The blog.

15
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 15, 2023

Emmy is a young female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Oconee Regional Humane Society in Greensboro, GA.

Gertie is a young adult female Hound mix  who is available for adoption from the Oconee Regional Humane Society in Greensboro, GA.

Mulligan is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Oconee Regional Humane Society in Greensboro, GA.

Mulligan’s foster family reports that he is doing extremely well during his time on vacation! Mulligan has adapted to a home environment and he is making new friends every day. Mulligan loves giving and receiving kisses to everyone he comes close to. He spends his day playing with his foster “Bull” and learning how to shake hands with people and commands like “stay” and “leave it.” Mulligan is doing extremely well learning how to pee and poop outdoors while being encouraged with treats!
15
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 15, 2023

The Mayflower left Plymouth, England, for the New World on September 16, 1620. Thirty-five of 102 passengers were members of the English Separatist Church seeking religious freedom from the Church of England. Originally aiming to reach Virginia, Mayflower eventually landed at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Forty-one delegates signed the United States Constitution, including Abraham Baldwin and William Few representing Georgia, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 before adjourning sine die.

On September 17, 1796, George Washington began working on the final draft of his farewell address as the first President of the United States of America.

Francis Scott Key composed the lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner” on September 14, 1814.

On September 15, 1831, Dr. Samuel Worcester and Dr. Elizur Butler – missionaries – were tried in a Lawrenceville courtroom for living as white people among the Cherokee and refusing to take an oath of loyalty to Georgia, convicted and sentenced to hard labor. Some historians refer to this case, which went to the United States Supreme Court on appeal, as the beginning of the events that led to the forced removal of the Cherokee people from Georgia on the “Trail of Tears.”

HMS Beagle, carrying Charles Darwin, arrived at the Gallapagos Islands on September 15, 1835.

The Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee met the Army of the Potomac under General George McClellan at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.

The Battle of Antietam actually consisted of three battles. Beginning at dawn on September 17, Union General Joseph Hooker’s men stormed Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops around the Dunker Church, the West Woods, and David Miller’s cornfield. The Federals made repeated attacks, but furious Rebel counterattacks kept the Yankees in check. By early afternoon, the fighting moved south to the middle of the battlefield. Union troops under General Edwin Sumner inflicted devastating casualties on the Confederates along a sunken road that became known as “Bloody Lane,” before the Southerners retreated. McClellan refused to apply reserves to exploit the opening in the Confederate center because he believed Lee’s force to be much larger than it actually was. In the late afternoon, Union General Ambrose Burnside attacked General James Longstreet’s troops across a stone bridge that came to bear Burnside’s name. The Yankees crossed the creek, but a Confederate counterattack brought any further advance to a halt.

The fighting ended by early evening, and the two armies remained in place throughout the following day. After dark on September 18, Lee began pulling his troops out of their defenses for a retreat to Virginia. The losses for the one-day battle were staggering. Union casualties included 2,108 dead, 9,540 wounded, and 753 missing, while Confederate casualties numbered 1,546 dead, 7,752 wounded, and 1,108 missing.

On September 14, 1885, Georgia Governor Henry McDaniel signed legislation granting up to 200 acres in Fulton and DeKalb Counties to the federal government to be used in the constuction of Fort McPherson, which was named after Union Maj. Gen. James McPherson, who was killed in the Battle of Atlanta in 1864.

A single pistol shot on September 16, 1893 opened former Cherokee land in Oklahoma to white settlers in a “land run” to claim property.

On September 14, 1901, President William McKinley died of an infection from gunshot wounds suffered eight days earlier.

On September 15, 1904, Wilbur Wright made the first in-flight turn in an airplane.

On September 17, 1932, the Georgia Division of the Roosevelt Business and Professional League was created to work with the Georgia Democratic Party to support FDR’s Presidential campaign in the Peach State.

The original stimulus act was announced to bring $70 million in federal money to Georgia to build roads and public buildings on September 16, 1933.

On September 16, 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Service and Training Act requiring males 26-35 years of age to register for the draft. On the same day, Sam Rayburn of Texas was elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and would go on to hold the post for 17 years total, the longest tenure of any Speaker.

Early on the morning of September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls.

On September 14, 1974, Eric Clapton’s cover of the Bob Marley song, “I Shot the Sheriff” reached #1 on the music charts. After 46 years, we still don’t know who shot the deputy.

Jimmy Carter received the first ever endorsement of a national ticket by the National Education Association in his bid for President on September 17, 1976.

On September 15, 1996, the Texas Rangers retired #34 in honor of the most dominant pitcher in professional baseball history, Nolan Ryan.

R.E.M. and Gregg Allman were among the inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 16, 2006.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp announced the retirement of Department of Public Safety (DPS) Commissioner Colonel Chris Wright and the appointment of his successor and other new leadership, according to a Press Release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced that Colonel Chris Wright, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety (DPS), is retiring following many years of distinguished service in state law enforcement.

“On behalf of all Georgians, Marty, the girls, and I want to thank Colonel Wright for the incredible job he has done as head of the Department of Public Safety,” said Governor Kemp. “During times of civil unrest and the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, Colonel Wright demonstrated resilience, foresight, and strength that has led to reductions in crime and safer communities all across Georgia. He has led as he served – with distinction – and we wish him and his family well in this next chapter.”

Governor Kemp also announced that the Board of Public Safety unanimously voted today to approve Lt. Colonel William “Billy” Hitchens to serve as the next DPS Commissioner and Colonel of the Georgia State Patrol, effective October 1. The Board also unanimously confirmed Major Kendrick Lowe to serve as Lt. Colonel of the Georgia State Patrol and Deputy Commissioner for DPS, also effective October 1. Lt. Colonel Joshua Lamb will continue his service as a valued member of the senior DPS leadership team and will be promoted to Assistant Commissioner.

“Keeping Georgians safe will always be my top priority. My entire family is thankful we will continue to have great leadership at the Department of Public Safety and overseeing the Georgia State Patrol,” said Governor Kemp. “As someone who has dedicated his career to this agency, Marty, the girls, and I are grateful for Lt. Colonel Hitchens’ willingness to step into this new role. We’re also thankful for Major Lowe and Lt. Colonel Lamb’s further service. All three of these men are dedicated to the job, to setting high standards for our state law enforcement, and most of all to protecting their fellow Georgians. We are thankful for that ongoing commitment and for the sacrifices of their families.”

Lt. Colonel William “Billy” Hitchens, III currently serves as Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Public Safety. He is also the Director of Field Operations, overseeing the Georgia State Patrol, the Motor Carrier Compliance Division, the Capitol Police Division, the Headquarters Adjutant, and the Special Operations Adjutant.

Prior to this appointment, Lt. Colonel Hitchens served as Major and South Adjutant. He began his career with the Georgia State Patrol as a Cadet Trooper in Sylvania and graduated from the 69th Trooper School in 1995. During the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Lt. Colonel Hitchens was assigned to Centennial Park and received a Meritorious Service Award for his actions prior to and immediately after the bombing. Lt. Colonel Hitchens was also selected to serve on the committee which developed the department’s mission statement and core beliefs.

