduct that led the city and county to scrap a joint narcotics enforcement team in 2019. Several past and present GCPD leaders have been charged with crimes in connection with the scandal.

Kemp vetoed three other bills, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The most significant of the vetoed bills called for the creation of an oversight committee to review the performance and conduct of all contractors and subcontractors working for the insurance plan that covers Georgia teachers and state employees.

In a veto message issued late Wednesday, Kemp argued the committee would violate the separation of powers provision of the Georgia Constitution.

A third vetoed bill would have authorized Georgia to enter into a compact with other states to regulate the audiology and speech-language pathology professions. Kemp wrote the measure was not put before a state council that reviews occupational regulations.

Finally, Kemp nixed a local bill for Gwinnett County at the request of its sponsor, Rep. Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula, that would have added senior judges to the county Recorder’s Court.

Georgia State House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) says states need $500 billion in COVID-19 relief, according to the AJC.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge us on the state level regarding the delivery of services,” Ralston wrote in a letter to U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Georgia Republicans.

“With additional financial assistance from the federal government to mediate the depth, breadth and immediacy of declining state revenues, we will continue to work together at our level to implement state responses that mitigate the disruption to Georgians’ needs for health, education and economic support,” wrote Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.

The association representing the nation’s governors asked for a $500 billion relief package to states in April, and Georgia House Appropriations Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, and Senate Appropriations Chairman Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia, also urged Congress to act months ago.

“Georgia’s economy is typically a strong network of diverse revenue streams, but the pandemic has affected all of them, even those like motor fuel that typically tend to resist downturns,” Ralston wrote. “The lagging effect on our largest revenue sources, income and sales taxes, is presenting us with additional challenges for months to come.”

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has been fined by the Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, according to the AJC.

Days away from facing a re-election runoff, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard agreed to pay a $6,500 state ethics fine for failing to disclose his role as CEO of two non-profits, one of which netted him $195,000 in city grant money.

The state ethics commission approved a consent agreement with Howard imposing the fine at a Capitol Hill meeting Thursday.

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported earlier this year that Howard padded his pay with $195,000 of the $250,000 in grant money the city of Atlanta signed over to the DA’s Office in two checks. Those checks were then deposited into the bank account of Howard’s People Partnering for Progress nonprofit, which then wrote out checks to the DA over the next four years.

Democrats are suing in federal court seeking changes to election procedures, according to the AJC.

A federal lawsuit filed Thursday asks the courts to step in to prevent hours-long lines in Georgia’s presidential election.

The lawsuit, brought by the Democratic Party and three voters, says a judge should require more polling places, better-trained poll workers and emergency paper ballots.

“The issues we saw in Georgia in the primary cannot be repeated in November,” said U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democratic senator from Nevada and chairwoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “This is a problem with a clear solution, and there is no reason elections officials should not take the reasonable steps to make sure Georgians don’t stand in line for hours to vote.”

The lawsuit was filed by the DSCC, the Democratic Party of Georgia, two Fulton County voters and a Cobb County voter.

Floyd County voters continue early voting in Runoff Elections for Sheriff and the 14th Congressional District, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Over the last few weeks, more than 2,600 voters have come to the Community Room on the second floor of the Floyd County Administration Building to cast their ballots early.

With no Democratic opposition in the Floyd County sheriff’s race, the Republican primary will determine if Tom Caldwell or Dave Roberson will take the office after Sheriff Tim Burkhalter retires in December.

The runoff will also determine if Marjorie Greene or Dr. John Cowan will be the Republican candidate for the U.S. House 14th Congressional District seat held by Rep. Tom Graves, who is not running for reelection.

All voters registered by July 13, except those who voted in the Democratic primary, are eligible to vote in the runoff.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson wants to open part of the search for a new City Manager to public participation, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The mayor later said he will recommend to council members that once finalists are chosen they will be asked to come to Savannah for in-person interviews by council and with a group representing the public.

“My idea is that we gather people from various parts of the community,” Johnson said. “For example, each council member could choose a neighborhood association member and we could have representatives from media, business owners, someone with the preservation community and more as part of a round robin-type meeting.”

Mayor Johnson blasted several members of the city council after confusion over a property tax rate vote, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The University of Georgia President and the Board of Regents are defending reopening plans, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

University of Georgia President Jere Morehead and University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley defended UGA and university system re-opening plans in letters to UGA faculty groups Tuesday.

“These plans prioritize the health and safety for students, faculty and staff, while recognizing the value and importance to students of the on-campus educational experience as one that is simply richer and more well-rounded,” Wrigley noted.

Morehead’s letter also said that the two faculty senates are not the proper bodies “for providing formal input on institutional matters.”

That authority “clearly rests with the University Council,” Morehead wrote.

The University Council has scheduled a special online meeting next Tuesday to consider whether to adopt the resolution the faculty senates adopted last week. The council will also vote on appointing an ad hoc “COVID-19 Crisis Response Committee” composed of elected members of the council, and excluding ex-officio members.

Columbia County public schools are reporting COVID-19 cases to parents, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Harlem and Lakeside high schools sent letters to several parents Tuesday informing them of “a student or staff member who may have been in contact with your child/children tested positive for COVID-19.” and that their children might have been “in proximity” to the positive person.

Since then, superintendent Sandra Carraway said, a third student — also from Harlem High — has been identified as testing positive.

