The blog.

16
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 16, 2019

The Glynn County Commission will consider letting the animal control agency participate in “Clear the Shelters,” according to The Brunswick News.

“It’s an event on May 4 called ‘Emptying the Shelter.’ All dogs and cats adopted from the shelter on that day will cost a reduced fee of $25,” said Animal Control Manager Tiffani Hill.

The Bissell Pet Foundation, the organizer of the event, will award grants based on the number of pets adopted on May 4. If the commission approves the request, animal control will participate in the national event and get grant funding afterward.

According to a memo from Assistant County Manager Kathryn Downs to the commission, each adopted dog will add $100 to the grant while adopted cats increase the amount by $50.

“We want to encourage everyone the week before the event to visit the shelter and look at the pets and adopt on May 4,” Hill said.

Lucy Glynn

Lucy is a female Labrador Retriever and Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Glynn County Animal Services in Brunswick, GA.

Melody Glynn

Melody is a female Hound mix who is available for adoption from Glynn County Animal Services in Brunswick, GA.

Kingston Glynn

Kingston is a male Labrador Retriever and Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Glynn County Animal Services in Brunswick, GA.

16
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 16, 2019

April is the national month set aside to recognize Autism Awareness, Sexual Assault Awareness, and National Pecan Month. We are in the middle of National Library Week. April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day.

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.”

Thirty years ago this month “Say Anything” was released, marking the directorial debut of Cameron Crowe, who wrote “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and later directed “Singles.”

John Cusack, four years past playing a college freshman in The Sure Thing, plays graduating high school senior Lloyd Dobler. Ione Skye, three years after her debut in the very dark dramaRiver’s Edge, plays the brilliant and shy Diane Court. And John Mahoney, four years before he found sitcom immortality as Frasier Crane’s father Martin, plays Diane’s adoring and deeply flawed father, Jim. Writer and first-time director Cameron Crowe was best-known at the time for the screenplay for Fast Times at Ridgemont High — which is fondly remembered now as the launching pad for many respectable careers, but which Roger Ebert had called “a failure of taste, tone and nerve.”

Next month, John Cusack will appear for a Q&A and screening of “Say Anything” at the Savannah Civic Center.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Anne Ware Lewis, a long-time Republican election lawyer, has died, according to the AJC.

Georgia GOP Chairman John Watson said Lewis died late Sunday.

He praised her “unprecedented level of passion and leadership” as the state party’s longtime attorney.

“Her work as legal counsel was critical to the success of our party,” he said, “and Republicans across our state are devastated by her passing.”

“For decades, Anne Lewis used her passion, intellect and legal expertise to serve the Republican Party and advance the conservative movement,” said Kemp, now the governor. “Anne’s resilience — in the courtroom and in her battle against cancer — inspired countless Georgians.”

The Lewis family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at A.S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home in Decatur. A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Decatur. More information can be found here.

Voters in Atlanta City Council District 3 go to the polls today in a runoff, according to the AJC.

Governor Brian Kemp and GBI Director Vic Reynolds announced the appointment of Jaret Usher to lead a new anti-gang task force, according to GPB News.

The anti-gang task force is part of Kemp’s campaign pledge to “stop and dismantle criminal gangs,” and will be used as a tool to help local prosecutors build cases against alleged street gangs across Georgia.

Jaret Usher, a former Cobb County gang prosecutor, will lead it.

“We have the unique opportunity to go to every corner of this state,” Usher said. “We have the ability to collaborate with local, state and federal partners, share information, share knowledge and to combat the gangs as extensively as we need to and as extensively as they’re committing crimes.”

Kemp said that nearly every county in Georgia has reported gang activity, and said the task force will help law enforcement crack down on gangs and keep Georgians safe.

Governor Kemp will address Valdosta State University’s spring graduations, according to WTXL.

Governor Brian Kemp will deliver the keynote address during Valdosta State University’s Spring 2019 commencement ceremony.

More than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students will be recognized during Valdosta State University’s 227th commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11.

“We are delighted that the governor of this great state will be joining us as we recognize the outstanding efforts of our spring graduates and celebrate education as the foundation upon which success is built,” said Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU. “As a self-made businessman and public servant, Governor Kemp’s message will inspire and empower our students as they head out into the workforce and navigate life’s ups and downs, while pursuing their personal and professional goals.”

United States Senator David Perdue (R-Sea Island) spoke about President Trump’s plan to ship illegal aliens to sanctuary cities, according to the AJC.

Perdue said Monday that Trump’s comments were aimed at spurring Congressional action to stem “an explosion at the borders and exploding illegal drug traffic” at the border with Mexico.

“I don’t understand why the cities are trying to stand against the federal law,” he said of local governments that adopted sanctuary policies. “What the president is saying is right – there is an absolute five-alarm crisis at the border. It’s not just human trafficking, it’s drug trafficking.”

In the interview, Perdue was asked if he still supports the policy if those detained immigrants were moved to Atlanta. He shifted his criticism to cities that ignore federal immigration policies, and brought up the death of Kate Steinle, who was killed by an undocumented immigrant in 2015.

“That’s the unconscionable thing that happens when these people think they’re doing the liberal thing – good people suffer for that,” Perdue said. “And that’s what I think most people want to end.”

State Rep. Timothy Barr (R-Lawrenceville) spoke about the journalism legislation he co-sponsored, according to the Gainesville Times.

The Ethics in Journalism Act was introduced by State Rep. Andy Welch, R-McDonough, on April 2, the last day of the legislative session this year. It won’t be available for lawmakers to consider until they return in January 2020. Media outlets have since reported that Welch has resigned.

Barr said the voluntary nature of accreditation addresses First Amendment concerns.

“We’re taking nobody’s First Amendment away. It’s completely voluntary. The board is made up of journalists,” he said.

Accreditation could be a “stamp of good housekeeping” for news organizations, particularly smaller blogs or websites, Barr said. The accreditation could be a way for news outlets to prove accountability in reporting, he said.

“Mostly this would be directed toward folks that wouldn’t have a big organization behind them,” Barr said. “I think it would be a good way for smaller organizations, smaller internet blog-type outlets to be able to get a stamp of approval such as, I keep referring back to, maybe a chamber of commerce.”

Congressman Rob Woodall (R-Suburbs) told the Rotary Club of Lawrenceville that he believe bipartisanship is still possible, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“The House is very partisanly divided but there are going to be lots of bipartisan opportunities,” Woodall said. “I’ve spent the last eight years generating bipartisan chips in the chip jar and working together to get things done (and) I’m going to use every one of those over the next 18 to 20 months to try and move the needle forward.”

The congressman said he sees some potential for bipartisanship in areas such as the reauthorization of the federal highway bill and a major infrastructure package that touches on transportation, water and Internet infrastructure. He also said he believes there are opportunities for bipartisan work in the House Education and Labor Committee.

A fourth area where Woodall believes there could be room for bipartisanship is the National Defense Authorization Act. He warned that is not a given, however.

