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Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 22, 2024

Collette is a young female Labdrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.

Jed is a 13-year old, 93-pound male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.

Frank is a young male Boxer mix who is available for adoption from the Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 22, 2024

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.

Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution celebrated Georgia Patriot Day in St Simons Island, according to The Brunswick News.

Georgia Patriots Day was originally organized by the late Bill Ramsaur, a member of the Marshes of Glynn Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. On April 19, 1778, Col. Samuel Elbert led the crews of Continental Navy galleys in the capture of the British warships.

During the ceremony at the Casino atrium, SAR member Steve Henson recognized descendants of those who fought in naval battle.

Afterward, re-enactors fired cannons from Neptune Park at the sailing vessel Line which was just inside St. Simons Sound. At one point, someone in the park yelled, “Come a[nd] take it,’’ The phrase is reminiscent of Col. John McIntosh response on Nov. 25, 1778, when the British demanded the surrender of earthen Fort Morris which protected the port of Sunbury on the Medway River.

McIntosh responded in writing, “As to surrendering the fort, receive this laconic reply: COME AND TAKE IT!”

A few days later, the British did indeed come back and take it.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is the deadline to register to vote in order to be eligible for the May 21, 2024 General Primary Election, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The voter registration deadline for the May 21 primary election is Monday. The election will be a big one for local, state and federal offices.
For starters, it will be the only ballot, barring a runoff, that the nonpartisan Gwinnett County school board and judicial races will appear on. Beyond that, the election will decide who the party nominees are for county commission seats, tax commissioner, sheriff, state legislative seats and congressional offices.

In fact, the three-person Democratic Party Primary will effectively decide who wins the District Attorney’s Office since no Republican qualified to run for the office.

People who have been ruled mentally incompetent by a court or who are currently serving a sentence for a felony cannot register to vote.

Early voting for the primary election will be held from April 29 to May 17.

Log into the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page to check that your registration is current.

Governor Brian Kemp signed six pieces of legislation on Friday, April 19, 2024, according to a Press Release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp, accompanied by First Lady Marty Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones, members of the General Assembly, and other state and local leaders, signed a sweeping package of legislation into law that will improve access to quality and affordable health care today at a ceremony in Athens.

Among other things, the package addresses critical healthcare needs in rural Georgia and underserved communities by expanding the Rural Physician Tax Credit, student loan forgiveness for rural health care professionals to include dental students, establishing a loan repayment program for eligible mental health and substance use professionals, reorganizing the county boards of public health, and revising Georgia’s Certificate of Need process.

“When I first ran for Governor, I made a promise that my administration would work to develop the entirety of our state and that includes ensuring that Georgians in rural parts not only have access to good paying jobs, but also quality and affordable health care,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “Thanks to the work of our partners in the General Assembly, we are able to build on the progress we’ve made over the last several years by signing legislation that will lead to more doctors, dentists, and mental health professionals serving our rural and underserved communities.”

Governor Kemp signed six pieces of legislation included below:

HB 82, sponsored by Representative Mack Jackson, signed by House Minority Leader James Beverly, Chairman Lee Hawkins, Chairwoman Sharon Cooper, Representative Al Williams, Representative Patty Marie Stinson, and carried in the Senate by Chairman Max Burns, expands the Rural Physician Tax Credit for rural health care professionals, including physicians and now also dentists – allowing a qualifying person to receive a tax credit on a first-serve basis in the amount of $5,000 for each 12-month period of employment for up to 5 years.

Chairman Shaw Blackman, Representative Gerald Greene, and Chairman Chuck Hustetler were all instrumental in the passage of this legislation.

HB 872, sponsored by Chairman Lee Hawkins, signed by Chairman Butch Parrish, Chairwoman Sharon Cooper, Chairwoman Deborah Silcox, Representative Karen Bennett, and carried in the Senate by Chairwoman Kay Kirkpatrick, expands service cancelable loans for health care professionals to dental students who agree to practice in rural areas. Dental students must be actively enrolled as a fourth-year student in an accredited dental education program in the United States.

Chairman Ben Watson was instrumental in the passage of this legislation.

HB 1339, sponsored bChairman Butch Parrish, signed by Speaker Jon Burns, House Minority Leader James Beverly, Chairman Lee Hawkins, Chairwoman Darlene Taylor, Representative Danny Mathis, and carried in the Senate by Chairman Bill Cowsert, revises Certificate of Need process – providing for several new exemptions including but not limited to: New or expanded psychiatric or substance abuse inpatient programs; new or expanded basic perinatal services in rural counties; new or expanded birthing centers; new general acute hospitals in rural counties; new acute care hospitals where a short stay hospital in a rural county has been closed for more than 12 months and a new replacement hospital has not been opened. It also raises the total limit on tax credits for donations to rural hospital organizations to $100 million.

Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones and Speaker Jon Burns were both instrumental in the passage of this legislation which addresses long standing issues in our current Certificate of Need process.

SB 293, sponsored by Chairman Ben Watson, signed by Chairwoman Kay Kirkpatrick, Chairman Brian Strickland, Chairman Matt Brass, Chairman Larry Walker III, Senator Mike Hodges, and carried in the House by Chairwoman Sharon Cooper, reorganizes the county boards of public health and opens the qualifications for the chief executive officer of each county board of health to include either being a physician licensed to practice medicine or possessing a masters degree in public health or a related field.

SB 377, sponsored by Chairman Blake Tillery, signed by Chairwoman Kay Kirkpatrick, Chairman Max Burns, Chairman Chuck Payne, Chairman Brian Strickland, and carried in the House by Chairwoman Katie Dempsey, defines qualified residential treatment programs (QRTP) to conform with federal law.

Chairwoman Sharon Cooper and Chairman Ben Watson were instrumental in the passage of this legislation.

SB 480, sponsored by Senator Mike Hodges, signed by Chairwoman Kay Kirkpatrick, Chairman Max Burns, Chairman Ben Watson, Chairman Chuck Hufstetler, Chairman Carden Summers, and carried in the House by Chairwoman Sharon Cooper, establishes student loan repayments for mental health and substance use professionals serving underserved youth in the state or in unserved geographic areas and communities that are disproportionately impacted by social determinates of health.

Governor Kemp extends his appreciation to all of those whose diligent work and efforts led to him being able to sign these bills today.

