The blog.

27
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 27, 2019

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are targeting Uga, the University of Georgia’s mascot, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

PETA called for the school to stop using live bulldogs as the school’s mascot.

“HE LOOKS MISERABLE,” the tweet said.

In the video, Uga is in his doghouse on the sideline during UGA’s football game with Texas A&M University on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. It was heavily raining at the time.

The current Uga is named Que, and he’s been the acting mascot at UGA since 2015. He took over as the live mascot at 2-and-on-half years old, making him approximately a seven years old now.

King George 2019

King George is a male English Bulldog and Boxer mix who is available for adoption from BarkVille Dog Rescue in Roswell, GA.

King George is housebroken, crate trained, neutered, fully vaccinated & microchipped. He is 5 years old and weighs 45 lbs.

Luchi

Luchi is a young male English Bulldog and Boxer mix who is available for adoption from Fulton County Animal Services in Atlanta, GA.

Butch Renegade Paws

Butch is a male English Bulldog mix who is available for adoption from Renegade Paws Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Butch is big ole meaty boy rescued from Chatham County Animal Rescue. Butch got his fame from his incredibly unique look. He loves sleeping, snacks, and hanging out with all of his animal foster brothers and sister.
27
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 27, 2019

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

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.

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 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.

On November 27, 1864, Sherman ordered the courthouse in Sandersville, Georgia burned.

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

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.

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.

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

Georgia State House Rules Committee Chair Jay Powell (R-Camilla) died yesterday at a legislative retreat, according to the Albany Herald.

Powell, 67, a Camilla Republican who served in Georgia House District 171, collapsed Monday during a retreat for Republican leadership at Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris.

An attorney who had served 10 years in the House, Powell previously was a Camilla City Council member and mayor of the city. He was elected to the House in 2008 and had become the chairman this year of that body’s Rules Committee.

“This is certainly going to be a big loss to District 171 and a big loss to the state of Georgia,” Mitchell County Administrator Clark Harrell said. “Jay was somebody you could always turn to, very accessible. You could always pick up the phone and call him.

“Jay was a leader not only in his district but a leader in southwest Georgia and the state of Georgia. Jay will be missed.”

Moultrie Mayor Bill McIntosh said that he has known Powell for a long time, back to Powell’s days in Camilla city government and his time as president of the Georgia Municipal Association.

From the AJC:

“This loss touches us all and leaves a hole in our hearts and in the heart of our House family,” said House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge. “Jay Powell served with integrity and his leadership truly moved Georgia forward.”

Powell served one year as the leader of the Rules Committee, which decided which bills would receive final votes in the full House of Representatives. Powell was previously chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the primary tax-writing committee.

“Chairman Powell was a trusted leader and compassionate public servant whose work positively impacted countless people’s lives over the years,” said Gov. Brian Kemp. “His loss is devastating to Georgia.”

Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who ran for governor against Kemp last year, said Powell worked in a bipartisan way to improve Georgia.

“Though Chairman Jay Powell and I stood on separate sides of the aisle, we worked together to advance good tax policy for Georgia and to support our local governments,” said Abrams, who was minority leader in the Georgia House before her run for governor. “He cared about community and getting good done.”

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins said after Powell was elected to the Georgia House, they were seated next to each other in the House chamber.

“Over those many hours on the floor, he shared his thoughts about life, law and politics that made me a better person,” said Collins, a Republican representing the Gainesville area. “Jay always had my back even through the storms of politics, which means more than anything. He helped me as a new attorney and provided wise counsel over the years regarding our public service.”

“Jay was well respected because of his strong work ethic, his ability to put sound policy above political bickering and most of all, because he was a great guy,” said Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the matter, according to MSN.com.

The Towns County Sheriff’s Office requested the GBI investigate. The agency has not responded to questions about the nature of the investigation.

Governor Brian Kemp and Senate applicant Kelly Loeffler went to Washington to meet with President Trump, according to the AJC.

Gov. Brian Kemp embarked on a secretive trip to Washington with Kelly Loeffler, his favorite for a U.S. Senate opening, to try to win Donald Trump’s support after the president repeatedly pushed for another rival, according to several people with direct knowledge of the discussions.

The Sunday trip did not go as expected for Kemp, who encountered a president who was said to be frustrated with his decision-making process and blunt about his support for U.S. Rep. Doug Collins and others whom he considered to be safer political picks.

The meeting, not previously disclosed, lasted roughly an hour and involved the governor, Loeffler and Nick Ayers, a former top aide to Vice President Mike Pence. Ayers, who also served as a Trump adviser and remains close to the president, was brought in to facilitate conversations between both politicians.

The fact that Loeffler accompanied the governor to the White House was rare proof that he favors her in the selection process. Loeffler was a last-minute applicant for the seat U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson is giving up at the end of the year for health reasons. She has never run for office, though she briefly considered a 2014 run for the Senate seat Republican David Perdue won.

From the Wall Street Journal via Marketwatch:

[T]he private huddle turned tense and ended quickly, according to people familiar with the meeting. Trump has preferred Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican who has vocally defended the president during the impeachment process, and he told Kemp that he would be taking a risk by appointing the politically untested Loeffler. At one point Trump questioned why they were holding the meeting if Kemp had made his decision.

The Georgia governor presented Loeffler as his top choice, Trump told allies. But Kemp also told the president that he was open to his opinion, according to the people familiar with the meeting. Kemp’s team has discussed announcing the decision after Thanksgiving.

And back to the AJC:

The governor is sandwiched in a vise that only seems likely to tighten. On Sunday, he telegraphed his support for Loeffler, a wealthy self-funder, by bringing her to that fateful White House visit with Trump.

So backing away could damage his political clout and erase his hopes of putting — in GOP terms — an unconventional candidate in office.

But tapping Loeffler could be just as tricky. Collins has amassed a legion of grassroots supporters who have flooded social media with messages of support – and Kemp’s office with phone calls and letters urging him to back the four-term congressman.

 

Georgia Democrats are targeting nonpartisan runoff elections in Savannah and Valdosta, according to the AJC.

 The party said Tuesday it will launch a “full get out the vote” effort to back Savannah Alderman Van Johnson and former fire chief J.D. Rice in Valdosta in nonpartisan contests on Dec. 3.

The party is also recruiting volunteers and reaching out to voters to help candidates in metro Atlanta suburbs of College Park, Johns Creek and Smyrna.

State Sen. Nikema Williams, the chairwoman of the state Democratic party, said the party launched the initiative to contest nonpartisan municipal races to help build the party’s infrastructure at the grassroots.

The first is the race between Johnson and Mayor Eddie DeLoach, the first Republican elected to lead the city in decades. Johnson outpolled DeLoach by more than 1,500 votes earlier this month, but didn’t capture the majority needed to win outright.

Johnson has support from other prominent Democrats, including Stacey Abrams. DeLoach, meanwhile, is in familiar territory. He finished in second place in 2015 to defeat incumbent Edna Jackson in the runoff, and says he can pull off a repeat.

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis is supporting Michael Bloomberg for President, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

“I look forward to formally endorsing @MikeBloomberg for president and working to win the great state of Georgia,” Davis said in a tweet Sunday. “Our state motto is ‘Wisdom, Justice and Moderation;’ Mike will bring those qualities to the debate when it is desperately needed.”

Davis, a former Democratic state legislator, has an affinity for mayors and mayors’ groups. He currently leads the African American Mayors Association, which he helped found, and travels to U.S. Conference of Mayors events.

A proposed Augusta region transportation tax initiative has overestimated revenues and underestimated costs, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

As the clock ticks toward a Dec. 25 deadline, the region’s transportation wish list needs more work after a Georgia Department of Transportation report said project price tags assigned by counties are off by a combined $300 million.

