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11
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 11, 2018

On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft a declaration of independence from Britain. Language in the original draft that condemned the introduction of the slave trade in the colonies did not make the final draft.

Abraham Baldwin, founder of the University of Georgia, arrived in Philadelphia on June 11, 1787 to attend the Constitutional Convention. Baldwin was joined by three other delegates, William Few Jr., William Houston, and William Pierce; Baldwin and Few would sign the Constitution on behalf of Georgia.

On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy issued proclamation 3542 ordering Governor George Wallace of Alabama to allow two African-American students to register at the University of Alabama, as ordered by a federal court.

On the morning of June 11, the day the students were expected to register, Wallace stood in front of the University of Alabama campus auditorium flanked by Alabama state troopers while cameras flashed and recorders from the press corps whirred. Kennedy, at the White House, and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, in Tuscaloosa, kept in touch by phone.

When Wallace refused to let the students enter for registration, Katzenbach phoned Kennedy. Kennedy upped the pressure on Wallace, immediately issuing Presidential Proclamation 3542, which ordered the governor to comply, and authorizing the secretary of defense to call up the Alabama National Guard with Executive Order 11111.

That afternoon, Katzenbach returned with the students and asked Wallace to step aside. Wallace, knowing he was beaten, relented, having saved face with his hard-line, anti-segregation constituency.

On June 11, 1986, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released.

[T]he most memorable performer may have been an automobile: the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, a custom-built car revered by auto collectors.

According to Motor Trend, the first Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California—colloquially known as the “Cal Spyder”—was produced in 1957 and the last was built in early 1963. In addition to the long-wheelbase (LWB) Spyder, Ferrari also produced a sportier, short-wheelbase (SWB) model. Though estimates vary as to exactly how many were made—Cameron says “less than a hundred” in the film—approximately 46 LWB and between 50 and 57 SWB Spyders were produced in all. For “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the filmmakers used a modified MGB roadster with a fiberglass body as a stand-in for the Ferrari. The filmmakers reportedly received angry letters from car enthusiasts who believed that a real Ferrari had been damaged.

One 1961 250 GT SWB Spyder California, with chassis number GT 2377GT, belonged to the actor James Coburn (“The Magnificent Seven”), who died in 2002. On May 18, 2008, at the second annual Ferrari Leggenda e Passione event at Maranello, Italy, the British deejay Chris Evans bought that car at auction for 6.4 million Euros, or $10,894,400 (including fees), the highest price ever paid for an automobile at auction.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Billy E. New, Jr., a retired law enforcement professional, to the Georgia Board of Natural Resources, representing the 13th Congressional District.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle was the subject of a secret recording made by 4th-place finisher in the Governor’s race, Clay Tippins. From the AJC:

Cagle’s conversation with Tippins, who finished fourth in the race, took place two days after the May 22 primary in Cagle’s campaign headquarters in DeKalb County. It was surreptitiously recorded on Tippins’ phone, which was in his coat pocket. 

The recording begins with Tippins questioning the fallout involving Cagle and Tippins’ uncle, state Sen. Lindsey Tippins, a Cagle supporter who resigned as Senate Education Committee chairman shortly after the legislative session ended.

Cagle: And listen, Lindsey — there’s a reason I put him as education chair. Because it is my biggest issue, and it’s the issue that I’m the most passionate about, that I care the most, it’s where I focus my efforts. And Lindsey is the guy I can trust to get it done. So, I just told Lindsey point-blank. I said, ‘Lindsey, the SSO bill, I’ve got to have it.’

Tippins: Why did you have to have it? I know you rely upon him, and he felt — he knows his (expletive). I know you trust his judgment on education, and he knows his (expletive). Why did you have to have that so bad? Because I love him, and I can see the pain on him …

Cagle: It was bad, it was bad.

Tippins: Why? You turned on him. And there are reasons for that. Why did you have to have it?

Cagle: Exactly the reason I told Lindsey, that you need to listen to: It ain’t about public policy. It’s about (expletive) politics. There’s a group that was getting ready to put $3 million behind Hunter Hill. Mr. Pro-Choice. I mean, Mr. Pro-Charters, Vouchers. …

From an AJC interview with LG Cagle:

“During the political exchange that I had with Clay Tippins, it was just that: A political exchange. In terms of the importance of doing something good for Georgia, we did. And I’m proud of what we accomplished. Just like President Trump didn’t get everything he wanted on the budget deal or the tax cut, it was certainly for the greater good. My record speaks for itself …

“When I made the statement that this was bad legislation, I will tell you there were things that I did not like. And I don’t back away from that. In the context of the way it was framed, I would probably have said things a little differently. But you always have to look at whether the greater good is being accomplished. And in this instance it was.”