Governor Kemp also spoke at the groundbreaking for a new medical school at the University of Georgia, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

Numerous photographs were made as those who lined up on both sides of Gov. Brian Kemp tossed a shovel of dirt to celebrate the day.

The landscape where they stood will soon change as a 92,000-square-foot building will be erected on the campus located off Prince Avenue in what is called Normaltown.

UGA President Jere Morehead, University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue, Gov. Kemp and Michelle Nuss, the Founding Dead for the school, all praised what this facility will provide for healthcare in Georgia.

“Today is an exciting and transformational moment at the University of Georgia,” Morehead said, adding that UGA is in a unique position to address the healthcare needs of the state through education, research and community outreach.

Morehead, along with Perdue, Nuss and Kemp, also praised the partnership UGA has had with the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

And Morehead also noted the work of former president Michael Adams, who first had the vision to create a medical facility at UGA and worked to devise that partnership with Augusta to get it started.

Nuss, who has a strong reputation in medical education, said the physician shortage continues to grow, not only in Georgia, but across the nation.

“Georgia needs more doctors, and they need them now,” she said.

The governor, who helped shepherd $50 million in state money to help fund the facility, described the new building as “an incredible milestone for our state.”

The facility will have about 67,000-square foot space dedicated to education, while the remaining area will contain biomedical research laboratories.

I suspect Dr. Nuss will actually serve as the founding “Dean,” not the founding “Dead.”

Retiring State Rep. Pedro “Pete” Marin (D-Duluth) will deliver the May 2024 Commencement address at Georgia Gwinnett College, according to AccessWDUN.

GGC announced on Monday that Rep. Marin would be the commencement speaker for the Class of 2024.

A state representative for 22 years, Marin’s connection to GGC began with supporting legislation that created the college when it went through general assembly. Rep. Marin has also co-sponsored bill GA HR606 from March of 2023, which recognized GGC for “educating and preparing its students for success in their future careers.”

Marin says in the GGC’s press release, “I’m honored to have been asked to address Georgia Gwinnett College’s May Class of 2024. These graduates are an important part of the vitality of Gwinnett County, the state of Georgia, and beyond. With their degrees, the knowledge and skills they have gained will help our economy in areas of business, technology, healthcare and much more. Their determination and hard work are an inspiration to us all.”

Rep. Marin is the dean of Gwinnett legislators. As the former chair of the Gwinnett House Delegation, he led a diverse and dynamic group of legislators in representing the interests of Gwinnett County. He has also served as a member of the Gwinnett United Way, Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) and the Selective Service System.

The University of North Georgia announced it will name a building on their Blue Ridge campus for the late State House Speaker David Ralston, according to AccessWDUN.

A release from UNG Thursday said a new academic building that is currently under construction will be named the David E. Ralston Hall after approval for the naming was granted by the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents this past week. The 22,300-square-foot building is set to open in spring of 2025 and will house classes for the school’s College of Education and College of Health Science and Professions.

Ralston, an Ellijay native, graduated from what was at the time North Georgia College before getting his law degree from the University of Georgia. He practiced law for many years in Blue Ridge.

The school also said Ralston was a key part of the construction of the school’s Blue Ridge campus, and President Michael Shannon said he had a lasting impact on the area.

“Speaker Ralston was a staunch advocate for the north Georgia region, and the second-longest serving speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives. He played a pivotal role in shaping legislation that has had a lasting positive impact by promoting economic development and enhancing the overall well-being of Georgians,” Shannon said. “His visionary leadership was instrumental in expanding access to mental health resources and championing rural economic development.”

Ralston served in the Georgia State Senate from 1992 to 1998 before being elected to the State House of Representatives in 2002, serving the 7th District that, at the time, covered Fannin, Dawson and Gilmer counties. He became Georgia’s 73rd House Speaker in 2010, where he served until his death in November 2022.

The Dougherty County Board of Elections extended voting hours ahead of the May 21, 2024 General Primary election, according to WALB.

This decision was made after receiving a request to provide greater flexibility for voters to cast their ballots.

Early voting for the 2024 Primary Election will commence on April 29th and conclude on May 17th.

During this period, voters can cast their ballots, including two Saturdays:

• Saturday, May 4th: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
• Saturday, May 11th: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Additionally, two Thursdays have been designated with extended polling hours to accommodate voters’ schedules:

• Thursday, May 9th: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
• Thursday, May 16th: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

The deadline to submit absentee ballot applications is Friday, May 10, 2024.

Early voting will occur at the Riverfront Resource Center (Candy Room), 125 Pine Avenue, from April 29th to May 17th.

Statesboro “accidentally” repealed their noise ordinance seven months ago, but has restored it, according to the Statesboro Herald.

A little known, seven-month opportunity for Statesboro residents to keep neighbors awake all hours by playing loud music, tearing out walls or harboring loudly squawking birds or barking dogs, et cetera, without risk of a criminal citation has passed. City Council on Tuesday evening reinstated the city’s Noise Ordinance, after inadvertently repealing it last fall.

The legislative accident occurred with the adoption – council’s final vote of approval came on Sept. 19 – of a Unified Development Code, or UDC, which had been months in the making. Most of the attention from city staff members and the consulting firm TSW was on replacement of Statesboro’s previous, outmoded zoning regulations with some new zoning categories and rules that allow for things such as new mixed-use development and “infill” construction of housing on vacant lots or to replace dilapidated structures in older neighborhoods.

But the old sections of Statesboro’s Code of Ordinances that the UDC replaced also included the old Noise Ordinance, as nobody noticed at the time. But the UDC did not contain a new city law limiting noise, as City Manager Charles Penny explained as part of Tuesday’s 3:30 p.m. mayor and council work session.

“Orange Crush” on Tybee Island went more smoothly than last year, according to WTOC.

Hundreds of people were out on the beach Saturday on Tybee Island for Orange Crush. Tybee’s Interim City Manager, Michelle Owens says they have been working to prepare for the event.

Traffic was a big concern out here after cars were backed up throughout the island last year. This year, the city manager says things have been moving smoothly.

Other than a five vehicle accident on the Lazaretto Creek Bridge, Owens says traffic has been moving compared to last year, when traffic was gridlocked.

