The blog.

16
Oct

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for October 16, 2020

Kiera Dogs Rock Rescue

Kiera is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Dogs Rock Inc. in Franklin, GA.

Lena Dogs Rock Rescue

Lena is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Dogs Rock Inc. in Franklin, GA.

Lena is a sweet energetic pup that loves everyone.

Keshia Dogs Rock Rescue

Keshia is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Dogs Rock Inc. in Franklin, GA.

Bubba Dogs Rock Rescue

Bubba is a male American Bulldog mix who is available for adoption from Dogs Rock Inc. in Franklin, GA.

Bubba is a great guy who loves his stuffies and any other living being. He is amazing with children of all sizes, all other dogs and cats. He has a slight limp from where he was “mugged” and will use that limp to distract you if he gets in any trouble. He is very affectionate and loves to cuddle.

16
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 16, 2020

The Mason-Dixon line separating Pennsylvania from Maryland was established on October 18, 1767.

In 1760, tired of border violence between the colonies’ settlers, the British crown demanded that the parties involved hold to an agreement reached in 1732. As part of Maryland and Pennsylvania’s adherence to this royal command, Mason and Dixon were asked to determine the exact whereabouts of the boundary between the two colonies. Though both colonies claimed the area between the 39th and 40th parallel, what is now referred to as the Mason-Dixon line finally settled the boundary at a northern latitude of 39 degrees and 43 minutes. The line was marked using stones, with Pennsylvania’s crest on one side and Maryland’s on the other.

Twenty years later, in late 1700s, the states south of the Mason-Dixon line would begin arguing for the perpetuation of slavery in the new United States while those north of line hoped to phase out the ownership of human chattel. This period, which historians consider the era of “The New Republic,” drew to a close with the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which accepted the states south of the line as slave-holding and those north of the line as free. The compromise, along with those that followed it, eventually failed.

The Pennsylvania Gazette published a criticism against the British Tea Act on October 16, 1773.

The Tea Act of 1773 was a bill designed to save the faltering British East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as yet another example of taxation tyranny. In response, the “Philadelphia Resolutions” called the British tax upon America unfair and said that it introduced “arbitrary government and slavery” upon the American citizens. The resolutions urged all Americans to oppose the British tax and stated that anyone who transported, sold or consumed the taxed tea would be considered “an enemy to his country.”

Five thousand British and Hessian troops surrendered to patriot militia on October 17, 1777, ending the Second Battle of Saratoga, and leading to France recognizing American independence and sending military aid.

An editorial published pseudononymously by Alexander Hamilton on October 17, 1796, accused Thomas Jefferson, then a Presidential candidate, of having an affair with a slave.

Happy birthday to the Texas Rangers, created on October 17, 1835.

In the midst of their revolt against Mexico, Texan leaders felt they needed a semi-official force of armed men who would defend the isolated frontier settlers of the Lone Star Republic against both Santa Ana’s soldiers and hostile Indians; the Texas Rangers filled this role. But after winning their revolutionary war with Mexico the following year, Texans decided to keep the Rangers, both to defend against Indian and Mexican raiders and to serve as the principal law enforcement authority along the sparsely populated Texan frontier.

On October 16, 1854, Abraham Lincoln, a candidate for Congress, spoke against the Kansas-Nebraska Act and called the practice of slavery “immoral.”

Lincoln, who was practicing law at the time, campaigned on behalf of abolitionist Republicans in Illinois and attacked the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He denounced members of the Democratic Party for backing a law that “assumes there can be moral right in the enslaving of one man by another.” He believed that the law went against the founding American principle that “all men are created equal.”

On October 18, 1867, the United States took over Alaska from Russia and ran up Old Glory there for the first time.

Separated from the far eastern edge of the Russian empire by only the narrow Bering Strait, the Russians had been the first Europeans to significantly explore and develop Alaska.

Seeing the giant Alaska territory as a chance to cheaply expand the size of the nation, William H. Seward, President Andrew Johnson‘s secretary of state, moved to arrange the purchase of Alaska. Agreeing to pay a mere $7 million for some 591,000 square miles of land-a territory twice the size of Texas and equal to nearly a fifth of the continental United States-Seward secured the purchase of Alaska at the ridiculously low rate of less than 2¢ an acre.

On October 18, 1870, Rockdale and McDuffie Counties were created when Georgia Governor Rufus Bullock signed legislation creating them.

On October 16, 1918, visitors to the Southeastern Fair at the Lakewood Fairgrounds were required by the Georgia State Board of Health to don face masks in order to prevent the spread of the Spanish flu.

Paul Anderson, known as the “World’s Strongest Man,” was born in Toccoa, Georgia on October 17, 1932. From his New York Times obituary:

As the unknown substitute for the injured American champion at the first Soviet-American dual athletic competition, in Moscow in 1955, the 5-foot-9-inch Anderson was scorned by his hosts.

The scorn turned to snickers when Anderson called for a weight of 402.4 pounds, more than 20 pounds above the world record. The snickers stopped when the 340-pound Anderson lifted the weight. By the time he set another record, in the clean and jerk, he was being hailed by Soviet fans.

The stunning achievement at the height of the Cold War made Anderson an instant American hero, and it was largely an anticlimax when he set three more world records at the world championships in Munich, Germany, later that year.

Although virtually conceded the gold medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, Anderson was stricken with a severe inner-ear infection.

