The blog.

18
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 18, 2018

Hallie Greensboro

Hallie is a young female Doberman Pinscher and Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Circle of Friends Animal Society Inc. in Greensboro, GA.

Sweet Hallie spent over 2 months of her life in a shelter before she was finally rescued. Hallie is ready to enjoy her freedom in a new forever home. Hallie can be a little timid and laid back when first meeting you but warms up pretty quick. She is the sweetest little girl. And….so cute! She loves the attention from people and is always happy to see you. She loves playing with toys and she is good on a leash. She is very smart and has already learned lots of tricks.

Hallie is up to date on her vaccinations, spayed and micro chipped. She is about 6 months old.

Phoebe Greensboro

Phoebe is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Oconee Regional Humane Society in Greensboro, GA.

Phoebe is the daughter of a Labrador Retriever mix. We are surprised this one is not a Leo because she must be the star of the show. She loves being the center of attention! Phoebe’s toy of choice is any toy that squeaks!

Daisy Greensboro

Daisy is a young female Hound mix who is available for adoption from Oconee Regional Humane Society in Greensboro, GA.

Daisy was found alone after having puppies but her puppies were never found. This sweet and frightened little girl spent the next month in animal control until ORHS was asked to help. Daisy has only been with us a few short days, but she has won our hearts and she is very loved. She is still shy, but her tail now wags when she sees us and she loves when we sit and love on her. Daisy is a calm and quiet dog, good on leash and affectionate once she gets to know you. We think she’ll be a wonderful and loyal companion for someone who will make some time to earn her love and trust.

18
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 18, 2018

Button Gwinnett died on May 19, 1777 of a gunshot wound received in a duel with Lachlan McIntosh.

George Washington departed Waynesboro, Georgia on May 18, 1791, headed to Augusta. On May 19-20, 1791, George Washington spent his second and third days in Augusta, where he visited Richmond Academy. Washington left Georgia on May 21, 1791 to go to Columbia, South Carolina.

Georgia ratified the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which governs voting for President and Vice President on May 19, 1804.

Abraham Lincoln was nominated for President by the Republican National Convention on May 18, 1860.

The Battle of Spotsylvania ended on May 19, 1864. In Georgia, the Affair at Cassville occurred on May 19, 1864.

Blue jeans with copper rivets were patented by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis on May 20, 1873.

The United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in Plessy v. Ferguson on May 18, 1896.

The U.S. Supreme Court rule[d] seven to one that a Louisiana law providing for “equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races” on its railroad cars is constitutional. The high court held that as long as equal accommodations were provided, segregation was not discrimination and thus did not deprive African Americans of equal protection under the law as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

On May 20, 1916, more than 20,000 visited Stone Mountain for the dedication ceremony to mark the beginning of a Confederate memorial on the north face.

On May 19, 1933, the Atlanta City Council voted to allow beer sales in the city.

On May 19, 1977, “Smokey and the Bandit” was released.

On May 20, 1995, the section of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House was closed to automotive traffic.

The 400th episode of The Simpsons aired on May 20, 2007.

President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at Morehouse College on May 19, 2013.

Three years ago on Saturday, Georgia voters went to the polls in the earliest Primary elections in modern history. In the Republican Primary, 605,355 ballots were cast in the Senate contest, while the Democratic Primary for Senate saw 328,710 ballots.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Statesboro Herald notes that today is the last day of early voting for Tuesday’s primary elections.

A few more than 1,600 Bulloch County residents have voted early for Tuesday’s election, and today, Friday May 18, is the last day for early voting, with two locations available.

Voting is possible Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the County Annex at 113 North Main St. and also in the Honey Bowen Building at the Fair Road Park. Both of these locations have been open all this week.

As of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, 1,633 Bulloch residents had voted early in the county and state Democratic and Republican primaries and nonpartisan general election, reported county Elections Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones. Of those, just 75 voters cast ballots last Saturday.

Meanwhile, in all 15 early voting days so far, 75 residents of Statesboro District 5 had participated in the city’s special election for a new council member in that district, and only two of those city voters came in Saturday, Jones said.

Traditional voting precincts across the county will be open for Election Day voting Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Suwanee will host “goat yoga” at Town Center Park on Sunday, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“Goats are perfect for the yoga practice because it’s not only combining nature and animals, it’s combining yoga, and they all go together so well,” said Lainey Morse, an Oregon farmer and yoga instructor who is attributed as the founder of the craze, which has swept the nation.

The event, a follow-up from an April 29 session, is offering three classes: two family goat yoga sessions and one 21-and-over goat yoga class.

Class times are 3, 4:30 and 6 p.m., respectively.

The class costs $35 and tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite by searching “Suwanee Goat Yoga.”

 The breakdown of Michael Williams campaign stunt deportation bus has proven a headline-writer’s dream.

Georgia GOP Candidate’s ‘Deportation Bus,’ Like His Campaign, Breaks Down – NYMag.com

Candidate for Georgia governor’s ‘deportation bus’ tour hits bumps in road – AJC and WSB

Georgia GOP candidate Michael Williams’ ‘deportation bus’ breaks down – USA Today

Cracker Barrel to Racist Republican: Get Your ‘Deportation Bus’ Off My Lawn – Daily Beast

Deportation bus tour cancels Athens stop, campaign blames DeKalb protests – 11Alive

Even better than the headline is this lede graph in the Gainesville Times.

In a political era chock full o’ nuts, this year’s governor’s race is going off the rails on a crazy train.

The lunacy rolled into town Wednesday, May 16, in what the Michael Williams gubernatorial campaign circus called “the Deportation Bus.”

With published polls showing Williams trailing the field in single digits, his bus ploy was little more than a hail-Mary pass to stir up interest days before the primary.

Two hot takes on what the GOP gubernatorial debate was all about:

Georgia GOP candidates battle over who’s strongest gun rights defender – Augusta Chronicle

Immigration Dominates Atlanta Press Club GOP Gubernatorial Debate – GPB News

Two more gubernatorial debates will air Sunday afternoon.

Offshore drilling opponents will protest on Tybee Island on Saturday, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Democrat Stacey Abrams campaigned for Governor in Dalton this week, according to the Dalton Daily News.

Abrams made her second visit to Miller Brothers Rib Shack on East Morris Street after a visit last year when she kicked off her campaign. Abrams, a former state representative and minority leader from Atlanta, is running against former state representative and Ringgold native Stacey Evans in the Democratic primary on Tuesday. They are seeking to be the first female governor in the history of the state, and Abrams would be the nation’s first female African-American governor if she is elected.

