The blog.

8
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 8, 2022

Some Glynn County residents are seeking stricter tethering laws, according to The Brunswick News.

Critics want county commissioners to write a new ordinance that provides more protection for dogs tethered outside for hours at a time in all weather conditions.

Lynn Stephens, a volunteer with No Kill Glynn, said a petition is being circulated asking for a new ordinance that has more protections for tethered dogs.

Stephanie Schafer, a No Kill Glynn volunteer, said the petition she is circulating has more than 2,500 signatures already. She plans to present it to county commissioners at an upcoming meeting.

Glynn County Commissioner Bill Brunson described tethering as a “horrible practice,” especially in the hot summer heat. He believes some dogs are tethered outside for security purposes.

Glynn County Commissioner Bill Brunson described tethering as a “horrible practice,” especially in the hot summer heat. He believes some dogs are tethered outside for security purposes.

But Brunson questioned if a stronger ordinance is the solution.

“I don’t know how you would enforce it,” he said. “I will support anything as long as it’s enforceable.”

Commission Chairman Wayne Neal said he “has a love of animals as deep as anyone” but he said it’s challenging to create a tethering ordinance that is fair to everyone. He said it’s difficult to investigate complaints and some calls could be personal disputes that have nothing to do with the welfare of an animal.

Bella is an adult female mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from No Kill Glynn County in St Simons Island, GA.

Bella is said to be great with kids, house-trained, and walks well on a leash, though she is not fond of cats.

Iris is a tri-pawed adult female mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from No Kill Glynn County in St Simons Island, GA.

She’s dog friendly, great with kids, house-trained, walks well on a leash, a very mellow and kind dog

Bernice is a female mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA.

Bernice is a beautiful girl surrendered by her owner due to their living situation. She is young, energetic and curious. Bernice comes from a background of living with children and adults, and is also housebroken and crate trained. Given her age and size, she would benefit from a fenced yard for plenty of exercise and play time with her new family. Bernice would love an opportunity to give a new family all her love and attention. She misses being part of a clan with treats and soft blankets.

8
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 8, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

United States District Court Judge Steven Grimberg ruled that Georgia’s scheme for electing Public Service Commissioners is unconstitutional, according to the Associated Press via AccessWDUN.Continue Reading..

5
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 5, 2022

Waylon is an adult male Great Dane who is available for adoption from Reggie’s Rescue in Douglas, GA.

Waylon loves attention! we are not sure about his exact age but we think he is about 3-4 years old. he loves to jump on the couch and cuddle. he is a great dog and does well with other dogs, but would do best in a home being the only dog or maybe the only male dog.

Jerry is a senior male Beagle who is available for adoption from Reggie’s Rescue in Douglas, GA.

Jerry is the perfect match for someone who is patient & willing to work with him. Jerry is a senior beagle. We estimate around the age of 7-10 years old. He’s a beagle/basset mix so he’s a low rider with short and stumpy legs, but it just adds to his charm. Jerry would do best in a quiet, calm, & stationary household. He will have to stay on a special diet of “Hill’s Prescription Diet: Digestive Care” dog food to treat his irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).. He will need frequent access to the bathroom. Since he is an older guy, he will need an owner who is home for the majority of the day, but someone who enjoys keeping busy! Jerry absolutely LOVES other dogs. Every dog he meets is automatically a friend. He enjoys blankets, stuffed animals, crinkle toys, & SLEEPING!! He is a laid back guy who spends most days cuddled up in his bed or on a blanket. Jerry is a skittish dog who is scared of most things due to the life he previously had, however, once you gain his trust.. he’s an absolute goofball.

Cowboy is a young male Shepherd/cow dog mix puppy who is available for adoption from Reggie’s Rescue in Douglas, GA.

Cowboy doesn’t meet a stranger. He absolutely loves everyone. If someone knocks at the door, he doesn’t bark. He will greet them with lots of sniffs and kisses because he’s excited to see a new person! He’s so playful and likes to run around the yard chasing after his foster sibling. He looks like a new born deer when he runs. He had a cast on for so long in the beginning and I think that’s why he runs that way. He goes crazy for a stuffed toy and a dog bed. He loves car rides but isn’t quite sure about the windows being rolled down. He is a big cuddle bug and loves to be right in front of a fan. He is terrified of thunder, so expect him to be right in your lap when it thunders. I personally feel like he would be AMAZING in a house with kids because he has so much energy and wants to play all the time.

Penny is a young male tri-pawed mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from Reggie’s Rescue in Douglas, GA.

5
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 5, 2022

On August 4, 1753, George Washington became a Master Mason at the Masonic Lodge No. 4 in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On August 4, 1944, Anne Frank, her family, and two others were found by Nazis in a sealed area in an Amsterdam warehouse. They were sent first to a concentration camp in Holland, then most were sent to Auschwitz. Anne and her sister Margot died from Typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March of 1945.