Competing at 304 pounds and with a 103-degree fever, he fell so far behind his chief rival that on the final of three required lifts, he needed to clean and jerk 413.5 pounds, an Olympic record, to claim the gold. Twice he tried and failed. On the third attempt he asked God for a little extra help and got it.

“It wasn’t making a bargain,” he said later, “I needed help.”

Paul Anderson Memorial Park in Toccoa is a private park supported by a 501(c)(3) organization.

Maynard Jackson was elected Mayor of Atlanta on October 16, 1973. Jackson was the first African-Amercian Mayor of Atlanta; he served eight years, and was elected for a third, non-consecutive term in 1990.

On October 16, 1976, Jimmy Carter campaigned in Youngstown, Ohio.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here are today’s General Election stats, drawn from the Absentee voter file released daily by the Secretary of State’s office:

Total votes cast:       1,197,031

Mail-in votes cast:          646,371

Electronic:                            5,115

In-person votes cast:     545,545

A billboard near the site of President Trump’s campaign appearance in Macon today dubs the political rally a “Trump COVID Superspreader event,” according to the Macon Telegraph.Continue Reading..

15
Oct

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for October 15, 2020

Bellefleur Renegade Paws Rescue

Bellefleur is a young female Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Renegade Paws Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Honeydew Renegade Paws Rescue

Honeydew is a female Terrier and Chihuahua mix who is available for adoption from Renegade Paws Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Priscilla Renegade Paws Rescue

Priscilla is a young female Labrador and Boxer mix puppy – one of a litter of nine – who is available for adoption from Renegade Paws Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Due to the current size of the pups, we believe dad was a larger dog, possibly a lab mix, and it is likey the pups will be over 50lbs when full grown. If you’re a lover of big dogs, these pups are sure to steal your heart!

15
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 15, 2020

Friday, October 15, 1582 marked the beginning of the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar – the previous day was Thursday, October 4th.

George Washington left New York, the nation’s capital, on October 15, 1789, embarking upon the first Presidential tour to New England.

The world’s first combat submarine, CSS Hunley, sunk during testing in Charleston Harbor on October 15, 1863.

The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution too effect October 15, 1933, changing the Presidential term of office to begin and end on January 20th following each quadrennial election and Senate and Congress to January 3d following biennial elections, both from March 4th.

Billy Graham launched his national ministry on October 15, 1949 in Los Angeles, California.

On October 15, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation creating the United States Department of Transportation. May God have mercy upon his soul.

Interstate 285 around Atlanta was completed on October 15, 1969.

The Omni opened in Atlanta on  October 15, 1972, as the Hawks beat the New York Knicks by a score of 109-101.

Former Secretary General of the Communist Party of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize on October 15, 1990

Georgia-born Clarence Thomas was confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 15, 1991.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here are today’s General Election stats, drawn from the Absentee voter file released daily by the Secretary of State’s office:

Total votes cast:          972,177

Mail-in votes cast:          585,593

Electronic:                            4,688

In-person votes cast:     381,896

Governor Brian Kemp will make a special announcement about Healthcare at a press conference today, according to the AJC.

The notice said little about the subject of the announcement. But Kemp is to be joined at the Georgia Capitol by officials who have been instrumental in forming his “waiver” proposals to reshape health insurance in Georgia.

Kemp’s proposals, if approved by the Trump administration, could affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Georgians. They’re called “waivers” because states may ask the federal government to waive parts of U.S. health care law, in order to tailor new programs to their own needs.

You can watch the Press Conference at 3 PM on Governor Kemp’s Facebook Page.

Governor Kemp announced yesterday that $1.5 billion dollars in federal CARES Act funding will be directed to the Georgia Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to offset borrowing by the Fund during the pandemic. From the Press Release:

By year’s end, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) estimates that the state Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund will have borrowed a total of $1.5 billion in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on Georgia’s labor force.

“COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges to nearly every business – large and small – and upended the lives of millions of Georgians,” said Governor Kemp. “Through no fault of their own, thousands of people became unemployed overnight, businesses were shut down, and countless families suffered. Today’s announcement will save Georgia employers millions of dollars in state and federal unemployment taxes, prevent significant layoffs, and save the state millions of dollars in interest payments.”

“By directing these Coronavirus Relief Funds to the Trust Fund, we will ensure we’re prepared to meet the needs of struggling Georgians in the months to come and support businesses across the Peach State who are putting people back to work and serving their local communities.”

By allocating up to $1.5 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds for this purpose, Georgia will save the average Georgia employer approximately $350 per year for each employed worker.

With benefit payments projected to outpace tax revenue, Georgia will have to continue to borrow federal funds to pay benefits. After the Great Recession of 2008-2009, it took three years until tax revenue outpaced benefit payments on an annual basis. By 2023, without raising employers’ tax rates for unemployment insurance and without a capital injection, the GDOL estimates the state could borrow another $1 billion to pay benefits. With a substantial loan balance for three years, Georgia employers would also lose Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax credits, resulting in a cost of $85 million per year, compounded annually. By 2025, FUTA tax credit losses would have cost Georgia employers $500 million. Although economic forecasters predict that tax revenue will outpace benefit payments by this time, the difference would not be enough to repay the debt.

“Without the transfer of funds, the state will have to increase unemployment tax rates for employers between 300% and 400% to make headway on paying off the loan,” said Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “This reallocation of federal funds will allow more employers across the state to focus on the growth and success of their businesses without having the additional pressure of a rising unemployment tax.”