A recent 11Alive News (Atlanta) poll, conducted by Survey USA, had Abrams leading with 43 percent to Evans’ 24 percent, with 33 percent undecided.

“We are up in the polls and working hard, but we are not taking anything for granted,” Abrams said. “Why I love coming to places like Miller Brothers is because talking to real people is why I do this job. There are real problems that people have and they want a leader who has the experience and the knowledge to solve those problems.”

The Atlanta Jewish Times highlights Jewish candidates on Tuesday’s ballot.

The AJT this week published a voters’ guide collecting our in-depth looks at the two Democrats and five of the Republicans in the marquee race of 2018, the election of a new governor after Nathan Deal’s two terms, as well as three primary elections featuring Jewish candidates: the Democratic primary for the 6th Congressional District (Kevin Abel); the Democratic primary for the Public Service Commission (Lindy Miller); and the Republican primary for the 52nd Georgia House District (Gavi Shapiro).

While Miller is trying to make history as the first Jewish woman to win a partisan election for statewide office, she is not the only one this year. Fellow Democrat Cindy Zeldin, recognized as one of Georgia Trend magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2010, is in a similar position while running for insurance commissioner.

In a nonpartisan election for an open seat on the Fulton County Superior Court, Bobby Wolf, a member of The Temple, is running against two fellow prosecutors, Fani Willis and Kevin Farmer.

Two-time congressional candidate Allan Levene is in a heads-up battle for an open seat in state House District 15. The resident of Cartersville and native of England is running against lifelong Cartersville resident Matthew Gambill, a nephew of former Gov. Joe Frank Harris’. No Democrat is running, so the winner of the Republican primary will be elected.

The two Jewish members of the legislature, Sen. Renee Unterman of Buford and Rep. Michele Henson of Stone Mountain, are both seeking re-election.

The Georgia House Rural Development Council continues working on economic development for rural parts of Georgia, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Fresh off a legislative session that yielded some wins for rural Georgia, state lawmakers are back dialing up a controversial broadband internet issue that stalled earlier this year.

The discussion centers on whether the state should impose limits on how all cities and counties manage access to the public right-of-way, where wireless providers are anxious to deploy an emerging small-cell technology in the state’s more populated areas.

Rep. Jay Powell, R-Camilla, who co-chairs the House Rural Development Council, said the group is charged with resolving the complicated matter in a resolution sponsored by Rep. John Meadows, who heads the powerful House Rules Committee.

The resolution surfaced late in the legislative session when it was clear a consensus had not been reached on how much control local officials should keep over the public right-of-way and how much wireless providers should have to pay to access it.

Powell said lawmakers took on the issue because of reports of “price gouging” in some parts of the state.

Two Macon-Bibb County Commissioners want to know why the county is broke, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Two Macon-Bibb County commissioners want an in-depth look into the county finances.

And that push for a forensic audit led to Mayor Robert Reichert and one of the commissioners trading verbal jabs at each other.

Commissioners Elaine Lucas and Joe Allen said Thursday they want an outside firm to do a forensic audit of the county’s finances, a lengthy and likely costly process that can determine how money is spent and if there is any fraud that’s led to the deficit.

Allen and Lucas said the county’s budget woes have lasted too long for there not to be a forensic audit. Not just for Macon-Bibb government but other local government entities such as well.

Three candidates for an open seat on the Macon-Bibb County Commission discussed saving taxpayer dollars, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The Augusta Chronicle interviewed Mayor Hardie Davis ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Besides choosing between Davis and challenger Gould Hagler as the city’s next mayor, voters Tuesday will get to weigh in on whether Regency or the existing James Brown Arena site is the best future location for a yet-unfunded arena in a non-binding referendum question. The topic has splintered the Augusta Commission and the community, which is seeing pro-downtown forces lobby against an unnamed ballot committee promoting the mall site.

Should voters reject Regency in the Tuesday straw poll, however, Davis said he will abandon the effort. “Mayor Davis is going to hold that flag up,” he said. “They’ve spoken loudly and we have to respect that.”

Davis touched on other topics in the interview, including what he’s done to unite the community and plans to further remove blighted structures from the city.

The Brunswick Times spoke to candidates for the Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission.

The Ledger-Enquirer writes about donors to campaigns for Muscogee County Board of Education.

Four candidates reported contributions of five digits: At-large candidate and incumbent Kia Chambers ($18,489.11), District 8 candidate Philip Schley ($16,900), District 6 candidate and incumbent Mark Cantrell ($16,000), and District 2 candidate Bart Steed ($11,150).

White County Commissioners approved a revised split in funds from a SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) on the November ballot, according to AccessWDUN.

White County Government will take a 14-percent cut in funds if a proposed continuation of the current 1-cent sales tax is approved by voters in November.

During a called meeting Thursday, the White County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a new SPLOST distribution rate that allots 60 percent of proceeds for the county and 20 percent each for the cities of Cleveland and Helen.

Commissioners Craig Bryant, Lyn Holcomb and Terry Goodger voted in favor of the new revenue split. Commissioner Edwin Nix and Chairman Travis Turner voted no.

Turner said the reduced funds for the county will affect the timing and the ability to fund upcoming projects. Both cities had been lobbying for an increase in their share of SPLOST money, from the current 13 percent.

In Floyd County, accountability court participants graduated from the program, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

[Floyd County Superior Court Judge Jack] Niedrach started the mental health court three years ago with the idea of diverting eligible offenders to treatment and rehabilitation instead of jail. They must be county residents, age 18 or older, he said, and diagnosed with a serious persistent mental illness. They also must be facing a sentence of at least 24 months, since the intensive program runs 18 to 24 months, and they must want to work at recovery.

During the ceremony in Niedrach’s courtroom filled with supporters, each of the six said they’re glad they tried.

Niedrach said the program is a joint effort by the judiciary, prosecution, defense, community service and law enforcement.

“And let me recognize the family members here today,” he added. “Your presence is so important.”

The guest speaker was Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee’s human resources committee. Niedrach called her “a strong advocate for the mentally ill,” and Dempsey’s congratulations to the graduates acknowledged their struggles and achievement.

Putnam County and Baldwin County are arguing over water usage under an intergovernment agreement, according to The Eaton Messenger.

A recent statement issued by the Putnam County Board of Commissioners suggests Baldwin County has for several years been using more than its allotted share of water without reimbursing Putnam County citizens.

In an effort to avoid a court battle over a possible breach in contract by Baldwin County officials, Putnam County commissioners issued a statement Feb. 20 asserting that its citizens had been disserviced by an intergovernmental agreement between the counties and Sinclair Water Authority and was offering a proposal for an amendment that would remove some of the controversial elements.

