The blog.


Op-Ed: The Call for Rural Resiliency

by Chris Clark, President & CEO, Georgia Chamber

My Fitzgerald roots ground me and millions of other small-town Americans to a strong work ethic, value of family, and a deep-rooted faith. We believe in community and helping each other through the tough times. And we celebrate in parades and on back porches when things are good. Of course, those occasions often come from long battles and commitment. My grandfather once mentioned as we floated down a tannin-colored swamp in a 16-foot john boat, that folks in “rural Georgia have to work twice as hard to get half as much.” Each time I see another economic outlook or unemployment report, I hear his echo.

Rural Georgia was finally starting to climb out of a recession that bottomed out for most of the world just 8 short years ago. Thanks to Governor Kemp’s laser-like focus on rural economic inequality, Lieutenant Governor Duncan’s relentless advocacy for rural healthcare and Speaker David Ralston’s longtime focus on rural prosperity, we were seeing brighter horizons. Local economic developers were realizing significant payback for their efforts. Taurus Firearms opened in Bainbridge. Georgia Pacific announced a new facility in Albany. Moultrie opened PCOM, and SKC broke ground in Covington.

As the COVID-19 healthcare crisis rolled through, we saw the best of free enterprise in these same communities. Banks worked tirelessly to facilitate PPP loans. American Textiles in Tifton shifted from traditional production to the creation of personal protection equipment and The Levee Studios in Albany launched video training services for front-line workers.

But now, the COVID Recession officially begins and I worry about the impact to rural America and potential rebound of small business. This pandemic has further exposed systemic rural issues as well as raised new concerns.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 23, 2020

Poppy Orphan Annie Rescue

Poppy is a young female Shih Tzu mix puppy who is available for adoption from Orphan Annie Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Piper Orphan Annie Rescue

Piper is a young female Shih Tzu mix puppy who is available for adoption from Orphan Annie Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Penny Orphan Annie Rescue

Penny is a young female Shih Tzu mix puppy who is available for adoption from Orphan Annie Rescue in Atlanta, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 23, 2020

On July 23, 1864, Union and Confederate forces in and around Atlanta gathered the dead and worked to save the wounded. Union artillery began bombarding Atlanta. On July 23, 2014, Republicans did the same in the aftermath of the Primary Runoff Elections the previous day. Democratic artillery advertising would soon fill the air.

Former President Ulysses S. Grant died on July 23, 1885.

The Cleveland Metropolitan Park District was established on July 23, 1917 and currently has a set of beautiful parks winding through the city.

John Smoltz started his first game as a major league pitcher on July 23, 1988, as the Braves took a win over the New York Mets.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

COVID-19 is hitting Georgia’s medical infrastructure hard, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

However, 3,179 people were in the hospital with the respiratory illness on Wednesday, staying close to the record high set on Monday. Of the state’s critical care beds, 88% were full, amplifying messages from hospital executives and medical workers that hospitals are running out of room for new patients. The number of patients on ventilators also rose, although not all in critical care or on ventilators are sick with COVID-19

For example, the head of Georgia’s largest hospital told reporters Tuesday that Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital was operating at 105% capacity, meaning some inpatients were being kept in the emergency department.

“During this second wave that we’re experiencing in many parts of the country we’re seeing double, triple the amount of COVID inpatients that we saw during the peak that we experienced in May,” Grady CEO John Haupert told WABE-FM.

He said the hospital was cancelling some elective surgeries, a financial hit to the public safety-net hospital supported by Fulton and DeKalb counties.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville opened its new mobile medical unit Tuesday, The Gainesville Times reports, and tied its previous record for COVID-19 patient numbers across the four-hospital system on Wednesday. The 20-bed unit, built by the state using modular units, is in a gravel lot, freeing up space in the main hospital. The state has provided similar units in Albany, Rome and Macon.

Governor Brian Kemp and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms may be discussing a settlement of the Governor’s lawsuit, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 22, 2020

Big Mac Clayton County Humane Society

Big Mac is an adult male Rottweiler mix who is available for adoption from the Clayton County Humane Society in Jonesboro, GA.

Big Mac’s approximate birth date is 5/6/19. Big Mac is a big old lovebug! He is great with people, and has a signature “Big Mac hug” that he gives visitors to his kennel. He’s a bit bossy with other dogs, so he might do best as an “only dog.”

Lucas Clayton County Humane Society

Lucas is an adult male Miniature Pinscher and Chihuahua mix who is available for adoption from the Clayton County Humane Society in Jonesboro, GA.