The Transportation Investment Act project list is intended to go before voters March 24 on the presidential primary ballot. If approved, it will extend the current 1% sales tax for transportation for another decade across 13 counties, from 2022 through 2031.

The state Transportation Department estimated revenues from the next tax at $610.7 million, and the counties turned in what they budgeted as $721.5 million in projects earlier this month. But in its latest review, the department says the list would actually cost $1 billion, more than $400 million above estimated revenues.

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners hit pause on e-scooter regulations, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

An Athens-Clarke Commission committee has called off for now its work on a possible new ordinance and pilot program to allow rentable dockless scooters in Athens.

The commission’s legislative committee learned last week that any local legislation on the scooters could be pre-empted by new state regulations when the state Legislature convenes in January. The committee also learned that existing property easements up and down the Oconee Rivers Greenway system specifically prohibit motorized vehicles, including electric bicycles.

Buzz kills in Athens-Clarke County are considering raising the minimum price of alcoholic beverages, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The Athens-Clarke County Commission might soon raise the minimum price of an alcohol drink to $2, a price increase that would apply to bars and restaurants countywide, not just in downtown as first envisioned.

Police believe the change could reduce excess drinking.

“Raising that drink minimum price does have an effect on all these other things … that come from over-consumption of alcohol,” Athens-Clarke police Sgt. Laura Lusk told members of the Athens-Clarke Commission’s legislative review committee in a recent meeting.

Cherokee County Coroner Earl Darby announced he will retire at the end of his term, according to the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News.

“I have been honored to serve (the public) since Jan. 1, 1993 and to have been elected seven times,” Darby said in an email to the Tribune on Tuesday. “It is time that I step aside and enjoy more family time and continue growing our family business. I want to thank the citizens of Cherokee County for the confidence to serve you for 28 years. I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank my wife, Olene, and my family for supporting me all those years and being forgiving as I missed so many family events as I served.”

Darby’s term of office will end on Dec. 31, 2020, and he explained he chose to announce his retirement now in order to allow those who may be interested in serving the county as its coroner more time to plan and prepare for the 2020 election. The role of coroner is to determine the cause, manner and circumstance of deaths, especially those under violent or unusual circumstances.

“The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office has worked closely with Earl Darby for decades,” Sheriff Frank Reynolds said. “He has been an outstanding coroner, and the quality of work from the coroner’s office under Earl’s leadership has been impeccable. Earl has honorably served the citizens of Cherokee County, not only as coroner, but as a businessman and a volunteer.”

A female Right Whale, possibly pregnant, has been spotted off Florida’s coast, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission confirmed and identified the animal as North Atlantic right whale number 3101, nicknamed Harmonia. She’s an 18-year-old female who last calved four years ago. It’s believed she could be pregnant again. Harmonia is the daughter of a whale named Aphrodite.

Right whales are so named because their habits of swimming slowly and close to shore along with the fact that their carcasses float made them the “right” whale to hunt. They were hunted to near extinction with an estimated 100 individuals remaining in 1935 when the League of Nations banned the whaling of the species. Their numbers gradually recovered, reaching about 500 in 2010. But this decade they’ve been seen decreased calving numbers including no calves in 2018 and seven calves this year, coupled with a high mortality from human-related causes including ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. There are an estimated 400 left.

Right whales migrate from their summer feeding grounds off New England to give birth off the coast of Georgia and Florida in the winter. They are Georgia’s state marine mammal and are monitored via aerial surveys while here. Florida FWC’s survey will start flying off Georgia and Florida on Dec. 1, weather permitting. The generally fly from Cumberland to Mayport. A team from Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Georgia Department of Natural Resources will start flying on Dec 9, covering the area from about Sapelo to Cumberland.

26
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 26, 2019

President Donald Trump signed legislation to make animal cruelty a federal felony, according to the New York Times.

The bill, called the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, was introduced in the House this year by two Florida lawmakers — Representative Vern Buchanan, a Republican, and Representative Ted Deutch, a Democrat. It expands a 2010 law signed by President Barack Obama that banned videos that show animals being crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or subjected to other forms of torture.

Now, intentional acts of cruelty shown in the videos are also felony offenses.

“It is important that we combat these heinous and sadistic acts of cruelty, which are totally unacceptable in a civilized society,” Mr. Trump said at a signing ceremony on Monday, where he was joined by Mr. Buchanan and animal rights advocates.

The bill was passed unanimously by a voice vote in the House in October. It was passed unanimously by the Senate in November and went into effect on Monday.

The additional step of making acts of cruelty a crime “makes a statement about American values,” said Kitty Block, president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States.

“The approval of this measure by the Congress and the president marks a new era in the codification of kindness to animals within federal law,” she said. “For decades, a national anti-cruelty law was a dream for animal protectionists. Today, it is a reality.”

From NPR:

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) is a bi-partisan initiative that bans the intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impalement or other serious harm to “living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians.”

The law also bans “animal crush videos” meaning any photograph, motion-picture film, video or digital recording or electronic image that depicts animal cruelty.

The penalty for violating the law can include a fine, a prison term of up to seven years, or both.

The new law was endorsed by some law enforcement groups, such as the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Fraternal Order of Police who say there is a link between extreme animal cruelty and violence against people.

Tenna Danas Dog House

Tenna is a young female Chihuahua and Dachshund mix (Chiweenie) who is available for adoption from Dana’s Dog House in Smyrna, GA.

Tenna will be under 8 lbs grown. She has a big personality and not afraid of anything. She loves to burrow under the covers with her person. 

Vicki Best Friends

Vicki is a young female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Atlanta, GA.

Frank Best Friends

Frank is a male Hound (or Boxer?) mix dog who is available for adoption from Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Atlanta, GA.

Name’s Frank. I’m the handsome, shy type. One of my favorite pastimes is bubbles. Let me be Frank — (see what I did there?) I’m very food motivated, so I can be taught a solid number of commands if you bring the treats. Keeping my paws on the floor is one thing I’m working on now. I’ll do well in a home with time to spend helping me come out of my shell.

26
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 26, 2019

President George Washington declared November 26, 1789 the first “public day of thanksgiving and prayer.”

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

On November 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Fourth Thursday in November as the modern Thanksgiving celebration.

[I]t was not until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to fall on the last Thursday of November, that the modern holiday was celebrated nationally.

With a few deviations, Lincoln’s precedent was followed annually by every subsequent president–until 1939. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt departed from tradition by declaring November 23, the next to last Thursday that year, as Thanksgiving Day. Considerable controversy surrounded this deviation, and some Americans refused to honor Roosevelt’s declaration. For the next two years, Roosevelt repeated the unpopular proclamation, but on November 26, 1941, he admitted his mistake and signed a bill into law officially making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.

On the same day, a Japanese navy fleet left port headed toward Pearl Harbor.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Flags on state buildings and grounds fly at half-staff today in honor of Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy Cecil Dwayne Ridley, who was killed in the line of duty on November 19, 2019.

Democrat Stacey Abrams will use her fiction-writing skills previously devoted to making up fictional stories about Georgia politics to executive produce a tv series, according to The Hill.

Abrams, who garnered national attention after her campaign, also has a career of writing mystery novels under the pen name Selena Montgomery.

Abrams is executive producing “Never Tell,” based on her 2004 novel, about a linguistic professor “with a complicated past” who teams up with a “charismatic” investigative online journalist to solve cases with the New Orleans Police Department, according to information CBS shared with The Hill about the project.

The show is in development with CBS and has yet to be picked up.

The pre-election contest for the open U.S. Senate seat has already become a bloody mess, even before Governor Brian Kemp announces the appointee.

