The blog.

25
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 25, 2019

Esther AAAR

Esther is a female Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from All About Animals Rescue in Macon, GA.

Esther is a 7 year old female. Yes, if you look closely her head is sunken in. Sadly that is the result of being kicked in the head by a horse when she was a puppy. It hasn’t affected her, she is a sweetheart, very affectionate, walks great on a leash and great with older kids.

Clementine AAAR

Clementine is a female Pibble mix who is available for adoption from All About Animals Rescue in Macon, GA.

Clementine is one of the most adorable dogs ever! SHE IS AMAZING. 1) she LOVES to play catch with tennis balls. If you don’t want to play, that’s okay with her, because she can do it ALL by herself! She throws the ball and goes to get it. It might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. 2) She LOVES water. When she is around one of the kiddie pools, she does this thing that I call “tempura-ing.” She flops in the pool and rolls around and then jump out and rolls around in the sand and grass and repeats this process until she is satisfied. Again, one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen. 3) MY FAVORITE: She’s ALWAYS in a cuddly mood and when she wants you to pet her, she leans against you and relaxes her body while you pet her. Sometimes, when she’s really relaxed, she just totally falls over. 4) She thinks she’s a lap dog. Again, she’s always cuddly. So when you sit, Clementine sits with…on…you. Come meet this sweet girl! A shelter is NOT a place for a personality like this and she has been here way too many years for this wonderful personality.

George AAAR

George is a 3-year old male Mastiff mix who is available for adoption from All About Animals Rescue in Macon, GA.

George loves running in the play yard, he’s a big ole baby, very affectionate, very strong, gets along with kids and walks well on a leash.

25
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 25, 2019

James Oglethorpe won reelection to the British Parliament while in America on April 25, 1734.

The United States declared war on Spain on April 25, 1898.

On April 25, 1996, Georgia Governor Zell Miller signed Senate Bill 519 designating English the official language of Georgia.

Click here for the text of the bill.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Donald Trump spoke in Atlanta yesterday, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Trump on Wednesday provided an update of sorts, including progress in creating and bolstering several federal initiatives to combat the crisis.

There were a record-breaking 70,237 drug overdose deaths in 2017 and opioids were involved in 67.8% of them, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But these deaths may be on the decline. Complete data has yet to be released, but provisional data from the CDC show an overall 3.2% decline in overdose deaths from September 2017 through September 2018.

He promoted his administration’s border security efforts as part of the solution to the crisis and praised China’s recent decision to schedule fentanyl. Trump also claimed that opioid prescriptions have gone by more than a third since he took office.

“Already during my time in office, we have reduced the total number of opioids prescribed by 34%. That’s a pretty amazing number,” he said.

And at the Justice Department, Attorney General Bill Barr plans to move forward from delivering the Mueller report to Congress by focusing on matters he deems more pressing, including the opioid crisis, a source close to Barr told CNN.

During his speech in Atlanta, the President bolstered his administration’s border security efforts, including a southern border wall, as a great deterrent to drug smuggling — attempting to connect the issue to opioids.

Trump said Customs and Border Protection seizures of meth and cocaine and heroin and fentanyl at the southern border are up 45% in the last two years.

“They’re going up much higher. We are seizing it all over. You probably saw the numbers today. We are detaining, capturing, call it anything you want, more people than ever before,” Trump said.

From WSB-TV:

The president also said he expects to carry the state when he runs for reelection next year.

“I love the state, and I guess they like me, because I’ve done well from the beginning,” Trump told Elliot.

Trump won Georgia in 2016.

“I think it’s in play only for us in the upcoming election, to be honest with you. I know, (Sen.) David Perdue is going to be running, and I’m running, and we’re going to do very well,” Trump said.

Elliot also asked the president about the delay in federal aid for South Georgia farmers still suffering seven months after Hurricane Michael.

Trump blamed congressional Democrats.

“A lot of that money goes to farmers, and that’s what we’re doing, and David Perdue is working very hard, and I’m working very hard, but they’re trying to hold us up, but it’s not appropriate,” Trump said.

From the AJC:

“I made a very strong statement about the border and I was criticized. They said, ‘It’s not that bad.’ Well, let me tell you that statement was peanuts compared to reality,” said Trump, who was introduced at the Atlanta summit by First Lady Melania Trump. “But we are confronting reality and confronting the grave security and humanitarian crisis on our southern border.”

Moments later, the president vented about Democratic opposition to his immigration policies.

“Congress must also act to fix, however, our horrible, obsolete, weak, pathetic immigration laws,” he said. “We could solve the entire problem – I say 45 minutes, but it could go a lot quicker than that, let’s bring it down to 15 minutes – if the Democrats would agree to do certain basic commonsense things with respect to our laws.”

Trump got backup from the state’s Republican hierarchy, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who both greeted him at Hartsfield-Jackson as Air Force One touched down. Several members of Georgia’s congressional delegation praised Trump’s initiative.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson noted the crisis has “touched so many families, including my own.” He added: “Georgia and states across the country, along with our medical community and first responders, now have better tools to fight this epidemic to help more Georgians and Americans.”

By midafternoon, roughly two hours after arriving in Atlanta, Trump was aboard Air Force One again.

From Georgia Public Broadcasting:

During his keynote address, Trump highlighted the initiatives fronted by his administration, including increased funding, drug take-back programs, increased access to the overdose reversal drug Naloxone and supporting faith-based recovery initiatives.

His remarks were punctuated when he asked State Director of Faith-Based Initiatives for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Monty Burks to join him on stage. The president introduced Burks as a former addict who was ushered into recovery “when two women of prayer from his hometown church helped him get onto a path of recovery.”

The president went on to say that critical to combating the opioid crisis, “is my strong support for faith-based initiatives. America is a nation that believes in the power of prayer and strength of fellowship and we believe in the grace of God.”

In Georgia, government agencies such as the Department of Public Health and the Department of Corrections offer faith-based support programs to help connect community members with resources.

Over the past two decades, researches have become more invested into evaluating the success of faith-based programs with respect to health outcomes. Some studies have reflected the positive impacts that initiatives organized around religious institutions can have.

The promotion of faith-based programs and initiatives is just one facet of the Trump administration’s comprehensive approach to combating the opioid crisis in America. During his speech, Trump also touted the increased funding for medication-assisted treatment programs and targeting ports of entry to stop the influx of illegal drugs from other countries.

From the Associated Press:

The first lady spoke briefly about her visits to hospitals and treatment centers and her meetings with doctors and nurses as part of her own campaign to highlight the “terrible toll the opioid epidemic is having on children and young mothers.”

“My husband is here today because he cares deeply about what you’re doing to help the millions of Americans affected by the opioid epidemic,” she said.

Governor Brian Kemp embarked on a statewide tour celebrating his first 100 days in office, according to 11Alive.