Lucas has an approximate birthday of 6/14/2019. He was brought to the shelter by a couple that had noticed him hanging around the dumpster in their apartment complex, he actually came up to them. Lucas enjoys playtime with his shelter siblings.

Chino Clayton County Humane Society

Chino is an adult male Miniature Pinscher and Chihuahua mix who is available for adoption from the Clayton County Humane Society in Jonesboro, GA.

Chino has an approximate birthdate of 6/13/2014. Chino was surrendered to the shelter by his owner that was heading off to college and wanted to find him a home were he could be spoiled and get lots of attention. Chino is a very sweet, loving canine that is willing to please. He does well with his shelter siblings and loves playtime. He should do well with middle aged children, but not recommended for smaller children.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 22, 2020

General William Tecumseh Sherman gained the upper hand in the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864. Estimated casualties were 12,140 (3,641 Union, 8,499 Confederate).

On July 22, 1964, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia released their opinion in the case Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States. The court held that the Commerce Clause gave the federal government the ability to order private businesses to comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

From the New Georgia Encyclopedia:

Notwithstanding such states’ rights–based challenges, the Court in the Heart of Atlanta Motel and McClung cases unanimously held that the sweeping antidiscrimination provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act were a proper exercise of Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce under Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. In effect, the Court reasoned that race discrimination by even very localized businesses, when viewed in the aggregate, had such far-reaching negative effects on the interstate movement of people and products that Congress could remove these impediments to commerce whether or not its true motives centered on a moral condemnation of racism.

Ensuing enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 led to the dismantling of many of the most overt forms of racial discrimination, which in turn contributed to the emergence of the “New South” and the explosion of economic activity that spread throughout the region in ensuing decades.

On July 22, 1975, the United States House of Representatives voted to restore U.S. Citizenship to General Robert E. Lee posthumously.

Though President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation of amnesty and pardon to the Southern rebels in 1865, it required Lee to apply separately. On Oct. 2, 1865, the same day that Lee was inaugurated as president of Washington College in Lexington, Va., he signed the required amnesty oath and filed an application through Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

Nonetheless, neither was Lee pardoned, nor was his citizenship restored. After receiving it, Secretary of State William Seward gave Lee’s application to a friend as a souvenir. Meanwhile, State Department officials, apparently with Seward’s approval, pigeonholed the oath.

In 1970, an archivist, examining State Department records at the National Archives, found Lee’s lost oath. That discovery helped set in motion a five-year congressional effort to restore citizenship to the general, who had died stateless in 1870.

President Gerald Ford signed the congressional resolution on July 24, 1975, correcting what he said was a 110-year oversight. The signing ceremony took place at Arlington House in Virginia, the former Lee family home. Several Lee descendants, including Robert E. Lee V, his great-great-grandson, attended.

On July 22, 1977, Elvis Costello released his first album, My Aim is True.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The late Dr. C.T. Vivian will lie in state in the Capitol today, under an Executive Order ( signed by Gov. Kemp. From the AJC:

Vivian, the Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient who moved to Atlanta in the 1970s, died last Friday at his home at the age of 95.

Following the three-hour viewing, a horse-drawn open carriage will take Vivian’s casket from the Capitol to the crypt of one his closest allies, Martin Luther King Jr.

Vivian’s casket is expected to arrive at the Capitol at 11:30 a.m. and be moved to the rotunda. At noon, the Vivian family will be received by Gov. Brian Kemp, who will escort them to the rotunda.

Vivian’s funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Providence Missionary Baptist Church. The services will be private, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but it will be streamed on the Providence website and through WSB-TV.

The New York Times obituary of Mr. Vivian is worth reading in its entirety.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 21, 2020

Ebony Street Paws INC

Ebony is a female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Street Paws, Inc. in McDonough, GA.

Ebony was found starving in a parking lot with her brother Onyx (below). We later found out Ebony was one of five pups that were dumped from a van on a deserted road when they were only 4 months old. 3 siblings were captured by animal control but Ebony and her brother Onyx somehow escaped and had to fend for themselves for over a week. Both were very emaciated and dehydrated. Ebony had to stay overnight at the vet office with a high fever due to infection from a wound she had on her neck. She is such a sweet and fun but energetic girl who loves attention. We are not sure how Ebony would get along with cats or other dogs or small children. She seems to have a prey drive with small dogs so she may be best as an only pet. She is currently living with her brother Onyx. With some TLC and obedience training we feel they both will be wonderful pets with a family willing to put the time and effort into them.

Onyx Street Paws INC

Onyx is a male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Street Paws, Inc. in McDonough, GA.

Charlotte Rose Street Paws INC

Charlotte Rose is a female Black and Tan Coonhound & German Shepherd Dog mix who is available for adoption from Street Paws, Inc. in McDonough, GA.

