The blog.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for October 3, 2023

Roxy is a female adult Chihuahua mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Meet Roxy, an adorable 4-year-old female dog weighing in at 14 lbs. Roxy entered the shelter on September 28, 2023, following a difficult circumstance that led to her owner having to surrender her. Despite the challenges, Roxy remains irresistibly cute with a sweet but initially shy disposition. She has already demonstrated her good manners by promptly sitting on command. Roxy’s previous caregiver explained that she belonged to a parent who was unfortunately deported, leaving her unable to continue caring for the pup. Roxy is reported to be house trained, making her an ideal companion for a loving home. She has proven to be good with children and gets along well with other animals, though it’s advisable that she be placed in a home without cats. Currently located in Run #323, Roxy is already spayed and will be microchipped before adoption for added security. This little sweetheart is up to date on all her vaccines, and a heartworm test will be conducted before she finds her new forever home. If you’re ready to provide a warm and caring environment for Roxy, please consider welcoming her into your life. Her identification number is 649577, and she is eagerly waiting to become a cherished member of a loving family.

Natasha is a female adult Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Please meet the amazing Natasha! Natasha was on a grand adventure to see what or who could give her the world but before she could find her guardian angel, she was transported to the shelter on 9/24. Natasha is a great dog with a great personality and is curious to know everything! She was so excited just to have someone come visit her and give her the most awesome chicken treats in her world! She would love to be apart of an active family that would like to include her in all of your adventures! She is very sweet and very playful. Just cute as can be! Wouldn’t you agree? She is very intelligent as she knows how to sit all by herself and she may know more. Can you help this sweet girl get out of the shelter and continue to live her life happily? A great home with a great family that will provide her everything she needs and wants. Be patient with her and never give up on her! She will repay with love, hugs and kisses and will be there for you when you have upside down moments in your life! Dogs are the greatest being to have in your life to forget your troubles and make you feel so loved.

Jasper is a male adult Black Mouth Cur and Shepherd dog mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

This adorable boy is Jasper! He arrived at the shelter as a lost boy on 9/25, and no one has come to reclaim him. Jasper is now on the hunt for a new, forever home! Jasper would do best in an active family since he is young, playful, and athletic! He’d love to be someone’s adventure and/or running buddy! Since Jasper is still quite young he’ll also need a patient and loving family who will work with him on manners and house training skills.

Jasper is approximately 1 year old, and he weighs 53 lbs. He is UTD on vaccines, and he will be neutered, microchipped, and heart worm tested upon adoption. Jasper is waiting to meet you in run 851; his ID # is 649489.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 3, 2023

On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be observed on November 26, 1863 and on the fourth Thursday in November every succeeding year.

This announcement harkened back to when George Washington was in his first term as the first president in 1789 and the young American nation had only a few years earlier emerged from the American Revolution. At that time, George Washington called for an official celebratory “day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” While Congress overwhelmingly agreed to Washington’s suggestion, the holiday did not yet become an annual event.

Thomas Jefferson, the third president, felt that public demonstrations of piety to a higher power, like that celebrated at Thanksgiving, were inappropriate in a nation based in part on the separation of church and state. Subsequent presidents agreed with him. In fact, no official Thanksgiving proclamation was issued by any president between 1815 and the day Lincoln took the opportunity to thank the Union Army and God for a shift in the country’s fortunes on this day in 1863.

On October 3, 1922, Rebecca Latimer Felton was appointed to the United States Senate from Georgia following the death of Senator Tom Watson. After initially being rebuffed by the Senate, Felton was sworn-in on late in November, becoming the first woman to serve in the United States Senate.

On October 3, 1995, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Krispy Kreme announced yesterday that the Ponce De Leon store will reopen next week, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for October 2, 2023

Tootsie is a young female Labrador Retriever & Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Newnan Coweta Humane Society in Newnan, GA.

Look at that face! This beautiful young girl is a typical happy, energetic pup, bursting with love and playfulness. Her favorite pastimes include wrestling with her sister, playing with toys, playing with people, getting her belly rubbed… well, you get the idea! She would love a home where she has lots of play and exercise, preferably with another dog for company. She’s a very affectionate little pup who’s eager to take on all life has to offer. Tootsie would make a great family dog but is best suited to a family with bigger kids, as she is still young and can be a bit too bouncy or scratchy for young children who aren’t used to puppies. She would love a patient and loving family who will continue to teach her how to grow into a beautiful and well-behaved dog.