She says this is mainly because of the preparations the city took before the event started, including closing some of the parking lots and bringing Butler Avenue, one of the city’s main roadways, from a four-lane road down to a two lane road while also blocking off any of the street parking on the road.

“The intent of that was again to have traffic calming in place to control the traffic flow, control the friction between pedestrians and automobiles, to prevent gridlock, to preserve the emergency vehicle lane down the center of the street,” Owens said. “We don’t have pedestrians darting in and out of traffic from cars that are parked along 80 this year, so a lot more orderly interaction of people going to the beach.”

Tybee Island’s pier looks a little different at this year’s event. The pier has been locked down to be a staging area for law enforcement and other first responders.

“This year, with us being able to use the pier for public safety purposes, we have a much better vantage point, we can keep the crowd dispersed on the beach, and we’re hoping that that will make for a lot safer event, especially as it gets dark,” Owens explained.

Another concern from last year, the supply of Narcan. Owens says last year, they came dangerously close to running out of Narcan, but this year they’ve come more prepared.

“There were 10 instances where Narcan had to be administered,” We just don’t keep that much on hand. So this year, not just with that situation, but everything that we did this year, was with an eye with what happened last year. We did face a lot of criticism that we were underprepared last year so this year the intent is not to be underprepared.”

From another story by WTOC:

WTOC is waiting on final numbers as far as how many people came to the island but by many accounts, things went much more smoothly this year than they did last year.

The City took traffic mitigation measures, like shutting down parking on the South end of the island, and city officials say it was a successful approach.

Michelle Owens, the interim City Manager on Tybee, says that they saw fewer medical emergencies this year – mostly heat exhaustion and excessive alcohol consumption – whereas last year, the City says it ran out of Narcan because there were so many drug overdoses.

She says the crowds seemed like they just wanted to have fun at the beach.

“I think we saw a lot of the spring breakers that came here just on the beach having fun. I think that is what our goal was when we started out planning for this event… was that everyone comes, has fun, we maintain order and everyone can go home in one piece.”

One big concern the City did have was the amount of trash left over on the beach after the event.

From WSAV:

Major Bob Holley of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources had this to say about the event, “The behavior has been pretty good today. We’ve responded to a few medical calls with the Tybee medical authorities and that’s pretty much the extent of what we’ve done today.”

There were still police stationed at all points on the roads with Georgia State Patrol telling News 3 there were several arrests for DUIs, drugs, stolen guns and wanted people.

Whitfield County Commission Chair Jevin Jensen said the county government has paid down most of its debt, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Whitfield County has cut the property tax rate to 6.1 mills down from 8.3 mills in 2020, while significantly paying down debt, according to commission board Chairman Jevin Jensen.

“The state of our county is strong,” said Jensen. “I believe it is getting even stronger. We have a strong financial foundation. I think stronger than our surrounding counties.”

Jensen noted that because of the cuts to the property tax rate the county took in $9.8 million less in property tax revenue from 2021 to 2023 than it did in the preceding three years.

But it was still able to pay down its debt. The county had $30 million in debt in 2020. It has just $1.5 million this year.

Jensen said the county has been aggressively pursuing grants that will allow it to complete projects without burdening taxpayers. In 2023, the county received $7.3 million in grants, up from $600,000 in grants in 2020.

Dalton Mayor Annalee Harlan Sams said city officials are working to make Dalton “a more attractive place, physically attractive for citizens.”

Varnell Mayor Tom Dickson said smaller cities such as Varnell do not have the resources that the county and the city of Dalton do. He said that is why the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax is so important to the small cities. A SPLOST is a 1% sales tax on most goods sold in the county that local governments can use for capital projects.

When Whitfield County voters go to the polls in May they will vote on a four-year, $80 million SPLOST. Varnell would get just over $1 million of that, which it would spend on parks and recreation, paving and sidewalks, public safety equipment, sanitation equipment and sewer.

Tunnel Hill Mayor Kenny Gowin also emphasized the importance of the SPLOST to smaller cities. Tunnel Hill would receive $491,000 if the SPLOST on the May ballot passes. One of the items that would help fund is sewer. Gowin said in 2009 the city had no sewer. Today, it has about eight miles of sewer. Gowin said if the SPLOST passes, it would enable the city to expand sewer so that 75% of city residents have access to sewer.

Assistant United States Attorney Frank Pennington spoke about his campaign for Chatham County Superior Court in the Eastern Judicial Circuit, according to the Savannah Morning News.`

In the nonpartisan race held on May 21, Pennington is running against Christopher Middleton, a Savannah defense attorney. Superior Court judges are elected to four-year terms, and judges John E. Morse Jr., and Lisa Colbert are up for reelection this year. Penny Haas Freesemann is retiring at the end of this cycle.

Pennington was an assistant district attorney in Chatham County from 2004 until 2018, when he was hired as an assistant U.S. attorney. He served a stint as Deputy Chief ADA and had positions on the Major Crimes Division-Special Victims Unit and on Chatham County’s Sexual Assault Response Team.

Thus far, Pennington has raised more than $96,000, while spending nearly $50,000, according to a review of campaign filings by the Savannah Morning News. Middleton, meanwhile, has raised about $34,000, and spent nearly $1,500.

In an interview, Pennington discussed his vision should he win the race, centering a platform around efficiency and fairness in the judicial system, easing the backlog by using new technology and making the courts more publicly accessible.

“The central theme of my campaign is really a commitment to public service. My entire career, I’ve really put myself out there as a person who wants to serve the community, through the work. I chose the profession that I’m in, I chose to do that work as Special Victims prosecutor and, and now as an assistant United States attorney, because I’m committed to the community. So, in a broad way, my campaign is about public service.”

“So, what I want to do is identify ways that I can both do some of the things that I’ve done my entire career, which is be an advocate for victims or be an advocate for those who are impacted by the judicial system. In a sense, I want to do everything I can to make the process as open and as fundamentally fair as I can for anyone who comes before the court.”


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 19, 2024

Sausage is a young male mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Dixie is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Piggy is a young female American Bulldog mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 19, 2024

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 18, 1775, Paul Revere and William Dawes mounted up on horseback to warn of British troops on their way to confiscate American arms and to warn patriots Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who the British sought to capture.