Q: You tied this bill several times to an effort to prevent Hunter Hill from getting outside support.

Cagle: “The policy is the right policy. Is it perfect? Maybe it’s not as perfect as we would like. It’s certainly good policy. And the reality is I have not received any money whatsoever centered around any of this. And I stand on my record and the things that I’ve done as lieutenant governor.”

Q: How do you reconcile what you said? 

Cagle: “Everybody recognizes when you come into an environment and someone is taping you that you’re not aware of, there are things that are said in private that come across sometimes in a wrong way. And that is not in the context of the overall point we were trying to make to him in a political context.”

Q: Is there anything you said that you regret?

Cagle: “Well, certainly, in situations like this to say the bill was bad in a thousand different ways is really an overstatement. It would be better to have stated that the bill was not perfect. There were many ways in which we could have perfected the bill, but in a political process that becomes very challenging …”

The Lieutenant Governor also spoke to his hometown Gainesville Times about the issue.

“Obviously, it was a private conversation that was supposed to be confidential,” Cagle said Saturday in an interview with The Times. “It doesn’t change the fact that I certainly said what I said, but it was in the context of a political discussion by which he wanted to have.”

“Politics is sometimes … it has to be created in a way that builds consensus,” Cagle said during the grand opening of his Gainesville headquarters. “And when you pull back the curtain, that’s not always a pretty process. But in the end, it is about doing the greater good. And I think people that know me, people who have seen my record, recognize that I am a person who wants to advance the state of Georgia and make life better for others. And I’ll be true to that.”

“Listen, there’s politics in the House, there’s politics in the Senate, there’s politics in the governor’s office and there’s politics externally,” Cagle said. “And you know, was the bill perfect? No. But did it advance the cause in terms of improving public education and more educational options? Absolutely.”

“I didn’t vote for Casey to be my pastor, I voted for him to be the leader of the state, and that doesn’t require him to be a pastor,” [Gainesville resident Sheila] Jones said. “I would like for him to have a good set of moral values, which I do think Casey does or I wouldn’t have voted for him, but I don’t expect him to be the pastor. I’m not looking to him for that.”

Savannah-Chatham Board of Education members clashed in an open meeting, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Board President Jolene Byrne had balked in an email at a suggested two-day board retreat in late August to help fulfill requirements set out by state accreditation investigators.

The issue was brought up by board member Julie Wade and ranged from an insinuation Byrne wasn’t truthful about her conflict and ended with board member Larry Lower erupting in anger.

“I’m sorry to say but you are the stumbling block in trying to address this,” Lower said to Byrne. “I’m very disturbed that we got this committee so that we can address these needs and every time they come up with something to address these needs, you have an excuse as to why you can’t get involved.”

“You are taking us down a road to destroy this board, and I’m not going to let it happen as long as I’m on it (the board),” Lower said.

“I actually don’t appreciate that you brought some of this up in the public meeting,” Byrne said. “I think it’s contrary to the spirit of what we are trying to accomplish … particularly when you question whether I’m being honest about having a conflict. That’s not professional, respectful or helpful.”

The Bulloch County Board of Education voted to develop cost estimates for placing school resource officers at every public school in the county, according to the Statesboro Herald.

“It’s a serious problem, and I’m passionate about doing something – I suspect we all are – because I am not willing to gamble the lives of our kids by us sitting back and not being able to make a decision,” said District 3 board member Dr. Stuart Tedders. “I’m just not.”

He had noted that the local concern picked up in response to the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but that it was not the last school shooting. The Parkland massacre left 17 people dead and 17 others injured.

Thirteen Glynn County voters cast their ballots for Jesus in the recent primary election despite his not being a declared candidate. From The Brunswick News:

The son of God pulled 13 votes during the May 22 elections, in which voters were allowed to write-in candidates for office in the nonpartisan races, which included most judicial races and one seat on the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission. Of those 13 votes, six were for state Supreme Court seats, six were for state Court of Appeals seats, and one was for the seat of Glynn County Superior Court Judge Roger Lane.

God did less well, garnering 11 votes — four for the Supreme Court, seven for the Court of Appeals. Following Jesus and God in popularity was the always-dependable “Anybody Else,” who received five votes for Supreme Court, three votes for the Court of Appeals and two votes for Glynn County Superior Court.

