The blog.

9
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 9, 2019

Mandy Waynesboro

Mandy is a female Pit Bull Terrier and Feist mix who is available for adoption from Old Fella Burke County Animal Rescue in Waynesboro, GA.

Mandy should have been born a seal. She is fat, playful and LOVES water! This gal is a bundle of energy and stays happy all the time! She is good with children and other dogs of all sizes. She is crate trained and well started on potty training. Mandy is looking for someone to love her, as much as she will love you!

Megan Waynesboro

Megan is a female Boxer and Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Old Fella Burke County Animal Rescue in Waynesboro, GA.

Gretchen Waynesboro

Gretchen is a female German Shepherd Dog and Husky mix who is available for adoption from Old Fella Burke County Animal Rescue in Waynesboro, GA.

9
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 9, 2018

On May 9, 1862, a Union general, David Hunter, ordered the freedom of all slaves held in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, but President Lincoln issued a counter-order.

In Georgia on May 9, 1864, Union troops under General Sherman took Snake Creek Gap. In Atlanta, a notice was published,

“ATTENTION MILITIA! All persons between the ages of 16 and 60, not in the service of the Confederate States, in the second ward, are hereby notified to be and appear at the City Hall today, at 2 o’clock P.M., for the purpose of being armed and equipped for local defense. Herein fail not under penalty.”

On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first official “Mother’s Day.”

On May 9, 1974, the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary opened hearing on the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

On May 9, 1977, the Grateful Dead played at Buffalo War Memorial Auditorium.

On May 9, 2005, Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation recognizing the Green Tree Frog at the official state amphibian.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp and eight other state governors signed a letter asking Congress and the Administration to fund disaster relief, according to WABE.

A $14 billion disaster relief bill has been hung up for months in a dispute between Trump and congressional Democrats over additional aid to Puerto Rico, which the president argues already has received enough federal assistance.

The 10 states signing the letter include Georgia, Alabama, California, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Plant Vogtle Unit 3 hit a new milestone as equipment has been switched from temporary generators to permanent incoming electric power, according to Oil & Gas 360.

Georgia Power announced today that plant equipment for Vogtle Unit 3 is now energized, or permanently powered, which is needed to perform all subsequent testing for the unit. With plant equipment previously running on temporary construction power, the completion of initial energization represents a significant milestone in the Vogtle expansion as the project moves from construction toward system operations.

“Initial energization is a major first step in transitioning the project from construction toward system operations,” said Vogtle 3 & 4 Construction Senior Vice President Glen Chick. “With energization complete, we can continue moving into the actual testing phase for Unit 3.”

Significant progress continues at the site, with the project now approximately 77 percent complete. With more than 7,000 workers currently onsite and more than 800 permanent jobs available once the units begin operating, Vogtle 3 & 4 is currently the largest jobs-producing construction project in the state of Georgia.

U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said the administration is open to increasing Georgia Medicaid funding under a waiver, according to Georgia Health News.

Verma also told conference attendees that the agency is applying “a rural lens to CMS programs and policies to lower costs, ensure access and improve quality of care for rural Americans.’’

And she told GHN in an interview that the Trump administration is receptive to states’ ideas for federal waivers that could change state Medicaid and private insurance rules. Georgia is in the process of formulating waiver requests that will be made to the federal government.

Verma said CMS had met with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on his waiver initiative, and she added that she would be touching base with Kemp again Wednesday. Georgia officials have begun the process of soliciting bids from consulting firms on a contract to develop the state’s waiver proposals.

“I think it’s too early to understand what direction they’re going in, in terms of this waiver,’’ Verma said.

She said that the Trump administration is reviewing a proposal to raise the federal match level to 90 percent if states want to expand their Medicaid programs to 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or roughly $12,500 in income for an individual.

That’s the level that Kemp has targeted in his waiver effort.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) has proposed legislation to fund immigration enforcement on the southern border, according to the Gainesville Times.

Collins, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rogers, ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, are seeking to amend the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2019. Supplemental budget appropriations are made to cover emergencies, including disaster relief.

Collins said the funds are needed to fully address immigration issues at the southern border.

“The crisis at our southern border demands additional resources,” he said in a statement. “It’s growing every day, and because of loopholes in immigration policy, the men and women who keep our nation safe remain overwhelmed and underfunded.”

The amendment includes $3.3 billion for humanitarian assistance, which includes shelter space for unaccompanied children, care for children in custody and transportation for border processing centers. $1.1 billion would be used for operations, including personnel, transportation and resources to address trafficking. $178 million would be used for technology and law enforcement pay.

Former State Representative Alex Atwood will speak at Saturday’s commencement for the College of Coastal Georgia, according to the Brunswick News.

Atwood has a long and distinguished career in law, business, military and government. He previously served three terms in the Georgia House of Representatives. In that role, he held numerous leadership and committee roles. While serving as a member of the appropriations committee for higher education, Atwood helped secure construction funding for College of Coastal Georgia.

Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Atwood in March to be the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Administrative Services. In the role, Atwood oversees the numerous state operations and functions of the department, including service as the chief contracting officer for the state and the Human Resources Administration.

Gwinnett County Commissioners approved an agreement with three Community Improvement Districts to study bus rapid transit funding, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The county’s agreements with the Gateway85 Gwinnett, Gwinnett Place and Sugarloaf Community Improvement Districts call for each of the CIDs to contribute funding to cover a local match on an Atlanta Regional Commission grant to pay for the study.

The study is expected to cost $800,000, but the county and the CIDs will collectively put up half of that cost in the local match on the grant.

The three CIDS are working with the county on securing the grant funding for the study because the route that would be looked at crosses through the three districts, going from Jimmy Carter Boulevard to Sugarloaf Parkway.

Bus rapid transit is a key part of the county’s Connect Gwinnett Transit Development Plan, which would have been MARTA’s blueprint for transit service and may still be incorporated into the Atlanta Transit Link’s regional transit plan.

Congress may eliminate funding for the Sea Grant program, which could affect a partnership that includes the UGA Marine Extension, according to the Brunswick News.

The National Sea Grant College Program has a significant hand in how a lot of states manage their coasts and their fisheries — Georgia’s partnership between the UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant conducts all manner of activities along the coast, including out of its Brunswick Station on Bay Street.

However, the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2020 budget eliminates federal funding for the Sea Grant program. That was one of several topics of discussion Wednesday in a hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife.

U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., said Virginia is No. 1 in both clam and oyster aquaculture thanks to Sea Grant implementation through educational bodies like the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and in cooperation with the private sector.

Georgia is looking to get in on some of those oyster aquaculture dollars through a state-regulated program. Gov. Brian Kemp has yet to sign the bill that passed the General Assembly that would legalize oyster farming, House Bill 501. Detractors of the bill are asking Kemp to veto it, so better legislation could be passed in coming General Assembly sessions.

The Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education tabled a measure that would have increased the price of school lunches to $3 dollars, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The increase would mean $3 lunches for all schools — whether high school or kindergarten.School board member Julie Wade said she had a problem with that.

“I suspect a kindergarten student doesn’t (eat) the same as a high school senior,” Wade said. “We are now one of the highest in the state (for school lunch).”

Wade also said she was concerned staff is using the incorrect federal regulation to guide the increase.

Wade said the regulation she believes that should be used only allows for a 10 cent increase.

Currently paid lunches for grades K-8 are $2.25 and $2.50 for grades 9 through 12.

Savannah may borrow $45 million dollars to fill a shortfall in funding for a new arena, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Construction is expected to cost $165 million, but the current Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax is expected to generate a maximum of $120 million for the project.

