The blog.

4
Jun

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for June 4, 2018

Edward Labrador

Edward is a young male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA.

Lila Vizsla

Lila is a young female Vizsla mix puppy who is available for adoption from The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA.

Abby Hound

Abbi is a female Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA.

1
Jun

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for June 1, 2018

Spots Southern Souls

Spots is a female Catahoula Leopard Dog & Australian Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Southern Souls Rescue Harlem, GA.

Hans Southern Souls

Hans is a male Labrador Retriever and Beagle mix puppy who is available for adoption from Southern Souls Rescue Harlem, GA.

Rey Southern Souls

Rey is a male Labrador Retriever and Beagle mix puppy who is available for adoption from Southern Souls Rescue Harlem, GA.

1
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 1, 2018

Benjamin Franklin became Georgia’s agent in England on June 1, 1768, making him also Georgia’s first lobbyist.

On June 2, 1774, Britain’s Parliament passed the Quartering Act, the last of the Coercive Acts, meant to punish the American colonies and reassert British control. Eventually, the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution would prohibit the forcible quartering of soldiers in private homes.

On June 1, 1775, Georgia patriots sent a care package to their brethren in Massachusetts comprising 63 barrels of rice and £122 after the battles at Lexington and Concord.

The court martial of Benedict Arnold convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 1, 1779.

Arnold negotiated his defection to the British and the subversion of West Point over several months. The British already held control of New York City and believed that by taking West Point they could effectively cut off the American’s New England forces from the rest of the fledgling nation.

In August 1780, Sir Henry Clinton offered Arnold £20,000 for delivering West Point and 3,000 troops. Arnold told General Washington that West Point was adequately prepared for an attack even though he was busy making sure that that it really wasn’t. He even tried to set up General Washington’s capture as a bonus. His plan might have been successful but his message was delivered too late and Washington escaped. The West Point surrender was also foiled when an American colonel ignored Arnold’s order not to fire on an approaching British ship.

Arnold’s defection was revealed to the Americans when British officer John André, acting as a messenger, was robbed by AWOL Americans working as pirates in the woods north of New York City. The notes revealing Arnold’s traitorous agreement were stashed in his boots.

Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commanding forces west of the Mississippi, surrendered on June 2, 1865, and this date is generally considered the end of the Civil War.

On June 3, 1941, Georgia voters ratified a Constitutional Amendment extending the term of office for Governor and the other Constitutional Officers from two years to four. Governor Eugene Talmadge campaigned for the Amendment, hoping to serve a four-year term after the two-year term he currently held, but was defeated in the 1942 Democratic Primary by Ellis Arnall. Remember this phrase: legislation almost always has unintended consequences.

On June 1, 1942, a Polish newspaper first published information about the gassing of Jews at Nazi concentration camps in Poland.

On June 3, 1942, Curtis Mayfield was born in Chicago, Illinois and would later live in Atlanta, dying in Roswell in 1999.

Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on June 2, 1953.

On June 2, 1962, Georgia-born Ray Charles hit #1 on the charts with “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

On the morning of June 3, 1962, a plane carrying 106 Georgians crashed on take-off from Orly near Paris, the deadliest crash in aviation to that date.

The Beatles released Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on June 1, 1967. The album is listed as #1 on the Rolling Stone top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the most important rock & roll album ever made, an unsurpassed adventure in concept, sound, songwriting, cover art and studio technology by the greatest rock & roll group of all time. From the title song’s regal blasts of brass and fuzz guitar to the orchestral seizure and long, dying piano chord at the end of “A Day in the Life,” the 13 tracks on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band are the pinnacle of the Beatles’ eight years as recording artists. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were never more fearless and unified in their pursuit of magic and transcendence.

Issued in Britain on June 1st, 1967, and a day later in America, Sgt. Pepper is also rock’s ultimate declaration of change. For the Beatles, it was a decisive goodbye to matching suits, world tours and assembly-line record-making. “We were fed up with being Beatles,” McCartney said decades later, in Many Years From Now, Barry Miles’ McCartney biography. “We were not boys, we were men… artists rather than performers.

“It was a peak,” Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1970, describing both the album and his collaborative relationship with McCartney. “Paul and I were definitely working together,” Lennon said….

Rolling Stone should stick to writing about music.

On June 3, 1980, Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter had amassed enough delegates to assure his nomination in the Democratic Primary for President.

A summit between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev ended on May 31, 1988. Four years later, in 1992, Gorbachev was dancing for dollars in the United States, including the keynote address at Emory University’s graduation.

Sunday, June 3d is the anniversary of the beginning of the Tiananman Square Massacre in Beijing, China. Pro-democracy protests had begun on April 15, 1989 and on May 20, martial law was declared. The People’s Liberation Army began taking the square back on the evening of June 3d.