“As the top state for business for a seventh straight year, the allocation of these CARES Act dollars to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund highlights our state’s commitment to protecting Georgia jobs and saving businesses thousands of dollars per employee,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “Governor Kemp has continued to prioritize both people’s health and their paychecks throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and today’s action will only strengthen our state’s incredible economic momentum in the months and years to come.”

Governor Kemp is also committing up to an additional $400 million of the Coronavirus Relief Funds for the state share of matching funds for FEMA grants, Georgia National Guard expenses, continued hospital staffing augmentation, and state COVID-19 response expenses.

Governor Kemp has previously announced $113 million of CARES Act funds to Georgia nursing homes, $105 million in GEERS funds to support student connectivity and education, and $371 million in direct support to local governments for COVID-19 related expenses.

From WTOC:

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson claimed in a Facebook post that the funds allocated to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund should have been available to local governments.

Mayor Johnson states, “We were notified moments ago that Governor Kemp has made a decision to use ALL of the remaining funding committed to local governments to repay the Georgia Unemployment Trust Fund to avoid having to raise the unemployment tax.”

“As a result of this decision, there will be NO Round 2 or Round 3 funding for local governments, which the City of Savannah has used to assist families and businesses affected by COVID.”

From the AJC:

State officials estimate that committing the money to paying off loans to the unemployment fund will save the average Georgia employer about $350 a year per worker.

If all $1.5 billion is used, it will eat up the biggest chunk of the money the state had left over from the federal CARES Act. The state spent over $1 billion in the first few months of the pandemic, mostly on providing health care and acquiring medical equipment.

With benefit payments outpacing unemployment tax revenue paid by employers, the state has had to borrow money from the federal government to pay benefits.

After the Great Recession, it took until about 2014 for the state to repay such loans, brought on by a surge in benefits as hundreds of thousands of Georgians lost their jobs.

Nathan Humphrey, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, applauded Kemp’s move.

“2020 has been a challenging year for Georgia’s small-business owners and employees,” he said. “Today’s announcement means people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own because of the pandemic will have the support they need until they can return to work, and it relieves the financial pressure on the General Assembly to raise taxes on small businesses in order to support the Georgia Unemployment Trust Fund.”

Governor Kemp announced his appointment of Cheveda McCamy to a vacancy in the Alcovy Judicial Circuit’s Superior Court, serving Newton and Walton counties.

Early voting delays are being blamed on the computer system that checks in voters, according to the AJC.

Voting slowed to a crawl across Georgia this week in large part because of check-in computers that couldn’t handle the load of record turnout at early voting locations.

The problem created a bottleneck as voters reached the front of the line, when poll workers had to deal with sluggish laptops to verify each voter. Some early voting sites reported checking in just 10 voters per hour at each computer.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger initially attributed the lines to high turnout, which is part of the reason for delays. But it became clear from interviews with poll workers, election officials and voters this week that technical difficulties contributed to severe waits.

Later in the day, his office said the state’s elections software vendor, New Orleans-based Civix, had increased bandwidth, resulting in immediate improvements reported by many counties. Wait times fell from over three hours to about one hour Wednesday afternoon at several early voting sites in metro Atlanta.

From GPB News:

Georgia elections officials say they have fixed a capacity issue with the state’s voter registration database that has slowed the check-in process and contributed to longer lines this week.

More than 10% of Georgia’s 7.4 million registered voters have already cast their ballot two days in to the early voting period, including half a million absentee-by-mail ballots returned.

At a Wednesday press conference, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the eNet system, the state voter registration database used to check people in for early voting, is being accessed by more users than ever, bogging down the process and playing a contributing role in longer lines.

Another contributing factor to longer lines: More voters continue to line up well in advance of polls opening, creating hourslong waits from the start. With a limited number of machines at each location because of space constraints and social distancing, even as the check-in capacity issue is resolved there is a maximum throughput of voters per hour that can use the ballot-marking device system.

State officials strongly encourage the million or so Georgians who have requested and received but not yet returned an absentee ballot to do so, and said they are asking counties to provide more machines and locations throughout the rest of the early voting period that ends Oct. 30.

The Associated Press writes about why some African-American voters may prefer in-person voting.

The willingness of many Black voters to queue up instead of coming back another day is a measure of their determination and their skepticism about the system. Those in Georgia acknowledged they could have voted by mail or returned to a polling place at a different time; but with no expectation of voting becoming easier in the weeks to come, they saw waiting as a necessary step to ensure their votes get counted.

But in Georgia, which is viewed as more of a contested state than in the past, elections have drawn heightened attention in recent years.

Long lines caused in part by equipment problems marred the state’s June primary, and concerns about voter disenfranchisement have resulted in a flood of election-related lawsuits seeking quick-fixes before the November election as well as broader, long-term changes to the voting system, but officials have defended Georgia’s system.

Many Georgia voters said they decided to vote near the beginning of early voting rather than wait until closer to Election Day since long lines seem a given this year. Voting has been heavy in both Democratic-leaning precincts and Republican strongholds.

“I just don’t really trust the system, to say the least,” [voter Stephanie Loftin] said. “I feel that me standing in line and actually making sure my ballot it is in makes me feel better, makes me rest better at night.”

Still unsure why she was dropped from voting rolls two years ago, [voter Crystal] Clark decided to vote early in person after the mail-in ballot she requested in early September never arrived. Clark, who sells real estate, said she’s more protective than ever of her right to vote, and going to the precinct was worth the risk and trouble.