Debbie Dooley has called Gov. Kemp’s selection process a “fiasco” and probably doomed the candidacy of Rep. Doug Collins for appointment to the seat. From 11Alive:

One of the resumes came from Kelly Loeffler, co-owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.  Her letter to Kemp describes herself as someone “who will stand with President Trump… and you to Keep America Great.”

But Trump supporter and Atlanta Tea Party founder Debbie Dooley sees something else in Loeffler.

“I think she’s not a conservative. I think she’s a Mitt Romney Republican. She’s not a Donald Trump Republican,” Dooley said. “That’s an important distinction.”

But Dooley wants a proven Trump loyalist.

“I can tell you now, without a doubt, people want Doug Collins,” said Dooley.

The Tea Party Patriots Fund called on Kemp to appoint Collins Monday.

Breitbart has published a piece criticizing Kelly Loeffler, widely considered a frontrunner for appointment to the Senate.

As the weekend broke, the ultra-conservative Breitbart.com weighed in with a piece topped by wordy headline that left little to the imagination: “ ‘A Country Club Republican’: Conservatives Sound the Alarm over Kelly Loeffler’s Potential Senate Appointment, Ties to Planned Parenthood, Stacey Abrams.”

According to the Breitbart piece, Loeffler’s tie to Abrams consists of the fact that last August, Abrams joined the WNBA players’ union. Which would put Abrams in opposition to Loeffler’s management role, but never mind.

The link to Planned Parenthood is a WNBA promotion in which a portion of ticket sales were to be donated to six non-profit causes. Planned Parenthood was one of them. But this sounds like Loeffler’s most egregious sin:

Georgia will receive $1.4 million dollars in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to the Center Square.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued $1.4 million for distance learning and telemedicine projects for five Georgia organizations.

“Distance learning and telemedicine make it easier for thousands of rural residents to take advantage of economic, health care and educational opportunities without having to travel long distances,” Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy said in a statement.

The largest grant of $403,000 will be awarded to The Corporation of Mercer University of Georgia for a behavioral health telemedicine project. Ten counties will be linked to the project that will provide services for up to 20,600 rural residents.

The Georgia Department of Justice will receive a $384,000 to establish a distance learning program for employees in 15 counties. The Department of Labor will also launch a similar program for staff and customers with its $352,000 grant.

Oconee Fall Line Technical College and Augusta University plan to use their grants, both under $200,000, for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classes and medical studies.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is also funding a pilot program to address feral hogs, according to the Albany Herald.

These projects are part of the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program – a joint effort between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to help address the threat that feral swine pose to agriculture, ecosystems, and human and animal health.

“Feral swine cause significant damage to crops and grazing lands, while also impacting the health of our natural resources,” said NRCS State Conservationist Terrance O. Rudolph. “By collaborating with our partners nationally and here in Georgia, our hope is to control this invasive species – improving operations for farmers while also protecting our natural resources for the future.”

NRCS and APHIS are working with the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District in portions of Baker, Calhoun, Dougherty and Terrell counties on one project. Additionally, the group is working with Tall Timbers Research Inc., in portions of Brooks, Grady and Thomas counties, as well as several counties in North Florida.

Georgia State Senator John Wilkinson (R-Toccoa) was named Legislator of the Year by the Rural Jobs Coalition, according to Under the Georgia Sun.

Wilkinson was chosen as Legislator of the Year for his support of agribusiness and policies that help drive job creation, revitalization of small businesses and economic opportunities for small, rural communities across the state.

“Born and raised in rural Georgia, I know firsthand the struggle of our small businesses to access affordable capital in their rural communities in order to grow operations and hire and retain workforce,” said Sen. Wilkinson. “The Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act (GARJA) is one of many programs that I have supported that provides growth opportunities for our rural businesses. Georgia is a national leader in the effort to rebuild our rural areas; I am proud to be a part of that passionate movement.”

The act, sponsored by Sen. Wilkinson during the 2017 Legislative Session, is a program that uses a tax credit for investors in rural funds to increase capital available to small businesses in rural Georgia.

The investments can be made in agribusiness, businesses dealing with health care, transportation, technology or other areas as deemed appropriate by the Department of Community Affairs. You can read more about the program here, and you can find the language of the bill here.

Smyrna‘s elections for Mayor is a high-dollar affair, with more than $150k raised by the candidates, according to the Cobb County Courier.

As Smyrna mayor hopefuls Ryan Campbell and Derek Norton head back out to campaign for voters ahead of the Dec. 3 runoff, they’re also receiving donations to help fund their efforts.

Between them, Norton and Campbell have raised over $150,000 from a wide range of donors in a wide range of amounts. On election day in November, Norton collected by far the most votes with 3,724, good for 47.1% but not enough to avoid a runoff. Campbell finished second with 1,957 votes, or 24.75%. (Read Derek Norton’s campaign disclosure here).

During the initial campaign Norton, a lobbyist for the Medical Association of Georgia, raised more money than the four other candidates combined. Among Norton’s contributors were politicians and political action committees, doctors and groups representing the medical field, lobbyists and lobbying groups, and individuals and companies associated with the development and construction industry.

As of of his most recent report, which was submitted Nov. 1, Norton has now raised $110,030, nearly triple that of Campbell.

Albany and Lee County voters can cast ballots early in the runoff elections through tomorrow, according to the Albany Herald.

Voters were turning out Monday morning in steady numbers on the first day of early voting for the Albany mayoral and Ward VI Albany City Commission runoff contests.

As of about 11 p.m. 137 had cast ballots, with elevators steadily discharging a flow of residents to the line of tables where poll workers checked identification.

Voting hours are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. through Wednesday on the second floor of the Government Center building at 222 Pine Ave.

In Lee County, early voting also extends through Wednesday from 8:15 a.m.-5 p.m. at 100 Starksville Ave. N., Suite C.

The only contest on the ballot is a runoff for a special election to state House District 152. Leesburg Mayor Jim Quinn and Bill Yearta, the former mayor of Sylvester, are squaring off in that race. The winner will serve out the final year of the term of Ed Rynders, who resigned earlier this year.

Smithville voters also will return to the polls in a runoff election to choose between incumbent Mayor Jack Smith and challenger Vincent Cutts.

Johns Creek City Council member Jay Lin announced he will run for State House District 50, currently held by Democrat Angelika Kausche, according to NorthFulton.com.

District 50 represents most of Johns Creek. In 2018, Democrat Rep. Angelika Kausche won an open race for the seat.

Lin is a first-generation immigrant from Taiwan. He is a licensed general contractor and owner of Pacific Ventures, a remodeling and construction firm.

“For Georgia to excel in the 21st century economy, we must avoid the poisoned, partisan politics that have crippled Washington,” Lin said. “We must rally together around common sense solutions that expand access to the middle class and beyond — lower taxes, great schools, workforce development programs and an efficient government that solves problems instead of creating them.”

Johns Creek is likely to be seen as a battleground by both sides. Of the four House seats that represent Johns Creek, three are held by freshman Democrats who won with less than 52 percent of the vote — Kausche, Rep. Beth Moore and Rep. Josh McLaurin. Republican Rep. Chuck Martin retained his seat 54 to 46 percent.

Chatham County Commissioners approved additional funding for the District Attorney’s office and Public Defenders, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Chatham County Commissioners unanimously approved boosting court-system staff for the District Attorney and Public Defender offices during their biweekly meeting on Friday, Nov. 22, addressing concerns that increasing caseloads are overwhelming attorneys from both departments, causing courthouse delays.