However, this would not be the first attempt by Putnam County representatives to resolve the issues PC Commission Chairman Dr. Steve Hersey told EPWSA board members, noting that for almost two years he and Putnam County’s attorney have tried to negotiate with Baldwin County for amendments to the IGA.

17
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 17, 2018

Scout Albany

Scout is a young female Hound and Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Harley Albany

Harley is a young male Shepherd mix `puppy who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Mac Albany

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

17
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 17, 2018

Georgia’s trustees asked Britain to repeal the law against importing slaves to the colonies on May 17, 1749.

On May 17, 1769, George Washington introduced resolutions in the Virginia House of Burgesses, drafted by George Mason, criticizing Britain’s “taxation without representation” policies toward the colonies.

George Washington continued his tour of Georgia on May 17, 1791, staying overnight in Waynesboro; on May 18 he arrived in Augusta.

General Winfield Scott issued an order on the removal of Cherokee people from Georgia on May 17, 1838.

On May 17, 1864, Sherman and Johnston engaged in the Battle of Adairsville, Georgia.

The United States Supreme Court released its unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education on May 17, 1954, overturning Plessy v. Ferguson.

The historic decision, which brought an end to federal tolerance of racial segregation, specifically dealt with Linda Brown, a young African American girl who had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

 Governor Nathan Deal joined Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Joe Jarrard visiting soldiers who will serve in Afghanistan.

Gov. Nathan Deal and Major General Joe Jarrard, Adjutant General, Georgia Department of Defense, this week visited soldiers from the Georgia National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk in Louisiana. The 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team is training at JRTC in preparation of mobilizing to Afghanistan in December.

“The bravery and selflessness shown by the men and women of the Georgia Army National Guard represent the finest principles of our state and nation,” said Deal. “These individuals are always ready to put service above self to safeguard the lives and property of our state and its citizens, as well as the freedoms of those abroad.

“It was a true honor and privilege to visit with the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team as they prepare to mobilize to Afghanistan in December. From the commanders to the youngest members of the brigade, I’ve seen firsthand how tough and intelligent these extraordinary individuals are. I was deeply impressed by all of our Guardsmen, and they are well-prepared to complete their missions. As they prepare to mobilize and we await their safe return home, we take comfort in knowing our soldiers are mission-ready and prepared to face any adversary that poses a threat to our nation and people.”

The Associated Press writes about this week’s debate between Democratic candidates for Governor Stacey Evans and Stacey Abrams.

Former state Rep. Stacey Evans and former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, both Atlanta-area attorneys, took each other to task Tuesday evening over their respective legislative records and how they have affected the poor and middle class.

Evans continued to press Abrams over her record on HOPE scholarships, an issue that has been a centerpiece of Evans’, who attended college through HOPE, campaign.

Evans accused Abrams of “co-authoring cuts” to the scholarship program that lead to a reduction of those who qualified for it.

Abrams pushed back, saying that HOPE was “alive and well” and still available to families across the state that need it.

For her part, Abrams went after Evans for her legislative record on public education, saying that she supported “voucher” programs that provide state funded scholarships for private school tuition, taking resources from public schools.

Greg Bluestein of the AJC writes about the dynamic in the Democratic campaign for Governor.

It’s tricky electoral calculus for Evans, who is white. To win Tuesday’s primary, she’ll likely need an overwhelming majority of white voters along with a significant chunk of black support. Analysts say that might require getting between one-quarter and one-third of the African-American vote.

The politics is far different from the crowded Republican contest, which features five candidates who are appealing to an overwhelmingly white and conservative electorate by trying to outdo each other over gun rights expansions, border security proposals and illegal immigration crackdowns.

Both Abrams and Evans have steadily built their campaigns around mobilizing African-American voters since entering the race last year. And both boast a large retinue of local endorsements, though Abrams has captured far more support from national groups.

The Abrams campaign said in an internal memo that it expects black voters to make up at least 65 percent of the vote next week — and black women to make up roughly 45 percent of the total.

The Newnan Times-Herald interviewed State Senator David Shafer about his campaign for Lt. Governor.

Shafer’s reported past achievements are the focus of his current campaign to become Georgia’s next lieutenant governor.

“I wrote and led the effort concerning the state’s ‘zero tolerance’ based budgeting, so every dollar of government spending is justified,” Shafer said. “I sponsored an amendment to cap the state’s income tax. Georgia is the only state that has enshrined that it will remain a low tax state.

“People should be for me because I have a 16 year record of fighting for conservatives,” Shafer continued. “I’m working on platform of actual accomplishments, not empty promises.”

If elected, Shafer said he intends to continue fighting for a low tax environment that will attract businesses and jobs, fix the state’s infrastructure which includes roads and waterways and enhance Georgia’s education system.

“The truth is, we have job shortages in many skilled areas. We need to allow more people to enter trade schools, too. So it’s not all about attracting jobs, but making sure our citizens are skilled and ready to fill jobs that are already available,” Shafer said.

Republican Congressman Doug Collins (Gainesville) spoke about law enforcement during National Peace Officer Week.

“To think about those who serve us on that thin blue line,” Collins said. “We also think about the ones who get up every day and do the work. We see them, we talk about them, we hear about them on the news. We do not always know their names or see their faces, but we see what they do and we appreciate what they do.”

Collins went on to say it is a time to remember those who have lost their lives.

“Every year we lose our police officers, we lose those in law enforcement to sometimes tragic accidents, but many times to murder and other things because they put themselves in danger,” Collins said.

Rome officials want to reuse the vacant 132-acre Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital site, but the gubernatorial election may affect their plans, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

It’s an important issue for the community, Sen. Chuck Hufstetler acknowledged. But he and the rest of the legislative delegation — which includes Republican Reps. Katie Dempsey of Rome, Eddie Lumsden of Armuchee and Christian Coomer of Cartersville — had no immediate solution to the impasse with the state.

“The next administration will have to tackle that,” Hufstetler said. “When you spend more money maintaining a building than you could have sold it for … we need to change the rules.”

The state has been paying about $1 million a year to keep up the shuttered buildings and grounds. An appraisal put the value between $6 million and $10 million, and Hufstetler noted that Rome was offered the lowest price. But there’s also about $3.5 million in debt attached to the property, from bonds issued to make improvements before the facility was closed.

Dempsey said a state agency could take over the property, but it can’t be transferred to an outside entity until the bond debt is paid in full.

Curt Yeomans of the Gwinnett Daily Post writes about challengers to Gwinnett’s Congressional delegation.

