The blog.

9
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 9, 2019

Alan ACR

Alan is a senior male Basset Hound who is available for adoption from Athens Canine Rescue in Athens, GA.

Meet Alan! Alan is an 8-9 year old basset hound-american bulldog mix who weighs 45 lbs. Like a typical basset, he’s low energy, loves to use his nose, and enjoys taking his time to enjoy life.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but Alan would beg to differ. He lived most of his life as an outside dog, and used to mark when indoors. After a little extra training and being neutered, Alan has learned that it’s only okay to go potty outdoors. He signals by going to the front door, and still enjoys relaxing outside. Alan has also mastered kennel training; he will go into his kennel on command – no treat needed, but he does appreciate getting one! He’s good about being kenneled when Foster Mom is home but protests when left by himself.

Alan gets along really well with other dogs, and enjoys the occasional game of chase with them! He lives in a feline-friendly home, and mostly ignores that they’re there.

Hayley ACR

Hayley is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Athens Canine Rescue in Athens, GA.

Welcome Hayley! Hayley is the pup that everyone wants. She’s a great size at 28 lbs and 8 months old. She’s got a low-key demeanor, loves to snuggle, and loves playing with other dogs!

Hayley is potty trained and kennel trained! She hasn’t had any accidents in the home, and keeps her kennel clean while in it. Hayley already goes into her kennel on her own, and doesn’t even need the encouragement of food to go in there! She stays mostly quiet while in the home – except for the occasional bark to let Foster Mom know that there is someone at the door. Hayley is working on building up her confidence, and Foster Mom is starting to teach some general commands to Hayley.

Hayley is good with other dogs! She is especially playful with Foster Mom’s smaller dogs. Hayley can be initially shy when meeting new dogs and people, but warms up quickly. Hayley was able to hang out with some children at a recent adoption event, and stayed calm and well-behaved while hanging out with them.

Kara ACR

Kara
is a female Hound and German Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Athens Canine Rescue in Athens, GA.

Welcome Kara! Kara is out of the puppy stage of life but still young at 3 years old and weighing just under 50lbs. Kara must be in a feline free home, but she is doing great with her new doggy foster-siblings.

Looking for a dog that is already kennel trained and housebroken? Kara has both of those down, and will even go into her kennel on command. However, Foster Mom has left Kara out of her kennel a few times while she was gone, and Kara was well behaved the entire time. Kara has very good house manners, and is very respectful of those around her.

Kara is canine-friendly! She is a little shy with new dogs, but she warms up to them once she realizes the other dogs want to be friends. Kara is wary of new people and kids, but once you’re part of her pack she loves to hang out and get attention from you! She especially loves playing ball with her person, and after that or a short walk Kara will be content to lounge around the rest of the day.

9
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 9, 2019

On August 10, 1774, a group calling itself the “Sons of Liberty” met at Tondee’s Tavern in Savannah, the first move in Georgia toward what would become the Revolutionary War. The Sons of Liberty adopted eight resolutions, among those one that reads,

Resolved, nemine contradicente, That we apprehend the Parliament of Great Britain hath not, nor ever had, any right to tax his Majesty’s American subjects; for it is evident beyond contradiction, the constitution admits of no taxation without representation; that they are coeval and inseparable; and every demand for the support of government should be by requisition made to the several houses of representatives.

Resolved, nemine contradicente, That we concur with our sister colonies in every constitutional measure to obtain redress of American grievances, and will by every lawful means in our power, maintain those inestimable blessings for which we are indebted to God and the Constitution of our country–a Constitution founded upon reason and justice, and the indelible rights of mankind.

The first copy in Georgia of the Declaration of Independence was read publicly in Savannah on August 10, 1776.

On August 10, 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”

Missouri was admitted as the 24th State, and the first entirely west of the Mississippi River, on August 10, 1821.

On August 11, 1862, Confederate General Braxton Bragg declared martial law in Atlanta.

On August 10, 1864, the bombardment of Atlanta by Union force continued, with Sherman writing, ““Let us destroy Atlanta and make it a desolation.”

Sherman-and-Cannon Atlanta

Herman E. Talmadge was born on August 9, 1913, son of Eugene Talmadge, who later served as Governor. Herman Talmadge himself served as Governor and United States Senator from Georgia.

The first Georgia state Motor Fuel Tax was enacted on August 10, 1921, when Governor Thomas Hardwick signed legislation imposing a one-cent per gallon tax.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the summer commencement address at the University of Georgia on August 11, 1938. Later that day, Roosevelt endorsed Lawrence Camp over incumbent Governor Walter F. George, saying George had not been sufficiently supportive of the New Deal.

Japan accepted unconditional surrender on August 10, 1945, one day after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

The Atlanta Braves signed legendary Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige on August 11, 1968.

Red Dawn, the first movie rated PG-13 was released on August 10, 1984.

Wolverines!

On August 11, 1984, Ronald Reagan jokingly announced that he had “signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever…we begin bombing in five minutes,” without knowing he was speaking into a live microphone.

On August 9, 1988, President Ronald Reagan announced his nomination of Dr. Lauro Cavazos as Secretary of Education, succeeding William Bennett. Cavazos was the first Hispanic to serve in a Presidential Cabinet position. Interestingly, he was born on the King Ranch.

On August 9, 1990, voters in the City of Athens and Clarke County chose to unify the two governments into Athens-Clarke County government.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy R. Walmsley told Savannah Mayoral candidate Anthony Allen Oliver he is not credible, according to the Savannah Morning News.

In his latest run-in with a judge, Oliver appeared before Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy R. Walmsley on Monday. Oliver entered a formal plea of not guilty to aggravated stalking and related charges and addressed several pre-trial motions.

Walmsley, after a series of questions from the bench, told Oliver that, “Sir, I don’t believe a word you’re saying. You are not a credible witness.”

Oliver announced his candidacy for Savannah mayor on Jan. 17, with a pledge to reduce crime. He has a history of running afoul of federal court judges and has been chastised by two judges in federal court in Savannah.

I believe Mr. Oliver could fulfill his campaign pledge of reducing crime in Savannah by relocating.

Federal agents raided the home of Augusta Commissioner Sammy Sias, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

FBI agents raided the home of Augusta Commissioner Sammie Sias on Thursday morning, spending approximately five hours removing boxes of materials and computers from his Sandridge subdivision house.

The city government is the subject of an active FBI criminal investigation of unknown scope. The raid follows recent accusations by Sias’ long-time lover, next-door neighbor Willa Hilton, who sent the city commission a long list of allegations against Sias on July 22. The allegations included theft of government funds intended for Jamestown Community Center, child abuse, sexual harassment and using alcohol and pornography at Jamestown.

The commission referred Hilton’s criminal allegations to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which opened a criminal investigation Friday, and sent the child-abuse claims to the Division of Family and Children Services.

A former Congressional candidate pled guilty to reduced charges in the death of her husband, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Kellie Lynn Collins, 33, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 30 years in jail. In a hearing Thursday, she originally rejected the deal, stating she didn’t have enough time to make a decision on it.

After speaking with her lawyer, she decided to accept the deal. A grand larceny charge was dismissed as part of the deal.

She was facing murder charges in the death of Curt Cain, 41, last summer. Cain and Collins got married a week before he was found dead at his home in the 3000 block of Old Powderhouse Road on Aug. 4, 2018.

The City of Atlanta will ban electric scooters at night, according to the Associated Press.

Atlanta is banning electric scooters in the nighttime hours during what’s been a deadly summer for riders.

In Atlanta, three riders have died since May in crashes that involved a public bus, an SUV and a car. Police in the Atlanta suburb of East Point say a fourth rider was killed there Tuesday in a collision involving his scooter and a truck.

“Sadly, we have seen a pattern in the recent and tragic fatalities involving scooters — they all occurred after sunset,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement Thursday.

City officials on Thursday announced a ban on electric scooters and electric bikes from 9 p.m. until 4 a.m. daily. The ban takes effect Friday.

City officials have asked e-scooter vendors to disable the devices during the hours they’re banned, the mayor said. The companies are cooperating, and “I’ve heard no pushback at all,” Keane said.

“We think it’s a reasonable step as a temporary measure while the scooter program is re-examined,” said Nima Daivari, Lime’s community affairs manager for Georgia. San Francisco-based Lime has one of the largest fleets in Atlanta, with an average of about 1,800 available for rent last month. “They see the value here, and Atlanta is a city that’s notorious for traffic congestion.”

Implementing new voting machines in time for the 2020 elections may be a challenge, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

Georgia elections officials have no time to spare as they hustle to replace thousands of outdated voting machines statewide while fending off lawsuits in the wake of a much criticized gubernatorial election.

