The Treaty of Augusta was signed on May 31, 1783, between the Creek Indians and Georgia Commissioners. A second, identical document would be signed on November 1 of that year.
The first graduation ceremony for the University of Georgia was held on May 31, 1804.
Savannah-born John C. Fremont was nominated for President of the United States by the Radical Republicans on May 31, 1864. Fremont had previously been nominated for President by the Republican Party as their first presidential candidate in 1856.
The Capital City Club in Atlanta was chartered on May 31, 1889.
United States Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan certified the 17th Amendment as part of the Constitution on May 31, 1913, authorizing the direct election of United States Senators. Georgia never ratified the Amendment.
A summit between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev ended on May 31, 1988. Four years later, in 1992, Gorbachev was dancing for dollars in the United States, including the keynote address at Emory University’s graduation.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Muscogee County Board of Education District 7 voters are going to the polls today in early voting ahead of the June 20, 2023 Special Election, according to WTVM.
The election is happening on Thursday, June 20. However, voters registered in the boundaries of District 7 can vote early at the Citizen’s Service Center on Citizen’s Way, Monday through Friday until 5 p.m.
Laketha Ashe and Pat Frey are in the race to fill the seat of Cathy Williams.
Early voting will go on until June 16.
If a runoff is necessary, the runoff will be held on July 16.
Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter announced she has been diagnosed with dementia, according to USA Today via the Savannah Morning News.
Former first lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia, her family said Tuesday, a diagnosis that comes as her husband, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, is receiving hospice care.
The Carter family said the former first lady, 95, “continues to live happily at home with her husband, enjoying spring in Plains (Georgia) and visits with loved ones.”
“We hope sharing our family’s news will increase important conversations at kitchen tables and in doctor’s offices around the country,” the family said in a statement. “As the founder of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, Mrs. Carter often noted that there are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers; those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”
The Carters are the longest-married first couple in U.S. history. They have often called themselves “full partners.”
This will be the major challenge facing Generation X members. From the Associated Press via WSAV:
“Mrs. Carter often noted that there are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers; those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers,” the statement reads. “The universality of caregiving is clear in our family, and we are experiencing the joy and the challenges of this journey. We do not expect to comment further and ask for understanding for our family and for everyone across the country serving in a caregiver role.”
“They’re just meeting with family right now, but they’re doing it in the best possible way: the two of them together at home,” Jason Carter said last week of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, now 98 and 95 years old.
Last week Jason Carter addressed a crowd on May 23 about his grandparents.
“They’re just like all of y’all’s grandparents — I mean, to the extent y’all’s grandparents are rednecks from south Georgia,” he said. “If you go down there even today, next to their sink they have a little rack where they dry Ziplock bags.”
Governor Brian Kemp’s political organization will work to protect six GOP incumbent state legislators and defeat five Democratic incumbents, according to the AJC.
Kemp adviser Cody Hall said the goal of the six-figure campaign from Kemp’s Georgians First Leadership Committee is to thank the governor’s Republican allies and take the offensive against Democrats “who put their far-left agendas ahead of hardworking families in their districts.”
Although Republicans have a comfortable edge in the Legislature, which they reinforced with once-in-a-decade redrawing of political maps in 2021, Democrats are confident they can gain new ground in closely divided rural areas and fast-changing suburban territory.
The effort focused on Kemp’s legislative agenda this year, which included a package of $2 billion in tax cuts, an expansion of the HOPE scholarship to cover all tuition costs and $2,000 annual teacher pay raises.
Kemp’s initiative is designed to protect six state House Republicans: Scott Hilton of Peachtree Corners, Deborah Silcox of Sandy Springs, Matt Reeves of Duluth, Lauren Daniel of Locust Grove, Mike Cheokas of Americus and Gerald Greene of Cuthbert.
And it takes aim at these five Democratic incumbents: State Rep. Michelle Au of Johns Creek, state Rep. Farooq Mughal of Dacula, state Rep. Jasmine Clark of Lilburn; state Sen. Nabilah Islam of Lawrenceville and state Sen. Josh McLaurin of Sandy Springs.
State Rep. Matt Dubnik (R-Gainesville) was awarded the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools 2023 Champion for Charter Schools Award, according to AccessWDUN.
Rep. Dubnik was selected for his commitment to seeing public education and charter schools thrive and expand in Georgia.