Kemp highlighted what he called a “historic increase” in pay for grade school teachers across the state, a larger investment in mental health services for students and school security, new solutions for Georgia’s healthcare system, along with new overall efforts aimed at safety for communities statewide.

“Working with the General Assembly, we have allocated millions in relief efforts for Georgians still reeling from Hurricane Michael. Republicans and Democrats came together to overwhelmingly pass budgets that fund our priorities while keeping our state’s fiscal house in order,” the governor said.

“By launching the Georgians First Commission, we will make Georgia the top state in the nation for small business. Job growth in our state is beating national trends and companies around the world have Georgia on their mind,” Kemp said. “We have a lot to celebrate after the first 100 days of my first term, but we are just getting started. Together, the next 100 days will build on these successes and keep Georgia moving in the right direction.”

From the AJC:

At Wednesday’s event and other public appearances, the governor has characterized his support for House Bill 481 as a fulfillment of campaign promises, and he said he’s not worried about repercussions from opponents who warn of economic and political payback.

The legislative session will also be remembered for what didn’t pass, most notably a transportation measure that would have given the state more oversight of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, cleared the way for new rural mobility initiatives and expanded a jet-fuel tax break that would primarily benefit Delta Air Lines.

While he stayed publicly neutral on the airport takeover measure, Kemp recently revealed he opposed the changes. But he remains miffed the aviation tax break, which he personally jockeyed for during the final day of the session, didn’t win approval.

“I had a plan that Delta supported that was going to be good for them on the jet-fuel tax and would have provided much-needed funding for rural airports,” he said. “Some in the Legislature, for whatever reason — and I’m still kind of baffled — didn’t agree with that. But we’re committed to working on that.”

Governor Kemp visited Macon on his statewide tour, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Gov. Brian Kemp met with Middle Georgia school district leaders for an education roundtable as part of a statewide tour marking his first 100 days in office.

The governor and school officials discussed a range of topics that included teacher morale, pay raises and dual enrollment programs during Wednesday’s meeting at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport.

One of the highlights of Kemp’s first few months in office was backing a $3,000 pay raise for teachers that state legislators approved. On Tuesday, the Bibb County school board approved a 2 percent bonus for full-time employees.

Kemp said the pay raise is a good start but more can be done to improve teacher morale and retain them for the long-term.

“We have to show a commitment for a number of years to led educators know that we appreciate them,” Kemp said.

 From 13-WMAZ:

He held an open table talk at Middle Georgia Regional Airport with more than two dozen Central Georgia educators to hear their thoughts and questions on initiatives.

Kemp talked about his work to increase teacher pay, increase mental health programs and security in schools, and school testing.

“I feel like as long as people are having that dialogue and they know that we’re listening and trying to do what we can I don’t think they’re expecting a miracle from us, they just want us to be at the table and try to help with the issues they’re facing every day,” said Kemp.

House Bill 53 could impact recess for students in Savannah-Chatham County public schools, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The bill, which the Georgia House sent April 4 to Gov. Brian Kemp, mandates 30 minutes of daily activity or unstructured time for kindergarten through fifth-grade elementary students except in certain circumstances, while the Savannah-Chatham County’s more generous policy mandates 30 minutes of recess for pre-K to fifth-grade students except on certain occasions.

Kurt Hetager, chief public affairs and administrative services officer, said legislators in Atlanta grappled with some of the same issues the Savannah-Chatham County school board did as they discussed House Bill 83, such as how far the lawmakers want to dig down into the details to dictate how schools determine when recess is provided.

Savannah-Chatham County board members and the Wellness Committee discussed the language of the policy last year, especially the difference between the word “recess” and “unstructured break time.” The board purposely used the word “recess” in its policy. The Savannah-Chatham County policy does allow for teachers to withhold recess on occasion for academic reasons, but allows parents to request their children’s recess not be withheld for this purpose.

Savannah-Chatham County’s policy requires principals provide at least 30 minutes of recess each school day for students in pre-K through grade five. It also strongly encourages a “regularly scheduled, supervised recess period” for students in grades six to eight but leaves it at the principal’s discretion.

For students in grades six to eight, local boards of education are tasked with writing policies for who in the district will be authorized to determine when, where and for how long recess is provided, if at all. The local policy also should cover whether unstructured breaks can be withheld for disciplinary, academic or other reasons.

“When the dust settles on this bill, we’ll modify as appropriate,” Hetager said.

The Glynn County Board of Education is working on its FY 2020 budget, according to The Brunswick News.

The Glynn County Board of Education met Wednesday to hold one of its first in-depth discussions of the upcoming year’s school system budget. The school board will vote in July to approve the budget and will hold two public hearings beforehand.

Total expenditures for fiscal year 2020 are estimated to be $139,469,700, which is about a 5 percent increase from fiscal year 2019’s budget.

Estimated total revenue for fiscal year 2020 is $136,138,600.

Additional funding from the state budget will come in this year to cover salary raises that Gov. Brian Kemp promised to provide to the state’s teachers and other staff.

The state budget included funds to help cover a $3,000 increase in the state salary scale for certified employees. All other staff will receive a 2 percent pay increase.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is predicting a good sea turtle nesting season this year, according to The Brunswick News.

Mark Dodd, head of the state Department of Natural Resources’ sea turtle program, displayed a graph showing an upward trajectory over a significant number of years. While nesting goes in cycles, the last couple years have been above average. Even last year’s number of 1,735 nests, which was below 2017’s 2,187, was above what it could have been.

As it stands, nesting’s growing at around 2.5-3 percent annually.

The pattern tends to indicate this will be a significantly bigger year than last, and some of the people participating in the cooperative meeting pegged it at a record year. Not so much more than 2,500 nests statewide, but topping 3,000.

There were 3,291 nests recorded in 2016, according to seaturtle.org, an online database of sea turtle nesting statistics.

Cave Spring City Council aims to vote on a rewrite of their alcohol ordinance before July, according to the Rome News Tribune.

“We’d like to have it done within 60 days,” Mayor Pro Tem Tom Lindsey said following a Tuesday night work session on a proposed draft.

City Attorney Frank Beacham is using Rome’s ordinance as a template. He’s also incorporating elements that council members like in other Georgia cities such as Ball Ground, Kennesaw, Dahlonega and Acworth. The work session focused on tailoring the changes to Cave Spring — as it exists and as they’d like to see it develop.

“Cave Spring is not like Rome,” Council member Nellie McCain said during a discussion of how close to homes, schools and parks that package stores may be located.

Plans are to meet at least one more time — perhaps two — to vet the draft ordinance, with Beacham making changes as required. A May 7 session is expected to focus on rules for on-premises consumption.

Council members also are discussing the possibility of visiting some of the nearby downtown districts to see how their provisions work in practice.

Doesn’t that last part sound a little like a pub crawl?