Woodall, R-Ga., is running for re-election for his 7th Congressional District seat, but he’s facing opposition from both sides of the political aisle in a race that national Democrats have pegged as one of their targets in this year’s elections.

There are six Democrats — Kathleen Allen, Carolyn Bourdeaux, Melissa Davis, David Kim, Ethan Pham and Steve Reilly — but Woodall has to first survive a challenge from former Marine Shane Hazel in the Republican primary before he can turn his attention to a fall race.

Elsewhere, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., is being challenged by fellow Democrat Juan Parks in the 4th Congressional District’s Democratic Primary, with the winner facing Republican Joe Profit in the fall.

Over in the 10th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., is facing Joe Hunt and Bradley Griffin in the Republican primary, with the winner of that contest facing the winner of the Democratic primary race between Chalis Montgomery, Richard Dien Winfield and Tabitha A. Johnson-Green in the fall.

Tamar Hallarman with the AJC also writes about challenges to incumbent Members of Congress.

Seven candidates, including six Democrats, have lined up to challenge Woodall in the 7th, based in Gwinnett and Forsyth County. And next door in the 6th, four Democrats — all first-time candidates — are angling for the chance to take on U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, who won last year’s record-breaking special election.

But despite the groundswell of energy on the left that has helped make battlegrounds out of suburban districts such as Atlanta’s, the benefits of incumbency, including districts drawn to favor one party, mean that few if any of the state’s congressmen are expected to lose their seats.

Incumbents “have a money advantage, they have in a lot of cases a big organizational advantage,” said Kerwin Swint, a Kennesaw State University political scientist. “Georgia’s moderate voters and independent voters are still voting Republican. I don’t see them switching in big numbers quite yet.”

In the 7th District, three candidates have emerged as the most financially competitive. Georgia State University professor Carolyn Bourdeaux has bested the field — including Woodall — in fundraising so far this year. Meanwhile, businessman David Kim and lawyer Ethan Pham have shown they are willing to loan their campaigns big money to buoy their efforts.

Glynn County Commission District 3 candidates spoke to The Brunswick News.

The Statesboro Herald has separate articles on Republican State Rep. Jan Tankersley (R-Brooklet) and her Republican primary opponent, Robert Busbee (Statesboro).

The Dalton Daily Citizen has video interviews with incumbent Republican State Senator Chuck Payne (Dalton) and his Republican primary opponent, Scott Tidwell (Resaca).

Twenty candidates for local office will meet voters at a forum tonight hosted by the Macon-Middle Georgia Council of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

The Lowndes County Board of Education approved spending more than $400,000 on 2000 Chromebook laptops.

Columbus is one of 43 cities nationwide, and the only one in Georgia, to receive the Bike Friendly Business platinum designation fromthe League of American Bicyclists.

Georgia Southern University President Jaimie Heber announced he will retire from his position over the summer.

Two Chatham County Sheriff’s Deputies have resigned after separate incidents of fighting with inmates, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Coastal Living website named Tybee Island as one of the eleven U.S. beaches to visit this summer.

16
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 16, 2018

Mia Orphan Annie

Mia is a young female Dachshund mix puppy who is available for adoption from Orphan Annie Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Jasper Orphan Annie

Jasper is a nine-year old male Pointer mix who is available for adoption from Orphan Annie Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Scout Orphan Annie

Scout is a young female Whippet & Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Orphan Annie Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

16
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 16, 2018

Button Gwinnett v Lachlan McIntosh

Button Gwinnett and Lachlan McIntosh met outside Savannah on May 16, 1777 and fought a duel; Gwinnett was mortally wounded.

Gwinnett returned to Georgia immediately after signing the [Declaration of Independence] to find city Whig Lachlan McIntosh commanding Georgia’s nascent military efforts. Determined to take control of Georgia politics, Gwinnett became speaker of the legislature, guided the Georgia Constitution of 1777 into existence and took over as governor when Archibald Bulloch died suddenly in office.

Gwinnett then wanted to lead an expedition to secure Georgia’s border with Florida. A dispute between McIntosh and Gwinnett over who would command the effort ultimately led to their duel and Gwinnett’s death.

A Constitutional Convention met on May 16, 1795 in the capital of Louisville to amend the Georgia Constitution of 1789

The United States Senate voted to acquit President Andrew Johnson of 11 Articles of Impeachment passed by the House of Representatives on May 16, 1868.

The North Georgia Electric Company was incorporated on May 16, 1901 to build a hydroelectric dam on the Chattahoochee River near Gainesville; in 1916, it would be bought by the company that today is known as Georgia Power.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Candidates for Georgia Governor have spent or reserved more than $12 million in television time for the primary, according to Greg Bluestein of the AJC.

The biggest spender, by far, is Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. The Republican front-runner has spent more than $4.3 million on ads touting his education and economic agenda. He’s been bolstered by $1 million more from Citizens for Georgia’s Future, a pro-Cagle outside group.

Stacey Evans snapped up the most airtime of either Democrat, spending at least $1.3 million through the weekend, according to an analysis conducted by Strategic Media Services.

Her rival, former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, has spent a relatively meager $500,000 on ads, and records show she wasn’t on air in metro Atlanta during stretches of April and May.

[Abrams] can afford the hands-off approach thanks to plenty of backup from third-party groups. BlackPAC, PowerPAC Georgia and Emily’s List combined to spend nearly $2 million boosting her campaign, giving Abrams air cover the last two months of the race.

In all, about $9.1 million was spent on ads for the Republican campaigns, while Democrats have shelled out more than $3.6 million.

Republican candidate for Insurance Commissioner Jay Florence is the recipient of the largesse of the industry he would regulate, according to James Salzer of the AJC.

Late last month an independent committee was set up to support Florence. Insuring America’s Future, which listed a UPS Store post box as its address, boasted online that it is sending mail pieces to 98,000 Republican primary voters in Atlanta, Augusta and North Georgia border areas touting Florence as the “trusted conservative choice for insurance commissioner.”

A campaign report [by the independent committee] filed May 8 — two weeks before the primary — reports $224,000 in contributions. One contribution of $24,000 came from a medical malpractice insurance company, The Doctors Management Co. in Napa, Calif.

The rest — $200,000 — came from Eli Research of Durham, N.C., part of Eli Global, a diversified company that includes insurance companies, such as Global Bankers Insurance, which specializes in life insurance and annuity products.

Democratic candidates for Governor Stacey Evans and Stacey Abrams debated on Georgia Public Broadcasting last night. From the AJC’s Bluestein,

Stacey Evans slammed her rival, Stacey Abrams, over her alliance with Republicans over cuts to the HOPE scholarship. Abrams hit back by criticizing her rival for “scaring” African-American students about the depth of the cuts.