Among real, living people, President Donald Trump pulled eight votes spilt between the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, but former President Barack Obama garnered nine votes, including one for Lane’s seat.

Some might argue with the characterization of Jesus as not being “among real, living people.”

Glynn County is urging residents who might need help in the event of an evacuation to sign up with the Need A Ride program, according to The Brunswick News.

The Augusta Chronicle looks at Georgia donors to South Carolina campaigns.

Ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Republican attorney Catherine Templeton is the top pick of donors with Georgia addresses as she challenges GOP Gov. Henry McMaster.

Templeton’s Georgia fundraising included 36 contributions of $3,500, the maximum South Carolina allows from an individual, from donors listing addresses in tiny south Georgia locales such as Lake Park, Kite, Hahira, Quitman, Lenox, Sylvester and Ty Ty. She had nine donors give the maximum from Valdosta, including Georgia Forestry Commission Chairman John W. Langdale III.

“Catherine’s conservative message resonates with Gamecocks, Tigers and even Bulldogs,” Templeton campaign manager R.J. May III said.

Of his $4.4 million in fundraising, Georgia donors gave McMaster a combined $88,874, with two-thirds of it coming from metro Atlanta and none from southwest Georgia. McMaster enters the primary with $769,101 on hand.

Redistricting

A three-judge federal court panel found evidence of racial gerrymandering in a Georgia case, but held that it fell short of the standard for issuing an injunction, according to the AJC.

The court wrote in its June 1 decision that although “changing demographics” were a reason the Georgia General Assembly redrew the districts in 2015, the plaintiffs couldn’t refute testimony that partisanship — not race — was a primary motivation. A pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Wisconsin case could determine whether partisan redistricting is constitutional.

The ruling came in a case filed last year by several voters and the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, who alleged that legislators illegally gerrymandered state House districts to increase the percentage of white voters to protect incumbent Republicans.

“Their express purpose was to change Districts 105 And 111 just enough to protect the incumbents there, without endangering the incumbent Republican House members in the neighboring districts. And that’s exactly what they did,” according to the court’s order.

“We did not move these voters because they are black, the state tells us. We moved them because they were Democrats. And under current Supreme Court precedent, the state tells us this motive is perfectly acceptable,” the order said.

From Kate Brumback with the Associated Press:

A panel composed of 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Beverly Martin and U.S. District judges Timothy Batten and William Duffey on June 1 declined to grant a preliminary injunction.

A claim of racial gerrymandering must show that race was the main factor behind the decision to move a significant number of voters into or out of a particular district, the opinion written by Martin says. But the state is claiming partisan motivation.

The panel had previously dismissed a partisan gerrymandering claim in the case because the plaintiffs did not provide “any judicially manageable method for measuring discriminatory effect.”

The case “turns on a credibility determination, where one side has taken an oath that race was not a factor in how the redistricting lines were drawn, and the other side is not in a position to swear that it was,” Martin wrote.

Those doing the redistricting were openly trying to help Republican incumbents and, in the process, “moved many black voters from districts where their votes would have made an impact into districts where they did not,” Martin wrote.

From the Daily Report:

Judge Beverly Martin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, who authored the majority opinion, said the process that led the Georgia General Assembly in 2015 to redraw two politically competitive state House districts to benefit Republican incumbents was “decidedly not” fair and effective representation of voters, most of whom are African-American.

While the panel agreed an injunction wasn’t warranted, Martin’s majority opinion questioned the veracity of legislative staff who testified in pretrial depositions and the ultimate fairness of the redistricting process drew sharp criticism from Duffey in a separate concurring opinion.

The push to redraw the two Georgia House districts began shortly after Rep. Joyce Chandler, District 105’s white Republican incumbent from Grayson, won her 2014 race with only 52.8 percent of the vote, and Rep. Brian Strickland of McDonough, also a white Republican, won District 111 with 53.1 percent.

Fearing a demographic shift, the two legislators sought help from Wright’s staff and House Reapportionment Committee Chairman Randall Nix, R-LaGrange.

But, Martin wrote, “This record leaves no doubt that Ms. Wright, Mr. O’Connor, and all the other stakeholders involved, knew plenty about the racial demographics of Districts 105 and 111.”

Duffey disagreed. The majority opinion, he contended, “conjures up a group sitting in a room clicking on Maptitude to move black voters from one district to another with the intent to depress black voting strength.”