24
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 24, 2019

Sophia Gainesville

Sophia is a young female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Little Dipper Gainesville

Little Dipper is a young female Shepherd and Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Koda Gainesville

Koda is a young male Black Mouth Cur mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Hall County‘s ban on tethering dogs outside will begin to be fully enforced on May 1, according to the Gainesville Times.

The ban went into effect Nov. 1, 2018, but it came with a 180-day grace period so pet owners could prepare for the new rules by getting a fence or making other arrangements for their dogs.

Mike Ledford, Hall County’s  director of animal services, said the fine for violating the ordinance will be determined by the Magistrate Court.

The new ordinance was the result of a collaboration between the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia and Hall County Animal Services. The county researched other municipalities’ tethering rules while the Humane Society gathered public input through a survey and focus groups.

24
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 24, 2019

The Library of Congress was founded on April 24, 1800 and is the largest library in the world today.

Jack Kingston was born on April 24, 1955. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1984 and served four terms and in 1992 was elected to the United States Congress.

“Georgia On My Mind” became the official state song on April 24, 1979, when Governor George Busbee signed legislation designating it.

IBM introduced the Personal Computer Model 5150 on April 24, 1981, though some authorities date the introduction to April 12. It sported an Intel 8088 processor at 4.77 Mhz, a whopping 16k of RAM, which was expandable to 256k, and a clicky keyboard. The initial price tag was $1565, equivalent to more than $4000 today.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will be in Atlanta today for the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, according to the AJC.

This will be the president’s first visit to Georgia in 2019. He made several stops in 2018, including a rally in Macon for Brian Kemp during the governor’s race and a tour of damage after Hurricane Michael struck in October. He also attended the national college football title game in Atlanta.

The four-day drug abuse summit attracts about 3,000 participants, and in past years it has featured public health officials and high-profile politicians. Kellyanne Conway, a White House counselor, talked to the group in 2018.

The visit is expected to snarl traffic around downtown Atlanta on Wednesday and attract protesters to the area.

Trump has allocated billions of dollars in his budget proposals to combating the opioid crisis, which claimed nearly 48,000 American lives in 2017. The White House said the president and his wife will each speak “about their fight to end the opioid crisis.”

Click here to watch the live stream of the President’s address at 1 PM.

Governor Brian Kemp begins a statewide tour today, according to AccessWDUN.

Kemp will participate in round table discussions with educators, healthcare professionals and law enforcement officials in different parts of the state. First Lady Marty Kemp will accompany him.

Wednesday’s schedule includes stops at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta at 8:30 a.m., Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon at 9:45 a.m. and Garden City Terminal in Garden City at 3 p.m.

A press statement from the Governor’s office said other visits are planned and will be announced once a schedule is confirmed.

Government agencies from the federal, state, and local levels will be at a Supermarket of Veterans Benefits in Warner Robins, according to the Macon Telegraph.

At Supermarket of Veterans Benefits, veterans may establish eligibility for state veterans benefits, apply for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care benefits, disability compensation or pension benefits and obtain help in obtaining military medals and records.

Veterans can also find out about education and job training grants, employment opportunities and get information on home mortgage and small business loans.

Additionally, veterans will learn about nursing home care and aging services, burial in veterans cemeteries, military retiree information, and veterans driver’s license and car tags.

Representatives of more than 30 federal, state and local government agencies are expected to be on hand.

[T]he free event is April 25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Larry Walker Arena at Central Georgia Technical College at 80 Cohen Walker Drive in Warner Robins.

The Conasuaga Judicial Circuit (Murray and Whitfield Counties) held drug court graduation, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

[Olivia McDonald] gives the credit for the turnaround to the Conasauga Drug Court program.

Surrounded by a room full of family, friends and Drug Court staff members, McDonald and five other participants in the program — Brittani Curl, Samantha Silvers, Jason Chastain, Donnie Ensley and Lamar Hance — celebrated their completion of the program during the 73rd graduation ceremony held Feb. 21 at the Whitfield County Courthouse.

“If you had told me 27 months ago that treatment would have provided my life with so much improvement, I would have told you it was not possible,” McDonald said, reading to the crowd from a letter she had written to Judge Jim Wilbanks, who oversees the Drug Court program. “Hopelessness was replaced by faith, fear replaced by confidence, and anger replaced by peace.”

McDonald’s success story includes earning her GED while in the program. She will take classes at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, seeking a degree as an addiction specialist and social work assistant.

“My goal for this program — and it has been since the beginning — is permanent recovery,” [Judge Jim] Wilbanks said. “Some programs don’t use two words to describe recovery — I do. This is not just about recovery — this is about permanent recovery, so that’s why we focus on core issues. That’s why this is a 24-month program. It takes time just to get the chemicals out of the brain so you can start thinking like a real person again. So we work to get them to that point, and from there we grow with them as they grow in their recovery.”

Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson unveiled his first proposed city budget, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The total balanced budget recommended is $282,597,030.00 in revenue and expenses, which is a 2.64 percent increase over the fiscal year 2019 adopted budget.

Big changes include a $1 million allocation for demolitions of blighted properties and pay raises for all city employees.

The proposed budget also includes a 1 percent raise for all full-time city employees hired on or before June 30, 2018 as well as a 1 percent cost of living increase for all employees.

Both of those raises will go into effect in January 2020.

Henderson said his proposed budget does not use fund balance to balance the budget. His budget also anticipates a slight increase in the tax digest.

The Bulloch County Board of Education budget is expected to pass $100 million dollars for the first time in FY 2020, according to the Statesboro Herald.

But much of a projected 5.8 percent, $5.57 million percent overall rise in revenue and a 7.9 percent, $7.39 million, rise in spending will be a pass-through of state funding for a pay raise and related benefit costs for teachers.

Those state-mandated raises will also go to administrators and other school employees with teaching certificates, and Brown and Superintendent Charles Wilson have suggested locally funded raises for all other regular employees.

[T]the state-funded teacher raise, which was reduced and increased again through the legislative process, ended up at $3,000.

The Bulloch County school system will receive a projected $2.55 million from the state to fund this raise. Another $1.1 million in added state money will be a pass-through for additional Teacher Retirement System costs resulting from the raise and from a small increase in the employer contribution percentage.

The American Lung Association released its annual air pollution scorecard, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

In the American Lung Association’s latest State of the Air air pollution scorecard, which looked at data from 2015 to 2017, Augusta recorded zero high ozone days and only a couple of days where fine particle pollution was a concern, earning it an A grade on ozone and a B on particle pollution.

Georgia as a whole improved on ozone, with only Atlanta-area counties failing to make the grade. The Atlanta area also did slightly worse in the level of overall particle pollution, according to the group. Those gains could be threatened by climate change and by rollbacks to federal protections that are responsible for many of those gains, said June Deen, the senior director for advocacy for the lung association in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Compared with years past, the air is much cleaner in Georgia, said Karen Hays, the chief of the Air Protection Branch at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

“Air quality has improved dramatically due to increased controls at industrial sources and power plants, and then also the cars that we drive, the buses that we ride in, even the trains are a lot more efficient and emit less pollution than they did even a decade ago,” she said. “All of those things factored together led to improvements in air quality.”