To cover the shortfall, city staff is recommending the issuance of $45 million in bonds that would be paid back over a 30-year period using proceeds from the city’s rental motor vehicle tax.

About 75 percent of the vehicle tax revenue is currently used to help fund operations at the Civic Center, according to David Maxwell, Savannah’s chief financial officer.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler spoke to the Chatsworth-Eton-Murray County Chamber of Commerce, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Ten years after the end of the Great Recession, employers have reached all of the “easy pickings” when it comes to finding workers, says Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

“In an economy like this, somebody who has the will and knows what they are doing and has the soft skills is going to get a job,” Butler said Wednesday at the Murray County Recreation Department during a lunch and learn session hosted by the Chatsworth-Eton-Murray County Chamber of Commerce.

Those soft skills, he said, include such things as showing up on time, the ability to work with others, communication skills and being organized.

“This isn’t just limited to this region,” he said. “Employers from across the state — from the metro Atlanta area to southwest Georgia — say the same thing. They are having trouble finding people with the soft skills they need.”

Butler said a related issue employers face is finding individuals who can pass an initial drug-screening test. He said employers tell him they have often offered people a job contingent on a drug screening and when the applicant finds out he has to be drug tested he just walks away from the offer.

Murray County Sole Commissioner Greg Hogan said he has seen that happen with applicants for county jobs.

The Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission accepted the resignation of Executive Director Jimmy Junkin, according to The Brunswick News.

8
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 8, 2019

Reece HoCo

Reece is a young male Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.

Emerald HoCo

Emerald is a young female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.

Pearl HoCo

Pearl is a young female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.

8
May

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

Congress passed the second part of the Militia Act on May 8, 1792, requiring all able-bodied white male citizens to be enrolled in the militia.

A Constitutional Convention convened on May 8, 1798 in Louisville, Georgia to rewrite the state Constitution after the Yazoo Land Fraud.

The Southern Baptist Convention was formed in Augusta, Georgia on May 8, 1845.

On May 8, 1864, Union forces under Sherman continued to engage Confederates at the Battle of Rocky Face Ridge four miles west of Dalton, Georgia, seizing Blue Mountain.

Elsewhere on the same day, the Army of the Potomac under Grant reached Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia and found that Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had beaten them there from the Battle of the Wilderness.

Grant’s Army of the Potomac remained engaged against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House through May 21, 1864.

Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation designating the current state flag on May 8, 2003.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp yesterday signed the “Heartbeat” bill, according to CNN.

Currently in Georgia, women are allowed to undergo abortion procedures up to their 20th week of pregnancy. Starting on January 1, the bill Kemp signed generally would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — when many women don’t yet know they’re pregnant.

“(The bill) is very simple but also very powerful: a declaration that all life has value, that all life matters, and that all life is worthy of protection,” Kemp, flanked by supporters of the bill, said Tuesday morning before signing the legislation at the state Capitol.

“I realize that some may challenge it in a court of law. But our job is to do what is right, not what is easy. We are called to be strong and courageous, and we will not back down. We will always continue to fight for life.”

The legislation says that “no abortion is authorized or shall be performed if the unborn child has been determined to have a human heartbeat.” It includes some exceptions, including if the pregnancy risks the life or poses substantial and irreversible physical harm to the pregnant woman.

From the AJC:

Supporters filled a ceremonial room in Kemp’s office and applauded House Bill 481, which outlaws most abortions once a doctor can detect a fetus’ “heartbeat” — usually about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they’re pregnant.

In signing the bill in Georgia, Kemp kept a promise he made during his 2018 campaign.

“All life has value, all life matters and all life is worthy of protection,” Kemp said. “I’m signing this bill to ensure all Georgians have the opportunity to live, grow, learn and prosper in the great state of Georgia.”

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll conducted last month found that about 49% of Georgia voters surveyed oppose the bill, with about 44% saying they support it.

From FetchYourNews:

Speaker Ralston spoke at [the] bill signing ceremony:

At its core, House Bill 481 – appropriately known at the LIFE Act – is about protecting those who truly cannot protect themselves.

But, as I close, I’d like to acknowledge and thank the strongest supporter of this legislation – our Governor, Brian Kemp.

Governor Kemp is a leader whose compass does not bend with the polls or pundits. He was clear from the beginning that making Georgia a leader in protecting life was a top priority.

Governor, thank you for your leadership – I’m honored to serve with you.

From the Valdosta Daily Times:

“I thank God for this day,” said a tearful Rachel Mary Guy, a pro-life advocate in Georgia who was deemed medically futile as a fetus. “Every day I fight and I pray that abortion ends, but I truly never thought that we would see a day like this.”

A conservative majority on the nation’s high court has emboldened pro-life advocates, who see an opportunity to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that has protected a woman’s right to an abortion.

Savannah‘s film industry is not afraid of repercussions from the bill signing, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Attorney Charles “Bo” Bowen said the legislation, known as the “Heartbeat bill” will likely never go into effect. Bowen founded the Savannah Film Alliance in 2015 and currently serves on numerous local corporate, banking, transportation and entertainment boards and councils.

Bowen said actors are not the ones who make location decisions.

“It’s investors,” Bowen said. “And as long as they can get the best deal here, they’ll film here.”

Bowen said Georgia’s reputation, however, will take a hit.

“Georgia needs a reputation for moving forward,” Bowen said. “In the best case scenario, this (abortion bill) will affect, but not cripple the industry.”

Democrat Emily Leslie, who is running for State House District 106, condemned the legislation, according to Patch.com.

“In defiance of popular mandate, the rights of women, and the settled laws of this nation, Governor Kemp has signed House Bill 481 into law. This far-right extremist bill has no purpose but to punish the vulnerable and marginalized, and to strip women of their legal protection, their bodily autonomy, and their rights. As he did during the campaign, Governor Kemp shows a profound ignorance of the law, disrespect for the rights of women, and little regard for trying to bring our state together and ease political tensions.”

“Once again, Governor Kemp shows who his real constituency is: the radical far-right interests who control him and his office. Not only does the Governor strike at fundamental rights, he will do untold economic and cultural damage to our state in the process of abusing his power. It is not only cisgender women and girls who may need access to abortion services, but all gender identities who have the capacity to become pregnant.”

“I call upon all Georgians to continue to make their voices heard in opposition to this repressive law, and will continue to support the efforts of a number of women’s, civil, and human rights organizations who are standing up for choice. Voters in my district, and across Georgia, are prepared to hold the Governor and his conservative legislative allies–allies like my opponent Brett Harrell–accountable in the next election.”

Daniel Merritt announced he will run for the Republican nomination in the First Congressional District, challenging incumbent Buddy Carter (R-GA), according to the Savannah Morning News.

Merritt has no political background.

Now he’s running for Congress. Many missed last week’s announcement, as it was overshadowed by Stacey Abrams’ decision not to challenge incumbent David Perdue for one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats.

For Coastal Georgia, Merritt’s declaration is almost as significant as Abrams’. Carter’s hold on his congressional seat is firm —district residents lean heavily conservative and the only projected Democratic challenger, Lisa Ring, is a progressive liberal who lost decisively to Carter last November.

The biggest threat to Carter is one from a fellow Republican. If he’s going to lose, it is more likely to be in a primary than a general election.

How Merritt differentiates himself from Carter is at the heart of discussions about his candidacy. Carter’s greatest vulnerability — his perceived affinity for President Donald Trump’s policies — is also his greatest strength within the Republican base. Carter recently evolved his stance on the issue — offshore oil exploration — he has most drawn criticism for.

There’s little room to attempt to run to the right of Carter, a la Gov. Brian Kemp versus Casey Cagle in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial contest. Especially with Carter already having more than $1.1 million in his campaign account.