When these requests were brought before the board, all commissioners voted in favor of boosting personnel for the District Attorney’s Office with two assistant attorneys and one legal secretary at an annual cost of $325,500, and to increase the Public Defender’s Office workforce with two full-time assistant attorneys and one part-time senior attorney, at an annual cost of $266,973.30.

The Glynn County Commission Finance Committee will address a budget shortfall created by a error, according to The Brunswick News.

The shortfall was caused by $1.65 million in lease revenue being included in budgets for both the fiscal year 2018 and the fiscal year 2019, according to a memo to the committee from county finance manager Judy Dunnagan.

The memo states that $1.65 million in revenue was collected during the fiscal year 2018, which ended on June 30, 2018, and used to balance the 2018 budget.

However, the revenue was collected after the fiscal year 2019 budget had been approved. The 2019 budget included $1.65 million in projects to be paid for with the same lease revenue, according to the memo.

In the memo, Dunnagan recommends the county pull from its general fund to cover the shortfall, as revenues exceeded expenditures by $16 million in the fiscal year 2019.

Alternatively, she suggests finding cuts in the current fiscal year 2020 budget.

Plant Vogtle reactors 3 and 4 are undergoing testing, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Georgia Power said Monday it has begun testing major systems at the Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 site near Waynesboro, a sign that the construction project is transitioning toward systems operations.

The company said its latest phase of testing – open vessel testing – will demonstrate how water flows from key safety systems into the reactor vessel to ensure paths are not blocked or constricted. The testing will also confirm that pumps, motors, valves, pipes and other components of the systems function as designed.

“This is a significant step on our path towards operations,” Glen Chick, executive vice president for the construction project, said in a company-issued statement. “Open vessel testing will prepare the unit for cold hydro testing and hot functional testing next year – both critical tests required ahead of initial fuel load.”

The new reactors are currently the largest jobs-producing construction project in the state of Georgia, with more than 8,000 workers on site. More than 800 full-time jobs will be created when the units are certified to begin operations.

Dunwoody City Council adopted the strongest pedestrian and cyclist protection measure in the state, according to the AJC.

The City Council last week passed a “Vulnerable Road Users” law, giving additional protection to a group that also includes skateboarders, motorcyclists and scooter riders.

Spearheaded by City Councilman Tom Lambert, the ordinance goes further than the current state law, and would stiffen the penalties for drivers who strike or act aggressively toward bicyclists or pedestrians. Based on Lambert’s research, he said, Dunwoody would be the first city in Georgia — as well as in the surrounding states — to pass such a law.

The ordinance codifies state law in mandating that vehicles must be at least 3 feet away from a bicycle when passing one. It also bans drivers from throwing things at vulnerable road users, making an unsafe turn in front of them and maneuvering a car in a way that could cause “intimidation or harassment.”

Dunwoody’s ordinance only allows a car to go into an opposite-direction travel lane to pass a cyclist if it is safe to do so. Otherwise, they must stay behind the bike.

Drivers who break the Vulnerable Road Users law could face up to six months in jail or probation, a $1,000 fine or the suspension of their driver’s license. But those penalties may be reduced or waived if the driver completes a driver safety and pedestrian awareness class.

The law, which the Council passed 6-1, is set to go into effect May 1, 2020, allowing time to educate residents about the new rules and penalties.

The Georgia Senate Study Committee on Passenger Vehicle Seat Safety Belts is considering , according to the AJC.

Lawmakers are expected to pursue legislation next session that would make it illegal to not wear seat belts while sitting in the front or back seats of a passenger vehicle.

Georgia currently requires drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seat belts, and anyone 17 or under in back seats must be restrained. But adults are not required to buckle up in the back seat.

State Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, the chairman of a committee studying seat belt use, said the change will save lives.

“We believe there should be more public service announcements and times put into reminding and educating the public on the importance of wearing their seat belts at all times and in all locations,” Albers said Monday.

25
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 25, 2019

Fox Coastal Pet Rescue GA

Fox is a 5-month old female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Fox is a very social little girl that loves to play and snuggle. We are not sure of her breed but we are pretty sure she will not be very big when she is fully grown.

Fox is deaf but it doesn’t stop her. She is very smart and watches to see what is expected of her. So, if you are looking for a smart, sweet little girl you have found her!

Repo Coastal Pet Rescue GA

Repo is a year-old male Doberman mix who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Repo is a great, big, sweet puppy who has been deemed “Eddie” by his foster family because there is no way anyone could ever give this guy back. (And they’ve decided he has an Eddie Munster face).

He is doing great and has a lot to learn, but is so eager to be with someone who will teach him. He doesn’t bark and will crate and kennel well.

He loves attention, long walks and gets along with other dogs, but is a young boy so he plays a little rough. He is learning to sit and not jump to greet everyone.

Repo has the best personality and just wants a person to follow around. He would be a great addition to any family with a fence and older children older kids who want a buddy.

Baratheon Coastal Pet Rescue GABaratheon is a 2-month old male mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Click here for a dozen ways to donate to Coastal Pet Rescue, one of the state’s finest organizations.

Even cooler, you can donate items the rescue needs via their Amazon wishlist.

25
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 25, 2018

On November 25, 1864, Sherman’s 14th and 20th Corps moved toward Sandersville while the 17th Corps fought briefly against a mix of Kentucky Militia, Georgia Military Institute cadets, and Georgia convicts.

On November 25, 1867, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel filed a patent for dynamite. On November 25, 1895, Nobel wrote his will, leaving the equivalent of roughly $186 million (2008 dollars) to endow the Nobel prizes.

On November 25, 1920, the first play-by-play broadcast of a college football game took place at College Station as Texas A&M (then Mechanical College of Texas) took the field against Texas University.

President John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on November 25, 1963.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience played its first show at the Bag O’Nails Club in London on November 25, 1966.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The national media is making hay of President Trump’s stated preference for Doug Collins to be appointed to the Senate. From New York magazine, a well-known connoisseur of Georgia politics.

According to multiple sources, Trump is cashing in his chits with Kemp by demanding that he fill the Isakson seat with Congressman Doug Collins, his personal pit bull on the House Judiciary Committee. Here’s how the Wall Street Journalreports it:

In recent days, the president has spoken to Mr. Kemp at least twice—once face-to-face in Atlanta and once on the phone—urging him to pick Rep. Doug Collins (R., Ga.), a vocal supporter of the president in Congress, these people said. Mr. Collins, a white conservative from north Georgia, has pushed for months to get the seat that Sen. Johnny Isakson, 74 years old, is leaving at the end of the year because of health problems.

Kemp is focused on the difficult task of defending two Senate seats in a presidential year in which Georgia could become a national battleground state thanks to recent Democratic gains. Two north Atlanta suburban House districts will also be in play. Loeffler, a white woman from Atlanta, is wealthy enough to self-finance a campaign. The governor has exhibited fury at anyone telling him what to do on this appointment, though again, he owes Trump.

There is a wild card in Kemp’s deliberations, though. If there’s anyone he owes even more for his election than Trump, it would be the Perdue cousins: Senator David and former Governor and Trump Secretary of Agriculture Sonny, who helped bring Trump into the 2018 contest on Kemp’s behalf, and who together have been dominant figures in the state party for years.

It’s worth noting that if you’re tallying Gov. Kemp’s relationship with the Perdues, it also includes then-Gov. Sonny Perdue appointing Kemp Secretary of State in 2010.

Joe Biden floated the names of two Georgians as potential running mates, according to The Hill.

At a town hall Friday night, Biden was asked about his pick, and he joked back to the questioner, “You. Are you available?” USA Today reported.

Biden did not provide any specific names, but he said several people are qualified, including “the former assistant attorney general who got fired,” referring to former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates; “the woman who should have been the governor of Georgia,” referring to Stacey Abrams; and “the two senators from the state of New Hampshire,” referring to Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Maggie Hassan (D).