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division Richmond Hill Hatchery produces fingerlings to stock Georgia waters, according to the Albany Herald.

Millions of sport fish, such as striped bass, are produced each year at nine hatcheries in the state. Richmond Hill Fish Hatchery recently completed a major renovation that includes a new state-of-the-art hatchery and regional administrative facility. The new hatchery building has the capacity to increase fry production by more than 25 percent compared to the old facility, and since the incubation room has a recirculating water system, the new hatchery will also conserve water.

Funding for the hatchery was derived from mitigation funds from the Savannah River Deepening Project and other state monies. Anglers support the operation of the hatchery through their fishing license purchase and through the Sport Fish Restoration Fund by paying taxes on items like fishing equipment and boat fuel. Those tax dollars get returned to Georgia based, in part, on how many fishing licenses are sold. So by buying a license (www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com), state anglers can make sure their dollars stay in Georgia.

Scott Addison has been promoted to Assistant Administrator in Dougherty County, according to the Albany Herald.

The City of Sugar Hill opened their new E Center, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The mixed use development includes a multi-use indoor theater, a gymnasium, outdoor gathering spaces, office spaces, and retail and restaurant spaces.

“The E Center is a long time coming and is a direct response to what the community said they wanted years ago: a downtown of our own where we can eat, shop, be entertained and engage with our neighbors,” Sugar Hill Mayor Steve Edwards said.

The E Center has technically been opening piecemeal since last fall, but Tuesday’s ribbon cutting made everything official. Before city officials cut the ribbon on the E Center, they unveiled two plaques that will installed at the E Center and the Eagle Theatre to mark the occasion.

In addition to Edwards, the City Council and Sugar Hill Downtown Development Authority, state Sen. Renee Unterman and Partnership Gwinnett Chief Economic Development Officer — and incoming Gwinnett Chamber president — Nick Masino also helped cut the ribbon to formally open the downtown district. A quartet from the Broad Street Band performed for attendees before and after the ribbon cutting as well.

Right Whales are still in numerical decline after this year’s calving season, according to The Brunswick News.

[T]he 2018-19 North Atlantic right whale calving season was not a baby boom — nothing like it — and ended in seven observed calves born. In fact, the species remains on a path toward extinction.

“Seven calves aren’t great — I think we probably remember the previous season we had zero calves, which was really our worst year ever,” state Department of Natural Resources biologist Mark Dodd said.

The assessment came during a meeting Tuesday morning at the state DNR’s Coastal Resources Division headquarters that primarily dealt with the beginning of sea turtle nesting season, but also involved discussion of area aquatic mammals and shorebirds.

Dodd said that for the population of right whales to stay stable, to simply break even there needed a minimum 16 calves born this season. As such, the past calving season represents a continued downturn.

 

23
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 23, 2019

Reilly Paulding

Reilly is a young female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Paulding County Animal Control in Dallas, GA.

Regina Paulding

Regina is a 17-pound female Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Paulding County Animal Control in Dallas, GA.

Terrier Puppy Paulding2

This 5-month old, 14-pound, young female Terrier mix puppy is available for adoption from Jennifers Pet Rescue Inc. in Dallas, GA.

She is great with other dogs, cats and kids of all ages! She will be a wonderful addition to any family looking for a spunky playmate! We think she’ll weigh 15-18 lbs. when full grown, as she hasn’t grown much in the 2 months she’s been with the rescue group.

23
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 23, 2019

William Shakespeare was born April 23, 1564 and died April 23, 1616.

Lucius D. Clay was born in Marietta, Georgia on April 23, 1898, the son of Georgia U.S. Senator Alexander Stephens Clay, who served in the Senate from 1896 until his death in 1910. Clay graduated West Point in 1915 and eventually rose to serve as Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Deputy for Military Government. During the Berlin Airlift, Clay helped keep Allied-occupied West Berlin supplied with food for almost a year after Soviet forces blockaded all land routes into the city.

Hank Aaron his his first home run in major league baseball on April 23, 1954, playing for the Milwaukee Braves against the St. Louis Cardinals.

New Coke was announced on April 23, 1985.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will address the 2019 Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta tomorrow and may be viewed via livestream begining at 1 PM tomorrow.

Northwest Georgia‘s population continues growing, according to Census estimates published by the Rome News Tribune.

Bartow and Paulding remain the fastest-growing counties in Northwest Georgia, according to population estimates released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

But Floyd, Polk and Gordon are showing moderate gains, picking up in recent years, and Chattooga registered a population increase after years of steady decline.

The Agriculture Census shows growth in micro farms despite losses of some classes of larger farms, according to GPB News.

The latest data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture showed Georgia lost more than 1,500 small and mid-size farms over the past five years. But it’s not all bad news.

While the number of small and mid-size farms has dropped, micro-farms, between one and nine acres, have increased to more than 4,500. That’s up from about three thousand in 2012.

Andrew Lucas with the Georgia Farm Bureau said they’ve also seen an uptick in consolidation of farms, which has led to an increase in large farms.

Gary Black, commissioner of the state’s department of agriculture, said overall, he’s pleased by the data, but farmers here still need help recovering from Hurricane Michael.

“I really am troubled to see what these numbers will be five years from now,” Black said.  “And you know, that’s not smoke and mirrors, that’s reality.”

Herman Cain withdrew his name from consideration for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, according to the AJC.

“My friend Herman Cain, a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board,” Trump tweeted. “I will respect his wishes. Herman is a great American who truly loves our Country!”

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr appears in a new public service announcement as part of Alcohol Responsibility Month, according to the Albany Herald.

“Underage drinking is not only harmful in many ways to Georgia’s children and teenagers, but it is also illegal,” Carr said. “Parents have the greatest impact on their kids’ decision to drink or not to drink alcohol, so I encourage parents to have conversations early and often about the risks of underage drinking.”

“April is Alcohol Responsibility Month, and as we continue our mission to eliminate underage drinking, we want to remind parents how important conversations with their kids are,” Dr. Ben Nordstrom, executive director of Responsibility.org, said in a news release.

April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month, according to The Brunswick News.

“It’s impossible to prevent something that lives in shadows,” said Michelle Johnston, president of Coastal Georgia. “And it’s difficult to raise awareness about something that you’re not working towards solutions for.”

Open dialogue is necessary, she said, to stop sexual assault and to support survivors. Education, bystander training, access to resources and zero tolerance can help address sexual assault, Johnston said.

“One incident, one situation is too many,” she said.

Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey read a proclamation declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The Rape Crisis Center hotline is available 24/7, and the number is 1-800-205-7037.

This week was proclaimed Georgia Procurement Conference Week by Governor Brian Kemp, according to The Brunswick News.

The Jekyll Island Convention Center will host the third annual Georgia Procurement Conference, bringing together more than 800 procurement professionals and suppliers from across the state and nation.

The focus will be on small business, especially in rural Georgia, to help create jobs and grow businesses, said Alex Atwood, state Department of Administrative Services commissioner.

The conference will also feature a video from Gov. Brian Kemp explaining the importance of the state’s procurement efforts and the value of public-private partnerships. The governor has also proclaimed April 22-26 as Georgia Procurement Conference Week.

“The Georgia Procurement Conference is an opportunity to connect small businesses with professionals who are responsible for ensuring that our state secures the best price and best value for goods and services for our citizens,” Kemp said in a statement. “We also are pleased that businesses from every corner of Georgia will be represented at the conference.”

House Bill 374 by State Rep. John LaHood (R-Valdosta) aims to speed the ability of some hospice patients to receive liquid morphine, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Currently, only a hospice nurse can give morphine to a patient in assisted living. LaHood’s bill was written to allow a certified medication aide at the assisted living facility to administer the medication when a hospice staff member is not on site.

“I consider HB 374 to be compassionate legislation that will enable hospice patients residing in assisted living communities to get the care they need in a more timely manner,” LaHood said.

Vicki Vaughn Johnson, chair of the Georgia Council on Aging, said the bill, championed by LaHood and LeadingAge Georgia and supported by the Georgia Senior Living Association and the Assisted Living Association of Georgia, should help hospice patients avoid long waits for pain relief.

“This is a carefully crafted solution to help those in the last stages of life deal with constant pain,” Johnson said.

LaHood’s bill, which is now on the desk of Gov. Brian Kemp, does not apply to hospice patients in personal care homes. It treats hospice patients in assisted living similarly to hospice patients who are being cared for at their homes.

The Georgia Municipal Association spoke to Hall County municipal officials, according to the Gainesville Times.

State House and Senate bills that would have prohibited local governments from adopting design standards for single-family homes or duplexes failed to leave each legislative chamber in time this year, which [GMA's Michael] McPherson called a win for municipalities.

“It would have preempted the local design standards to the point where only the national minimum would have been in place,” McPherson said.

Another bill that was considered in the House would have prohibited local governments from regulating short-term rentals, or homes rented out through sites like VRBO or Airbnb.

“We can’t roll over and let our zoning be completely defeated by this concept,” McPherson said.

From AccessWDUN:

Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan thanked GMA for fighting to preserve local control, allowing cities to decide how they want to handle issues on a local level rather than having statewide mandates that place all 530-plus incorporated cities in Georgia under one binding regulation.

“They’re trying to take away all our home rule,” Dunagan said.  “That’s exactly what they’re doing, little by little, every session.”

McPherson agreed with Dunagan’s assessment, saying some efforts by GMA to get legislation approved or defeated in recent years have seen over 100 lobbyists arguing on behalf of a giant corporation that stood to benefit if the legislation passed.

“Not all of our General Assembly members have local government experience at the city or county level,” McPherson explained.  “And because of that it’s important that we give them an understanding of what cities and counties have to go through day-in and day-out…to insure that you’re meeting the needs of your residents and the businesses in your community.”

Macon-Bibb County is considering decriminalizing marijuana, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The proposed ordinance calls for a fine instead of a jail time as a penalty for possession of less than one ounce of pot. The proposal follows suit with other places in Georgia, including Fulton County and the cities of Atlanta and Savannah, where officials have approved similar decriminalization measures.

The Macon-Bibb ordinance, sponsored by County Commissioners Al Tillman and Virgil Watkins, states that anyone arrested with less than one ounce would pay a $75 fine.

The marijuana decriminalization ordinance is on Tuesday’s County Commission committee agenda.

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said the ordinance would probably not change how his deputies handle those cases in most instances. It could mean that most of those cases would go through Municipal Court instead of State Court.

“On the enforcement piece, it’s really not going to effect what deputies do that much,” Davis said. “We don’t normally bring that many people to jail on just that charge. They’re typically issued a citation.”

Banks County will need financial assistance in dealing with flooding, according to AccessWDUN.

Banks County officials say state or federal help, in the form of disaster or contingency funding, will determine whether the county is able to properly correct an issue that resulted in flash flooding in the Banks Crossing area Friday.

Duckett said the repairs to Steven B. Tanger Boulevard alone could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The busy road connects U.S. 441/Ga. 15 with and is the main artery serving Tanger Outlets, Atlanta Dragway and numerous restaurants and businesses in both Banks and Jackson counties.

The cost of repairing the two-lane road could be higher, depending on the work that has to be done, including repair to at least one travel lane, Duckett said.

Duckett said a timetable on permanent repairs will depend on whether Banks County can get state or federal assistance with the costs.

A Floyd County Commissioner and the county manager spoke about passing their Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) to Whitfield County, after Whitfield voters rejected a SPLOST last month, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

In a work session Monday evening, commissioners heard from Floyd County Commission Vice Chairman Wright Bagby — also a former mayor of Rome — and the county’s manager, Jamie McCord. The pair described the process used by the city and county to the southwest to handle SPLOST requests, which relies heavily on citizen input.

“I can’t tell anybody else what to do, but I can tell you what works for us,” Bagby said. “If you don’t have a strong citizens group vetting your projects and part of the process all the way through, the only ones that we have ever had to fail, we didn’t have that group in place, or the government overruled the citizens. That is just what works for us. We think it is extremely important for citizens to be active in the process before, during and after.”

“The three that failed were years ago, and we saw that was an ongoing issue,” Bagby said. “We empowered the SPLOST citizens committee to help us make all of the selections. We also agreed that whatever they come up with is what we are going to work with. We will not be messing with the projects. Does that mean that 100 percent of what the city or the county wants is going to make it in there? No. We were not going to tamper with their work.”

The last SPLOST measure in Floyd County passed with more than 60 percent in favor. The March vote in Whitfield County saw 57.94 percent of voters opposed to the measure.

Emory Healthcare is considering spending $20 million dollars to move administrative offices into part of the old Northlake Mall, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Augusta Parks and Recreation Director Glenn Parker has resigned, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

ugusta Recreation and Parks Director Glenn Parker tendered his resignation Monday, on the heels of the resignations of two other top city officials and pending wrongful death litigation involving the recreation department.

Parker asked that his resignation be effective May 17 and that he receive 14 weeks’ severance pay, or approximately $28,000, according to his resignation letter, which gave no explanation for his decision.

His resignation follows those of City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson and city General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie last week. The Augusta Commission approved paying Jackson and MacKenzie a year’s salary and benefits to step down.