In a press release from Representative Dubnik’s office, he said that receiving the award is a, “tremendous honor”. He also expressed this gratefulness for the recognition from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools.
Rep. Dubnik is one of 18 other state and local lawmakers from across the country to receive the award in 2023.
The City of Brunswick is considering new ordinances to address homelessness, according to The Brunswick News.
The camping and improper use of public places ordinance would make it unlawful, unless authorized, to make use of public rights of way “in a manner that interferes with the safe and efficient movement of people and property from place to place on a public road or right-of-way.”
It would be unlawful to occupy or remain in a median when that person is not in the process of lawfully crossing the road. Remaining in the median through two consecutive opportunities to cross the street would be evidence of a violation.
Physical interaction between a pedestrian and motorist while the vehicle is not legally parked and is located on the traveled portion of a designated roadway would be a violation.
Commercial use of public rights of way would be prohibited, including vending or the sale of goods, display of goods for sale, storage of goods for sale in connection with a commercial activity, or the repair or manufacturing of goods. No signage placed or displayed in any median would be allowed.
Activities on private property would be prohibited if the owner, tenants or lawful occupant have asked the person not to enter the property or have a sign clearly posted indicating that approaches are not welcome on the property.
Unless the other person consents, it would be unlawful to knowingly approach within six feet of another person for the purpose of passing any material, item or object to, displaying a sign to or requesting any material, item or object from such other person in the public right-of-way within a radius of thirty feet from any bus stop, the entrance or exit of any public toilet facility or an automatic teller machine.
Exemptions include public safety and other government employees or contractors, workers lawfully conducting inspections, construction, maintenance, repairs, surveys or other similarly authorized services.
Also authorized are people lending aid during an emergency and for motorists experiencing a mechanical problems, as well as those entering or exiting a bus or other public transit system, or when a road is closed for a special event permitted by local governments.
Alabama’s legislature recently adopted some similar measures, according to WTVM.
Governor Kay Ivey signed a new bill this week that outlaws panhandling and loitering on state roads.
Supporters say this will address a public safety issue, but local homeless advocates worry about the law’s future implications.
Under HB 24, individuals are prohibited from loitering or panhandling on state highways and roadways.
Those who choose to violate the law can be found guilty of a class C misdemeanor. Subsequent arrests could mean fines or even months in jail.
However, bill sponsor Reed Ingram says the bill makes it clear that law enforcement also has the option of issuing a warning or transporting people to shelters where they can get help.
“It’s about saving the people that are on the side of the road and saving people from having to go to prison if they hit one,” Ingram said. “We’ve had over 800 get killed in 2021 and so this is very important.”
Montgomery County Commissioner Ronda Walker is in support of the new law. She says panhandling is a public safety concern.
“This gives law enforcement the opportunity to be more aggressive about helping these people and protecting our citizens at the same time,” Walker said.
Valdosta will receive $3 million in state funding, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.
The state awarded $1,665,400 for Vallotton Park, $1,152,800 for Scott Park and $243,897 for Olympic Park, city officials said in a statement. The city and [Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority] will use the funds to upgrade and renovate those parks.
“These grants will result in significant upgrades to parks for our residents,” City Manager Richard Hardy said. “There’s something for everyone in these additions and I’m thrilled for citizens to experience them.”
“This is a big win for our community,” said George Page, VLPRA executive director. “We are grateful for the grants and are excited to use them in improving spaces where both children and adults can be active outdoors.”
The state awarded a total of $225 million to communities across the state. The funds are going to 142 projects that improve neighborhood areas such as parks, sidewalks and recreation facilities in areas disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, city officials said.
Statesboro Area Transit rolls on after its launch this month, according to the Statesboro Herald.
City councilmember Shari Barr says they’re trying to spread the word to let people know it’s finally available.
“The buses are eight-passenger or five-passenger with a wheelchair rider. But we have four of them equipped and ready to ride,” said Councilmember [Shari] Barr.
She says the route is designed to circle from apartments and housing complexes to the hospital and medical offices as well as the mall and grocery stores. She says the low cost has surprised many.
“For one dollar, they can go up and down the North-South “Blue Route” or get on the other bus and go East-West and go from Butler Homes all the way to the high school area.”
They’re on the street Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The City of Rome is close to settling a water quality lawsuit, according to the Rome News Tribune.