Lt. Colonel Hitchens earned an undergraduate degree from Georgia Southern University and an MPA from Columbus State University. He is a graduate of the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College and the FBI National Academy.

Lt. Colonel Hitchens and his wife, Angie, have two children and reside in Statesboro.

Major Kendrick Lowe currently serves as North Division Adjutant for the Georgia State Patrol, responsible for DPS operations in the Northern half of the state. He oversees 30 Patrol Posts, North and Middle Nighthawks DUI Task Forces, the GSP Motor Unit, the Crime Suppression Unit, and five Troop Communication Centers. Previously, he served as the Troop A Commander.

Major Lowe began his career with the Georgia State Patrol in 1993 as a Radio Operator before graduating from the 72nd Trooper School in 1997. Having served in various posts, he was a valued part of both Governor Barnes and Governor Perdue’s protection details. He also served as Director of Executive Security for Governor Perdue. In 2007, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant before later serving as the State Patrol law enforcement liaison with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. He then served in various other capacities around the state before taking his current position.

Major Lowe and his wife, Avary, have two children and reside in Lake Spivey.

Lt. Colonel Joshua Lamb currently serves as Director of Administrative Services for the Department of Public Safety, overseeing the Office of Professional Standards, the Human Resources Division, the Public Information Office, and Legislative Affairs. Previously, he served as Chief of Staff for the Department.

Lt. Colonel Lamb began his law enforcement career as a Special Agent with the Tri-Circuit Drug Task Force before graduating from the 74th Georgia State Patrol Trooper School. He served in leadership positions in posts across the state and spent eight years as a member of the State of Georgia SWAT team. Lt. Colonel Lamb then became a member of the Planning and Research Unit where he created departmental policy, assisted in planning special events like the 2018 National College Championship Game and Super Bowl LIII, and worked on legislative affairs matters, including the distracted driving law. During his notable career, he also served as the Director of Training, SWAT Team Commander, Executive Officer to the Deputy Commissioner, and in other leadership roles.

Lt. Colonel Lamb earned a bachelor’s from Georgia Southern University and an MPA from Columbus State University. He attended the FBI National Academy and is one of only two people from Georgia to be chosen to represent their cohort as Class Spokesperson. He was also an FBI Executive Fellow.

Lt. Colonel Lamb and his wife, Alison, have two daughters.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Lt. Colonel Hitchens is likely the son of State Rep. Bill Hitchens (R-Rincon), himself a retired commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety and colonel of the Georgia State Patrol. The late Mrs. GaPundit held State Rep. Hitchens in the highest esteem for his work on the Board of the Georgia Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission.

The incoming DPS Commissioner spoke to a State House committee, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Augusta Chronicle.

Pay raises of $11,000 for state law enforcement officers during the last two years still haven’t solved recruitment and retention challenges for a Georgia State Patrol forced into a bidding war.

“Agencies are competing over an ever-decreasing pool of candidates,” Lt. Col. William “Billy” Hitchens III, deputy commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, told a state House “working group” Thursday.

Despite the raises, Georgia is 36th in the nation in trooper salaries and 50th in number of troopers per capita, Hitchens said.

House Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, formed the House Working Group on Public Safety earlier this year to look for ways to attract and retain more law enforcement officers.

Lt. Col. Joshua Lamb, director of administrative services for the Department of Public Safety, said the agency is moving to address the recruitment issue with an accelerated trooper school program that allows candidates to complete their training in fewer than the 32 to 34 weeks the traditional model requires.

“That was probably one of the biggest steps we’ve taken to make it more appealing without lowering standards,” he said.

State Rep. J Collins, R-Villa Rica, chairman of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee and a member of the working group, said Hitchens and Lamb made a good case for the severity of the department’s workforce plight.

“The numbers don’t lie. They are what they are,” Collins said. “The benefits and pay have to increase for us to get those numbers up.”

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office pushed back against allegations of voting issues, according to The Brunswick News.

Former state Rep. Jeff Jones told board members at their meeting Tuesday that the county’s continued use of the Dominion voting system is “in violation of Georgia law.” He cited state law that says ballots must be marked in a format readable by the elector.

“Any statement that Georgia’s voting system is in conflict with the law is false,” said Robert Sinners, an elections division spokesman.

He said a Georgia Court of Appeals decision held that the use of a QR code on the paper ballots in addition to the readable text does not violate the elections code.

According to the court ruling, “there is no language in the statute that requires that the corresponding QR code on the ballot be readable by an elector, or that electors must be able to verify their election choices through the specific mechanism or device that actually tabulates and counts their voting choices, and we decline to construe the statute [OCGA 21-2-300] in such a manner.”

The court ruling continues: “Instead, as reflected by the plain language of the statute, the law simply requires that electronic ballot markers produce paper ballots that are marked with the elector’s choices in a format that can be read by the elector, and the petitioners do not dispute that an elector can read their voting choices on the printed paper ballot.”

[Glynn County Elections Supervisor Christopher] Channell estimated it would take workers at least three minutes per ballot for the November 2024 elections, meaning at a high-volume precinct like the ones on St. Simons Island, poll workers could spend days counting ballots.

“Poll workers have already put in 13-hour days by the time the polls close,” he said. “It blows me away they think this is the best way to do it.”

The solution, which Dominion is trying to get approved, is for what Channell called “full face ballots” that show every vote cast without identifying the voter.

If Dominion gets approval and the state decides to go that route, Channell said there will be an additional cost because the printers currently used to print ballots are not capable of printing full face ballots.

Hog Hammock residents will continue fighting against zoning changes they say threaten their community, according to The Brunswick News.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is working with residents of the last saltwater Geechee community in Georgia and is expected to appeal new zoning rules on Sapelo Island passed Tuesday by the McIntosh County Commission.

They say the new rules — which impact the Hogg Hummock, or Hog Hammock, community on Sapelo Island — were bulldozed through by the commission without regard to due process and that they are discriminatory because they remove protections previously in place for the cultural heritage of the descendants of formerly enslaved people who live there.

That amounts to violations of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, said Crystal McElrath, senior supervising attorney for the SPLC.

“The McIntosh Board of Commissioners’ vote has raised serious 14th Amendment concerns, especially given that they have previously stated that the community of Hogg Hummock should be protected due to its unique historic resources,” McElrath said. “They have effectively disregarded the historic and cultural significance of the last remaining Gullah-Geechee community on Sapelo Island by approving existential threats to be brought on by development and they have ignored the community’s very reasonable request for a 90-day delay on the vote. They then followed their vote by reading statements that insulted the current generation of landowners and whitewashed the history of land theft in prior generations which brought us to this current situation.”

Residents whose families have called Sapelo Island home for generations, since being freed from slavery following the American Civil War, say the changes were unnecessary and are a way to push them off of their ancestral land to make the mostly state-owned island a haven for wealthy, mostly White, tourists and vacation homeowners. They say larger homes mean higher property values and increasing property taxes, which will make it unaffordable for Geechee residents who still live a rural, agrarian lifestyle on the island as their ancestors did.