“That’s going to be the really interesting one this year,” Woodall said. “The National Defense Authorization Act lays out our entire national security posture for the year. No matter who’s been in the White House, no matter who’s been leading Congress, we’ve passed it every single year for 50 years.”

Glynn County government agencies reported on projects funded by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), according to The Brunswick News.

The Athens-Clarke County citizens committee on the SPLOST is working on a list of projects ahead of a projected November vote, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The commission, which has the final say on the project list, have already signaled that they intend to include several projects on the list — a $44.5 million affordable housing program, an $82 million “space modernization program” which is primarily for a new courthouse, and, if voters approve, $21 million in interest on money the government would borrow to get some of the projects going right away.

Commissioners have penciled in a November date for a vote on whether to extend the tax until collections reach about $248 million, or $278 million if the commission opts for a higher goal.

It would take about nine years to collect $248 million from the penny tax, and 10 years to reach $278 million, according to estimates. The 1 percent tax would not be a new tax, but an extension of the Special Local Option Sales Tax voters approved in a vote nearly a decade ago.

Now the citizen committee, appointed last year by commissioners and then-Mayor Nancy Denson, has asked commissioners to tell them which of the remaining 80-plus projects they favor, not as a group but with each commissioner indicating all the projects he or she would put on the final list.

Dalton Public Schools will spend $2 million dollars more without raising taxes under their next draft budget, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

State funding for Dalton Public Schools will increase by nearly $2.3 million to fund $3,000 pay raises for teachers and other certified staff, according to a draft fiscal year 2020 budget presented to the Board of Education Monday night.

“State funding is the most exciting part of this budget,” said Chief Financial Officer Theresa Perry.

The state budget approved by the legislature earlier this year provides funding for a $3,000 pay increase for teachers, counselors and other certified personnel.

Fiscal year 2020 starts July 1.

The budget calls for $84.9 million in spending, up from $81 million in the fiscal 2019 budget. It anticipates $83.6 million in revenue, up from $80 million in the 2019 budget. The school system will reach into its fund balance to cover the difference. The budget forecasts ending the 2020 fiscal year with a fund balance of $16 million.

The property tax rate would remain at 8.2 mills for the sixth year in a row. The budget projects that tax rate would bring in $31.909 million, up from $30.374 million thanks to growth in the tax digest.

Augusta is revising its safety code after a 12-year old was electrocuted last year, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Savannah continues to see deployment of new solar installations, according to the Savannah Morning News.

15
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 15, 2019

Smokey Bandit Cairo

Smokey and the Bandit are 3-1/2 month old Labrador Retriever mix puppies who are available for adoption from Best Friends Dog Rescue in Cairo, GA.

Bella Ann Cairo

Bella Ann is a young female Labrador Retriever and American Bulldog mix puppy who is available for adoption from Best Friends Dog Rescue in Cairo, GA.

Crumbs Cairo

Crumbs is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Best Friends Dog Rescue in Cairo, GA.

15
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 15, 2019

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.

Fort Pulaski National Monument in Savannah celebrated the 175th Anniversary of a battle for control of the fort, according to the Savannah Morning News.

[Park Ranger of Interpretation Jamie] Niles said the battle for Fort Pulaski made history. It was the first time that rifled cannons breached heavy masonry walls in combat.

“When the fort was completed in 1847, those new rifled guns didn’t exist. They were in development at the time,” Niles said. “It was considered state of the art technology.”

Union forces fired at the Confederate fort from Tybee Island — over a mile away — with the rifled cannons. The artillery burst through the southeast wall, exposing the powder magazine on the other side of the fort.

Confederate forces surrendered within 30 hours.

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation presented awards for preservation, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Kehoe Iron Works in Savannah received the Marguerite Williams Award, presented annually to the project that has had the greatest impact on preservation in the state. The building also received an award for Excellence in Rehabilitation.

Kehoe Iron Works was recognized for the sheer scale and impact of its rehabilitation while overcoming significant challenges, including remediation of a brownfield site, according to a press release from the Georgia Trust.

Today, the complex features 8,000 square feet for events and gatherings and an outdoor plaza and amphitheater featuring a commanding view of the Savannah River. This project is an excellent example of the vision and historic preservation ethic that has brought an important piece of the city’s industrial, cultural and architectural history back to life, the Georgia Trust wrote in a press release.

Also winning an Excellence in Rehabilitation award was the 12 W. Oglethorpe Ave. project in Savannah, now home to Husk restaurant.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp sat for a Q&A, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Q: What are your thoughts on the medical marijuana cultivation bill and how that settled out? That one went to conferences as well, didn’t it?

A: Yes, it did. It was a long conference, too. You know, the speaker and the lieutenant governor and I, and all the legislative leaders that we’re working on that issue, we were all working on that, which is a little bit unusual, I think. Most of the time, it’s the legislators doing that with just direction from the different parties, but we were all actually in the same room … got a lot done. You know, some people feel like the House bill was where we needed to be, and some people felt like the Senate bill was too restrictive. And we ended up somewhere in between, which I think is probably a good fit. I have very mixed emotions on that bill. I do believe there’s people in the industry that are pushing the medical side to lead to recreational marijuana, which I’m absolutely against. You won’t see that happen on my watch as long as I’m governor. That concerns me greatly. I think that’s a bad way for us to go.

Q: … Now that the session is over, what are some of the main things you’re planning to work on?

A: Well, doing exactly what I said I would do. … We’re going to start working on what we need to do next session. We had a very aggressive agenda this year. I think we got a lot more done than people thought we would, but now we’re already digging in on really reforming, streamlining and looking at ways (to) make state government more efficient.

… And then we got a lot of other big issues on our plate. … It’s taken a lot of my time dealing with D.C. on this whole disaster relief thing. Absolutely ridiculous that they cannot get a bill passed up there to help our farmers. And our folks down there are literally dying on the vine. I will say that Sens. Isakson and Perdue, I had been working constantly with them. They are doing everything in their power to get a deal done. It’s just the Democrats don’t want to play ball with them. And they probably won’t come out and say this because they’re still hopeful that they can get something done. It’s all politics.

Gov. Kemp will sign House Bill 324, the medical cannabis bill, this week, according to the AJC.

Kemp’s office said he plans to sign House Bill 324 on Wednesday at the state Capitol, which would for the first time legalize the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana through small growers, state universities and licensed sellers.

In an interview earlier this month, Kemp expressed his support for the measure but said he was torn over whether it was the best way to expand the program.

“It’s a very, very tough issue. But there’s a lot of legislative support for it. I respect the legislative process, and I understand why people are doing it, and I understand why people have grave concerns about this,” he said. “I have all of those feelings. It’s a really tough spot.”

Six private companies can grow medical marijuana, but no dispensaries will be allowed until a state board licenses them.

Pharmacies can provide medical marijuana oil to patients, but few pharmacies are likely to participate because doing so could jeopardize their federal permission to sell other drugs. And two proposed university-run marijuana programs will be dependent on federal approval.