“I guess it’s insurance that my vote is going to count,” she said.

From the Ledger-Enquirer:

By day’s end, 1,338 Columbus residents had voted in person at Columbus City Services Center off Macon Road, the first of five early voting polls that will open here before the Nov. 3 General Election. On the first day of advance voting in the last presidential election in 2016, 1,748 ballots were cast, according to Ledger-Enquirer reports.

Voters wanting to get it over with started lining up outside the poll at 6 a.m. Monday, said Jeanette James of the Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registration.

She said the long lines were comparable to the last day of early voting, in a presidential election year, not the first day.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen it on the first day of early voting,” she said.

She said that from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., voters who are disabled or age 75 or older can move to the front of the line, where a Muscogee sheriff’s deputy stood at the door. Periodically poll workers were walking the line looking for those voters, to inform them they could move to the front, she said.

From the Valdosta Daily Times:

“To sum it up, Georgia voters are excited and setting records every hour,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said during a press conference Wednesday. “And this is all during the pandemic, lest we forget.

The state hit record turnout even with 49 counties closed for the Columbus Day holiday Monday — beating by a landslide the previous record of 90,000 voters casting ballots on the first day of early voting in 2016.

By Wednesday, 742,893 voters — nearly 10% of the states total 7.6 million voters — have already cast their ballots, according to the Secretary of State. On the second day of early voting, 111,000 voters took to the polls.

Raffensperger pleaded with the 1.6 million Georgians who have requested absentee ballots to cast them instead of showing up in person. He reminded voters that coronavirus is still a risk factor at crowded polling sites.

“We would really be grateful if all 1.6 million of those ballots actually came in and people then didn’t show to vote in person,” he said. “Because that also takes the pressure off the polling location. … That really would help the counties all the way around.”

In Cherokee County, more than 21,000 voters have cast their ballots, according to the Cherokee Tribune Ledger News.

A total of 2,814 people turned out to cast in-person ballots on the first day of early voting in Cherokee County on Monday, election officials said. About 500 fewer people voted in person on Tuesday. The total for the two days was 5,113.

However, as of end of day Tuesday, 16,359 local voters had cast absentee ballots. So far a total of 42,623 absentee ballots had been issued.

Statewide more than 241,706 people — a record number — piled into polling places across the state to kick off early voting Monday and Tuesday, according to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office. More than 500,000 absentee ballots have already been cast.

Voter turnout in Georgia is expected to top 5 million with a presidential contest and double the usual number of U.S. Senate seats. Perdue’s seat was up for election this year, while Loeffler was appointed to her seat this year after Sen. Johnny Isakson resigned for health reasons. The open race to fill the final two years of Isakson’s term drew more than 20 candidates.

From the Macon Telegraph:

More than 1,000 people went to the polls Monday for the first day of early voting in Bibb County.

“At this turnout rate, we’ll be done voting in two weeks,” said Mike Kaplan, chair of the Bibb County Board of Elections.

Bibb County had 1,756 people vote Monday, with 872 of those ballots cast at the Board of Elections office. On the first day of early voting for the runoff election in August, 471 people voted, and 331 voters cast their ballots on the first day of early voting for the June primary and general elections.

Other than the long lines, the only complications in Bibb County happened at the Elaine H. Lucas Senior Center where they had trouble with the electronic poll pads, Kaplan said.

The City of Pooler reversed an earlier decision and will now allow an absentee ballot drop box at city hall, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Presumptive Member of Congress Marjorie Taylor Greene has endorsed Senator Kelly Loeffler’s reelection, according to a press release from the Loeffler campaign.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, future Congresswoman for the 14th Congressional District, endorsed Kelly Loeffler in the race for her United States Senate seat.

“I decided to run for Congress to Save America and Stop Socialism. As a political outsider, successful business woman, wife and mom of three, I am fed up with business as usual in the Swamp,” said Greene. “The radical Democrat party is the party of Antifa/BLM riots, abortion up until birth, gun control, and Socialism. If they get their way in November, our economy will be wrecked, our jobs will be lost, and our country will be plunged into a Socialist hellhole. Georgia refuses to let that happen!”

“Over the last ten months, Kelly Loeffler has proven she is a conservative fighter by introducing and voting for legislation to end Antifa/BLM violence, Back the Blue, fighting for the unborn, protecting our Second Amendment, keeping biological men out of women’s sports, and holding China accountable. As the most conservative Senator in Washington, she has sponsored legislation and fought for the key issues I care about and will be fighting for as the first Congresswoman for Northwest Georgia. That’s why I’m excited to endorse my friend Kelly Loeffler for U.S. Senate, and will be voting for her in the November 3rd election!”

“I’m proud to be endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene in my race for U.S. Senate,” said Senator Loeffler. “Like Marjorie, I’m a political outsider and conservative businesswoman—not a career politician. As the most conservative U.S. Senator with a 100 percent Trump voting record, I’ve fought to protect innocent life, our God-given 2nd Amendment rights, our borders and our religious liberties. And just like Marjorie, I’ve taken on the radical Left, cancel culture, and Fake News media—and won. Our campaign has tremendous momentum, and I look forward to continuing to shake up the status quo in Washington and delivering results for hardworking Georgians.”

The Gainesville Times spoke to Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) about his long career in political office.