Four Statesboro citizens addressed council members about the proposed property tax millage rate hike, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Statesboro’s mayor and two council members heard from a total of four citizens during the city’s noon property tax increase hearing Tuesday, Sept. 12. Three of the same four citizens spoke against the increase again during the 6 p.m. hearing, and that was all.

The proposed 1.9-mill addition amounts to a 26% increase in the millage rate itself. But when added to the 2022-2023 inflation in the assessed value of taxable property in the city limits, the millage boost is expected to result in a 44.75% increase, on average, in the tax on homes and businesses.

On a house previously valued at $200,000, the city tax would rise from $496.24 to $718.54, a $222.30 increase, by the city staff’s calculations.

The 44.75% number, reflecting the 2.85-mill difference between a “rollback rate” of 6.362 mills and the proposed 9.212 mills, was the total increase cited in notices the city published in the newspaper. The rollback rate, as City Manager Charles Penny explained during the hearings, is the lower rate the city would have to adopt to keep the tax “revenue neutral,” collecting roughly the same amount as before inflation.

Lawton Sack, chair of the Bulloch County Republican Party, was the second speaker. He is a resident of Statesboro and now a candidate for the District 2 seat on City Council, which is nonpartisan.

“Bryan County just lowered theirs (millage rate) for the seventh straight year, and there is something they are doing right that Bulloch County and the city of Statesboro and the Board  of Education is evidently not paying attention to. …,” he said.

Richmond County resident Eric Loggins is working on a recall petition against Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree, according to WRDW.

On Aug. 30, Loggins took out a recall application and had 15 days to gather 100 signatures of so-called sponsors. He turned in the signatures Thursday and now the board must schedule a meeting to determine whether the signatures are valid and sufficient to issue a recall petition.

If that’s the case, Loggins will need to gather signatures of 30% of registered voters in the county. Then if that petition passes muster, the board could schedule a recall election.

Roundtree is up for re-election in 2024.

Savannah-Chatham County school cameras are now armed with lasers issuing tickets, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The program returned on Aug. 14 with a 30-day warning period, which ends today, Sept. 14. Beyond the warning period, valid citations will be issued.

Savannah Morning News had reported in the past about how the program netted $537,000 in revenue in 2022 for the City of Savannah. This marks the start of the third year Photo Speed Enforcement Systems have been used at schools throughout Chatham County. The Chatham County Police Department (CCPD) launched a program in Aug. 2021 in unincorporated school zones of the county. CCPD posts monthly School Speed Zone Camera reports on the number of citations issued. From Aug. 2022 through May 2023, CCPD handed out 56,473 citations (6,576 of which were warning citations issued during September and October).

SPD claims that, on average, these programs have reduced the number of speeders by 92% throughout the Country. Blue Line Solutions, the Tennessee-based private contractor that manages school zone camera programs in Savannah and throughout the country provided a summary report to SPD for the 2022-23 academic year. The report (below) shows an overall 80% reduction in speeders in the school zones. The report states that, “the TrueBlue program is designed to reduce the number of speeders in school zones to make a safer place for our children to study and play.”

Some expectant mothers will benefit from expanded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) eligibility, according to WJBF.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families has been helping mothers in the state of Georgia for years, but House Bill 129, recently signed by Governor Kemp, expands those benefits so expectant moms can also benefit.

Aside from expectant mothers, the program also supports low-income families with children under the age of 18 and children aged 18 attending school full-time, and if you are a mom in school, this could help you too.

The Georgia Department of Human Services says close to 15,000 children in the state of Georgia are supported by the TANF program each year.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating allegations of a confrontation between members of LaGrange City Council, according to WTVM.

LaGrange Daily News reports that District 2′s Leon Childs and Nathan Gaskin are believed to be the two councilmen involved in the incident. The report says Childs claimed Gaskin threatened him and lied that Childs pulled a weapon on Gaskin.

Lieutenant Chris Pritchett with LaGrange police confirms to us that the request for the GBI to investigate Tuesday’s situation is to avoid conflict of interest or favoritism.

Proponents of the Floyd County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST)are addressing prospective voters, according to the Rome News Tribune.

“We have to have a place for our police,” former Rome mayor Evie McNiece said as she began to outline the many projects she characterized as needs for the community in this year’s special purpose local option sales tax proposal.

The measure will go before voters on Nov. 7 and McNiece is part of the team assembled by the citizens committee chair, Bob Berry, to promote the SPLOST to voters.

Stressing that the 1-cent SPLOST is a very good deal for Floyd County taxpayers, [Bob] Berry said it is estimated that 30% to 40% of the revenue comes from outside the county.

“This is a great deal for Floyd County taxpayers because we get 100% of the funds,” Berry said.

MARTA CEO Collie Greenwood will receive a $25,000 raise, according to the AJC.

The MARTA Board of Directors Thursday gave CEO Collie Greenwood a $25,000 raise.

The board approved a new contract for Greenwood that includes an annual base salary of $425,000 – up 6.25% from $400,000. The contract also says Greenwood is eligible for an annual performance bonus of up to 5% of his salary, or $21,250.

The contract grants Greenwood six weeks of paid time off, plus pension, health insurance and other benefits. It is retroactive to Jan. 2.

Theodore Hamby announced he is running for Guyton City Council, according to the Savannah Morning News.

When Gov. Brian Kemp was visiting the University of Georgia in 2018, Theodore Hamby knew he had one shot to get on his campaign team.

So he approached one of Kemp’s volunteers and within seconds he was added to the crew.

“I was out there making signs, making phone banks and going out there and canvassing,” said Hamby. “This was something I wanted to do my entire life because history was in the making.”

Hamby, who is from Eden, qualified to run for the Post 2 City Council seat in Guyton. Although the youngest to run for the position this year, the 25-year-old said he is not easily intimidated and residents are encouraged by seeing a young person trying to make a difference in their community.

“When I go out door-to-door, people see hope in the future of young people,” said Hamby. “They think young people have drifted away but going out and talking to them about the issues that frustrate them the most is what they want to see. I think most young people see a system that is broken, but all it takes is a couple of us to show that … it can be fixed. We can be part of the solution.”

He said the experience when working on Kemp’s team was eye opening and allowed him to see politics play out on a big stage. But being from a small town has helped him understand what residents need in a city like Guyton.

“I want people to see me face-to-face,” said Hamby. “Ever since I’ve been in politics, I’ve learned it is all about the ground game. It’s how you get votes.”

“If the residents of Guyton think they are in a better place, then vote for my opponent,” said Hamby. “If you think Guyton is worse off than it was four years ago, then vote for me. Vote for change because we can get this done. I have a plan to get it done. The greatest days are still ahead for Guyton.”

13
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 13, 2023

Flower is a young female mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare
in Macon, GA.

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

Daisy is a young female mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare
in Macon, GA.