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

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

On August 4, 1958, a wagon train left Dahlonega, headed to Atlanta to pay tribute to the mighty General Assembly deliver 43 ounces of gold to be used to coat the dome of the State Capitol.

The caravan transporting 43 ounces of gold from Dahlonega to the State Capitol to be used in gilding the dome arrived in Roswell/Sandy Springs area on August 5, 1958. At the current price of $1774.10 per ounce, that would be worth $76, 286.30.

On August 6, 1958 the wagon train carrying gold from Dahlonega to gild the State Capitol dome reached Atlanta, where city officials were not prepared to receive them. The caravan bearing 43 ounces of Dahlonega gold to be used in covering the Georgia State Capitol dome reached the Capitol and delivered it to Governor Marvin Griffin on August 7, 1958.

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

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

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

USA Today looks at the history of the Voting Rights Act and the role black women played in its passage.

“Men always got the attention, but the ones who were really organizing it and were really making it work were women,” [author Lynn] Olson said. “And that was true going back to the time of the time of abolitionists.”

When Boynton Robinson’s husband died in 1963, she used his memorial service at Tabernacle Baptist Church as the first mass meeting for voting rights in Selma.

“Mrs. Boynton [Robinson] really was the organizer of this and I think the person who actually wrote the letter that invited Dr. King and SCLC to come to Selma to help them with the voting rights movement,” Dawson said.

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

On August 4, 1993, Nolan Ryan, the greatest pitcher in major league baseball history, hit Chicago White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura with a pitch, and Ventura charged the mound.

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Coweta Circuit Superior Court Judge Bill Hamrick, also a former state Senator, will serve as the next Judge of the statewide Business Court, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald.Continue Reading..

3
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 3, 2022

Daffodil 4018 is a female Dachshund (?) mix who is available for adoption from PAWS Humane in Columbus, GA.

Tater Tot 8469 is a female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from PAWS Humane in Columbus, GA.

Xia 4905 is a female mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from PAWS Humane in Columbus, GA.

Looking for a sweet girl? I’m Xia, and I might just be the dog for you! Paws took me in after I was brought to Animal Control as a stray and I’ve been looking for my forever home ever since. I’m a bit of an explorer and would enjoy long walks with my favorite humans. I prefer gentle affection and an older crowd, but I’m lots of fun! Whenever I got for walks my friends at Paws say I’m bouncy and happy, ready to go, go, go. I really hope to find my family soon so please stop by and see me!
3
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 3, 2022

Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain on August 3, 1492.
16th Amendment

On August 3, 1910, Georgia became the ninth state to ratify the 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which allows Congress to levy a tax without apportioning it among the states.

Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as President on August 3, 1923 after Warren Harding died in office.

On August 3, 1982, Michael Hardwick was arrested, setting in motion the prosecution that would eventually lead to the United States Supreme Court in the case of Bowers v. Hardwick.

The World of Coca-Cola opened on August 3, 1990 between Underground Atlanta and the Georgia State Capitol.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Note: School zone speed cameras are back on as students return to school. From WTOC:Continue Reading..

2
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 2, 2022

Pen 224 is the temporary residence of a male Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Skippy is a 58-pound young male Black and Tan Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Strawberry is a 3-year old, 35-pound male mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

2
Aug

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 2, 2022

Georgia delegates Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton signed the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776.

On August 2, 1983, the United States House of Representatives voted to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a federal holiday on the third monday in January.

On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait.

President Barack Obama visited Georgia on August 2, 2010 – his first trip to Atlanta and second to Georgia after his election in November 2008. The occasion of his 2010 trip, like his trip to Atlanta yesterday, was to deliver a speech to the Disabled American Veterans Conference at the Hyatt Regency. From his 2010 speech:

As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.  Shortly after taking office, I announced our new strategy for Iraq and for a transition to full Iraqi responsibility. And I made it clear that by August 31st, 2010, America’s combat mission in Iraq would end. And that is exactly what we are doing — as promised and on schedule….

As agreed to with the Iraqi government, we will maintain a transitional force until we remove all our troops from Iraq by the end of next year.

At the same time, every American who has ever worn the uniform must also know this: Your country is going to take care of you when you come home. Our nation’s commitment to our veterans, to you and your families, is a sacred trust. And to me and my administration, upholding that trust is a moral obligation. It’s not just politics.

That’s why I’ve charged Secretary Shinseki with building a 21st century VA.  And that includes one of the largest percentage increases to the VA budget in the past 30 years. We are going to cut this deficit that we’ve got, and I’ve proposed a freeze on discretionary domestic spending. But what I have not frozen is the spending we need to keep our military strong, our country safe and our veterans secure. So we’re going to keep on making historic commitments to our veterans.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Live Nation, a publicly-traded company, announced it is canceling Music Midtown and blaming the Georgia “Constitutional Carry” law. From the AJC:

Democrats hope that the cancellation of the Music Midtown festival will prove just as galvanizing to their supporters as a challenging November election nears.