Even if the state manages to implement the $106 million purchase of new voting machines on schedule, some county officials worry the tight timeline could lead to another round of confusion as presidential politics drives high voter turnout.

“There is concern from my board and myself that we won’t have enough time to get our training in for ourselves, our poll workers and the voters,” Elections Supervisor Jennifer Doran of Morgan County said in an interview Wednesday.

Under Raffensperger’s timeline, state and county election officials have less than eight months to follow through on the purchase of 30,000 electronic touchscreen voting machines and 3,500 ballot scanning devices for delivery to polling sites across 159 counties. They’ll need to be certified by the state, programmed and tested, and county election officials and poll workers need to be trained to use them.

“The timeline looks pretty tight for us to even start getting our first round of equipment and get training on it, much less fully implement it by March,” said Doran, whose elections challenges, in a midsize rural county east of Atlanta, are typical for Georgia.

8
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 8, 2019

Rowdy Dawson

Rowdy is a 57-pound male Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from the Dawson County Humane Society in Dawsonville, GA.

Don’t let his name fool you; Rowdy is very calm and friendly. This Coon Hound sweetie will warm your heart with his floppy ears and slobbery kisses. He loves attention, playing outside, and children. Rowdy is a playful guy who may need some basic training, but he walks fairly well on a leash. If you are looking for a big lovable dog, this could be your guy.

Hudson Dawson

Hudson is a 51-pound male Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from the Dawson County Humane Society in Dawsonville, GA.

Hudson is a handsome man with a lot of swag. He’s the perfect mix of a walking buddy and porch dog that will gladly hang out all day long. He walks well on a leash and knows a few tricks, but there is always room for improvement! Hudson seems to do well with most people, but would need a meet n greet for younger children. However, he does not do well with other animals, so he would need to be the only fur baby in the house. Swing by and say hi to Hudson today! You might just find your new best friend!

Chocolate Dawson

Chocolate is a 10-year old, 80-pound male Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from the Dawson County Humane Society in Dawsonville, GA.

This old guy is just as sweet as his namesake, and he’s also happy to comfort you on a bad day…without adding inches to your waistline! Chocolate is a 10-year-old chocolate lab mix with tender eyes that will surely melt your heart with a single glance. He’s a quiet, relaxed, and refined gentleman who prefers to spend the majority of his time in the cool air conditioning while lazing with his human companion(s). Because Chocolate’s temperament is so subdued, he seems to do quite well with children of all ages, cats, and other dogs, though a standard meet-and-greet is still recommended if there are other fur-babies in your home. If you have a sweet-tooth and you’re looking for a sweet-heart to bring home, come by and meet Chocolate today!

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is asking Georgia to outlaw aerial, exploding fireworks, according to AccessWDUN.

A Georgia farmer says his beloved miniature donkey named Sammy was literally scared to death by this year’s Fourth of July fireworks. Now he and an animal rights group want Georgia to ban rockets that go boom.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wrote to Gov. Brian Kemp, House Speaker David Ralston and others Wednesday asking for a “Sammy’s law” limiting fireworks to the non-explosive, non-aerial varieties.

John Bogino tells WGCL-TV that Sammy and his other farm animals are like pets to him. His pet donkey of 22 years died last month, and he says Sammy wasn’t his first animal to die because of fireworks. He says one of his horses fled explosions in late July several years ago and had to be euthanized due to severe injuries.

8
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 8, 2019

The first printed copy of the Declaration of Independence arrived in Savannah on August 8, 1776 and was read publicly for the first time on August 10, 1776.

On August 8, 1863, General Robert E. Lee offered his resignation in a letter to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, following the Battle of Gettysburg.

On August 8, 1925, Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation outlawing the brazen act of dancing publicly on Sunday.

On August 8, 1929, Georgia Governor Lamartine Hardman signed legislation placing on the ballot for Fulton and Campbell County voters a merger of the two.

The old Campbell County Courthouse still stands in Fairburn, Georgia.

Campbell County Courthouse Fairburn GA 3

Historic Campbell County Courthouse in Fairburn, GA.

Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were nominated for President and Vice President by the Republican National Convention on August 8, 1968.

On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon resigned, effective at noon the next day.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp spoke in Columbus yesterday, according to WTVM.

Gov. Kemp first spoke to the Columbus Rotary Club at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center. Following that, he participated in the ribbon-cutting for Global Callcenter Solutions, located at 500 11th St. in Columbus.

Global Callcenter Solutions was first announced to be coming to Columbus in Sept. 2018 by then-Governor Nathan Deal, who said the company would be investing approximately $4.9 million in Muscogee County.

Gov. Kemp is also traveling to Moultrie and Thomasville to participate in similar events.

United States Senator David Perdue (R) is concerned about potential red flag legislation, according to the AJC.

In an attempt to formulate a response to the weekend massacres in Dayton and El Paso, some Republican senators are coalescing around “red flag” legislation that would empower judges to order the seizure of weapons from people deemed dangerous to themselves or others.

Moving slightly beyond remarks made earlier in the week, the Republican expressed doubts about “red flag” legislation. “I haven’t seen it. Let me take a look at it when we get to see some legislation,” he said. “To say I’m for ‘red flag’ — that would be an overstatement because of concerns I have about due process.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger hosted an election security roundtable, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger hosted a roundtable on election security alongside David Becker, founder and executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research. Joined at the Capitol by more than a dozen experts from organizations including Microsoft, the Department of Homeland Security, and Augusta University, Becker led a wide-ranging discussion on the status of Georgia’s election security.

“Georgia is making great strides in ensuring that elections in the state are more secure than ever before,” Becker, founder and executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, said after the meeting. “I was honored to co-host this roundtable discussion about election cybersecurity with experts from all over the country, including computer science and election technology experts. Our discussions were another step toward protecting Georgia’s voters, along with Georgia’s move in 2020 to paper ballots, with effective audits to confirm the technology counted those ballots properly.”

Becker and his panel of experts were joined at the roundtable by a number of county elections officials, including Bartow County Elections Director Joseph Kirk and Muscogee County Elections Director Nancy Boren.

“The roundtable provided an excellent opportunity for me to learn more about the new devices we will be implementing and the steps I can take to better secure elections in my county,” Boren, Muscogee said.

Chatham County Board of Assessors Vice Chair Tommy Boondry has resigned after he was arrested in November 2018, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Tommy Boondry, 67, was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, possession of drug-related objects, permitting an unlicensed person to drive and open container, during a traffic stop on Nov. 26.

As of the board’s July 28 meeting, Laura Hegstrom was appointed to the position vacated by the resignation of Boondry, according to documents acquired by Savannah Morning News through a Georgia Open Records Act request. The documents did not state the resignation date. Hegstrom’s term will expire on June 27, 2023.

The board voted to appoint Betty Ellington to Hegstrom’s former position. Her term will expire on June 27, 2020.

In the police report, officers wrote, “It should be noted, that while attempting to cuff Boondry, he constantly tensed his muscles, and stated that he “would have my job for this.”

The Board of Assessors is responsible for notifying the public of changes in property tax law.

Clayton County has hired a lawyer to look at whether the Clayton County Ethics Commission acted properly in reprimanding some County Commissioners, according to the AJC.

The Clayton Ethics Board in July ruled that Commissioners Gail Hambrick and Sonna Singleton Gregory and former Commissioner Michael Edmondson erred when they pushed through a Dec. 18 vote for a member of the Clayton Development Authority board.

The vote on the appointment should not have taken place because the question was put on the agenda after the deadline for adding agenda items, the ethics board said.

But a resolution introduced by Gregory on Tuesday argued that the ethics board failed to hold a public meeting on the matter and should have given the accused commissioners an opportunity to defend themselves against the charges.

An Athens man was arrested for violating state law in failing to notify a sexual partner that he is HIV-positive, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

A 52-year-old Athens man with HIV was arrested this month after police said he had sex with a local woman and never informed her that he was HIV positive.

Ernest Buchanan of Baxter Drive is alleged to have had the intimate encounter with the woman in June, according to Athens-Clarke police.

Buchanan was arrested on July 13 on a charge of reckless conduct by a HIV person, which is a felony. HIV is a virus that causes AIDS.

An Associated Press story recently reported that Georgia is one of about 20 states that have laws that make it a crime for people with HIV to have sex without first informing their partner of their infection, regardless of whether they used a condom or were on medication that made transmission of the disease effectively impossible.

I don’t think I knew such a law exists.

Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico‘s political future is in question after the company she leads filed for bankruptcy, according to the AJC.