Sweet Pea is an adult female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Newnan Coweta Humane Society in Newnan, GA.

Sweet Pea is as cute as they come, with a feisty personality to boot. She is looking for a very special home with someone who is patient and dog savvy. She didn’t have the best start to life and she came to us from the shelter the day after giving birth to a litter of puppies. She is ready to find her perfect match. She does great with other dogs, but will need to go to a home with no children. If you would like to discuss Sweet Pea’s unique situation, please fill out an application so one of our team members can reach out. She is up to date on vaccines, spayed, microchipped and heartworm negative. She would love nothing more than to have a cozy bed to call her own.

Mr. Boyle is an adult male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Newnan Coweta Humane Society in Newnan, GA.

Big Bronco Boyle (also known as Triple B) is house-trained, UTD on vaccines, neutered, and current on flea/tick and heartworm medication. He is currently being treated for heart worms and will continue his treatment after adoption until he tests negative. He is a Golden Lab mix, weighs about 100 pounds, and knows the commands SIT and PAW; he is learning the commands COME and STAY. We estimate his age at approximately 4 years old.

Bronco currently lives in a foster home with 2 high anxiety/energy male terriers, and he is the chill dog. Triple B is a laid back boy and has never met a stranger. He will require a fence or fence system as he wants to meet the neighbors and say hello to all. Bronco’s favorite toy is a large antler that brings him great joy. He will allow his canine brothers to eat out of his food bowl–he is not food possessive or a toy “guarder.”

Triple B would like a busy home with kids to play with or a home with other dogs. He would not do well being left alone by himself–he truly is a social creature and likes companionship. Bronco’s sweet, affable nature makes him an ideal companion for almost any busy family. He is non-reactive to dogs and cats–his easy going, gentle demeanor puts most other dogs to shame.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 2, 2023

On October 2, 1789, President George Washington signed a resolution transmitting the (then-twelve) amendments constituting the Bill of Rights to the states that had ratified the Constitution. Click here for the letter from Washington to Governor Charles Pinckney of South Carolina that accompanied the amendments.

On October 2, 1835, Texans and Mexicans met in the first military battle of the Texas Revolution, the Battle of Gonzales.

In 1831, Mexican authorities gave the settlers of Gonzales a small cannon to help protect them from frequent Comanche raids. Over the next four years, the political situation in Mexico deteriorated, and in 1835 several states revolted. As the unrest spread, Colonel Domingo de Ugartechea, the commander of all Mexican troops in Texas, felt it unwise to leave the residents of Gonzales a weapon and requested the return of the cannon.

When the initial request was refused, Ugartechea sent 100 dragoons to retrieve the cannon. The soldiers neared Gonzales on September 29, but the colonists used a variety of excuses to keep them from the town, while secretly sending messengers to request assistance from nearby communities. Within two days, up to 140 Texians gathered in Gonzales, all determined not to give up the cannon. On October 1, settlers voted to initiate a fight. Mexican soldiers opened fire as Texians approached their camp in the early hours of October 2. After several hours of desultory firing, the Mexican soldiers withdrew.

Texas Cannon Flag 600

On October 2, 1879, Wallace Stevens was born. Stevens would become a renowned poet and insurance industry lawyer. My favorite poem of his is “Connoisseur of Chaos.”

A. A violent order is disorder; and
B. A great disorder is an order. These
Two things are one.

President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke at the White House on October 2, 1909.

Thurgood Marshall was sworn-in as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 2, 1967.

Betty Talmadge, then wife of Senator Herman Talmadge, hosted a fundraiser with Rosalynn Carter and Joan Mondale on October 2, 1976.

Ground was broken for The Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta on October 2, 1984.

The last Braves game at Turner Field was played on October 2, 2016, with the Detroit Tigers besting the Braves by 1-0.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Last week, the AJC wrote that the rollout of the new COVID vaccine has been a cluster rocky road.

Georgians seeking the new COVID-19 vaccines are facing all sorts of snags: some are struggling to find doses, while others are being told they need to pay up to $200 for a shot. Across the state, parents are finding it nearly impossible to find vaccines for their kids.

And it may be weeks before the issues are resolved.