Eager to upend a political landscape dominated by economic uncertainty, Democrats quickly blamed their GOP rivals for the demise of the two-day event, which was slated to bring tens of thousands of concertgoers to the heart of Atlanta in September.

“Republicans want to say they’re all about business,” said state Sen. Jen Jordan, the Democratic nominee for attorney general. “But the radical no-compromise wing of the GOP controls their party. And this is a consequence of that.”

Though festival organizers would only cite “circumstances beyond our control” for their decision, officials said that legal fallout stemming from a Republican-backed gun expansion signed in 2014 paved the way for the cancellation.

Really? That’s a bigger problem than people simply not willing to go to a second-rate overpriced festival because of crime, an horrific unsolved murder in Piedmont Park and drive-by shootings in Atlanta?

Music Midtown attracted 300,000 attendees in the early years, but by 2019 had fallen to 50,000 attendees after numerous reboots. The gun law didn’t kill Music Midtown, it was already on life support at best.

Governor Brian Kemp announced that movie and film production spent $4.4 billion in Georgia during the 2022 Fiscal Year. From the Press Release:

“When the pandemic struck, we worked hard in Georgia to communicate with our partners in the Georgia film, TV, and streaming industries,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “Together, we forged a safe and appropriate path to allow the film industry to return to operations and deliver Georgia Made productions to eager consumers all around the world – even when some states continued to stay shut down and stifle the industry’s return to normalcy. Because of this partnership approach and the resiliency of our state’s film and television infrastructure, which state and local economic development officials have been working for almost fifty years to build, we are once again celebrating incredible growth and investment from industry leaders.”

Studios and support service companies provide additional infrastructure and jobs not included in productions’ direct spends.

“In addition to providing production jobs that range across a variety of skills from accounting to carpentry to engineering and graphic design, productions are using local vendors, eating at Georgia restaurants, and staying in our hotels,” continued Governor Kemp. “We’re proud to be training more Georgians to be decision-makers in film and television production, keeping their talents in our state, and we look forward to this industry’s continued success in the Peach State!”

In addition to working with studios and communities to bring productions to Georgia, the Georgia Film Office provides multiple resources for local businesses and talent to list their services to industry decision-makers such as the Georgia Reel Crew™ database, which is a searchable, online directory of crew and support services; the Georgia Reel Scout™ database of local properties available for filming; certification and a searchable map of Georgia Camera Ready communities; information on available stage space; and other information that links Georgia assets with industry representatives.

“Georgia’s thriving creative arts and entertainment industries support thousands of jobs across our state,” said Speaker David Ralston. “By working collaboratively between the public and private sectors we have created an economic engine that is the envy of the nation. From blockbuster motion pictures to the latest video games, Georgia-produced content is everywhere, demonstrating our competitive advantages in this multi-billion-dollar industry. For producers who are serious about having access to the best talent available and state-of-the-art facilities, Georgia is on their mind.”

This fiscal year, as Georgia-lensed “Spider-Man: No Way Home” continued to rise on box office charts during the year, movies filmed in Georgia claimed four of the top six spots for highest domestic-grossing movies: “Avengers: Endgame” (No. 2), “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (3), “Black Panther” (5), and “Avengers: Infinity War” (6).

Streaming episodic and limited-series programming continue to choose Georgia for hit programming, including Season Four of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” which reached an all-time Neilson streaming record in July for its more than 7 billion minutes of viewing time during the first half of the season. This show, as well Georgia-lensed Netflix hit “Ozark,” each earned 13 Primetime Emmy® nominations in July. Emmy nominations also came in for HBO Max’s “The Staircase,” Disney+’s “Loki” and FX’s “Atlanta” among others, totaling 46 nominations for productions in the state. Georgia-lensed productions earned prestigious Peabody Awards in June: both “The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Prime) and “The Wonder Years” (ABC) won in the “Entertainment” category.

Among other industry developments during the year, Reynolds Capital announced that they would invest $60 million in Athena Studios, a new soundstage development in Athens, Georgia. Athena Studios will initially host approximately 350,000,000 square feet of stage and mill space as well as a building for the University of Georgia and the Georgia Film Academy to teach students film production.

Cinelease Studios-Three Ring broke ground on a $144-million studio expansion in Covington, and Electric Owl Studios broke ground on their 17-acre site in the City of Stone Mountain, where Capstone South Properties and Domain Capital Group are building the world’s first ground-up, LEED Gold-certified film and TV studio campus in March. Also in March, United Talent Agency kicked off their new full-service office, where all 40 of their divisions will be actively represented in Atlanta, from film and TV to gaming and sports to podcasting and music. While developing the former Doraville GM site, Gray Television announced a new partnership with NBCUniversal Media (NBCU) to lease property for content creation as well as manage all production facilities, including Gray’s studios. This partnership is estimated to create more than 4,000 new jobs in the state.