One of the nation’s biggest car haulers, led by a former candidate for Georgia lieutenant governor, filed for bankruptcy court protection late Tuesday, citing auto industry challenges, steep labor costs and $2 billion in potential pension liabilities.

Sarah Riggs Amico, who ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor last year and is considering running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican David Perdue, is executive chairperson of Jack Cooper Ventures. The trucking company, which delivers vehicles for some of the biggest carmakers in North America, has its executive offices in Kennesaw and headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.

Amico and her family have had voting control of the business. But that looks like it won’t last.

“This is a difficult process but this is also a very good story about how you save jobs and put a company on the right path,” Amico said in an interview.

With the challenges faced by the company, Amico said her focus is on that, not a decision on whether to run for the U.S. Senate.

Amico lost her bid for the lieutenant governor seat against Republican Geoff Duncan. The Georgia Supreme Court is considering a legal challenge that contends tens of thousands of votes may have gone uncounted.

The Democratic Party of Georgia will work with Stacey Abrams’s group Fair Fight PAC to contest state legislative elections next year, according to the AJC.

The Legislative Victory Fund, unveiled on Wednesday, is a joint initiative of the Fair Fight PAC and the state party focused on winning 16 Republican seats in next year’s election. Republicans now hold a 105-75 advantage in the chamber.

The fund also aims to take Republican-held seats in the Georgia Senate, though that chamber is more secure for the GOP. Republicans hold a 35-21 majority and Democrats would have to pull off multiple upsets to flip seven Senate districts.

The organization hired Craig Walters, who was a field organizer for Abrams’ 2018 campaign for governor, to serve as its director.

Abrams said the initiative will work to protect incumbents in swing districts while pushing to elect more Democrats “with an eye on a House majority.”

Democrats are targeting the 16 seats where a Republican won with less than 58% of the vote last year. In addition, Democrats couldn’t afford to lose many of the 11 House seats they picked up last year, including some in districts long represented by conservatives.

The Muscogee County Jail is no longer under federal Department of Justice oversight, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Twenty years have passed since the U.S. Department of Justice sued Muscogee County over jail conditions so unsafe and unsanitary they violated inmates’ constitutional rights.

For two decades the county has worked under Justice Department supervision to correct a multitude of issues threatening the health, safety and security of those housed in the Muscogee County Jail.

In a consent agreement approved this past July, the U.S. District Court dismissed Justice Department claims the jail violates inmates’ constitutional rights, ending the federal monitoring that required twice-yearly inspections to ensure the facility made steady progress in correcting its deficiencies.

“We are in compliance after 20 years, and that’s a very good thing,” said Sheriff Donna Tompkins, who took office in 2017 after serving about 30 years in the sheriff’s department. The sheriff by law is responsible for running the jail.

Richmond County Schools Superintendent Angela Pringle will leave the system to take over Winston-Salem, NC’s public school system, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Statesboro City Council voted to allow the police department to sell 40 seized or forfeited guns to a licensed gun dealer, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The Police Department became owner of each of the guns through court orders, Police Chief Mike Broadhead stated in a memo to City Manager Charles Penny. Some had been held in evidence but were never reclaimed and were no longer needed for prosecution. One is a long gun, a Mossberg .22-caliber rifle, but the other 39 are handguns, in other words pistols and revolvers.

In the winning bid, GT Distributors of Georgia, based in Rossville, agreed to prices ranging from $5 each for three handguns – including a Rohm RG-14, the same model of cheap .22-caliber revolver Wikipedia uses as its lead illustration of a “Saturday night special” – up to $185 for a Ruger SR9, a popular 9mm semiautomatic pistol. The rifle brought $35.

Asked Monday by email what choices the Police Department has in getting rid of seized and forfeited guns, Broadhead listed three options: convert them to departmental use, destroy them, or sell them.

“We could auction them off to the highest bidder, but we would rather only sell them to a licensed gun dealer with a Federal Firearms License (FFL),” Broadhead wrote. “That way they can control who owns them in the future (through licensed transactions, background checks, etc.), and we can actually get some use of the items through a store credit.”

Qualifying for municipal elections in Chatham County will open on August 19, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Elections for city offices will be held in Savannah, Port Wentworth, Garden City, Tybee Island and Pooler.

Bloomingdale and Thunderbolt are on different schedules. They will hold their next municipal elections in 2021.

Qualifying for the posts begins on Aug. 19 for all municipalities and runs through Aug. 23 for Savannah, and ends Aug. 22 for Garden City, Tybee Island, and Port Wentworth. The hours vary for each city but all stop accepting candidates at 4:30 p.m. on their final qualifying day.

Qualifying is done in person at the city hall for each city.

Rome and Cave Spring are ready to use paper ballots for municipal elections this year if required by a federal judge, according to the Rome News Tribune.

A federal judge is deciding if she’ll order the use of paper ballots in the municipal elections this fall — and Cave Spring is ready.

“That’s all we’ve ever used,” said City Clerk Judy Dickinson, who’s also the elections supervisor. “We’re fine. We’re fine.”

Rome is also holding elections, although the city contracts with Floyd County to conduct them. Voters there use the electronic machines U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg has called archaic.

However, Elections Clerk Vanessa Waddell said the county purchased a Balotar system in 2016, which prints ballots for absentee voting. The on-demand printer and ballot-scanning equipment could be used for the whole election if necessary.

Cave Spring has about 600 registered voters and the turnout was 50% during the last mayoral election in 2015.

Cave Spring voters will fill the Post 1 and Post 2 City Council seats and choose a mayor this year.

Rome’s Ward 1 and Ward 3 City Commission seats — six of the board’s nine — are on the ballot. Residents also will vote on the “brunch bill,” which would let restaurants serve alcohol as early as 11 a.m. on Sundays.

A grand jury indicted a Savannah man for threatening to kill a United States Attorney, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Kent Allen Crawford, 61, on June 18, “while suggesting the death of Bobby Christine with the purpose of otherwise causing serious public inconvenience threaten to commit any crime of violence to wit: ’i will come to the federal building. When i get there i will come to your office and kill you,” the Chatham County grand jury said in returning a single-count indictment for terroristic threats.

“if you are not there i will murder whichever U.S. attorney is there,” the threat continued, according to the indictment.

An indictment is only a charging document to get a felony case before Chatham County Superior Court for trial or a plea. It is not a finding of guilt.

Christine is U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, headquartered in Savannah.

“The U.S. Attorney has a conflict because he is the target,” Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap said Wednesday. “At this time my office has elected to prosecute the case.”

Leah McGowan withdrew from consideration for appointment to a seat on the Athens-Clarke County Board of Education, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

McGowan’s withdrawal leaves one candidate, UGA marine science professor Patricia Yager, to fill the District 4 seat left empty with the resignation earlier this year of Jared Bybee.

Under state law, a school board is responsible for picking someone to fill an empty seat when a board member steps down before the completion of his or her term. Bybee’s term expires at the end of 2020.

The Clarke school board is scheduled to vote on Bybee’s replacement at its monthly meeting Thursday.

Columbia County public libraries will begin offering tablet computers for one-week checkout, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

“Our main purpose is to get patrons more aware of the services we offer – all the databases and resources we have,” GCHRL director Mary Lin Maner said.

Resources include eBooks, eMagazines, eAudiobooks, research and foreign language databases and a music databases that range from classical to heavy metal. Those services are also available on the library system’s website for those who have a library card through GCHRL. The iPads will allow those who do not have access to a computer or tablet the ability to do so from home.

“We want to see how it works and decide if we want to expand it or add more things to the iPads for patrons to use,” Maner said.

The tablets are available for a one-week check out but are not available for renewal. Patrons must be 18 or older to check out one of the devices. All iPads come with an Otterbox to protect them.

The Lowndes County Commission will meet with the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Two special called meetings have been scheduled to be held jointly between the Lowndes County Commission and the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County on the second floor of the administrative building, in the overflow room, which is right next to the commission chambers, according to a county statement.

The purpose of the meeting is for Lowndes County to help refinance some of the Hospital Authority’s bond debt, which will create a significant savings for the hospital, the county statement said.

In 2011, the Hospital Authority issued revenue certificates, which are similar to bonds, and entered into an intergovernmental contract with the county providing additional security for the 2011 certificates.

To refinance the 2011 certificates, the authority is issuing refunding revenue certificates. This means the hospital will pay a lower interest rate.

7
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 7, 2019

Max Dahlonega-Lumpkin

Max is a young male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Humane Society, dba TLC Humane Society in Dahlonega, GA.

Daffodil Dahlonega-Lumpkin

Daffodil is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Humane Society, dba TLC Humane Society in Dahlonega, GA.