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

13
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 13, 2023

The Second Continental Congress opened in Philadelphia on September 13, 1775; Georgia was represented by Archibald Bulloch, Lyman Hall,  John Houstoun, and John Zubly.

On September 13, 1788, the Confederation Congress voted to implement the Constitution and authorized states to elect Senators and Representatives and called the first Presidential election, with selection of presidential electors in the states to be held on January 7, 1789, and February 4, 1789 as the day electors would cast their ballots.

The first two women to enter the Georgia General Assembly, Viola Ross Napier of Bibb County and Atlanta Constitution reporter Bessie Kempton of Fulton County, were elected on September 13, 1922.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

United States Department Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is on the hot seat after a complaint alleging charger hogging, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Granholm and an entourage of staffers conducted a four-day trip through the South in June to tout green energy and the efficiency of electric vehicles. The group reached the Grovetown area to charge their EVs at the Walmart Supercenter on Steiner Way.

“Her advance team realized there weren’t going to be enough plugs to go around,” said National Public Radio reporter Camila Domonoske, who accompanied Granholm on the junket and wrote an online article that published Sept. 10 describing the incident. “One of the station’s four chargers was broken, and others were occupied. So an Energy Department staffer tried parking a nonelectric vehicle by one of those working chargers to reserve a spot for the approaching secretary of energy.”

That didn’t sit well with an EV driver who was among several others waiting to use the station.

“They said they are saving the space for somebody else, and it’s holding up a whole bunch of people who need to charge their cars,” the unidentified caller said to the 911 operator.

No Georgia law seems to prohibit a nonelectric vehicle from parking at an EV charging station. Georgia lawmakers passed Senate Bill 146 earlier this year that requires EV drivers to pay for recharging by the amount of electricity used instead of by the time spent charging.

First Lady Jill Biden will visit Atlanta on Friday, according to the AJC.

First lady Jill Biden will meet with scientists at Emory University who are the recipients of a first-of-its-kind federal grant to help research possible future use of mRNA technology, the basis of COVID-19 vaccines, to combat cancer and other illnesses.

The White House announced last month that a grant for as much as $24 million had been awarded and that the team will be led by researchers at Emory. Biden is scheduled to highlight that funding during a visit Friday.

She will also headline a campaign fundraiser Thursday hosted by Comer Yates and Sally Quillian Yates, a former acting attorney general who was fired in 2017 by then-President Donald Trump.

Former State Rep. Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) questioned the state’s use of Dominion voting machines, according to The Brunswick News.

Former state Rep. Jeff Jones told board members the county’s continued use of the Dominion voting system “is in violation of Georgia law.” He cited O.C.G.A. 21-2-379 (6) that says ballots must be marked in a format readable by the elector.

“The evidence shows that the Dominion BDM system does not produce a paper-verifiable paper ballot or a paper ballot marked with the voter’s choice in a format readable by the voter because the ballots are tabulated solely by the unreadable QR code,” he said.

In order to comply with state law, Jones said Glynn County “must change to a different voting method other that the unreadable QR code” before the 2024 election cycle.

He added that to continue using the QR code system and to fail to change voting systems “means that Glynn County is knowingly and willfully violating Georgia state law” and that “Glynn County is satisfied to produce a ballot printout of voter choices unreadable to the voter.”

Jones said the short-term solution is for the county to use secure, hand-counted paper ballots.

The City of Edison is working to improve its financial condition, according to WALB.

Tommy Coleman, Edison’s city attorney, said the city is now more than $500,000 in debt. On Monday night he said, “We need an action plan.”

Here is a look at how they’re working to curb this problem:

• Solid waste fees will now generate $25,000 a month. Bumping bills from $27 to $38.50

• The city’s property tax rate is now being raised from 18% to 29%

• Residents could see a rise in water, sewage and gas bills

As for what comes next, three public hearings will take place next week in regard to the millage rate increase.

An audit of Burke County Sheriff Alonzo Williams’s department found issues with department spending, according to WRDW.

A new financial audit report for Burke County confirms what the I-TEAM has reported on for almost a year.

It shows how the Burke County Sheriff’s Office is one of the major weaknesses for the county.

Question after question was raised by the county manager’s office, county commissioners and taxpayers about how Williams is running his department.

The 102-page financial audit report for the county was completed by the independent accounting firm Lanier, Deal, Proctor and Bloser.

The first point covers lack of internal controls over expenditures for the agency. The audit notes there was not sufficient control over the budget.

This allowed Williams’ office to purchase items that were overbudget, which then caused the agency to go significantly over budget.

The next two points are problems our I-TEAM just recently exposed: unrecorded grant funds and lack of supporting documentation by the Burke County Sheriff’s Office with unauthorized accounts.

The audit tells us the Burke County Sheriff’s Office received significant grant funding that was put into a separate account opened by the sheriff without the county’s knowledge.

The I-TEAM previously reported $425,000 in grants were put into that unauthorized account. The sheriff also got an unauthorized county credit card, which he used those grant dollars to pay off.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office purged more than 90,000 voter registrations, according to The Brunswick News.

Already this year, there have been 91,673 records canceled due to death, a move out of state or felony conviction, among other reasons, according to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Another 191,473 inactive records could be canceled this year, the Secretary of State’s office said. A voter’s registration is placed on the inactive list if they don’t cast a ballot or respond to letters from election officials for five years. A voter must be inactive for another two even-year election cycles before the registration is purged from the system.

“All they have to do is make some kind of contact with us or the Secretary of State,” said Christina Redden, assistant director of the Glynn County Board of Elections. “Voting, renewing their driver’s license, returning mail, stopping by, and they can still vote.”

The next election in Glynn County is in November. Two seats on the City Commission, one representing the North Ward and one representing the South, are up for grabs. Early voting begins in the city elections on Oct. 16 and Election Day is Nov. 7. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 11.

McIntosh County Commissioners voted to adopt a revised zoning ordinance governing development in the Hog Hammock community on Sapelo Island, according to the Associated Press via the Savannah Morning News.

Descendants of enslaved people living on a Georgia island vowed to keep fighting Tuesday after county commissioners voted to double the maximum size of homes allowed in their tiny enclave, which residents fear will accelerate the decline of one of the South’s few surviving Gullah Geechee communities.

Black residents of the Hogg Hummock community on Sapelo Island and their supporters packed a meeting of McIntosh County’s elected commissioners to oppose zoning changes that residents say favor wealthy buyers and will lead to tax increases that could pressure them to sell their land.

Regardless, commissioners voted 3-2 to weaken zoning restrictions the county adopted nearly three decades ago with the stated intent to help Hogg Hummock’s 30 to 50 residents hold on to their land.

From the AP via WSAV:

Hogg Hummock is one of just a few surviving communities in the South of people known as Gullah, or Geechee, in Georgia, whose ancestors worked island slave plantations.

Fights with the local government are nothing new to residents and landowners. Dozens successfully appealed staggering property tax hikes in 2012, and residents spent years fighting the county in federal court for basic services such as firefighting equipment and trash collection before county officials settled last year.

Hogg Hummock’s population has been shrinking in recent decades, and some families have sold their land to outsiders who built vacation homes. New construction has caused tension over how large those homes can be.