The largest studio-based equipment company in the world for film, television, and events, MBS Equipment Company (MBSE), in October 2021 announced the opening of their new East Coast headquarters at Trilith Studios in Fayette County.

“The credits rolling are the names of our neighbors and our cities, and it’s incredibly exciting to bring our Georgia people and places around the world through entertainment,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “We thank Georgia’s leadership, the companies doing business here, the professionals at our Georgia Film Office, and all of our partners who have worked continuously to bring more film and television production to Georgia. Their tireless efforts improve the lives of thousands of Georgians and their families, and a make significant positive impact on our state’s overall economy.”

In addition to new homes, shops, and production space at Trilith Studios in Fayetteville, The Town at Trilith now has a state-of-the-art boutique hotel, expected to open in fall 2023. As production blurs the line between passive and active viewing with the use of virtual and augmented reality, Trilith Studios and NEP Virtual Studios announced a new state-of-the-art virtual production facility – the first Prysm Stage has become available at the Creative Technologies District at Trilith Studios. This permanent stage facility will offer filmmakers stable and advanced real-time workflows and technology, operated by experienced virtual production experts.

“It’s very gratifying to see the continued commitment to Georgia’s film industry through local investment in soundstages, support services companies, and educational programs throughout the state,” said Georgia Film Office Director Lee Thomas. “We send a big thanks to the companies who have invested here and the communities that work so hard to make films dreams a reality for their local residents and economy.”

Gaming, esports, and other interactive entertainment projects such as mobile games; virtual reality, augmented reality, and console and PC game development are also part of production growth in the state, but are not included in the film industry’s direct spend totals. Riot Games recently announced that the 2022 League of Legends World Championship semifinals will be held in Atlanta.

To view video clips of recent productions’ experiences filming across the state, visit the Georgia Film Office’s YouTube page.

The Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission will move forward with a probe of Stacey Abrams-related organizations, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Rome News Tribune.

At the center of the dispute is whether the activities of the New Georgia Project and an affiliated fund were sufficiently political in nature to require registering as campaign and ballot committees under Georgia law.

Founded in 2013, the New Georgia Project is registered as a 501(c)(3) organization under Internal Revenue Service rules. The New Georgia Action Fund is registered as a 501 (c)(4) group.

A complaint filed with the ethics commission alleges the two groups crossed the line into political activity and failed to register as campaign committees under Georgia campaign finance law.

The groups advocated for electoral candidates, namely gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams and other Democrats, in 2017 and 2018, said Joseph Cusack, staff attorney for the commission.

Cusack pointed to campaign literature that called on people to vote for Abrams and other Democrats distributed by New Georgia Project canvassers.

The materials were labeled as being supported by the New Georgia Project. Cusack also pointed to scripts canvassers used asking people to vote for Abrams and identifying the New Georgia Project.

Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones is requiring employees to sign a confidentiality agreement, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Employees in the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office are required to sign what the office is calling a “confidentiality agreement” in an effort to protect sensitive work in the office. However, the agreement could violate open records law and hinder EEOC investigations.

“Confidentiality Agreements are necessary to preserve the sensitive work of this office and are common in the legal industry. All current and future employees are required to sign it,” said DA spokesperson Nathaneal Wright in response to emailed questions about the agreement.

“What she’s done is she’s used a jackhammer to do what she should do with a scalpel,” [attorney Michael Caldwell of Atlanta-based law firm Georgia Wage Lawyers] said in reference to Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones.

When asked if they were aware the “confidentiality agreement” could potentially violate open records law or could hinder EEOC violations, the DA’s office responded, “This question calls for a legal conclusion and, therefore, violates the rules protecting attorney opinion and work product.”

The City of Savannah has increased pay for public safety personnel, according to WTOC.

The city nearly spent nearly $4.3 million in additional investments for public safety. According to the city, that puts Savannah’s public safety departments in the top 5% in Georgia.

Gwinnett County is once again looking at transit and asking for public input, according to AccessWDUN.

Gwinnett County is seeking input from the community through a short online survey as they reimagine the future of public transit with their Transit Development Plan.

“Local transit has the unique ability to transform and enhance quality of life for residents and visitors to the county,”  Gwinnett County Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson said. “To keep our transit system going in the right direction, we must constantly evaluate what we’re doing right and what can be done better. This feedback from our community will be an integral part of that process.”

The survey will remain open until Aug. 15 at GwinnettCounty.com/TDPSurvey and is accessible in multiple languages. For more information about the TDP or to access frequently asked questions, visit GwinnettCounty.com/TDP.