Peter Cottontail Dahlonega-Lumpkin

Peter Cottontail is a young male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Humane Society, dba TLC Humane Society in Dahlonega, GA.

7
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 7, 2019

General George Washington created the Purple Heart on August 7, 1782. Click here for an interesting history of the award.

On August 7, 1790, a delegation of Creeks met with the United States Secretary of War and signed the Treaty of New York, ceding all land between the Ogeechee and Oconee Rivers to Georgia.

Theodore Roosevelt, who served as President from 1901 to 1909, was nominated for President by the Progressive Party, also called the Bull Moose Party, on August 7, 1912.

On August 7, 1942, Marine forces landed at Guadalcanal.

Voters ratified a new version of the State Constitution on August 7, 1945. Among the new features was the establishment of the State Board of Corrections to ensure humane conditions.

The board was directed to be more humane in its treatment of prisoners and abolished whippings, leg irons, and chains. Until 1945, prisoners in Georgia could expect to have heavy steel shackles put on by a blacksmith upon arrival. They were then taken out to work under severe conditions.

The caravan bearing 43 ounces of Dahlonega gold to be used in covering the Georgia State Capitol dome reached the Capitol and delivered it to Governor Marvin Griffin on August 7, 1958.

On August 7, 1964, Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which would be used as the legal basis for U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia Republicans will grapple with “red flag” legislation, according to the AJC.

President Donald Trump’s support for “red flag” gun laws after twin mass shootings left at least 31 people dead in Ohio and Texas poses a challenge for Georgia Republicans who have long resisted firearm restrictions.

Gov. Brian Kemp said Tuesday that he was “closely monitoring” discussions in Washington over the legislation after Trump endorsed “extreme risk protection orders” that could let authorities take firearms from a person deemed by a court to be dangerous.

“As we review these proposals, we will solicit input from the law enforcement community, subject-matter experts in behavioral and mental health, and advocacy groups to best inform our analysis,” Kemp said in a statement.

Other Georgia Republicans were noncommittal. U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who is running for a second term in 2020, said he hasn’t decided whether he would explore the “red flag” legislation.

“The thing that’s been missing in this issue is really both sides trying to work on it in a bipartisan manner. That’s why I’m encouraged by some of these things that we’re talking about going further,” he said after a speech to the Kiwanis Club in Atlanta. “I still think there’s a lot of work to do here.”

Medical cannabis legislation is stalled over appointments to an oversight board, according to the AJC.

Nearly four months after Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law allowing companies to grow and sell medical marijuana in Georgia for the first time, he and other top politicians still haven’t appointed members of the commission that will hash out the rules for dispensing the drug.

The legislation, House Bill 324, gave the seven-member commission vast oversight over the state’s medical marijuana operation, including picking which businesses can grow the plant and developing the licensing requirements that retailers must meet to sell it.

It’s a cornerstone of legislation that creates a new but limited marijuana industry in Georgia. The legislation was celebrated as a milestone for patients who were previously allowed to use the drug — but had to violate state and federal laws to purchase it.

“I was hoping the commission would be appointed right away, as it will take considerable time to establish the process for granting the licenses,” said Allen Peake, a former Republican lawmaker and the author of the state’s first medical marijuana laws.

The law gives the commission power to license up to six private companies to grow medical marijuana, to develop a list of laboratories to test the drug, to handle state funds and grants linked to the initiative, and to hire an executive director and other staff for the program.

Governor Brian Kemp ordered state agencies to develop plans for trimming budgets, according to the AJC.

It is the first time budget cut proposals have been requested from agencies since the state was hammered by the after-effects of the Great Recession nearly a decade ago.

“The governor is asking agencies to find efficiencies in their organizations and submit budget reduction proposals for amended FY2020 (which ends June 30) of four percent and FY2021 of six percent,” the governor’s budget office instructions said.

State agencies were told to expect to get 4% less to spend in their monthly allocations as of Oct. 1.

“To secure an even brighter future for our state, we must continue to budget conservatively, spend wisely, and put Georgia taxpayers first,” Kemp said in a statement. “That’s why I have instructed all state government offices to reduce expenditures and streamline operations through proactive leadership. By reducing waste and ending duplication in government, we can keep Georgia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Congressman Tom Graves (R-Ranger) spoke to the Floyd County Republican Women, according to the Rome News Tribune.

During the question-and-answer period, however, several people drilled in on the weekend massacres in Dayton and El Paso where 31 people were killed and dozens wounded. Trump’s rhetoric and access to guns — two of the issues in the national debate — did not come up. Mental illness and law enforcement did.

Ansley Saville asked if there’s a correlation to the closing of mental institutions, adding that “the homeless population blew up” in Rome when Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital was shuttered.

“There’s a lot of focus on the mental health issue,” Graves said, noting that the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act “emphasized the need for more investment and understanding.”

Emily Matson, who described herself as “a big Second Amendment person,” asked about reports that El Paso Sheriff Richard Wiles said law enforcement can’t deal with the number of guns available.

“I haven’t heard any law enforcement say law-abiding gun owners shouldn’t have guns. I’m hearing we need more enforcement of the laws on who can have guns,” Graves said. “That’s not a local responsibility. That’s the (U.S. Department of Justice.)”

Former Atlanta Mayor and Ambassador to the U.N. Andrew Young will join former President Jimmy Carter in teaching Sunday School in Plains, according to the AJC.

“I was a preacher first,” Young said. “When I became a congressman, I saw Congress as my congregation. When I was the mayor, I had a church of 2 million people. The model that I use in all of my work is a pastoral model.”

On Sunday, he’ll bring that model to the pulpit of Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, the church home of Jimmy Carter. He and the former president will co-teach Sunday school class.

Carter and Young, who met in the 1960s, will teach from the 16th chapter of Proverbs: “The plans of the mind belong to mortals, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.”

Six candidates in the 6th and 7th district Congressional races don’t live in the districts they’re running to represent, according to the AJC.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis found that at least six candidates running for the two most competitive U.S. House seats in Georgia don’t live in the districts they’re running to represent. Two others moved into the districts shortly before announcing their bids.

The numbers come as a surprise given the blowback against Ossoff for not being able to vote for himself in his 4-point defeat to Republican Karen Handel. And it’s an issue rivals have already highlighted to emphasize their local roots.

It’s not illegal for U.S. House candidates to live outside their districts. The Constitution stipulates only that congressional hopefuls “be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.”

An AJC poll ahead of the special election found that 32% of 6th District voters considered Ossoff’s residency a “major factor” in determining their vote, and an additional 19% determined it to be a minor one.

Augusta‘s city government is under active investigation by the FBI, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The Augusta Law Department confirmed Tuesday the empaneling of a federal grand jury and an accompanying federal criminal investigation of unknown scope into Augusta government activities.

After the Augusta Commission voted July 30 to refer allegations against Commissioner Sammie Sias to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, The Augusta Chronicle requested copies of all state and federal subpoenas sent to the city since July 23.

The law department said Tuesday that it had not received any GBI subpoenas, but it confirmed the existence of a federal criminal investigation.

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis asked Richmond County School Superintendent Angela Pringle to stay after rumors she might resign, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Macon-Bibb County Commissioners voted to license a movie theater for alcohol sales, according to the Macon Telegraph.

After previously denying the request, the Macon-Bibb County Commission on Tuesday approved a beer and wine license for AmStar 16 on Zebulon Road.

The vote was 7-2, with Commissioners Elaine Lucas and Bert Bivins opposing. Three commissioners who had previously opposed switched sides, saying they recognized the county did not have the legal standing to deny it.

Opponents had previously cited concerns about selling alcohol where children are present. But others and the movie theater had pointed out there are other establishments in the city that cater to families that also sell alcohol.

Also Tuesday the commission voted 8-1 to override Mayor Robert Reichert’s veto of a one-time $1,000 bonus for each county employee. Commissioner Scotty Shepherd, who voted by phone, cast the only vote against the override.

Reichert began by saying he vetoed the measure primarily because the estimated $2.3 million expense was not in the fiscal-year budget. He also said he thought it would ultimately hurt the chances of giving employees a permanent raise.

The Lowndes County Board of Education adopted a lower property tax millage rate, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

It is reducing from 16.541 in 2018 to 16.384 this year, and this is the third year in a row that Lowndes County Schools has stated it would lower the millage rate.

“That will put us over the last three years as over a half a mill lower than we were then,” said Ken Overman, assistant superintendent. “We’re excited to be able to do that. We’re good where we are with budgeting, so let’s give back to the taxpayers.”

The millage rate was 16.911 in 2016.

Overman said that translates to paying almost $14 less in property taxes than last year if a residence is valued at $200,000.