Suwanee Municipal Court will temporarily move into City Hall, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

22
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 22, 2019

Sophia Albany

Sophia is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Joe Albany

Joe is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Chloe Albany

Chloe is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

22
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 22, 2019

On April 22, 1891, Asa Candler bought the recipe for Coca-Cola for $2300 and eventually turned its marketing from a “brain tonic” into a plain old tasty beverage.

Adolf Hitler admitted defeat in World War II on April 22, 1945.

The Atlanta Braves won their first home game in Atlanta Stadium on April 22, 1966. The Braves beat the New York Mets 8-4. It’s interesting to look back at how the Braves landed in Atlanta.

During his 1961 campaign for mayor of Atlanta, Ivan Allen, Jr. promised to build a sports facility to attract a Major League Baseball team. After winning office, Allen chose a 47-acre plot in the Washington–Rawson neighborhood for the building site, citing its proximity to the Georgia State Capitol, downtown businesses and major highways. Allen, along with Atlanta Journal sports editor Furman Bisher, attempted to persuade Charlie Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics, to move his team to Atlanta. Finley was receptive and began discussing stadium design plans with Allen. The deal, however, ended in July 1963 when the American League did not approve the move.

In 1964, Mayor Allen announced that an unidentified team had given him a verbal commitment to move to Atlanta, provided a stadium was in place by 1966. Soon afterward, the prospective team was revealed to be the Milwaukee Braves, who announced in October that they intended to move to Atlanta for the 1965 season. However, court battles kept the Braves in Milwaukee for one last season.

A verbal commitment by an unnamed team brought the Braves here.

The Blues Brothers made their worldwide debut on Saturday Night Live on April 22, 1978. Two prominent Georgia musicians, Ray Charles (born Albany) and James Brown (died Atlanta) would co-star in The Blues Brothers movie.

Former President Richard Nixon died on April 22, 1994.

The Macon Telegraph looks at ten middle Georgia historic sites worth visiting.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Lynne Homrich announced she will run for Congress from the 7th District, according to the AJC.

Lynne Homrich launched her campaign with an ad that featured a string of clips of Reps. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib – who have fast become the favorite targets of Republicans – before flashing to Homrich.

“That’s the best they can do in Washington? If your kids behaved like these women, you’d ground them. If they worked in your business, you’d fire them,” she said. “We need more women in office with conservative values, common sense and real-world experience.”

She’s one of the first Republicans to enter the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, who is retiring after narrowly winning a fifth term last year. Former NFL player Joe Profit is also in the race, and state Sen. Renee Unterman is likely to soon join.

She was a Home Depot vice president for human resources and founded She’s a 10, a nonprofit that aims to prepare women for leadership roles. She and her husband David, the chief financial officer for Arthur Blank’s for-profit businesses, raised four children, who are spotlighted in her campaign ad.

In her announcement roll-out, Homrich made clear she’ll run as a conservative who supported Donald Trump.

It’s a funny way to have supported Donald Trump by never voting in a Republican primary election and never voting in a Georgia gubernatorial election.

The Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission voted to raise contribution limits, according to the AJC.

The commission voted last week to raise the limit on donations in statewide races — for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, etc. — from $6,600 for a primary, $3,900 for a primary runoff and $6,600 for a general election, to $7,000 for both primary and general elections, and $4,100 for a primary runoff.

Since primary runoffs are fairly common, someone planning to run for governor would be able to raise $18,100, rather than $17,100, from a single donor.

Candidates who wind up in one of the fairly rare general election runoffs could take in an additional $4,100 per donor.

Former United States Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) spoke to the Valdosta Lowndes County legislative luncheon, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Where do you see cyber security today?

Chambliss: “In the 2005-06 time frame, we had this director of national intelligence, a gentleman who would constantly bring this up in our classified briefings. People would say, ‘cyber security? I never heard of that.’ Their eyes would glaze over. Nobody had ever heard of it. They had no concept of it.”

“Well, it wasn’t long after that where we saw the public breaches at Home Depot, Neiman Marcus and other places, and all of a sudden, people all over the world started realizing this is a big deal.”

“There are … groups of folks who are the bad actors in the world of cyber security. You have nation states, primarily Russians, Chinese, Iranians and North Koreans. They are all getting more and more sophisticated, and today they are all very, very good at what they do – not good for us.”

Chambliss: “There is no question that our immigration system in this country is broken, and it needs a vast overhaul.”

“We tried on any number of occasions during my 20 years in Washington to make those changes through a comprehensive bill, and I will tell you that there is not a more emotional issue in America than the issue of immigration.”

Chambliss: “The biggest problem we have with respect to the bipartisan action – that we used to see on a regular basis – is that compromise has become a four-letter word.”

“We have more members of the House, as well as members of the Senate, on the far-right and you have more on the far-left. Their position is their position, and it is the only right position, meaning that’s the only thing they’ll accept. Well, that just doesn’t work.”

Floyd County is considering spending the last of the proceeds from a 2013 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) on property for an industrial park, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord said Georgia Power Co. economic development officials helped identify the properties that could be adapted for large operations.

“It’s hard to find a 100-acre site that’s not under conservation,” he said, referring to a tax category that essentially requires the land to remain undisturbed. “You can still do something with them, but there are a lot of hurdles to overcome.”

The 2013 SPLOST package contains $8 million to create shovel-ready sites for job creation. No bonds were issued for projects, so they were done as the monthly collections came in.

“Everything was cash-flowed,” McCord noted. “We didn’t have that $8 million until a few months ago.”

His remarks came last week during an update to the 2013 and 2017 SPLOST Citizen Advisory Committees that drew about 50 people to the new recycling center on Lavender Drive. A tour of the SPLOST-funded facility that opened in December followed.

Rome City Commission is considering creating a Tax Allocation District for a former Kmart location, according to the Rome News Tribune.

If the TAD is approved, Rome-based Ledbetter Properties will get started on its plan to redevelop the vacant space at the East Bend Retail Center. The tract consists of three separate parcels totaling 19.7 acres and is currently valued at $3.77 million.

Under a TAD, the base value of a property is frozen for a specified number of years. In this case, likely 20. As the parcel is built out, the tax due on the improvements is funneled back into the project.

The Rome Redevelopment Agency is recommending approval. During a RRDA discussion earlier this month, City Manager Sammy Rich said the Ledbetters already have several retail tenants lined up that would be new to the Rome market.

Sales tax revenue from the planned East Bend Retail Center is estimated at $17.8 million over 20 years, according to the city’s consultants, Bleakley Advisory Group.

Cave Spring City Council is considering an overhaul to their alcohol ordinance, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The alcohol ordinance has been under review since at least February, when city voters approved liquor sales by the package and by the drink.

The vote cleared the way for two investors to move forward with plans to turn a vacant historic property downtown into a craft distillery using water from the city’s famed spring. In addition to making flavored spirits, they’d have a sipping room and store on site.