Jessica Barrs’ son started his first year of high school at Harlem on Monday. She said she let him choose whether to return to in-person classes, but the decision was made “back in June before we started hearing of children with the virus.”

Barrs said “the school system forced us to make our decision by July 1,” which was the original deadline set by the school district for parents to commit to either in-person or all-online learning.

She said she thinks she and other parents should get “immediate notification” from their children’s schools by email, text or phone call when a positive case is confirmed.

Carraway said the school district’s policy is to notify only parents and guardians of children who might have been exposed.

Effingham County students returned to the public schools yesterday, according to the Savannah Morning News.

More than 13,000 Effingham County students returned to school Wednesday, as administrators smoothed scheduling snafus and nearly one-quarter of the students began their studies online.

Effingham is the first county in the Savannah area to return to school during the coronavirus pandemic.

About 400 of the nearly 2,000 ECHS students opted for virtual school rather than in-person learning, which some administrators call “brick” students for short.

Augusta plans to begin enforcing the mask mandate, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Law enforcement will immediately begin citing people for not wearing masks and businesses that ignore social distancing and occupancy requirements, Mayor Hardie Davis and Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree said Wednesday.

In a joint new conference, Davis said enforcement will include his newest order which is effective through Sept. 8. The order affirms his earlier order requiring masks be worn in all government buildings and public spaces, with the exception of churches.

Brunswick City Commissioners decided against adopting a mask mandate, opting instead to consider an urging resolution, according to The Brunswick News.

Some local governments are receiving federal aid for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Gainesville Times.

Flowery Branch City Council, for one, is set to vote Thursday, Aug. 6, on a funding agreement, which could mean as much as $435,795 for the city. Technically, it is voting on whether to accept the terms and conditions for the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund.

The city got $130,738 as an advance to the total amount and must document for the federal government by Sept. 1 how it has spent that money since March 1 and/or how it has been earmarked as an expense through Dec. 30.

“If local governments do not spend the 30% advancement, the monies remaining must be returned, and they do not qualify for the next tier, 70% reimbursement,” said Alisha Gamble, Flowery Branch’s finance director, on Wednesday, Aug. 5.

According to the CARES Act, eligible expenses include personal protective equipment, testing, overtime for staff working in direct response to the pandemic, sanitization supplies or cleanings in excess of routine purchases.

Also eligible are regular pay and benefits costs for employees “who are substantially dedicated to COVID-19 mitigation, costs associated with purchasing or deploying equipment to enable telework or online instruction as part of social distancing, or increased risk pool or health care costs associated with pandemic response.”

Dalton will use federal COVID-19 funding public safety pay increases for hazardous conditions, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

City Administrator Jason Parker said Tuesday during a meeting of the city’s Finance Committee that the city will receive about $1.72 million in CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act funding. The CARES Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump in March.

The city will receive $528,685 of that money in the next few days, and City Council members say they will use it to reimburse the city for hazard pay the city has been paying to firefighters, police officers and Public Works Department employees who may come into contact with coronavirus patients or waste during their work.

Parker said the remaining $1.2 million has to be spent before the end of the year and must be spent on certain items.

“We can continue to use it for hazard pay,” Parker said. “We can use it for the equipment that we need to clean and disinfect public buildings. We can use it for community programs — support for food or mortgage or rent. We are actually still waiting for a lot of the guidance. Once we understand that more fully, the council members can make a decision on how they wish to spend the money.”

Congressmen Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) and Tom Graves (R-Ranger) are spearheading efforts to change one of Georgia’s statues in the U.S. Capitol from Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens to the late Congressman John Lewis, according to 11Alive.

Lewis, Rep. Sanford Bishop said on a press call Wednesday, was someone who “inspired millions of people across Georgia, America and the world.”

“There’s no better person we have to represent our state in the Capitol than John Lewis,” he said.

While a growing movement has called for the removal of Confederate statues around the country, Republican Rep. Tom Graves said that states will, from time to time, change out their representation in the hall. The Stephens statue has remained there for nearly 100 years (it was placed there in 1927) and, he said, it’s time to honor modern legacies.

“As we go through time in our country and state we have great leaders, and I refer to John Lewis as one of those giants that we stand on the shoulders of, who are part of positive change and have a positive impact on lives, not only in our state but in the country only,” he said. “It’s fitting that you recognize that, it’s okay.”

Macon-Bibb County has been enjoined from removing a confederate statue in a lawsuit, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Rucker Smith, the chief judge of the Southwestern Judicial Circuit, granted a temporary injunction to Martin Bell, who filed the lawsuit in Bibb Superior Court. The injunction prevents the county from doing anything to “move, obscure, deface” or let “harm of any kind” come to the two Confederate monuments, one at the intersection of Cotton Avenue and Second Street and a second at Poplar Street near city hall, both in downtown Macon. Smith hasn’t scheduled a hearing for Bell’s lawsuit yet.

Bibb County commissioners voted 5-4 on July 21 to move the two monuments to Whittle Park, near Rose Hill Cemetery after Maconites called for the statues’ removal following the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

In his lawsuit, Bell cites a Georgia law that restricts where local governments can relocate Confederate statues. He said he has received nothing but positive reactions to his lawsuit.

“I thought this is exactly the way it would go, the law is very specific on what it requires,” he said. “All responses have been very, very positive, haven’t heard any negative responses.”