Evans, a former state lawmaker, has relentlessly assailed her rival for supporting the 2011 Republican-backed legislation to cut the lottery-funded program’s awards when she was the House’s top Democrat. She claims Abrams betrayed Democrats by “gutting” the program.

“I’m not out to scare anyone,” Evans said. “There was a gap that was created that cannot be filled.”

Abrams countered that she negotiated with Republicans to prevent deeper cuts to the scholarship, which is awarded to students with “B” averages. And she launched her own attack, slamming Evans for voting for a GOP-backed initiative to grant the state more power over struggling schools.

The primary has pulled Evans and Abrams further to the party’s left flank as they both embrace progressive issues, such as broad new firearm restrictions, Medicaid expansion and the decriminalization of marijuana. And in the closing days of the race, both have tried to present themselves as the most ardent progressive.

The State House Study Committee on School Security held its first meeting in Dawsonville, according to the Dawson County News.

The study committee, chaired by state Representative Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, was established by House Resolution 1414 during the 2018 legislative in response to the Parkland, Fla. school shooting in February.

Representatives from Dawson, Fannin, Forsyth, Gordon and Pickens counties gathered in Dawsonville to address the committee and have a frank discussion about what the state can do to address the topic of school safety.

“This is not an effort by the state to interfere with local governments and control of schools,” said Speaker of the House David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. “Rather this is simply a way to see if we can help local school districts ensure the safety of their staff and students.”

This year the state legislature also approved $16 million of the FY2019 budget to be divided among school districts for local boards of education to fund security measures.

“It will be up to the local boards of education and superintendents to determine how to best use their allotment and that’s the way it should be,” Ralston said.

Politico profiles Congressmen who enjoy video gaming and tags Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville).

The Entertainment Software Association, the largest lobbying group for video games, estimates that about a dozen House members regularly play on consoles like a Switch, PlayStation or Xbox. Many more play games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds on their phone. Fewer play in the Senate, which skews much older than 35, the average age of a gamer.

Others have caught on to the industry’s economic benefits in their districts, like in Washington state, where Microsoft and Nintendo’s U.S. headquarters are based, or in Georgia, where the industry now generates more than $160 million a year. “It’s excellent for Georgia,” Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican from Gainesville, Ga., says of video games in his state. Collins played games like Madden NFL and MLB The Show with his two sons when they were growing up. “It was really a big deal if I beat one of them, because they wouldn’t let each other live it down until they beat me again,” he says with a laugh. Now, he’ll sometimes play Candy Crush or chess on his iPhone “just to keep my mind occupied.”

The Valdosta Daily Times looks at an upcoming T-SPLOST vote in light of three regions that passed T-SPLOST in 2012.

Now, during every Georgia State Transportation Board meeting, Tim Golden, board secretary and former Georgia state senator, said he hears about all of the projects happening in the three regions and how much they have benefitted from T-SPLOST.

“My region, the Valdosta/Lowndes and surrounding counties, voted against it, and I have to watch these presentations,” Golden said. “They show how many projects they had, how many projects they’ve finished. They won’t stop talking about how great it’s been for them. … Those regions are leaving those that didn’t vote for it, like us, behind.”

Sitting on the state transportation board gives Golden an interesting perspective of the regional sales tax option that is, once again, up for a vote on the May 22 ballot.

The tax is expected to generate more than $296 million across the 18 counties in the region to pay for transportation projects.

The Harris County Board of Education has named an interim superintendent after former superintendent Jimmy Martin resigned.

Savannah is updating its alcohol license procedures after revising the city’s alcohol sales ordinance, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Brunswick Times spoke to the candidates for Glynn County Commission At Large Post 1.

Plant Vogtle held a biannual emergency drill.

The Burke County Sheriff’s Office received a significant donation of opioid-overdose reversing Narcan.

The J.D. Paugh Memorial Foundation gave the office 48 double doses of the nasal spray Narcan. It was a welcome sight that was “a long time coming,” said Lt. Scott Usry, a training director with the sheriff’s office.

“We had a unique opportunity earlier in the year to receive some training that was actually given to us by (the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities) so that agency was able to come in and provide training for us, but they were only able to give us a limited number of Narcan kits,” he said. “So because we (did not have it factored into the budget) and we had the training and opportunity to get multiple people trained, we reached out to the J.D. Paugh foundation to try to seek assistance buying the kit.”

“This is just as important as having an EpiPen for someone who has allergies,” he said. “When you’re dealing with an opioid epidemic, it’s a necessity. You could be somewhere minding your business or working on your car, changing a tire, and get exposed to (an opiate) and be dead within a few minutes if you don’t have something on board.”

There have been at least two occasions this year in which deputies had to administer the drug as the first responders to the scene.

The Augusta Chronicle held a forum for Columbia County Chair candidates.

WTOC looks at the election campaign for the 12th Congressional District, represented by incumbent Rick Allen (R-Augusta).

Whether you vote in the Democratic or Republican primary in the 12th District, you’ve got choices. Rick Allen is seeking his third term as a Republican representing a district that stretches from Augusta to Douglas to the outskirts of Savannah.

“Everywhere I go in the district, the confidence among businesses seems to be high,” Rep. Rick Allen, Incumbent, said. “Of course, the 12th District is the envy of the rest of the county. We’ve got a lot going on here.”

Allen says agriculture, jobs, and the economy tops his list of priorities.

“I went to Congress to get people back to work because I had that opportunity when I was in the business world, and there’s no greater joy in the world than to see people get a good job and have the career and dignity they deserve,” he said.

Eugene Yu is facing Allen for the nomination for the third time.

“I’m not saying whether he’s done a good job or a bad job,” Yu said. “Just that I would be much better. The most important complaint I hear from constituents is they don’t see him. You only see the congressman when it’s election time.”

Three candidates square off on the Democratic side.

Porsche Cars North America racked up an all-time sales record for April, according to the AJC.

The German carmaker sold 5,570 vehicles, surpassing the previous all-time high of 5,555 cars recorded last November. It also marks a 0.7 percent gain over April 2017, another record month for the company. Retail sales for January through April were up 7 percent from a year ago to 19,524 vehicles.

“The Porsche mix of two and four-door sports cars is getting a broad welcome from customers. We see this in the strong April demand that crosses model lines,” said Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO of PCNA, based in Atlanta. “Our 189 dealers are continually improving the customer experience, and this certainly is an essential factor for our mutual success.”

15
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 15, 2018

The Whitfield County Commission voted to seek a state Department of Agriculture grant for dog and cat sterilization, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Eight hundred cats and dogs could be sterilized at no cost to the owner if Whitfield County is awarded a state grant.