Lowndes County public schools will be under increased security today after an apparent threat, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Increased security was planned at a school in Lowndes County for Wednesday after the sheriff’s office questioned a teen about online threats, authorities said.

Lowndes County’s 911 service received two calls Monday night from people saying they had seen Instagram posts from someone threatening to shoot up a county school, Sheriff Ashley Paulk said.

Investigators tracked the posts to an eighth-grade boy “about 14-15 years old” and went to his house, the sheriff said.

There are no charges against the boy because the Department of Juvenile Justice, which would have to approve charges, said to turn the boy over to his mother, Paulk said.

“We (the sheriff’s office) filled out a complaint form for the DJJ, but they wouldn’t even evaluate him,” the sheriff said.

Glynn County public schools have improved security for the new school year, according to The Brunswick News.

Glynn County Schools has invested a significant amount of money and training into school safety efforts and plans to continue doing so.

Staff at all levels, including school resource officers, receptionists, bus drivers and more, have gone through forms of emergency response training.

The school system is also making plans to invest recently acquired grant money into new security for school facilities.

Gov. Brian Kemp pushed for the security grants during this year’s state budgeting process. Each public school in the state will receive $30,000 to put toward improving school safety. The money must be spent on an individual school basis, by June 30, 2020.

“We have to build a budget and define what those requirements are according to the schools,” said Jim Pulos, assistant superintendent for operations and administrative services for Glynn County Schools. “We’re in the process of doing that.”

Harris County School District overtaxed property owners last year and will rollback this year’s property tax rates to make up for the difference, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Harris County School District superintendent Roger Couch is taking responsibility for the mistake that led to overtaxing property owners last year and will result in them paying less in taxes this year.

Couch inadvertently kept the extra property tax of 0.65% in the 2018 budget he presented to the Harris County Board of Education last summer, he told the Ledger-Enquirer in a phone interview Tuesday, after HCSD announced the tax rollback.

The extra tax was supposed to end then because the debt of about $10 million that helped build Creekside School had been paid off, Couch said. That meant Harris County property owners paid a total of $850,106.87 in overcharged taxes, he said.

So to pay back the property owners, the 0.65% extra tax is eliminated and the 2019 property tax millage rate is rolled back by 0.65%. HCSD finance director Kelly Bowen estimated the rollback equals a savings of around $50 for the owner of a $100,000 home compared to 2018.

Dalton Utilities broke ground on an upgrade to their water treatment plant, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Warner Robins Police Chief John Wagner was upgraded from “acting” to permanent chief, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber President and CEO Brian Anderson resigned to accept a job at the Richmond, Virginia Chamber, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Clarkesville City Manager Barbara Kesler has resigned, according to AccessWDUN.

6
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 6, 2019

Tange Lumpkin

Tange is a 4-month old female English Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Lumpkin County Animal Shelter in Dahlonega, GA.

Tanner Lumpkin

Tanner is a 4-month old male English Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Lumpkin County Animal Shelter in Dahlonega, GA.

Roscoe Lumpkin

Roscoe is a 4-month old male tricolor Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Lumpkin County Animal Shelter in Dahlonega, GA.

Ralph Lumpkin

Ralph is a 5-month old male Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Lumpkin County Animal Shelter in Dahlonega, GA.

6
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 6, 2019

On August 6, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia began debating the first draft of the Constitution of the United States.

On August 6, 1958 the wagon train carrying gold from Dahlonega to gild the State Capitol dome reached Atlanta, where city officials were not prepared to receive them.

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act; Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in attendance and was given one of the pens Johnson used to sign the Act. Here is an auction for one of the pens used in the VRA signing.

John Hughes, director of every meaningful teen angst movie of the 1980s (except Say Anything and Better Off Dead) died on August 6, 2009.

Molly Ringwald wrote in The New Yorker about working as a young woman with John Hughes.

On August 5, 2015, the Jeb Bush presidential campaign announced endorsements by Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp yesterday ordered flags on state buildings and properties flown at half-staff in honor of those who died in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

GPB News spoke to some of the announced candidates in the Sixth Congressional District and has audio files and transcripts.

Congressman Austin Scott (R-Tifton) will speak at the Boys and Girls Club Gym in Valdosta on August 15, 2019, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

In Gwinnett County, a man is accused of placing a Trump sticker on a Democrat’s car and charged with trespass, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

A Lawrenceville man accused of putting “I Love Trump” stickers on a local Democratic Party official’s car while she was grocery shopping, yelling at her and then following her around town has been arrested on at least one charge related to the incident and will likely face more, Gwinnett Solicitor General Brian Whiteside confirmed Friday.

William Thomas Dunaway, 57, was arrested Thursday on a criminal trespass damage charge for putting the stickers on Gwinnett Democratic Party First Vice Chairwoman Sharon Wood’s car in the parking lot of a Lawrenceville Publix in July. The charge is a misdemeanor and Dunaway had been released from jail Thursday on a $650 bond.

“I think it says you shouldn’t follow people around,” Whiteside said. “I don’t think that you should follow a woman around (or) follow anyone around and we’re determined to enforce the laws of Gwinnett County, and the state and the United States of America. (Wood) being a Democrat means nothing. We’re going to enforce the law.”

Whiteside said his office plans to move forward with formal court accusations on charges of simple assault and stalking against Dunaway as well.

Former State Senator and candidate for Governor Michael Williams apologized for running, according to the AJC.

Republican Michael Williams, who finished last place in last year’s gubernatorial primary, said Tuesday he should never have sought higher office and blamed missed “red flags” for mistakes that led to a guilty plea on charges of filing a false report.

The former state senator said he should not have allowed his “public persona to be so drastically changed to something it wasn’t” during a controversial campaign that included a series of ill-fated publicity stunts capped by a “deportation bus tour.”

“I should have found a gubernatorial candidate whom I could support. I should have done what each of you did,” he wrote to supporters. “Instead, I allowed my pride, ego, and bad advice, to persuade me that I had a solid chance in the governor’s race.”

The email did not name his chief strategist, Seth Weathers, who helped devise the publicity stunts. But Williams said his campaign “became solely about doing whatever needed to be done in order to create headlines to build name ID.”

“What does this have to do with the matter at hand?”he wrote. “If I stuck to my standards, followed my gut and not announced until the three prerequisites were met or withdrawn my candidacy when any of the other red flags occurred, the events that transpired that night in May of 2018, never would have happened.”

Candidates for House District 71 will meet in a public forum Wednesday, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

All four candidates for Georgia House District 71 are scheduled to be at Wednesday’s candidate forum, which will be held at the Central Educational Center from 6 to 8 p.m.

The candidates: Nina Blackwelder, Jill Prouty, Marcy Sakrison and Philip Singleton have all confirmed that they will attend, according to Cynthia Bennett, vice president of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce, which is sponsoring the forum.

The HD 71 seat has been vacant since the June resignation of Rep. David Stover. The election to fill Stover’s unexpired term will be held Sept. 3. The seat will be up for election again in 2020, with qualifying for that race in March.

Early voting for the race will begin Aug. 12. Early voting will be Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., through Aug. 30. Early voting is also available Saturday, Aug. 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are two early voting locations: the Coweta Voter Registration Office, at 22 East Broad St., Newnan, and the Central Community Center, 65 Literary Lane, Newnan.

The Atlanta Board of Education voted to increase planned teacher pay raises, according to the AJC.

The Atlanta school board on Monday agreed to give teachers an additional pay increase that will bring the average raise from $2,000 to $3,000.

The Atlanta Public Schools budget for the 2019-2020 school year, as approved in June, had only enough money to provide an average $2,000 increase for teachers. The district said it would need millions more than what APS receives from the state to cover the $3,000 per teacher raise recommended in the state budget and backed by Gov. Brian Kemp.

But after the board approved the budget, APS officials revised local revenue projections based on updated Fulton County property values. The district now expects to receive $7.5 million more in local property tax revenue than it first expected.

On Monday, the school board voted to adjust the budget so that it can provide an average pay raise of $3,000 for teachers, or 4.85%, plus additional compensation for other employees.

A lawsuit claims that Fulton County overtaxed homeowners has been filed, according to the AJC.

A Fulton County homeowner has filed a lawsuit claiming the county missed a crucial deadline to complete thousands of property value appeals and now must accept lower assessed values for those properties — a mistake that could cost the county tens of millions of dollars over several years.

More than 42,000 property owners, representing a combined $5.9 billion in real estate, appealed their appraisals last year when the county assessor’s office increased property values after years of failing to update the tax rolls.

More than 5,000 property owners could be affected by the suit. Many of those property owners have already paid taxes based on the higher assessment, and they would be due refunds if the lawsuit is successful.