An expected ruling by the United States Supreme Court may change the rules about the permissibility of partisan gerrymandering, according to the AJC.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule in the coming weeks on whether it’s unconstitutional to change district borders to benefit one political party over another.

Because partisan redistricting is currently allowed, the federal court on June 1 denied a request for a preliminary injunction to halt upcoming elections in those districts.

A ruling from the high court on partisan gerrymandering — by Republicans in Wisconsin and Democrats in Maryland — could be handed down by the end of this month.

From Bloomberg on the U.S. Supreme Court case:

A broad ruling against gerrymandering could bolster Democrats, letting them attack Republican-drawn maps around the country, though it almost certainly won’t come soon enough to affect the November midterm elections.

8
Jun

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for June 8, 2018

Hilda Moultrie

Hilda is a female Australian Cattle Dog / Blue Heeler mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.

Slider Moultrie

Slider is a male Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.

Anubis Moultrie

Anubis is a male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.

8
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 8, 2018

Bridget Bishop was the first person hanged after being convicted of practicing witchcraft in the Salem witch trials on June 10, 1692.

Georgia’s colonial charter, signed by King George II was witnessed on June 9, 1732.

Click here for the full text of Georgia’s Royal Charter from 1732.

Click here to see the oldest copy of Georgia’s Royal Charter, which was presented to Georgia by South Carolina.

The Battle of Bloody Marsh was fought between Spanish forces and colonists under James Oglethorpe on St Simons Island, Georgia in 1742 on a date that is variously cited as June 9 or June 7, 1742. Thus began the rivalry between Georgia and Florida.

On June 9, 1772, the first naval attack of the Revolutionary War took place near Providence, Rhode Island, as HMS Gaspee, a British tax enforcement ship was baited into running aground and attacked by a boarding party the next day.

On June 10, 1793, Washington, DC officially replaced Philadelphia as the Capital of the United States. To honor Washington, DC, today we will adopt a smugly superior attitude, name-drop constantly, and speak condescendingly to those who currently live in the states we used to live in.

Rebecca Latimer Felton was born on June 10, 1835 in Decatur, Georgia and later became the first woman to serve in the United States Senate after being appointed by Governor Thomas Hardwick to fill a vacancy in 1922.

The United States Naval Academy graduated its first class on June 10, 1854.

On June 9, 1864, Gen. W.T. Sherman moved his troops to Big Shanty, Georgia, now called Kennesaw, and beginning a four-week period sometimes called the Battle of Marietta.

The Girl Scouts of America were incorporated in Washington, DC on June 10, 1915.

The Republican National Convention in Cleveland became the first political convention broadcast on the radio on June 10, 1924.

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded on June 10, 1935.

The first Porsche automobile was completed on June 8, 1948.

President John F. Kennedy signed the 1963 Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963.

I AM delighted today to approve the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits arbitrary discrimination against women in the payment of wages. This act represents many years of effort by labor, management, and several private organizations unassociated with labor or management, to call attention to the unconscionable practice of paying female employees less wages than male employees for the same job. This measure adds to our laws another structure basic to democracy. It will add protection at the working place to the women, the same rights at the working place in a sense that they have enjoyed at the polling place.

While much remains to be done to achieve full equality of economic opportunity–for the average woman worker earns only 60 percent of the average wage for men–this legislation is a significant step forward.

Cream was formed on June 9, 1966 by Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Jack Bruce.

On June 9, 1973, Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown, the first to win all three of the Triple Crown races since 1948. Secretariat was bred by Christopher Chenery, a graduate of Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, whose jockeys wore blue-and-white silks in honor of Chenery’s alma mater.

Apple Computer shipped the first Apple II computers on June 10, 1977.

Ghostbusters was released on June 8, 1984.

Coca-Cola introduced Classic Coke on June 10, 1985.

On June 8, 2004, Georgia hosted the G-8 summit meeting of the world’s major industrial democracies, which included representatives from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom, plus a representative from the European Union. The 30th meeting of the G-8 was held at Sea Island at the Cloister.

Ray Charles, who was born in Albany, Georgia died on June 10, 2004.

Those of you who attended the 2003 Inaugural of Governor Sonny Perdue will remember that Ray Charles played that night.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

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7
Jun

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for June 7, 2018

Josephine Savannah

Josephine is a female Boxer and Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from One Love Animal Rescue, Inc in Savannah, GA.

Ka Huamela Savannah

Ka Huamela is a female Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from One Love Animal Rescue, Inc in Savannah, GA.