A City of Augusta administrator and the General Counsel will each receive severance packages after resigning, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The pair resigned Tuesday after the Augusta Commission spent over two hours behind closed doors negotiating severance packages with each. Both will receive a year’s salary and benefits – that’s more than $191,000 for Jackson and $152,000 for MacKenzie, and they’ll keep their insurance for the year.

Few were surprised to see MacKenzie go – the 10-member commission has a tradition of battling with the attorney when his legal opinions pleased some but not others on the panel.

“Andrew has been taking heat ever since I was down there right steadily,” former Commissioner Jerry Brigham said. “He was a lawyer – I didn’t always try to agree with him, but I didn’t try to practice law either.”

The Gainesville Times spoke to some property owners after Hall County adopted rules for short term rentals.

In March, the Hall County Board of Commissioners approved changes to the county’s short-term rental rules that allow homes in all zoning districts to be short-term rentals, or to be rented out for two to 30 nights. Previously, only homes zoned Residential-I were eligible, and they had to be within 500 feet of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ line for Lake Lanier.

While the Platts were not eligible to operate a short-term rental under the old ordinance due to their home’s zoning, they can now legally operate and are praising the changes.

“This is a revenue source for the community,” Keith Platt said. “Not only does it bring more tax dollars in to Hall County and the community, it also brings in more revenue to restaurants, marinas, Road Atlanta, other areas.”

In 2018, the Hall County Marshal’s Office received 10 complaints about short-term rentals and issued six citations, according to reports obtained by The Times. Six of those were in the Hall County Board of Commissioners’ District 2, which includes portions of west and south Hall. Three property owners received citations for operating without a license, and one was cited for cars parked in the right of way.

The Glynn County Board of Elections will begin interviewing candidates for a new election supervisor next week, according to The Brunswick News.

“A lot depends on how many of the applicants we want to talk to and what the board (members’) schedules are,” Gibson said before the April meeting. “I would hope that by our May (14) meeting, we would be ready to make our decision.”

Elections staff sent out notices of three special-called meetings to take place this week and next — 10 a.m. Tuesday, 2 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. April 29.

All three interviews are set to be held in closed sessions.

Georgia DOT will institute intermittent lane closures on the Sidney Lanier Bridge as they rehab the structure, according to The Brunswick News.

GDOT spokeswoman Jill Nagel said workers will be doing routine maintenance on the bridge joints starting Monday, replacing parts that need to be replaced.

Lane closures will occur intermittently during daylight hours on weekdays through July. Nagel said lane closures will typically occur only on one side at time, but workers may close a lane on each side on occasion.

Savannah Alderman Julian Miller will not run for reelection this year, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Some Warner Robins residents fear low-income housing will bring more crime, according to the Macon Telegraph.

19
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 19, 2019

Miwok Barnesville

Miwok is a young female pug mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.

Each pup in this litter has been honored with a Native American name as unique and beautiful as they are.

Miwok means “people”. This pup has been handled daily since birth and is a “people dog”. She has a kind, gentle soul with lots of presonalilty. Miwok enjoys meeting new people, playing with other dogs, and working on learning puppy skills.

This litter of pups was born at Dolly Goodpuppy on November 30 2018.

Una Barnesville

Una is a young female pug mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.

Una means “remember” – this fuzzy, brindle beauty is simply unforgettable. She has a sweet, silly personality and can even impress you with some of her ninja-style belly crawl type moves. ;-)

Bradley Barnesville

Bradley is a young male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.

Bradley is one seriously handsome hound mix. When Bradley came to Dolly Goodpuppy he had an almost embedded collar; someone had used the looped handle of a leash as a collar, put it around his neck, and TIED HIM UP! Luckily, he was found in time, brought to Dolly Goodpuppy, and we were able to remove it without surgical intervention or permanent damage to his neck – now we just need to find him the perfect forever home.

Bradley is friendly and especially loves playtime and running. Chasing his big ball makes Mr. Bradley a very, very happy dog, and expends some of his plentiful energy. Have some high-energy kids you want to tire? They could be Bradley’s perfect, new best friends. While Bradley enjoys children, due to his large size he is best suited for a family with older children.

Bradley has been living in a home, has nice manners and is housebroken but he is best suited for a home where he can be an only pet.

19
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 19, 2019

According to tradition, on April 21, 753 B.C., Rome was founded. The one in Italy, not the one in Floyd County.

On April 21, 1732, King George II signed the royal charter creating the colony of Georgia. The King’s signature did not make the charter effective as several additional steps were required.

On April 19, 1775, British troops entered Lexington, Massachusetts, encountering 77 armed Minute Men.

British Major John Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Patriots to disperse, and after a moment’s hesitation the Americans began to drift off the green. Suddenly, the “shot heard around the world” was fired from an undetermined gun, and a cloud of musket smoke soon covered the green. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead or dying and 10 others were wounded. Only one British soldier was injured, but the American Revolution had begun.

Two hours later, another confrontation between the British and American patriots took place in Concord, Massachusetts.

On April 21, 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first Vice President of the United States.

On April 19, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln ordered the blockade of ports in “Rebellious States.”

Whereas an insurrection against the Government of the United States has broken out in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and the laws of the United States for the collection of the revenue can not be effectually executed therein conformably to that provision of the Constitution which requires duties to be uniform throughout the United States; and

….

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, with a view to the same purposes before mentioned and to the protection of the public peace and the lives and property of quiet and orderly citizens pursuing their lawful occupations until Congress shall have assembled and deliberated on the said unlawful proceedings or until the same shall have ceased, have further deemed it advisable to set on foot a blockade of the ports within the States aforesaid, in pursuance of the laws of the United States and of the law of nations in such case provided. For this purpose a competent force will be posted so as to prevent entrance and exit of vessels from the ports aforesaid.

On April 20, 1861, Robert E. Lee resigned his commission as a Colonel in the United States Army.

Union forces skirmished against The Worrill Grays, a Georgia Reserve Militia, at the Battle of Culloden, 30 miles west of Macon on a date generally believed to have been April 19, 1865, though it may have occurred later.

On April 21, 1904, Ty Cobb made his debut in professional baseball for the Augusta (Georgia) Tourists in the South Atlantic League in center field; Cobb hit an inside-the-field home run and a double.

Manfred von Richthofen, known as “The Red Baron,” was killed in action on April 21, 1918, shot by either an Australian gunner or a Canadian. At the time of his death, Richthofen has shot down 80 aircraft in aerial combat.

On April 20, 1982, the Atlanta Braves set a major league record, winning the first twelve games of the regular season.

Former President Jimmy Carter was appointed Distinguished Professor at Emory University on April 21, 1982. Carter holds an annual Town Hall in which he takes questions from students.

