Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 3, 2023

3
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 3, 2023

John Willis Menard became the first black man elected to Congress on November 3, 1868 from the Second District of Louisiana. Menard’s election opponent challenged the results and prevented Menard from taking his seat, though in defense of his election Menard became the first black man to address Congress.

Alexander Stephens was sworn-in as Governor of Georgia on November 4, 1882; Stephens had earlier been elected Vice-President of the Confederate States of America.

Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who spent part of his youth in Augusta, Georgia and married Ellen Louise Axson, whom he met in Rome, Georgia, was elected President in a landslide victory on November 5, 1912.

On November 3, 1913, details of the federal income tax were finalized and published after the ratification earlier in the year of the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Bacon, Barrow, Candler, and Evans Counties were created on November 3, 1914 when voters approved Constitutional Amendments – prior to these Amendments, Georgia was limited to 145 counties. On the same day, Carl Vinson was sworn in to Congress from Georgia, becoming the youngest member of Congress at the time. Vinson would eventually become the first Member of Congress to serve more than fifty years. Vinson’s grandson, Sam Nunn would serve in the United States Senate.

Howard Carter found an entrance to the tomb of King Tutankhamen on November 4, 1922.

On November 4, 1932 Georgia Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. campaigned on behalf of Democratic candidate for President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to his unprecedented third term as President of the United States on November 5, 1940.

The Chicago Tribune published the infamous “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline on November 3, 1948. Ultimately, Democrat Truman won 303 electoral votes to 189 for Republican Dewey.

Laika, a female Siberian Husky mix who was found stray on the streets of Moscow, was launched into space aboard Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957.

On November 3, 1964, Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson was elected President over Republican Barry Goldwater.

Richard M. Nixon was elected President of the United States by a plurality vote on November 5, 1968.

On November 3, 1970, Jimmy Carter was elected Governor of Georgia.

On November 4, 1980, Republican Ronald Reagan was elected President, winning 489 electoral votes to 49 for incumbent Jimmy Carter.

Note on the electoral map in that clip, states that Reagan won were colored blue, and Georgia was a red state, going for Jimmy Carter.

Democrat Cynthia McKinney became the first African-Amercian female elected to Congress from Georgia on November 3, 1992.

On November 3, 1998, Democrat Thurbert Baker was elected Attorney General and Michael Thurmond was elected Commissioner of Labor, becoming the first African-Americans elected to statewide executive office in Georgia.

On November 5, 2002, Sonny Perdue was elected the first Republican Governor of Georgia since Reconstruction, beginning the modern era of Republican dominance of Georgia state politics.

On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected President, becoming the first African-American elected to the position.

One World Trade Center opened on November 3, 2014, more than thirteen years after the 9/11 attacks.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Augusta Canal Authority is considering a breath-taking and brilliant plan to build a whitewater park, according to WRDW.

A preliminary study finds creating a whitewater park fed by the Augusta Canal could attract a wide range of people, but for a cost: $20.3 million.

Prepared by S₂O consultants and commissioned by the Augusta Canal Authority, the study proposes a whitewater park in the area of 1568 Broad St.

“Augusta has nothing like this,” says Vice Chair of the Canal Authority, Russ Gambill. “To find a recreational facility like this, you’d have to travel to Charlotte, N.C.”

It’s an idea first proposed back in 2010 , a study now has this project on paper saying that water can be moved from the canal through this proposed water park.

It’s an idea that’s also supported partially by Destination Augusta’s 10 to 15-year plan, “Blueprint Augusta”. The group donated a few thousand dollars to help fund the Canal Authority’s study, but was mostly funded by the Canal Authority.

From WGAC:

The course here will have artificially generated rapids by adjusting the bottom of the river.

The study of the Augusta Canal, for the whitewater course, was assessed by S2O Engineering and Design, which is a company that focuses on Whitewater Park design and engineering. The estimated cost for Whitewater Park could be anywhere from $1.3 million to $7.2 million.

According to S2O, no two whitewater parks is exactly alike. This is based on what categories that whitewater venue falls under. There are the traditional or in-stream white parks and pumped whitewater parks.