By 1775, tensions between the American colonies and the British government had approached the breaking point, especially in Massachusetts, where Patriot leaders formed a shadow revolutionary government and trained militias to prepare for armed conflict with the British troops occupying Boston. In the spring of 1775, General Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, received instructions from Great Britain to seize all stores of weapons and gunpowder accessible to the American insurgents. On April 18, he ordered British troops to march against Concord and Lexington.

The Boston Patriots had been preparing for such a British military action for some time, and, upon learning of the British plan, Revere and Dawes set off across the Massachusetts countryside. They took separate routes in case one of them was captured….

About 5 a.m. on April 19, 700 British troops under Major John Pitcairn arrived at the town to find a 77-man-strong colonial militia under Captain John Parker waiting for them on Lexington’s common green. 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 and 10 others were wounded; only one British soldier was injured. The American Revolution had begun.

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 the same day, the first blood of the civil war was shed in Baltimore as rioters protested against federal troops. Four soldiers and twelve civilians died.

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

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.

President William H. Taft learned on April 18, 1912 of the death of his military aide, Major Archibald Butts of Augusta, Georgia on RMS Titanic.

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.

The honeybee was recognized as the official state insect of Georgia on April 18, 1975.

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.

Thousands of Chinese students protested against their government on April 18, 1989.

By early 1989, peaceful protests against the government began in some of China’s largest cities. The biggest protest was held on April 18 in the capital city of Beijing. Marching through Tiananmen Square in the center of the city, thousands of students carried banners, chanted slogans, and sang songs calling for a more democratic political atmosphere.

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.

On April 18, 2006, Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation establishing February 6 of each year as “Ronald Reagan Day” in Georgia and celebrating the date of President Reagan’s birth.

April 18, 2014 was the deadliest day on Mount Everest as sixteen local guides died.

The avalanche, which occurred around 6:30 a.m., swept over the Sherpas in a notoriously treacherous area of Everest known as the Khumbu Icefall, at approximately 19,000 feet. At the time, the Sherpas had been hauling loads of gear for commercial expedition groups.

The disaster, in which no foreigners were killed, reopened debates about the dangerous risks undertaken by Sherpas for their typically affluent clients (in addition to lugging most of the supplies for an expedition, Sherpas are responsible for such tasks as setting lines of fixed ropes and ladders for climbers), as well as the over-commercialization of Everest, where human traffic jams during the spring mountaineering season and massive amounts of litter have become common.

Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band died April 18, 2024, according to 13WMAZ.

Betts, a guitarist and singer, joined with brothers Duane and Gregg Allman in the late 60s and early 70s as the band from Macon broke through to stardom. Betts penned and sang what is widely regarded as the band’s biggest hit “Ramblin’ Man.”

“It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that the Betts family announce the peaceful passing of Forrest Richard ‘Dickey’ Betts (December 12, 1943 – April 18, 2024) at the age of 80 years old,” Betts’ family announced in a statement to Rolling Stone. “The legendary performer, songwriter, bandleader, and family patriarch was at his home in Osprey, Florida, surrounded by his family. Dickey was larger-than-life, and his loss will be felt worldwide. At this difficult time, the family asks for prayers and respect for their privacy in the coming days. More information will be forthcoming at the appropriate time.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Attorneys for the Catoosa County Republican Party were in court to attempt to suppress Republican primary voters by allowing the county party to pick and choose candidate who can run in GOP Primary elections. From the Rome News Tribune:

U.S. District Court Judge William Ray heard the Catoosa County GOP arguments Wednesday, April 17, in Rome, Ga. They’re essentially requesting that he overrule a superior court judge’s order to qualify candidates the party didn’t feel reflected its “political positions or values.”

The case is representative of a move by far-right subgroups within the Georgia Republican Party — such as the Georgia Republican Assembly — to restrict which candidates get a valued “R” next to their name on the ballot in deeply conservative districts.

During arguments Wednesday, April 17, Judge William Ray showed a healthy degree of skepticism for the proposal.
“(Voters) really decide who is Republican on election day,” Ray said.

From the AJC:

The group crusading for the new rules, the Georgia Republican Assembly, unsuccessfully pushed last year for policies that could have given the Georgia GOP the final say over who can run as Republicans for governor, legislative seats and other state offices.

The organization vilifies Gov. Brian Kemp and other state incumbents who rejected then-President Donald Trump’s demands to overturn his 2020 defeat, and it has targeted legislative leaders deemed unworthy of the party’s brand.

But the movement has gained more traction in smaller, conservative counties, where most races for commission seats and other local offices are decided in GOP primaries. (In Georgia, the two major political parties handle the process for candidates to qualify for office.)

Superior Court Judge Don Thompson ultimately ordered the Catoosa election board to allow the four to qualify, and he threatened to slap a major fine on the Catoosa GOP if it doesn’t heed his order.

Bryan Tyson, an elections law expert who represents Henry in a separate state challenge, said a Catoosa GOP victory could change the face of politics in Georgia.

“If they are right about the law on this, it means the state party can control who runs for governor and other state races, and the county party can control who runs for county offices,” he said.

“That would outsource the power from the voters to the party,” he added. “The party could pick just one candidate for each position, and that would be it.”

No stranger to politics, Ray reminded the packed courtroom that he was the Gwinnett County GOP chair and a longtime Republican state senator before he was appointed to a superior court judgeship in 2002. In 2018, Trump elevated him to the federal bench.

Ray seemed amenable to arguments from Christopher Harris, an attorney for the local election board, who said the federal judge should abstain from the case because two other state court proceedings involving the same issues are still pending.

But Ray also explored the more substantive consequences of the rule change. He pressed Alex Johnson, a Georgia Republican Assembly leader who represents the Catoosa GOP, on the potential implications of his policy.

“At the end of the day, the Republican Party is who shows up to vote,” the judge said. He then questioned whether Johnson agreed with this notion:

“Voters really decide who is a Republican on election day.”

Think about this for a moment. I believe that if the state party had the authority to reject candidates who wish to run for office, they might very well have excluded Donald Trump from the 2016 Presidential Preference Party in Georgia, as Trump was not considered a mainstream Republican at the time.

Governor Brian Kemp signed House Bill 1015, a state income tax cut, and four other pieces of legislation that reduce state taxes,  according to a Press Release.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 17, 2024

On April 17, 1944, a fifteen-year old Martin Luther King, Jr., a junior at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, traveled to Dublin, Georgia to give a speech in a contest sponsored by the local black Elks club. During the bus ride to Dublin, King and his teacher had to give up their seats to white riders and stand for much of the ride. King won the contest, delivering his oration, “The Negro and the Constitution.”