A PAC backing Herschel Walker is buying people groceries, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

34N22, a pro-Walker political action committee [] stood outside the combined fuel stop, pharmacy and grocery store last week, giving away roughly $10,000 worth of vouchers in about 40 minutes.

The giveaway is part of the committee’s rural outreach to areas they say are overlooked as inflation and other economic pressures squeeze these residents. Future stops include cities and counties with larger Black populations — a group with which Republicans have struggled to make inroads.

“Some of these counties where there’s a heavy African American population are struggling,” said Stephen Lawson, a 34N22 representative. “They’re struggling with 40-year (record-high) inflation. They’re struggling with gas prices, and these are communities that are often neglected and forgotten by campaigns and candidates.”

The group has held similar gas and grocery events in cities like Atlanta, Macon and Camilla over the past few months. Republicans hope efforts like these will help them come election time. Georgia’s battleground status means every vote matters, and this election could determine the balance of power in the Senate. Democrats have decried the giveaways and questioned their legality.

The Ledger-Enquirer sampled 96 people who received grocery vouchers. Most — 45 people or roughly 47% of those who responded to the unofficial survey — said they’d vote for Walker in November. Thirty-five said they were undecided, and 16 said they were voting for Warnock.

Dougherty County Commissioners are setting the property tax millage rate, according to WALB.

For the Countywide District, property taxes will be levied by 22.87 percent over the milage rate.

It will rise this year by .23% over the rollback millage rate for the Special Services-Unincorporated.

Each year, the board of tax assessors is required to review the assessed value for property tax purposes of taxable property in the county. When the trend of prices on properties that have recently sold in the county indicates there has been an increase in the fair market value of any specific property, the board of tax assessors is required by law to re-determine the value of such property and adjust the assessment, called reassessment, the county said.

The budget tentatively adopted by the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners requires a millage rate higher than the rollback millage rate. Before the Dougherty County Board of Commissions can finalize the tentative budget and set a final millage rate, Georgia law requires three public hearings to be held to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on the increase.

Augusta-Richmond County voters will elect a Tax Commissioner and two members of the Board of Education, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Richmond County Board of Education trustees Charlie Hannah and Venus Cain as well as appointed Richmond County Tax Commissioner Tederell “Chris” Johnson have attracted opposition.

Johnson, the longtime deputy tax commissioner under former Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick, was appointed tax commissioner when Kendrick qualified to run for mayor in March. Johnson filed a declaration of intent to seek campaign contributions Friday.

Also filing a declaration Friday was Veronica Freeman Brown, who works as finance director for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and lives in the Hephzibah area.

Hannah represents District 2 schools and serves as president of the school board. He also ran for mayor this year. He faces challenges from Yiet S. Knight, and the Rev. Larry Fryer.

Cain has represented Super District 9 on the school board since 2006. She is a Department of Defense employee. She is facing a challenge from former candidate Christopher Mulliens.

Official candidates qualifying for the posts will be held the week of Aug. 22-26. Election Day is Nov. 8.

The Georgia Department of Revenue has released guidance on how income taxpayers may claim an unborn child under the “Heartbeat Bill,” according to the AJC.

In a press release, Revenue Department officials said anyone who is expecting a child as of July 20 through the end of the year can claim in their 2022 filing a $3,000 tax deduction per embryo or fetus on the “other adjustments” line of the state’s tax documents. The department said it may ask for proof of the pregnancy.

“Similar to any other deduction claimed on an income tax return, relevant medical records or other supporting documentation shall be provided to support the dependent deduction claimed if requested by the department,” the agency said in the press release.

Georgia set a new record for sea turtle nests, according to The Brunswick News.

So far this year, St. Simons has had 12 nests. Across Georgia, at least 3,977 sea turtle nests have been counted, which surpasses the record set in 2019.

Mark Dodd, a senior wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources who coordinates sea turtle conservation efforts in the state, offers training most summers to the volunteer team on St. Simons. Most already have extensive experience working in sea turtle conservation on various Georgia islands.

“We do not call it a hatch unless we see hatchling tracks,” Dodd said. “A lot of y’all have been around a long time and you know what it looks like.”

Numerous pieces of important data need to be recorded with each nest, including the date of hatch, the number of incubation days and the number of hatchlings that made it out.

Days of incubation in a nest will indicate its hatchling sex ratio. Longer incubation times — closer to 70 days — are tied to more male hatchlings, while shorter incubations of maybe 50 or so days will lead to more female hatchlings.

“We still don’t really understand the process by which hatchlings imprint on their natal beach,” he said. “We know they’re going to come back 30 years from now to their natal beach or the area of their natal beach to nest. But we’re not exactly sure how they’re imprinting.”

1
Aug

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for July 1, 2022

Dalton City Council is donating land to the Humane Society of Northwest Georgia, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

The Humane Society had signed a 40-year, $1-a-year lease on the property about 10 years ago. It broke ground on a $1.5 million, 12,000-square-foot facility in 2017 and opened it a little more than a year later. The organization, which has been in Whitfield County for more than 40 years, had previously leased a site on Cleveland Highway.

