The blog.

4
Dec

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for December 4, 2018

Lilly Waynesboro

Lilly is a young female Dachshund and Fox Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Old Fella Burke County Animal Rescue in Waynesboro, GA.

Reed Waynesboro

Reed is a young male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Old Fella Burke County Animal Rescue in Waynesboro, GA.

Kiefer Waynesboro

Kiefer is a young male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Old Fella Burke County Animal Rescue in Waynesboro, GA.

4
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 4, 2018

On December 4, 1783, General George Washington told his officers he would resign his commission and return to his life at Mount Vernon.

The Battle of Waynesboro, Georgia was fought between Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry and Kilpatrick’s federal troops on December 4, 1864.

Governor William Northen signed legislation placing on the statewide ballot a constitutional amendment to increase the number of Georgia Supreme Court Justices from 3 to 5 on December 4, 1893.

On December 4, 1932, a 12-foot tall statue of Tom Watson, former state legislator, Congressman, and United States Senator from Georgia, was placed on the State Capitol Grounds.

On December 4, 1945, the United States Senate voted to approve full U.S. participation in the United Nations. Georgia’s Senators voted in favor.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Polling places are open today until 7 PM, with runoff elections for Public Service Commission and Secretary of State. From the Rome News-Tribune:

Democrat John Barrow and Republican Brad Raffensperger are vying for the secretary of state position charged with overseeing voting. Republican incumbent Chuck Eaton and Democrat Lindy Miller are battling it out for a seat on the PSC, which regulates utilities.

Floyd County Chief Elections Clerk Robert Brady said Monday that any voter registered by the Oct. 9 deadline is eligible to vote in the runoff, even if they didn’t vote in the November general election.

Those who are voting absentee should be aware of a change, for this election, in the deadline to return their ballots.

“Because there was such a short time to get them out, any ballot postmarked by Election Day that we have in our hands by Friday will be counted,” Brady said.

The law says “by the last mail delivery,” he noted, but if anyone hand-delivers their ballot before the office closes at 5 p.m. it will be accepted. Brady said few problems with absentee ballots have been reported locally, although there could be delays in the mail.

From the Statesboro Herald:

More than 2,900 Bulloch County residents already have voted in the statewide runoffs for Georgia secretary of state and a Public Service Commission seat. For all other registered voters, precinct voting places around the county will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Last week during the five days of in-person early voting, 2,608 voters cast ballots in Bulloch County. In addition, 321 paper absentee ballots were returned out of the 735 mailed from the local election office, said Elections Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones.

So that’s 2,929 apparently completed ballots so far, 7.3 percent of the county’s 39,983 registered voters.

Election Day voters are expected to cast their ballots at assigned traditional precincts. Absentee ballots that were previously mailed to voters can be returned, but no voting will take place at the election headquarters in the county annex Tuesday, Jones reminded voters. It was the early voting location only.

Under a statewide extension, absentee ballots returned by Friday, Dec. 7, will be counted.

From the Ledger-Enquirer:

Just this past Friday, the person serving as Georgia Secretary of State until we see who wins the runoff sent out a news release saying absentee ballots for Tuesday’s election will be accepted until Dec. 7, under a court settlement:

“U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg signed a voluntary consent order negotiated by the Democratic Party of Georgia and Secretary of State Robyn A. Crittenden to extend the deadline for acceptance of absentee ballots in the December 4, 2018 run-off election. Certification of results for the November 6, 2018 election was enjoined until 5 p.m. on November 16, 2018,” it says.

“Based on the terms of this consent order, an absentee ballot postmarked by December 4, 2018 – the date of the run-off election – and received by county election offices by December 7, 2018 must be counted if the ballot is otherwise valid. County officials must include these absentee ballots in their certified election return.”

As voters who’ve not voted early go to neighborhood polls 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Columbus already will have banked thousands of ballots, some from residents who at a rate of 130 an hour voted early in-person last week in the Community Room of the City Service Center off Macon Road, like this: Monday 543; Tuesday 992; Wednesday 999; Thursday 1,296; Friday 1,841; total 5,671.

At the mayor’s request, the elections board extended voting by two hours on Thursday and Friday, shifting the schedule from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. to 8 a.m.-7 p.m., based on complaints some people wanted to vote after they got off work.

From the Valdosta Daily Times:

Early voting in the runoff concluded Friday, Nov. 30.

In Lowndes County, 4,240 registered voters participated in early voting for the runoff, according to the Lowndes County elections office.

More than 22,000 Lowndes County voters cast ballots during the early-voting period leading to the Nov. 6 general election.

Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden announced the date of a Special Election.

Notice is hereby given that a special election shall be held on January 8, 2019 in the parts of Gordon and Murray Counties that comprise Georgia House District 5 after the passing of State Representative John Meadows. A run-off, if needed, shall be held on February 5, 2019.

Qualifying for the special election shall be held in the Elections Division of the Office of Secretary of State, 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SE, West Tower Suite 802, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.  The dates and hours of qualifying will be Wednesday, December 5, 2018 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m., Thursday, December 6, 2018 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m., and Friday, December 7, 2018 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 1:00 p.m. The qualifying fee shall be $400.00.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 is the last day to register to vote for all persons who are not registered to vote and who desire to vote in the special election.

3
Dec

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for December 3, 2018

Gwinnett County Animal Shelter is waiving adoption fees on five dogs and five cats each week in December.

Gwinnett Fee Waived

Promise Gwinnett

Promise is an 8-year old female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Evelyn Gwinnett

Evelyn is a 5-year old female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Belle Gwinnett

Belle is a 6-year old female Labrador and Boxer mix who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

3
Dec

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 3, 2018

628px-Grand_Union_Flag.svg

On December 3, 1775, the Grand Union Flag, comprising the Union Jack with thirteen red-and-white stripes was raised for the first time by Lieutenant John Paul Jones over the USS Alfred, a colonial warship. The flag would be used by Continental forces thorugh 1776 and early 1777.

USS Alfred

On December 3, 1776, General George Washington wrote Congress that he had moved most of his army across the Delaware River from Trenton, New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

On December 3, 1864, Union forces under the command of Gen. William T. Sherman skirmished against Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry at Thomas’ Station in Burke County, Georgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Glynn County saw high turnout during early voting for tomorrow’s elections, according to The Brunswick News.

Voters cast 3,768 ballots during the early voting period, said Elections and Registration Supervisor Monica Couch.

The Glynn County Board of Elections mailed out 1,418 absentee ballots and accepted 450 of them as of 5 p.m. Friday, with more in the hopper, Couch said.

Early voting for this runoff election surpassed the last two, likely because the ballot included statewide races this time around. In 2016, the total turnout was 538 — 183 early — for the Brunswick Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission Post 1 runoff election.

There was no general election runoff in 2014, but JWSC’s Post 2 seat went to a runoff in 2012. 1,079 voters turned out for it, 140 of them early. Utility commission elections were held during the primary elections this year, and that race was decided in July during the primary runoff.

If a voter still has an absentee ballot or recently mailed one, Couch recommended checking the ballot’s status at mvp.sos.ga.gov. Absentee ballots will continue to be accepted until the close of business, 5 p.m., on Dec. 7.

From the Newnan Times-Herald:Continue Reading..

30
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 30, 2018

Collin Butts

Collin is a young male Boxer mix who is available for adoption from Butts County Animal Control in Jackson, GA.

Festus Butts

Festus is a male Hound mix who is available for adoption from Butts County Animal Control in Jackson, GA.

Carlos Butts Mutts

Carlos is a young male chocolate Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Butts Mutts in Jackson, GA.

30
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 30, 2018

John Wesley left Savannah on December 2, 1737.

John Wesley’s strict discipline as rector of Christ Church in Savannah irritated his parishioners. More trouble followed when he fell in love with Sophia Hopkey, the niece of Georgia’s chief magistrate. When she married another man, Wesley banned her from Holy Communion, damaging her reputation in the community.

His successful romantic rival sued him; but Wesley refused to recognize the authority of the court, and the man who would eventually found a major Protestant denomination in America left Georgia in disgrace on December 2, 1737.

Touro Synagogue, the oldest existing synagogue in the United States, was dedicated on December 2, 1763 in Newport, Rhode Island.

General George Washington set up winter headquarters at Morristown, New Jersey on December 1, 1779.

On November 30, 1782, British and American signed a preliminary treaty in Paris to end the American Revolution, which included withdrawal of British troops and recognition of American independence.

On November 30, 1819, the SS Savannah returned to Savannah, GA from its trip as the first steamship to cross the Atlantic.

On December 1, 1824, the election for President of the United States, in which no candidate received a majority of electoral votes, went to the United States House of Representatives.

Andrew Jackson of Tennessee won 99 electoral and 153,544 popular votes; John Quincy Adams–the son of John Adams, the second president of the United States–received 84 electoral and 108,740 popular votes; Secretary of State William H. Crawford, who had suffered a stroke before the election, received 41 electoral votes; and Representative Henry Clay of Virginia won 37 electoral votes.