On April 17, 1950, the United States Supreme Court dismissed South v. Peters, a complaint against Georgia’s County Unit System of elections.

Each county is allotted a number of unit votes, ranging from six for the eight most populous counties, to two for most of the counties. The candidate who receives the highest popular vote in the county is awarded the appropriate number of unit votes. Appellants, residents of the most populous county in the State, contend that their votes and those of all other voters in that county have on the average but one-tenth the weight of those in the other counties. Urging that this amounts to an unconstitutional discrimination against them, appellants brought this suit to restrain adherence to the statute in the forthcoming Democratic Party primary for United States Senator, Governor and other state offices. The court below dismissed appellants’ petition. We affirm.

On April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang debuted at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. The world has been a better, if somewhat louder, place ever since.

Also present at the 1964 World’s Fair was the Coca-Cola Pavilion, which included a 610-bell electric carillon that would later be installed at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia, where it can be heard most days.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Kemp spoke in Cobb County about the 2024 Legislative Session, according to Atlanta News First via WRDW.

Touting another round of income tax refunds and pay raises for the state’s teachers, police officers and child welfare workers, Kemp, the event’s keynote speaker, once again called Georgia the best place to do business, mainly because of a thriving workforce.

“It’s probably our biggest recruitment tool but also our biggest challenge,” he said. “Every state in the country, coming out of COVID, was dealing with workforce issues and thankfully we have done better than most.”

He also noted another drop in the state’s income tax this year, from 5.75% to 5.39%. The legislation to eventually bring the income tax in Georgia below 5% was signed two years ago.

Kemp also discussed additions to the budget, including an added $1.5 billion to the state’s Department of Transportation for upcoming and ongoing road projects, and $100 million for school safety improvements, an issue Kemp ran on in his second campaign for governor.

Governor Kemp’s office website tracks 2024 legislation that he has signed and legislation that he has vetoed, though he hasn’t yet broken out his veto pen this year.

Elsewhere, Gov. Kemp discussed how he instructed the Georgia State Patrol to deal with protesters, according to the AJC.

After pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted traffic and blocked bridges in Chicago, Miami, San Francisco and other big cities, Gov. Brian Kemp said Tuesday he won’t allow demonstrations to shut down Atlanta traffic, too.

The Republican said he called Col. Billy Hitchens, the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, late Monday to reinforce his position.

“I know I don’t need to make this call,” he said, recounting his conversation, “but you know how I feel about people blocking bridges, airports, and other things like we’re seeing around the country. I said if they do that, lock their ass up.”

The governor’s remarks drew wild applause from the roughly 300 attendees of the annual gala for Greater Georgia, the conservative political organization started by former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

In coordinated demonstrations, protesters blocked rush-hour traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge in California, squatted on roads leading to airports in Chicago and Seattle, and held protests in Miami, New York and Philadelphia.

United States Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was questioned in Congress about service delays, according to 11Alive via 13WMAZ.

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was castigated by Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff on Tuesday in a hearing on oversight of the United States Postal Service amid ongoing mail delays in metro Atlanta and elsewhere.

In a tense exchange between Sen. Ossoff and Postmaster General DeJoy, the Democrat said just 36% of mail in the north Georgia region is being delivered on time. Ossoff asked DeJoy when service reliability would normalize, and the postmaster general said “I think we’ll get where we need to be in about 60 days.”

“You don’t have months to fix 36% of mail being delivered on time,” Ossoff countered. “I’ve got constituents with prescriptions that aren’t being delivered. I’ve got constituents who can’t pay their rent and their mortgage. I’ve got businesses who aren’t able to ship products or receive supplies.”

In his concluding remarks, Ossoff again put DeJoy on the hot seat.

“You’ve got weeks, not months, to fix this,” he said. “And if you don’t fix it, 36% on time delivery, I don’t think you’re fit for this job.”

DeJoy responded to Ossoff’s questions about what USPS is doing to fix the issues in metro Atlanta by saying the agency had “engaged over 50 different management executives on site,” was “looking at truck schedules, revamping our truck schedules” and was “stabilizing the operation in terms of our machinery that we have deployed there” among other efforts to restore normal service.”

From the Capitol Beat News Service:

The Atlanta-area consolidation involved moving nearly 10,000 employees from 10 locations to the new Palmetto distribution center, he said.

“The issues that we had here were in fact management issues on the ground, were in fact employee attendance issues,” DeJoy said. “Now that the organization is engaged … I see the whole team getting better, understanding the transition we have to make.”

DeJoy said he expects to have the problems at both Atlanta and Richmond corrected by this summer.

“Richmond and Atlanta and the whole Georgia area will be the finest run part of the organization very shortly,” he said. “We have to allow time to transition.”

United States District Court Judge William Ray (ND-GA) heard arguments about whether the Catoosa County Republican Party could turn away prospective candidates from qualifying, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The county’s Republican Party decided in early March to block four candidates — three incumbents on the current Board of Commissioners, plus a former commission chair — from qualifying as Republicans on the grounds they don’t adhere to the Georgia Republican Party’s platform.

The candidates are Catoosa County Commission Chair Larry Black, District One Commissioner Jeff Long, District Two Commissioner Vanita Hullander and Steven Henry, a former commission chairman. All four candidates had previously won their seats running as Republicans.

During the qualifying period earlier this year, county level party officials refused to allow the candidates to qualify as Republicans. They argue that the candidates could have gone through the process to qualify as independent candidates.

“The party did not and does not believe the independent candidates are Republicans, or that they share the values, principles and policy goals of the party and does not want to be associated with those candidates,” the lawsuit states.

In early March, Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Don Thompson ordered the candidates be allowed to qualify to run on the Republican primary ballot. To emphasize his point, Thompson imposed a fine of $1,000 per hour per candidate on the Catoosa GOP until it complied with his ruling.

Catoosa County Republican Party Chair Joanna Hildreth, and secretary of the Georgia Republican Assembly, stated the party would not comply and Thompson instructed the candidates to qualify with the Catoosa County Elections office instead.