City Administrator Andrew Parker said one hurdle [to donating the property to the HSNWGA] was that the city couldn’t legally do that “unless they provide some sort of benefit to the city.”

The City Council members asked City Attorney Terry Miller to look into the issue and he found the Humane Society does provide a quantifiable benefit to the city.

“Over the last few years, on average, they have taken in over 770 stray animals, cats and dogs, each year,” he said. “Through our service delivery agreement with Whitfield County, the taxpayers of Dalton pay part of Whitfield County animal control service costs. On average, the intake of an animal at the (county) animal shelter costs about $200. So, by taking these animals and keeping them out of the county animal shelter, the Humane Society is providing a benefit of over $150,000 a year. Over a 10- or 12-year period, they are providing a benefit that exceeds the value of the property. They operate on private donations, and they can raise donations better if they can control their own destiny.”

The donation includes a reversion clause that says that if the Humane Society stops using the site as an animal shelter it will revert to the city.

Marley is a young female Golden Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northwest Georgia in Dalton, GA.

Marley is super cute and will steal your heart the moment you meet her. This sweet girl is perfect for an active adult or family with children. Outgoing and friendly, this pup is very affectionate and will be a large dog when full grown. An energetic playful pup, Marley loves to play with toys and chase after her brother Maximus. If you don’t currently own a playful young pup, please consider adopting these two siblings together. The two keep each other well entertained and are great snuggle buddies too. Marley is fine tuning her house manners and will need a fenced in yard to keep her safe when outside. Marley and Maximus do not have to be adopted together.

Baby Girl is a 3.5-year old, 61-pound female Golden Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northwest Georgia in Dalton, GA.

Baby Girl is easy to love because she is super sweet. She does, however, need a special home. Baby Girl is a devoted dog that prefers a home without other pets. In particular, she does not like other dogs. She needs a low stress environment with an experienced dog owner. While not good on walks around the neighborhood, she would be fine in her own backyard. . This female brindle Boxer mix is three and half years old and weighs around sixty-one pounds. She loves being with people and is also fond of older children. Baby Girl is already housebroken and would enjoy having a large securely fenced in backyard so she can run and play safely. She rides well in a car and would be a good hiking buddy for back country trails where she would not run into other dogs.

Bennett is a 2-month old male Great Dane mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northwest Georgia in Dalton, GA.

Meet Bennett! He was a stray found by some kind people who saved his life. This gentle soul is now just looking for love. He is still settling in but adores all the attention he gets, he loves his head to be rubbed and he loves to be petted and cuddled. As you hold him, he’ll rest his head on your shoulder or in your hand. This sweet baby is so ready for a family to call his own. Bennett is one of the calmest, sweetest puppies you’ll ever meet. He is a Great Dane mix and weighs almost eighteen pounds.

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 1, 2022

August 1 was a big day for Benjamin Mays – he was born on August 1, 1895 and became President of Morehouse College on August 1, 1936.

PT-109, commanded by LTJG John F. Kennedy was sunk on August 1, 1943.

On August 1, 1982, Hank Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is being criticized for referring to a dead trans-woman as a male, according to the Savannah Morning News.

[W]hen the 26-year-old transgender woman was found shot to death at a hotel in Augusta, Georgia, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office referred to her as an unidentified male and later used her birth name – commonly referred to as a “dead name”–  in a release to the media.

Geter’s family and transgender advocates said misgendering trans people is insensitive to the family, makes it harder for the public to identify the victim and provide information that could lead to an arrest, and obscures the fact that anti-transgender violence is on the rise.

“Initial reports from local media misgendered Keshia,” said Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, a branch of the Human Rights Commission. “Keshia Chanel Geter lived her truth as a Black transgender woman.”

“One of the reasons it’s so problematic is it’s just disrespectful, not only to the person who has been a victim of fatal violence, but also to their friends and family,” Cooper said.

[Julie Callahan a 30-year veteran of the San Jose Police Department in California and a member of the Transgender Community of Police & Sheriffs organization] said the organization has found that every agency has its own style. But one commonality is that “they feel that the person’s legal name is the only way they should be addressed.”

In an email to The Chronicle on July 28, an official with the sheriff’s office said for police reports, officers use “the person’s legal name derived from their State ID, Birth Certificate, or SSN, which the State of Georgia declares these are legal documents.”

Democrat Stacey Abrams spoke about affordable housing in Athens, which hosts a giant homeless encampment. From the Athens Banner Herald:

Stacey Abrams made a two-day stop on her campaign trail in Athens, meeting with donors Wednesday evening before stopping at coffee shop Bitty and Beau’s on Thursday afternoon.