Charlotte Rose, aka Charlie, is a big fun loving girl who came to Street Paws from Henry County Animal Control. She was held in animal control for 7 months prior to her foster family selecting her to start a new life. The family was surprised how she maintained her happy and playful personality during the uncertain and stressful conditions at the shelter. She was underweight with a lot of ticks, but has since filled out and has a beautiful soft coat.

Charlotte is housebroken and crate trained, although she is currently free to roam the house when her foster family is gone. She walks well on a leash, and has learned a lot of commands, such as sit, down, stay, shake, as well as take it and leave it for treats and toys. She is very treat and praise driven and can learn a lot more! She loves to play fetch and go for walks, but really Charlotte just wants to be around her people. She will follow you around the house or yard and is always ready for a good ear scratch or belly rub.

Charlotte is definitely a people-dog, but with proper introduction, gets along good with other dogs as well. She still has a puppy mentality when it comes to dog-socialization, so any new dog will have to be understanding and patient with her energy and eager barks to meet. She is great with kids, her foster home has a 3 year old, and she is extremely patient with him and is excited to interact with him as much as with the adults. She in untested with cats, but her size and playfulness may be intimidating to any feline housemates.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 21, 2020

Union General Irvin McDowell’s forces engaged Confederates under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard and General Joseph Johnston at the First Battle of Manassas/Bull Run on July 21, 1861.

On July 21, 1868, the Georgia General Assembly ratified the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution as a condition for readmission.

Ernest Miller Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois.

On July 21, 1988, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis accepted the Democratic nomination for President at the National Convention in Atlanta.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former State Rep. Bruce Broadrick (R-Dalton) died last week, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News. My condolences to his family and friends.

“He was a good man, a good public servant and a good Daltonian,” Pennington said. “He represented all the best in this city.”

“The fact that he won that primary without a runoff over a couple of other very strong candidates shows just how much he was loved and respected in Dalton,” said City Council member Gary Crews.

Speaker of the House David Ralston sent his condolences to the Broadrick family.

“He served with great distinction and integrity until September 2017,” Ralston said in a statement. “During his service, Bruce served on a number of important committees. When he left the House, he was serving as vice-chair of the Game, Fish and Parks Committee. Rep. Broadrick was a quiet, thoughtful and hard-working member. He cared little about the limelight, preferring instead to be effective on behalf of his community. I hope you will join with me in lifting up his wife, Mary Ann, and his entire family in your thoughts and prayers.”

The Georgia High School Sports Association voted to delay the start of football season, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The GHSA on Monday voted to postpone the start of the 2020 high school football season to early September, or two weeks later than originally planned. The decision was made during a Board of Trustees meeting and passed unanimously.

A motion to stay with the current GHSA calendar was voted down 8-4.

The GHSA plans to have a full 10 game regular season, and a full five week playoff schedule. Only games are delayed — mandatory practices begin July 27, moving to workouts in full pads Aug. 1.

The decision affects only football: All other fall sports will remain on schedule.

The University of Georgia football program previously signed a contract to play UVA in a Chick-fil-A kickoff game in September, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

Georgia and Stokan, the Peach Bowl Inc. CEO and president, signed a term sheet the next month [in 2016?] to match the Bulldogs with Virginia on Sept, 7, 2020, Labor Day night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The next couple of weeks should determine whether that game goes off as scheduled.

“We’re really waiting now to see what the commissioners of the Big 12, ACC and SEC decide,” Stokan said Monday afternoon.

If the SEC goes with a nine game schedule or plus-one — eight conference games and one nonconference game — then Georgia would be out of the Chick-fil-A game and would play its traditional nonconference rivalry game with Georgia Tech while Florida State would play Florida in another end of season game.

The Democratic Party of Georgia chose State Senator and DPG Chair Nikema Williams as the party’s nominee for the 5th Congressional District, vacated by Rep. John Lewis. From the official newspaper of record of Georgia Democratic politics, the New York Times:Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 20, 2020

Jasper Evelyns Place Rescue

Jasper is a young male Doberman Pinscher and American Bulldog mix puppy who is available for adoption from Evelyn’s Place Rescue in Gainesville, GA.

Jasper is new to the rescue with his siblings Betsy and Tess. Jasper is 5 mo and great with kids and friendly dogs. We don’t know about cats.

Homer Humane Society NW GA

Homer is a young male Shepherd and Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Chibs Humane Society NW GA

Chibs is a young male Retriever and Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 20, 2020

On July 20, 1864, the Battle of Peachtree Creek took place in Atlanta.