Congressman Tom Graves (R-Ranger) held an information session on government services available to constituents, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The Ranger Republican said he plans to make Local Government Services Day an annual event.

“You want to better help and assist your communities and we want to help you do that,” Graves told the crowd.

His office assembled representatives from a range of agencies at Georgia Highlands College’s Heritage Hall. Each presented an overview of programs they offer, then handed out information and answered questions at their booths set up around the room.

Chattooga County Sole Commissioner Jason Winters said there was a wealth of useful information on tap. New to him was a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that awards grants of up to $7,500 to low-income seniors in rural communities to repair their homes.

Gwinnett County is unlikely to revise its transportation blueprint before the new Metro Atlanta transit agency comes online, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

There had been some talk about revising the Connect Gwinnett Transit Development Plan after the defeat of the county’s MARTA referendum in March, but Nash said that may not happen since The ATL’s submission period is coming up soon.

“I don’t think we have time to do that, particularly allowing for public input to fit their time table,” Nash, who also sits on The ATL board, said. “The (Connect Gwinnett) plan represents the best cumulative view of potential transit projects for Gwinnett.”

Implementation of the Connect Gwinnett Transit Development Plan was never contingent on the passage of the MARTA referendum which the county held in Gwinnett, although MARTA would have been contractually bound to use the plan as a guidebook for providing and expanding service to the county. Although voters rejected the proposed expansion of MARTA into the county, the Connect Gwinnett plan remains on the table.

Nash said the plan will serve as the basis for what the commissioners will consider sending to The ATL for inclusion in the regional transit plan this summer.

The Bibb County Commission voted against allowing alcohol sales by movie theaters, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert was the tiebreaker for a county commission vote that comes a month after a request to sell beer and wine at the AmStar 16 movie theater was denied.

Southern Theatres, the operator of AmStart 16, has requested an appeal hearing on their alcohol license, according to Chris Floore, assistant to the county manager for Public Affairs.

The mayor’s swing vote on Tuesday night was made after the ordinance was tied 4-4. Reichert joined Commissioners Al Tillman, Scotty Shepherd, Larry Schlesinger and Virgil Watkins in voting against prohibiting current and future movie theaters from getting alcohol beverage licenses.

Those in favor of the ban were Commissioners Joe Allen, Bert Bivins, Valerie Wynn and Elaine Lucas. Commissioner Mallory Jones did not attend the commission meeting.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, by early 2017 alcohol was already being sold at more than 400 locations of three largest movie chains in the U.S.

7
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 7, 2019

Poppie Harlem

Poppie is a 1-year old male Maltese with some medical needs who is available for adoption from Southern Souls Rescue in Harlem, GA.

Poppie has occasional mild seizures and is on Phenobarbital daily. This doesn’t slow / alter him in the least and he is very loving and affectionate. Poppie gets along great with other dogs, cats and kids.

Nico Harlem

Nico is a male Rat Terrier and Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from Southern Souls Rescue in Harlem, GA.

Reba Harlem

Reba is a beautiful 4-year old female Hound mix who is available for adoption from Southern Souls Rescue in Harlem, GA.

She is very loving and affectionate and gets along great with other dogs and kids. Reba loves to be with her humans so if you have a fence under 5 ft. DO NOT leave her in the yard for long because she will jump the fence looking for humans to be with and love.

7
May

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

On May 6, 1789, the Constitutional Convention in Augusta, Georgia adopted a new Georgia Constitution.

George Washington attended the first inaugural ball on May 7, 1789 on Broadway near Wall Street in New York.

Washington arrived at the ball in the company of other American statesmen and their wives. That evening he danced with many of New York’s society ladies. Vice President John Adams, members of Congress and visiting French and Spanish dignitaries, as well their wives and daughters, joined in the festivities. Eliza Hamilton, wife of Alexander Hamilton, recorded her impressions of the ball in her memoirs, noting that the president liked to dance the minuet, a dance she thought was suited to his dignity and gravity.

On May 7, 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant disengaged his Army of the Potomac from fighting against General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, ending the Battle of the Wilderness.

Although the Wilderness is usually described as a draw, it could be called a tactical Confederate victory, but a strategic victory for the Union army. Lee inflicted heavy numerical casualties (see estimates below) on Grant, but as a percentage of Grant’s forces they were smaller than the percentage of casualties suffered by Lee’s smaller army. And, unlike Grant, Lee had very little opportunity to replenish his losses. Understanding this disparity, part of Grant’s strategy was to grind down the Confederate army by waging a war of attrition. The only way that Lee could escape from the trap that Grant had set was to destroy the Army of the Potomac while he still had sufficient force to do so, but Grant was too skilled to allow that to happen. Thus, the Overland Campaign, initiated by the crossing of the Rappahannock, and opening with this battle, set in motion the eventual destruction of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Therefore, even though Grant withdrew at the end of the battle (which is usually the action of the defeated side), unlike his predecessors since 1861, Grant continued his campaign instead of retreating to the safety of Washington, D.C. The significance of Grant’s advance was noted by James M. McPherson:

[I]nstead of heading north, they turned south. A mental sunburst brightened their minds. It was not another “Chancellorsville … another skedaddle” after all. “Our spirits rose,” recalled one veteran who remembered this moment as a turning point in the war. Despite the terrors of the past three days and those to come, “we marched free. The men began to sing.” For the first time in a Virginia campaign the Army of the Potomac stayed on the offensive after its initial battle.

Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Atlanta History Center have produced a series called 37 Weeks, which chronicles serially Sherman’s March to the Sea through Georgia in 1864. This is week three of the series, with episodes clocking in at under two minutes. If you enjoy learning about Georgia’s history, it’s great watching.

May 7, 1864 saw some of the first fighting in the Atlanta campaign, northwest of Dalton, Georgia.

Jefferson Davis spoke in Savannah, Georgia on May 6, 1866.

Davis … defend[ed] the South’s cause in the Civil War, stating, “In 1776 the colonies acquired State sovereignty. They revolted from the mother country in a desperate struggle. That was the cause for which they fought. Is it a lost cause now? Never. Has Georgia lost the State sovereignty which … she won in 1776? No, a thousand times no.” Davis’s fiery remarks were captured by reporters for the New York Times and other northern newspapers.

Because of the national attention generated over his visit to Alabama and Georgia, Davis took a more conciliatory tone in a speech that evening, noting, “There are some who take it for granted that when I allude to State sovereignty I want to bring on another war. I am too old to fight again, and God knows I don’t want you to have the necessity of fighting again… . The celebration today is a link in the long chain of affection that binds you and the North together. Long may it be true.”

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person to break the four-minute barrier for running the mile.

For years, so many athletes had tried and failed to run a mile in less than four minutes that people made it out to be a physical impossibility. The world record for a mile was 4 minutes and 1.3 seconds, set by Gunder Hagg of Sweden in 1945. Despite, or perhaps because of, the psychological mystique surrounding the four-minute barrier, several runners in the early 1950s dedicated themselves to being the first to cross into the three-minute zone.

At 6 p.m., the starting gun was fired. In a carefully planned race, Bannister was aided by Chris Brasher, a former Cambridge runner who acted as a pacemaker. For the first half-mile, Brasher led the field, with Bannister close behind, and then another runner took up the lead and reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 3 minutes 0.4 seconds, with Bannister at 3 minutes 0.7 seconds. Bannister took the lead with about 350 yards to go and passed an unofficial timekeeper at the 1,500-meter mark in 3 minutes 43 seconds, thus equaling the world’s record for that distance. Thereafter, Bannister threw in all his reserves and broke the tape in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. As soon as the first part of his score was announced–”three minutes…”–the crowd erupted in pandemonium.