Tom Barton of the Savannah Morning News writes about the historic Savannah Powder Magazine, built in 1898.

The historic Savannah Powder Magazine was built 120 years ago during a time when gunpowder and dynamite were the explosives of choice and when citizens were rightly worried that an accidental ignition of these stored materials could wipe out much of the city.

As always, city leaders, including then-Mayor Peter Meldrim, were worried about their political self-preservation.

The two architects designed the new powder magazine in the Gothic style, technically called the King Arthur style.

This impressive structure is hidden by a thicket of trees and bushes on the north side of a busy stretch of Ogeechee Road just east of Chatham Parkway. There’s no marker to note its presence.

The red-brick building was completed in 1898. Inside the magazine are two rooms, each accessible to the outside by its own door.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Blythe, Georgia saw a tied election on May 22d, with the candidates headed to a July 24 runoff, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The May 22 contest saw Judy Cordova, manager of the AM-PM convenience store in Blythe, and Blythe rental property owner John Daniel Martin tie 75-75. The special election was called to fill the council seat of Cindy Parham, who resigned to run for mayor of the town of about 700 on the Richmond-Burke county line.

Cordova and Martin each appeared at a Friday recount of votes performed by Richmond County Board of Elections because of the tie. Martin said he hoped a stray vote would surface to move him to the lead but the recount left the count at 75 for each.

In elections, “ties are rare, but not unheard of,” said Charles Bullock, University of Georgia Richard B. Russell Professor of Political Science. A recent example was a fall contest in the lower house of the Virginia legislature that determined whether Republicans or Democrats controlled the house, he said.

While some jurisdictions decide ties with a coin flip, the Blythe contest now heads to a runoff July 24 because neither candidate received a majority of votes, said Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey. Richmond County will already be holding elections that day to decide several statewide primary runoffs.

Cordova said she hoped action on Martin’s criminal case ahead of the runoff would help voters make up their minds.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office in March announced an investigation into vote-buying in a special Blythe election for mayor, and while the state probe remains open, a Richmond County Grand Jury subsequently indicted Martin for buying a man alcohol and tobacco at the AM-PM in exchange for voting for mayor candidate Phillip Stewart, and for furnishing alcohol to a minor because the man, Jacob Odum, was under 21.

So, let me get this straight: Daniel Martin is accused of vote buying at the convenience store managed by the other candidate?

Twiggs County Sheriff Darren Mitchum is in the spotlight after jailing local parents who gave their 15-year old son marijuana, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Mitchum last month jailed a Macon mother and father after they allegedly gave their 15-year-old son marijuana to smoke to treat the boy’s seizures. The teen had been taken from the couple’s home and placed in child services’ care.

That triggered a media firestorm, and Mitchum himself tossed more fuel into the mix Thursday at a press conference where he tried to explain himself.

“Whatever the law is, it’s my job to enforce it,” Mitchum said “The fact is that, as of today, marijuana is not legal in the state of Georgia to possess or smoke or use for recreational use. And that’s it.”

The Brills were jailed April 20 on reckless conduct charges. Their son, after being taken from the home by DFCS, suffered a seizure that day and was hospitalized, the sheriff’s statement said.

Gainesville City Council is proposing a .5 mill increase in the property tax millage rate, according to the Gainesville Times.

Gainesville officials are proposing a 0.5-mill increase in the city’s property tax rate to fund transportation projects and raises for public safety workers as part of the city’s $40.2 million budget.

There is not a water or sewer rate increase in the proposed budget, which was presented at the City Council’s work session on Thursday, May 31.

The city’s informational video on the proposed budget explains that for every city tax dollar, 30 cents goes to general operations, including Gainesville Police; 44 cents to the fire department and 26 cents to parks and recreation. The millage rate increase would add 17 cents to that dollar — 11 cents for transportation, four for public safety and two for general operations. That would provide the city with $2.3 million in additional revenue to invest.

The proposed millage increase would result in a $100 tax increase for someone with a $200,000 home.

The US Army Corps of Engineers is releasing more water from the Buford Dam to deal with heavy rainfall and a high water level, according to the Gainesville Times.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to release water from the dam because six to eight inches of rain during the past 48 hours pushed lake levels higher than 1,073 feet above sea level, E. Patrick Robbins, Mobile District spokesman, said in an email. Summer full pool is 1,071 feet.

Robbins said the lake needs to maintain that level so facilities on the lake can operate efficiently.

“When the lake goes above that level, it impacts recreation facilities, private docks and marinas, as they are all designed for maximum operation at the summer pool level,” he said.

“People can stay safe near the dam by making sure they swim in designated swim areas only and practice boat safety,” Robbins said. “We are also asking that if you swim in Lake Lanier that you wear a life jacket.”