Previously, the federal government bought vaccines in bulk, and provided them at no cost to Americans. Beginning with this vaccine, the commercial market has taken over the work of buying and distributing shots. Unlike the annual flu vaccine, the manufacturers and processes are new and for now, problematic.

Dr. Ashish Jha, who was White House COVID-19 response coordinator from March 2022 until June of this year, said the rollout of vaccine doses is getting caught up in the complexities of the U.S. health care system.

“When you’re forced to switch from the government as a single purchaser, buying all of these things (COVID vaccines), to a commercial system where you literally have hundreds of purchasers — middlemen, pharmacy benefits management companies, etcetera — it’s going to be a little bit bumpy,” said Jha, who spoke during a webinar on COVID held Thursday by USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism.

Last week, when I asked my insurance carrier about the availability of the latest vaccine, they said they don’t have any. And I got sick. That’s why there was nothing sent out Friday.

A group called Hardworking Georgians will spend $100k supporting Governor Kemp’s plan for tort reform, according to the Associated Press via WRDW.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 27, 2023

Bailey is a young adult female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Walker County Animal Shelter in Chickamauga, GA.

Bailey came into the shelter on 7/24/2023. Her owners dumped and abandoned her. We are now looking her forever home. She is about 4 years old and she is a beautiful lab mix. She is a very sweet girl who loves walks and treats.

Dana is a young female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Walker County Animal Shelter in Chickamauga, GA.

Ketch is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Walker County Animal Shelter in Chickamauga, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 27, 2023

William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invaded England on September 28, 1066.

On September 27, 1779, John Jay, who previously served as President of the Continental Congress, was appointed minister to Spain to seek Spanish support for the revolution.

President Franklin Roosevelt made his ninth visit to Warm Springs, Georgia on September 27, 1927.

September 27 is a red-letter day for the Atlanta Braves and pitcher John Smoltz. The team won a record 14th straight Division Championship on this day in 2005. Smoltz set a team record for regular season wins (24) on September 27, 1996 and extended his team record for strikeouts hitting 276.

On September 27, 2002, Smoltz set a National League record with 54 saves.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

AAA says that gas prices are falling as Governor Kemp’s suspension of the motor fuel tax becomes effective, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 26, 2023

Doyle is a young adult male mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from Public Animal Welfare Services in Rome GA. Doyle looks a lot like GaPundit resident microhound Finster, who is a chiweenie, but Doyle is listed as a medium to large size dog.

Norfolk is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Public Animal Welfare Services in Rome GA.

Roanoke is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Public Animal Welfare Services in Rome GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 26, 2023

On September 26, 1928, future President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke in Atlanta on behalf of Democrat Alfred Smith’s campaign for President.

The first televised debate between major party candidates for President took place on September 26, 1960 between Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon.

Kennedy emerged the apparent winner from this first of four televised debates, partly owing to his greater ease before the camera than Nixon, who, unlike Kennedy, seemed nervous and declined to wear makeup. Nixon fared better in the second and third debates, and on October 21 the candidates met to discuss foreign affairs in their fourth and final debate. Less than three weeks later, on November 8, Kennedy won 49.7 percent of the popular vote in one of the closest presidential elections in U.S. history, surpassing by a fraction the 49.6 percent received by his Republican opponent.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Nine Georgia state legislators wrote Governor Kemp asking for help, according to The Brunswick News.

In the letter to Gov. Brian Kemp, seven House members and two senators describe how the flood of foreign shrimp at prices lower than the domestic industry is able to offer is breaking the local fleet.

“To be clear, our shrimping industry faces an unprecedented crisis that threatens the existence of domestic shrimping,” they wrote. “Accordingly, we are asking that you call on President Biden and the Department of Commerce to immediately address the unfair and illegal trade practices and shrimp dumping that is destroying our domestic industry.”

Members of the Glynn, Camden and McIntosh state delegations were among the signers of the Sept. 17 letter. In addition to Sen. Mike Hodges, R-St. Simons Island, they included Reps. Buddy DeLoach, R-Townsend, Rick Townsend, R-St. Simons Island and Stephen Sainz, R-St. Marys.

“Moreover, we are asking for your advocacy for any and all possibilities to provide relief for our commercial shrimp fishermen and to promote Georgia wild caught shrimp more aggressively to support our industry,” the delegates wrote.