In the final stretch before a U.S. Senate special election on Nov. 3, the four-term congressman reflected on his time in the U.S. House representing the 9th District, which spans Northeast Georgia.

“Becoming a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee probably changed the trajectory of my service in Washington, D.C., in many ways, especially having to lead the fight against the impeachment, against the investigations and against the attacks of the Democrats on our way of life,” he said.

In comparing his state and federal tenures, he said, “In the states, there’s a lot you can get done. There are very few times a bill comes forward that is purely partisan. … Once you get to Washington, D.C., everything tends to be purely partisan. The person who has experience at the state level benefits greatly when they get to Washington. They understand the process of voting and how you build coalitions.”

The Chatham County Board of Elections will hear a challenge to the qualifications of County Commission candidate Tony Riley on October 27, according to WTOC.

The board chairman stated during Monday’s meeting that Tony Riley, a candidate for 2nd District Chatham County Commissioner, has a felony conviction on his record for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

In a 3 to 2 vote, the Board of Elections decided to hold a hearing on Riley’s qualifications.

Monday night, the Chatham County Board of Elections chairman told us if Riley was released from prison in 2011 like documents Smith provided say, he could be disqualified. But Riley will have a chance to defend himself in the hearing conducted by the election’s superintendent.

“This is an opportunity for him to present information that we would not know. Because he’s going to have documents that maybe we’re not privy to, and this is a hearing,” Smith said.

From the Savannah Morning News:

If Riley loses his hearing, he could appeal to Superior Court, but if his candidacy is eventually disqualified, all votes cast for him in the District 2 race will not be counted, Mahoney said. Riley’s Republican opponent, Larry “Gator” Rivers, would then win the election essentially unopposed.

On Wednesday afternoon, a challenge to Rivers’ candidacy was submitted to the Board of Elections by Clinton Edminster — one of Riley’s two Democratic primary opponents, both of whom have expressed interest in reviving their bids if Riley is disqualified. Edminster asserted that Rivers also has a criminal record that may be grounds for disqualification.

“Mr. Rivers has a history of running into the law as well,” Edminster said, adding that he believes the Board of Elections is duty-bound to investigate the Republican candidate’s background. “It’s the due diligence the board should do.”

According to court records provided by the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, Rivers was arrested in October of 2015 on charges of possession of a controlled substance (Xanax), possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and possession of a drug-related object for use. However, according to Mahoney, those charges were all dropped and no Board of Elections action will follow unless evidence of a disqualifying felony conviction is provided.

Reached by telephone on Wednesday evening, Rivers acknowledged the 2015 charges but said that “this whole thing was a set-up.” Rivers said Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap “expunged” all charges arising from his 2015 arrest.

“They didn’t have any evidence that I had those things,” Rivers said. “They wanted me to plead, and they didn’t have any evidence. … Meg Heap took a look at it, and she expunged it.”

The Gwinnett Daily Post profiles the candidates for County Commission Chair.

Republican candidate David Post and Democratic candidate Nicole Love Hendrickson are running for the chairman’s seat, which is open this year because current Chairwoman Charlotte Nash opted to retire at the end of the year. The candidates faced off Wednesday during a debate co-hosted by the Atlanta Press Club and WABE 90.1 FM.

Both candidates pitched themselves as the right fit for the job to lead the county as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it had on the county’s economy.

The debate touched on some topics that have arisen, not just in Gwinnett but also nationally, in recent years, such as policing and affordable housing, but also on more recent issues such as long lines for early voting and a new economic development tax showing up on property tax bills.

 

Columbia County public schools are increasing in-person instruction, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The Columbia County Board of Education voted Tuesday to follow two recommendations from Superintendent Sandra Carraway — to allow all middle school students to return to classrooms, and to re-introduce Friday as an in-classroom day for high school students, depending on their academic performance.

Under the approved plans, sixth-graders wishing to return to in-person school can do so beginning Oct. 19. Seventh-graders can return Oct. 26, and eighth-graders Nov. 2. Middle school students who prefer to learn from home can choose to stay at home.

For high schools, students with C-grade averages or below will be required to attend in-person classes each Friday, starting Oct. 23. Students with A and B averages can choose either to attend each Friday or to continue Friday classes under the current hybrid schedule.

Bulloch County public schools suspended a change to COVID-19 policies after a letter from Georgia Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Kathleen Toomey, according to the Statesboro Herald.

During its scheduled regular session last week, the board unanimously approved a motion from District 4 board member April Newkirk to “reconsider the Department of Public Health guidelines, and if a student is exposed to a COVID-19 positive person, if the student that is exposed is wearing a mask, and it has been documented, they do not have to follow those guidelines of quarantining for 14 days.”

In her letter addressed to board Chairman Mike Sparks, however, Toomey stated, “This action is out of compliance with guidance issued from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health, as well as the legal requirements within the DPS’s Administrative Order issued on July 28, 2020.”

Additionally, Toomey advised Sparks in the letter, “Furthermore, I would like to remind you that failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor offense pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 31-5-8. Any person who refuses to isolate or quarantine as required by this Order may be subject to further action as may be necessary.”

14
Oct

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for October 14, 2020

Luna Humane Society Houston County

Luna is a young female Black Mouth Cur mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.

Luke Humane Society Houston County

Luke is a 5-year old male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.

Maya Humane Society Houston County

Maya is a 12-year old senior female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA. Maya is loving and playful.