Archimedes One Love

Archimedes (above) and Galileo (below) are male Shepherd and Rottweiler mix puppies who are available for adoption from One Love Animal Rescue, Inc in Savannah, GA.

Galileo Tybee

7
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 7, 2018

Richard_Henry_Lee_at_Nat._Portrait_Gallery_IMG_4471

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution before the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia calling for American independence from Great Britain.

Lee’s resolution declared: “That these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; that measures should be immediately taken for procuring the assistance of foreign powers, and a Confederation be formed to bind the colonies more closely together.”

Four weeks later, Georgia’s members of the Continental Congress – Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton — voted for a version written by Thomas Jefferson of Virginia and called the Declaration of Independence.

The first successful ascent of Mt. McKinley, also called Denali, in Alaska, the highest mountain in North America, was completed on June 7, 1913.

On June 7, 1942, Japanese troops occupied American territory in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska.

Ronald Reagan became the Republican nominee for Governor of California on June 7, 1966.

June 7, 2016 was declared “Prince Day” in Minnesota under a proclamation issued by Governor Mark Dayton. Prince was born on this day in 1958. Governor Dayton missed his chance to begin a proclamation with “Dearly beloved, we are gathered together today….” This year, Dayton proclaimed Prince Day on April 21, 2017.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The United States Air Force announced a new program at Robins Air Force Base, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The base will host the Advanced Battle Management System, a new global air space intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information system mission, said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

The mission will not mean new jobs for now, but it could in the future, said Dan Rhoades, director of strategy for the 21st Century Partnership, a Robins booster.

J-STARS will be a part of the Advanced Battle Management System along with other current and future platforms that specialize in tracking enemy activity and managing troops on the ground. That will include drones to be based at Robins.

Governor Nathan Deal announced state revenues yesterday.

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Georgia’s net tax collections for May totaled almost $1.76 billion, for an increase of $31.5 million, or 1.8 percent, compared to last year when net tax collections totaled nearly $1.73 billion. Year-to-date, net tax collections totaled $20.73 billion, for an increase of $940.8 million, or 4.8 percent, compared to May 2017, when net tax revenues totaled roughly $19.79 billion.

The changes within the following tax categories contributed to the overall net tax revenue increase in May:

Individual Income Tax: Individual Income Tax collections for May increased by $12.4 million, or 1.4 percent, compared to last year when Income Tax collections totaled $871.4 million.

The following notable components within Individual Income Tax combine for the net increase:

  • Individual Income Tax refunds issued (net of voided checks) were up $26 million, or 17.6 percent.
  • Individual Withholding payments were up $43.3 million, or 4.7 percent.
  • Individual Income Tax Return payments were down roughly $7.9 million, or -18.7 percent.
  • All other Individual Tax categories, including Non-Resident Return payments, were up a combined $3 million.

Sales and Use Tax: Gross Sales and Use Tax collections totaled almost $975.8 million, for an increase of $65.5 million, or 7.2 percent, over last year. Net Sales and Use Tax increased by nearly $15.6 million, or 3.3 percent, compared to May 2017, when net sales tax totaled $479.1 million. The adjusted distribution of sales tax to local governments totaled $473.1 million, for an increase of $46.1 million, or 10.8 percent, over last year. Finally, sales tax refunds increased by roughly $3.8 million, or 90.7 percent, to a total of $8.1 million.

Corporate Income Tax: Corporate Income Tax collections for May increased by $5.3 million, or 15.8 percent, compared to last year when Corporate Tax collections totaled $33.4 million.

The following notable components within Corporate Income Tax make up the net increase:

  • Corporate Income Tax refunds issued (net of voided checks) were down $10.7 million, or -43.2 percent.
  • Corporate Income Tax payments were down $3.7 million, or -23.5 percent.
  • All other Corporate Tax categories, including S-Corp payments, were down approximately $1.7 million.

Motor Fuel Taxes: Motor Fuel Tax collections during the month totaled almost $151.7 million, for an increase of $4.9 million, or 3.3 percent, compared to May 2017.

Motor Vehicle Tag & Title Fees: Motor Vehicle Tag & Title Fees for the month totaled $32.1 million, for an increase of $2.4 million, or 8.2 percent, over last year. Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) collections decreased by nearly $1.9 million, or -2.4 percent, compared to May 2017, when TAVT collections totaled $75.9 million.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr visited Macon a year after a massive wave of overdoses, according to the Macon Telegraph.