County commissioners voted 4-0 Monday night to apply for a $65,600 grant from the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

“That will pay for the sterilization of 200 male dogs, 200 female dogs, 200 male cats and 200 female cats,” said Animal Shelter Director Diane Franklin, who brought the proposal to the commissioners.

The program is funded from fees on special license plates and from donations.

“This will help us reduce the pet overpopulation problem in this county,” said Commissioner Greg Jones. “And if we get those numbers down, it will help us get to our goal of having a no-kill animal shelter.”

Commissioner Barry Robbins agreed.

“This will help us get our euthanization numbers down even lower, and there’s no cost to the county,” he said.

These dogs are currently urgent at the Whitfield County Animal Shelter.

Whitfield Urgent

Godsey NWGA

Godsey is a 3-month old male Border Collie mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northwest Georgia in Dalton, GA.

Dennard NWGA

Dennard is a 9-month old female Retriever and Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northwest Georgia in Dalton, GA.

Blossom NWGA

Blossom is a year-old female Beagle mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northwest Georgia in Dalton, GA.

15
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 15, 2018

On May 15, 1791, George Washington left Augusta for Savannah.

On May 15, 1800, President John Adams ordered all 125 employees of the federal government to begin packing to move the capital from Philadelphia to Washington, DC.

JasperJohnsThree_Flags

American artist Jasper Johns was born May 15, 1930 in Augusta, Georgia.

Carl Sanders was born on May 15, 1925 in Augusta, Georgia. He served in the United States Air Force, Georgia House of Representatives and State Senate, where he was President Pro Tem. In 1962, Sanders won the Democratic Primary for Governor, defeating former Governor Marvin Griffin, and in November was the first Governor of Georgia elected by popular vote after the County Unit System was abolished.

Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz was born on May 15, 1967 in Lansing, Michigan. Smoltz pitched a complete game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh game of the National League Championship Series in 1991, sending the Braves to their first World Series since moving to Atlanta in 1966. Smoltz was chosen for the All Star team eight times and won the Cy Young award in 1996.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal ordered flags on state grounds to be flown at half-staff today in recognition of Peace Officers Memorial Day.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Fatality Review Unit reported that 18 Georgia children have committed suicide this year, according to the Albany Herald.

“So far, 18 children have taken their own lives in Georgia this year,” Special Agent in Charge Trebor Randle said Monday. “That is the same number as this time in 2017. Total last year, we had 43 child suicides, and the year before it was 51.”

According to Randle, the majority of the suicides were committed by hanging, with firearms as the second-most-used method.

“This year, the youngest we have seen was 11, with last year 9-years-old being the youngest,” she said. “What we are seeing is that kids today simply do not have the mechanisms to cope with rejection or depression. These numbers are why we are trying to push for more awareness to drive the prevention.”

“If it is a crisis in their mind, then we need to treat it as a crisis,” she explained. “As parents, educators or physicians, we need to handle that child as if it is the biggest crisis they will ever see, because that is their reality. Some of the most commons signs that parents and teachers should be aware of are the things that we have always known about suicide, in general. It just needs to be applied to a child. If you see changes in your child’s behavior that is outside the norm, that is a sign. I know that sounds simple, but it is true.

“One of the things that we know is a sign of depression is excessive sleeping. If that is not your child’s normal behavior, but now they are retiring to their room all the time, they don’t want to be bothered, they want to be closed off from the world, they are sleeping excessively and you are starting to see behavioral issues, not only at school affecting their grades, but also at home, something is going on with that child and you need to ask them questions. You need to ask your child if they are OK.”

Georgia’s DC mafia is making national headlines. From the New York Times:

Steering Mr. Pence’s strategy is Mr. Ayers, a 35-year-old operative who is the subject of the most pointed criticism from Trump stalwarts. Mr. Ayers regularly joins Mr. Pence in meetings with the president and has told associates that if aides in the West Wing cannot stay on top of things, his office will step up, White House officials said.

Mr. Ayers again unsettled skeptics in the West Wing this month by poaching a politically savvy aide to Mr. Trump, William Kirkland, to join the Pence team. Mr. Kirkland ran Senator David Perdue’s 2014 campaign in Georgia, and Trump officials believe he will effectively run a shadow political office for Mr. Pence, a setup unheard-of so soon into a new administration.

Mr. Pence’s team is aware of the unease within the White House, and Mr. Ayers recently told one Republican ally that one reason Mr. Pence is so effusive in his public remarks about Mr. Trump — he has recently hailed Mr. Trump as a “champion” for conservatives and branded the recent tax cuts a “Trump bonus” for America — is to tamp down questions about his loyalty.

Nick Bowman of the Gainesville Times writes about increasing rhetoric in the Gubernatorial race.

Candidates running to replace Gov. Nathan Deal have poured money into advertising in the final month of the primary campaign, and there have been two targets of criticism above all others: other candidates and illegal immigrants.

On Monday, May 14, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle waded into the debate on immigrants who are living in Georgia illegally, saying he would send National Guard troops to the southern border as governor.

In an announcement, the Cagle campaign said the Republican would “answer President Trump’s call” to send troops to the border with Mexico as part of Operation Guardian Support.

Cagle wades into the debate as Secretary of State Brian Kemp has been making national headlines for a new advertisement featuring explosions, guns and his pickup truck.

“I got a big truck,” Kemp says in his long drawl. “Just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take them home myself.”

Lowndes County is seeing typical levels of early voting, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Early voting will come to a close Friday, May 18, and a little more than 1,000 people have voted, according to Deb Cox, supervisor of elections for Lowndes County.

So far, voter turnout has been on par with midterm elections in the past six years, Cox said. Typically early voting ramps up during the last week.

Cox said she thinks voters may be holding off on early voting because there is a large number of governor’s races going on.

For comparison, the 1,119 residents who voted in the first two weeks is about the same the election office expects during a presidential election.

The AJC reports that while overall early voting numbers are down, Democratic ballots are being chosen at a higher percentage.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution review of the first two weeks of early-voting data shows an increase of more than 50 percent of Democratic ballots cast from the same period in 2014, the last time a midterm election was held.

Overall, early-voting turnout is on track to decline compared with four years ago, when about 240,000 cast their ballots before Election Day.

Two years ago, Republicans accounted for 62 percent of the early vote. This year, they’re at 52 percent.

One difference this year is that more Democrats are running in high-profile primary races, such as for the governorship and seats in Congress. That wasn’t the case in the last midterm election in 2014, when Jason Carter was the only Democrat running for governor and more races were uncontested.