Just more than 100 days before the midterm elections, the Georgia gubernatorial candidate held an “Athens Evening with Stacey Abrams” event Wednesday.

Abrams met with local media and addressed housing affordability, the economy and the upcoming election.

“We are not in a recession,” Abrams said.

The governor hopeful, challenging Republican incumbent Brian Kemp, re-iterated a stance taken by other Democratic Party leaders in refuting claims the country is in recession. Abrams went on to say that the economic data is concerning, but the situation it is a global phenomenon.

In order to address the current economic challenge, Abrams said Georgia needs to address housing. This comment came days after Abrams released her “Comprehensive Plan to Tackle Georgia’s Housing Crisis.”

Abrams said as the next fiscal cycle starts, she wants there to be “rightsizing” of wages. Abrams called pay increases in the university system “modest” and said they are not keeping up with housing costs and the general cost of living.

“My plan is a comprehensive plan that will look at the budget in 2023-24 and make certain that we are paying people their value, and that they are able to not only work but live, work and play in the communities they love,” said Abrams.

Abrams is leaning in to her support for President Joe Biden, according to the AJC.

“Georgia is the reason we’ve got Joe Biden,” she said to a burst of applause. “The reason that we’ve got billions of dollars in our coffers, money that’s being spent to help keep us afloat.”

While other Democratic candidates in Georgia are keeping their distance from Biden and his rock-bottom approval ratings, Abrams is following a different course. She’s embracing both her alliance with the president and the legislative agenda he has championed.

“I voted for Joe Biden. Joe Biden is the president of the United States. He’s the president of the citizens of the state of Georgia,” Abrams said to cheers in Dalton when asked about her alignment with the president.

“And because of his leadership, we have the American Rescue Plan that’s poured billions of dollars into this state. Because of his leadership, we’re about to have, for the first time, a true climate action plan in the U.S.”

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker was endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council and others, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“We have a very, very serious crisis on our southwestern border,” council President Brandon Judd said during a news conference outside Alpharetta City Hall. “The drug epidemic … is killing too many of our children.”

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who represented a district in Atlanta’s northern suburbs for 20 years, characterized Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock as soft on crime.

“Senator Warnock favors policies that put criminals back on the streets,” Gingrich said.

Former Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren, a friend of Walker’s for almost 30 years, said Walker served the Cobb sheriff’s department as an honorary deputy and often spent time at the jail talking to prisoners.

“He made a lot of difference with a lot of inmates at that facility,” Warren said. “Herschel Walker is probably one of the best ambassadors for law enforcement in this country. … We need him in the Senate.”

Suspended Augusta Commissioner Sammie Sias was convicted on federal charges, according to WRDW.

Former Augusta Commissioner Sammie Sias was found guilty after a four-day trial of destroying records in a federal investigation and then lying about it to federal investigators researching the case.

He has 14 days to file an appeal. U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall will set a sentencing date for Sias following an investigation by U.S. Probation Services. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

“First off let me say to y’all this, the process it is what it is. I think it was fair. We’ll be prepared to deal with this from this point forward. My team, I believe, put on a very good defense for me, but obviously, it did not go my way. We’ll be prepared to move forward from here. I hold no malice against the process. I hold no malice against the jury, or the judge, or the prosecutors. It is time for me, personally, to go ahead and prepare for this, deal with this and go on from there,” said Sias.

Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook (D) claimed a leaked prosecution rubric was a discussion  draft, according to the Savannah Morning News.

After publishing an article Wednesday regarding the Chatham County District’s Attorney proposed prosecution rubric, which the DA’s office characterized as a “draft,” the Savannah Morning News later learned that DA Shalena Cook Jones sent a two-page memo to State Court division staff on April 26 that referred to the rubric as “prosecutorial priorities” to “provide clarity and insight and to focus our department efforts on ‘smart prosecution’.”

The second to last line of the memo reads: “Please review and follow the rubric that is attached.”  At no point does the DA stipulate that the rubric is a draft for discussion purposes.

During a phone conversation with SMN, Jones insisted the rubric was not a policy and reiterated multiple times that the rubric was a draft memo sent to attorneys who work in State Court and was sent to State Court judges for their input.

Jones further criticized the leak of the draft, saying “release of this document has adverse consequences to fair and just prosecution, and those who continue to promulgate it are not doing so with the public interest in mind. Further and finally, the sole intent of this discourse is to harass, distract and obstruct the good work of this office,” Jones wrote in a lengthy email to SMN.

Chatham County Commissioners appointed an interim County Manager, according to WTOC.

All questions have gone unanswered as to why Chatham County Manager Lee Smith is on administrative leave.

With Lee Smith’s suspension, the Chatham County Commission appointed Michael Kaigler Interim County Manager.

Kaigler was formerly an assistant county manager.

Chairman Chester Ellis would only read a short statement to the media.