A spokesperson for Fulton County declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Atlanta City Council is considering a moratorium on new permits for rental scooters, according to the AJC.

In the aftermath of the city’s third electric scooter fatality, the Atlanta City Council on Monday introduced legislation that affirmed a prohibition on additional permits to the companies deploying the devices.

The proposal appears to be a stop gap measure and is unlikely to have any immediate effect on the number of scooters on city streets.

Currently, there are 9 companies permitted to deploy 12,000 scooters, although only about 5,500 have been deployed, according to city officials.

After another scooter-related death last week, a handful of people at Monday’s Atlanta City Council meeting urged council members to make city streets safer for scooter riders.

Last month, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an executive order prohibiting new permits. The mayor said it would remain in effect until the council’s Monday meeting.

Bottoms also said she would propose legislation to “address the long-term impacts the devices levy against the City’s infrastructure and public safety” in advance of the meeting.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation continues looking at allegations against Augusta Commissioner Sammie Sias, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

A week ago, the Augusta Commission referred the allegations against one of its own to the GBI after former center director Willa Hilton made several accusations regarding Sias’ activities at the center.

Among the allegations, Hilton said Sias pocketed sales tax and other funds intended for the center, used alcohol and watched pornography and engaged in child cruelty at the site. The commission referred the child cruelty claim to the Division of Family and Children Services.

Colquitt County Commissioner Al Whittington said that local immigrants are fearful of violence, according to the Albany Herald.

“The Hispanic community is quite large and an absolute necessity,” he said. “They’ve worked in the fields, a lot of them six days, and they go into town on the weekend to buy groceries.”

In October 2005, six Mexican immigrants were killed in Tift County in a crime spree that began in Colquitt County with the rape of a woman and shooting of her husband. The suspects were thought to be part of a group that had carried out more than a dozen home invasions and robberies targeting the Hispanic population in the months leading up to the slayings in Tifton.

Immigrants often do not have the documents needed to open bank accounts, meaning they often carry cash with them.

“I think really that community stays in fear,” said Whittington, a former Colquitt County sheriff who referenced the 2005 crime spree in Colquitt and Tift counties. “They’re afraid as far as robberies. Every time they turn around, it’s something else.”

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission in a lawsuit against Glynn County Schools, according to The Brunswick News.

It all started in 2014 when the school board determined that it could not pay the debt service portion of its water and sewer bill. The JWSC took the school board to court in 2015, over what at the time was roughly $140,000 in unpaid debt service fees.

Since then, however, JWSC officials say that amount has risen to $516,070. Utility legal counsel Charles Dorminy said the two parties will have to go before a superior court judge to have the total, final amount owed determined, however.

Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley ruled in the utility’s favor in 2018. On appeal, the Georgia Court of Appeals passed the case up the chain to the Georgia Supreme Court because it involved a constitutional question.

Tybee Island will receive $1.1 in federal grant funding to elevate a dozen private homes in the flood plain on the marsh side of the island, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Per the City’s Floodplain Ordinance, each structure will be elevated two feet above the base flood elevation.

The total cost of raising the homes will be $1,548,318. The federal grant will cover 75% of the cost, at $1,161,238.50. Ten percent of the cost will be covered by the state.

Homeowners will still have to pay 15 percent of the cost to elevate their homes, a process that requires contracting a construction company that specializes in the process.

“So there’s still a burden on them financially, and they’ll be inconvenience while the house is being lifted up, they’ll have to stay at a hotel or a relative’s house,” Buelterman said.

A separate grant request, which has not yet been rewarded, was made to help mitigate the cost of another 49 homes.

“We picked 61 homeowners who live on Tybee who have low-lying homes that were at risk of, or have flooded,” [Mayor Jason] Buelterman said.

Camden County was recertified as a Coast Guard Community, recognizing its support of the local Coast Guard units, according to The Brunswick News.

Bulloch County‘s public school system delayed roll out of a sex ed curriculum previously announced, according to the Statesboro Herald.

As reported in June, lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation were not scheduled to be introduced in ninth grade until 2020–21 or in the seventh and eighth grades until 2021–22.

But that part of the plan is subject to further review with input from the community, and the more basic sex education curriculum slated for 2019–20 will not be taught until second semester and could be delayed until next school year, Superintendent Charles Wilson said last week and this.

“What is being implemented, at this point, is yet to be determined,” Wilson said as students returned to school Aug. 1. “The state puts this very much back to the local community. We have a board policy. Now, we have to develop our own curriculum around this.”

“We have slowed that down because until we get all the feedback we need from the community and from the board, we don’t know for sure what that’s going to look like,” Wilson said Monday. “Right now what we’re doing is getting feedback from teachers, we’re going to get feedback from the board, and until we have all of that figured out it’s hard for us to proceed with a definitive curriculum.”

Under the announced plan, “sexual orientation and gender identity” and “undoing gender stereotypes” were scheduled to be introduced as two one-day topics for the ninth grade unit in 2020–21, not this school year. Beginning in 2021–22, “sexual orientation and gender identity” was slated as a one-day topic for eighth grade, and “talking about sexuality,” as the first-day topic in the seventh grade unit.

These would not become sixth-grade topics even under the original plan.

Hall County Commissioners will likely extend a moratorium on permitting new hookah lounges, according to AccessWDUN.

Hall County commissioners agreed Monday to place the moratorium’s extension on the consent agenda for Wednesday’s commission voting session. The commission will also vote Wednesday on a newly proposed moratorium to prevent the opening of new vape shops or lounges until the same date.

Hall County Planning Director Srikanth Yamala said the county’s planning staff needs more time to examine non-traditional tobacco sales.

“We have completed our initial research, if you will, on some of the regulations that we’ll propose to bring forward as part of the new ordinance,” Yamala said. “We also want to look at every single non-traditional tobacco products, you know, like the vape lounges, vape shops and so forth,” Yamala said.

Floyd County Juvenile Court lost data in a cyber attack, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Superior Court Clerk Barbara Penson said there’s been no word on a resolution from the Administrative Office of the Courts.

“They’ve asked us to not even call,” she said Monday. “The project manager said we’ll hear from them when ‘we are able to stand eCourt up again’ and when the federal investigators release something to them.”

“We’re staying ahead of the new cases by working Saturdays … We’ve figured out a survival route, but it’s temporary. We can’t do this forever,” Penson said.

Floyd County Juvenile Court Judge Greg Price was harder hit. He said Monday that most juvenile court records are not public and they were kept on the Administrative Office of the Courts’ server.

“All our data was maintained by the AOC – up until the time it was corrupted,” Price said. “We lost literally all of our data, historical and current.”

Savannah City Council member Bill Durrence announced he will run for reelection to his seat representing District 2, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Dalton City Council hired the law firm Smith, Welch, Webb & White to represent them in service delivery agreement negotiations with Whitfield County, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Council members voted 4-0 Monday to appoint attorneys from the McDonough law firm Smith, Welch, Webb & White as a special counsel to represent the city in those negotiations. The agreement between the city and Smith, Welch, Webb & White calls for the attorneys to be paid $225 to $300 an hour.

“We want to be thorough in our approach to the agreements,” said Parker. “We refer to it as a service delivery agreement, but it’s actually about 40 to 45 different agreements. It includes every local government service. So we have to agree who is providing which service and at which locations and who is paying the costs of those services. Sometimes in these discussions you can find out there’s a better way to provide that service or to consolidate service delivery.”

By state law, cities and counties must negotiate a new service delivery agreement every 10 years spelling out which services the different governments will provide and how they will be funded. The agreements are aimed at reducing duplication of services.

The current service delivery agreement between the city and county expires Oct. 31 and covers services ranging from fire protection to operations of the Dalton-Whitfield County Public Library to building permits.

Andrew J. “Andy” Welch, one of the attorneys the city has appointed as a special counsel, is a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives.

The Macon Bacon will host their first ever playoff game tonight, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The Macon Bacon took home a win in one of their most important food fights to date, as they knocked off the Savannah Bananas in the playoff opener.

The Bacon beat their rivals by a score of 7-3 Sunday to eliminate them from contention for the Petitt Cup.

The Bacon will now host their first-ever home playoff game Tuesday night against the Forest City Owls. The Bacon and the Owls met three times in the regular season, with Macon winning two out of three games.

Cave Spring City Council will review proposed new rules to allow golf cart use on some city streets, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Mayor Dennis Shoaf has said he wants to be able to start issuing golf cart permits within a month of adopting the ordinance. Residents will be able to get their vehicles inspected and registered at the police department.