David Emadi, the new Executive Director of the Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, said they will issue subpoenas in delayed investigations, according to the AJC.

The new director of the state ethics commission plans to subpoena bank records from the campaign of 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams and groups that raised money to help her in last year’s nationally watched race.

Lauren Groh-Wargo, Abrams’ former campaign manager, said, “The Abrams campaign worked diligently to ensure compliance throughout the election and, had we been notified of any irregularities, would have immediately taken action to rectify them.”

“The new ethics chief — a Kemp donor and former Republican Party leader — is using his power to threaten and lob baseless partisan accusations at the former Abrams campaign when they should be focused on real problems like the unethical ties between the governor’s office and voting machine lobbyists instead.”

“Those investigations are all moving forward,” Emadi said. “What I can say about the investigation into the Abrams campaign is, in the relatively near future, I expect we will be issuing subpoenas for bank and finance records of both Miss Abrams and various PACs and special-interest groups that were affiliated with her campaign.”

Congress failed to fund Hurricane relief measures in Georgia, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The $14 billion aid package is desperately needed by farmers and others who suffered losses when Hurricane Michael swept across the state in October, Gov. Brian Kemp said recently.

Kemp said the lack of action by Congress shows “we have reached a low point as a nation.”

“This gridlock exposes the rotten core of some in Congress,” Kemp said. “They would rather crush an entire industry — destroying the livelihood of countless Americans — than do something that the opposition party wants. This dire situation highlights the brokenness in Washington.”

Liberal Democrat Jon Ossoff is looking at a run for United States Senator, according to the AJC.

As he weighs a U.S. Senate run, Democrat Jon Ossoff is sharpening a populist message that echoes his party’s liberal wing: a pledge to stop “criminalizing poverty,” a promise of a debt-free higher education system, a vow to legalize recreational marijuana and a guarantee of health insurance for all Americans.

The Democrat is one of a half-dozen high-profile contenders eyeing a race for the seat if Stacey Abrams, who is set to decide this month, sets her sights elsewhere. Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson already filed the paperwork necessary to run, while other contenders could do so soon.

“It’s past time to legalize, regulate and tax cannabis – whose prohibition only enriches cartels, bail bondsman and the owners of private prisons. And we should be enlightened enough now to treat addiction and mental illness with healthcare, not with prison.” [said Ossoff]

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles will host private meetings with crime victims, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Georgia’s Parole Board and Office of Victim Services  are inviting crime victims  from anywhere in the state to Augusta Technical College to meet confidentially with board members and staff during a Victims Visitors’ Day, April 24.

Victims of crimes whose perpetrators may eventually be considered for parole will be able to meet with the Parole Board members and staff from the board’s Clemency Division. This is the 31st such event the five-member board has hosted since the Victims Visitors’ Day program was launched in 2006, but only the second time the board has visited Augusta.

“This event affords the crime victim an opportunity to speak directly to the Parole Board and give us information for the case file that will be important when we make a parole decision,” Terry Barnard, State Board of Pardons and Paroles chairman, said in a news release.

“Not only is the information the victims provide important to the parole process, we want victims to understand the parole process and their role, which again is vital to the board making informed parole decisions,” Barnard said. “We consider every item of information in the case file before making a decision, and that includes the victim’s information.”

A Skidaway Island creek has been renamed from Runaway Negro Creek to Freedom Creek, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names voted last Thursday to rename Runaway Negro Creek, a creek near Skidaway Island, to Freedom Creek.

On Jan. 5, Georgia Archives officials submitted the application for the name change to the USBGN to change the waterway’s name. The federal board is responsible for determining geographic name usage across the country.

The name change was originally proposed after a public interest meeting during the summer of 2017, according to a press release from Sen. Lester Jackson (D-District 2).

Qualifying for a vacant seat on Flowery Branch City Council runs today through Wednesday, according to AccessWDUN.

The post was left vacant when Mary Jones resigned in December, citing health concerns.

Jones’ term was set to expire in 2019, so the special election will fill the vacancy through the end of the year. Another election will be held in November for the next term.

Middle Georgia peach crops may be doing well this year, according to the Macon Telegraph.

“We’ve got a really good crop of peaches on the trees,” said Will McGehee, sales manager at Pearson Farm in Peach County. “We are as excited this year as we have been in a long time.”

The peach crop is particularly important in Middle Georgia because it’s labor intensive and employs hundreds of people, including migrant workers who come up from Mexico on a temporary work visa during the season. Stores in the area see an impact during a bad year when the workers aren’t here.

In a good year, the crop generates about $50 million in Georgia, and most of that comes from Middle Georgia. Growers produce about 140 million pounds of peaches in a typical year, according to the Peach Regional Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to the jobs that peaches bring the Middle Georgia, the crop is also responsible for a significant amount of tourism. Pearson Farm, Lane Southern Orchards in Peach County and Dickey Farms in Crawford have packing houses that are open to the public and draw thousands of tourists when the crop is coming in.

Warner Robins Economic Development Director Gary Lee is appealing his suspension after being indicted, according to the Macon Telegraph.

A Warner Robins city official who was suspended after being accused of criminal misconduct has requested a hearing before the mayor to appeal his suspension.

Gary Lee, 54, the city’s economic development director, is on suspension without pay, after his indictment on a felony charge of making a false statement to a sheriff’s investigator during a criminal investigation.

One of Lee’s attorneys said the suspended director is innocent of charges against him and was, in fact, acting “in the capacity of a whistleblower.”

Rome and Floyd County will present an update on SPLOST projects on Thursday, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The 2013 special purpose, local option sales tax package contained $1,379,000 used to renovate the former Zartic plant for expanded recycling operations.

Collections for the $64.9 million SPLOST package ended March 31 but the 1-cent sales tax continued. Revenue since April 1 is funding a $63.9 million package of projects approved by voters in 2017.

City Manager Sammy Rich and County Manager Jamie McCord are slated to present status reports to each SPLOST Citizen Advisory Committee. Most of the 2013 projects are done, but Chulio Hills subdivision is still waiting for its secondary access road.

Glynn County Commissioner Peter Murphy will host a Town Hall on Wednesday, according to The Brunswick News.

12
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 12, 2019

Eve Augusta

Eve is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Hands to Paws Rescue in Augusta, GA.

Eve is a sweet girl found with her brother wandering brick yard. No owners found so her rescuers decided to foster them until a suitable home could be found. Eve is attached to her brother Adam who seems to look out for her. Eve loves people and loves to give kisses. She is good with other dogs.

Adam Augusta

Adam is a young male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Hands to Paws Rescue in Augusta, GA.

Duke Augusta

Duke is a male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Hands to Paws Rescue in Augusta, GA.