As dictated by the Constitution, the election was then turned over to the House of Representatives. The 12th Amendment states that if no electoral majority is won, only the three candidates who receive the most popular votes will be considered in the House. Representative Henry Clay, who was disqualified from the House vote as a fourth-place candidate, agreed to use his influence to have John Quincy Adams elected.

The Skirmish at Rocky Creek Church took place near Waynesboro, Georgia on December 2, 1864.

The City of Sandy Springs began operations at one second after midnight on December 1, 2005. Three years later, Dunwoody became a new city, on December 1, 2008.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The late former Congressman Mac Collins was eulogized at a funeral yesterday, according to Barnesville.com.

He ran for the state senate as a Republican in 1982 and 1984, losing both times. He prevailed in that race in 1986 and, once sworn in, was one of only 11 Republican senators in the state.

In Congress, he was considered one of the key architects of the GOP’s Contract With America. He served on the powerful Ways and Means committee, the Permanent Committee on Intelligence and as deputy majority whip.

Collins was a member of Rock Springs Church. Among the notables in attendance at his funeral there Sunday were Gov. Deal and first lady Sandra Deal; governor-elect Brian Kemp and his wife, Marty; Congressman Drew Ferguson; and Department of Corrections commissioner Greg Dozier. Former house speaker Newt Gingrich and current Sen. David Perdue made remarks at the service via video link, praising Collins’ work ethic and his commitment to those who elected him.

Collins was eulogized by Dr. Phil DeMore and Rock Springs pastor Dr. Benny Tate. In his remarks, Dr. Tate noted that, while in Congress, Collins turned down the opportunity to sign up for the lucrative congressional pension plan saying he would just get along with Social Security like his constituents.

The Augusta Chronicle looks at early voting in their area.

In the statewide runoff for Georgia secretary of state and public service commissioner and a District 3 runoff for Richmond County Board of Education, 1,934 cast early ballots, bringing the county’s three-day total to 5,348.

As of Thursday, 1,382 paper absentee ballots of 1,918 issued to voters had been accepted by the Richmond elections board.

Another day, another lawsuit from the Democrats. This time, the Democratic Party of Georgia filed suit asking for additional time for mail-in absentee ballots to arrive and still be counted, according to the AJC.

The federal lawsuit asks a judge to require Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden to order counties to treat absentee mail-in ballots like those sent by military voters, which means they would have to count ballots postmarked by Election Day and received within three days after the election.

According to the complaint, 44 counties didn’t mail their first absentee ballots until Monday and another 21 counties waited a day later. With mail delivery taking three to four days to reach voters in some parts of the state, the lawsuit said, the delay will risk disenfranchising voters.

The lawsuit could affect a large bloc of voters in the runoff, which will decide the secretary of state’s race and a Public Service Commission seat. At least 121,000 voters have submitted an application for absentee mail-in ballots in the runoff election.

From the Associated Press:

Results of the general election were certified Nov. 17, but a federal lawsuit filed Thursday by the Democratic Party says at least 65 counties didn’t send out absentee ballots for the Dec. 4 runoff until this week.

Generally absentee ballots must be received by Election Day to be counted. The lawsuit asks a judge to order that absentee ballots postmarked by Dec. 4 and received by Dec. 7 be counted. It also asks that the secretary of state be prohibited from certifying the election results until she has confirmed that those ballots have been counted.

A special election will be held March 19, 2019 to fill the Atlanta City Council seat vacated by the death of Ivory Lee Young, according to the AJC.

House District 28 voters still have today and Tuesday to vote in a redo of the Republican Primary, according to BanksNewsToday.com.

Judge David Sweat set the election for Dec. 4 after ruling that the election would be held again due to errors in the May 22 election.

District 28 includes Banks, Habersham and Stephens counties.

Judge Sweat agreed with information provided by Gasaway in a seven-hour hearing that 74 ballots were cast incorrectly in Habersham County in the May 22 election.

Information was presented that 74 people voted in the District 10 election, although they live in District 28.

The judge ruled that all eligible voters can cast a ballot except for citizens who voted on a Democrat ballot in the May 22 election.

Gasaway and Erwin are both on the Republican ballot.

Gasaway is the incumbent. Erwin is the retired Banks County School System superintendent.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) will likely serve as the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, according to the AJC.

The three-term congressman was recommended by GOP colleagues on Thursday evening to be the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, the powerful panel that is expected to investigate various White House scandals and mull impeachment proceedings under new Democratic leadership.

The recommendation to elevate Collins was made by the leadership-aligned Republican Steering Committee, a secretive group that Collins himself has been a member of over the last two years. The full House GOP conference must vote to approve of  the appointment before it can be finalized.