Commissioners on Tuesday raised the maximum size of a home in Hogg Hummock to 3,000 square feet (278 square meters) of total enclosed space. The previous limit was 1,400 square feet (130 square meters) of heated and air-conditioned space.

Commission Chairman David Stevens, who said he’s been visiting Sapelo Island since the 1980s, blamed Hogg Hummock’s changing landscape on native owners who sold their land.

“I don’t need anybody to lecture me on the culture of Sapelo Island,” Stevens said, adding: “If you don’t want these outsiders, if you don’t want these new homes being built … don’t sell your land.”

Located about 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Savannah, Sapelo Island remains separated from the mainland and reachable only by boat. Since 1976, the state of Georgia has owned most of its 30 square miles (78 square kilometers) of largely unspoiled wilderness. Hogg Hummock, also known as Hog Hammock, sits on less than a square mile.

The Bulloch County Board of Education voted to adopt a property tax millage rate, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The Bulloch County Board of Education – after a second round of tax increase hearings, with most members attending all three hearings this time – met at noon Friday and voted 7-1 to adopt a property tax rate for school maintenance and operations of 8.478 mills, up from last year’s 8.236 mills.

That alone would be a 2.9% rate increase.

But when compounded with the inflation in real estate values as determined by the county tax assessors, the resulting proposed increase in property tax for school maintenance and operations is 16.07% for taxable properties on average. So that was the percentage stated in the formal notices school system officials posted to comply with the Georgia law known as the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights. The notices referred to a 1.174-mill increase, the difference between the new rate and a rollback rate of 7.304 mills that would have been needed to avoid announcing a tax increase.

But according to Superintendent Charles Wilson and Business Services Director Alison Boatright, the Bulloch County Schools faced a dilemma between the Georgia law that results in the rollback rate and a different law that governs state equalization funding to counties. The school district receives a majority of its operating funds from the state, and an annual equalization grant is part of that.

“The unfortunate irony in all of this is that because we’ve kept school property taxes so low, we have now run up against the 14-mill floor required to continue qualifying for state equalization grant funding,” Wilson said in a media release issued after Friday’s vote.

Because Bulloch County already rolls back its school millage by having the county’s original 1% Local Option Sales Tax permanently assigned to the schools, the “effective” rate is a combination of the actual property tax millage and the sales tax revenue stated as a millage.

Republican Paul Abbott announced he will run for the State House District 131 seat held by State Rep. Jodi Lott (R-Harlem) after she announced she will not run for reelection, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

According to the press release, Abbott is an educator with 32 years of experience, winning Teacher of the Year in Lowndes County in 2009, and his areas of policy focus are largely related to education. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Army and National Guard.

“Teachers need the support of the Georgia legislature to protect them from the ever-increasing regulations that make their jobs even more difficult,” Abbott was quoted as saying in the release.

Abbott is married to his wife, Megan, and they have five children and two grandchildren.

12
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 12, 2023

James Oglethorpe arrived at Augusta on September 12, 1739, 279 years ago today.

French troops arrived near Savannah to prepare for a siege against British forces there on September 12, 1779.

On September 12, 2009, the “Taxpayer March on Washington” coalesced the Tea Party movement.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Tybee Island Historical Society is raising funds for $1.6 million dollars needed to repair the Tybee Island Lighthouse, according to the Savannah Morning News.

It was determined during a routine assessment last winter that Tybee Island’s historic 1773 lighthouse is in need of essential repairs, according to Tybee Island Historical Society Executive Director Sarah Jones. The windows around the Fresnel lens, the roof and masonry all need repairs.

“We try and do a major assessment about every 20 years,” Jones said. “We did have them come down about five years ago and assess for the paint, but this was a little bit of a more in-depth assessment because we have a spot that’s popping up on the lighthouse, and we just couldn’t figure out where that moisture was coming from.”

“What we’re trying to do is repair the lantern,” said ICC Commonwealth Division Manager Tyler Finkle. “(That) is the ironwork that holds the glass that protects the lens. Over time the corrosion between the iron and bronze causes damage to the glazing. That allows in moisture and rain condensation over time because of the corrosion.”

The water seeped down into the walls and deteriorated the brick and mortar, and had no time to dry out, according to Jones. This damage is around the lens room. If it’s not fixed, the water is going to continue to erode the brick and slowly move further into the building.

The timeline for repairs starts in November, and it will be a three-phase project that will last until June 2024.

The National Park Service calls the Tybee Lighthouse a hybrid, because the bottom half was built in 1773 and burned during the Civil War, and the top half was rebuilt in 1867. It’s two lighthouses in one. Jones said that the lighthouse is also octagonal, which is odd.

Any contribution people can give through their GoFundMe campaign or on their website helps, Jones said. She also encourages people to become a member of the Tybee Island Historical Society or volunteer at the lighthouse.

Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency and will suspend the state sales tax on motor fuel, according to a press release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp today declared a state of emergency due to the 40-year-high inflation and negative economic conditions felt by hardworking Georgians as a result of policies coming out of Washington, D.C. As part of this declaration, he is temporarily suspending the state’s excise tax on motor and locomotive fuel to provide direct relief to families throughout the state. The executive order will go into effect on Wednesday, September 13 at 12:00 a.m. and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on October 12, 2023. Consumers should expect the suspension to begin impacting prices after several days. You can read Executive Order 09.12.23.01 here.

“From runaway federal spending to policies that hamstring domestic energy production, all Bidenomics has done is take more money out of the pockets of the middle class,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “While high prices continue to hit family budgets, hardworking Georgians deserve real relief and that’s why I signed an executive order today to deliver it directly to them at the pump. Working with partners in the General Assembly, we’ll continue to help Georgians weather the economic headwinds caused by this president, his administration, and their allies in Congress.”

According to an analysis from Moody’s Analytics from August, Americans are spending $709 more per month than 2 years ago and $202 more per month than last year. Suspension of the excise tax will save Georgians 31.2 cents per gallon of gasoline and 35 cents per gallon of diesel fuel. When the gas tax was suspended from March through December of last year, 2022, Georgians saved roughly $1.7 billion at the pump.

“I applaud Governor Kemp’s suspension of motor fuel taxes to keep our people and our economy moving despite Washington’s inaction on rising fuel prices,” said Speaker Jon Burns. “Georgia’s success story is no accident – it is the result of conservative policies enacted to keep Georgia the nation’s best state for business.”

Thanks to the hard work and conservative budgeting of Governor Kemp and the General Assembly, the State of Georgia can confidently suspend collection of the state motor fuel tax to help lessen the burden of historically high gas prices. According to AAA, the average cost of a gallon of regular gas in Georgia is currently $3.57, up from $3.24 a year ago.

From the AJC:

Kemp can only suspend the tax one month at a time through his state of emergency executive order, and the new suspension – which starts at midnight – will run through Oct. 12. But he can continue the tax break on a monthly basis through executive orders.