A “sub-four” is still a notable time, but top international runners now routinely accomplish the feat. Because a mile is not a metric measurement, it is not a regular track event nor featured in the Olympics. It continues, however, to be run by many top runners as a glamour event.

Keith Richards recorded the first version of the guitar riff that would become “Satisfaction” early in the morning of May 7, 1965 before passing out.

Jimmy Carter’s Presidential campaign received a boost on May 7, 1976 when he received the personal endorsement of the President of the United Auto Workers.

On May 6, 1984, Spinal Tap played a “comeback show” at CBGB’s in New York.

On May 6, 1996, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Atlanta was the most dangerous city in America.

On May 7, 1996, Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell responded to the FBI Report that ranked Atlanta the most violent city in the nation. Campbell would succeed in replacing headlines about Atlanta’s violent crime by substituting headlines about official corruption.

Parliament-Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio on May 6, 1997.

Happy Birthday to Bill Kreutzman, one of the drummers for the Grateful Dead. On Kreutzman’s 31st birthday, the Dead played at Boston Garden. The next night was the legendary Cornell show.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia state government revenue is up more than 24% over last April, according to a press release.

Georgia’s April net tax collections totaled $2.87 billion for an increase of $559.7 million, or 24.2 percent, compared to April 2018 when net tax collections totaled $2.31 billion. Year-to-date, net tax collections totaled $19.91 billion for an increase of almost $939.7 million, or 5 percent, compared to the previous fiscal year when net tax revenues totaled $18.97 billion.

Individual Income Tax: Individual Income Tax collections totaled over $1.58 billion for an increase of $454.6 million, or 40.3 percent, compared to last year when Income Tax collections totaled nearly $1.13 billion.

These components within Individual Income Tax combine for the net increase:

▪ Individual Income Tax refunds issued (net of voided checks) declined by $40 million, or -6.5 percent.

▪ Individual Income Tax Return payments increased by $307.2 million, or 48.9 percent, compared to last year.

▪ Individual Withholding payments for the month were up $70.7 million, or 7.9 percent.

▪ All other categories, including Non-Resident income tax payments, increased a combined $36.7 million.

Governor Brian Kemp will sign House Bill 481, the “Heartbeat” bill, this morning at 10 AM. From the AJC:

The governor’s office on Monday confirmed the timing of the signing of the bill, which Kemp said upholds his promise to enact the “toughest abortion bill in the country.” After initially backing a weaker measure, Kemp endorsed the “heartbeat” bill in March and lobbied lawmakers to approve it.

Democrats, medical lobbies and civil rights organizations have forcefully opposed the measure, warning it could force women to take dangerous steps to seek abortions and cost millions in tax dollars to defend. They also say it could jeopardize Georgia’s pro-business reputation.

The new legislation would outlaw most abortions once a doctor detects a heartbeat in the womb – which is usually about six weeks into a pregnancy and before most women know they are pregnant.

HB 481 would not take effect until the beginning of next year, so the timing of a legal challenge is not yet certain. But the ACLU and other critics have vowed they will bring a lawsuit targeting the legislation — and promised electoral payback as well.

“Signing this bill is not the end of the HB 481 fight,” said state Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta, “it marks beginning of women in this state working to take their place at political table because we’re finished being on the menu.”

From the Macon Telegraph:

Exceptions to the law would include:

▪ The abortion would prevent the death or severe physical impairment of the mother.

▪ The pregnancy is 20 weeks or less along, and the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. There must be an official police report alleging an offense of rape or incest occurred.

▪ A doctor determines the pregnancy is “medically futile,” meaning that a severe and incurable birth defect or chromosomal abnormality would result in the child having little to no life expectancy.

Section 15 of the act states the abortion law would become effective on Jan. 1, 2020. That could change if the law is challenged in court.

No state has put a “heartbeat” bill into lasting practice. A federal judge in Kentucky prevented that state’s law from taking effect earlier this year. A state judge struck down Iowa’s 2018 fetal heartbeat law earlier this year. Lower courts struck down North Dakota’s 2013 fetal heartbeat bill, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the North Dakota court’s decision in 2016.

Gov. Kemp has signed House Bill 455, the Shore Protection Act, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed amendments to the Shore Protection Act into law Friday. H.B. 445, sponsored in the senate by Republican State Sen. Ben Watson (District 1), prescribes new ways to define the scope of the state’s influence on private beach-front property.

For its first four decades, the law defined the state’s jurisdiction by drawing a zigzag line connecting 20-foot native trees to each other and to shore-front buildings erected in 1979 or earlier. Many agreed this system worked poorly and was hard to administer. The changes create a 25-foot regulated zone between private beachfront development and the landward reach of the sand dune or from the high tide line on beaches without dunes. The 25-foot line is measured from a functional seawall or bulkhead where those exist.

″(T)he updates made to the Shore Protection Act will help further protect our shoreline with more consistent and clarified boundaries and reduce confusion and unnecessary burdens placed on coastal property owners and businesses,” Watson said in a prepared statement. “We worked with the Department of Natural Resources on this measure and are sure that it will allow for better preservation of our coastline for generations to come.”

Gov. Kemp also signed Senate Bill 8 by State Senator P.K. Martin, creating a new license plate honoring Atlanta United.

“In every game, Atlanta United demonstrates how people from all walks of life can come together and rally behind one cause,” said Governor Kemp. “It’s a testament to the fact that we have so much more that unites us – even though it doesn’t always seem that way.”

Funds raised through the sale of the license plates will benefit the Atlanta United Foundation, which supports Soccer in the Streets, Boys and Girls Clubs and other organizations that promote soccer, health, and teamwork.

“As a proud fan of Atlanta United FC, I was honored to champion Senate Bill 8 at the State Capitol,” said Sen. P.K. Martin. “By creating this speciality tag, we not only showcase our loyalty but create a sense a pride and unity throughout Georgia.”

The Georgia Supreme Court will hear an appeal of the court order dismissing a lawsuit challenging the 2018 Lieutenant Governor’s election, according to AccessWDUN.

The lawsuit says tens of thousands of votes were never recorded in the race and the contest was “so defective and marred by material irregularities” as to place the result in doubt. It contends an unexplained undervote in the race was likely caused by problems with the state’s paperless touchscreen voting machines.

Republican Geoff Duncan beat Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico by 123,172 votes to become lieutenant governor. Amico is not a party to the lawsuit, which was filed in November by the Coalition for Good Governance, an election integrity advocacy organization; Smythe Duval, who ran for secretary of state as a Libertarian; and two Georgia voters. It was filed against Duncan and election officials.

In an appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court, lawyer Bruce Brown argues the judge erred by not allowing discovery prior to trial. But even without evidence that might have turned up in discovery, it’s clear that the election was flawed enough to “place in doubt the result,” he wrote.

Generally, almost all voters vote for the race at the top of the ballot in this case the governor’s race and then it drops slightly for down-ballot races, the appeal says. But in November’s election, there was a much bigger drop in total votes recorded in the lieutenant governor’s race than in the governor’s race than normal, and other down-ballot races didn’t experience a similar decline. In recent elections, the lieutenant governor’s race has gotten about 99.2% as many votes as the governor’s race, which means the undercount could be more than 127,000 votes in November’s election, the lawsuit says.

Democrat Jon Ossoff said he’ll consider running for U.S. Senate against Republican David Perdue, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Speaking in Gainesville, Ga., to a local group of Democrats, Ossoff told a questioner, “I’ll take a look at the U.S. Senate race.”

“I want to make sure we have the strongest possible candidate to challenge David Perdue. Whether or not I’m a candidate, I will work to defeat David Perdue,” he said.