“Our hope was that an economic man-made disaster could be declared by NOAA through recent federal legislation if you declared a Fisheries Disaster. This, we hoped, would provide some immediate aid to commercial fishermen.”

“Currently, in spite of an abundant supply of shrimp, there is not going to be a 2023 domestic crop due to oversaturation of the market,” the delegation wrote. “U.S. inventories of shrimp are overwhelmed due to the dumping of imports driving prices down to record lows and now to eliminating the domestic market altogether.”

“Virtually all of our U.S. shrimp supply is now imported from India, Ecuador, China, and Vietnam,” legislators wrote. “These are pond-raised shrimp which are government subsidized and do not adhere to our domestic health standards.”

“In summary, the challenges facing our domestic shrimpers are federal. They have not been created by Georgia practices or policies. However, our hope is that your advocacy for this industry to our federal government and insistence on fair trade law enforcement will put pressure on the Biden Administration to help our shrimpers survive today and, hopefully, seek fairer trade practices and better safety inspections tomorrow.”

Other state legislators who signed the letter include Sen. Ben Watson, R-Savannah, and Reps. Jesse Petrea, R-Savannah, Bill Hitchens, R-Rincon, Al Williams, D-Midway, and Ron Stephens, R-Savannah.

John Wallace, who co-owns Anchored Shrimp Co. in Brunswick with his father, Aaron, as well as the shrimping vessel Gale Force, told The News earlier this month that the Southern Shrimp Alliance requested in a letter Aug. 25 that the governors of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas seek a fisheries disaster determination by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for the shrimp fishery. Wallace is a member of the alliance’s board of directors.

A lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in redistricting is before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the Georgia Recorder.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit will determine whether to continue blocking provisions of Georgia’s 2021 election law overhaul that civil rights groups say discriminates against Black and disabled voters.

The Georgia Republican Party and national GOP political committees are backing state officials in their request that the appellate court overturn the Aug. 18 decision of District Judge J.P. Boulee, who granted preliminary injunctions on voting rules connected to the controversial Republican-backed Senate Bill 202 that passed in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.

The attorney general’s office filed an appeal with the Atlanta-based circuit court on Sept 18.

Boulee’s temporary order makes it legal, for now, for food and water to be given out to voters as long as they are not within 150 feet of a polling place. Additionally, it rejects SB 202’s requirement that an absentee ballot with an incorrect birth date on the outer envelope is automatically rejected by the county clerk.

Boulee, however, declined the plaintiffs’ request to suspend provisions limiting absentee drop boxes access and who can assist voters with returning mail-in ballots.

The Secretary of State’s Office continues trading messages with legislators, according to the AJC.

Georgia election officials are telling Republican state legislators that their proposed security enhancements might be possible — at a cost of $32.5 million and probably not before the 2024 election.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s chief attorney recently outlined the feasibility of items such as eliminating ballot bar codes, adding ballot verification technology and installing voting machine upgrades, according to letters obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through the Georgia Open Records Act.

The response to legislators comes after they and Lt. Gov. Burt Jones demanded security improvements in response to a report by a computer science professor who found “critical vulnerabilities” that, if successfully exploited, could flip votes from one candidate to another. The state Senate Ethics Committee plans to hold election security hearings this fall.

State senators want more information about why Raffensperger decided not to upgrade to a newer version of the software of Dominion Voting Systems, which could help mitigate some vulnerabilities. Raffensperger said it’s impractical to test and install the upgrade on tens of thousands of pieces of voting equipment before the 2024 election.

Several issues remain before a statewide rollout of the update to Dominion Voting Systems equipment, McGowan wrote. The update is still being tested, it’s not yet compatible with voter check-in tablets, and the General Assembly hasn’t allocated money for a large-scale statewide installation.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) will debate California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) in Atlanta on November 30, 2023, according to the AJC.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is running for president next year. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to compete for the nation’s top political office in 2028. So why are they planning to debate each other this November in Georgia?

Fox News announced Monday it would host a Nov. 30 debate between DeSantis and Newsom, setting the stage for an unusual showdown of prominent governors who aren’t yet election rivals.

The precise location and format of the DeSantis-Newsom showdown hasn’t been announced. The debate will be the second political event hosted by Hannity in Georgia in the last year. The one-time Roswell resident who rose to broadcasting prominence at WGST in Atlanta held a Herschel Walker town hall in Acworth on his show last year during Walker’s failed U.S. Senate bid.