Augusta Canal Authority is a group of individuals that are the official management entity for the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area. It is led by an executive director and a 12-member board.

Fishing (and kayaking) rights in Georgia rivers is being debated and may impact , according to the AJC.

The headwaters of the Flint emerge from under Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and flow southward for more than 300 miles, eventually emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. In the 1970s, then-Gov. Jimmy Carter paddled a section of river threatened by a proposed dam, marveling at the wildlife, and later vetoed the project. Today, the Flint is one of only 40 rivers in the country that flow more than 200 river miles unimpeded, according to the Georgia River Network.

The waterway is home to many native plants and animals, including an uncommon spider lily and the rare shoal bass, Micropterus cataractae, found almost exclusively in a few Georgia rivers. The prized sport fish lurks beneath rocks, striking bait hooks and fly-fishing lures alike and giving anglers an epic aerial struggle before it is caught and, most often, released to fight another day.

Adam Orford, an assistant law professor at the University of Georgia, said the river access issue is a complex tangle of seemingly contradictory state and federal court decisions and laws, making it difficult to guess which way it will go.

“This is an important case because public access to Georgia’s rivers is important to everybody in Georgia,” Orford said. “I think the overall project of ensuring public access to rivers in Georgia is a good one, and I think it’s legal.”

A House study committee on freshwater fishing is considering reforms on how freshwater fishing resources are governed. One member, Rep. David Jenkins, R-Coweta, said he fears that without legislative action, public access to streams and rivers could be decided “one lawsuit at a time.”

“That’s going to change the public’s right to fish and boat on Georgia waters, and that’s my concern,” Jenkins said.

Fishing in Georgia isn’t just a hobby — it’s a right written into the state constitution, which says that the “taking of fish and wildlife shall be preserved for the people and shall be managed by law and regulation for the public good.”

Georgia has over a million licensed anglers, with fishing generating about $1.5 billion in retail sales each year, Scott Robinson, chief of the fisheries management section of the Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, told the study committee. Over the past 10 years, taxes on fishing gear have brought in $85 million, he added.

While fish and wildlife are considered public property in Georgia, some lands and waters where they live are not. State law says “navigable” streams are public, and defines navigable waterways as those capable of transporting a boat carrying freight for all or part of the year. Many waterways have been treated as either public or private by tradition without an official determination by DNR, leading to confusion and confrontation.

While neither of the recent lawsuits seek to bar public passage by kayak or canoe, Rogers said there is concern that the same arguments could be used to do just that on the Flint and beyond. He said ‘No Fishing’ and other private property signs have cropped up on rivers throughout Georgia, including the Chattahoochee, the Toccoa, the Chestatee and the Seventeen Mile River.

In other huge statewide news, the Big Pig Jig returns to Dooly County, according to WALB.

The Big Pig Jig is returning to Vienna to allow local barbecue connoisseurs to show off their skills.

The festival starts on Friday at 5 p.m. at 350 Pig Jig Blvd. There will be several vendors offering arts, crafts, jewelry and more. Kids can play with inflatables and games in the Kids Zone.

The Big Pig Jig festival was started in 1982 and combined a barbecue cooking contest with an arts and crafts fair and the county’s livestock association annual hog show, according to the Big Pig Jig website.

Georgia’s Secretary of State is traveling the state hoping to dispel election concerns, according to WALB.

A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) poll shows 61% of Republican voters still believe there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Raffensperger is trying to assure voters about election integrity.

“I think we’ve really struck almost the perfect balance between accessibility with security,” Raffensperger said. “It’s going to be accurate and it’s going to be quick.”

From the Albany Herald:

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger joined state Sen. Freddie Powell Sims, D-Dawson, and state Reps. Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert, and Bill Yearta, R-Sylveste at the [Abany Area] chamber’s Government Affairs Rise N’ Shine Breakfast at the Doublegate Country Club.

Election security is the state’s highest priority, the secretary said.

“The system is secure,” he said. “The system is accurate.”

The Georgia Senate Ethics Committee held an election security hearing, according to GPB News.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Max Burns (R-Sylvania), met for more than three hours to discuss the Secretary of State’s office decision to wait to fully upgrade the Dominion Voting Systems election equipment to a version that addresses potential vulnerabilities outlined in a report by a computer science researcher who was given unfettered access to Georgia’s machines as part of a yearslong lawsuit challenging the state’s electronic voting method.