“Regarding the Chatham County Manager Lee Smith, the county commission met and discussed his administrative leave the county manager will remain on administrative leave until further notice.”

Chatham Commissioners also voted to add a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation (T-SPLOST) to the November ballot, according to WTOC.

If approved, county sales taxes will increase 1%.

“It puts money in places were we can resurface streets, redo streets totally. So we can put drainage in cause everybody in Chatham county knows under the ground our drainage system from the 1950′s and 60′s.”

Chairman Chester Ellis says the funds from T-SPLOST will help the county qualify to receive more federal money for projects.

Floyd County voters will decide a referendum on whether to expand the hours for liquor sales, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The Floyd County Commission approved the referendum at its July 26 meeting in a 3 to 1 vote. Commission Chair Wright Bagby Jr. and Commissioners Rhonda Wallace and Scotty Hancock were in favor. Commissioner Larry Maxey voted no and Commissioner Allison Watters was not present.

“This is to match the city’s already adopted in place resolution,” Bagby said. There was no further discussion.

If approved by voters, licensed outlets in the unincorporated area could sell alcohol by the drink and by the package between 11 a.m. and midnight on Sundays. Sales currently can’t begin until 12:30 p.m.

The Stewart County School District announced it will require masks, according to WTVM.

The Stewart County School District has announced a mask mandate for students and teachers in the 2022-2023 school year.

This decision comes from a high transmission of COVID-19 in the area. All students and staff must wear a mask in the building of the school and also on buses and transportation.

Speaking of masks, the CDC is again recommending their use in Georgia, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends Georgians wear masks for public indoor settings as new COVID-19 cases rise throughout the state.

Although the CDC is reporting high transmission, the number of cases being reported remain much lower than in previous surges, such as the omicron surge at the start of the year.

In Muscogee County, the West Central Health District has seen an increase of people getting tested for COVID-19, said spokesperson Pamela Kirkland, with 192 tests performed in the week ending on July 9, to 236 performed in the week ending on July 23.

Columbus courts continue working through a backlog of cases related to COVID, according to WTVM.

A backlog of criminal court cases continues to be an issue in Columbus, leaving inmates in jail for prolonged periods and many without yet being formally charged with a crime.

“Now Mr. Fitzpatrick has been continuously incarcerated for somewhat about 805 days, give or take.” That’s about two years and two months without an indictment.

[Nico] Fitzpatrick’s case [related to a 2018 homicide] was bound to Superior Court in April 2020. He is just now facing the Superior Court judge.

With the recent backlog of cases, Judge Arthur Smith, President of the Council of Superior Court Judges, had a large unindicted bond docket today for people who have been jailed for over 90 days and have not been indicted.

Judge Smith is using money from a $2 million grant to help clear up the backlog.

“The money has allowed us to engage our senior judges who are not on the bench actively involved to come back to work and handle civil cases and family law cases,” says Judge Arthur Smith.

District Attorney Stacey Jackson, who was just appointed back in May, says issues hiring staff plays a part in creating the backlog but filling those positions remains important to him.

Judge Smith says it will probably take a little over two years to get back on track and to get court cases flowing through the system the way they should.

A reproductive rights rally was held in Brunswick on Saturday, according to The Brunswick News.

The Richmond County Board of Education adopted a lower property tax millage rate, but many property owners will pay more due to increased values, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Richmond County Board of Education is reducing the property tax rate by 8.6% to 17.65 mills, the lowest it’s been in nearly 20 years, officials said Thursday.

Taxpayers may not feel much relief, however, as the lower millage competes with their rising property values. Rising property values, meanwhile, have triggered reductions in state funding for Richmond County schools.

And despite the tax decrease, state law requires the board to advertise the new rate as an increase, because it did not adopt the “rollback” millage rate that would raise the same revenue as last year.

Qualifying opens today for three municipal councils in Habersham County, according to AccessWDUN.

Three Habersham municipalities will have Special Elections to fill vacant council seats on Nov. 8.

Residents of Alto, Clarkesville, and Demorest interested in running for an open council seat in their city can qualify this week (Aug. 1-5) at the Habersham County Elections and Registration Office, 130 Jacob’s Way, Suite 101, Clarkesville.

Lawrenceville Police Department will start testing school zone speed cameras, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Drivers who are traveling at least 11 miles over the speed limit in the school zone will receive a citation for speeding. That means a driver who is traveling at least 36 mph, when the flashing sign tells them to drive 25 mph, will get a ticket. If the lights are not flashing and the speed limit is 35 mph, a driver could then receive a ticket for driving at least 46 mph.

Once the warning period ends on Sept. 5, drivers will be fined $75, plus a $25 processing fee, for the first offense and $100, plus a $25 processing fee, for each subsequent citation.

“Unpaid violations are handled through the Department of Revenue by prohibiting the renewal of a car tag or sale of the vehicle, rather than a bench warrant,” city officials said.