Yates was fired by President Trump in 2017 after refusing to to defend his administration’s travel ban. She was serving as the acting attorney general at the time.

Abrams, a former Georgia state lawmaker, came close to defeating Republican Brian Kemp for the Georgia governor’s seat in 2018. She said in a speech at the University of Iowa earlier this month that she would be “happy” to run as a vice presidential candidate.

The Rev. Al Sharpton was in Atlanta last week, according to the AJC.

In a crowded banquet room at Paschal’s Restaurant, the Rev. Al Sharpton and clergy members from his National Action Network organization held court Thursday with five presidential candidates who took turns at the lectern promising to embrace civil rights as a central cause.

“This election is going to be one of the most important in American history, and certainly in our lifetime,” he said. “I know we say that all the time, but when you look at it, this time it’s clear.”

The candidates speaking to Sharpton’s group were Tom Steyer, Sen. Cory Booker, Andrew Yang, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Pete Buttigieg.

The Georgia Public Defender Council is backtracking on furloughs, according to the AJC.

The Georgia Public Defender Council – which represents indigent defendants – had planned to furlough employees 10 days this fiscal year to meet Kemp’s call for 4 percent budget cuts from most agencies. Staffers had one furlough day – the loss of a day’s pay – last month.

However, Kemp’s office confirmed that the governor’s Office of Planning and Budget talked to agency officials and the furloughs won’t be continued.

Kemp this summer ordered agencies to cut 4 percent this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and six percent next year, to both prepare in case of a recession and provide money for his priorities, such as teacher pay raises.

Not everything is being cut equally across state government. Some massive enrollment-driven programs — such as K-12 schools, universities and Medicaid, the health care program for the poor and disabled — are exempt.

The State House Study Committee on Maternal Mortality heard about mental health’s effects on the topic, according to The Brunswick News.

“The research is at the point we can say there’s a clear influence in maternal mental health and the development of the fetus,” [Mercer University professor Dr. Jennifer] Barkin said.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests a full assessment of mood and emotional well-being during the postpartum visit, and the American Academy of Pediatricians suggests screening at the 1-, 2-, 4- and 6-month visits.

The videos of the hearing — which is done in two parts — are available at livestream.com/accounts/25225474/events/8737135.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger wants to publish the results of election audits, according to the Albany Herald.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced last week he is asking the State Elections Board to pass a rule setting procedures to publicize the time and location of post-election audits.

He also noted that the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency announced this week it is investing the auditing tool that Georgia used to audit the Nov. 5 Cartersville municipal election. Georgia made history by being the first state in the Southeast to pilot a risk-limiting audit of an election.

“Audits are an important part of the new, secure paper-ballot voting system because they give the public confidence in how the election was conducted and the integrity of the results,” Raffensperger said. “Just like the public is notified of the time and location of pre-election logic and accuracy testing of voting equipment, audits after elections should be similarly public.”

Congressmen Rob Woodall (R-Gwinnett) and Hank Johnson (D-DeKalb) teamed up to introduce legislation recognizing Gold Star fathers, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“I believe it is important to extend the same recognition to Gold Star Fathers as it currently exists for Gold Star Mothers and families,” Johnson said in a statement. “On Gold Star Father’s Day, we will honor fathers who have lost children in service to the United States of America and recognize their unimaginable loss. The debt we owe our veterans and their families is immeasurable. The sacrifices of those we have lost, and those of their families on the home front, are the foundation of the freedoms we hold dear.”

Woodall said, “For a Gold Star family, every day is their own personal Memorial Day. Gold Star family members are strong and resilient and want to do nothing more than carry on their loved one’s legacy.”

“We will remember them as mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and remember them as the ones we loved, and most importantly we will remember them as heroes. I am proud to support this bipartisan legislation. Gold Star Father’s Day will ensure that those who made the ultimate sacrifice will be remembered for generations well beyond our years.”

Early voting is open in the runoff elections for city council in College Park, Roswell and Johns Creek, according to the Patch.

Early Voting for the General Municipal Election Runoff will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. The balloting will be for municipal races in the cities of College Park, Roswell and Johns Creek.

Polls will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, and on Nov. 29. For those not voting early or via absentee ballot, the General Municipal Runoff Election is scheduled for Dec. 3.

Chris Herbert with the Valdosta Daily Times receives three points for merit for the opening line of this article:

Early voting will end just before tryptophan overdoses begin.

Hours for the final week of early voting in the runoff election will be 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, through Wednesday, Nov. 27. It ends before Thanksgiving begins.

All early voting will occur at the Lowndes County Board of Elections, 2808 N. Oak St.

Glynn County Commissioner Bob Coleman was acquitted of all charges by a federal jury, according to The Brunswick News.

A Glynn County grand jury handed down a six-count indictment against Coleman in June, charging him with two counts of insurance fraud and four of violating the Georgia Insurance Code’s reporting and disposition of premium requirement.

Visiting Superior Court Judge David Cavender dropped charges five and six due to a lack of evidence on Friday morning.

After roughly an hour and a half of deliberation, the jury returned its verdict Friday evening, finding Coleman not guilty of the remaining four counts.

“How about a double-capital amen,” Coleman said immediately following the jury’s verdict on Friday.

“It’s like I said from the beginning. I never stole any money in my life, and I’m not going to start now.”

Airports in Perry and Columbus will receive federal grants from the U.S.Department of Transportation. From the Ledger-Enquirer:

In total, five airports in Georgia will receive $12.6 million, according to a release Friday from the DOT U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. The grant money will be used for a variety of projects across the state and here in the Chattahoochee Valley.

Columbus will receive $3.5 million, the highest amount out of the five Georgia airports. The money will be used to fund terminal building modifications, according to the release.

The other Georgia airports receiving grant money include:

Cartersville: $2.7 million to fund safety area improvements for Runway 1/19.
Hazlehurst: $2.4 million to fund Runway 14/32 rehabilitation.
Perry-Houston County: $2 million to fund a new aircraft-parking apron.
Kaolin Field: $2 million to fund Runway 13/31 rehabilitation.

Reggie Forrester will retire as administrator of Hall County courts at the end of November, according to the Gainesville Times.

Hall County public schools are considering how to address mental illness, according to the Gainesville Times.

Lanier College & Career Academy was chosen as the pilot location of Hall’s Mental Health Initiative.

Kevin Bales, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, Jeff Jenkins, LCCA principal, and Tamara Etterling, director of student services, teamed up with Joy Schofield to plan the initiative.

Etterling said last year Hall sent out a Georgia health survey to elementary and middle schools.

The results showed that one in five students have mental health issues.

The piece of data that resonated with her the most, included the fact that 5.68% of students in Georgia said they wanted to hurt themselves.

John Mitchell is resigning his seat on the Clarkesville City Council, triggering a March 2020 Special Election to replace him, according to AccessWDUN.

Rome City Commission may vote today to raise water and sewer rates, according to the Rome News Tribune.

22
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 22, 2019

The Gwinnett County Animal Shelter is nearing capacity and will waive all adoption fees for the rest of November, according to the AJC.

To keep space open for needy animals, the shelter is offering free adoptions for the rest of November.

The shelter has 246 animals in its care as of Nov. 21. That includes cats and dogs of all ages and one parakeet named Peep.

All animals are spayed or neutered before they go home with their new owner. They also receive a medical exam, vaccinations and a microchip.

The shelter is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. It is located at 884 Winder Highway in Lawrenceville.