“Our own medicine cabinets are perpetuating this crisis,” State Attorney General Chris Carr said inside CVS on Gray Highway late afternoon Wednesday. “Nearly 1,000 families lost a loved one due to opioid overdose last year in Georgia.”

Carr helped create the state’s opioid task force, comprised of nonprofits, doctors, addiction specialists, state health agencies and other stakeholders, in October.

“What I have learned is, this really is an epidemic that knows no geographic, economic or demographic boundaries,” Carr said. “Everybody has a role to play.”

Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Natalie Paine said that opiate-treatment plans are lacking, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

District Attorney Natalie Paine said addiction to heroin and prescription opioids is “not something you treat overnight.”

“It’s not something that you go to rehab and in 30 days get rid of,” she said during the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Luncheon Series. “It’s a very long process.”

Paine, whose office oversees criminal cases in Burke, Columbia and Richmond counties, said there are no affordable options nearby. A facility near Statesboro, Ga., that used to charge individuals $700 a month as a nonprofit now charges $1,000 a day under its current corporate owners, she said.

“We’re the second-largest city in Georgia, and we don’t have really anywhere that we can send somebody for an extended amount of time to get much-needed help,” she said. “I would think that it is one of the single most important things we can do in terms of our future because (the problem) is not getting better yet.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is looking at upgrade options for the state’s voting equipment, according to the Associated Press.

Brian Kemp established the Secure, Accessible and Fair Elections Commission in April to study a replacement for Georgia’s current electronic touchscreen system, which does not create an auditable paper record, after efforts to get replacements installed in time for this year’s elections failed.

The group will meet for the first time June 13, and will review options including touchscreens that print paper ballots, and ballots marked by hand with a pen.

Georgia’s current centrally managed elections system lacks a verifiable paper trail that can be audited in the event of problems; the state is one of just five nationwide that continues to rely exclusively on aged electronic voting machines that computer scientists have long criticized as untrustworthy because they are easily hacked and don’t leave a paper trail.

At this point, any change would not affect this year’s elections, and any new system would likely be overseen by the next Secretary of State.

State Rep. Jeff Jones (R-St Simons) opposes a beach nourishment program for Sea Island, according to The Brunswick News.

Georgia state representative and St. Simons Island resident Jeff Jones says he is opposed to the Sea Island Co.’s plans to renourish Sea Island’s beach with 1.3 million cubic yards of sand and construct a third rock groin to retain the sand.

Jones and then-state Rep. Alex Atwood, along with multiple environmental advocacy groups, opposed the groin. The groups filed two unsuccessful appeals after the Shore Protection Committee, part of the Coastal Resources Division of the Department of Natural Resources, approved it.

After two hurricanes hit the Golden Isles in 2016 and 2017, Sea Island resubmitted the groin and nourishment project along with a long-term beach renourishment and management plan. The plan is currently under review by the Shore Protection Committee.

In an email to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials, Jones said he opposed the groin in “the strongest of terms.”

Jones said Wednesday that he had spoken to some environmental engineers about the plan, who convinced him it is a bad idea.

“I respect (the Sea Island Co.’s) right to develop their property, but there’s the old principle that I can’t do something to my property that would adversely affect my neighbor’s property,” Jones said Wednesday. “And that’s clearly what this groin will do … I hope the corps will do the right thing and properly consider the impact of this if they issue a permit for it.”

A Chatham County Grand Jury recommended longer sentences and fewer early releases, according to the Savannah Morning News.

“After our three months of grand jury service, it is obvious to this jury that one of the most glaring and troubling issues facing Chatham County is the number of recidivists brought before the grand jury,” jury foreman Kurt Rodenberg wrote in the term’s presentment filed in court on Monday.

It cited the money spent for law enforcement to repeatedly capture, the district attorney’s office to repeatedly prosecute and the courts to repeatedly hear cases for those recidivists which would “in our opinion, greatly exceed the cost of extended incarceration.”

“Chatham County would be a safer community with 600 fewer drug dealers, sex offenders, robbers, gang members and other felons off our streets.”

The Henry County Board of Education plans to move voting precincts out of schools by 2020, according to the Henry Herald.

According to Tina Lunsford, Henry’s director of elections and voter registration, the county intends to move all voting precincts out of schools by the 2020 election cycle, if “acceptable alternate facilities can be utilized.”

Lunsford said the county has already moved its voting booths elsewhere in the schools.