On April 2, the Catoosa County Board of Elections and Voter Registration, following a hearing, voted 4-1 to keep the candidates on the GOP ballot.

Some Georgia prosecutors have picked up their lawsuit over the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Qualifications Commission legislation, according to the Associated Press via WSAV.

Three district attorneys in Georgia have renewed their challenge of a commission created to discipline and remove state prosecutors, arguing it violates the U.S. and Georgia constitutions.

Their lawsuits filed Tuesday in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta challenge Georgia’s Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission, a body Republican lawmakers revived this year after originally creating it in 2023.

Democrats fear the commission has one primary goal: derailing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis ‘ prosecution of former President Donald Trump.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation last year creating the commission, but it couldn’t begin operating, because the state Supreme Court refused to approve rules governing its conduct. The justices said they had “grave doubts” about ability of the top court to regulate the decisions district attorneys make.

Lawmakers then removed the requirement for court approval, a change Kemp signed into law. The commission began operating April 1.

The challenge is being led by Sherry Boston, the district attorney in the Atlanta suburb of DeKalb County; Jared Williams of Augusta and neighboring Burke County; and Jonathan Adams of Butts, Lamar and Monroe counties south of Atlanta. Adams is a Republican, the others are Democrats. Boston said their “commitment to fight this unconstitutional law is as strong as ever.”

The prosecutors say the law violates Georgia’s constitutional separation of powers by requiring district attorneys to review every single case on its individual merits. Instead, district attorneys argue they should be able to reject prosecution of whole categories of crimes as a matter of policy.

They law also violates the federal and state constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech by restricting what matters of public concern district attorneys can talk about when running for office, they say.

“There is no valid governmental purpose for restricting prosecutors’ speech regarding their prosecutorial approach, and that restriction undermines core values of self governance by weakening voters’ ability to evaluate and choose among candidates,” the suit states, arguing the law illegally discriminates in favor of viewpoints favoring harsher prosecution.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted for higher tuition in the 2024-25 school year, according to the Associated Press via the Valdosta Daily Times.

Regents voted Tuesday to increase tuition and fees at the system’s 26 schools. The typical Georgia school will charge in-state undergraduates $6,466 in tuition and mandatory fees for two semesters next year, up 2.4% from $6,317 this year.

Tuition and fees will range from $3,506 at Swainsboro-based East Georgia State College to $12,058 at Georgia Tech.

The typical student will still be paying less than in 2022, though. After that year, regents eliminated a fee that was charged on top of tuition, lowering costs at almost all institutions.

University System Chief Fiscal Officer Tracey Cook told regents that universities are paying higher costs for items including technology, software, food, utilities and insurance, while they are also having to spend more on employee salaries. While state appropriations fund pay raises for most academic employees, universities must fund pay raises for most support employees out of their own funds.

“We must at times increase tuition to maintain a consistent standard of quality, to improving how we graduate and retain our students, and as discussed, keep pace with rising costs, while we look for ways to be more efficient,” Cook told regents during a Tuesday meeting at Gordon State College in Barnesville.

Costs to rent dormitory rooms and buy meal plans will also rise systemwide.

Regents had generally held tuition flat for four straight years and six years of the previous eight. Georgia’s typical tuition and fees are lower than all but two states in the 16-state region covered by the Southern Regional Education Board.

For students receiving lottery-funded HOPE Scholarships, the scholarship will pay for higher tuition. However, students and their families must themselves pay for mandatory fees. Although many Georgia students receive other types of financial aid, more than 35% now borrow to pay for college with some students borrowing more than $5,500 on average.

The university system also approved a further increase in tuition for students coming from outside the country. They will now pay 2% more than students from outside Georgia, who already pay tuition rates that are three times or more what in-state students pay. Institutions sometimes waive out-of-state charges.

From the Capitol Beat News Service:

System Chancellor Sonny Perdue attributed the increase to inflation.

“Our institutions face increasing costs to operate, and we must sustain their momentum as some of the best in the nation at helping students succeed on campus and in the workforce,” he said.

Even with the tuition hike, Georgia offers the third-lowest average tuition and required fees among the 16 Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) states, according to national data.

The regents also adopted a new mandatory fee structure for the growing number of students taking classes fully online. Those students at 20 of the 26 institutions will be charged an online learning fee equivalent to their institution’s technology fee, as well as 50% of their institution’s mandatory fees.

In other business Tuesday, the board voted to extend the system’s temporary waiver of test score requirements. With state colleges already test optional, no test scores will be required for admission to 23 of the 26 institutions during the 2025-26 academic year.

The temporary waiver does not apply to the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Georgia College & State University.

Test scores will continue to be required to apply for Zell Miller scholarships, which go to students who earned at least a 3.7 grade-point average in high school.

The university system began waiving the test requirements in 2020 with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The waiver has been in effect for all but 10 months since then.

Gwinnett County launched a new microtransit service pilot program, according to AccessWDUN.

The Gateway 85 Community Improvement District and the city of Norcross will combine resources to improve mobility in a zone around Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Interstate 85 starting later this year according to officials.

Approximately 36,000 residents in Norcross will have access to the new Southwest Gwinnett Microtransit Pilot. The area to be served has been identified as having socioeconomic disparities, with more than half of household incomes falling below 60% of the area median income, officials said Tuesday.

“By leveraging our resources and expertise to expand microtransit, we’re charting a new course that will serve our diverse community’s transportation needs,” said Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson. “Strong partnerships like this one are instrumental in helping us achieve mobility for all.”

The pilot will operate 14 hours a day Monday through Saturday, excluding holidays, for one year. Gwinnett County will provide four vehicles and manage operations.

The estimated $1.3 million cost of the program will be funded 44% each by Gwinnett County and the Gateway85 CID, with the city of Norcross contributing the remainder, according to officials with the program.

The agreement between the three entities will be in effect from Aug. 1, through July 31, 2025.

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners are considering measures to address complaints over short term rentals, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

At its Monday meeting, the Government Operations Committee instructed county staff to look at a number of options, including an outright ban on new short-term rental properties, at least in residential areas.

Short-term rental properties (STRs), many of which routinely host large crowds during University of Georgia football games, graduations and popular community events like the AthFest music and arts festival, have become a pressing issue for residents of many single-family neighborhoods.