A Better Rome Inc. is backing candidate for Rome City Council, according to the Rome News Tribune.

That committee, A Better Rome Inc., is part of a promised full-contact campaign season over six commission seats on the Nov. 7 ballot. There are three seats each in Ward 1 and Ward 2 and all are contested.

A Better Rome Inc. identifies itself as a nonprofit and is soliciting donations. Some of the key players have firm ties to 14th District U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who blasted Democrats serving on the City Commission at a GOP rally earlier this month.

A Better Rome is identified by the Georgia Campaign Finance Commission as a “noncandidate committee/independent committee” formed on July 3 of this year.

RTA Strategy, the umbrella company behind A Better Rome, identifies itself as follows: “RTA Strategy believes big political victories can only be won through brazen determination, meticulous attention to detail and the kind of no-holds-barred approach to leadership that gets you to the finish line.”

Rabies case numbers are up statewide, according to WRDW.

The latest incident happened in Columbia County on Sept. 20, when a dog fought with a raccoon on Yelton Farm Road in Appling. The raccoon tested positive for rabies.

Just a few days earlier, a rabid raccoon was found in McDuffie County.

While they don’t have the highest number of cases – that distinction goes to Gwinnett County with nine – they’re definitely among the highest.

In fact, Columbia County ties Banks County for No. 2 with seven cases this year, and McDuffie is in a multi-way tie for No. 4 with five cases.

Dougherty County Commissioners want to improve access to mental health services, according to WALB.

Dougherty County Commissioners tell WALB that in order to progress, the stigma surrounding mental health needs to be addressed. And in order to do that, there needs to be an even greater discussion surrounding the role it plays in Dougherty County.

“What ends up happening most of the time is our hospitals are already overrun,” Dougherty County District 3 Commissioner Clinton Johnson, said. “The jails end up being the first place that most people who are experiencing mental health issues are going. And our officers, while they’re very well equipped, they have other things that they could be focusing on.”

Johnson is also the second vice president of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia or ACCG. The group is pushing Governor Brian Kemp for more, and better resources because of the burdens it puts on hospitals and jails.

“Absolutely,” Chief Jailer of the Dougherty County Jail John Ostrander said. “Jails across the country are the largest mental health treatment facilities in their counties usually. There is a great overrepresentation of mentally ill in the jail as compared to the community at large. And treatment resources in the jail are usually lacking.”

Ostrander adds that there are crisis centers open right now, like the one on 11th Avenue and at Phoebe in Albany. But he says there needs to be more capacity in these spaces for the county to thrive.

Baldwin County Public Schools created sensory rooms in five elementary schools, according to 13WMAZ.

Baldwin School’s Disability Service Coordinator Jamy Meeks says schools have a lot going on, and that could trigger a child with sensory processing disorders.

“Sometimes the classroom is a hard place to be,” Meeks said. “Things as simple as the lighting in the classroom, the noise level, even sitting in a hard chair.”

Meeks says studies at both the University of South Carolina and Utah say 5-15% of kids have sensory processing deficits.

“I definitely think it’s gotten higher because of COVID because that was a trauma-induced situation, so we’re gonna see a little bit of a greater need,” she said.

“A lot of times what we see is that it looks like inattentiveness in the classroom. So, that’s one of the issues. There’s also kids that are sensory seeking because they don’t have the stimuli that they need. So, then that looks like oppositional defiance or negative behaviors in the classroom,” Meek said.

So to help, the school built sensory rooms.

“A sensory room is where children can come in a safe environment and can get some visual stimuli, tactile stimuli, auditory stimuli,” Meeks said.

Tybee Island City Manager Shawn Gillen resigned citing health issues, according to WTOC.

City Manager Shawn Gillen has been on a medical leave since June.

Michelle Owens has been acting as interim city manager. She was an assistant city manager before Gillen went on extended leave during the summer.

Tybee’s mayor sent WTOC a statement on his resignation sent to her and city council members. Mayor Shirley Session says in summary that Owens will stay in the interim city manager role until further notice. Sessions says while the city council decides its next steps, Tybee is in capable hands. She goes on to say, no matter what happens, they are grateful to Gillen for six years of leadership and wish him and his family the best.