“The city has reached agreements with all the defendants in principle, specifically with Dalton Utilities and others,” City of Rome Attorney Andy Davis said. “All of those agreements have not been finalized…but it’s a great day for the city of Rome.”
Davis said it is too early to disclose a specific dollar amount that may come from the agreements, since they’re still in the works.
Gainesville City Council will work on a proposed $35 million dollar budget for the next fiscal year, according to the Gainesville Time.
Gainesville will likely adopt a balanced budget of $35 million – a 1% decrease from the previous year – to fund city operations in the coming weeks.
The budgeted general fund balance anticipates $4.72 million for capital projects in fiscal year 2024. Primary sources of revenue, according to city documents, are sales tax funds in the amount of $7.8 million (22.5% of the budgeted revenue), franchise fees totaling $4.2 million (12%) and property taxes amounting to $1.9 million (6%).
The latest draft of the proposed budget includes a 5% pay increase for city employees across the board, with the addition of the two new positions of traffic signal technician and senior accountant.
City Manager Bryan Lackey said expenses in the budget that have seen the highest increase include fuel and energy, transportation as well as technology costs – mostly for reasons of ensuring cyber security.
Lackey said the city “anticipates a full rollback in the millage rate,” meaning potentially lower taxes for Gainesville residents.
“This year the rate is 0.397 (mills),” he said. “We anticipate it being around 0.251 (mills) for (fiscal year) 2024. We will better define what the actual full roll back rate will be as we get closer to a final digest number in June – before budget adoption.”
Valdosta City Schools will host a summer nutrition program, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.
The Valdosta City Schools (VCS) School Nutrition Program has a summer feeding program that is aimed at benefiting all children in the city and county, ages 18 and younger, at no cost.
Breakfast and lunch will be provided at J.L. Lomax Elementary and Valdosta High School Monday through Thursday from June 5 through June 29. Outside of Fridays, the only day they won’t serve is the Juneteenth holiday.
VCS says the only requirement for this year’s program is that the meals must be eaten on-site. There will not be a grab-and-go option.
“The thought of any child going hungry is certainly one that none of us is comfortable with, regardless of if there ours, or the counties, or if they’re coming from another community, as long as we have the opportunity to provide them with a meal; we know we’ve done something good at the end of the day,” Director of Public Relations for Valdosta City Schools Jennifer Steedley, said.
“One of the things that is a highlight of coming to school is those warm meals that they’re provided each day. So, during the summer, we do worry about our students and making sure they’re getting the nutrition that they need,” Steedley said. “This is just a great opportunity to be able to make sure that those students’ needs are met.”
Muscogee County will do likewise, according to WTVM:
The Muscogee County School District provides meals for kids under 18 years old at no cost throughout the summer.
Children will be served two meals, breakfast and lunch[.]
For more information, contact the School Nutrition Department at 706-748-2386.
Gwinnett County Public Schools will nourish students’ brains this summer, deploying two bookmobiles, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Gwinnett County Public Schools’ two bookmobiles — called Pow and Explore — hit the road this week to bring a summer of reading to Gwinnett students.
The bookmobiles are returning to neighborhoods this week to bring library books to students where they are this summer — at home. Starting on Tuesday, the two mobile libraries will travel routes that will take them to 90 stops in five clusters every week. The colorful converted school buses will make nine stops per day, checking out books to students who may not have easy access to the public library.
The bookmobiles will travel routes in the Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Discovery, Meadowcreek, and Norcross clusters. These libraries on wheels will be stocked with books for all ages and reading levels — Pre-K to 12th grade. The weekly schedule (11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday) will repeat each week through July 18. (Note that the bookmobiles will not travel on June 19 or July 4.)
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson has a fundraising lead over his opponent, Council member Kesha Gibson-Carter, according to the Savannah Morning News.
As of April 30, Johnson has raised over $350,000. Gibson-Carter has raised $6,320.
Gibson-Carter, a grassroots leader who won her first political office in 2019, has been a vocal critic of Johnson’s leadership style, sometimes even from the dias [sic] at public meetings. She announced her candidacy for mayor in 2022, the first candidate to announce for the 2023 season.
Gibson-Carter says her fundraising is an example of one of her central campaign promises: that she is “not for sale,” and was vocally critical of her opponent’s fundraising efforts.
“I have deliberately committed to not accepting funds from people who do business with the City of Savannah,” Gibson-Carter said. “I do not engage in establishment politics.”