The same panel rejected the campaign of another Georgia Republican, Tom Graves of Ranger, to lead the party on the House Appropriations Committee.

Graves, a former state legislator who has served in Congress since 2010, had pitched himself as a disruptor who would stand up for Trump and conservative interests during government spending negotiations, but he faced off against a trio of more senior opponents. Texas Republican Kay Granger ultimately won the committee’s recommendation earlier Thursday.

From AccessWDUN:

The full House GOP conference will have to vote on the appointment before it’s a done deal. The newspaper report said the recommendation to elevate Collins to the position was made by the Republican Steering Committee.

The House Judiciary Committee oversees matters related to the “administration of justice in federal courts, administrative bodies and law enforcement agencies,” according to a definition on the committee’s website.

Republican Brad Raffensperger campaigned for Secretary of State in Augusta yesterday, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Brad Raffensperger reinforced a campaign tenet of not being John Barrow in a Thursday appearance in Augusta.

With Friday the final day to vote early and just four days until Tuesday runoff elections, Raffensperger, the GOP nominee for Georgia secretary of state, accused Democratic runoff opponent Barrow of being soft on voter ID requirements and intent on using hand-marked paper ballots.

“Y’all warned me about this guy, John Barrow,” said Raffensperger, a Johns Creek, Ga., engineer and business owner. “He puts forth a lot of effort.”

Raffensperger also said Barrow signed a 2011 letter sent to every secretary of state opposing photo ID requirements.

Lanier County businessman Franklin Patten announced he will run for the State House seat being vacated when State Rep. Jason Shaw is appointed to the Public Service Commission, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Franklin Patten, owner of Southern Financial Systems, Computer Design and co-owner of Patten Blackberry Farms, announced in a statement this week he will seek the House District 176 seat being vacated by Jason Shaw.

Shaw has been appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to serve on the Public Service Commission starting Jan. 1, forcing a special election for his House seat.

District 176 covers all of Lanier and Atkinson counties and portions of Lowndes and Ware counties.

Patten will run as a Republican.

Whitfield County Magistrate Court Judge Shana Vinyard is on voluntary paid leave, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Chief Magistrate Judge Haynes Townsend said it is unclear when she might return to the bench. Townsend said he has not had contact with Vinyard since she went on leave. Townsend wouldn’t comment on why Vinyard is on leave and said he couldn’t comment on any ongoing investigation, but said, “It is not through our office.”

“There is not too much more than that I can say at this point,” Townsend said. “She is an elected official, and I don’t have the authority to put her on administrative leave. I am the senior elected official and I gave her the option to stay in her office or staying at home. She decided to stay at home. Under Georgia law, you can’t do anything to a judge’s salary while they are still officially a judge.”

Whitfield County Administrator Mark Gibson said he was aware Vinyard was on paid leave but said the county has no control over elected court officials. Vinyard was elected to the court in 2016, filling the seat of Kaye Cope, who resigned after being arrested for DUI.

Outgoing Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson spoke about the beginning of her political career to a women in business luncheon, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The attorney and then-executive director of MidTown Inc. had sought the opinion of a well-known and respected city politico in Columbus, with the two meeting for lunch at the Burger King on Wynnton Road. This came after others in the community had suggested she should possibly run for mayor.

The conversation with the person, who Tomlinson did not name, became starkly blunt as it unfolded in the fast-food eatery and she asked his thoughts about her considering elected office, a challenge she had never tried before.

His assessment: You’re definitely going to lose. Why, she asked. Nobody cares about economic and community development, he said of the issue that Tomlinson was considering putting an emphasis on as mayor.

The future candidate said the adviser then tossed out another observation, declaring that “you’ll never win because white men don’t like you.” On Wednesday, she compared that to today’s political analysts on the cable news networks, who divide people by demographics to include gender, race and age, then make broad generalizations about how those groups will vote in an election.

“What that was was the good ol’ boy system, the old-school way of wanting to push me away from this opportunity, knowing that somebody like me, a Gen-Xer, somebody that had my experience, might shake up a system that he and a few others were used to,” she said. “So I needed to move on down the road.”

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs denied low income housing tax credits for an apartment complex in Macon that was opposed by local residents, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency reimbursed Glynn County $1.5 million dollars for storm cleanup, according to The Brunswick News.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources expects to move some staff into a new regional headquarters in Floyd County, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Right whale calving season is set to begin after a goose egg in 2017-18, according to The Brunswick News.