The fee of $15, which is set by the state, pays for a street-legal decal that will be good for up to three years or until the cart is sold. Drivers must be licensed and anyone under 16 will have to have a parent present in the cart.

5
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 5, 2019

Lock Bartow

Lock is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Bartow County Animal Control in Cartersville, GA.

Sameer Bartow

Sameer is a young male Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from Bartow County Animal Control in Cartersville, GA.

Katriena Bartow

Katriena is a young female Australian Shepherd and Blue Heeler mix who is available for adoption from Bartow County Animal Control in Cartersville, GA.

5
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 5, 2019

On August 5, 1774, Royal Governor James Wright issued a proclamation banning assemblies to protest British policy.

President Abraham Lincoln imposed the first federal income tax on August 5, 1861 at the rate of 3 percent on all income over $800 per year.

On August 5, 1910, Gov. Joseph Brown signed legislation outlawing betting on election outcomes.

Gold from Dahlonega on its way to Atlanta. Photo by Ed Jackson via http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu

The caravan transporting 43 ounces of gold from Dahlonega to the State Capitol to be used in gilding the dome arrived in Roswell/Sandy Springs area on August 5, 1958. At the current price of $1461.80 per ounce, that would be worth $62,857.40.

President Ronald Reagan began the process of firing all striking Air Traffic Controllers on August 5, 1981.

Divers raised the turret of USS Monitor near Cape Hatteras on August 5, 2002.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Vice President Mike Pence spoke in Atlanta on Friday, according to 11Alive.

Vice President Mike Pence thanked a conservative audience in Buckhead for a “warm Georgia welcome” and rallied supporters to President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign on Friday.

The vice president repeated many of the “promises made, promises kept” themes driving the president’s campaign. That included touting the strength of the economy, recounting the president’s record on appointing conservative judges, and endorsing the president’s immigration policies.

“Let me say the president and I are both grateful for the strong stand for life that Governor Brian Kemp and your legislature has made,” Pence said.

Governor Brian Kemp appointed former State Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R) as Chair of the Jekyll Island Authority. Rep. Wilkinson was the original sponsor of the legislation designating the adoptable dog as the Official State Dog of Georgia.

The author, Rep. Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, didn’t want to have to pick a specific breed for the honor, and he wanted to recognize the thousands of dogs currently available for adoption in Georgia’s animal shelters, humane societies and private groups.

Governor Kemp is considering ways to trim state spending, according to the AJC.

With tax collections flagging, Kemp administration officials were concerned in May that the state might not raise enough to fund the state’s $27 billion budget as the end of the fiscal year neared.

On Friday, Gov. Brian Kemp vowed to rein in state spending, cutting back to meet his priorities, such as another teacher pay raise on top of the $3,000 most educators received this year.

Even with a growing economy, state officials face potential revenue headwinds, in part because of the decision lawmakers made last year to cut the state income tax rate.

Kemp said he is exploring a proposal to limit state spending and “start reeling things back,” though it will fall short of his campaign promise to implement a cap on spending to limit growth in the budget.

The governor said he has no timetable for when he would unveil a cap, one of his key campaign promises. But he said the state would soon have to tighten spending “with an economy that’s not expanding as much as it could.”

Gov. Kemp also discussed plans to dismantle the Common Core academic standards in an AJC Op-Ed.

During the most recent legislative session, Republicans and Democrats partnered at the State Capitol to advance a series of reform measures and budget priorities that put Georgia students ahead of politics.

While we are proud of rising graduation rates and assessment scores, there are still serious challenges that cannot be ignored. 44% of Georgia educators leave the profession before five years of employment. This mass exodus of teachers has fostered a shortage and undeniable ‘brain drain’ in school systems throughout our state. Such high turnover rates undermine academic success and put added stress on educators all across Georgia.

To help incentivize the best and brightest to remain in the classroom, we championed – and passed – the largest pay raise for educators, counselors, and specialists in Georgia history. This $3,000 pay raise, which is a down payment on my promise to increase salaries by $5,000 annually, is an investment in Georgia’s future. By boosting retention rates, we can strengthen our workforce, stay competitive, and provide the educational experience and learning opportunities that our students deserve.

In the months to come, we will convene a Citizens Review Committee to analyze the feedback, a Working Committee of Teachers to offer their insight, and an Academic Review Committee to review recommendations that will then be considered by the State School Superintendent and State Board of Education.

This process, while laborious, will help us eliminate the remnants of Common Core and ensure that our students are given the best opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed. We will do the heavy lifting now to ensure a better, brighter tomorrow. We will reject the status quo and put students first.

Tim Tebow will headline the Southeast Georgia FCA’s Spring Fundraising Banquet next February, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Actress Ashley Bratcher, who starred in “Unplanned,” will speak at the 30th annual Haven Health Friends for Life fundraising banquet next month, according to the Rome News Tribune.

“Bratcher was an unplanned baby herself,” Haven Health volunteer Christa Jackson said. “She’s a wonderful speaker to have to share her testimony at this event.”

Haven Health Clinic for Women, 311 Redmond Road, is an organization dedicated to offering free assistance to women during unplanned pregnancies, with no insurance billing and no income requirements.

“Haven gives women the tools they need to make the best decisions about their pregnancy with the goal to either keep the baby or give it up for adoption,” Jackson said.

This year, Haven has seen a sharp increase in the number of women assisted, which means the need for donations has also risen.

“With five months left, Haven has already seen more clients than during all of last year,” Jackson said. “The total from 2018 was 516, and this year we’ve already helped 633. Obviously this brings an increase in operating costs.”

To purchase a table, or for more information, folks can call Haven Health at 706-235-6833. Tables sponsorship levels range from $500 up to $5,000. Two attendees from the first 10 tables sold this year will be able to attend a meet and greet with Bratcher prior to the dinner.

The Floyd County Republican Party will host its annual event at the Tillman Hanger at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr is among the announced headliners at the Floyd County Republican Party’s annual rally set for Saturday at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport in Rome.

“Basically, we’re jump-starting the 2020 campaign season,” [Floyd GOP public relations chair Mickey] Tuck said. “It will be a pro-conservative, pro-Trump type rally.”

“The Trump bus is going to be there. Even though he’s not going to be there, we’ll have a lot of his representatives,” Tuck said.

In addition to Carr, statewide officials include David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party….

Local officials include Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson, County Commission Chair Scotty Hancock, Tony Daniel, who chairs the county school board, and the state legislative delegation – Sen. Chuck Hufstetler and Reps. Katie Dempsey, Eddie Lumsden and Mitchell Scoggins.

Rockdale County is seeking a new Elections Board Chair, according to the Citizens.

Rockdale County residents who are registered voters can apply through Aug. 9 to be the non-partisan at-large member and chair of the Rockdale County Board of Elections and Voter Registration. The two-year appointment will be made by Chief Superior Court Judge David B. Irwin after he interviews the candidates.

The three-member Board of Elections is made up of one representative each from the local Democrat and Republican parties, and one at-large member who is normally chosen by the representatives. The at-large member also serves as the chair of the board.

Board member responsibilities include the oversight of County elections, discussion of and decisions pertaining to election policies and ongoing communication with the public. Board members are not involved in the day-to-day operations of the Elections Office or in administrative decisions. Georgia Election Code 21-2-70 provides for the powers and duties of the Board of Elections and Registration.

Bartow County may be one of the first to implement Georgia’s new voting system, according to the Daily Tribune News.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Monday that Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems had been selected as the vendor for the State’s new paper ballot system. The news is especially intriguing for the local community, Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk said, since Bartow is on a shortlist to pilot the new equipment later this fall.

“They’ve had to drop that number down from 12 to six, and we’re on the list of 10 counties that are still in contention to do that,” he said.

If Bartow is chosen as a pilot site, the County could have the new system online in time for November’s municipal-level elections. If not, he anticipates the equipment being installed by March, just prior to the presidential primaries.

“I should have at least some piece of equipment here in the next month to start demonstrating,” he said.

An Augusta Commission committee will study whether the procurement process discriminates, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Augusta Compliance Director Treza Edwards said the city has a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program for federally funded projects and a Local Small Business Opportunity Program, but both are race- and gender-neutral.

Augusta is enjoined from implementing a race- and gender-conscious program based on a previous court case but could proceed with a new one with a new disparity study, General Counsel Wayne Brown said.

The study would look at whether there is currently discrimination against minority- and women-owned businesses and whether there is a need for such a program, Edwards said.

The Gainesville Times looks at what local school systems are doing to enhance security.

Whether installing modern security technology or implementing mental health support, each year Hall County and Gainesville school systems continue to find ways to enhance safety for staff and students.