Savannah extended the application date for fire fee discounts to June 15, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The revenue department has received nearly 1,000 calls each day for the past three days from property owners seeking help with their applications and the number of applications received has nearly doubled in the past few days, according to city officials.

On Tuesday the city reported that about 2,000 applications had been recieved, while 47,345 properties are eligible for the discount.

The Georgia Peach Festival kicks off today and tomorrow in Fort Valley and continues next Saturday in Byron, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Strong peach crops are expected this year, despite the rain, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Near daily rainfall over the past two weeks has left midstate peach growers struggling to get their crop to the shed, but so far they have met the challenge.

“It’s been kind of unprecedented, the number of days of rain we have had,” said Robert Dickey, owner of Dickey Farms in Crawford County. “I don’t know what normal is anymore.”

Although too much rain can cause disease and impact peach quality, Dickey said the biggest problem has been the picking process. Wet weather can cause equipment to get stuck.

Jeff Cook, county agent for Peach and Taylor counties, said harvesting has been the biggest problem for all of the growers. Rain has caused some bacterial disease on the leaves, but he said it has not significantly hurt the peaches.

Equal Rights Amendment advocates will target Georgia for ratification of the Amendment, despite a 1982 deadline, according to AccessWDUN.

31
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 31, 2018

The Treaty of Augusta was signed on May 31, 1783, between the Creek Indians and Georgia Commissioners. A second, identical document would be signed on November 1 of that year.

The first graduation ceremony for the University of Georgia was held on May 31, 1804.

Savannah-born John C. Fremont was nominated for President of the United States by the Radical Republicans on May 31, 1864. Fremont had previously been nominated for President by the Republican Party as their first presidential candidate in 1856.

The Capital City Club in Atlanta was chartered on May 31, 1889.

United States Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan certified the 17th Amendment as part of the Constitution on May 31, 1913, authorizing the direct election of United States Senators. Georgia never ratified the Amendment.

Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter appeared on the cover of Time magazine on May 31, 1971.

Carter Time Cover 1971

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Two major milestones were reached in Gwinnett County’s political development last week.

First, more Democrats voted in the Gubernatorial Primary than Republicans for the first time in decades.

Republicans – 36,243

Democrats – 40,754

Second, an African-American woman, Ronda Colvin-Leary, was elected to the State Court bench in an open seat, and without a runoff.

I don’t know whether the two are related, and I don’t know how Ms. Colvin-Leary or her competitors campaigned. But it’s noteworthy.

Tyler Estep of the AJC, formerly with the Gwinnett Daily Post, wrote about the election results.

Colvin-Leary, a local attorney, won her nonpartisan race for a spot on Gwinnett’s State Court bench, making her the first black judge elected in the history of one of Georgia’s most diverse counties — and she may also be its first person of color elected in a countywide local election.

“I’m just humbled that so many people believed in me,” Colvin-Leary said. “And I think it’s significant also because I had the support of a lot of people, I had bipartisan support. … I think why that means so much to me is that people looked past the race [of the candidates].”

Because Gwinnett’s local judicial races are nonpartisan, her victory last week over opponent Lance Tyler is final and there will be no second election in November.

Gwinnett spokesman Joe Sorenson said the county has had black judges appointed to its magistrate, juvenile and recorders courts. The county’s Administrative Office of the Courts, however, confirmed that no black judge had ever been elected.

Gwinnett has about 920,000 residents, and less than 40 percent of them are white. Black residents make up about 28 percent of the county’s population, with Latino (21 percent) and Asian (12 percent) not far behind.

In the slightly larger context of Gwinnett County judicial races, Colvin-Leary’s victory extends a streak of women winning open seat judicial elections. This year, Tracie Cason won a Superior Court seat in a field of three without a runoff, and two women, Tracey Mason and Veronica Cope, advanced to the runoff in another open Superior Court seat.

Going forward, if the 2018 voter turnout in Gwinnett County becomes the new norm, we can expect to see County Commission seats begin to change hands, and campaign tactics in countywide nonpartisan election will change to adjust to a primary electorate that is no longer Republican-dominated.

Republicans Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp are blamestorming over the 9-week primary runoff timeframe, according to the AJC.

For decades, Georgia law required runoffs just three weeks after an initial election if no candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote. But a federal judge’s 2013 ruling that found Georgia didn’t give Americans living abroad enough time to mail their ballots led to the current nine-week marathon.

The prospect of a drawn-out July 24 GOP runoff between Cagle and Kemp – while Democrat Stacey Abrams works to unify her party and focus on the November vote – has unnerved many Republicans. Which is likely why Cagle invoked the issue in one of his sharpest post-primary attacks against Kemp.

“For all the voters horrified at the thought of nine more weeks of politics, you can thank Brian Kemp’s office for bungling the federal court case that forced these long runoffs on the state,” said Cagle, who finished with about 39 percent of the vote in last week’s primary.