“In Georgia, we need a senator who has the decency to stand up for people who are suffering, who has the skill to deliver the resources that Georgia needs, and who has the integrity to uphold the standards of conduct that we expect from our elected officials,” Ossoff said.

“It pains me that now we’re at a point where we’re simply relieved that the president of the United States is not a foreign spy. That’s a pretty low bar for the presidency,” he added. “How do public servants like David Perdue go to work everyday and go meet their constituents everyday, in good faith, knowing that you’re enabling a liar and a fraud who’s abusing his power? And who doesn’t treat people with the basic respect that we demand children treat people with? Those are my thoughts on David Perdue.”

Former Cobb County Democratic Party Chair Michael Owens will run against Democratic Congressman David Scott in the 13th District, according to the AJC.

Owens contends that Scott, 73, has been absent and out of step with his solidly-Democrat southwest Atlanta district, which sweeps from Powder Springs to Stockbridge. He pointed to Scott’s residency outside the district – he lives in the neighboring 5th – and his recent support of Republican incumbents, including U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, ex-Rep. Mia Love and Cobb County Commission Chairman Mike Boyce.

“Those relationships aren’t bringing home the bacon,” Owens said in an interview. “What those Republican relationships are doing is making it harder for us to flip seats here in Georgia. It sows discord among those of us who are fighting the most.”

Owens said Scott, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, has gotten too cozy with the payday lending industry and other corporate interests. He singled out Scott’s vote last year in favor of rolling back portions of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul.

“I want to make sure that we stop allowing and supporting policies that are directly attacking our black and brown communities,” the Mableton resident said.

Municipalities in Chatham County presented their wish list project for a proposed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), according to the Savannah Morning News.

SPLOST 7, if approved by voters on Nov. 5, would begin collections on Oct. 1, 2020, and run for six years.

The requests are the first step in the process that will include negotiations with the county and municipalities and prioritizing projects. Intergovernmental agreements are needed to allow for a six-year SPLOST collection, otherwise the one cent tax can only be collected for five years.

Chatham County Chairman Al Scott said the lists should be finalized by August.

The United States Navy will name an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer after former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer announced on Monday that Nunn — who served as the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman for years — will be the namesake of an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer that will be built in the future. The Navy has not specified when the ship will be built.

“Senator Nunn’s impact on the Navy and Marine Corps team cannot be overstated,” Spencer said in a statement. “His leadership in the Senate, specifically as the long-serving chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, helped streamline the military chain of command and strengthen our Navy and Marine Corps team.

“I am pleased that Senator Nunn’s legacy of service to our nation will continue in the future USS Sam Nunn.”

Current U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., praised the Navy’s decision to name the ship in honor of Nunn. These days, Purdue is the senator from Georgia who sits on the Senate Armed Forces committee.

“Senator Sam Nunn is a good friend of mine,” Perdue said in a statement on Twitter. “His knowledge of national security issues is unmatched. As Chairman of SASC, Sam worked across the aisle to solve monumental issues during trying times. Sam is a great American, and I’m delighted to see him honored in this way.”

Chatham County is projecting that the SPLOST 7 would raise $400 million dollars over its six-year course, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Former Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau will be among ten U.S. veterans honored by the French government for his role in D-Day, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division is accepting entries for a commercial food shrimp cast-net lottery, according to The Brunswick News.

For the past 20 years, what’s called a controlled-access system for commercial food shrimp netting’s been in place, with an annual limit of 200 licenses. It won’t be known how many new licenses are up for this year until the license renewal deadline passes June 1.

To be part of the lottery, people need to complete and submit an application to CRD no later than 4 pm. on June 6. Applications are available at coastaldnr.org/commercialfishing, and from the DNR’s Coastal Regional Headquarters at One Conservation Way in Brunswick. Only one application per person is allowed.

Five candidates qualified for an open seat on Thomasville City Council, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

A person to fill a vacant Thomasville City Council seat is expected to be chosen at a Monday, May 13, city council meeting.

The vacancy to be filled resulted when Gov. Brian Kemp suspended Greg Hobbs, former District 1 city council member and council-appointed mayor, after Hobbs was indicted in February on city-related charges.

The qualifying period ended Friday, April 26. City council members received the names last week.

“The plan is they’ll be ready to vote Monday night,” Carson said.

The council will vote in the open during the meeting.

Applicants were vetted to ensure they meet qualifications for the council position. Qualifications are the same as if those applying were running in a regular race for a council seat. Those applying must live in District 1 and be a registered voter.

The court disposition of the case against Hobbs’ will determine if or when he can return to the council.

Statesboro City Council will consider a contract for a new City Manager and the proposed FY 2020 budget today, according to the Statesboro Herald.

3
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 3, 2019

Tasha CCAS

Tasha is a young female Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Carroll County Animal Shelter in Carrollton, GA.

Misty CCAS

Misty is a young female Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Carroll County Animal Shelter in Carrollton, GA.

Paige CCAS

Paige is a young female Pointer and American Bulldog mix who is available for adoption from the Carroll County Animal Shelter in Carrollton, GA.

3
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 3, 2019

May 3d is National Widow’s Day.

Georgia delegates convened in Augusta on May 4, 1789 to approve a new state Constitution and consider amendments.

General Nathan Bedford Forrest led troops who captured raiders near Rome, Georgia who were intent on disrupting the Western & Atlantic Railroad on May 3, 1863.

General William Tecumseh Sherman began the Atlanta Campaign on May 3, 1864 with troops marching from Tennessee toward Catoosa Springs, Georgia.

One year and one day after General Sherman began the Atlanta campaign, on May 4, 1865, Atlanta surrendered. On the same day, the Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan River in Virginia and into the Wilderness. The Battle of the Wilderness began on May 5, 1864, between the Army of the Potomac, led by General Ulysses S. Grant, and the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee.

One year after that, on May 4, 1865, the last meeting of the Confederate cabinet convened in the old Georgia State Bank Building, which was located at the site of the present-day Wilkes County Courthouse in Washington, Georgia.

On May 5, 1886, Jefferson Davis attended a public reception at Savannah, Georgia’s City Hall.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Cy Young threw a perfect game against the Detroit Tigers on May 5, 1904.

Margaret Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Gone With the Wind on May 3, 1937.

Alan Shepard, Jr. became the first American in space on May 5, 1961, making a 15 minute sub-orbital flight that reached an altitude of 115 miles, during which he experienced about five minutes of ‘weightlessness.’ He was launched in the 2,000-lb. capsule Freedom 7 from Cape Canaveral, Florida… The flight traveled 302 miles at a speed relative to the ground of 4,500 mph. The mission was named Mercury-Redstone 3, or Freedom 7.

On May 4, 1965, the Rolling Stones played a show at Georgia Southern.

The British band played in Hanner Fieldhouse to an overflow crowd of more than 3,500 people, according to a retrospective by Jim Hilliard in the Statesboro Herald. The gym’s capacity was about 1,500.

Hilliard said organizers figured they could sell 1,800 tickets at $2.50 each, which would be enough to pay the band and have some money left over for expenses.

The Stones had played on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Sunday, May 2, and advance ticket sales were brisk the Monday and during lunch Tuesday, the day of the concert.

Hilliard said he signed the contract booking the Stones on behalf of Sigma Epsilon Chi fraternity. The contract called for the new fraternity to pay the band $3,000 for the appearance. Hilliard said he got a $1,500 loan from First Bulloch Bank to make the deal happen.

The Stones were expected to take the stage at 8:30 p.m. and play for at least an hour, but Hilliard had lined up three front bands, and “it proved to be a fatal flaw in plans for the concert,” he said in his retrospective.