“We’re not here to second-guess, we’re not here to point fingers, we’re not here to attack,” Burns said at the start of the meeting. “I want to go on record as saying I have complete confidence in the Georgia voting system as it exists today. I choose to vote utilizing the standard system.”

But much of the questioning from Republicans on the committee sought to second-guess the decision to pilot the software upgrade in five counties holding municipal elections this November and pointed fingers at Raffensperger for alleged lapses in election security. They also attacked Raffensperger for not attending the hearing and other budgetary and legislative gatherings in the past.

“I think the concern that we have is there’s a fix available that addresses all nine of these vulnerabilities, and we’re not going to install this fix for a presidential primary or for primaries next year or for the general election,” Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) said. “And our answer is… “We know that everybody has a copy of the key to the front door, we’re not going to change the locks, because we can catch them before they get out the back.’”

From the AJC:

Burns, a Republican from Sylvania, has also proposed a bill that would give voters the option of casting hand-marked paper ballots instead of using touchscreens.

Election legislation could be considered during next year’s legislative session, which begins in January. The state’s presidential primary is scheduled for March 12.

Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods wants the state to provide $3000/year raises for teachers, according to the Associated Press via WJBF.

Woods, a Republican elected statewide, made the proposal Thursday in an opinion column that he co-authored with 2024 Georgia Teacher of the Year Christy Todd, a music technology teacher at Rising Starr Middle School in suburban Atlanta’s Fayette County.

“The most important thing we can do to improve the quality of K-12 education in our state is to recruit our best and brightest to become teachers – and make it viable for them to stay,” the pair wrote.

Garrison Douglas, a spokesperson for Kemp, declined comment, noting the governor would release his next budget proposal in January.

The state Department of Education couldn’t provide an immediate estimate of how much a pay raise would cost, but based on past pay raises, it could be between $400 million and $500 million. A report from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement says Georgia schools employed almost 150,000 people with teaching, administrative or support personnel certificates in the 2021-2022 school year.

One factor in favor of teacher pay raises is that 2024 is an election year for all 180 state House members and 56 state senators. Those important players in the state budget process may want to deliver for a key interest group to win their votes. Kemp and Woods do not face reelection next year.

Although state tax collections have cooled in recent months, Georgia could probably afford such a raise. Georgia plans to spend $32.5 billion in state revenue — or $55.9 billion overall once federal and other revenue is included — in the budget year that began July 1. But the state actually collected $37.7 billion last year, meaning revenue must fall by more than 15% for the state to run a deficit.

Kemp has pushed through a total of $7,000 in teacher pay raises since he was first elected in 2018. He ran that year on a pledge to deliver a $5,000 raise, which he did in two steps. Then after winning reelection, he delivered another $2,000. State and university employees have gotten equivalent amounts.

Atlanta area local elections are seeing sparse voter turnout in early voting, according to the AJC.

Early voting in local elections all over metro Atlanta ends today, with just a small fraction of registered voters showing up to cast ballots.

About 1% of residents in Fulton County had voted by the third and final week of early voting. About 2% are voting early in DeKalb County.

In the city of Duluth — with a population of nearly 32,000 — just 275 people voted early as of Wednesday. City Clerk Teresa Lynn said there are nearly 21,000 registered voters in the city but less than 2,000 traditionally vote in a municipal election.

“It is quite costly on the taxpayers to have three weeks of advanced voting,” she said. “It’s mandated by law that you have to have a poll manager and two assistant poll managers; and now an interpreter for Spanish languages. And you have to have a poll worker watching the absentee box outside.”

In Cobb County, just under 3,800 voters had cast ballots early as of Wednesday. More than 2,000 of those voters were in Smyrna. Clayton County had 3,000 ballots cast by in-person voters as of Thursday.

DeKalb County, where there are county-wide ballot questions, was approaching 14,000 early voters this week.

In Fulton, 16,000 residents have voted ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Thomas County voters are deciding whether to levy a continuation of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, (SPLOST), according to WALB.