The Floyd County Elections Board had an error on some ballots for county board of education, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Floyd County early voters in the May 22 election are asking for a Republican ballot over a Democratic ballot by a margin of more than 2 to 1 and elections officials are addressing an error on a small amount of ballots in the county school board race.

Elections Supervisor Willie Green said 850 people voted in the Republican primary compared to 364 in the Democratic primary as of the close of the polls Sunday night. Another 61 have asked for the nonpartisan ballot, containing only the judge races, bringing the total of early votes to 1,275 out of more than 50,000 eligible.

Signs also have been posted regarding an error on some local Republican ballots, and Elections Board members firmed up plans Monday for dealing with it. The two county school board races appear on city ballots, although city residents are ineligible to vote on those positions.

“It was an oversight in the elections office,” Miller said.

Incumbents Chip Hood and Tony Daniel are unopposed for re-election in both the primary and the general election. That makes the fix easier, said Elections Board member Mardi Haynes-Jackson.

The Southern States Police Benevolent Association-West Georgia Chapter endorsed candidates in a number of local elections, according to WTVM.

Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed faces questions about withholding subpoenas from City Council, according to the AJC.

Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration last year withheld from the public a potentially explosive federal subpoena, concealing the full scope of the corruption investigation at City Hall, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News have learned.

The 10-point subpoena — dated Sept. 9, 2016, and kept from the public with Reed’s knowledge — included demands from federal prosecutors for information about lucrative construction and concessions contracts at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport; vendors with close political ties to Reed; and financial records for three members of his cabinet.

In addition to being kept secret from the public, the subpoena was withheld from City Council, which voted to award four multi-million dollar contracts without knowing they were under federal investigation.

The disclosure would have significantly increased council scrutiny on the contractors before them, and possibly changed the political dynamic of the 2017 mayoral race, said Ceasar Mitchell, who was council president and a mayoral candidate last year. At the time, the council and the public knew of only two subpoenas, both of which suggested the federal inquiry was far narrower.

Sarah Fay Campbell of the Newnan Times-Herald write about what Metro Atlanta transit could mean for Coweta County.

The ATL Authority only has jurisdiction over the 13-county metro-Atlanta area, including Coweta. Other counties in Georgia do their regional transit planning in their own regions, and each county in the state has the ability to impose its own transit sales tax.

Coweta could do projects and implement the tax by itself, or as part of the transit district laid out in the bill.

If Coweta and the other counties choose to work together on a regional transit tax, the tax must pass in each county to go into effect – Coweta taxpayers can’t be pulled into the tax because it passes overwhelmingly in other counties if a majority of Coweta voters don’t vote in favor of it.

Or, the county could choose not to take advantage of provisions of the bill.

A home-schooled boys soccer team won a state championship, and the girls team went to the final, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Q: So this: how do home-schoolers organize soccer teams?

A: It’s through Central Georgia Arts and Athletics. That’s our overall program, and our mascot name, our team name, is Mustangs.

Q: What is it, a collaboration of home-schooled families?

A: CGA started four or five years ago to help home-schooled and other non-traditional students have programs for competitive athletics, arts and different enrichment possibilities. It’s a nonprofit charitable organization overseen by a board of Christian parents.

Q: It’s not just a soccer group?

A: Not at all. I’m involved with soccer, but there are sports like baseball, basketball, cross country and volleyball. Other sports, too. Then there’s an arts side with things like drama, literary, music and a robotics group, which I guess may be more enrichment. There are different interest clubs and things like field trips and community service opportunities.

Savannah and Chatham County will collaborate to reduce youth crime, according to the Savannah Morning News.

[O]fficials behind an effort to dissipate youth crime in Savannah determined that a city-owned building at 2203 Abercorn St. would serve as an ideal location for a proposed multi-agency resource center being planned to address the issue.On Thursday the Savannah City Council approved an agreement to allow Chatham County to use the building for the center, which is a collaboration between the city, county, law enforcement agencies, the juvenile court system, healthcare providers and social service organizations.

Mayor Pro Tem Carol Bell, who has served as the city representative with the group behind the effort, praised the partnership while presenting the plan to the mayor and aldermen during a morning workshop before the council’s vote.

“This is one of the greatest collaboratives in this community,” Bell said. “Especially since it will affect the way we handle juveniles who have somewhat strayed and have minor offenses.”

The center is meant to use evidence-based screenings and referrals to divert lower-risk juveniles from the court system for less serious infractions such as underage drinking, truancy, or violating curfew, said Chatham County Juvenile Court Judge Lisa Colbert.

The Savannah Morning News has Q&A with five candidates for school board president.

The Brunswick News profiles candidates for Glynn County Board of Education.

The Golden Isles Republican Women hosted candidates for Glynn County Commission and Board of Education yesterday.

14
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 14, 2018

Gwinnett County Animal Shelter is offering free adoptions for medical workers and first responders all month long, according to the AJC.

With proper ID, active duty military, veterans, fire and EMS personnel, police, doctors and nurses will not have to pay to take home a new furry friend. Adoption fees for all animals are reduced to $20 if a customer does not fall into one of those categories.

All animals are spayed or neutered before they go home with their new owner. They also receive a medical exam, vaccinations and a microchip.

Gwinnett Royce

Royce is a 1.5 year-old male Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Gwinnett Berniece

Berniece is a 7-year old female Golden Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Pen 217

Pen 217 is a young male Australian Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

14
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 14, 2018

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention began assembling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 14, 1787, the designated starting day. Because a large number of delegates had not arrived the opening of the Convention was moved to May 25.

On May 14, 1791, George Washington addressed the Grand Lodge of Georgia Masons in Savannah.

On May 14, 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left St. Louis, Missouri to explore the Northwest United States from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.

One hundred fifty years ago today, on May 14, 2014, the VMI Corps of Cadets marched 15 miles and camped overnight at Mt. Tabor, near New Market, Virginia. The next day they would march into history.

On the same day, the Battle of Resaca was fully engaged in Northwest Georgia.

On Saturday, May 14, the fighting at Resaca escalated into a full-scale battle. Beginning at dawn, Union forces engaged the Confederates along the entire four-mile front. In the early afternoon Schofield’s Army of the Ohio attacked the sharply angled center of the Confederate line. The assault was badly managed and disorganized, in part because one of Schofield’s division commanders was drunk. As the Union attack unraveled and became a fiasco, Johnston launched a counterattack on Sherman’s left flank. The counterattack collapsed, however, in the face of a determined stand by a Union artillery battery. In the evening Union forces pushed forward and seized the high ground west of Resaca, which placed the bridges leading south from the town within artillery range and threatened Johnston’s line of retreat.The following day Sherman renewed his assault on the Confederate center.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The AJC looks at early voting this year, calling it “apathetic.”