The noise was deafening as the original Stones lineup — Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts — hit the stage nearly an hour late.

Jagger and the other band members were “openly hostile” at having to wait so long to play.

On May 4, 1970, National Guard members shot into a crowd of protesting students, killing four and wounding nine others on the campus of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.

On May 4, 2003, I married Mrs. GaPundit. Saturday would have been our 16th Anniversary. May the Fourth be with you, my love. The Leia to my Luke Han.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission sent Governor Brian Kemp short lists for three vacancies, according to the Daily Report.

Nominees are now on the governor’s desk to fill vacancies in the Coweta, Macon and Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit Superior Courts. They could become some of the governor’s first judicial appointments since taking office in January.

The Coweta Judicial Circuit vacancy was created by the resignation of Judge Jack Kirby. Kirby retired at the end of January after a 40-year legal career. He was appointed to the Superior Court in 2006.

The Macon Judicial Circuit opening comes from the resignation of Judge Edgar W. Ennis Jr. He also retired at the end of January after 11 years in that job and 44 years of law practice.

The Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit spot will fill the seat of Judge Gail Flake. In 1993, then-Gov. Zell Miller appointed her to that post. Flake is retiring from the bench after a 42-year legal career.

Jill Biden, a potential First Lady, will speak in Dunwoody on May 15, according to the Reporter Newspapers.

House Bill 12 by State Rep. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville) will require schools to post a number for reporting bullying, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

“These horrific things are happening, and we’ve just got to take a stand and we’ve got to stop them,” Williams said Thursday.

“It’s just encouraging people to speak up, take a stand and be alert, and if you see something, say something,” he said.

The bill stalled in the Senate last year but sailed through the General Assembly this year. The sign will include the 24-hour phone number for the state Division of Family and Children Services.

Senate Bill 48 by State Senator P.K. Martin, mandates dyslexia screenings in public schools, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Gov. Brian Kemp has signed off on a measure that requires new teachers to be trained how to spot signs of dyslexia and mandates that – eventually – all kindergartners will be screened for the language disorder.

“Today is a great day. It’s a day that we finally acknowledge dyslexia in our Georgia code,” said state Sen. P.K. Martin, a Republican from Lawrenceville, speaking at a bill-signing event held Thursday at the Wheeler High School library in Marietta.

“From this day forward, we will begin the process of making sure that all students receive the tools that they need to succeed,” Martin said.

Tina Engberg, who is the state leader for the parent advocacy group Decoding Dyslexia Georgia, which was formed in 2013, said she was elated to see years of hard work at the state Capitol culminate with the bill’s signing.

“We’re the parents who know our children are dyslexic,” said Engberg, whose teenage son is dyslexic. “There are vast numbers of people who don’t yet know that about their child, and this is why (the bill) is so important.”

Between 190,000 to 380,000 Georgia students likely struggle with dyslexia, according to the Southern Regional Education Board in Atlanta.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr spoke to the Albany Herald.

Before speaking at a joint meeting sponsored by the Albany Rotary Club on Thursday, Carr talked with The Albany Herald about the state and national opioid crisis, about Georgia’s gang problem, about storm recovery in southwest Georgia and about his decision to include Georgia in a multistate lawsuit to have the Affordable Care Act declared unconstitutional and therefore stricken from national law.

“There are two ways you can deal with the gang problem we face in Georgia,” a slimmed-down Carr said over a cup of coffee at Elements Coffee in Albany. “You can acknowledge there is a problem and deal with it, or you can pretend it’s not a problem and things will get worse.”

“Fortunately, Gov. Kemp appointed Vic Reynolds of the GBI to head a statewide task force charged with tackling this issue. He couldn’t have selected a better man for the job. And, already, there’s buy-in from three U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, the GBI, Corrections, Justice, sheriffs, police chiefs, district attorneys. They’re all saying, ‘Let’s talk.’ That’s a big step.”

Talking about the human trafficking issue that he says is “much more widespread than people think,” Carr said both the federal and state governments are taking steps to halt the “despicable act” of luring children and teens into the sex trade using drugs and other means. The attorney general said almost 800 youngsters from 135 to 140 counties in the state were taken for the purpose of human trafficking last year.

“People can talk about First Amendment rights all they want — and I’m a big First Amendment guy — but I don’t think selling children for sex falls under the First Amendment of the Constitution in any way or form,” he said.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter may run for reelection as a Democrat in 2020, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter pledged Thursday to run for reelection next year for one final term as the county’s top prosecutor.

Whether he’ll do that as a Republican — which he has done every time he’s run since he was first elected in 1992 — or flip parties and run as a Democrat remains to be seen. As Gwinnett’s political demographics change, he’s not ruling out either party for his run in 2020.

“I have things that I want to do over the next five years and if I’m going to run, I’m going to run where I feel I have the highest chance of success because I don’t know the difference between a Democratic prosecutor and a Republican prosecutor,” Porter said.

“I think if a prosecutor changes because they’re either a Republican or a Democrat, then they’re not doing their job. The other thing is I haven’t had opposition since 1992, so I’m going to have to learn again how to run a political race so if I talk to people I trust and we think our best chance is switch parties, then that’s what I’ll do.”

 

WABE‘s Emma Hurt looks at the toll in Southwest Georgia from stalled federal disaster funding.

This week a group of Southeastern Senators, including Georgia’s renewed efforts to pass a federal disaster relief package. For months it’s been stalled in a partisan debate over how much money should be included for Puerto Rico.

In Southwest Georgia, farmers have been waiting for the aid since October, when Hurricane Michael devastated the region.

Garet Franklin owns a Ford dealership in town, and it’s also clear to him agriculture runs this local economy: “There’s me, the hospital and a huge peanut mill. And that’s the economy here. And the hospital’s full of farmers, I sell to the farmers, and the farmers are what allow the peanut company to exist.”

And the farmers have taken a big hit in Southwest Georgia. Hurricane Michael was a category five storm that brought 150 mile per hour winds and destroyed $2.5 billion worth of crops in the state last fall.

Georgia has already lost its top pecan-producing state status to New Mexico, with no quick way to get it back. Pecan trees take a decade to mature.

Steve Singletary is chairman of the Bank of Early in Blakely and runs his family’s farm too. He said if there’s not a good crop this year, it’ll get even worse.

“Everybody’s tied to agriculture. Now that may not be your business but that’s what’s furnishing the money flowing around town, is agriculture,” he said. “And when it’s hurt, everybody hurts.”

The City of Atlanta could allow residents some say in up to 2% of city spending, according to the AJC.

Under the proposal being developed, residents could cast votes to determine how up to 2% of the city’s annual budget — roughly $13 million currently — is spent. The program is modeled after similar ones in Seattle, New York, and Durham, N.C.

At a work session Tuesday, Councilman Amir Farokhi said he proposed it to build trust in City Hall, which has been the center of a federal corruption investigation since January 2017.

Emory Healthcare will spend $1 billion dollars developing health facilities in Executive Park, in the City of Brookhaven, according to Georgia Health News.

Emory University announced Thursday that it’s planning a $1 billion development for Executive Park, which would include a 140-bed hospital.

That facility would focus on orthopedics, according to an article in the Reporter Newspapers. It would not have an emergency room.

The planned “live-work-play health innovation district” would take 15 years to build, Emory said. It would be across the street from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s massive health care project, which includes a $1.3 billion hospital, expected to open in 2025.

After adding DeKalb Medical Center last year, Emory currently operates 11 hospitals. Experts say the new hospital would require a certificate of need from the state in order to be built.