Saturday, staff from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will take to the skies for the first time this season to see if any right whales have made it south, and if there are any early births to report. Georgia DNR partners with the Sea to Shore Alliance, which will launch its first flight of the season Dec. 8.

“Hopefully, we’ll start seeing some whales in December,” [Department of Natural Resources biologist Clay] George said. “Really, the population’s at a point where it’s in decline — that’s pretty clear at this point, that’s it’s been declining since 2010, and the scary thing is that the rate of decline actually seems to be happening faster than they were increasing in the 2000s. So, if we don’t start seeing some calves starting this year, it’s really concerning, because that means the whales are just going to be setting themselves back farther and farther, numbers-wise.”

A “Freeport” tax exemption for e-commerce passed in Chatham County, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The freeport exemption gradually eliminates inventory taxes on goods that come in through our ports destined for e-commerce fulfillment centers.

For years, online retailers have preferred to bring their products in through the Port of Savannah, whose reputation for speed, efficiency and customer service is unmatched on either coast.

Because area governments charged an inventory tax on e-commerce shipments warehoused here, retailers wanted their products on trucks and trains and on their way as soon as possible – putting Chatham County at a distinct disadvantage when it came to attracting fulfillment centers and the added jobs and revenues they could bring.

Trip Tollison, President and CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority, has long asserted that, if not for its inventory taxes, Chatham County would have much to offer as an e-commerce hub.

Earlier this year, Savannah lost a substantial fulfillment center project to Bryan County, which had exempted e-commerce inventory taxes in 2016. And, in October, Amazon announced it would build a temporary fulfillment facility in Effingham County.

Yesterday, Gov. Nathan Deal announced that e-commerce giant Wayfair will create 1,000 jobs in a new fulfillment facility in Savannah.

“There is no question that the voters’ approval of the e-commerce ballot provision helped carry the Wayfair project from the one-yard line over the goal line,” Tollison said Thursday.

29
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 29, 2018

Myrtle HallCo

Myrtle is one of a litter of 4-month old female Hound mix puppies who are available for adoption from the Hall County Animal Shelter in Gainesville, GA.

Sebastian HallCo

Sebastian is a three-year old male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Hall County Animal Shelter in Gainesville, GA.

Ranger HallCo

Ranger is a 21-month old male black Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Hall County Animal Shelter in Gainesville, GA.

29
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 29, 2018

Georgia ratified the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution on November 29, 1794, which reads,

The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations passed a resolution to partition Palestine and allow the creation of a Jewish state of Israel.

On November 29, 1963, President Lyndon Johnson appointed the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, referred to as the Warren Commission. Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr. of Georgia was appointed to the Commission.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Floyd County is seeing a rush of early voters ahead of next week’s runoff elections for Secretary of State and Public Service Commission, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

“Everything’s running smoothly,” said Elections Technician Vanessa Waddell. “(Turnout) is a little higher than an average runoff, but I haven’t heard of any hiccups.”

Today is the last day the Rome Civic Center will be open, but early voting continues through Friday at the County Administration Building, 12 E. Fourth Ave. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All 25 precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the day of the election.

A total of 1,405 voters went in person to the two sites through Wednesday, and Waddell said they’ve mailed out 683 absentee ballots to people — typically elderly or disabled — on their standard list.

From WTXL:

Leila Dollison, Tift County’s Election Supervisor, said 224 people cast ballots on the first day of early voting, so she expects better than usual turnout.

“If it’s anything like the general election, we can expect a good turnout. People seem to be interested,” said Dollison.

From WJBF:

There was record early voting for the mid-terms three weeks ago and some say they won’t be surprised if it’s not as busy for the run-offs.

“It probably will be but hopefully it picks up later. You know if you want to be heard you got to vote so they know what they got to do,” said Augusta voter Sylvia Harris.

The Municipal Building and the three usual satellite locations are open for early voting.

From the Tribune & Georgian:

The Kingsland mayor’s race with incumbent Kenneth Smith and challenger Grayson Day is headed to a runoff election on Tuesday along with two state offices.

After votes had been tallied in November, none of the four candidates for Kingsland mayor had received a majority of the votes, 50 percent plus one vote. Day, a sitting councilman, took 41.94 percent of the votes and Smith claimed the second spot at 24.64 percent. Jim McClain, also a councilman, was just 96 votes behind Smith with 22.76 percent. Former councilman James Ham received 10.39 percent of the vote.

Former U.S. Attorney and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates will not run for office, according to the Associated Press.

Yates told a Bloomberg summit in New York she has no aspirations to pursue politics— in Georgia or elsewhere— despite her many years of public service.