One of my dogs, Dolly, was originally at the Gwinnett County shelter, was featured here, and came home to live with us on the day before Thanksgiving 2012. Thanksgiving is a great time to bring home a new family member, as you’ll have a long weekend to help get them settled in to your home.

Hound Puppy Gwinnett

Pen 201 is a young male Hound or Beagle mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Tulip Gwinnett

Tulip is a 9-year old female Beagle mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Gertrude Gwinnett

Gertrude is a ten-year old female Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

22
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 22, 2019

The only major battle on Sherman’s March to the Sea occurred at Griswoldsville on November 22, 1864; on the same day, federal troops marched into Milledgeville.

Milledgeville-Old-Governor-Mansion-3

On November 23, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman himself entered Milledgeville, where used the Governor’s Mansion as his headquarters. Sherman’s forces left the capitol city on November 24th.

November 21, 1922 was the first day of Rebecca Latimer Fulton’s service in the United States Senate from Georgia as the first woman to serve in that chamber.

President John F. Kennedy became the fourth President of the United States to be assassinated in office on November 22, 1963. The next day, Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, who had been arrested for shooting Kennedy.

On November 22, 1988, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber was first unveiled publicly at Palmdale, California.

Back to the Future II was released on November 22, 1989.

Construction on the Georgia Dome began on November 24, 1989.

On November 24, 1992, Republican Paul D. Coverdell defeated Democratic incumbent Wyche Fowler in the runoff election for United States Senate.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia may contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for water storage at Lake Lanier, according to the Gainesville Times.

Lake Lanier water storage contracts that ignited litigation in the early 1990s might finally be formalized as part of an agreement between Georgia and the Army Corps of Engineers.

A contract with the Army Corps of Engineers to allow Georgia to pay $60 million for permanent water storage on Lake Lanier could come “any day now,” Richard Dunn, Environmental Protection Division director, said at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors’ meeting Thursday, Nov. 21.

“That contract is sitting with the secretary of the Army,” he said. “I thought it would be done by this summer. It will be a big day for Georgia when we can sign that. It’ll be an even bigger day when we can actually pay it off.”

The 254,170 acres of storage space would meet the state’s current and projected 2050 municipal and industrial water supply, Dunn said.

Democrat Stacey Abrams has endorsed Van Johnson for Mayor of Savannah in the Dec. 3 runoff election, according to WSAV.

On Tuesday, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate endorsed Alderman Van Johnson for Mayor of Savannah.

“You have the ability to choose strong leaders. Leaders like my friend Van Johnson. Leaders who share our ideals and values,” Abrams said in a video shared on Johnson’s campaign page.

The endorsement is a major step forward for Johnson’s campaign. He’s once again taking on incumbent Mayor Eddie DeLoach in a runoff on Dec. 3.

Several Democratic Presidential candidates joined an Abrams group to text voters, according to the AJC.

Democratic presidential candidates sent text messages to some of the 313,000 people Thursday whose voter registrations could be canceled in Georgia, emphasizing their support for voting rights a day after their debate in Atlanta.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and entrepreneur Andrew Yang participated in a phone and text bank to prevent dormant voter registrations from being canceled next month.

Using a computer program to send dozens of text messages at a time, the candidates raced to reach as many voters on Georgia’s cancellation list as they could. When voters responded, the candidates interacted with them, looked up their registration information and told them how to re-register before it’s too late.

The candidates joined Stacey Abrams and her Fair Fight Action voting rights group at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger pushed back against the text messages Thursday, which asked voters to share their birth dates and counties for the purpose of checking their registration status.

Raffensperger said in a press release that voters shouldn’t give their personal information to groups such as Fair Fight Action. He said voters can check their registration themselves online or call a state government hotline.

Advanced Voting in Smyrna‘s runoff elections begins Monday, November 25, and runs through next Wednesday, Nov. 27th.

Main office: 736 Whitlock Ave., Marietta, GA 30064, Nov 25 – Nov 27, Monday-Wednesday 8am-5pm

Smyrna Community Center: 200 Village Green Cir. Smyrna, GA 30080, Nov 25 – Nov 27, Monday-Wednesday 9am-5pm

On Election Day, December 3, 2019, voters must go to their assigned polling location.The 7 Smyrna municipal poll are open from 7am – 7pm.

Albany‘s runoffs for Mayor and one council seat will cost $30k, according to the Albany Herald.

The fact that the Dec. 3 runoff will feature two races — the mayoral showdown between Hubbard and challenger Bo Dorough, who finished second in a seven-person race, and the Ward VI runoff to fill outgoing Commissioner Tommie Postell’s seat between Demetrius Young and John Hawthorne — shouldn’t impact the cost too dramatically.

“All 21 precincts in the city are going to be open anyway, since the mayor’s race is citywide,” Nickerson said. “So the precincts that encompass Ward VI will already be open.”

The state of Georgia mandates that a minimum of three poll workers be at each precinct during any election, but Nickerson said four are present at each precinct during elections in Albany and Dougherty County. The extra cost for the Dec. 3 election will be passed on to the city of Albany.

Wes Wolfe of The Brunswick Times writes about the State House proposal for legalizing gambling.

“Gambling is something that’s been talked about in this state for years, sometimes looked at in a better light than in other years,” said Committee Co-chairman Alan Powell, R-Hartwell. “There’s a constitutional provision in the state constitution that says the people of Georgia have to vote to change. Twenty-seven years ago, the citizens of Georgia were asked to vote for the lottery, by the governor when he ran for office.”

“And a lot of people forget that constitutional amendment barely passed at that time, because … it takes two-thirds of the vote of both the House and the Senate to put that on the ballot for the people to vote on. So, it makes for a tedious process to say the very least.”

Powell said Georgia is 12th nationally for illegal sports betting and these days it’s less likely to involve parlay sheets from a bookie, but folks going online through their phones in ways that transcend state lines, and the state’s getting none of that revenue. He added that casino representatives said only a third of their revenue comes from gambling, while the other 66 percent comes from hotels, restaurants and entertainment.

The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus announced it will seek to pass hate crime legislation, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

In a statement, the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus said it will push for a state hate crimes law “that protects the civil rights of all and further penalizes those who commit hate crimes.”

“We will not allow such actions to define us, but rather push us to do better and be better,” the caucus representing more than 60 Georgia state lawmakers said.

Georgia is one of only four states without a hate crimes law, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The others are South Carolina, Arkansas and Wyoming.

Gwinnett County Schools Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks announced the district will review its student discipline code, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Wilbanks’ announcement came at the end of the meeting as the county’s school board was wrapping up its business for the night. The superintendent said the district’s goal has long been to make sure its Student Conduct Behavior Code is “firm, fair and flexible.”

He conceded, however, that there are concerns that approach is not being taken, particularly when it comes to disciplining students of color.

“The Board of Education and I have confidence in our discipline code, in the training our employees receive in implementing it, and in how discipline is carried out in our schools,” Wilbanks said. “However, we are hearing from some in the community who have concerns that a disproportionate number of students of color are being disciplined. They also have questions about the consequences given to students who misbehave.

“We are sensitive to their concerns and want to be sure we do not have any blinders on when it comes to an issue that impacts students in such significant ways.”

“We look forward to getting started on the review to ensure Gwinnett County Public Schools is in the best-possible position when it comes to the complex issue of ensuring firm, fair and flexible approaches to student discipline,” Wilbanks said.

Three points to Gainesville Times writer Kelsey Podo for this quote:

Now that China has reopened its market to the U.S. Poultry Industry, chicken feet are scampering back to street food stands and restaurants.

Statesboro City Council voted to second-read a proposed “blight tax” ordinance, according to the Statesboro Herald.