From the Brookhaven Reporter:

The Executive Park site is across the street from a massive new Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta medical complex under construction. Emory already operates several medical offices in Executive Park, including a joint medical and training facility with the Atlanta Hawks basketball team that opened in 2017.

Rezoning plans for the property at North Druid Hills and I-85 were filed May 1 with the city of Brookhaven. If all goes well, construction of a new Musculoskeletal Center building as part of Emory’s existing Orthopaedics & Spine Center could begin this fall, according to Robin Morey, Vice President and Chief Planning Officer for Emory University.

CHOA’s 70-acre medical campus across the street will include a $1.3 billion hospital. The two healthcare campuses will “bookend” each other, Morey said, and the location of both near the interstate makes it ideal for patients having to visit from throughout the state.

North Druid Hills Road traffic is already a concern for anyone who lives and drives in the area. Morey said building out medical offices and a hospital rather than retail at Executive Park would result in fewer cars.

Emory officials say they will be making road improvements within Executive Park to provide easy access from the North Druid Hills corridor in and out of the site and with the addition of roundabouts that will facilitate on-site traffic operation while discouraging cut through traffic to Sheridan Road. Emory is also working with CHOA to align their main entrances.

The city of Brookhaven recently purchased 1.5 acres of an unused parking lot on Buford Highway with future plans for the Georgia Department of Transportation to build a bridge over I-85 and into Executive Park. The city says the new bridge would provide a second entryway into southern Brookhaven and would relieve some of the traffic on North Druid Hills Road.

Middle Georgia tourism generates more than $6 billion dollars in economic activity yearly, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Macon’s culture, history and musical heritage are the biggest tourism drivers of a diverse landscape, said Gary Wheat, president and CEO of the Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

There are museums like the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, Tubman Museum and the Museum of Arts and Sciences. Then there’s the history behind the Cannonball House and Hay House.

The top site in Macon is the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Monument which averages about 150,000 visitors a year. The park’s expansion is projected to increase that number by 30 percent, Wheat said.

A hotel-motel tax brought in nearly $4 million in Bibb County in 2017 and a combined $2.9 million for Warner Robins and Perry, according to figures from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Those taxes help fund convention and visitors bureaus and some tourist attractions throughout the state. There’s also a separate sales tax charged for each night stay that goes to local municipalities and the state.

Lee County Commissioners discussed the use of proceeds from a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax passed earlier this year by voters, according to the Albany Herald.

“This meeting was to budget that money and identify some projects, identify the desires of some of our commissioners and get ready to get moving as quickly as we can improving transportation in Lee County for our citizens and hopefully for future investment,” Commissioner Rick Muggridge said.

T-SPLOST will be collected for five years before having to be voted on again, and Muggridge said the extra tax collections would provide an estimated $3 million a year for transportation projects in the county.

Muggridge said that currently, the county has been spending about a million dollars a year, averaging around 8 miles a year of resurfaced roads and almost no paving of current dirt roads.

“This will be a real change for us,” Muggridge said. “This is pretty exciting times.”

Georgia Power will drain the last ash ponds at Plant Yates, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

The dewatering process of Ash Pond 2 is set to begin in mid-May, according to Aaron Mitchell, general manager of environmental affairs for Georgia Power.

Draining the water out of the large pond is a major step in completing the ash pond closure on the Plant Yates property, located along the Chattahoochee River in northwest Coweta.

The water will be pumped into a water treatment plant that has been built adjacent to the pond. Once treated, it will be discharged into the river.

Once the pond is drained, the coal ash – known in regulations as coal combustion residuals, or “CCRs,” will be removed from the pond and placed in an unlined Ash Management Area on another part of the Plant Yates property.

Former Flowery Branch Council member Mary Jones has died, according to the Gainesville Times.

2
May

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for May 2, 2019

Lucky Savannah

Lucky is a 4-year old, 35-pound male Beagle and Basset Hound mix who is available for adoption from Save-A-Life in Savannah, GA.

Lucky was rescued from Animal Services where he was surrendered by a family who was moving and could not take him with them. He is now neutered, vaccinated, and on his monthly heart worm /flea prevention. He is housebroken, crate trained and prefers to sleep in a dog bed or on your bed. He does well with other dogs and can will bark when excited. Lucky is looking for a family wanting a perky, happy. companion.

Elizabeth Savannah

Elizabeth is a young female Border Collie and Basenji mix puppy who is available for adoption from Save-A-Life in Savannah, GA.

Lizzie is an 8 month old, 25-pound Border Collie/Basenji mix. She is black with a white chest, toes, and a white line up her nose. She was rescued from Animal Services and is now spayed, vaccinated, healthy and happy. She is a perky puppy and is learning her commands and has already mastered the agility tunnel. She is loving, exuberant, playful, does well with other dogs, and is trained to sleep in a crate all night. Lizzie is looking for an active home with a fenced yard and a family wanting a bright companion.

Jaxon Savannah

Jaxon Sterling is a young male German Shepherd Dog and Rottweiler mix puppy who is available for adoption from Save-A-Life in Savannah, GA.

Jax is a 55lb 11 month old Shephard/ Rottweiler Mix. His expected adult weight is over 60 lbs. Jaxon loves to play hard and love hard. He is looking for an active couple who can wear him out each day by running, playing fetch or swimming.

Jax is smart with a friendly personality and loves other dogs. He goes to daycare at least one day a week and loves it. Jax knows basic commands and is working with a trainer on more advanced techniques. Jax has been neutered and is up to date on vaccines. Jax must have a home with large yard and 6 to 8 foot fences, preferably with another active dog.

2
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 2, 2019

On May 2, 1886, Jefferson Davis left Atlanta, headed to Savannah.

Savannah officials had successfully solicited Davis to attend a variety of special ceremonies and events being planned in Savannah. On the way, the train stopped briefly in Forsyth and Macon, where the ex-Confederate president was greeted by crowds and spoke briefly from the back of his train. Although he didn’t leave the train, Davis would return to Macon the following year for a more formal visit.

On May 2, 1939, Lou Gehrig benched himself as the Yankees took the field against the Detroit Tigers, ending his streak of 2,130 consecutive games.

The Weather Channel began broadcasting from Cobb County, Georgia on May 2, 1982.

United States forces killed Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

United States Senators Johnny Isakson (R) and David Perdue (R) called again for disaster relief, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

“We’re not here today to talk about an agricultural disaster. We’re not here to talk about a hurricane, a storm or a fire,” said Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson during the event, which was held in Washington, D.C., but broadcast over the internet.

“We’re talking about a disastrous failure of the government of the United States of America to respond to the needs of its people,” Isakson said.

The nearly $14 billion aid package would benefit a range of states, including California, Alaska, Florida, the Carolinas and some Midwestern states, but Democrats have argued that the additional $600 million proposed for Puerto Rico, which is still struggling from a 2017 hurricane, is not enough.

Georgia Sen. David Perdue, a Republican, said he believes the two sides are close to striking a deal behind the scenes but noted that it would have to be something that President Donald Trump is willing to sign. Trump has groused on Twitter about the island’s use of federal funds it has already received.

“Just rest assured that we are not going to give up on this until we get this resolved and get disaster relief flowing to all these people across 12 states that are hurting today,” said Perdue, who is a close Trump ally.

Democrat Stacey Abrams is working on her next initiative, after passing on a 2020 Senate bid, according to the Savannah Morning News.

With her decision this week not to run for U.S. Senate, Abrams is directing her political energy squarely into promoting voting rights, the cause that helped propel her unsuccessful bid in Georgia last year to be the nation’s first African American female governor and made her a star in national Democratic circles.