On April 20, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation authorizing a $165 billion dollar bailout for Social Security, saying,

“This bill demonstrates for all time our nation’s ironclad commitment to Social Security. It assures the elderly that America will always keep the promises made in troubled times a half a century ago. It assures those who are still working that they, too, have a pact with the future. From this day forward, they have one pledge that they will get their fair share of benefits when they retire.”

On April 21, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Israel. From the press statement released that day,

The MOA reiterates for the public record our long-standing relationship of strategic cooperation with Israel. Strategic cooperation can only succeed when there are shared interests, including the commitment to building peace and stability in the region. It reflects the enduring U.S. commitment to Israel’s security. That commitment will never flag. The U.S. commitment to peace will also not flag. The President knows that a strong Israel is necessary if peace is to be possible. He also knows that Israel can never be truly secure without peace.

On April 20, 1992, Governor Zell Miller signed legislation naming Pogo ‘Possum the official state possum of Georgia.

On April 19, 1995, Governor Zell Miller signed legislation declaring the peanut the Official State Crop.

On April 20, 1999, two students entered Columbine High School in Colorado and killed twelve student and one teacher, and wounded 23 others before shooting themselves.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Democratic Congresswoman Lucy McBath (D-6) told the AJC her campaign returned a contribution to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

The McBath campaign told us this morning that the contribution was not accepted.

Omar is one of two Muslim lawmakers elected to Congress in 2018. She has recently been criticized by Republicans, including President Donald Trump, who allege she recently spoke too lightly of 9/11 during a speech last month. She has also made remarks interpreted by many as anti-Semitic.

McBath’s rejection of the donation is more important than it may sound. The Sixth District has a significant Jewish population – particularly in Sandy Springs and east Cobb County.

Liberal group Better Georgia is closing down, according to the AJC.

Funded anonymously, but with clear ties to former Gov. Roy Barnes, Better Georgia conducted quick-strike ad campaigns (in 2015, to fend off a “religious liberty” measure) and commissioned polls (to encourage state Sen. Jason Carter to run for governor in 2014).

But Better Georgia has now shuttered its doors. The era of Democratic guerilla warfare is done, replaced by the direct assault of a state party now led by Stacey Abrams and her followers.

Democrat Andrew Yang visited Atlanta for his erstwhile campaign for President, according to the AJC.

Yang has a good chance of appearing onstage in the Democratic primary debates, since he says he has raised money from more than 100,000 individual donors — well past the benchmark to qualify for the debates.

Yang, 44, chose Georgia as one of the 15 states on his “Humanity First Tour,” another symbol of the Democratic energy aimed at Georgia ahead of the 2020 election. Several Democratic hopefuls have visited the state since launching presidential bids this year, including U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.

Republican Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) spoke highly of Attorney General Barr’s release of the Mueller report, according to AccessWDUN.

The Gainesville Republican, in a statement released shortly after Barr released the report, praised him for working with the special counsel’s team to make “necessary redactions” to a report he is sharing with Congress in “good faith, not by mandate.”

“I look forward to examining the mountain of facts supporting the principal conclusions the attorney general and deputy attorney general shared last month: no collusion, no obstruction,” Collins, the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, added. “I am encouraged by the Democrats and Republicans who have expressed their faith in Special Counsel Mueller’s integrity and ability.”

Republican Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) spoke to students at Brunswick High School, according to The Brunswick News.

Carter spent about an hour Thursday morning meeting with the freshman government classes at Brunswick High, answering their questions and explaining his priorities for the district he represents.

“We’ll see what happens with that [Mueller] report when it comes out in just a few minutes,” Carter said. “The whole world is going to be watching today. This is big. Today’s a big day in Washington, D.C., primarily because of this.”

The students asked Carter what he feels are the most pressing issues on his agenda today, and he said environmental protections and health care improvements are at the top of his list.

“I have been selected and appointed to a committee, a select committee on climate change,” he told the students. “I’m very proud and very happy to be on that committee. We’re dealing with climate change right now.”

Savannah has a $15.8 million dollar budget surplus, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The city ended last year with almost $15.8 million left to spend and is now planning on using those funds to bolster Savannah’s capital improvement program, shore up the reserve fund, and cover a compensation study’s recommended pay adjustments.

The surplus primarily stemmed from expenses coming in about $12.2 million below budgeted amounts after a hiring freeze and other cost-saving measures were implemented, according to a financial report presented to the Savannah City Council during a workshop Thursday.

In addition to investing almost $2.3 million into the city’s reserve fund, the city plans to devote $13.5 million from the surplus for capital expenses. The plan — which goes before the Savannah City Council for consideration Thursday — includes $5.8 million to construct a new base of operations for departments being relocated from the site where the city is building a new arena.

Tybee Island is bracing for Orange Crush, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Last year the city council voted unanimously to implement new traffic control measures that will assist with traffic flow. Those measures were in place March 16 and will be in place Saturday as well as April 27 and July 4. The next two Saturdays are the anticipated dates of the unpermitted annual Orange Crush celebration.

The dates were selected because the traffic flow onto and off the island showed distinctive patterns that correlated with increased demand on city services and increased frequency of drivers under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, said Tybee Island City Manager Shawn Gillen.

“April 20 and 27 present unique challenges because no one obtains a permit,” Gillen said about the unpermitted Orange Crush. “We have communicated in writing with the primary promoters to the effect that they will be held financially accountable for their continued promotions in the absence of any effort to secure a permit.

The traffic protocols are intended to maintain emergency services access to the entire island during times of high vehicular volume, according to officials.

Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar withdrew his application for a license to serve alc0hol, according to the Statesboro Herald.

As previously reported, he and his wife, Adrianne McCollar, plan to operate an event venue there called Peachtree on Main. But at least for now, it will not be licensed to sell and serve alcoholic beverages. After filing the application Feb. 12, Mayor McCollar said in mid-March that they hoped to open the business this week. But the application, like all new alcohol licenses, would have required City Council approval, and it did not appear on the agendas for meetings through March and into April.

“I withdrew it, and the reason I decided to withdraw that is because I didn’t think it was good timing for the city to have to go through this process,” McCollar said last week. “So at this time I just felt it was best to withdraw it and just really focus on the needs of the city.”

House Bill 218 by Rep. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville) changes eligibility requirements for some HOPE scholarship recipients, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

“Sometimes life just gets in the way,” said Rep. Rick Williams, a Republican from Milledgeville, who is the sponsor. “And we need people to be able to have a little more time to complete their education.”

The measure gives would-be students a decade to take advantage of the lottery-funded scholarship program. Currently, they have seven years.

And time spent serving in the military would not eat up a person’s eligibility time.

“Whether it’s starting a family or military service or illness or whatever circumstance, this allows them to go back and get a degree, further their education and participate more in the workforce,” Williams said.

The extension would only apply to those who become eligible for HOPE starting this year, meaning the changes would not begin to have an impact until 2027.