Sir Edmund Hillary was born on July 20, 1919 in Auckland, New Zealand. He and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first to summit Mount Everest on May 29, 1953.

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to set foot on the moon.

When the lunar module lands at 4:18 p.m EDT, only 30 seconds of fuel remain. Armstrong radios “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Mission control erupts in celebration as the tension breaks, and a controller tells the crew “You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we’re breathing again.”

At 10:56 p.m. EDT Armstrong is ready to plant the first human foot on another world. With more than half a billion people watching on television, he climbs down the ladder and proclaims: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Aldrin joins him shortly, and offers a simple but powerful description of the lunar surface: “magnificent desolation.” They explore the surface for two and a half hours, collecting samples and taking photographs.

They leave behind an American flag, a patch honoring the fallen Apollo 1 crew, and a plaque on one of Eagle’s legs. It reads, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton gave the speech nominating Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis for President on July 20, 1988 at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. Dukakis accepted the nomination the next day.

Clinton’s performance was widely panned.

[Clinton] bombed so badly that there was speculation it might spoil his political future.

The prime-time speech would be a perfect opportunity for Clinton to regain some of the ground he’d lost to Gore and to reestablish himself as the one to watch from the party’s moderate/Southern wing.

But he blew it. The speech he delivered was long – 33 minutes, or twice the expected length – and mechanical. It only took a few minutes for convention delegates to tune him out, as the din of their conversations began drowning him out on television. Eventually, the broadcast networks began cutting away from his speech, with commentators noting the crowd’s complete lack of interest. The lowlight came when Clinton uttered the words “In closing,” prompting a spontaneous round of sarcastic cheers from the audience. His home state paper summed it up this way:

ATLANTA Gov. Bill Clinton’s big national moment his prime time speech Wednesday night in nomination of Michael Dukakis was an unmitigated disaster.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Congressman John Lewis (D-Atlanta) died Friday at the age of 80. From the New York Times:

Mr. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, announced on Dec. 29 that he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and vowed to fight it with the same passion with which he had battled racial injustice. “I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,” he said.

On the front lines of the bloody campaign to end Jim Crow laws, with blows to his body and a fractured skull to prove it, Mr. Lewis was a valiant stalwart of the civil rights movement and the last surviving speaker from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

He died on the same day as did another civil rights stalwart, the Rev. C.T. Vivian, a close associate of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mr. Lewis’s personal history paralleled that of the civil rights movement. He was among the original 13 Freedom Riders, the Black and white activists who challenged segregated interstate travel in the South in 1961. He was a founder and early leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which coordinated lunch-counter sit-ins. He helped organize the March on Washington, where Dr. King was the main speaker, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

On March 7, 1965, he led one of the most famous marches in American history. In the vanguard of 600 people demanding the voting rights they had been denied, Mr. Lewis marched partway across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., into a waiting phalanx of state troopers in riot gear.

Ordered to disperse, the protesters silently stood their ground. The troopers responded with tear gas and bullwhips and rubber tubing wrapped in barbed wire. In the melee, which came to be known as Bloody Sunday, a trooper cracked Mr. Lewis’s skull with a billy club, knocking him to the ground, then hit him again when he tried to get up.

The New York Times obituary is worth reading in its entirety, as it tells the story of the last sixty years of our nation’s struggle with her racial legacy.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 17, 2020

Pixie Dolly Goodpuppy Society

Pixie is a female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.

Pixie has been with us since she was just a pup and is repeatedly overlooked by adopters as she is timid around new people. It takes her a little bit to adjust and be comfortable with strangers but once she does, she is as happy as can be. Being shy is Pixie’s only fault; she is playful, fun, spunky, loving, overall a nice medium-sized terrier mix who plays well with other dogs. Pixie would benefit from a home with a confident dog and patient humans to help her overcome some of her shyness. In fact, a family willing to spend time with her at the kennel would be ideal.

Surfer Dude Dolly Goodpuppy Society

Surfer Dude is a male Border Collie or Retriever (you mean Hound) mix who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.

Our cool Surfer dude enjoys toys, water, and his friends. Play is the thing with Surf, and he thinks he would enjoy games like fetch. He learns very quickly, and will work for treats. This happy go lucky guy would love to meet you.

Paris Dolly Goodpuppy Society

Paris is a 2-year old male Beagle mix who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.

Paris is a young adult (2-ish) Beagle/Beagle mix who is intelligent, fun-loving, kind, and determined…especially when it comes to following his nose and zooming around the yard – he IS a beagle after all! For this reason Paris will need a home with a fenced yard. Paris gets along well with people and other dogs.