From WSAV:

“Until the city council decides its next steps, our city is in very capable hands with the acting city manager and an amazing team of city employees,” said Mayor Shirley Sessions in a post on Facebook. “No matter what happens, we are grateful to Shawn for six years of leadership and wish only the best for him and his family.”

Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen rang the bell after finishing treatment for cancer, according to WRDW.

“I had to do six treatments of chemo, 21 days apart. The only days I really missed were the days I was on chemo because it was so long. The rest of the time I was here. I’d go to radiation for 10 minutes a day and I would be right back in the office. I didn’t want to be away from my job. It kept me busy. This what we do for the community,” said Bowen.

He said the community didn’t give up on him.

“People were texting me all the time with prayer, you know, just prayed for you. It was amazing,” said Bowen.

As he set his sights on the gold bell, Bowen said: “I rang the bell and walked out and was so glad it’s all over with now. Praise God. It’s a new world.”


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 25, 2023

Atlas is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Public Animal Welfare Services in Rome, GA.

Friday is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from Public Animal Welfare Services in Rome, GA.

Buttercup is a female mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from Public Animal Welfare Services in Rome, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 25, 2023

On September 25, 1789, Congress adopted the first twelve amendments, called the Bill of Rights, to the United States Constitution. A little more than two years later, in 1791, enough states had ratified ten of the Amendments, with two not receiving sufficient support.


On September 25, 1864, Confederate President Jefferson Davis met with General John Bell Hood and visited troops at Palmetto, Georgia.

Ronald Reagan appointee Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female Justice of the United States on September 25, 1981. In an interview with Terry Gross, she recalled receiving the call from President Reagan:

“I was working in my office on the Arizona Court of Appeals,” she tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “I was at the court in my chambers when the telephone rang. And it was the White House calling for me, and I was told that the president was waiting to speak to me. That was quite a shock, but I accepted the phone call, and it was President Reagan, and he said, ‘Sandra?’ ‘Yes, Mr. President?’ ‘Sandra, I’d like to announce your nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow. Is that all right with you?’ Well, now, that’s kind of a shock, wouldn’t you say?”

The Princess Bride was released on September 25, 1987. Inconceivable!

On September 25, 2008, the last car came off the line at GM’s Doraville Plant.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Albany Herald writes about the one-year Homestead Exemption tax relief grant that Governor Brian Kemp proposed and funded.

The grant offers a one-time (one-year) tax reduction program for all eligible homeowners with an approved Homestead Exemption in place for their primary place of residence.

Property owners will receive the HTRG in the form of a $18,000 reduction in the assessed value of their homesteaded property. Based on the various millage rates applied across the state, the actual tax savings will vary among the homestead property owners.

The HTRG will be applied to all property tax calculations except for millage rates associated with bonds; tax allocation districts; special service districts created after Dec. 31, 2004; and rental properties and other non-homesteaded properties are not eligible for the HTRG.

The HTRG will be shown as a line item on the tax bill homeowners receive from local taxing authorities (county, school and/or city) and will be shown as a reduction on calculated property taxes.

The National Park Service is seeking to have the Okefenokee Swamp placed on the list of UNESCO heritage sites, according to WTOC.

The National Park Service filed a notice in Washington that it will seek the designation for the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, which sprawls across more than 400,000 acres (161,875 hectares) in southeast Georgia near the Florida state line.

Conservation groups say the rare distinction would boost the Okefenokee’s profile as one of the world’s last intact blackwater swamps and home to abundant alligators, endangered red cockaded woodpeckers, stilt-legged wood storks and more than 400 other animal species.

“It would join a long list of iconic American landscapes — the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite,” said Kim Bednarek, executive director of the nonprofit Okefenokee Swamp Park that’s working with the U.S. government on the refuge’s nomination package. “Nobody questions the value of those places.”

The Okefenokee refuge covers more than 90% of the swamp and is the largest national wildlife refuge east of the Mississippi River. Its diverse wildlife, cypress forests and flooded prairies draw roughly 600,000 visitors each year, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the refuge.

Designation as a World Heritage site wouldn’t impose any added restrictions or regulations for the Okefenokee. But conservationists say the distinction of being listed gives governments and local communities an incentive to protect and preserve the sites.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Paige Whitaker heard arguments in a lawsuit against the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission, according to WRDW.

Augusta District Attorney Jared Williams is one of four DAs from across the state opposing the measure.