In response to Cagle’s charge, Kemp highlighted that sense of consensus around the timing.

“It’s no surprise that career politician Casey Cagle is attacking the run-off calendar championed by Gov. Deal,” he said. “He spent $8 million and dropped dramatically in the polls. The more people see of Cagle, the less they like. His quarter century in politics ends in nine weeks.”

Renee Unterman John Watson

Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Watson was joined by House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones (R-Milton) and Senate HHS Chair Renee Unterman (R-Buford) in a press conference highlighting Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams’ financial missteps.

As Republicans brace for a bruising runoff between Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the state GOP is trying to ratchet up the pressure on Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams.

At a press conference Wednesday hosted by the Georgia GOP, two of the party’s top female leaders — House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones and state Sen. Renee Unterman — urged Abrams to release 10 years of her tax returns. Neither Republican candidate for governor has yet to do so.

The Republicans are seizing on an ethics complaint filed by a watchdog group questioning about $84,000 in reimbursements from Abrams’ campaign committees over several years that lack details about how the money was spent.

Abrams also has disclosed that she owed more than $50,000 in taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, which she said she accrued in part by helping her parents pay their medical bills. She has said she’s on a payment plan and tried to turn her debt into a selling point during the primary.

You can watch the full press conference on the GAGOP Facebook page.

Former State Senator Rick Jeffares has endorsed Senator David Shafer in the race for Lieutenant Governor, according to Shafer’s Facebook page.

A big day today. Rick Jeffares, who finished third in the Republican Primary with 24% of the vote, is now supporting me. We are announcing Rick’s endorsement [Thursday] morning.

Jeffares Shafer

Sandra Bullock, Democratic nominee for House District 40, dropped out of the election to succeed State Rep. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna).

Bullock, who had never previously run for office, won the primary for an open seat representing the Smyrna area even though she didn’t meet with many voters, raise money or campaign.

Bullock’s name made her instantly recognizable to voters, who were more familiar with the Hollywood actress who starred in “The Blind Side,” “Speed” and the upcoming “Ocean’s 8.”

Her withdrawal from the race allows her more established primary opponent, Erick Allen, to replace her on the ballot in a district targeted by Democrats to flip from Republican control. Hillary Clinton won the district with about 54 percent of the vote in the 2016 presidential election, according to the Georgia Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office.

Catoosa County elected two new County Commissioners, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

District 2 challenger Chuck Harris, a medical equipment salesman, defeated incumbent Bobby Winters by a slim eight votes on Election Day, Tuesday, May 22.

Winters was in the lead after early voting, which ended May 18 — 175 votes to Harris’ 164 votes. However, Harris had the most Election Day votes, 290 to 265, which gave him the overall lead, 458 votes (50.44%) to 450 votes (49.46%).

In the District 4 race, Charlie Stephens, who runs a garbage collection service, defeated incumbent Ray Johnson, who has been on the board since 2015.

Numbers show that Stephens led early voting in the race 163 to 131, as well as Tuesday’s votes (457 to 406), for an overall count of 623 (53.43%) to 543 (46.57%).

The US Army Corps of Engineers is warning about dangerous water conditions on the Chattahoochee River, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Heavy rains, most recently from Tropical Storm Alberto, have raised the water level of Lake Lanier passed its full pool of elevation of 1,071 feet, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials said. That will necessitate water being released from Buford Dam 24 hours per day, making for dangerous conditions on the Chattahoochee River, where the water is released.

“Wading and other uses of the river will be impossible at these flows. Only experienced boaters should attempt navigation during this time,” said E. Patrick Robbins, who is with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Rainfall of 6-8 inches from Tropical Storm Alberto that fell in the watershed above Lake Lanier during the last 48 hours has pushed lake levels above 1073 and an additional rise is expected,” Robbins said. “We need to begin evacuating water from the lake to get back to the normal 1071 summer pool.”

With Lake Lanier at flood stage, officials said boaters should use caution when on the water and swimmers may want to avoid hitting the beaches due to the water quality, Operations Project Manager Tim Rainey with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told Fox5.

Helen, Georgia also got hammered by rain, according to the Gainesville Times.

The National Weather Service said up to 7 inches of rain caused flooding to creeks and rivers in the city about 30 miles north of Gainesville. The weather service had issued a flash flood warning for White and Towns counties into Wednesday evening.

Several roads near the downtown area were shut down because of the rising water, which was about knee height.

White County is experiencing rain-related problems, according to AccessWDUN.

White County is 14.3 inches above normal rainfall so far this year, with much of that precipitation falling in the past week.

White County Public Safety Director David Murphy reported Wednesday that 9-1-1 dispatch received several calls Tuesday night and Wednesday morning concerning trees down, road blocked with debris and roads with heavy water runoff — especially in  higher elevations.