The average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. on Tuesday was $3.83, according to AAA. In Georgia, the price was $3.57, down from $4.33 in mid-2022 but up from earlier this year.

State Rep. Ruwa Romman, a Gwinnett County Democrat, said she’s concerned that Kemp is abusing his powers to suspend the gas tax without consulting lawmakers.

”There is no justification for the way the governor is circumventing the legislative branch on the budget. Georgians are unable to afford healthcare, hospitals are shutting down, and teachers are leaving the profession in droves. We should be addressing those challenges.”

The suspension costs the state — and saves drivers — $150 million to $180 million a month. Kemp said Georgians saved $1.7 billion during the previous suspension.

Motor fuel taxes are excise taxes on distributors, rather than sales taxes on consumers. So the suspension means fuel distributors that supply gas stations will stop collecting the tax.

Any fuel that gas stations already had before the fuel tax suspension takes effect is fuel they’ve already paid the tax on. And gas they ordered before the fuel tax suspension takes effect is also taxed, so the price of that gas won’t change.

The governor is expected to propose more tax rebates in coming months to refund part of the fiscal 2023 surplus. He also has told state agencies they can request more spending in the coming year, a rarity for a fairly tight-fisted governor.

Governor Brian Kemp announced that the federal disaster declaration has been expanded to include 25 additional counties, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Cook, Glynn and Lowndes counties were named federal disaster areas last week, and residents there may qualify for Individual Assistance.

Those counties also qualify for Public Assistance, and now so do Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Bullock, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Echols, Emanuel, Jeff Davis, Jenkins, Lanier, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Thomas, Tift, Ware and Wayne counties.

Individual Assistance can fund individual and family recovery efforts, which may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of Hurricane Idalia. GEMA said.

Public Assistance is available to state and local government entities and qualified not-for-profit organizations. It will provide financial aid for debris removal and emergency work.

The proposed zoning changes also would have erased language that recognizes Hogg Hummock as a unique and historic place with an indigenous population worthy of special protection. But Stevens told commissioners they would have a vote Tuesday to restore that wording.

From WTOC:

This is the second meeting surrounding the proposed ordinance that would allow larger homes to be built on the island. At last week’s public hearing, the zoning board proposed changes to lower the allowed size of homes that can be built as well as remove any talk of golf courses being added to the island.

State Rep. Steven Sainz (R-St Marys) was appointed to Chair the Economic Development and Tourism Committee’s Subcommittee on Sustainable Economic Development, according to The Brunswick News.

The subcommittee will study and promote how Georgia’s most ecologically diverse communities safeguard the state’s irreplaceable natural resources while increasing economic opportunity for current and future generations.

“I want to thank Chairman Ron Stephens for creating this important study committee and appointing me to lead the charge as we look at sustainable economic development opportunities and workforce initiatives in various communities across our state,” Sainz said. “As someone elected to represent Coastal Georgia’s interests, I understand how crucial it is to have a strong workforce that is dedicated to ensuring that the natural beauty of the coast is protected for many generations to come.”

Sainz has asked the following state representatives to serve on the subcommittee: Katie Dempsey, R-Rome; Becky Evans, D-Atlanta; Matthew Gambill, R-Cartersville; Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert; Tremaine Teddy Reese, D-Columbus; Vance Smith, R-Pine Mountain; and Bill Yearta, R-Sylvester.

Sainz represents District 180, which includes Camden County and portions of Glynn County, including Jekyll Island.

United States Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Joe Manchin (D-WBGV) will speak at the Isakson Symposium on Political Civility at the University of Georgia in November, according to the Albany Herald.

The University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs will host U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., at a special event honoring the late U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. The inaugural Isakson Symposium on Political Civility will take place on Nov. 10 at 10 a.m. in the University of Georgia Chapel.

Isakson’s personal motto was, “There are only two kinds of people in the world: friends and future friends.” This event will pay tribute to his legacy and is intended to inspire future leaders to consider the late senator’s approach of listening respectfully to others in the search for common ground.

“Senator Isakson represented the very best of public service during his more than 40 years in elected office, and a hallmark of his career was his ability to get results by reaching across the aisle and engaging in civil discourse,” UGA President Jere W. Morehead said. “I am excited for UGA to launch the Johnny Isakson Symposium on Political Civility in hopes that future leaders will learn from and carry on Senator Isakson’s valuable legacy.”

McIntosh County Commissioners discussed a proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would affect the Hog Hammock Community on Sapelo Island, according to The Brunswick News.

The McIntosh County Commission met Monday for a workshop at the McIntosh County Courthouse in front of a standing-room-only crowd of more than 150, many of whom also attended a public hearing Thursday at which dozens of people expressed their opposition to the proposed new rules.

They question why a change is needed in the zoning ordinances and said they believe it is an attempt to collect more property taxes and draw wealthier residents to the state-managed island.

If that happens, they say it would drive out long-time, ancestral landowners and threaten the existence of a hundreds-year-old Geechee culture and heritage that has existed there since former slaves were freed following the Civil War.

The zoning amendment originally based the size of a home built in the Hogg Hummock, or Hog Hammock, community on the percentage of space the building would take up on a lot. The existing ordinance, which has been in place since the mid 1990s, limited the size of dwellings in the community to 1,400 square feet of heated and cooled space. It also included language about protecting the Geechee heritage and culture on Sapelo Island.

The updated ordinance amendment as of Monday’s workshop changed the percentage size determination so that it allows homes to be built that are up to 3,000 square feet of enclosed space and lots to be covered by up to 4,356 square feet of impervious surface. It also made the maximum height a building can be 37 feet tall, versus 45 feet tall as was first proposed in the amendment.

From WSAV:

Black residents of the Hogg Hummock community on Sapelo Island sat mostly silent as McIntosh County commissioners scheduled a Tuesday vote on the proposal. The commission’s only Black member implored the others to reject the zoning changes, saying they would favor wealthy buyers and lead to tax increases that would pressure indigenous residents to sell their land.

“This plan will be a giant step in the destruction of the culture of Hogg Hummock,” said Commissioner Roger Lotson, whose district includes Sapelo Island. “It may be inevitable, but let us not be the board that drives the nail in this coffin.”

The zoning plan before commissioners would loosen zoning restrictions adopted nearly three decades ago to help Hogg Hummock’s 30 to 50 residents hold onto their land. It’s one of just a few surviving communities in the South of people known as Gullah, or Geechee in Georgia, whose ancestors worked island slave plantations.

“People are already selling off land because they don’t want to pay high taxes,” said JR Grovner, who was born and raised on Sapelo Island and gives guided tours there for visitors. “Older people aren’t going to be able to afford higher taxes.”

Guyton Mayor Russ Deen is running for reelection, according to the Savannah Morning News.

As he approaches his second mayoral race, his campaign pitch remains the same: “Keep Guyton on the right track.”

“I’m running for council to continue the work of the last four years,” Deen said. “Effingham County is at a time of massive growth, which requires someone looking out for the citizens that already live here.”

Deen has two challengers in Andrew Harville and Michael Garvin. Deen and Garvin squared off in the election four years ago, where Deen won by just 17 votes.