14
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 14, 2020

On October 14, 1735, John and Charles Wesley sailed with James Oglethorpe from Gravesend, England, for Georgia and John Wesley wrote the first entry in his journal that would eventually cover 55 years. On that date, John Wesley wrote,

Our end in leaving our native country, was not to avoid want, (God having given us plenty of temporal blessings,) nor to gain the dung or dross of riches or honour; but singly this, to save our souls; to live wholly to the glory of God.

The First Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Colonial Rights in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 14, 1774.

Then-former President Theodore Roosevelt was shot before a campaign speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 14, 1912.

Roosevelt, who suffered only a flesh wound from the attack, went on to deliver his scheduled speech with the bullet still in his body. After a few words, the former “Rough Rider” pulled the torn and bloodstained manuscript from his breast pocket and declared, “You see, it takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose.” He spoke for nearly an hour and then was rushed to the hospital.

A.A. Milne published Winnie-the-Pooh on October 14, 1926. E. H. Shepard illustrated the Pooh books.

Pooh_Shepard1928

The War Department renamed Wellston Air Depot to Warner Robins Air Force Depot to honor Brigadier General Augustine Warner Robins on October 14, 1942.

On October 14, 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr. was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming Georgia’s first native-born winner. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has a story on how King’s Nobel Prize effected Atlanta.

The honor wasn’t just a watershed for King and the civil rights movement but also for Atlanta. It set off a series of events that some say fundamentally changed the city’s business, religious and racial cultures by bringing blacks and whites together for the first time to share a meal in public.

That simple act, holding a multi-racial banquet in the new Nobel laureate’s honor, tested the will and even the nerves of those determined to make Atlanta a more just and inclusive place.

“It was a defining moment in the history of the city, and it should go down in the city’s documented memory,” said Janice R. Blumberg, the widow of Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, who was instrumental in organizing the event.

King’s three surviving children are due in court in December to determine if the 23-karat gold medal — along with a Bible their father once owned — should be sold at auction. Brothers Martin Luther King III and Dexter King, representing the King Estate, plan to sell the items. Sister Bernice King has opposed the sale.

Mayor Allen and J. Paul Austin, chairman of Coca-Cola, gathered the business elite at the Piedmont Driving Club. Allen warned then he would be taking notes on who did not attend the dinner. But Austin delivered the crushing blow.

According to Young’s written account, Austin said: “It is embarrassing for Coca-Cola to be located in a city that refuses to honor its Nobel Prize winner. We are an international business. The Coca-Cola Company does not need Atlanta. You all have to decide whether Atlanta needs the Coca-Cola Company.”

On October 14, 1980, Republican candidate for President Ronald Reagan announced he would name a woman to the Supreme Court if elected.

To achieve those ends, we need the best people possible at the highest levels of Government regardless of sex, race or religion. I am also acutely aware, however, that within the guidelines of excellence, appointments can carry enormous symbolic significance. This permits us to guide by example, to show how deep our commitment is and to give meaning to what we profess.

One way I intend to live up to that commitment is to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court. I am announcing today that one of the first Supreme Court vacancies in my administration will be filled by the most qualified woman I can find, one who meets the high standards I will demand for all my appointments.

It is time for a woman to sit among our highest jurists. I will also seek out women to appoint to other Federal courts in an effort to bring about a better balance on the Federal bench.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here are today’s General Election stats, drawn from the Absentee voter file released daily by the Secretary of State’s office:

Total votes cast:               786,413

Mail-in votes cast:          537,323

Electronic:                            4,213

In-person votes cast:     244,877

Absentee votes in this year’s primary elections were more Republican than Democratic, according to Riley Bunch and Kaye LaFond writing for the Valdosta Daily Times.

[D]ata shows both Florida and Georgia Republicans voted by mail at a higher rate than Democrats. But the negative rhetoric about mail-in — or absentee ballot — voting hasn’t gone without impact.

Enrijeta Shino, assistant professor of political science at the University of North Florida, said that prior to 2020, Republicans already tended to vote by mail at higher rates, but Democrats are gaining ground in their use of the method.

Shino’s research has indicated that neither party benefits more from expanded use of mail-on ballots. Younger voters are also starting to slowly take up the practice whereas before, mail-in ballots were more likely to be utilized by “old, educated and strong partisans.”

In both Georgia and Florida, counties with a higher rate of residents 65 year or older as well as counties with a higher median household income showed greater rates of mail-in voting use, a CNHI data analysis showed.

“The way we look at it is we have a targeted group of voters that we need to get out and vote — they’re low propensity voters or they’re new voters and our goal is to get out, engage with them, talk to them about the voting process, and let them choose the medium, and then it’s sure they actually go and do it,” [Trump Victory regional director Brian Barrett] told CNHI. “So yes, as absentee has grown exponentially, we give every voter that we talk to the opportunity to cast absentee.”

Trump door knockers carry absentee ballot applications with them as they peruse through Georgia’s suburban neighborhoods. Mailers sent throughout the campaign by the Georgia Republican Party encouraged voters to vote absentee for Trump.

Politico writes that President Trump’s campaign aims to harvest higher numbers of votes from rural Georgia this year.Continue Reading..

13
Oct

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for October 13, 2020

Daisy Humane Society of Houston County

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

Iris Humane Society of Houston County

Iris is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.

Ernest Humane Society of Houston County

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

13
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 13, 2020

On October 13, 1870, Governor Rufus Bullock signed legislation creating the Georgia State Board of Education.