Four election workers. Fifteen voting machines. Zero voters.

The scene at 10:30 Saturday morning at the C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center in southwest Atlanta underscored an apparent lack of excitement surrounding Georgia’s May 22 primary elections. Entering the final week of advance in-person voting, on the last weekend days when polls were open, voters trickled into polling places Saturday, drawn more by a sense of duty than of enthusiasm.

“People are not excited,” said Philip Francis, the poll manager at the C.T. Martin center, in the Adamsville neighborhood. “It should be more. It’s usually more, let me put it that way.”

As of Friday, 90,200 voters had cast early ballots across Georgia, according to the secretary of state’s office. During the 2016 presidential primary, that many people voted early in Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties alone.

Barring a surge this week, the number of early votes also will fall far short of the roughly 200,000 cast four years ago, the last time Georgians nominated candidates for governor and other statewide offices.

In Columbus, the Ledger-Enquirer calls early voting “underwhelming.”

So far the local turnout for early voting in Georgia’s May 22 party primaries and county nonpartisan elections has been underwhelming, like one of those old one-liners with reverse extremes: People stayed away in droves. The silence was deafening. The shallow enthusiasm was unfathomable.

On Friday, the total of mail-in absentees and in-person votes came to 4,647. Those voting in-person as of 7 p.m. Friday came to 2,773. With 12 days of voting since the early poll opened April 30, the average was 231 a day.

Gone are the presidential passion and devotion of 2016, with its long line that stretched from the voting machines down the hall, winding through the service center lobby and sometimes trailing out the back door.

Most of the people voting early in Muscogee County are picking Democratic Party ballots. Counting both the early in-person votes and those mailed in, the elections office Friday had recorded 1,926 Democratic ballots, 741 Republican, and 54 nonpartisan.

Early voting in Gainesville produced more than 300 votes cast on Saturday, according to the Gainesville Times.

As of Friday, 1,386 people in Hall had cast ballots in the primary election in Georgia, which covers a slew of local races, contests for state House and Senate seats, the governor’s race and the 9th Congressional District primary.

On Saturday, 306 people turned out to vote at four sites around the county. Of those, 239 were Republicans and 60 were Democrats. Seven voters took nonpartisan ballots, according to the Hall County Elections Office.

Total votes stand at 1,265 Republican, 410 Democratic and 17 nonpartisan.

Democratic candidates for two Gwinnett County Commission seats are profiled in the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The May 22 primary will feature contested Democratic battles for the Board of Commissioners Districts 2 and 4 seats. The winner of those contests will face District 2 Commissioner Lynette Howard and District 4 Commissioner John Heard, neither of whom are facing challengers in the Republican primary election.

In District 2, Ben Ku and Desmond Nembhard are squaring off in the Democratic primary for the chance to face Howard in November. Meanwhile, in District 4, Marlene Fosque and Greg McKeithen are facing each other in the Democratic primary for a shot at going against Heard in November.

The Gainesville Times profiles two Democratic challengers to Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville).

On one side, Josh McCall: Gainesville teacher, ardent progressive and first-time candidate who has spent more than a year in the race campaigning on a platform of health care for all, economic fairness and a message of passionate, Christian equality.

On the other, newcomer Dave Cooper: Clayton pilot and a former Army officer and EPA official who for the past decade has volunteered for Democrats in races throughout the country — including stints in multiple states working precincts for Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary — and who said he was motivated to run after the “Trump tax theft of 2017.”

Both candidates call for a form of universal health care or insurance, both want higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and both argue in favor of additional restrictions on firearms ownership (though Cooper goes much further than McCall on this point).

The Savannah Morning News looks at candidates for Chatham County Board of Education.

The Brunswick News profiles candidates for Board of Education District Two.

The Brunswick News also looks at campaign spending in local races.

Georgia State Senator Chuck Hufstetler told the Rome News-Tribune that important healthcare legislation survived Gov. Deal’s veto pen.

Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, said the Georgia General Assembly funded consultants to work with federal authorities on potential Medicaid waiver programs. A team also is still slated to go to the University of Pennsylvania’s Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy training center to learn about creating and using a centralized database of information about state services.

“There’s also HB 769, which establishes a Rural Health System Innovation Center,” Hufstetler said. “That’s an important piece of the puzzle going forward.

The rural innovation center bill contains incentives to lure physicians to underserved areas, although funding wasn’t allocated this year.

Meanwhile, consultants — “We don’t have the expertise,” Hufstetler said — will be working with CMMS officials to develop Medicaid waiver programs that could address mental health, opioid addiction and other problems that are overwhelming the state system.

“We need programs that promote personal responsibility and reforms, while at the same time getting more access,” Hufstetler said. “The issues are access, cost and outcomes, and we have to bring in the data statewide and work on solutions.”

Bibb County is on track to break its current record for murder, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Over the past quarter-century, the homicide toll here has eclipsed 30 just twice — 32 were slain in Macon alone in 1994, and 30 were killed countywide last year.

During violence-plagued 1992, as former Macon police detective Jimmy Barbee told The Telegraph this week, “We stayed tired because we worked all the time. … We would help one squad with their homicide and pray we didn’t have one on our shift.”

Much of the killing then was fueled by the crack-cocaine epidemic. And, in fact, nearly half of the 1992 slayings were drug-related.

A Bald Eagle with a broken wing was rescued by motorists in Macon, according to the Macon Telegraph.

[Sonja Adams] is manager of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office Animal Enforcement Division. She was off duty but happened to be in the area of Sardis Church Road at around 11:30 a.m. That’s when a call went out that a bald eagle had been hit by a car, just west of Love’s Travel Stop off Interstate 75.

She was there quickly and found a group of passing motorists had stopped and were trying to help the bird, which had a broken wing. The motorist who hit the bird did not stop. A witness who saw it said the car clipped the bird.

Ordinarily there is a local licensed wildlife rehabilitation specialist that can be called, but not for the federally protected bald eagle. It could only be picked up the Georgia Department of National Resources Wildlife Resources Division, and it took about an hour for a representative to arrive.

Meanwhile, Adams, two deputies and the citizens did their best to help the bird and keep it calm until DNR could get there. Adams used a bottle to give it water and the eagle opened its beak to let her drop water in. Citizens kept it shaded by holding up towels.

The eagle was taken to a veterinarian who specializes in eagle rehabilitation. Adams could not say for sure what the prognosis might be for the bird, but she believed the broken wing to be its only injury, so she thought likely the bird could be rehabilitated.