“With a three-person race for mayor, it all comes down to whose supporters make an effort to show up and vote,” Deen said. “It sounds simple, but the number of yard signs and handshakes mean nothing if (supporters) do not vote. If everyone votes, considering how much progress was made these past four years, I believe I’ll have the opportunity to serve as mayor again.”

“The power side of being mayor doesn’t appeal to me,” Deen said. “The deciding factor for me was leaving church one night and realizing members of our church were leaving by themselves and if something would have happened to one of them because I wasn’t willing to serve and stand up, and say we need a police department to make sure our city is safe, then that was my fault. It was not an option to do nothing.”

11
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 11, 2023

Fleur is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Furever After Rescue in Macon, GA.

Hi everyone! My name is Fleur and I’m one of the Harry Potter pups. My foster mom asked me to tell you about myself, so here goes. I am a big pup. Maybe not so big, but I am over 15 pounds now. And I am the biggest in my family. I love spending time with my friends (my littermates). We love hanging together – running, wrestling, playing and just being together. I also love being with people (my foster mom and dad are great!) and with the big dogs at my foster home. I am ready to move on to what my mom told me will be my “furever home.” I don’t really care where it is, and I’m sure I’d be happy whether I get to live with other dogs or if I would be the only pup in the family. But what I really want is a family of my own. Would you like to be my family? My foster mom says I should mention that I’m with my foster family in Eatonton, GA, but I’ll be ready to go home with my new family soon.

Fleur is a Lab mix pup. Her mama is a typical Labrador Retriever – friendly, outgoing and affectionate – and Fleur is just like her mama. Dad is unknown. The scoundrel left the pups’ mama on her own to birth and raise the puppies – so it’s a good thing that Mama Minerva was a wonderful mom! Fleur and the other Harry Potter pups are up to date on their vetting – in addition to being spayed/neutered, they are microchipped, and up to date on vaccines, worming, and heartworm and flea / tick prevention. But they’re still just babies who will need adopters who will commit the time to house train them, teach them manners, and to make sure that they get plenty of exercise and playtime. Adopters will need to be committed to managing normal puppy behavior such as chewing, potty training and leash training. Due to the high level of care and attention a young puppy needs, we will be looking for homes where the pups will not be left alone for hours at a time.

Luna is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Furever After Rescue in Macon, GA.

This sweet little girl is Luna. She’s one of a litter of ten Lab mix pups in the Harry Potter litter. Luna is a little sweetheart. Her heart’s desire is to be held tight and loved on endlessly. Luna is her mama’s mini-me in both looks and personality, like her mama she is a sweet and loving girl. As a Lab mix, she has an easygoing personality who will bond with your entire family and who will socialize well with neighbor dogs and humans alike. She is a happy girl, content to run and play with her littermates or snuggle with her people. She also loves walks and playing with other dogs. Luna loves life at her foster home, but she’d be even happier to head home to her own furever family. She is in Eatonton, GA now, but she’s ready to move on to her furever home soon. Are you ready for a little sweetheart to join your family?

Sassy is a year-old, 40-pound female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Furever After Rescue in Macon, GA.

House trained/Crate Trained: Working On It/Yes

Dogs/Cats/Children: Yes/Yes/Yes

Energy Level: High Energy (I am a puppy after all!)

Things I like: Treats, toys, play time with friends, lots of attention.

Things I don’t like: Being alone for too long

Things that make my humans happy: How sweet and Playful I am!

11
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 11, 2023

911 memorial 2

I was in my car that morning, on the way to my job when I heard on the radio of the first plane hitting. The announcers thought at first that it must be a small plane and likely an accident. Seventeen minutes later all doubt vanished as the second hit. I called Mrs. GaPundit at home. Over the next hour, a third plane hit the Pentagon and a fourth went down in a field in Pennsylvania. We watched on television as the towers burned, then collapsed.

Shortly afterwards, the Family Room opened in a nearby tower to provide a place for loved ones to grieve out of the public eye.

The Family Room opened in April 2002 in space donated by Brookfield Office Properties, the owners of 1 Liberty Plaza, across Church Street from the trade center site. By presenting what was known as a medical examiner’s family identification card, victims’ relatives were admitted during regular workdays and at night, on weekends and on holidays.

On the 20th floor, behind a door marked “The Family Room,” relatives could settle into ample leather couches or stand at windows 15 and 20 feet wide. The room was intended for “quiet contemplation,” said a 2002 notice from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which created and maintained the space, just a few doors down from its own headquarters and those of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation.

When the Family Room at 1 Liberty Plaza was replaced this summer by a new private gathering space in the National September 11 Memorial Museum pavilion, the [New York] State Museum and the memorial museum painstakingly documented the older room, and the State Museum acquired what contents family members themselves did not choose to reclaim.

There are materials in the Family Room collection related to about 1,000 victims, Mr. Schaming said, or roughly one-third of all casualties that day. “It is the most singular collection of the faces of people who were killed on 9/11,” he said.

A monument on Long Island to victims of 9-11 will include the names of 582 people who later died of conditions related to the aftermath of the attacks.

A separate plaque will have the names of 582 police officers, firefighters, construction workers, cleanup volunteers and others who spent time in the rubble of the World Trade Center in the days or months after the attacks and, years later, died of a variety of causes that they, their families or their doctors suspected were linked to toxic ash and smoke at the site. There will be room to add more names.

“I think what the town of Hempstead is doing is nothing short of honorable,” said John Feal, a longtime advocate for 9/11 responders with health problems. “People who lost a loved one to illness suffer just like someone lost on that day. Hopefully this will offer some ease and comfort to them.”

In May, officials at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum announced plans to set aside a commemorative space at the World Trade Center to honor rescue and recovery workers.

New York’s police and fire departments also have memorials for personnel who have died of illnesses since Sept. 11. A 9/11 memorial in Staten Island recently added a plaque with the names of residents there who have died of illnesses.

Feal’s charitable organization also maintains a memorial wall to 9/11 responders in Nesconset, New York.

James Oglethorpe arrived at Augusta on September 12, 1739, 279 years ago Saturday.

The Second Continental Congress opened in Philadelphia on September 13, 1775; Georgia was represented by Archibald Bulloch, Lyman Hall,  John Houstoun, and John Zubly.

French troops arrived near Savannah to prepare for a siege against British forces there on September 12, 1779.

On September 13, 1788, the Confederation Congress voted to implement the Constitution and authorized states to elect Senators and Representatives and called the first Presidential election, with selection of presidential electors in the states to be held on January 7, 1789, and February 4, 1789 as the day electors would cast their ballots.

One day after Perry’s victory in the Battle of Lake Erie, American Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough led American forces in the Battle of Plattsburg at Lake Champlain, New York on September 11, 1813.

The Union Army began evacuating civilians from Atlanta via Lovejoy’s Station on September 11, 1864.

The first two women to enter the Georgia General Assembly, Viola Ross Napier of Bibb County and Atlanta Constitution reporter Bessie Kempton of Fulton County, were elected on September 13, 1922.