Duke is an adorable one and a half year old Pit Bull who’s very loving, affectionate, sweet, and submissive. He was rescued last August in Burke County, a community known for their huge stray animal epidemic because there are no animal welfare services and it’s very common for dogs to be abandoned at dumpsters or in the road! Duke was rescued by a woman in that county as a stray, along with another dog, but could not keep them because the landlord was threatening to shoot them! A lot of great people worked hard behind the scenes to get him to a safe place and he’s currently being fostered by Jim and his family in Burke County.

According to Jim, Duke is a happy boy who loves belly rubs and is great with other dogs, cats, and loves his three kids, ages 12, 14, and 20. Jim says that Duke has a great personalty with the biggest smile he’s every seen. He will melt your heart. He thinks that Duke was mistreated in his past life because he cowers if anyone moves too quickly and he hides a lot – there’s no telling what this sweet, gentle soul has had to endure but now he’s in a loving foster home and is learning that he can trust people and is getting all of the love that he deserves.Jim says that the calmer you are, the more he listens and the more love he wants to get and give. Just look at that grin! What’s not to love?

12
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 12, 2019

On April 15, 1741, the Georgia colony was divided into two counties – Savannah County and Frederica County.

GeorgiaCountyMap1741

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 in what is now Albemarle County, Virginia. Jefferson served as Governor of Virginia, United States Secretary of State, delegate to the Second Continental Congress, and Third President of the United States. Jefferson is credited with writing the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.

The first American society advocating for abolition of slavery was founded on April 14, 1775, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Benjamin Franklin would later serve as President of the organization.

On April 12, 1861, Confederates in Charleston, SC opened fire on Federal-held Fort Sumter opening the Civil War.

During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincolnissued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

On April 13, 1861, Union forces surrendered Fort Sumter after 33 hours of bombardment by Confederates.

“The General” Locomotive was hijacked at Big Shanty (now Kennesaw), Georgia on April 12, 1862, leading to “The Great Locomotive Chase.” The locomotive is now housed in the Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln as the President attended a showing of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater, seven blocks from the White House; Lincoln survived nine hours before dying the next day.

RMS Titanic hit an iceberg just before midnight on April 14, 1912. Among those losing their lives was Major Archibald Butt of Augusta, Georgia, who had served as a military aide to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

“Captain Smith and Major Archibald Butt, military aide to the President of the United States, were among the coolest men on board. A number of steerage passengers were yelling and screaming and fighting to get to the boats. Officers drew guns and told them that if they moved towards the boats they would be shot dead. Major Butt had a gun in his hand and covered the men who tried to get to the boats. The following story of his bravery was told by Mrs. Henry B. Harris, wife of the theatrical manager: ‘The world should rise in praise of Major Butt. That man’s conduct will remain in my memory forever. The American army is honored by him and the way he taught some of the other men how to behave when women and children were suffering that awful mental fear of death. Major Butt was near me and I noticed everything that he did.”

“When the order to man the boats came, the captain whispered something to Major Butt. The two of them had become friends. The major immediately became as one in supreme command. You would have thought he was at a White House reception. A dozen or more women became hysterical all at once, as something connected with a life-boat went wrong. Major Butt stepped over to them and said: ‘Really, you must not act like that; we are all going to see you through this thing.’”

“He helped the sailors rearrange the rope or chain that had gone wrong and lifted some of the women in with a touch of gallantry. Not only was there a complete lack of any fear in his manner, but there was the action of an aristocrat. ‘When the time came he was a man to be feared. In one of the earlier boats fifty women, it seemed, were about to be lowered, when a man, suddenly panic-stricken, ran to the stern of it. Major Butt shot one arm out, caught him by the back of the neck and jerked him backward like a pillow. His head cracked against a rail and he was stunned. ‘Sorry,’ said Major Butt, ‘women will be attended to first or I’ll break every damned bone in your body.’”

“The boats were lowered one by one, and as I stood by, my husband said to me, ‘Thank God, for Archie Butt.’ Perhaps Major Butt heard it, for he turned his face towards us for a second and smiled.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia.

On April 12, 1961, Russian Commienaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to go to outer space and the first to orbit earth.

The triumph of the Soviet space program in putting the first man into space was a great blow to the United States, which had scheduled its first space flight for May 1961. Moreover, Gagarin had orbited Earth, a feat that eluded the U.S. space program until February 1962, when astronaut John Glenn made three orbits in Friendship 7.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama on April 12, 1963; while there he would write his famed, “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

The Braves played their first home game in Atlanta on April 12, 1966.

Kennesaw Junior College became a senior college on April 14, 1976 by vote of the Georgia Board of Regents.

By this time, enrollment had tripled from an initial student count of 1,014 in the fall of 1966 to 3,098 in the fall of 1975. Numerous local leaders were involved in the fight for four-year status, but the two politicians playing the most pivotal roles were state Representatives Joe Mack Wilson and Al Burruss of Marietta. In time the memories of both would be honored by having buildings named for them on the Kennesaw campus.

The Space Shuttle Columbia became the first reusable orbital vehicle when it launched on April 12, 1981.

A U.S. Postage stamp bearing Georgia’s state bird and state flower was issued as part of a series including all 50 states on April 14, 1982, with first day ceremonies held in Washington and each state.

On April 14, 2010, a signature by Button Gwinnett, one of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence sold at auction for $722,500 at an auction by Sotheby’s. About 50 examples of his signature are knoawn to exist and six have been auctioned since 1974.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Democratic Congressional candidate Steve Foster is back in the pokey, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Steve Foster, who was the 2018 Democratic candidate in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, was charged Tuesday by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office with misdemeanor probation violation. He lost to Republican incumbent Tom Graves of Ranger.

Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris sentenced Foster, a Dalton businessman and former physician, to six months to serve in jail and six months on probation for an Aug. 7 conviction for DUI. Foster was released from jail on Nov. 6, Election Day.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wouldn’t say whether his caucus will support Herman Cain for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, according to AccessWDUN.

Governor Brian Kemp joined the state’s Red Carpet Tour in Augusta, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The annual economic development initiative, which revolves around the first and third rounds of the Masters Tournament, is designed to showcase the state’s pro-business climate to prospective business and industry.

Kemp told tour guests his administration and state lawmakers are committed to supporting “good jobs and good companies being in Georgia.”

“We all have a commitment to continue to have a great business environment – the best business environment in the country,” he said during brief remarks before tour guests departed for the course.

The four-day, invitation-only hospitality event is a partnership between the Georgia and Augusta Metro chambers of commerce. Stops on the tour vary by year, but always include two days at the Augusta National Golf Club.

Governor Kemp also weighed in on the Savannah River controversy, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp became the latest to declare his support for efforts to keep the Savannah River at full pool during an event Thursday in Augusta.

Kemp and his family was in town for the Red Carpet Tour economic development event and was warmly greeted by many in the crowd, including local and congressional legislators, Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis and Georgia Department of Transportation Board Member Don Grantham. Kemp said he had been speaking with Grantham “and a lot of people in the Augusta area for months about this issue.”

Former Governor Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal were honored at the Northeast Georgia History Center’s Taste of History dinner, according to the Gainesville Times.