Early voting continues this week and registered voters will be asked if they want to continue a special 1% sales and use tax in Thomas County.

Nov. 7 is the referendum in Thomas County. This will allow residents to vote on the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

“Thomas County has had a SPLOST for about – probably since the late 1980s, and this tax has to be renewed by the voters every six years, so that renewal is coming up,“ County Manager Michael Stephenson said.

The Jail Justice Center in Thomas County is just one of the areas where that SPLOST funding will go towards, to not only upgrade the facility but also some of the equipment, and to help with those safety concerns.

What happens if you don’t vote on the continuation of SPLOST Funds? Your vote is important as it can avoid an increase in property taxes or forgo capital improvements.

Now, according to election officials, the turnout here in Thomas County has not been what they’ve expected. So far less than half of the people registered to vote have actually participated in Early Voting.

“You’re voting for people that are going to run your community and run your schools. and so, I’m somewhat disappointed or maybe I’m just fooled… I just thought it would be a lot more turnout,” Supervisor of Elections Frank Scoggins said.

So far, only about 1,300 voters have cast their ballots. So, what happens if you do not vote on the continuation of SPLOST Funds? According to County Leaders, there will be one of two outcomes.

“We’ll either have to forgo capital improvements, which will compromise the services that we provide, or we would have to look at a property tax but there’s been no decision made in that area by the county commissioners,” Stephenson says.

Likewise, Colquitt County voters are deciding a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum, according to WALB.

On Nov. 7, voters across Georgia will be making choices on key races and issues. One issue that’s appearing in several counties is SPLOST money – a 1% sales tax for community projects.

“Parks and recreation we use the SPLOST funds to help with capital projects whether it’s new things or ongoing issues,” said Maggie Davidson, Executive Director of Moultrie Colquitt County Parks and Recreation.

One advantage of using SPLOST funding is less money that local taxpayers would have to pay that may or may not be within the county’s budget.

“If these had to come out of the operating budget, it would be a real burden on the property owners. Because of the SPLOST and TSPLOST, the city has been able to lower taxes for seven years in a row,” said Pete Dillard, Moultrie city manager.

Although SPLOST funding is a one percent sales tax, using these funds will help offset property owner’s tax, according to Dillard.

“Anyone that comes through Colquitt County, even visitors or people that come out of town, they will pay part of the sales tax. Some of the tax half it doesn’t even come from local taxpayers, but it helps offset some of the property tax,” said Cannon.

In Thomasville, municipal voters will elect a District 1 City Council member, according to WALB.

Candidates of District 1 are bringing housing to the front of their campaign. Councilwoman Wanda Warren currently holds the seat and says the city has implemented and executed plans to revitalize areas in the community that have housing needs.

Candidate for District 1 Lucinda Brown says she believes the housing crisis starts with mental rehabilitation. She says when people are in an environment where they live better, they tend to do better in society.
>
Election day is Nov. 7, and both candidates are encouraging District 1 residents to go out and cast your vote, as your vote matters.

Flowery Branch voters will decide between four candidates for City County Post 2, according to AccessWDUN.

Floyd County voters also will decide a SPLOST extension, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The State of Georgia will appeal the federal court rulings requiring new legislative district lines, but will not seek a stay of enforcement, according to the Associated Press via WSAV.

It wasn’t immediately clear Wednesday why the state is pursuing this strategy. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Attorney General Chris Carr, both Republicans, have yet to comment on the substance of the ruling and what the state will do going forward.

A federal judge ruled last week that some of Georgia’s congressional, state Senate and state House districts were drawn in a racially discriminatory manner, ordering the state to draw an additional Black-majority congressional district.

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, in his 516-page order, also ordered the state to draw two new Black-majority districts in Georgia’s 56-member state Senate and five new Black-majority districts in its 180-member state House.

Jones ordered Georgia’s Republican-majority General Assembly to fix the maps by Dec. 8, saying he would redaw districts if lawmakers did not. Hours after the ruling, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp issued a call for a special session to begin Nov. 29 to redraw congressional and legislative districts.