As now set for potential adoption Dec. 3, the ordinance would apply a sevenfold penalty tax to specific vacant, neglected properties after a lengthy process. Because the special tax would be added on top of the regular property tax, the result would be a total tax eight times the city’s regular millage rate.

But this would follow at least 12 months of communication between the city and affected property owners. That would begin with notices from city code compliance officials to the owners, seeking to have them remove or repair dilapidated buildings, for example. After inspections or a citywide survey, city staff would annually present a list of buildings and sites proposed to be designated “blighted,” with detailed information on each, to City Council.

The tax penalty would be imposed if the council listed a property as blighted and the court approved. On a property with a market value of $100,000, assessed for taxes at Georgia’s standard 40% of value, Statesboro’s regular rate of 7.308 mills amounts to a $292 tax. So, the added penalty tax would be $2,046 on a blighted site worth $100,000.

This penalty phase would be followed by a reward phase for owners who bring blighted properties up to the city’s standards.

In the version of the ordinance tentatively accepted by the council Tuesday, the reward will be a three-year, 50% abatement of the regular city property tax, as well as removal of the penalty tax.

The University of West Georgia will change leadership as the current President resigns effective December 16, and Stuart Rayfield takes over as interim President, according to the Albany Herald.

The City of Rome has filed a lawsuit alleging carpet manufacturing pollution, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Floyd County Superior Court, contends the companies — including 3M, Mohawk, Shaw Industries and others — knew the perfluorinated compounds used in their manufacturing were toxic. The chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, migrated downstream in the Oostanaula River, the main source of the city’s water.

A Thursday press release from City Attorney Andy Davis says Rome filed the suit “to ensure the long-term safety and viability of its drinking water system.”

21
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 21, 2019

Didi Terrell County

Didi is a young female Jack Russell Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Terrell County in Dawson, GA.

This is Didi , a jack russell mix puppy DOB October 2019. She and her sister Gigi were rescued from a busy intersection by animal control. No one came to reclaim them so they were brought to us to find new homes. Didi is a typical, playful, fun loving and affectionate puppy. She is at the perfect age to be adopted to a home with kids and other pets. She is healthy, up to date with shots and working on crate training. To adopt Didi, please submit an adoption application at www.myhstc.org

Toby Terrell County

Toby is a young male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Terrell County in Dawson, GA.

Meet the dream puppy,Toby. He is approximately 12weeks old and supersweet. Toby is in a foster home with dogs and cats. Heis doing an excellent job with house training and crate training.He’s a great sleeper too!If you’re looking for a puppy, it doesn’t get any better than this.We seriously can’t brag enough on this little guy.Toby will grow up to be a big dog,so a large fenced yard is preferred.If you would like to give Toby a forever home, please fill out an application at myhstc.org

Brownie Terrell County

Brownie is a young female French Bulldog mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Terrell County in Dawson, GA.

This sweet girl is Brownie, a french bulldog mix puppy DOB August 2019. She came to us a stray picked up by animal control and not reclaimed. We are surprised no one came looking for her -she is very sweet! Brownie is pretty laid back for a dog her age. She is very eager to please and would be great for a home with kids and other pets. She is smart and learns quickly. Brownie is healthy and up to date with shots and is crate trained. If you would like to adopt Brownie, please submit an adoption application at www.myhstc.org

Adoption fee is $85 and includes vet work current at adoption.

21
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 21, 2019

On November 21, 1620 (November 11 under the calendar used then), the first governing document of the English colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Mayflower Compact, was signed by most of the male passengers of the Mayflower.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

The Georgia Trustees outlawed rum in the colony on November 21, 1733 after James Oglethorpe wrote them that it was responsible for sickness and death in Georgia. Two-hundred eighty-six years later, Richland Rum is being distilled with Georgia-grown sugar cane in Richland, Georgia.

North Carolina ratified the Constitution on November 21, 1789, becoming the twelfth state to do so.

On November 21, 1860 Governor Joseph Brown called a Secession Convention following the election of Abraham Lincoln as President.

November 21, 1922 was the first day of Rebecca Latimer Fulton’s service in the United States Senate from Georgia as the first woman to serve in that chamber.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Donald Trump urged Governor Brian Kemp to appoint Congressman Doug Collins to the United States Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Johnny Isakson, according to the AJC.

President Donald Trump pressed Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday to appoint U.S. Rep. Doug Collins to an open U.S. Senate, hours after the Gainesville Republican said he was “strongly” considering a run for the job even if he’s not tapped.

The call, described by three high-level GOP officials, was part of a dramatic increase in pressure from Collins’ allies that raises the possibility of a bitter Republican clash over the race.

It’s the second time in two weeks that Trump directly appealed Kemp to appoint Collins, who was long considered a top contender to fill U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat before a multimillionaire financial executive applied.

And after the AJC published a story detailing Collins’ threat to run, Trump dialed up Kemp to push his appointment, according to multiple people who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

One of them said Trump stressed Collins’ role fighting the president’s impeachment in the U.S. House and characterized him as someone who could be an “immediate leader” in the Senate. Another said the president also told Kemp he understands it’s his choice to make.

While riding in the presidential limo during a Nov. 8 campaign trip to Atlanta, Trump told Kemp he liked Collins for the Senate vacancy, according to two other people familiar with the discussion who were not authorized to speak publicly about the private conversation.

Senator Johnny Isakson endorsed Karen Handel for Congress in the Sixth District seat he formerly held, according to the AJC.

His endorsement stated in part, “Karen Handel is one of the hardest working people I know. Karen has proven time and again that she is a problem solver who focuses on results rather than politics.”

He continued, “Karen Handel is who I trust to represent us in Congress, and I’m proud to support Karen to be our next representative for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.”

“I am grateful to count Senator Isakson as a friend and mentor.” Handel said. “He is a true statesman and has served our state with distinction over his career in public service. It is humbling to receive his support and endorsement of my campaign to represent the district he once held.”

Congressman Austin Scott (R-Tifton) sponsored a Special Order honorning Senator Johnny Isakson, according to the Albany Herald.

Participating in the Special Order were U.S. Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga.; Sanford Bishop, D-Ga.; Tom Graves, R-Ga.; Rob Woodall, R-Ga.; Doug Collins, R-Ga.; Rick Allen, R-Ga.; Buddy Carter, R-Ga.; Jody Hice, R-Ga.; Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga.; Drew Ferguson, R-Ga.; and Lucy McBath, D-Ga.

“For decades, Sen. Isakson has faithfully served our state, and his character, godliness and statesmanship will be greatly missed in Washington. His faithful service to the great state of Georgia is second only to our beloved mascot, Uga.

“He is a giant among men, dedicated and deliberate, and it has been an honor to work alongside him, fighting for the good people of Georgia. With that, I yield to my colleagues.”

Eugene Yu, who previously ran for Congress in the Twelfth District now will run for the Seventh, according to the Forsyth County News.

Eugene Yu announced this week he would be seeking the seat currently held by Rep. Rob Woodall, who was first elected in 2010 and announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election.

“I have lived and worked as a legal immigrant chasing the American dream for many years,” Yu said in a news release. “I understand and want to protect hard-working American values. America is still the number one country in the world, and I will work to keep it that way for our future generations.”

Yu described himself as a conservative who believes in “smaller government, lower taxes, fair trade and less intrusion from the government in our personal lives. “

Newly-elected State House member Philip Singleton takes a victory lap in the Washington Times.

Between a special election on Sept. 3 and a runoff on Oct. 1, this campaign season proved to be a painful illustration of exactly why so many good people avoid politics altogether.

My main opponent just so happened to be Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison, daughter of former U.S. Congressman Lynn Westmoreland. To no surprise, Mrs. Sakrison’s candidacy quickly became the ruling class’ attempt to install their handpicked heiress apparent.