Both systems have renovated vestibules in multiple buildings, routing traffic into these entrance areas to limit access to other parts of the schools.

Adrian Niles, chief operating officer at Gainesville City Schools, said all of the district’s schools and facilities now have card reader checkpoints. This gives employees access to their respective schools when locked.

Hall County is also expanding a card access system at school buildings. Schofield said the doors automatically lock and unlock during certain times of the day, and only staff members can enter.

An updated intercom system is in the works in Hall schools that will be able to send out emergency notifications. If the pilot is successful, Schofield said more may be installed this fall.

Duluth City Councilman Kirkland Carden cordially invites the Gwinnett County Commission to join him in trashing Sheriff Butch Conway, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Duluth City Councilman Kirkland Carden has filed a petition calling for the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to condemn Sheriff Butch Conway for inviting a “white nationalist and anti-immigration activist” to speak.

D.A. King, president of the Dustin Inman Society, which is labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-immigrant hate group, was one of three pro-287(g) speakers at Wednesday’s meeting. He was joined by Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Deputy Shannon Volkodav and U.S. Immigration and Customs Southern Region Communications Director Bryan Cox.

In the petition, Carden, a Democrat who is running for the District 1 commission seat, wrote the meeting was “hijacked by D.A. King.”

“King was elevated into this position as official ‘representative’ for the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office by Sheriff Butch Conway. The Republican Sheriff has avoided accountability on his policy positions for years and refuses to speak with the people whom he serves,” the petition reads. “If the Sheriff is too afraid to defend this policy, then he should either resign or choose a different course. King’s inciting and bigoted rhetoric should never have been given the legitimacy of this platform by Conway’s office, which is funded by taxpayers, in one of the most diverse counties in the nation.”

“We are demanding that the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners pass a measure condemning Sheriff Conway for his actions, and begin investigating correspondence between his office, D.A. King, the Dustin Inman Society, and any other hate groups,” the petition said. “This calls into question the Sheriff Department’s ability to fairly pursue justice. As citizens who are supposedly protected and served by the Sheriff, we have the right to know why he selected King to represent his office.”

Proposed restrictions on free school lunch programs won’t affect Athens public schools, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The Trump administration and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue want to tighten restrictions on which children are entitled to receive free or reduced school lunches, but that won’t affect students in Clarke County.The school lunch program cuts could reduce the number of children receiving the lunch benefits by 500,000, according to the government.

The proposed cuts are part of a larger slate of cuts designed to reduce the number of people enrolled in the federal government’s “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ” or food stamps.

Even without the proposed changes, food stamp rolls have shrunk in recent years as unemployment decreased.

Critics have said the new rules would cut 3 million people from the food stamp rolls. A Democratic U.S. representative from Virginia estimated it would eliminate half a million children from automatic eligibility for free or reduced school lunches.

The cuts are part of a plan to eliminate nearly $10 billion from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s budget.

The plan would also roll back a system designed to reduce paperwork, instead requiring people to go through two separate qualification processes rather than one application for both programs.

The school lunch program in Clarke County this year will be the same as it was last year; however, said school district spokeswoman Mary Walsh Wickwire.

The school district doesn’t charge children for lunch or breakfast served in school cafeterias.

Four cities in Bulloch County will hold candidate qualifying this month, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Brooklet and Portal are the two towns in Bulloch County that have mayors up for election this year. Statesboro and Register do not, since their mayors are two years into a four-year term. All four towns have some council seats due to go before voters. But officials can cancel municipal elections, declaring an unopposed winner, if only one candidate qualifies for each seat.

Aug. 19-23 is the qualifying period for Nov. 5 nonpartisan city elections throughout Georgia. However, not all cities extend the qualifying opportunity to all five days.

“The towns can do three days or five days, depending on their charter, and our charter says five days,” Wirth said.

All four of the cities in Bulloch County conduct their own candidate qualifying. But only in Brooklet do city officials conduct the elections, and paper ballots are used there. Register, Portal and Statesboro have the county Board of Elections staff conduct city elections, using the state-issued voting machines, which are slated for replacement next year.

Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason has begun his reelection campaign, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Mason confirmed during his State of the City Address in July that he would run for re-election, but he officially kicked off his campaign with a news release — which referenced his comments at the State of the City Address — that was sent to the media Friday night.

“The State of the City is great,” Mason said. “We’re following our vision and I am committed to stay the course. We’ve made much progress in our 7-year history such as the Town Center, which provides a place for our citizens to make memories with their families.

Mason is the only mayor Peachtree Corners, which turned 7 this year, has ever had. This year, the mayor’s office and City Council Posts 1, 3 and 5 — which are held by Phil Sadd, Alex Wright and Lorri Christopher respectively — are up for election.

“There are key elements of our vision that need to be completed and I intend to see them thru,” Mason said. “I believe this is remarkable progress in seven years, especially from a city with a zero property tax millage rate on citizens and businesses.”

Chatham County has a five-year plan to reduce homelessness, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Chatham County’s homeless population grew by 443 people last year, the second increase in as many years, but the local homeless collaborative is already at work on their next five-year plan to combat the problem.

That plan will address, in part, the ongoing lack of affordable housing as the key solution which remains a constant in the conversation.

Cindy Murphy Kelley, now in her sixth year as executive director of the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless, has pitched the need for affordable house as an annual challenge.

Now, she said Friday, Aug. 2, “People are actually paying attention for the first time.”

Authority board member and Savannah alderman Julian Miller cautioned that, “We will never solve the problem, but the idea is to reduce the problem. … At the very least there are people who can be helped and want to be helped and let’s help them.”

Overtime for Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office exceeded $1 million last year, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Despite efforts to reduce costs, the overtime totals for all departments of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office more than doubled last year to more than $1 million.

Sheriff Noel Brown said pay increases, continued short staffing and a high volume of transportation calls are contributing factors, as well as his opinion that the county has not had adequate staff to keep up with growth in the past 20 years.

Bulloch County commissioners have added three positions since Brown took office, he said; two more were added for fiscal year 2020, bringing the total to five. Brown also switched captains and higher-ranking officers to straight salary pay, thus eliminating some overtime, effective this past January.

During his campaign prior to the 2016 election, Brown promised to try to reduce overtime for the sheriff’s department, but three years into his term, he has been unable to make a significant dent in spite of some changes.

Susan Treadaway will serve as the new Chief Assistant Deputy District Attorney in Cherokee County, according to the Tribune Ledger News.

Superior Court Chief Judge Ellen McElyea will swear in Treadaway at 9 a.m. on Friday in Courtroom 2A.

“I am excited to be back in Cherokee County, where I can be part of law enforcement in a growing community that still has small town charm,” Treadaway said. “I look forward to partnering with law enforcement to ensure justice is served here.”

Treadaway comes to the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office with more than 15 years experience, including 11 years in the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office where she held positions as senior assistant district attorney and, most recently, chief assistant district attorney. During her time in Cobb County, she also served as an assistant supervisor of the Special Victims’ Unit, which prosecuted cases involving physical and sexual abuse against children and sexual abuse against women.

Prior to her work in Cobb County, Treadaway served four years as an assistant district attorney in Cherokee County under District Attorney Garry Moss. Earlier in her career, she worked for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia. She earned her law degree from Georgia State University in 2004.

Brunswick Landing Marina is hoping to expand, according to The Brunswick News.

The Brunswick Landing Marina is seeking permission to expand its dock space and add a concrete sidewalk to provide pedestrian traffic from the north.

The Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources are considering the request and are seeking public comments until Aug. 11.

The proposed dock will extend an estimated 282 feet into the waterway in an area where the waterway is 900 feet wide, according to the notification.

The committee will consider if the project could obstruct or alter the natural flow of water, if it creates harmful or increased erosion, shoaling or stagnant areas of water, and if the granting of the permit could unreasonably interfere with shrimp, fish or other aquatic life or other resources, including water and oxygen supply.

The St Simons Island Turtle Project hosted a public excavation of a sea turtle nest, according to The Brunswick News.

The St. Simons Island Sea Turtle Project hosted its second public nest excavation during the final hours of sunlight Thursday. The event, per usual, attracted many interested beach visitors, all wishing to learn more about the sea turtle nesting process and hoping to see hatchlings.

The purpose of the excavation was to inventory the second and third nests laid this season on St. Simons. Both nests hatched this week. The project team digs up each nest five days after it hatches, to count hatched and unhatched eggs and look for trapped hatchlings.

The St. Simons Island Sea Turtle Project is part of a larger, coast-wide effort called the Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative. The goal of the cooperative is to conserve loggerhead turtles in Georgia and the habitats on which the turtles depend.