Jones’ order explicitly anticipated an appeal by the state. If Georgia doesn’t seek a stay, that’s likely to mean that an appeal would preserve use of the current districts only if a decision came quickly.

The qualifying deadline for congressional and legislative offices in March 8 and the U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled that judges shouldn’t require changes to districts too close to an election.

The judge ordered one new Black-majority congressional district in western metro Atlanta, two additional Black-majority state Senate districts in southern metro Atlanta, two additional Black-majority state House districts in and around Macon, two additional Black-majority state House districts in southern metro Atlanta and one additional Black-majority state House district in western metro Atlanta.

From Georgia Recorder:

House Speaker Jon Burns said Republican mapmakers are “looking deeply” into the order and what it will take to comply with it, according to remarks made Wednesday on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Politically Georgia podcast.

The remedy outlined in Jones’ ruling calls for five additional majority Black House districts. Republicans currently hold a 102-to-78 majority in a chamber where 91 votes are needed to pass a bill.

“I think at the end of the day we’ll be in a place that Judge Jones will be able to accept and be what’s best for our members and, more importantly, be impactful for our constituents and the people of Georgia,” Burns said on the show. “That’s what we’re going to get to, and I’m looking forward to going through that process.”

In the state Senate, Republicans have a 33-to-23 advantage, and Jones’ order calls for two additional Black majority Senate districts. And of Georgia’s 14 congressional seats, Republicans represent nine of them, up from eight last year.

A federal lawsuit that has delayed elections to the Georgia Public Service Commission and resulted in two members staying in office beyond their terms is expected to produce a result soon, according to The Current.

The PSC is a five-member board that is voted on state-wide for six-year terms on a rotating basis. It regulates monopoly utilities, including Georgia Power, and thus has a huge influence on Georgians’ pocketbooks. While commissioners are voted on state-wide, they are required to live in the district of the seat for which they’re running.

In 2020 Black voters challenged this at-large system, arguing it weakened Black voters’ voices, violating the Voting Rights Act of 1965. On August 5th, 2022, Judge Steven Grimberg ruled in their favor.

The State of Georgia appealed, and Judge Grimberg’s ruling was overturned by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reinstated Grimberg’s original ruling and removed the PSC race from the November 2022 ballot.

The Supreme Court then sent the case back to the 11th Circuit Court for review. A three-judge panel heard oral arguments in December, with both sides requesting an expedited review. They didn’t get one. No decision has been rendered as of Nov. 2, 2023.

If the old rules are upheld, Echols’ District 2 seat would be in line for a special election, while Districts 3 and 5 would be on the regular rotation, with an election scheduled for November 2024, McCorkle said. Commissioners Fitz Johnson and Tricia Pridemore are the incumbents in those seats.

On Friday, Nuclear Watch South and Georgia WAND filed a request with the PSC to delay its scheduled December vote that could allow Georgia Power to recoup from ratepayers up to $7.56 billion in expenses the utility has paid to construct the two over-budget and behind-schedule nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle.

The groups argue that two of the commissioners should not be voting because it was their elections the litigation delayed. Commissioner Fitz Johnson was appointed to his seat in July 2021 and has never been elected by voters. His term expired Dec. 31, 2022. Commissioner Tim Echols’ six-year term expired the same day.

Georgia State Rep. and Majority Leader Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) announced he will propose incorporation of a new city in Gwinnett County, according to the AJC.

Georgia House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula, plans to file legislation that would create the county’s second most populous city, tentatively named Mill Creek. He said the new city would allow residents there to have a better control over development.

“There’s been constant feedback that I’ve received from residents that Gwinnett County government has not been responsive to the concerns expressed about development proposals in this part of the county,” Efstration told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This proposal would allow city council members to represent districts with less than 10,000 residents and allow for far greater responsiveness to the concerns raised and the needs of the community.”

Efstration said he continues to take input on the proposed name, which could change. The city would include the Hamilton Mill neighborhood, where many are fighting a proposed mixed-use development, approved by county staff, that plans for 700 apartments.

A press conference is scheduled for noon today in the parking lot of the Hamilton Mill Swim and Tennis Park. State Sen. Clint Dixon, a Buford Republican who supports the proposed city, is expected to attend.