But why would Republican leadership in Georgia spend so much money on a seat that was so safely red?

The answer is simple: President Trump has upset the order of things, and the establishment — all the way down to the local level — is terrified. After generations of going home disappointed, voters are sick of “politics as usual.”

Hoschton voters are a step closer to voting on a recall petition of two incumbent officeholders, according to the AJC.

The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously turned down an appeal by Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly, paving the way for a recall election of her and longtime Councilman Jim Cleveland.

Kenerly had asked the court to review a lower court decision upholding the grounds for her recall, but the high court declined to hear it. Neither Kenerly nor her attorney returned a call seeking comment.

Action now moves to the Jackson County Board of Elections, which must check and certify the recall petitions and set a special election. But supporters of the recall effort believe the most difficult legal hurdles are behind them and view a recall election early next year as inevitable.

The Georgia Department of Revenue ruled that a jet fuel tax break will continue, according to the AJC.

Around this time last year state lawmakers met in a special session to pass storm relief legislation for South Georgia farmers and what they were told was a temporary tax break for air carriers such as Delta Air Lines.

Around this time last year state lawmakers met in a special session to pass storm relief legislation for South Georgia farmers and what they were told was a temporary tax break for air carriers such as Delta Air Lines.

The Revenue Department published the ruling Wednesday with little fanfare. Earlier this year the agency posted a friendly reminder that airlines and others using jet fuel would have to begin collecting the tax July 1. The latest ruling came after the Revenue Department was asked “for guidance” in applying the law.

The special session legislation — which passed the House and Senate overwhelmingly — included a line that read, “The General Assembly of Georgia hereby continues such suspension of collection indefinitely.” That led to the Revenue Department’s ruling Wednesday.

Wednesday’s ruling could mean another legislative fight when lawmakers return in January. While some Republican leaders would like the Revenue Department’s decision to stand, other lawmakers are likely to seek legislation setting a time limit on the tax break.

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez criticized Georgia last night, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Tom Perez blasted Georgia’s Republican leadership Wednesday and what he described as restrictive practices at the polls.

Using himself as an example, Perez said that if he were to vote without using his middle initial, Georgia election officials would be prepared to remove him from the voting rolls.

Perez also took verbal shots at President Donald Trump, calling him “the most dangerous president in American history.”

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway announced the opening of special jail housing for military veterans, according to the AJC.

The Sheriff’s Office unveiled “The Barracks,” a 70-bed jail housing unit that is designed to mimic some of the aspects of life in the military. Officials said that particularly includes the regimented and disciplined lifestyle typically associated with life in the armed forces.

“Our goal is to help reconnect these inmates to the time in their lives when they made better decisions, respected authority and obeyed the law,” Sheriff Butch Conway said in a statement. “This program has the potential to greatly influence these inmates and help them lead more productive lives when they’re released from custody.”

The housing unit has daily room inspections and military-style fitness training. The Sheriff’s Office explained, “Military veterans have previously demonstrated their ability to lead a life of discipline, respect authority and follow orders, which we believe will be instrumental to the program’s success.”

The Sheriff’s Office will also offer classes to the inmates to help them deal with military service-related trauma as well as behavioral issues and drug abuse.

“The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office has a longstanding history of supporting our nation’s military veterans,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “Many of our staff members are veterans themselves and we seek opportunities to recruit at military bases around the country to afford career opportunities to soldiers leaving military service. Our efforts stem from deep appreciation for the service these highly trained professionals provided our nation and a desire to provide them employment as they transition to civilian life.”

“Our appreciation for military service extends to inmates who are military veterans.”

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority adopted a resolution to refinance outstanding bonds at a more favorable rate, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The resolution would refinance the current bond to a lower interest rate of 2.899%. The new bond, totaling $17 million, would save the development authority $654,658. It passed unanimously.

Gwinnett County has retained the highest bond ratings available, according to the AJC.

The county government has earned AAA ratings from Moody’s Investors Service, Fitch Ratings and S and P Global. Those ratings come in handy when the county seeks bonds because it helps county leaders secure more favorable interest rates.

“The rating agencies conduct an intense review of our finances, operations and policies. These stellar ratings are very difficult to achieve,” county commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said.

In their report on the county, Moody’s cited ongoing growth in the county as one reason for its rating of Gwinnett.

“The county’s base will continue to expand given strong permitting activity, recent development announcements and proximity to Atlanta,” the agency said. “This growth will support strong revenue performance which, along with good management and low fixed costs, will lead to continued stability in the county’s financial position.”

Sylvia Washington took her seat as a new member of the Bainbridge City Council after being sworn in, according to the Post Searchlight.

State Senator Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge) spoke to a local Rotary club, according to the Post Searchlight.

The first item he mentioned was how the State of Georgia last year held a special session in November and appropriated $200 to $300 million dollars to provide loans and tax credits especially for farmers, following Hurricane Michael. He said this was unprecedented, that the State has never provided state funding for disaster relief. Only the federal government has provided disaster relief. Then, in April the Budget Committee put another $25 million into the fund as it rapidly became depleted.

Continuing with the relief given as tax credits to timber farmers, Burke said it became necessary to tweak the language a bit. Originally, timber farmers would have to clearcut in order to get relief. Many farmers said standing timber remained in many of their fields and they didn’t want to destroy them. The language was changed to if they cleaned up the site they could get credit.

In response to a question of where Burke stood on the subject of term limitations, he said he would support it in some ways; but noted that it takes some time for newly elected people to learn what is going on. He doesn’t believe they should be required to leave at the end of two years when they are just beginning to figure out what is going on.

The Georgia Cyber Center in Augusta opened Tattooine, an office of the DOD’s Defense Digital Service, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Defense Digital Service, a unique unit within the Department of Defense working on highly technical problems, celebrated opening an office Wednesday in Georgia Cyber Center.

The service held a grand opening Wednesday for its first remote office outside the Pentagon as it unveiled space dubbed Tatooine in the Georgia Cyber Center. The name is from Luke Skywalker’s home planet in the “Star Wars” movie series and there are references to the films throughout the offices that add to the nerdy vibe, a vibe they embrace. “These are the nerds y’all are looking for,” a play on a famous line from one of the Star Wars movies, is on a sign outside the door to the Tatooine office.

Brig. Gen. William Hartman, of U.S. Cyber Command, recalled the first time he met members of the service that they were trying to come up with a solution to unmanned drone strikes plaguing soldiers in the field and were literally soldering pieces together inside their Pentagon office to come up with a working prototype. They took it out into the field, let the soldiers work with it and give them feedback, and then did tweaks to make it work for them, he said.

Removal of the capsized M/V Golden Ray from St Simons Sound could take a year, according to The Brunswick News.

That was an assessment of the 656-foot cargo ship lying on its side off the coast of the Golden Isles by Coast Guard Cmdr. Matt Baer, a member of the Unified Command tasked with removing the ship that capsized Sept. 8. Baer made his comments at Wednesday’s Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce meeting.

The ship has been slowly sinking in the sand because of the powerful tides. About a quarter of the ship is scoured in sand more than 20 feet deep, making it impossible to upright the ship without it breaking apart and creating an even bigger problem, Baer said.

The rate of sinking into the sand has been slowed considerably after large rocks were dumped around the ship to keep it from shifting during incoming and outgoing tides, he said.

Baer estimated about 29 miles of coastline have been impacted from oil and fuel that has leaked from the ship. The areas include ones where even small amounts of oil the size of a quarter are counted.

So far, about 317,000 gallons of oil have been removed from the ship that Baer said could have contaminated local marshes and beaches.