On October 13, 1885, Governor Henry McDaniel signed legislation authorizing the creation of a state school of technology as a branch of the University of Georgia; the school would open in Atlanta in October 1888, and in 1948 was renamed the Georgia Institute of Technology.

On October 13, 1918, the ban on public gatherings in Atlanta to prevent spread of the Spanish flu, was extended an additional week.

On December 13, 1976, Democrat Jimmy Carter received a post-debate bump against President Gerald Ford, with polls showing Carter at 50%-40% over the incumbent, up from 47%-45% before the debate.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here are today’s General Election stats, drawn from the Absentee voter file released daily by the Secretary of State’s office:

Total votes cast:               628,516

Mail-in votes cast:          499,494

In-person votes cast:     129,022

President Donald Trump will healdine a rally in Macon on Friday, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..

12
Oct

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for October 12, 2020

Patch Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare

Patch is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Luna Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare

Luna is a female mixed breed dog (Lab mix?) who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Dolly Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare

Dolly is an adult female mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA. It’s at least partly because of the way she’s sitting, but this Dolly reminds me of Nipper, the RCA dog.

12
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 12, 2020

Former Confederate President Alexander Stephens was released from federal prison on October 12, 1865 and returned to Georgia.

1929 UGA vs Yale Tix

The first game in Sanford Stadium was played on October 12, 1929, with the University of Georgia Bulldogs beating the Yale Bulldogs. Here is ten minutes of the game.

1929_Georgia_vs_Yale

On October 12, 1958, The Temple was bombed after a phone call to WSB warned that Black churches and Jewish temples would be blown up.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Early voting begins today for the November General Election. From the Dalton Daily Citizen News:

Voters must bring a photo ID.

The presidential race tops the ballot. Republican President Donald Trump faces Democrat and former vice president Joe Biden. Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen is also on the ballot.

In one U.S. Senate race, incumbent Republican David Perdue — a former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014 — faces Democrat Jon Ossoff, a journalist who ran unsuccessfully in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in a 2017 special election to replace Republican Tom Price who had stepped down to become Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services. Perdue leads 46.6% to Ossoff’s 42.6% in Real Clear Politics’ average of the latest polls.

And there is a special election to fill the unexpired term of former U.S. senator Johnny Isakson, who stepped down last year for health reasons. Isakson, a Republican, had served in the Senate for 14 years. Before that, he served almost 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler was appointed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp on Dec. 4, 2019, to fill the seat until an election could be held. Loeffler, who was sworn in on Jan. 6, 2020, faces 20 other candidates in a “jungle primary” in which the candidates of all parties as well as independents are in the same race. If no one gets more than 50% of the vote, the top two candidates will meet in a runoff on Jan. 5, 2021.

In the 14th Congressional District, which includes Whitfield and Murray counties, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Rome, a Republican, is running to replace incumbent Republican Tom Graves, of Ranger, who is not seeking reelection. Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal of Catoosa County dropped out of the race in September, citing family reasons. He dropped out too late for the Democratic Party to replace him, so his name remains on the ballot.

From the Statesboro Herald:

“Election Day” is officially Nov. 3, but Georgia’s 15 weekdays plus one Saturday for in-person advanced voting begin Monday.

In Bulloch County the elections office will be open all 16 of those days, while two other locations, the Honey Bowen Building at the Fair Road park and the Russell Union on the Georgia Southern University campus, will be available on some of them.

Bulloch County Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones said she does expect crowds to develop at times. The number of machines that can be used has been reduced to allow for COVID-19 pandemic social distancing. Markers on floors remind people to stay six feet apart, and masks are encouraged but cannot be required.

For in-person early voting, voters need to bring a photo ID, just as they would need to do if they waited until Election Day, and if a voter previously requested a paper absentee ballot but now plans to vote early in-person instead, he or she should bring the paper ballot with them to turn it in for cancellation, she said.

This “makes our process much faster,” Jones said.

From the Savannah Morning News:

Every county has at least one early voting site open weekdays and one Saturday before the election, usually at the county’s elections and voter registration office. Chatham County voters will have a Sunday voting option as well.

Voters can start casting their votes during the early voting period, which runs from Oct. 12 through 30. For the first time in Chatham County, Saturday and Sunday early voting will be held for two consecutive weekends, Oct. 17-18 and Oct. 24-25.

From AccessWDUN:

Hall County Elections officials will adhere to social distancing guidelines. One way that they plan to do so is by offering eight voting sites across the county rather than one offered in previous years.

“We will still be sanitizing the equipment behind every voter,” said Lori Wurtz, Hall County Elections Director. “We will still have all the same precautions in place as we did in the General Primary due to COVID-19. I want the voters to feel secure when they come in.”

In addition to the eight early voting precincts, voters who elect to cast an absentee ballot have a new absentee ballot drop box in the South Hall area, which was added because of the high population in the area.

There will also be an absentee drop box outside of the Hall County Government Center. Both drop boxes are locked, well-lit, and under 24-hour video surveillance.

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Gwinnett voters will be able to visit nine early voting sites to cast their ballots in the 2020 general election starting on Monday.

This week marks the beginning of three weeks of early voting in Gwinnett, with the polls set to be open every day, including Saturdays and Sundays, until Oct. 30.

From the Gainesville Times:

When: Nov. 3, with early voting weekdays Oct. 12-30 and Saturday, Oct. 24

Where: Early voting is available at [seven] locations. Election Day voting will be at your precinct.