“Beginning with the 2016 election cycle, we asked the Board of Education and the principals of the schools to allow us the use of the gym, which has a separate entrance and exit, and while most schools accommodate that request, some do not.”

A year ago, Lunsford said the Board of Elections voted to move polling places from schools to churches or recreation centers for a variety of reasons, such as schools being in session during primary season, construction and/or remodeling of schools and a lack of handicap-accessible parking.

The Savannah-Chatham Board of Education voted to raise property taxes, according to the Savannah Morning News.

A combination of increases for unfunded state mandates, planned increases in teacher pay and school safety enhancements led the Savannah-Chatham County School board to approve a tentative 2.25 mill increase in property taxes during Wednesday’s regular meeting.

The vote is the first step towards an official and final vote on June 20. The final vote will follow three public hearings scheduled for June 13 at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. and again on June 20 at 6 p.m. The board will hold a special meeting that day at 6:30 p.m. for the final vote.

Savannah is considering reducing a fire fee after citizen opposition, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The city may reduce the controversial fire fee by more than half as opposition grows ahead of bills being sent this fall, but the decrease may also result in staffing cuts and the elimination of millions of dollars’ worth of planned expenses, under a proposal outlined by Mayor Eddie DeLoach.

“We brought change too quickly and should have done a much better job explaining our thought process to the residents and business community,” DeLoach said during a press conference Wednesday. “We apologize for letting our zeal to improve the city get a head of our ability to fund the services.”

DeLoach said he also plans to recommend during a city council budget workshop on June 18 that the city retain the one mill property tax decrease that was passed in conjunction with the fire fee as part of this year’s budget – a reduction expected to reduce city revenue by about $5.2 million.

Tybee Beach traffic threatens terrapins, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The stream of vehicles headed to Tybee on a June weekend is relentless, and so is the instinct of a diamondback terrapin to cross Highway 80. The inevitable result doesn’t take long to find if you’re looking.

“The causeways that are connecting the mainland to the barrier islands serve not only as high ground for the females to nest but also unfortunately in many cases a death trap,” Gray said, holding the injured turtle as traffic whooshed by. “Diamondback terrapin females will cross the road… looking for high ground to nest.”

Meanwhile, Gray continued to patrol, joined by Kathryn Craven an associate professor of biology at Georgia Southern University’s Armstrong campus. Terrapins nest from May to July, typically coming out of the brackish water to lay their eggs in the hours around high tide. Already on Saturday about a dozen dead turtles lay squashed on the shoulder. It was too late to help any of them. But the rescuers quickly found another terrapin that had been freshly killed. The impact threw her eggs from her body. Four eggs were damaged but four were intact. Craven and Gray arranged them on a clean towel in a plastic tray. They’ll be incubated back at the Armstrong campus at 87 degrees, a temperature that ensures they’ll all be female. Then they’ll be released as hatchlings in about 60 days.

Lower Pool West Park below the Buford dam has been closed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the closing of Lower Pool West Park, which is located at Little Mill Road and Buford Dam Road, this week. The park is located at the base of the dam and offers visitors a view of its hydroelectric plant from a bridge on its walking path. Anglers also visit the park to try and catch fish swimming in the Chattahoochee River.

Since the dam is where water releases from Lake Lanier into the river occur, however, that can make waters at the park dangerous when those releases become more frequent as they have been after the area’s recent storms.

“Due to the need for constant water releases at Buford Dam because of recent high rainfall events, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Sidney Lanier has closed Lower Pool West Park until further notice,” the corps said in a statement. “During water release conditions, water levels along the river will be high, turbulent and very dangerous.”

 

6
Jun

Adoptable (Official) Dogs for June 6, 2018

Camilla Carrollton

Camilla is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Carroll County Animal Shelter in Carrollton, GA.

This sweet girl was picked up as a stray and brought to the shelter. She is only 4 months old – so young to be on her own unprotected. We have named her Camilla. She appears to be mostly if not all Black Lab and has wonderful soft brown eyes. Based on her size at this age, she will probably be a large adult dog.

Sugar Carrollton

Sugar (above) and Darling (below) are young female Terrier mix puppies who are available for adoption from the Carroll County Animal Shelter in Carrollton, GA.

Sugar and her sister Darling are Terrier-mix puppies and they are as cute as they come! They are about 10 weeks old in these photos. Sugar has a white and tan coat; Darling has a solid tan coat. They will probably be medium-sized when they reach adulthood.

Darling Carrollton`

6
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 6, 2018

The expulsion of the Cherokee from Georgia began on June 6, 1838 as 800 members left by riverboat.