“I just have to confess running for office is just not anything I’ve ever felt drawn to,” she said. “You know what feels like you or doesn’t.”

Muscogee County Board of Elections voted to extend early voting hours, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

At Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson’s urging, the Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registrations has agreed to extend Columbus’ early voting for Tuesday’s runoff by two hours on Thursday and Friday, the final days of advance voting.

The hours were 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Now they will be 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The mayor made the request Tuesday night, after the 5:30 p.m. Columbus Council meeting. She told elections director Nancy Boren the city had heard complaints about the schedule.

Tomlinson responded to the Ledger-Enquirer’s inquiry Wednesday night, in a voice message saying District 7 Councilor Mimi Woodson found people trying to vote when she got to the council meeting around 6 p.m., and they were upset they were not able to cast ballots after they got off work.

The extended hours will increase the cost of the runoff, which was not included in the elections office budget, though councilors were warned runoffs were possible, when the budget was approved.

Though no local races are on the runoff ballot, Columbus residents have shown considerable interest in the holiday election: 543 voted in person on Monday and 992 on Tuesday. Boren said her staff had mailed out 3,412 absentee ballots as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, and had a stack of absentee ballot applications that had just come in the mail.

Coweta County Commissioners formally asked their legislative delegation to allow a referendum on property tax breaks for seniors, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

The Coweta County Board of Commissioners executed a resolution Tuesday asking the legislators who represent Coweta County to introduce “local legislation” in the 2019 Georgia General Assembly session that would allow Coweta voters to decide whether or not to increase existing school property tax breaks for those 65 and older.

Though the increased exemption proposal was approved by the Coweta Board of Education, under state law the county commissioners must pass the resolution requesting local legislation.

If local legislation is approved, the next step will be putting the question on the ballot.

Historically, the delegation has required a unanimous vote by a governing body before it will move forward with local legislation. And the school board vote was 6-to-1, with school board member Linda Menk opposed.

That lack of a unanimous vote from the school board was discussed by the commissioners Tuesday night.

“Essentially, since this was not unanimous, then the local legislators are not going to consider it?” asked Chairman Al Smith.

Glynn County has received a grant from the Georgia Department of Agriculture that can be used to provide spay and neuter services, according to The Brunswick News.

Starting later this month a grant from the Georgia Department of Agriculture will, pending approval from the Glynn County Commission, pay for spay and neuter surgeries for low-income county pet owners.

“We anticipate, depending on the breakdown between male and female, dog and cat, since the cost is different for each one … we’re estimating around 60 pets will be able to be spayed or neutered with this grant,” said Animal Control Manager Tiffani Hill.

Animal Control plans to partner with Island Animal Hospital to perform the spay and neuter surgeries on pets.

While the program is aimed at low-income residents, Hill said animal control won’t rule out anyone who doesn’t meet federal guidelines.

“We’re going to have people write an explanation on their application as to how they qualify of free spay/neuter services and submit to us some piece of documentation indicating they are low-income,” Hill said. “We don’t want to rule somebody out because they make a few dollars more than the federal guideline.”

Free surgeries are limited to Glynn County residents exclusively, and each household can only apply for three pets. The surgeries will be performed at Island Animal Hospital.

Hampton City Council will interview candidates for interim city manager, according to the Henry Herald.

Athens-Clarke County‘s citizens SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) committee will consider project requests totalling more than one billion dollars, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

An Athens-Clarke County citizens committee must sift through 88 project proposals costing about $1.2 billion to whittle down what to include on a referendum for a renewed 1 percent Special Local Option Sales Tax.

The Athens-Clarke Commission has tentatively capped the dollar amount for expected tax collections at $248 million, which equals about nine years’ worth of collections, according to Athens-Clarke County fiscal planners.

That’s going to mean more work for the citizens committee, Athens-Clarke SPLOST administrator Keith Sanders told a separate citizens committee appointed to oversee the 1 percent special sales tax for transportation Clarke voters approved last year, raising sales taxes in Athens to 8 percent. That penny tax is projected to pay for 19 projects totaling $109.5 million during its five-year limit.

The sales tax proposal commissioners are working on now would not increase the sales tax, but would keep it at 8 percent if voters approve its continuation in a November 2019 referendum.

28
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 28, 2018

Ace Furever

Ace is a 4-year old male chocolate Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from Furever After Rescue in Macon, GA.