“They’re inspirations,” said Glen Kyle, the history center’s executive director. “Not just to us grownups, they’re inspirations to the kids, they’re inspirations to each and every student in Hall County and in Georgia because they reflect the absolute best that Northeast Georgia and Hall County has to offer.”

A majority of the proceeds from the event went to support its reading program, which offers one-on-one free tutoring to low-income students in Hall County who need reading assistance.

Nathan Deal said Thursday’s fundraiser was an example of the significant offering the community is willing to make for the good of others.

“I’ve never seen an audience come forward voluntarily with so many willing contributions of significant sums of money to try to help young children with their reading skills,” he said. “That’s why Sandra devoted so much of her efforts as first lady to doing exactly that.”

“Georgia has been blessed to have a pair that understood the power of love, that understood the power of hope, that understood the power of grace,” [Congressman Doug] Collins said. “When that occurs, all of us can walk hand in hand. And, for this country boy, my life is better because of your example.”

Gov. Kemp also addressed federal aid for farmers after Hurricane Michael, according to the Albany Herald.

“Georgia farmers, who suffered generational losses during Hurricane Michael, are on the verge of bankruptcy,” Kemp said. “Yet a handful of vindictive politicians refuse to end the gridlock and provide the resources these hard-working Americans so desperately need.

“This gridlock exposes the rotten core of some in Congress. They would rather crush an entire industry — destroying the livelihood of countless Americans — than do something that the opposition party wants. This dire situation highlights the brokenness in Washington. We have reached a low point as a nation.”

Agriculture is Georgia’s largest — and oldest — industry, employing one in seven Georgians and contributing $74 billion to the state’s economy annually. Hurricane Michael made landfall on Oct. 10 as the third-most intense hurricane in our nation’s history, dealing $2.5 billion in damage to Georgia crops alone. Georgia has received no disaster relief funds appropriated by Congress since the storm’s devastating damage.

Floyd County benefits from tourism, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism Director Lisa Smith explained to local community leaders Thursday that tourism is economic development. Speaking to the Rome Rotary Club that numbers produced for the state for 2017 showed approximately $159 million in expenditures tied to tourism in Floyd County. “That’s $435 per day,” Smith said.

Tourism is responsible for more than 1,400 jobs in Floyd County. Tourists generated more than $4 million in state tax revenue and $4.6 million in local taxes.

“As a household, this saves you $311 per year on your property tax,” Smith said.

Bibb County‘s suicide rate is running ahead of last year’s, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Bibb County had 15 suicides in all of 2018 but is already closing in on that number this year.

On Wednesday Bibb had its 12th suicide of the year, according to Coroner Leon Jones. That would be on pace to exceed the 24 suicides the county saw in 2017, which was the most in Jones’ 29 years with the coroner’s office.

Houston County Coroner Danny Galpin said there have been five suicides in Houston this year. Three of those happened recently over just two days. He also said there were 27 suicides in the county last year.

Hall County will begin accepting recycling from Lumpkin County, according to the Gainesville Times.

Starting April 15, Hall County will take in Lumpkin County’s recycling, after commissioners approved an agreement with Lumpkin at their Wednesday meeting.

Lumpkin will bring its recyclables, except glass, to the Hall County Recycling Center on Chestnut Street in Gainesville. Hall will pay Lumpkin half the market rate for its cardboard and will not pay Lumpkin for single-stream recycling, which includes paper, metal and plastics.

Savannah City Council will consider whether to spend $3.5 million on property for a new waste facility, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Deep Thoughts

The most liberal Democrats have an outsized presence on Twitter, according to the New York Times.

The outspoken group of Democratic-leaning voters on social media is outnumbered, roughly 2 to 1, by the more moderate, more diverse and less educated group of Democrats who typically don’t post political content online, according to data from the Hidden Tribes Project. This latter group has the numbers to decide the Democratic presidential nomination in favor of a relatively moderate establishment favorite, as it has often done in the past.

In an informal poll of Democrats on one of our Twitter accounts on Monday, about 80 percent said they were liberal, and a similar percentage said they had a college degree. Only 20 percent said political correctness was a problem, and only 2 percent said they were black.

In reality, the Democratic electorate is both ideologically and demographically diverse. Over all, around half of Democratic-leaning voters consider themselves “moderate” or “conservative,” not liberal. Around 40 percent are not white.

In recent decades, most of the candidates who have found their core strength among the party’s ideologically consistent, left-liberal activist base have lost. Gary Hart, Jerry Brown, Jesse Jackson, Howard Dean and Mr. Sanders all fell short against candidates of the party’s establishment, like Walter Mondale, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton. The establishment candidates won the nomination by counting on the rest of the party’s voters.

I can’t do justice to the article with a few pull quotes, so I recommend reading it in its entirety.

An opinion piece in the Washington Post paints a similar picture of a Democratic activist class separated ideologically from the mass of voters.

The newspaper headlines and cable TV newscasts went into “scandal!” mode with complaints from women who came forth to point out that former vice president Joe Biden has about as much respect for personal space as a golden retriever puppy. How many columns and soundbites have tried to equate Biden’s touchy-feely habits with sexual harassment and assault? Too many to count.

Do Democratic voters care? There’s scant evidence that Biden has been harmed by complaints timed to coincide with his anticipated announcement. In the latest Hill-HarrisX poll, “Biden enjoyed a strong lead among respondents who identified as Democrats. The former vice president was the top choice of 36 percent of party loyalists compared to [Sen. Bernie] Sanders’s 19 percent. [Sen. Kamala D.] Harris was the third-most popular choice among Democratic voters with 9 percent.” Likewise, in the Morning Consult poll, Biden remains in the low 30s (33 percent), with Sanders back at 25 percent. We should keep in mind that no poll is predictive as to the outcome of the race, but polling does reflect the relative strength of the candidates at this moment.

And then there is the conventional wisdom about how far left the Democrats have swung. Well, Biden is leading, O’Rourke is doggedly center-left, and Buttigieg is earning plaudits for talking about faith and values. Maybe the story of the far left’s ascendancy has been overplayed.

Taking a step back, there are only five candidates (including Biden, who’s not officially in the race) above 5 percent in the RealClearPolitics average, only seven above 2 percent. Candidates keep jumping in, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) the latest, but there are far more candidates who have not registered at all with voters than those who have. The more crowded the field, the harder any one of the lesser-known contenders will find it to break through. A huge field doesn’t mean anyone can win; it means the really heavy guns predominate, those in the lower-middle tier (e.g. Sen. Cory Booker) have trouble getting heard, and the utterly unknowns remain unknown.

11
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 11, 2019

Sammy Newnan

Sammy (above, right) is a young male Dachshund and Jack Russell Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from TenderHeart & Great Pyr Rescue in Newnan, GA.

Billy Newnan

Billy is a young male Dachshund and Jack Russell Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from TenderHeart & Great Pyr Rescue in Newnan, GA.