Under the current proposal, the city of Mill Creek would have five council members, including a mayor selected from among them. They would control planning and zoning decisions in an area increasingly opposed to dense growth. The new city would negotiate with Gwinnett County for other services including police, fire, water and sewer.

White-tailed deer are cutting into agricultural output and farmers’ profits, according to 13WMAZ.

[F]arming is expensive these days.

“Everything we buy is probably double, triple parts-wise. Help’s harder to come by so, I’ve got seed costs, man costs, fuel costs,” Cody Lord said.

“We’re already kind of on a tight profit margin the last year, or so — and then you’ve got deer eating stuff right out of your pocket,” he said.

Lord says they’ve been eating and destroying acres of soybean, cotton and peanuts.

“I’ll go show you 300 deer any night you want to see them,” Lord explained. “This year has been the worst we’ve ever seen them. I have no idea why the population has exploded, but it’s exploded.”

He says he had to replant a section of field gobbled up by deer. After having to pay for more seeds, weed killer, fuel and machinery, he says the 140 acres should yield 70 bushels of soybeans. That is equivalent to around $158,000.

However, he says due to deer damage, he might only be making half of that.

“They’re getting so bad– my cotton buddies, it’s costing them — I got one of my buddies that told me that they’re probably costing him $100,000 just this year,” Lord said.

“Deer hunters, I think there’s less of them according to the DNR. I don’t know how we get over this problem this year,” Lord said.

 

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) will begin work in 2025 to raise the Talmadge Bridge in Savannah by 20 feet, according to WTOC.

It’s a needed project GDOT says to help with growth at the nearby Port of Savannah.

The Talmadge Bridge has 185 feet of clearance, according to GDOT.

GDOT officials say the goal is to explore increasing the Talmadge’s height over time to allow for bigger cargo ships to pass below.

“It’s not something that would be noticeable right away or maybe even week to week to the driver and specifically to the folks below on the channel, but towards the end you would definitely notice a difference,” GDOT communications member Kyle Collins said.

Results from a public comment period of 140 people show that 59 support the project, 26 were against and the remainder were still making up their mind.

GDOT says crews will work to reduce traffic impacts while work is underway.

Four candidates are running for Wilcox County Sheriff, according to 13WMAZ.

People in Wilcox County will elect a new sheriff in a special election after Sheriff Robert Rodgers tragically died in a wreck on the job in August.

Now, four candidates are running for the seat: Lloyd Bloodworth, Bruce Carmichael, Lee Ramirez, and Jeffery Wessel.

The story does not mention that the Special Election for Wilcox County Sheriff will be held Tuesday, November 7, 2023.

Abany Mayor Bo Dorough is on the ballot on Tuesday seeking reelection, according to the Albany Herald.

The incumbent is being challenged by former City Commission member Henry Mathis and Albany businessmen Omar Salaam and Antonio Screen Sr. Earlier this week a group of area clergy members gave an endorsement of Mathis.

Lawrence McCray is running for Albany City Commission Ward I, according to WALB.

The 37-year-old is challenging incumbent Commissioner Jon Howard, who’s held his post since 1994. The commissioner was last challenged in 2007. Running against someone so cemented into the community is a humbling experience, McCray said, but he said the time is right for a change.

 

 

 

 

 

Warner Robins Mayor LaRhonda Patrick announced the name and prospective opening date of a new homeless shelter, according to 13WMAZ.

Mayor LaRhonda Patrick announced on Thursday the name for Warner Robins’ first city-owned homeless shelter: Haven Hope House.

People in Houston County can expect the doors to open in the second quarter of 2024. The city hopes this can happen in April.

“It has a brick facade in front of it, but there’s water between the outer structure and the brick. There is concern of mold, mildew,” she said.

Just around the corner from the future city shelter is Community Outreach Services Center. They’ve been open for nearly 24 years.

This winter, the city will bus unhoused individuals to the Table Church warming center. The Table Church worked with the city last year. Code Enforcement Officer Brian Wise says that shelter service will be available on dangerously cold nights.

Columbus will host a “Neighborhood Meeting” tonight to discuss efforts to clean up the city, according to WTVM.