The lawsuit claims the commission targets minority Democrats in a conservative state.

State Republicans are defending the law, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said.

“Unfortunately, some district attorneys have embraced the progressive movement across the nation of refusing to enforce the law,” he said.

“District attorneys who choose to violate their oaths of office are not immune from accountability.”

Led by DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston, the group of plaintiffs includes Towaliga District Attorney Jonathan Adams, Williams and Cobb District Attorney Flynn Broady.

“We should be encouraging district attorneys to be more transparent about their work, not less open and honest,” Williams said when the lawsuit was filed. “SB 92 hurts prosecutors who want to have a dialogue with their constituents.”

From the AJC:

The prosecutors say the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission infringes on the powers of district attorneys granted by the Georgia Constitution. They say the legislation that created the panel would allow it to punish prosecutors for prioritizing some crimes over others or even for political purposes.

“There is just too much of a risk that, while acting in good faith, this commission will interfere with the authority and rights of district attorneys,” attorney Joshua Rosenthal, representing four district attorneys, argued Friday at a hearing in Fulton County Superior Court.

Friday’s hearing was the latest development in a battle over Senate Bill 92, approved by the General Assembly earlier this year. The law allows the commission to sanction or remove district attorneys for an array of causes, such as “willful misconduct” or “persistent failure” to follow the law. A five-member panel will investigate the complaints and decide whether to bring formal charges, and a separate three-member panel will issue orders and opinions.

More than 100 antisemitic flyers were distributed to driveways in Gwinnett County, according to AccessWDUN.

Suwanee Police recently told Atlanta News First that they are looking into potential litter charges for those responsible for tossing baggies containing literary materials into people’s yards.

More than 100 of the antisemitic fliers and related information have been obtained from Flock license plate cameras to see if they can determine who littered the hate mailings.

Police continue to look for other courses of action in finding those responsible for littering the area lawns.

The Mobilize Recovery Across Georgia bus tour hit Rome, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Jeff Breedlove, community manager for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, is on tour with the MRAG bus. He also shared his recovery journey with the crowd.

“After 30 years of a hell of active addiction, I am a survivor and I am blessed to be alive,” Breedlove said.

Other special guests included Rome Mayor Sundai Stevenson, state Rep. Katie Dempsey, Floyd County Sheriff Dave Roberson, and GDBHDD representative Cassandra Price.

Sparks, who presides over the Rome/Floyd County Drug Court, said he was very excited that Rome was chosen to be on the bus tour because it brings so much awareness to community recovery efforts.

“We are very fortunate to have organizations like Living Proof Recovery. They have been a valuable resource to us,” said Sparks, who presides over the county’s drug court. “Events like this have a huge impact on people in recovery. We would have a difficult time doing what we do without Living Proof.”

Athens-Clarke County adopted an emergency moratorium on short-term rentals, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The moratorium ordinance was approved by the commission without objection by any member.

According to the ordinance, the emergency moratorium will go through Nov. 7 to give the city staff time to create an ordinance to regulate and place restrictions on the operations of the Airbnb.

A few cautioned that restrictions should not affect homeowners who live on site and rent out rooms for extra income.

The emergency moratorium was based on several factors outlined by the city including complaints by residents and the increased number of nuisance complaints that involve noise, traffic congestion and parking.

The city also acknowledged there is a housing crisis where local workers are unable to find housing and Airbnb affects this issue.

Two of the residents who brought forth complaints explained that houses in their neighborhoods were purchased by out-of-state investments groups, including Texas and Oregon.

The Airbnb issue is one facing other cities including large metropolitans.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that New York City is cracking down on such issues by enforcing new rules on short-term rentals.

Commissioner Melissa Link noted at the meeting that every neighborhood in Athens has the “potential of predation” by these short-term rental businesses of which there are apparently around 900 short-term rentals in Athens.

Commissioner Carol Myers noted the impact this is having on the housing issue. Investors are buying homes for rentals and Myers said she gets post cards monthly from real estate companies wanting to pay cash to buy her home.

Richmond and Burke County courts are receiving technical upgrades via state grant, according to WJBF.

Each court room is being outfitted with a new system that will make proceedings faster, easier and safer.

“Moving prisoners is the most dangerous thing that law enforcement ever does,” explained Chief Judge Danny Craig of the Superior Court, Augusta Judicial Circuit.