Juliette Newnan

Juliette is a young female Treeing Walker Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from TenderHeart & Great Pyr Rescue in Newnan, GA.

11
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 11, 2019

Button Gwinnett, one of Georgia’s signers of the Declaration of Independence, was born on April 10, 1735 in Gloucester, England, though some authorities say it was his baptism that was recorded that day. Gwinnett also served in the Georgia legislature, where he wrote the first draft of the state Constitution and served as Speaker.

On April 11, 1768, Benjamin Franklin was named Georgia’s agent “to represent, solicit, and transact the affairs of this province in Great Britain.” Arguably, this makes Benjamin Franklin the first American lobbyist. This is what his lobbyist badge looked like:

Benjamin Franklin Lobbyist Card2

Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, was exiled to Elba Island in the Mediterranean, on April 11, 1814

On April 11, 1853, John Archibald Campbell was appointed Justice of the United States Supreme Court by President Franklin Pierce. After graduating from the University of Georgia at 14, he attended West Point, where his fellow cadets included Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. After the beginning of the Civil War, Campbell resigned from the Court and was appointed Assistant Secretary of War for the Confederacy by Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Confederate troops surrendered Fort Pulaski, on Cockspur Island off Savannah, on April 11, 1862. Part of the construction of Fort Pulaski was overseen by a young Second Lieutenant in the United States Army named Robert E. Lee.

General Robert E. Lee gave his last address to the Army of Northern Virginia on April 10, 1865.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded on April 10, 1866.

The American Third Army liberated Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany on April 11, 1945. Among the survivors of Buchenwald was Elie Wiesel; in 1986, Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize.

On April 10, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American professional major league baseball player when the Brooklyn Dodgers bought his contract.

Apollo 13 was launched on April 11, 1970.

The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need tojury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.

On April 11, 1977, President Jimmy Carter hosted the Easter Egg Roll on the lawn of the White House. In the finest tradition of Georgia Democrats, Carter added a circus to the event.

Winners of the Masters Tournament on April 10 include Sam Snead (1949), Gary Player (1961), Tom Watson (1977) and Tiger Woods (4th – 2005). Congratulations to the following winners of the Masters Tournament who donned the green jacket on April 11: Seve Ballesteros (2d – 1983), Jack Nicklaus (2d in 1965; 3d in 1966), Ray Floyd (1976), Nick Faldo (1996), Jose Maria Olazabal (2d – 1999), Phil Mickelson (1st -2004; 3d – 2010), and Claude Harmon (1948), the first Georgian to win the Masters.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Republican Chris Erwin won the latest round in the never-ending Primary Election for House District 28 by a 75.48% to 24.52% margin.

Governor Brian Kemp and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black spoke about federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Michael, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

“The simplest, easiest thing is for Congress to pass the disaster bill,” Kemp told reporters at a Wednesday press conference at the state Capitol. “We have done this in the past. We have done this for Puerto Rico.

“I know in southwest Georgia, these people feel like, ‘We are out of sight. We’re out of mind. People could care less about us.’ And that is not right. That is absolutely not right.”

It has been six months since Hurricane Michael entered the southwest corner of the state as a Category 3 storm, inflicting about $2.5 billion in damages to the agricultural industry.

A disaster relief bill that would have delivered about $13.5 billion in aid to several states, including Georgia, failed in the U.S. Senate earlier this month.

“I’m asking for action from Congress, and there’s plenty on both sides that need to come to the table to help,” Black said.

A state loan program has likely helped dozens of farmers at least plant again this year, Black said. Lawmakers have approved $75 million for the program, with 274 farmers receiving loans.

“We cannot continue to wait,” Kemp said. “We already have generational losses, but we’re going to run the risk of just this whole industry for some families just completely going away.”

Governor Kemp spoke at the annual meeting of the Chatsworth-Eton-Murray County Chamber of Commerce, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday that the state’s 2020 budget contains a “healthy down payment” on his promise of a $5,000 raise for the state’s public school teachers.

That budget includes a $3,000 raise for teachers and other certified school employees starting July 1.

State Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, said after the meeting that the teacher pay raise shows how much the governor and lawmakers value the work teachers do, and he said it will have a particularly big economic impact on rural counties.

“In all but our largest counties, the school system is the largest employer, so this is going to give those communities a big shot in the arm,” said Jasperse, who represents parts of Murray, Gordon and Pickens counties.

Kemp gained a big round of applause when he noted that lawmakers passed the LIFE (Living Infants Fairness and Equality) Act, which he said will “protect the innocent unborn.” That bill will ban most abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is at about six weeks. Kemp is expected to sign the bill.

But while Kemp said he is proud of what he and the General Assembly have done, he said he is frustrated that Congress has failed to pass a disaster relief bill that would help Georgia farmers hurt by Hurricane Michael, victims of last year’s wildfires in California and those harmed by recent flooding in the Midwest. Democrats in the U.S. Senate blocked a relief bill earlier this month, saying it didn’t do enough to help Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria in September of 2017.

“That makes it even more frustrating,” Kemp said. “They (Puerto Rico) have gotten tens and tens of billions of dollars already. I think everybody supports doing more for them. I think they need it. But it shouldn’t hold up what we are trying to do for our farmers. It’s just ridiculous.”

Republicans claim Congresswoman Lucy McBath (D-6) signed for a package at an address in Tennessee, alleging she is not a Georgia resident, according to FoxNews.

Georgia Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath was the target of some creative trolling by the Republican Party over her widely disputed claim that she actually lives in Georgia, after receiving and signing for a gift basket the GOP sent to her address – in Tennessee.

The state’s Cobb County Tax Commissioner’s Office, which refrained from issuing a decision during the election due to appeals, confirmed last month that McBath didn’t meet the requirements to call her Cobb County home her primary residence for the three tax years leading up to the election, meaning she was a Tennessee resident when she was elected to Congress.

To point out McBath’s deep Tennessean roots, the National Republican Congressional Committee sent a goody bag containing coffee infused with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Memphis-style BBQ sauce and a hat of the Tennessee Volunteers to her Rockford, Tenn., home

The lawmaker accepted the gift on Friday at 10:45 a.m. and signed for it as “LMCBATH”. Fox News obtained a copy of the signature.

McBath claims it was her mother who signed for the package.

McBath Twitter

The Coalition for Good Governance has filed suit aiming to stop implementation of Georgia’s new voting system, according to the Gainesville Times.

A law signed last week by Gov. Brian Kemp provides specifications for a new voting system. Bids are due later this month, and state officials say they plan to implement the new system in time for next year’s presidential election.

Lawyers for the Coalition for Good Governance and for a group of voters, who had filed a lawsuit challenging Georgia’s election system, told U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg they plan to ask her initially to stop the state from using the current machines for special and municipal elections scheduled this year. Ultimately, they said, they want her to prohibit the state from using the current paperless machines, as well as the ballot-marking machines provided for in the new law.

The new law calls for voters to make their selections on electronic machines that print out paper ballots that are read and tallied by scanners.