According to Murphy, moderate to heavy mudslides have been reported, mainly on the mountain north of Helen toward Towns County.

Lake Lanier Olympic Park has partially flooded, according to AccessWDUN.

With Lake Lanier’s water level already well above full pool, rainfall this week began creating problems at Lake Lanier Olympic Park, prompting officials to stack sandbags in strategic locations to ward off water damage.

Venue Manager Robin Lynch said Wednesday there are no plans to close the park, but conditions are hazardous around the site.

“We have water cresting over the apron on the boathouse side and then all the way up to the grandstands,” Lynch said.

Lynch said staff and volunteers placed sandbags around an air conditioning unit, hoping to prevent damage to it, and she said there’s concern rising water levels could damage boats stored in the boathouse at the site.

Bald Eagles are making such a strong comeback that the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will conduct fewer population surveys, according to the Gainesville Times.

Beginning this year, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will only survey eagle populations in half of the state each year after several years of encouraging counts of successful eagle nests spotted during helicopter surveys of the state.

More than 200 nests have been documented throughout Georgia for the past three years, according to DNR. A recent survey found almost 110 nesting territories in six counties on the Georgia coast, according to an announcement from the state on Tuesday, May 29.

Only three decades ago, Georgia set a goal to have 20 eagle nests in the state. The state recorded a record 218 nests in 2017.

Savannah-based Gulfstream continues expanding in a strengthening international economy, according to the Savannah Morning News.

This year alone the company has announced expansions in Savannah and Appleton, Wisconsin, delivered their 300th G650 jet and extended their operating hours and service capabilities at their Beijing service center.

“I feel good about the market in general for us,” Gulfstream President Mark Burns said in an interview with the Savannah Morning News this week.

“Business aviation has always been a very cyclical business, but right now I think the world economy is moving forward and all in all I feel good about the market. I feel good about our position here in Savannah as well.”

31
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 31, 2018

Gwinnett Winston

Winston is a 2-year old male Beagle mix who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Gwinnett Penny

Penny is a 4-year old Belgian Malinois mix female who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Gwinnett Maserati

Maserati is an 8-year old American Bulldog mix who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Gwinnett Willis

Willis is a 7-year old male Foxhound or Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

30
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 30, 2018

Sprinkle HSNWGA

Sprinkle is a young male Pit Bull Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Smiley HSNWGA

Smiley is a male Hound dog who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Rebel HSNWGA

Rebel is a male Foxhound or Treeing Walker Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

30
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 30, 2018

On May 30, 1922, Chief Justice of the United States William H. Taft dedicated the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Inside the memorial is a seated statue of Lincoln by Daniel Chester French carved from 175 tons of Georgia white marble.

French also created the statue of Jame Oglethorpe that stands in Chippewa Square in Savannah and a seated statue of Samuel Spencer considered to be a prototype of the Lincoln carving. Samuel Spencer was the first President of Southern Railway and was originally located at the rail station in downtown Atlanta before moving to the Southern Railway passenger station in Buckhead in the 1970s and is currently at 1200 Peachtree Street in front of Norfolk Southern.

On this day in 1992, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion by Georgia-based The Black Crowes reached number one on the Billboard US Album chart.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal said that scandals engulfing Atlanta City Hall should not affect the region’s bid for Amazon’s HQ2, according to WABE.

“The new mayor has been very active in working with us at the state level, and very proactive in terms of new business development,” the governor said after a press conference Tuesday. ” I think she has the right approach to it. These other things will take care of themselves.”

Deal said he doesn’t believe either issue will factor into Amazon’s decision. The online retail giant is expected to choose a city this year.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle is staffing up headed to the July 24 Primary Runoff Election, according to the Gainesville Times.

Casey Cagle has hired new staff and opened a campaign office in Hall County.

Cagle’s campaign announced the new staff in a Tuesday, May 29, announcement.

The lieutenant governor pulled Gainesville native Graham Williams from the private sector to run the Hall County field office, which opened on Tuesday. Cagle’s campaign headquarters is in Atlanta, and the opening of the field office comes after Cagle took just less than 50 percent of the vote in his home county.

Cagle for Georgia has also hired Ryan Williams, who ran Rick Jeffares’ campaign for lieutenant governor, as his deputy campaign manager. He’ll work under Scott Binkley, whom Cagle hired before he officially launched his campaign.

The Georgia Republican Party will hold a press conference today to pressure Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, according to the AJC.

At a press conference Wednesday to be hosted by the Georgia GOP, two of the party’s top women leaders — Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones and state Sen. Renee Unterman — intend to urge Abrams to release 10 years of her tax returns.

They are seizing on an ethics complaint filed by a watchdog group questioning about $84,000 in reimbursements from her campaign committees over several years that lack details about how the money was spent.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that loans will be made available to some South Georgia organizations, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations located in Georgia as a result of the drought that began on March 20.