STRs, made available to the public through third-party online platforms like Vrbo and Airbnb, have spurred complaints of crowds, noise, parking and other persistent nuisances, particularly from residents of Five Points and other neighborhoods close to the UGA campus.

Primarily at issue is an ordinance provision establishing a two-year “sunset” for non-conforming STRs, properties that were legal when established, but have since fallen out of compliance with local regulation.

The Glynn County Board of Education is moving forward with plans for a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST), according to The Brunswick News.

The Glynn County School Board gave school district staff the green light Tuesday to present voters with a proposed new 1 percent countywide sales tax, known as ESPLOST (Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax).

The board voted unanimously to approve the proposed ESPLOST V, which would seek to raise $114.6 million within four years.

The board’s approval means school district staff can now begin preparing to submit ESPLOST V to the public for a vote in November.

Like the county government SPLOST tax, ESPLOST is a 1-cent tax on all retail sales countywide with the intention of raising money for specific public projects. Many perceive it as a more equitable way to pay for needed tax dependent projects.

The proposed ESPLOST tax would end sooner than the 48-month timeframe if the goal of raising $114.6 million is achieved earlier. Michael Blackerby, the school district’s assistant superintendent of operations, said that is a good possibility.

If passed by voters, ESPLOST V would address school district staff’s priority list of multiple school renovation projects, equipment purchases and new construction.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson announced public meetings to hear feedback on plans for the Civic Center, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson announced the city’s public input process during his weekly press conference Tuesday. Public input will include a stakeholder meeting with arts groups, business groups and neighborhood associations, and a series of open houses.

More details on the public engagement opportunities will be released by the city in the future….

According to a press release from the City, “these sessions will include a review of the project background; provide updates on technical analysis, cultural landscape analysis, survey, and archaeology assessment; an opportunity for community feedback on questions focusing on the facility, community, and the future of the site with consideration to arts, land uses, community and public space.”

“Our goal is to make sure we left no one out of the conversation,” Johnson said.

Tybee Island is putting out barricades and other crowd control measures to address an expected “Orange Crush” crowd, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The founder of Orange Crush reacted to the city’s measures, according to the Savannah Morning News.

“I think it’s horrendous they’re doing all this because this is a public beach,” [Kenneth] Flowe said. “I think that it’s important for African Americans to be able to access public space without being harassed by policy makers. When you take that tactic, then you get folks who are saying, ‘I’m coming on that beach, come hell or high water.’”

Two decades before Flowe decided that a huge beach bash was the best way to put SSU on the map for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 11 Black students were arrested at Georgia’s first wade-in, a demonstration similar to a sit-in, on Tybee.

Prior to the wade-in demonstrations, Black people were forced to travel outside of the city for public beach access. After three years of wade-ins, Tybee’s beaches were integrated by October 1963.

“They were jeered at by beachgoers and arrested for disrobing in public,” Flowe said. “As a result of this, those young folks who were simply trying to use public water had criminal records. I just anticipated that the authorities would try to figure out a way to prevent the beach party if I didn’t conduct myself properly.”

The festival continued to be held and sponsored by SSU, drawing in students from HBCUs in Georgia and along the East Coast, until 1991. SSU severed ties with the event after a dozen arrests, a stabbing and drowning at a singular festival, but by that time Tybee Island had been solidified as a place for HBCU spring break celebrations. It continued, unpermitted, drawing crowds year after year.

In attempts to combat the large crowds and the potential for violence, the City of Tybee has implemented aggressive regulations in the past. In 2018, it prohibited open alcoholic beverages and implemented traffic stops and property searches, limited housing rentals, noise and some restaurants and businesses closed.

This resulted in a mediation between the group Concerned Citizens of Tybee and the city by the U.S. Department of Justice. The agreement states that officials should not treat Orange Crush differently than any other special event, permitted or not.

The now unpermitted event known as Orange Crush by locals is shaping up this year to look similar to the event of years past: with lots of law enforcement and barricades to prevent the strain on Tybee Island’s resources that it brought last year.

In 2023, the third weekend in April brought more than 111,000 people over the course of three days, and the high volume of people caused clogged roads, traffic accidents, a road rage incident resulting in a shooting, crowding and complaints around drug and alcohol abuse, noise, illegal parking and litter, according to the city.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell visits Savannah April 23, 2024, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell and other national, state and local officials will visit Savannah April 23 to celebrate $30 million in federal funding to address drainage issues around the Springfield Canal that have long impacted the historic Carver Village and Cloverdale neighborhoods.

The grant represents one of the largest Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) awards through the Justice40 Initiative, a program introduced in 2022 by President Joe Biden to advance environmental justice and spur economic opportunity for disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.

Enmarket Arena will host a gathering of leaders expected to include FEMA’s Criswell, Mayor Van Johnson, U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Director and Senior Adviser to President Biden Tom Perez, Georgia Emergency Management Agency Director James Stallings, City Manager Jay Melder and District 1 Alderwoman Bernetta Lanier.

Macon-Bibb Commissioners voted to spend $2 million dollars on jail upgrades, according to 13WMAZ.

The City of Perry will install new surveillance cameras in municipal parks, according to 13WMAZ.

More technology is on its way to Perry after a city council vote Tuesday. The goal is simple: make the community safer.

Several of the city’s larger parks already have security cameras, like in Rotary Centennial Park. Micah West can be found out enjoying the park occasionally.

Police Chief Alan Everidge says they want anyone walking or parking their car to have a safe experience.

“Every park in every community deserves to have the same service and that’s our goal,” he shared.

He says having the camera has already proven to be successful. They even used it as evidence in a 2022 homicide.

“The video from that park was basically the final evidence needed for a conviction,” Everidge shared.

Depending on the park, Everidge says they could get anywhere from one to three of the 360-degree multi-sensor surveillance cameras.

Everidge says video is kept for only 30 days, and no one sits and monitors it. He says the department has to track when they’re using it and the case they’re using it for.

The city will partially use a state grant to pay for the project. Last year, they received $1.5 million to bring technology that will help reduce crime. The grant would cover $390,000 and the city would pay $5,000.

Lorraine Cochran-Johnson is running for DeKalb County CEO, according to the AJC.

She is one of three vying to replace a term-limited Michael Thurmond. She is competing against fellow commissioners Steve Bradshaw and Larry Johnson, and because no Republicans filed to run, the position will go to whichever Democrat wins the May 21 primary.