The 2020 state budget awaiting Kemp’s signature includes $150 million in bond funding that’s intended to cover the initial purchase of the machines as well as rollout and training.

Coalition for Good Governance lawyer Bruce Brown argued Tuesday that any system that puts a computer between the voter and the permanent record of the vote can’t be effectively audited and is unconstitutional.

Members of Congress from Georgia and South Carolina took the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to task over plans for the Savannah River, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Both U.S. Senate delegations – Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. – as well as U.S Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga., and U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., signed a joint letter to the Corps’ leadership in Washington, D.C. expressing concern about the plan and its impact on the Savannah.

In particular, they cited conditions seen in a simulation in February of what the river would look like under the recommendation of the Corps’ Savannah District to built a rock weir fish passage and remove New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam. They note that the simulation was halted early due to damage to a seawall at Goodale Landing from riverbank instability from the decreased pool.

“In addition, the simulation resulted in numerous docks becoming useless for recreational activities while they sat in the mud given the reduced pool level” they wrote. “Clearly these results do not reflect the intent of Congress.”

Savannah City Manager Rob Hernandez will leave to take a job in Fort Lauderdale, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Coweta County Public Schools renewed the contract of Dr. Steve Barker as Superintendent for four more years, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

Newnan City Council adopted an ordinance for film and video production in downtown, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, members unanimously approved the policy aimed at managing the review and approval of filming projects within the city limits.

Instead of requiring all applicants to appear before the city council, they can now seek approval directly from the city manager’s office for projects that would require the full closure of public streets and sidewalks for up to three days, and the use of intermittent traffic control for up to seven days.

Applicants who do not receive approval from the city manager’s office will have the ability to appeal before the council.

9
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 9, 2019

Phoenix Warner Robins

Phoenix is a young male Terrier & Basset Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.

Lillian Warner Robins

Lillian is a young female Wirehaired Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.

Valentino Warner Robins

Valentino is a young male Boxer mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.

9
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Politics for April 9, 2019

After two days of exchanging letters with his Union counterpart, Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee agreed to meet and make arrangements for the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. At 2 PM on April 9, 1865, Lee and Grant met in a private home owned by Wilmer McLean at Appomattox Court House, Virginia and Lee agreed to the surrender of his army.

Lee was resplendent in his dress uniform and a fine sword at his side. Grant arrived wearing a simple soldier’s coat that was muddy from his long ride. The great generals spoke of their service in the Mexican War, and then set about the business at hand. Grant offered generous terms. Officers could keep their side arms, and all men would be immediately released to return home. Any officers and enlisted men who owned horses could take them home, Grant said, to help put crops in the field and carry their families through the next winter. These terms, said Lee, would have “the best possible effect upon the men,” and “will do much toward conciliating our people.” The papers were signed and Lee prepared to return to his men.

From the account by Gen. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain:

“At such a time and under such conditions I thought it eminently fitting to show some token of our feeling, and I therefore instructed my subordinate officers to come to the position of ‘salute’ in the manual of arms as each body of the Confederates passed before us.”

“When General Gordon came opposite me I had the bugle blown and the entire line came to ‘attention,’ preparatory to executing this movement of the manual successively and by regiments as Gordon’s columns should pass before our front, each in turn.”

“The General was riding in advance of his troops, his chin drooped to his breast, downhearted and dejected in appearance almost beyond description. At the sound of that machine like snap of arms, however, General Gordon started, caught in a moment its significance, and instantly assumed the finest attitude of a soldier. He wheeled his horse facing me, touching him gently with the spur, so that the animal slightly reared, and as he wheeled, horse and rider made one motion, the horse’s head swung down with a graceful bow, and General Gordon dropped his swordpoint to his toe in salutation.”

“By word of mouth General Gordon sent back orders to the rear that his own troops take the same position of the manual in the march past as did our line. That was done, and a truly imposing sight was the mutual salutation and farewell.”

On April 9, 1968, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta held the funeral for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. More than 100,000 mourners reportedly showed up for the funeral, which could accomodate only 800; 200,000 mourners followed the mule-drawn hearse to Morehouse College.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Politics

As voters head to the polls again in yet another redo of the House District 28 Primary from 2018, we pray for a landslide. We don’t care for whom, just that either candidate win by such a commanding margin as to allow no more redos. From NowHabersham.com:

Republicans Dan Gasaway and Chris Erwin have been embroiled in a contentious campaign to reclaim the seat both previously held. Gasaway served as HD 28 state representative for six years. Erwin served as state representative for two weeks before his election was overturned by a judge back in February.

Judge David Sweat threw out the results of both the May 22, 2018 HD 28 GOP primary and the Dec. 4, 2018 redo of that primary because of voting problems in Habersham County.

House District 28 voters aren’t holding their breath for the results of those investigations, but they are holding onto hope for today’s election. Despite battling voter fatigue, people are going to the polls intent on achieving a fair and decisive election result.

Regardless of the outcome, Gasaway says he won’t file any more legal challenges. His motion to recoup attorney fees and litigation costs is still pending in Banks County Superior Court.

The Ledger-Enquirer speculates about what might happen in the 2020 Georgia Democratic Primary for United States Senate.

The two women [Stacey Abrams and former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson] and the decisions soon to come will shape the race. Democrats are making a hard charge at regaining a majority in the Senate, and Georgia seems to be a key part of their plans.

Thirty-four Senate seats are up for election in 2020, and Democrats will need at least a net gain of three seats to claim a majority. Of those 34, 22 seats are held by Republicans. A political forecasting website, 270towin.com, lists the Georgia race as “leans Republican.”

The 2020 Senate race in the Peach State is critical, said Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson.

“There is no easy path to winning those seats based on the states in play, which means Democrats are going to need to be competitive everywhere,” he said. “A victory for Democrats in Georgia is instrumental to winning back the majority. Republicans will need to spend a lot of money to have a chance at keeping this seat and spending more resources here means fewer resources spent elsewhere. Investing in Georgia Democrats will be key in the 2020 cycle.”

“It’s more of a battleground than people realize. … Democrats realized that with Stacey Abrams last year,” [Republican pollster John McLaughlin] said. “Four years ago, they tried the same formula, Jason Carter was running against Nathan Deal and we were able to win decisively.”

When asked if she’d drop out of the race if Abrams entered, Tomlinson stopped short of saying outright she’d leave but she did say that she doesn’t want to work against Abrams.

“Stacey Abrams and I have been in the trenches of Democratic politics in the state of Georgia for a very long time, and we’re excited about the fact that finally all this hard work is paying off,” Tomlinson said. “It is a two-party state, and we are well poised to have a Democratic senator in the United States Senate from Georgia. So we want to make sure that we’re not working against each other, or that our efforts are not colliding in that shared objective.”

Governor Brian Kemp announced Georgia’s March tax collections, according to AccessWDUN.