Abrams’s command center is now Fair Fight Action, a nonprofit she formed in December to increase access to elections and combat what she describes as Republicans’ systemic efforts to suppress voters of color. The organization, where at least four former campaign aides work, has already filed a federal lawsuit over the election, lobbied for legislative reform and released videos featuring Abrams.

If the group is successful, it could help further boost the ranks of voters of color in Georgia, a state that saw a record turnout of 1.9 million Democrats last year, when Abrams narrowly lost the governor’s race to Republican Brian Kemp. That could also bolster Democratic fortunes in 2020 – as well as Abrams personally if she decides to challenge Kemp to a rematch two years after that.

Rebecca DeHart, the past executive director of the Georgia Democratic Party, is Fair Count’s CEO. Abrams’s sister, Jeanine Abrams McLean, a longtime population researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the group’s program director.

Fair Count began in 1998 under another name: Third Sector Development, the group Abrams formed to provide technical assistance to community organizations in Southern states.

Fair Fight Action also got its start as a different organization that Abrams founded years ago, called Voter Access Institute. When Abrams changed the name in December, she also adjusted the group’s articles of incorporation to allow it to participate in political activity.

Governor Brian Kemp appointed Lynne Riley as State Treasurer, according to a state press release.

Riley, who previously served in the General Assembly and most recently led the Department of Revenue as State Revenue Commissioner, will be Georgia’s first female State Treasurer.

“A dedicated public servant throughout her entire career, Lynne was a strong advocate for her constituents in the General Assembly and led the Department of Revenue with integrity and skill. This promotion is well-deserved given her success within the Deal administration and mine. I am excited to appoint her to this position, and I am confident that she will excel in her new role,” said Governor Kemp.

“I want to thank Governor Kemp for this opportunity, and I look forward to beginning this new chapter in public service. To ensure that our best and brightest days are always ahead, I will work tirelessly in the Office of the State Treasury to make Georgians proud and keep the Peach State on solid financial ground,” said Lynne Riley.

“Lynne Riley is an excellent choice for State Treasurer, and I look forward to working with her in my capacity as Chief Investment Officer. The State Treasurer’s responsibilities are vast and increasingly complex, and while I have enjoyed serving in a dual capacity in recent years, I believe our state will be better served by having Lynne and I specialize in our respective areas and collaborate to meet the needs of Georgia’s citizens,” said Steve McCoy.

With Riley’s appointment, Steve McCoy will remain in his role as Chief Investment Officer. In the coming days, Governor Kemp will name Riley’s successor at the Department of Revenue.

Governor Kemp will today sign Senate Bill 48, by State Senator P.K. Martin, which includes dyslexia mandates for public schools, according to the AJC.

The legislation for the state’s first dyslexia mandate, Senate Bill 48, also requires new teacher training and a three-year pilot program to test out screening and intervention methods before the full-blown mandate to screen all kindergartners starting in 2024.

The state burn ban is now in effect through the end of September, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Every year, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division imposes restrictions on outdoor burning to comply with Federal Clean Air Regulations.

“During the summer months in Georgia, the ozone in the air we breathe can reach unhealthy levels,” said Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge. “The EPD has identified outdoor open burning as a significant contributor of the pollutants that form ozone. Consequently, outdoor open burning in metro Atlanta and larger counties is restricted during the warm-weather season.”

For more information about the state burn ban, visit epd.georgia.gov/air.

Former Governor Nathan Deal will speak at a University of North Georgia commencement this month, according to a press release from the University.

Deal, who was in office from 2011-19, is the keynote speaker at the 6 p.m. May 3 commencement, which honors graduates of UNG’s Mike Cottrell College of Business, College of Science and Mathematics, and Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis

Deal represented Georgia’s 9th District in Congress from 1993-2010 before his two terms as governor. He is also a retired U.S. Army captain.

Joy Hawkins, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, is the keynote speaker for the 3 p.m. May 4 ceremony, where she will address graduates of the College of Education and College of Health Sciences and Professions.

Hawkins previously served as director of Literacy for All and was a policy adviser and deputy chief operations officer for former Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) blames the Democratic Chair of the Judiciary Committee for the lack of direct testimony by Attorney General William Barr, according to AccessWDUN.

Collins issued a statement Wednesday, saying [Congressman Jerry] Nadler sabotaged the hearing by refusing to read a less-redacted version of the report.

“It’s a shame Members of the House Judiciary Committee won’t get the opportunity to hear from Attorney General Barr this Thursday, because Chairman Nadler chose to torpedo our hearing. The attorney general gave clear, informative testimony in the Senate Wednesday, as he offered to do more than a month ago in the House tomorrow.”

“By rejecting the chance to question Attorney General Barr or read the materials he’s provided, Democrats are trying to prolong an investigation the special counsel completed. Ultimately, though, they’re ignoring the will of the majority of Americans who want Congress to move on and secure our border and continue to strengthen our economy.”

The United States House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee approved legislation aimed at helping Right Whale populations, according to The Brunswick News.

A bill that would open up $5 million in annual grants to protect North Atlantic right whales received approval Wednesday in the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

House Resolution 1568 — whose lead sponsor, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., is one of nearly two dozen people running for the Democratic nomination for president — provides $5 million per year from 2019 to 2029 that would go to relevant state and tribal agencies, research institutions and nonprofits with expertise required in right whale conservation.

“The SAVE Right Whales Act would authorize financial resources for research and to develop and test innovative technologies to reduce entanglements and ship strikes,” [Congressman Jared] Huffman said. “It would also direct NOAA to conduct a survey and map food sources in the Atlantic Ocean, which would valuable insight into the needs of right whales.”

U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., spoke for the Republican minority against the legislation.

“The Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife did hold a hearing on this issue on the North Atlantic right whale back in March, and what we also learned was that the right whale was hunted nearly to extinction through the late 19th Century, and that the North Atlantic population’s so small that it lacks a sufficient genetic pool to produce a growing population,” McClintock said. “We’ve heard shipping, other commercial activity, seismic testing blamed, but the fact is that other whale populations in the North Atlantic have been growing at a very healthy rate.”

The Gwinnett Daily Post brings more on the announcement by State Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero (D-Norcross) for the 7th Congressional District.

“We have a unique opportunity to elect someone who reflects the values and the rich diversity of our district,” Lopez Romero said in a statement. “I know that I am the right person for the job.”

The immigration attorney joins a growing field of Democratic candidates including Georgia State University professor Carolyn Bourdeaux, former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign official Nabilah Islam, former Fulton County Commission chairman John Eaves and Snellville-based attorney Marqus Cole.

There has never been a Hispanic member of Congress elected from Georgia, although Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials Executive Director Jerry Gonzalez said he believed a Latino candidate did run for the Fourth Congressional District seat several years ago.

“But she certainly is the first Latina running for Congress and she would be the first Hispanic to represent Georgia in Congress,” Gonzalez said.

“I think it is a national race,” Gonzales said. “In the last election, we saw Rep. Rob Woodall win by less than 500 votes in a highly contested race so that certainly makes this a very competitive race.”

“And that was in a mid-term election. For a presidential election, with the growth of the Latino electorate in Gwinnett County in particular, certainly you’re going to see a tremendous amount of attention to that race not only locally, but certainly nationally I think.”

“I’ll continue to use my expertise on immigration and international affairs to improve our world standing as a beacon of hope for democracy,” she said. “The narrative of Washington Republicans couldn’t be further from the truth. The immigrants I know are hard-working and embrace the best of American values.”

“I will push for comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act.”

Derik Minard has been appointed as the new Fire Chief for Savannah, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Brunswick Commission approved an intergovernmental agreement with Glynn County regarding flooding problems, according to The Brunswick News.