Cochran-Johnson was first elected to the District 7 seat representing the eastern half of the county in 2018, winning a runoff election against an incumbent who was accused of sexual harassment by an aide and who had controversially voted to give himself and other commissioners a 60% pay raise.

Cochran-Johnson sees the DeKalb CEO position as a calling.

“DeKalb County has become my ministry,” she said, adding that her message for DeKalb is a prosperity gospel.

Both of Cochran-Johnson’s opponents have outraised her, according to the most recent campaign finance reports. She reported raising $118,556 through the end of January and had $53,157 on hand. Bradshaw raised $292,487 and Larry Johnson raised $216,206.

Former commissioners Kathie Gannon and Jeff Radar, who were political mentors, are backing Cochran-Johnson, as are the mayors of several DeKalb cities.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 16, 2024

Ace (Pen 154) is a 4-year old, 42-pound male Labrador Retriever and Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Dobby (LC 17) is a 4-year old, 28-pound male Beagle mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Little Bit (Pen 134) is a 2-year old, 46-pound female Labrador Retriever and Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 16, 2024

George Washington, recently elected President, left his Mount Vernon home on April 16, 1789 for his inauguration in New York.

“I bade adieu to Mount Vernon, to private life, and to domestic felicity; and with a mind oppressed with more anxious and painful sensations than I have words to express.”

On April 16, 1865, Columbus, Georgia fell to Union forces. The Battle of Columbus is widely considered to be the last battle of the Civil War. Though it is not unanimously held to be, a 1935 Act of the Georgia General Assembly declared it the war’s last battle.

Hall of Famer Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians threw his first no-hitter on April 16, 1940 against the Chicago White Sox in Comiskey Park.

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” on April 16, 1965. On April 16, 2006, a new, larger portrait of Dr. King was unveiled in the Georgia State Capitol.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson visited Augusta, Georgia on a campaign stop this week in 1964.

He came with Gov. Carl Sanders, an Augusta native, as well as U.S. Sen. Herman Talmadge, an influential state leader.

Johnson’s national election over Republican Barry Goldwater appeared certain, and a week later he would easily trounce the Arizona Republican.

Lyndon Johnson, however, would not carry Richmond County on Election Day 1964, and he probably got a hint of things to come during his speech before a crowd gathered in front of the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building.

He was heckled.

At least four times during a routine stump speech, calls from the crowd interrupted the former vice president who had taken office less than a year before with John Kennedy’s assassination.

“We want Barry!” people would shout.

Johnson didn’t carry The Peach State because he had become unpopular among whites in the Deep South for his civil rights initiatives, according to Merle Black, an Emory University professor who has spoken and written on Southern politics over the years.

Black recalled the Augusta incident in his 1992 book The Vital South: How Presidents Are Elected, which he wrote with Earl Black. He also described Johnson gaining the crowd’s support with the anecdote about his earlier abuse by hostile crowds.

“Earl Black and I wrote in The Vital South that, ‘There was no more booing from the young Goldwaterites after he finished his story,’” Merle Black wrote in an e-mail from Atlanta. “President Johnson’s leadership in passage of the civil rights bill was the main reason he lost Georgia that year.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

United States District Court Judge JP Boulee (ND-GA) opened the trial over Georgia’s ban on third-party mass mailing of absentee ballot applications, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 15, 2024

Shorty is a young male English Bulldog mix who is available for adoption from the Valdosta Lowndes County Humane Society in Valdosta, GA.

Catalina is a young female Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Valdosta Lowndes County Humane Society in Valdosta, GA.

Harley is a young male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Valdosta Lowndes County Humane Society in Valdosta, GA.

All hound all the time! Harley is loud and very proud of his houndness and is happy to tell you all about it. As a Hamilton Hound (our first ever true hound!), his handlers have learned that the off switch for the howls is to hold him in their arms. Which he loves. You can also turn it back on with some food!

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 15, 2024

On April 15, 1776, the Georgia Provincial Congress issued “Rules and Regulations,” which would serve as an interim state Constitution until the Constitution of 1777 was adopted.

On April 15, 1783, the United States Congress ratified a preliminary peace treaty with Great Britain, which was signed in November 1782.

RMS Titanic sunk at 2:20 AM on April 15,1912.

Jackie Robinson, born in Cairo, Georgia, became the first African-American professional baseball player in the Major Leagues on April 15, 1947, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Boston Braves. Robinson scored the winning run in that game.

The Atlanta Ladies Memorial Association was formed on April 15, 1966 to assist and honor Confederate veterans. One of its most well-known projects was the “Lion of the Confederacy” memorial in Oakland Cemetery.

Photo: J. Glover (AUTiger)

On April 15, 1989, Chinese students and intellectuals in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, mourned the death of Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaoban, considered a liberal reformer.

DeForest Kelley, born in Atlanta and known for playing Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on the original Star Trek series, was inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame on April 15, 1992.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

April 22d is the last day to register to vote in order to be eligible to vote in the May 21, 2024 General Primary Election and Nonpartisan General Election, according to AccessWDUN.

April 22 is the last day for Forsyth County residents to register to vote or to make changes to their name or address on the voter registration list for the May 21 General Primary and Nonpartisan General Election.

Forsyth County residents can verify their current voter registration status and Election Day polling place at Changes to multiple precincts and polling places were approved in Dec. 2023. This means a voter’s assigned Election Day polling place may be different from where they voted in previous years.

A general primary is an open primary held for each political party to select their nominees for the office to be elected in the upcoming general election. The general election for the contests that appear on the general primary ballot in May will be held on Nov. 5.

A Nonpartisan general election is an election in which candidates are listed on the ballot with
no designation of party affiliation, officials said.

Georgia voters do not register by party. Voters must select a Democratic, Republican or Nonpartisan general election ballot at the time of voting in a primary. A nonpartisan primary ballot selection will not include candidates from the Democratic party or the Republican party. The Democratic and Republican ballot styles will also include the Nonpartisan General Election contests. A voter’s choice of ballot style for the GP is independent of previous or future choices of ballot styles for primaries, according to officials with Forsyth County.

Mail delivery continues to be delayed in Metro Atlanta, according to 11Alive via 13WMAZ.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 12, 2024

David is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Davis is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Benji is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.