On June 6, 1944, seventy years ago, Allied forces under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower began the invasion of France, called D-Day.

On the morning of June 5, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious military operation in history. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.

By dawn on June 6, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground; the land invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where 2,000 troops were lost and it was only through the tenacity and quick-wittedness of troops on the ground that the objective was achieved. By day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.

On June 6, 1949, George Orwell published 1984.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Vice President Mike Pence swore in Randy Evans as Ambassador to Luxembourg on Monday.Continue Reading..

5
Jun

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for June 5, 2018

Jake Augusta

Jake is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA.

Hi I’m jake I love everyone,lap loving dog ,I’m working on being house broken i do use pee-pads,I know how to sit ,and lay down. Only bad habit I have is chewing and digging.

Kevin Augusta

Kevin is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA.

Jack Augusta
Jack is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA. Jack is very calm and loves to play outside.

The Gwinnett County Animal Shelter will offer reduced cost adoptions for dogs and cats through the month of June, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Instead of costing $90 and $30, dogs and cats, respectively, can be adopted for $20, with two kittens also costing $20.

In addition, all pets are free on Fridays and teachers and other educational staff can adopt pets at no charge every day except Sundays.

Any animal that has been in the shelter for more than 30 days is also free.

“Please keep in mind that adopting an animal is a decision that should include responsible planning for space, permission if renting and follow-up veterinarian care,” a shelter news release said. “Animals are forever family members that require love, attention, exercise and stimulation and can live 10 years or longer depending on age and breed. Please consider this if you are planning to adopt.”

5
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 5, 2018

According to “This Day in Georgia History, on June 5, 1775, the first Liberty Pole in Georgia was raised in Augusta, Georgia. Another account holds that the first Liberty Pole in Georgia was raised June 4, 1775 at Tondee’s Tavern in Savannah. Those who fly the “Appeal to Heaven” flag should know that it has some common history with Liberty Poles.

Light Horse Harry Lee, later the father of Robert E. Lee, led a group of Continental soldiers, South Carolina and Georgia militia as the British surrendered Augusta on June 5, 1781. The capture of Augusta led to Georgia’s inclusion in the United States, though it had previously been so divided between Patriots and Loyalists that Georgia was the only American colony to not participate in the First Continental Congress.

The Republican National Convention met in Philadelphia on June 5, 1872, nominating Ulysses S. Grant for President the next day. Twelve years later, on June 5, 1884, William T. Sherman refused the Republican nomination for President, saying, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”

Republican candidate for Governor A. Ed Smith died in a car accident on June 5, 1962.

Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot after winning the California Primary on June 5, 1968 and died the next day.

President Ronald Reagan died on June 5, 2004.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal announced state appropriations of $28 million for local governments.

Following guidance from the Department of Revenue (DOR), which Friday, June 1, announced it will suspend collection of local jet fuel sales tax in order to comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, Gov. Nathan Deal today announced $28 million will be made available to 48 communities with airports. The funding, included in the amended FY2018 budget, will be provided to local government airport sponsors through a Department of Community Affairs (DCA) grant.

“Today, Georgia has taken critical action to ensure our federal funding is not jeopardized and local governments that rely upon local jet fuel sales tax are made whole,” said Deal. “In light of DOR’s announcement, which brings Georgia into compliance with the federal government, I’ve allocated $28 million to assist the 48 local governments affected by suspension of the local sales tax. The grants, based on the remaining time and monthly average of each community’s Special Local Option Sales Tax, will be disbursed by DCA by the end of this fiscal year.”

Today’s announcement by DOR brings Georgia into compliance with the 2014 FAA rule on taxation of aviation fuel. This FAA rule affects local sales taxes authorized and collected after 1987 on the purchase of jet fuel. Read the DOR bulletin here.

The AJC reports that Georgia’s economy is ranked the ninth-best in the nation by WalletHub.Continue Reading..

4
Jun

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

On June 4, 1785, James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, met with John Adams, the first ambassador from the new United States to Great Britain.

On June 4, 1919, Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to always be right vote. In August 1920, enough states had ratified the 19th Amendment that it took effect.

The Battle of Midway began on June 4, 1942. During the battle, four Japanese aircraft carriers that had participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor and one cruiser were sunk at the cost of one American carrier and one destroyer.

Today is the 29th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing, China.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Statesboro voters may now vote early in the City Council District 5 runoff election, according to the Statesboro Herald.Continue Reading..