 According to press information, the State of Georgia’s net tax collections for March totaled nearly $1.67 billion for an increase of $109 million, or 7 percent, compared to March 2018, when net tax collections totaled almost $1.56 billion. Year-to-date, net tax collections totaled $17.04 billion for an increase of $380 million, or 2.3 percent, compared to the previous fiscal year, when net tax revenues totaled $16.66 billion through three quarters.

Gov. Kemp spoke about the attempted state takeover of the Atlanta airport, according to the AJC.

“Sometimes you can be thankful, as Georgians, that nothing actually happened,” he told the Rotary Club of Atlanta on Monday. “That is a very important issue not only for this city, but for this state. And we have to be very cautious about it.”

Speaking to a few dozen business leaders, Kemp said he stayed “fairly quiet” because he could see both sides of the issue.

“I understand completely Sen. (Burt) Jones’ reasoning for introducing what he did,” he said of the measure’s Republican sponsor. “I understand some of the reservations that the speaker and members of the House had.”

Kemp was particularly miffed about the jet fuel incentive, which stalled amid Senate objections despite his personal lobbying of GOP lawmakers. He said the issue shouldn’t have been “controversial” but became more toxic when it got bound together with the airport issue.

Senate Bill 65 by Sen. Tyler Harper (R-Ocilla) will affect automobile taxes, according to the AJC.

The measure was passed with no fanfare at the end of the 2019 session, which finished up Tuesday. The bill ended, at least for now, a battle that had been going on annually since the General Assembly changed how auto sales were taxed seven years ago.

“We finally have an agreement between the new-car dealers and the used-car dealers,” state Sen. Tyler Harper, R-Ocilla, announced from the Senate floor just before the final vote. “All industry partners are supporting it.”

Under the measure, pushed for three years by state Rep. Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire, the tax rate you pay when you buy a car would drop from 7 percent to 6.6 percent starting Jan. 1. That rate would last until 2023.

The sticking point has been whether a used car would be taxed on the book value, or estimated value, of the vehicle or its sales price, which is generally higher. Currently, new cars are taxed on the sales price. Under legislation passed in 2012, used cars are taxed on the book value.

Under SB 65, used cars sold by dealers other than so-called “buy here, pay here” dealers would be based on the higher sales price.

So while the tax rate would go down, it would be calculated using the higher sales price.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) wrote to the House Judiciary Committee Chair asking to invite Robert Mueller to testify, according to AccessWDUN.

 Collins encouraged Nadler to invite Special Counsel Mueller to testify the week after Easter, which is the week of April 22, when the House is expected to be in recess. However, Collins said he believed his compatriots would agree the business was too important to wait, and would return to Washington.

Former Augusta Mayor Bob Young was presented the key to the city, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Young himself was honored Monday night at the same event he started 20 years ago. Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis said he was happy to honor “a very good friend” and joked that he wasn’t sure if there was a precedent for a mayor giving a former mayor the key to the city and a proclamation before handing both to Young.

“It was fitting for us to think about the work that Mayor Bob Young did when he brought a group of business people in the community together for the expressed purpose of trying to connect those individuals in the community who might not necessarily get a chance to get inside the ropes,” Davis said. “The event allows the mayor and the city “to be able to bring people together on a night like tonight that serves as the kickoff for the Masters Tournament here in the city of Augusta.”

“We started off in a very humble beginning at the Julian Smith Casino, not knowing who would come, if anybody would come,” he said. But over the first six years when he was mayor, the event honored the likes of not only Palmer, Nicklaus and Nelson but Sam Snead, Nick Faldo and Augusta natives Larry Mize and Charles Howell, as well as future champions Sergio Garcia and Angel Cabrera. Some of that was due to some help from a couple of members of Augusta National Golf Club, Young said.

“They were kind enough to reach out to some folks and get them to come, to make those connections we otherwise would not have been able to make,” he said.

We think a key to the Augusta National Golf Club would be more valuable.

Macon-Bibb County enters another round of budgeting, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Among the most pressing questions: Will be a property tax increase for the third year in a row? And will there be any changes to how much funding outside agencies receive from the county?

Several commissioners say they think there’s a way to avoid the messy situation from last year, although some disagreements over county spending may crop up again.

Last summer, officials approved an emergency budget that cut funding for external agencies and two county departments before narrowly approving an amended budget and 3 mill property tax increase.

If we want to make a budget that’s no mill rate increase, no salary increase, I think we have that option,” Commissioner Virgil Watkins said about the fiscal 2020 budget. “We’ve managed the budget fairly well. Whether if people want to talk about some new innovations, I don’t know.”

The County Commission is expected to host a series of budget meetings after Mayor Robert Reichert presents his budget in early May.

Bert Poston, District Attorney for the Conasauga Circuit (Murray and Whitfield Counties) said he expects a report from the GBI on allegations against Varnell Police Chief Lyle Grant, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

The GBI is investigating Grant for possible theft by conversion and reckless conduct for “providing” an encrypted portable radio owned by Whitfield County to a local wrecker service, “disregarding the potential safety risks to law enforcement officers engaged in undercover/sting/narcotics operations,” according to an incident report.

The case was referred to the GBI in March by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office. A statement from the sheriff’s office said, “The sheriff’s office initiated an investigation after recovering an encrypted portable radio which contained numerous frequencies that were being used throughout the county. It was determined shortly after starting the investigation that criminal charges could arise from this incident, therefore the case was turned over to the GBI to investigate.”

Grant provided an encrypted police radio to Bob Cummings, owner of Bob’s Wrecker Service in Dalton. Grant told a reporter in March that Bob’s is the only towing service that applied to be on Varnell’s rotation this year to be called when wrecks occur.

“I did not intend to violate any laws or policies. I only intended to benefit the city of Varnell,” Grant said.

The report notes that Whitfield County purchased the radios with proceeds from a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and allowed the city of Varnell to use some of the radios, only requiring the city to pay annual maintenance fees. Grant said the city has nine other radios.

Municipalities that use the Hall County Detention Center may face higher charges, according to AccessWDUN.

Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch alerted city leaders to the proposed change recently.

“The sheriff called me about a week ago…and he pointed out that we’ve never incarcerated anybody in his jail,” Bergin said.

Lula doesn’t have its own police force and therefore doesn’t send people to jail but should there be changes in the future the increased housing cost could affect the city.

“We talked about it a little bit briefly today at lunch with all the other cities that received the same proposal,” Bergin said. “The county commission has already approved the rate of $60 per day, so I don’t know how much wiggle room there is.”

“In the old agreements, there was a booking fee, which was about $75,” Bergin said. “This agreement, in a nutshell – just giving you the top and bottom of it – there would be no booking fee, so it would be a flat $60 a day. Let’s let our attorney review that.”

The Sons of the American Revolution will join local government agencies in dedicating a statue of Lyman Hall, signer of the Declaration of Independence, in Gainesville, according to AccessWDUN.

Statesboro is seeking a $2 million dollar Community Development Block Grant, according to the Statesboro Herald.