From the Rome News-Tribune:

Early in-person voting for the Nov. 3 election begins Monday at the Floyd County Administration Building Community Room at 12 E. Fourth Ave. or Garden Lakes Baptist Church at 2200 Redmond Circle.

Weekday voting runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For the week of Oct. 19-23, the Floyd County Health Department located at 16 E. 12th St. will also be available for voters. For the week of Oct. 26-30, the Rome Civic Center at 400 Civic Center Drive will be open for early voting.

Weekend voting will also take place the weekends of Oct. 17 to Oct. 18 and Oct. 24 to Oct. 25 at the county administration building and Garden Lakes Baptist Church. The county building will be open for voting from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

However, for the Garden Lakes early voting location, the polls will only be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, while on Sunday, the polls won’t open until 1 p.m. and close at 4 p.m.

According to Floyd County Chief Elections Clerk Robert Brady, 14,229 absentee ballots had been issued to voters as of Friday afternoon. Of those ballots, the office has received just under 1,500 completed ballots.

 

AJC Story #1:

All registered voters are eligible to participate in early voting, allowing them to pick a time that fits their schedule and avoid lines on Nov. 3. Voters must cast their ballots in the county where they’re registered, but they can choose any location within their county.

In-person early voters will join the 430,000 Georgia voters who have already returned their absentee ballots. By the time Election Day finally arrives, over two-thirds of the state’s 5 million projected turnout will have already voted.

There are over 60 early voting locations in metro Atlanta’s four core counties, including more than 30 in Fulton County alone.

Voters can find early voting sites and hours county elections website or on the state’s My Voter Page at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.

AJC Story #2:

The three-week period that begins Monday is always a key time for campaigns, but this year it’s more crucial than ever during a still-raging coronavirus pandemic. Candidates are pushing Georgians to lock in their votes long before Election Day — when the risks of long lines and infection could deter people from polling places.

At a GOP meet-and-greet in a warehouse in the solidly-Republican town of Dahlonega, congressional candidate Andrew Clyde urged his supporters to vote early and come up with 10 friends to persuade to do the same.

“Connect with those folks on Monday and say, ‘Hey, are you going to vote? When are you going to vote? Can I give you a ride to the polls?’” Clyde said. “This district can make a difference if we really take it seriously.”

Election officials predict about 5 million voters will participate in this election — nearly 1 million more than in the last presidential election. Polls show roughly two-thirds could cast their ballots early — either by mail or in-person – during a pandemic that’s reshaped every facet of American life.

Overall, roughly even numbers of voters are expected to vote early, absentee and on Election Day. Broken down by party, about 40% of voters who identified as Republicans and 33% of Democrats said they plan to cast their ballots during the early voting period, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll.

AJC Story #3:

Election officials are trying to prepare voters, particularly in large metro counties with a history of problems, for the possibility of long lines both during early voting and on Election Day.

One of the most significant initiatives since June was a mass hiring effort to recruit new poll workers. Many of them, especially those over 70 years old, quit rather than risk catching the coronavirus during the June 9 primary.

In Gwinnett County, the election office is still short of its targets by hundreds of poll workers. The county would like to have 2,165 staff lined up for Election Day to ensure things go smoothly across its 156 polling locations. As of Oct. 2, it was 750 workers short of that goal. Its minimum staffing target is 1,845 workers, and election officials are hopeful they will reach that by Nov. 3.

In Cobb County, an issue is inexperienced staffers. Cobb closed one early voting site, Noonday Baptist Church. Elections Direct Janine Eveler said she didn’t have enough poll managers or assistant managers to oversee all the rookie clerks who aren’t qualified for management roles.

Gwinnett Elections Supervisor Kristi Royston said staffing is a bigger concern than equipment, but she thinks the county will be ready.

“I’m not worried,” Royston said. “We’re trained up and we’re prepared and we’re working through any staffing concerns we have.”

Fulton County added 91 polling places for Nov. 3 after voters waited over three hours to cast ballots in some polling places in the primary. The county will have 255 voting sites in the presidential election.

Acting Georgia Secretary of State U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg (D-Obama Administration) declined further last minute meddling in Georgia’s election procedures. For now. From the AJC:

A federal judge has once again denied an effort to throw out Georgia’s touchscreen voting computers because of election security concerns. Her decision came late Sunday, just hours before the start of early voting.

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled against switching the state to paper ballots filled out by hand.

She wrote that it was too late to make such a sweeping change that would disrupt the election as tens of thousands of voters are expected to go the polls.

She directed election officials to find a way to review ballot images to ensure that voting scanner software isn’t overlooking votes. Totenberg ordered a resolution to be developed and put in place for elections after expected January 2021 runoffs for U.S. Senate.

Voters in Lula will decide two alcohol sales ballot questions, according to the Gainesville Times.

Voters who live in city limits will see two referendums on their ballots. One would allow for sales of malt beverages and wine by the drink and another would allow package sales of malt beverages and wine by retailers. Both would allow the sales on Sundays between 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

The resolutions for the referendums were previously approved by the Lula City Council and received approval from the Hall County Board of Elections to be placed on the ballot.

“The intention was to give (Lula businesses) extra help in being able to compete with other establishments outside the city,” Mayor Jim Grier told The Times in July. “We’re trying to help our businesses as much as we can. It has been something requested, and the council felt it was wise to let the city have this.”