Georgia-born Ty Cobb took his last at-bat on September 11, 1928.

After a week-long Presidential campaign swing through ten states, former Governor Jimmy Carter returned to Plains on September 11, 1976.

On September 11, 1985, Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb’s career hit record, notching number 4,192 against the San Diego Padres.

Six years ago today, all 159 counties in Georgia were under an emergency declaration from Hurricane Irma. The late Mrs. GaPundit and I spent days without power.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

From the AJC:

The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the war on terror that followed claimed the lives of more than 225 Georgians. Those men and women, along with others who died on 9/11 and the Global War on Terror, will be remembered today at the Patriot Day Ceremony at Georgia Military College.

Gov. Brian Kemp will headline the 10th annual event in Milledgeville. Kemp’s remarks will be followed by a somber campus tradition: students and faculty will write the names of all those who died on campus bricks.

United States Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Atlanta) urged state officials to reject a proposal for mining near the Okefenokee Swamp, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..

8
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 8, 2023

Jennabell is a young female Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Jenabell loves people. She follows you everywhere and comes when you ask her. She is friendly with other dogs. She is playful, listens to “no”, picks up on commands pretty quickly, hasn’t pottied inside, loves to be pet, held and snuggled. She is just a ball of joy and fun. Easy to love.

Walnut is a young male Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Walnut is a full energy puppy! He loves to run and play and chase his sister and foster sisters. He’s been learning the no and leave it command very quickly. He would love a home with a large fenced in yard where he would be able to run and play. I would definitely recommend having another playful high energy dog as a companion or be someone who will enjoy lots of walks and playing!

Rhett is a 9-year old male Chihuahua mix who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Rhett doesn’t need a bowtie and vest to prove he’s a gentleman. He will let you know by the way he lifts his head and barks “Hello, how are you today?” Our volunteers describe him as sweet, used to bark (but not so much anymore) and loves wet food as a result of recent dental work. He walks with a purpose, not to get anywhere in particular, just to let you know he’s got a lot of pep left in his step! We think he is house trained, although because he has not been in a foster home, we are not 100% sure. His bedding and living area seem to stay clean. Rhett loves everyone with the exception of cats and some other dogs so proper introductions are necessary. He’s not selfish with his person and is willing to share, but on his own terms.

8
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 8, 2023

The Continental Congress renamed their new nation the United States of America, from the previously used “United Colonies” on September 9, 1776.

An American fleet of nine ships under the command of Captain Oliver Hazard Perry routed a British fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813.

After the battle, Perry sent a famous dispatch to U.S. General William Henry Harrison that read, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.” The Battle of Lake Erie forced the British to abandon Detroit, ensuring U.S. control over Lake Erie and the territorial northwest.

Years later, Pogo, Georgia’s Official State Possum, would paraphrase Perry’s dispatch.

Pogo Enemy

And eventually, Pogo’s statement that, “We have met the enemy and he is us” would become the official slogan of the Georgia Republican Party.

On September 7, 1864, General William T. Sherman sent a letter to his Confederate counterpart, General John Bell Hood, offering to transport civilians out of Atlanta for their safety.

The Georgia General Assembly appropriated $1 million for construction of a new State Capitol on September 8, 1883.

The Fulton County Courthouse was dedicated on September 8, 1914.

On September 9, 1933, WSB Radio in Atlanta was upgraded to broadcasting via 50,000 watt transmitter. The first broadcast included Will Rogers and a letter from President Roosevelt.

On September 9, 1939, an audience at the Fox Theater in Riverside, California watched a preview of Gone With the Wind.

The first actual computer bug was identified on September 9, 1947, when Grace Hopper removed a moth from an electrical relay in the Harvard Mark II computer. Hopper received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Yale in 1934 and attained the rank of Rear Admiral, Lower Half in the United Stated Navy. USS Hopper (DDG-70) was named after her.

On September 9, 1954, Marvin Griffin won the Democratic Primary election over Melvin Thompson.

Elvis Presley first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 9, 1956.

On September 8, 1966, viewers of the Star Trek debut first heard the monologue opening, “Space, the final frontier…”

On Sept. 8, one of the most enduring franchises in TV and movie history celebrates its 50th birthday. Star Trek debuted on NBC in 1966, developed by Roddenberry, a former Los Angeles cop who wanted to make a TV series which could sneak past the rampant escapism of most programs back then.

At a time when scripted TV rarely dealt directly with the turbulence of the times, Star Trek set its social messages against a space opera backdrop. Swashbuckling Captain Kirk ran the Enterprise, backed by cerebral first officer Mr. Spock and emotional Southern medical officer Dr. Leonard McCoy.

On the surface, the show’s plots dealt with exotic alien worlds in a future where space travel was commonplace. But Roddenberry and his writers slipped in subtle messages.

One classic story pointed out the absurdity of racism by depicting a war among members of an alien race, where one faction was colored black on the left side of their face and body and white on the right. The other faction had the colors reversed.

And as the end of state-sanctioned segregation rattled America, Roddenberry featured TV’s first interracial kiss: Aliens forced Captain Kirk to smooch his African American communications officer Lt. Uhura.

President Gerald Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon on September 8, 1974 for“all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.”

On September 10, 1991, Senate confirmation hearings began for Georgia-born Clarence Thomas, who was appointed by President George H.W. Bush (41) to the United States Supreme Court.

Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit was released as a single on September 10, 1991.

On September 10, 2002, the Atlanta Braves clinched an eleventh straight division title without playing, as a loss by the Philadelphia Phillies assured the Braves the title.

Tomorrow, we wish a happy 75th birthday to former Congressman John Linder. Linder served in the State House from 1974-1980 and 1982-90. In 1990 he ran unsuccessfully for Congress against incumbent Democrat Ben Jones; in 1992, after redistricting, Linder was elected to Congress from the 7th District and served until his retirement after the 2010 election.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Tybee Island City Council member Brian West has come to the notice of local media after qualifying for Mayor of Tybee Island. From the Savannah Morning News:Continue Reading..

6
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 6, 2023

Pen 194 is a 6-month old, 28-pound female Golden Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Rosco is a 7-year old, 62-pound male Boxer mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Lina (Pen 215) is a 3-month old, 25-pound female Beagle mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Smoke is a 13-year old, 80-pound male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

From a Facebook post by volunteers:

This DESPERATE plea is for Smoke a 13yo Lab mix weighing 80lbs. Smoke came to us on August 22nd after his owner fell on hard times.

Smoke is your typical senior. All he wants to do is eat and sleep. Walks really aren’t his cup of tea as his previous owner let us know he has hip dysplasia. This sweet old man knows how to sit and will show you for a small fee of 1 treat.

His previous owner took their time to love him. He’s just waiting for someone to come love him again.

If you can find it in your heart to help this senior guy, it would be greatly appreciated! PLEASE reach out to me for more information.

If you can’t pull him, PLEASE help us promote him to other rescue organizations you may know.

You can contact me at 678-245-2447 or by email at AnimalRescue@GwinnettCounty.com