City officials such as the Deputy Manager, Lisa Goodwin, in partnership with Public Works, Keep Columbus Beautiful, METRA and other organizations are hosting this event to work with people in the community about how the city can help residents get their neighborhoods cleaned up.

This effort is part of the ‘All Hands on Deck Campaign,’ to clean up the community and neighborhoods.

More ‘Neighborhood Meetings’ are being scheduled in other districts.

Bibb County is searching for a location to build a new jail, according to 13WMAZ.

Nearly three weeks ago, four inmates escaped from the 43-year-old building. Three are still on the run. Sheriff David Davis believes the building’s age played a role in the jailbreak.

This week, Davis wrote a letter to county leadership, commending the mayor and commission for supporting the effort to build a new one.

Mayor Lester Miller says he plans to put a new jail on the 2025 SPLOST. Davis says while construction can’t start until well after voters decide in 2025, they can start planning now. Part of the planning is deciding where to put a new facility.

“You can build them spread out. You can build them to where they’re multi-storied,” Davis said. “That type of design sort of dictates how much property you need to set the facility on.”

“You’ll have people saying, ‘No, we don’t want a jail facility in our neighborhood, or in our part of the community,’” Davis said.

Davis says his staff is already looking into what they’d like to put inside a new jail. At the top of the list is more space for mental health resources, more secure areas for violent inmates and more technology to help with staffing levels.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson will deliver his State of the City address next Wednesday, according to WTOC.

The Secretary of State’s Office hosted a “Money Talks” financial literacy program, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

This program strongly supports the Securities Division’s goal to empower, educate and encourage students in Georgia to be financially fit. The Money Talks panelists covered two days with three shows educating more than 200 students at both schools, both which also livestreamed to their other campuses across Georgia.

Valdosta named Kim Hughes as Manager of the Valdosta Main Street program, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kym Hughes as the new Valdosta Main Street manager. Her extensive experience and innovative ideas will undoubtedly be a great asset to downtown Valdosta’s continued growth and revitalization,” stated Assistant City Manager Catherine Ammons.

Ammons adds, “We believe she will play a vital role in further enhancing the appeal of Valdosta’s downtown district and driving its continued development.”

The City of Valdosta’s press release said the city is confident that Hughes’s extensive experience and innovative approach will contribute to the continued growth and revitalization of Valdosta’s Main Street, making it an even more attractive and vibrant destination for residents and visitors alike.

Former Hall County Commissioner Craig Lutz announced he will run for Chair of the Hall County Commission in 2024, according to AccessWDUN.

Former Hall County Commissioner and Board of Elections member Craig Lutz announced Thursday morning on WDUN’s The Martha Zoller Show his intention to run for the Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman seat in 2024.

Lutz served one term on the Hall County Commission after he was elected in August 2010. He then ran unsuccessfully for District 4 of the Georgia Public Service Commission in 2014. He has also served as a Flowery Branch City Councilman. Lutz most recently served as a Republican member of the Hall County Board of Elections.

Speaking with guest host Dr. Tom Smiley, Lutz said he initially ran for his commission seat in 2010 amid the housing crisis when “things were tough.”

“I see it happening again,” Lutz said. “Interest rates are going up. The housing market is starting to soften. We’re getting into a situation now where the budget is twice as big as it was when I left. I can tell you, the roads aren’t twice as nice, the services aren’t twice as nice.”

Lutz will face current Hall County Commission Chairman Richard Higgins in the May 2024 primary. Higgins announced in October his plan to run for reelection.

The Hall County Commission Chairman presides over the commissioners and is involved in various tasks including leading public commission meetings.

Eugene “Gino Rock” Brantley announced he will run for Richmond County Sheriff next year, according to WJBF.

“The biggest thing with the sheriff’s office right now is the morale of the officers. I think they are overworked, I think they are under-appreciated and I think if we can fix the vacancy part of it. We can recruit and retain officers that have experience– we’ll have a great foundation and something to build on,” Filer for Richmond County Sheriff Eugene Brantley said.

The Sheriff’s race will take place on the May 21st, 2024 General Primary Ballot. Qualifying for that race will be March 4th through the 8th.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments ( 0 )