The loans are available in the following counties: Atkinson, Berrien, Brooks, Clinch, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes and Tift.

“When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to eligible entities, affected by the same disaster,” said Richard Morgan, acting director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at www.Disasterloan.sba.gov.

Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. J. Patrick O’Neal spoke in Dalton about risks of the opioid epidemic, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

“I have a nephew who overdosed (on drugs) and was revived,” the commissioner of the state Department of Public Health said here recently. “He’s been clean for two years, holding a job and doing well. As I talk to other folks I hear some of the same stories.”

Dr. J. Patrick O’Neal was the speaker during a meeting of the North Georgia Healthcare Coalition at the Dalton Convention Center. The coalition consists of agencies in Georgia Hospital Association Region A that coordinate emergency response plans. The region includes Catoosa, Dade, Fannin, Gilmer, Gordon, Murray, Pickens, Walker and Whitfield counties.

O’Neal’s topic was “Opioid Crisis in Georgia, Public Health’s Role.”

“I think it impacts every single family in Georgia in some way,” he said. “For me, it’s personal.”

“We don’t have the data yet, but it’s looking like the number of overdose deaths we had in 2017, particularly opioid, may exceed deaths we have from car crashes,” he said.

“Most of those addictions start with prescription drugs,” O’Neal said. “I can tell you that as a doctor we are having to rethink the way we treat pain.”

Gwinnett County transportation planners are wrapping up the public comment period on transit development, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“We’re wrapping up our recommendations round of public input right now,” Gwinnett County Transportation Director Alan Chapman said. “We’ve held our public meetings, our outreach events and we’re just about to cut off the online survey . We’re running it through the end of the month.”

The county is working on short-, mid- and long-range plans for expanding transit with everything from more bus routes to bus rapid transit and a four-mile extension of heavy rail from MARTA’s Doraville station to a planned multimodal hub near Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Interstate 85 on the table.

“I think we’ve gotten a lot of response to the plan as a whole, mostly positive,” Chapman said. “I think a lot of support for having a balanced plan. I do think there is support for tying into the region with the heavy rail extension and having other connections to the region like in the southern part of the county tying, long term, into the Indian Creek MARTA station on the east line and also tying into north Fulton.”

Initially, in the five-year short-range plan, the focus will be on adding more local routes providing access to areas such as the Mall of Georgia and the U.S. Highway 78 corridor as well as expanding paratransit and express commuter bus services.

The Augusta Commission will consider a smoke-free ordinance next week, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

A tougher ordinance that would ban smoking in bars and most other public workplaces in Augusta is headed to the Augusta Commission next week, but without a recommendation from a committee.

The move Tuesday by the Public Service Committee was the latest salvo in a years-long fight between public health advocates and bar owners, who both showed up in force to fill the commission chamber. About two dozen people representing bars and other establishments and wearing “Butt Out of My Business” stickers sat on one side of the room, countered by around 15 people wearing “I Want to Breatheasy” stickers from the Breatheasy Augusta coalition on the other side.

Breatheasy member Jennifer Anderson said all the commissioners had to do is look south to Savannah, which has had a similar ordinance in place since 2011 and is the one the Augusta coalition based this ordinance on, to see “the benefit they have seen in their community.”

While getting the health benefits from the ordinance, Savannah has not suffered economically, as many studies have borne out in communities across the country, said coalition member Danielle Moores. There are also benefits for businesses in terms of reduced cleaning costs and improved employee health – one study estimated Georgia would save $66 million if all of the communities had a smoke-free ordinance, she said.

The National Park Service issued a report saying that some national parks in Georgia may be threatened by rising sea levels, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Among them: Cumberland Island off the Georgia coast, a fort near Savannah and another fort on St. Simons Island.

The park with the highest future water levels in Georgia is Fort Pulaski National Monument near Savannah, WABE Radio reported.

A tide gauge at Fort Pulaski shows that water levels have risen there by about a foot per century.

The study will be helpful to park managers who need to plan for the future, said Sarah Barmeyer, senior managing director of conservation programs at the National Parks Conservation Association.

Saint Simons Island residents drove voter turnout in Glynn County, according to The Brunswick News.

St. Simons Island Republicans drove the voter turnout numbers for Glynn County during the May 22 primaries, with each island precinct exceeding the 33 percent mark and claiming nearly 49 percent of all county ballots cast in the GOP gubernatorial contest, according to an analysis of voting numbers by The News.

St. Simons Island is also where Glynn County Board of Commissioners candidate David O’Quinn ran up his margin in the at-large GOP nomination race, one of the most competitive local races.