Hello! My name is Ace and I am a 4 year old lab mix. I have lived outside my whole life but I love to be inside and am very smart and my foster mom thinks I can be potty trained in no time!! I LOVE other dogs! I have siblings that love to run around the yard and play! I am energetic just like my lab siblings but I know when it’s time to chill once I’ve had play time! I am heart worm positive but I have been through treatment and it doesn’t slow me down one bit! I am fixed and fully vetted. I have never met a stranger, I love all people! I’m good with older kids, since I might knock down a small child due to my hyper activity.

Star Furever

Star is a 4-year old female black Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from Furever After Rescue in Macon, GA.

Hello! My name is Star and I am a 4 year old black lab. I love other dogs! I have siblings that love to run around the yard and play! I am house trained, and I am very energetic, my Furever home needs to know that I have lots of energy but I also know when it’s time to chill once I’ve had play time! I am heart worm positive but my treatment has been started and it doesn’t slow me down at all! I have never met a stranger, I love all people! Please consider giving me a furever home!!

Lucy Furever

Lucy is a young female Terrier & Dalmatian mix puppy who is available for adoption from Furever After Rescue in Macon, GA.

Hello everyone, meet Lucy! Lucy is a playful puppy who is around 11 weeks old and we believe she is a terrier/ possibly Dalmatian mix. She lived outside the first few weeks of her life but has adjusted quickly to indoor living. Lucy is working on house training/crate training and is doing great! She is good with other dogs and cats. She loves running around, but is also happy to just sit and chew on a toy. Snuggling is her favorite and she never strays too far from her person. Lucy can be shy around new people but once she’s comfortable she’s just a super sweet pup! Please consider giving me a furever home!

28
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 28, 2018

On November 28, 1777, Congress appointed John Adams as commissioner to France, replacing Silas Deane.

The Grand Ole Opry began live radio broadcasts from Nashville, Tennessee on November 28, 1925.

The Tawana Brawley case began on November 28, 1987; the greatest lasting impact would be the rise to celebrity of community activist the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal last week appointed State Rep. Jason Shaw (R-Lakeland) to the Public Service Commission seat being vacated by Doug Everett.

Shaw will serve the remainder of Everett’s term and will represent the 1st District of the PSC. The appointment will be effective Jan. 1, 2019.

“I would like to thank Doug Everett for his more than 15 years of dedicated service as a commissioner and I wish him all the best in retirement,” said Deal. “Rep. Shaw has significant experience both as a businessman and in public service, and I am confident that he will be an effective representative for the people of Georgia as a member of the Public Service Commission.”

Fair Fight Action, founded by losing Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, filed a federal lawsuit contesting Georgia’s voting system, according to the Associated Press.

The lawsuit was filed in Atlanta by Fair Fight Action against interim Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden and state election board members. It asks a judge to correct problems with the state’s elections system.

In a fiery speech ending her campaign Nov. 16, Abrams announced that a lawsuit would be filed against Georgia “for the gross mismanagement of this election and to protect future elections from unconstitutional actions.”

Flanked by Democratic state lawmakers at the Georgia Capitol earlier this month, Abrams’ campaign manager who’s now CEO of Fair Fight Action, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said the campaign believed Kemp “mismanaged this election to sway it in his favor.”

Abrams said the election was marred by systemic voter suppression. She rattled off a list of concerns, pointing to absentee ballots thrown out by what she called “the handwriting police;” a shortage of paper ballots to back up broken voting machines; and Georgia’s so-called “exact match” voter registration rules that require information on voter applications to precisely match state or federal files.

In Bulloch County, 796 voters cast early ballots the first two days of this week, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Voters number “662 and 663 just walked in the door,” Bulloch County Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones had said when phoned shortly before 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. So another 133 voters must have filed through before 5 p.m., when she provided the total of 416 Tuesday voters and the cumulative 796.

She said that if the total from Monday, 380 voters, became the average for the week, that would be “good for the runoff” in early voting. With more voters Tuesday, the daily average is now 398.

Early voting is available three more days, 8 a.m-5 p.m. through Friday, and in only one location, the Board of Elections and Registration office in the county annex, 113 N. Main St.

Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-West Point) was elected as a Chief Deputy Whip in the Republican caucus, according to the AJC.

“Drew is respected and well liked and has built relationships across the entire spectrum of our Conference,” Scalise, R-La., said in a statement. “He is a strong advocate for the conservative principles that House Republicans stand for and his fighting spirit will be a huge asset to us as we work to stop the radical, leftist agenda being promoted by House Democrats.”

Ferguson, who recently won a second term in Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District, worked on the whip team during his first two years in Congress alongside Georgian Tom Graves. He is viewed as one of the Georgia delegation’s most ambitious newcomers: he hosted now-Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at the Kia assembly plant in his district last month and Scalise for a fundraiser in February. The former dentist and West Point mayor is also angling for a spot on one of the House’s most powerful committees next year: the tax-writing Ways and Means panel.