Where the St. Simons Island GOP’s strength did not define a clear front-runner was the top-ticket race for governor. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle won each St. Simons Island precinct, but it was a close affair. He had nine votes more than Secretary of State Brian Kemp at the Christian Renewal Church, five votes more than former state Sen. Hunter Hill at Oglethorpe Point Elementary School, was tied with Kemp at Fire Station No. 2 and had seven votes more than Hill at St. Simons First Baptist Church.

Hill ended up winning the most votes in the county, making Glynn the only county Hill carried, but it was close. Hill picked up small advantages in precincts elsewhere in the county to build his slim 29-vote margin.

Macon-Bibb County is urging residents to stay off the Ocmulgee River and has closed access due to fast-moving water, according to the Macon Telegraph.

29
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 29, 2018

Kevin Harris Calhoun

Kevin Harris is a young male Spaniel mix who is available for adoption from the Animal Rescue League of Northwest Georgia in Calhoun, GA. Kevin Harris loves people, exercise, exercise, exercise, all day

Sugar Calhoun

Sugar is a young female Chihuahua mix who is available for adoption from the Animal Rescue League of Northwest Georgia in Calhoun, GA. Sugar loves to cuddle, plays well with dogs.

Brownie Calhoun

Brownie is a young female Chihuahua mix who is available for adoption from the Animal Rescue League of Northwest Georgia in Calhoun, GA. Brownie is a real lover, loves to play with people and other dogs

29
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 29, 2018

Lt. Colonel George Washington fought French and Indian scouts on May 28, 1754, beginning the Seven Years War.

On May 28, 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, requiring all Native Americans to relocate west of the Mississippi River.

On May 29, 1836, the United States Senate ratified the Treaty of New Echota, which required the movement of all Cherokee out of Georgia and led to the “Trail of Tears.”

The Battle of Dallas, Georgia began on May 28, 1864. Click here to watch Week 7 of the Georgia Public Broadcasting/Atlanta History Center series on the Civil War in Georgia.

On May 29, 1942, Adolf Hitler ordered all Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris to wear a yellow Star of David on their coats.

Happy Birthday to Gladys Knight, born in Atlanta on May 28, 1944. Try some chicken and waffles and traditional Georgia side dishes if you’re downtown today.

On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese Sherpa, became the first to summit Mount Everest.

On May 28, Tenzing and Hillary set out, setting up high camp at 27,900 feet. After a freezing, sleepless night, the pair plodded on, reaching the South Summit by 9 a.m. and a steep rocky step, some 40 feet high, about an hour later. Wedging himself in a crack in the face, Hillary inched himself up what was thereafter known as the Hillary Step. Hillary threw down a rope, and Norgay followed. At about 11:30 a.m., the climbers arrived at the top of the world.

News of the success was rushed by runner from the expedition’s base camp to the radio post at Namche Bazar, and then sent by coded message to London, where Queen Elizabeth II learned of the achievement on June 1, the eve of her coronation. The next day, the news broke around the world. Later that year, Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the queen. Norgay, because he was not a citizen of a Commonwealth nation, received the lesser British Empire Medal.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Our prayers are with Tom Crawford, long-time editorialist and publisher of The Georgia Report, who is receiving hospice care for cancer. Crawford wrote:

I am, unfortunately, in the final stages of cancer and am under home hospice care.  For that reason, we are suspending operation of The Georgia Report after more than 18 years of publication.

I appreciate the support of all our readers. It has been quite a ride. Thank you all very much.

Your friend and editor,

Tom Crawford

The Associated Press writes about party turnout in this year’s primary elections.

Republican ballots made up approximately 61 percent of early and absentee primary votes in the 2014 and 2016 election cycles, according to data provided by Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office. Democratic ballots made up just 37 percent those years.

Fast forward to this year, and the Republican share of early and absentee primary ballots has shrunk to 53 percent, while Democrats’ share has climbed to 46 percent. Still, even though Democrats have seen recent gains, GOP advance voters exceeded Democratic ones by a healthy margin.

The total number of early ballots cast was down slightly, according to preliminary estimates, from roughly 329,000 in 2016 to 320,000 this year, though years like 2016 with a presidential election usually record higher turnouts.

Advance in-person voting continues to increase each year in Georgia, while mail-in voting has tapered.

ATL Transit Link supporters spoke to Henry County citizens about what the new organization could mean for transit in Henry, according to the Henry Herald.

Representatives from the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Department of Transportation, as well as the chairwoman of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners were on hand to provide information and answer questions about what the ATL could mean for Henry County.

The ATL, said David Haynes, principal planner of the ARC, is an attempt to clear up what he called the “Balkanization” of different transit systems around the Atlanta metro area.

A question submitted to the town hall asked how feasible a rail option was for Henry County and how quickly rail could come to the area.

“It depends on the funding and the type of rail produced,” Lemon said. “If you’ve been to Charlotte, you’ve seen a dramatic change in implemention in light rail in the last 10 years.”

Haynes said the timeline could be even longer than 10 years, depending on the type of rail requested.

The Henry County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed the FY 2019 budget without a millage rate increase, according to the Henry Herald.

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway‘s department has transferred more inmates to federal immigration officials since President Donald Trump took office, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

In the first 3 1/2 months of Trump’s presidency, Gwinnett County transferred nearly 250 percent more inmates into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody than in the same period in 2016, a recently released report by the Migration Policy Institute showed.

The 116-page document, titled “Revving Up the Deportation Machinery: Enforcement under Trump and the Pushback,” was co-written by five researchers for MPI, a nonprofit research center that looks at migration trends and refugee policies at local, national and international levels.

“The broad picture that emerges is of a sea of change in interior enforcement from the final years of the Obama administration, when ICE immigration activities were tightly focused on criminals, recent border crossers and those with fresh removal orders,” the report said. “In a sharp reversal, Department of Homeland Security policy under the Trump administration deems every unauthorized immigrant or otherwise deportable noncitizen a candidate for arrest and removal.

Though the 287(g) program, which has been active in Gwinnett since 2010 when Conway first signed on, is relatively new, the county’s cooperation with federal officials and its little tolerance for unauthorized immigrants is not a new stance, Conway told the Daily Post.

“It’s federal law — our immigration laws are — and we enforce (U.S. law),” Conway said. “We were enforcing immigration law in the 1970s when I first started policing and we were cooperating with the federal government then. It hasn’t changed.”

Jeffrey Wilson was named as the new Floyd County School Superintendent, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Teenage members of the Gainesville Police Department Explorer 297 Post created an anti-opioid public service announcement and cam in as runners-up in a contest sponsored by the Attorney General’s office.

A July 18 hearing has been set for the interlocutory appeal in the case seeking to invalidate legislation creating the City of Eagles Landing, according to the Henry Herald.

The request for an interlocutory injunction would ask the court to prevent members of the Board of Commissioners and Board of Elections and Registration from “taking any action to aid or abet the creation of the city of Eagles Landing.”

The city of Stockbridge has stated that, since a referendum is scheduled in November, time is of the essence for its case.

In court documents supplied by the city of Stockbridge, the city has asked for the injunction as officials view it to be “critical to preserve the status quo and protect (Stockbridge) and the public from irreparable harm until the court can make a final determination as to the constitutionality of the legislative acts purporting to create the city of Eagles Landing and de-annex property from the city of Stockbridge.”

Gwinnett County Commissioners approved bonds to finance the expansion of Infinite Energy Center, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Board of Commissioners approved the issuing of bonds that will fund an expansion of the center’s conference space as well as construction on a new parking deck that must be built to make room in the existing parking area for the Revel mixed-use development. They will be first construction bonds issued by the county in nearly a decade.

Gwinnett voters approved $67.34 million in special purpose local option sales tax funding to help pay for the expansion as part of the 2017 SPLOST referendum. Bonds will be issued to get construction started, and the SPLOST funds will pay off most of that debt.

“I’m grateful for Explore Gwinnett’s efforts to promote tourism over the years and look forward to their plans for attracting even more visitors,” County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said in a statement. “I’m grateful to Gwinnett voters for recognizing the ability of SPLOST to enhance our community’s quality of life.

To help pay off the debt on the Infinite Energy Center expansion, the commissioners increased the county’s hotel/motel tax from 7 percent to 8 percent. It was the first increase in the hotel/motel tax since 2000, and the new rate is expected to generate about $1.5 million to $1.6 million in revenue.

The 8 percent rate will go into effect Aug. 1.

Glynn County Schools will provide free breakfast and lunch over the summer, according to The Brunswick News.

In Glynn County Schools, 85 percent of students received free and reduced lunch benefits.

Last summer, the free meal program served nearly 48,000 breakfasts and more than 57,000 lunches.

“Serving almost 105,000 meals last summer is a good indication that this is a much-needed program in Glynn County,” said Dawn Lewis, culinary services director for Glynn County Schools, in a press release.

Breakfast and lunch will be served at 33 locations in Brunswick and on St. Simons Island on Mondays through Fridays beginning June 4 and ending July 27. Meals will not be served on July 4.

25
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 25, 2018

Harris Forlorn

Harris is a young male pitbull mix puppy who is available for adoption from Friends To The Forlorn Pitbull Rescue Inc. in Dallas, GA.

Jolly Forlorn

Jolly is a young female pitbull mix puppy who is available for adoption from Friends To The Forlorn Pitbull Rescue Inc. in Dallas, GA. Jolly is deaf and needs a forever home that is prepared to help her with her special needs.

Joplin Forlorn

Joplin is a young female Shepherd and pitbull mix puppy who is available for adoption from Friends To The Forlorn Pitbull Rescue Inc. in Dallas, GA.