His new position will put him on the front lines as party leaders seek to stymie the Democratic majority’s top legislative priorities. It’s a highly social job that will put him in contact with all House Republicans, relationships that could help him secure even higher leadership posts down the line.

Georgia’s delegation to the U.S. House all joined in a letter requesting funding for hurricane relief, according to the Albany Herald.

All of the 14 members from Georgia currently in the U.S. House of Representative sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee requesting legislative action by the Dec. 7 government funding deadline to address recent natural disasters, including Hurricane Michael.

On Oct. 10, Hurricane Michael entered Georgia as a Category 3 hurricane and was the first major hurricane to directly impact the state since the 1890s. Recent projections conducted by the University of Georgia place the losses for Georgia’s agricultural industry caused by Hurricane Michael at around $2.5 billion.

“We write in support of legislative action to address recent disasters befalling our nation,” wrote the members. “Over the past month, Georgia has responded to and is now recovering from this devastating storm. We have identified agriculture and the impacted rural communities as critical areas in which the support of the federal government is essential to our recovery.”

“Federal assistance for these recent disasters is essential to help our nation recover. We urge Congress to work with the administration to ensure disaster relief resources are made available prior to December 7, 2018. Thank you for your support and we look forward to working with you to secure these critical resources.”

It is signed by Reps. Austin Scott, Sanford D. Bishop, Earl L. ‘Buddy’ Carter, Dr. A. Drew Ferguson IV, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr., John Lewis, Karen Handel, Rob Woodall, Doug Collins, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Rick W. Allen, David Scott and Tom Graves.

Gwinnett County has proposed a $1.8 billion dollar budget for FY 2019, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The $1.8 billion budget proposal was presented to county commissioners, and two incoming commissioners, at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center on Tuesday. It includes several new positions, most of which are in public safety, but it also continues a 4 percent pay for performance increase. A mid-year 3 percent market adjustment is also included.

“It is a good sign that we are able to address many of the issues that are addressed in this budget,” said commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, who contrasted the 2019 budget with budgets from the economic downturn at the beginning of the decade.

“We know the need for additional public safety personnel is a continuous one. We weren’t able to do what we needed to do in those areas during the (Great Recession). It’s a good thing to be able to be at the point where we’re able to address those needs.”

A public hearing for the budget proposal is scheduled for Dec. 10, and the Board of Commissioners is set to vote on adoption of the budget at its Jan.3 meeting, according to a schedule released by the county.

Included in that budget is $750,000 for the March 2019 election to decide the future of transit in Gwinnett, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The special election that Gwinnett County commissioners called for March 2019 to hold a referendum on whether the county should join MARTA now has price tag — and it’s a quarter of a million dollars higher than previously thought.

County spokeswoman Heather Sawyer said $768,937 was set aside in the county’s $1.8 billion proposed 2019 budget, which was unveiled Tuesday, for the referendum. It had previously been estimated that the election would cost about $500,000, and that figure had been floated around for months.

If voters approve the referendum, MARTA could take over Gwinnett County Transit’s operations next summer as it begins absorbing the county’s existing transit system.

MARTA would also be required under the terms of its contract with Gwinnett to implement the county’s Connect Gwinnett Transit Development Plan, which calls for a major expansion of multi-modal transit throughout the county.

Rome City Commission voted to allow a homeowner to opt out of a historic district, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Savannah City Council adopted revisions to the municipal code addressing property maintenance, according to the Savannah M0rning News.

The changes were touted by Mayor Eddie DeLoach during a press conference Tuesday as a way to improve neighborhoods.

“That’s what this is all about,” DeLoach said. “We want people, wherever they live, to feel comfortable about what they live by and who they live by.”

Booker Gainor, Mayor of Cairo, Georgia, helped a motorist from a wrecked vehicle, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

“My only thinking was to get him out of the vehicle as quickly as possible,” said Gainor, who said he initially thought the vehicle was on fire. “It took some time because he had blacked out.”

The mayor, who said he could smell fumes from a gas tank rupture from the road, saw steam rising from the swamp water and mistakenly thought the vehicle was smoking and would soon erupt in flames.

“I just really believe with all of the gas, the only way to really get him out of the vehicle was when I noticed he had a wedding ring,” Gainor said. “So I said, ‘are you married?’ And he said yeah. So I asked, ‘what’s your wife’s name?’ just trying to get him to answer questions like that to get him assimilated. He told me her name and I said, ‘hey, we’ve got to get you to her.’”