Soon moving those prisoners will happen less often within the Augusta Judicial Circuit. A new technology system is being installed in the courtrooms throughout Richmond and Burke Counties.

“And so we have partnered with the sheriff’s office in order to do bonds and arraignments and even sentences over Webex, without having to transport prisoners, or those accused to the courtroom,” said Nolan Martin, Court Administrator.

“We ran vans constantly between the jail, which is about 8 miles from here, to the courthouse. And it just would not be possible now with the number of inmates that we have, and the number of more troubled inmates that we’re trying to deal with. The technology allows us to have ready access to every single inmate in the jail, all of the time.”

The $1-million state funded project is proving to be a huge success, and something Martin believes is the future of courtrooms everywhere.

Rebecca Walden will serve as interim Glynn County Clerk of Courts, according to The Brunswick News.

Walden is set to take over the reins of the office when Ron Adams retires on Sept. 30. She will serve in the position at least through the end of the term in December 2024.

Walden may serve longer if elected to the office next year. She has already filed her paperwork to be the incumbent Clerk of Superior Court candidate in the 2024 election.

“It really boils down to the staff,” she said. “They know what they’re doing. We don’t have to ask them what the plan is for the next day. They know what they’re here to do and they do a great job. … Everybody is a team. Everybody gets along.”

Part of the job is ensuring public records from those cases and applications are properly managed. Property records are available for public viewing at the courthouse or through the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority.

Civil and criminal records are available upon request at the courthouse to ensure those are properly reviewed and redacted when applicable to protect privacy and prevent identity theft, Walden said.

Walden said she plans to make Caleb Still her chief deputy.

Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Tamela Adkins announced she will run for reelection, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Adkins is serving in her first term in office, having been elected to the Superior Court bench in 2020. Since judicial elections are nonpartisan races, the winners will be decided as part of the state’s general primary election next May and will appear on Democratic, Republican and nonpartisan ballots.

“In 2020, I challenged the status quo to argue we needed dedicated, diligent, and engaged judges that reflect our community,” Adkins said in her campaign announcement. “Gwinnett voters agreed, and I earned over 60% of the vote against a long-term incumbent. I have spent the past three years honing my judicial skills and making the tough decisions required on felony criminal cases and preventing damage to children in hostile custody cases. I look forward to sharing this record with Gwinnett voters in 2024.”

Gary Monroe is running for Mayor of Garden City for the fourth times, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The number one thing Garden City needs right now is more grocery store options, Monroe said, who decried the growth of trucking and industrialization without meeting the needs of residents.

Republican Arefeen Chowdhury announced his campaign for Gwinnett Tax Commissioner, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“Gwinnett County is ever-changing. Every year, our population soars to new heights, and with that, we become more and more diverse,” Chowdhury said in his announcement. “Our county deserves a tax commissioner who is constantly looking for ways to elevate customer service, save taxpayers money, and serve our growing diverse community with excellence.”

Chowdhury is, so far, the only Republican who has announced plans to run for the office.

On the opposite side of the political aisle, current Tax Commissioner Denise Mitchell has already launched her campaign for the office and Phillip Bonton III filed paperwork with the state last month signaling his intention to run against her in the Democratic Party Primary.

Mitchell became the county’s tax commissioner last year after her predecessor, Tiffany Porter, died in the middle of her first term in office.

Oakwood City Council member Dwight Wood died, according to AccessWDUN.

Hunt said Wood was up for re-election in November and had already qualified for the seat. He was running unopposed, with no other candidates qualifying for the seat.

“Under the Oakwood Charter, the mayor appoints, and the city council affirms a replacement until the end of Dwight’s term which is December 31, 2023, since less than 12 months remain in the term of office,” Hunt said in a statement.

However, when it comes to an elected replacement for the seat, Hunt said qualifying must be re-opened for the position, due to Wood running unopposed.

“City staff will be conferring with the election office regarding the timing of qualifying or whether it can occur that quickly at all,” Hunt said. “If no election can be held for several months until the March election date, the appointee would continue to serve until replaced.”

Ike, a loggerhead turtle, was released from the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The release started promptly at 8 a.m., with staff from the center carrying Ike around the crowd so everyone would get the opportunity to see him before his release into the Atlantic Ocean. They then carried him to the water, an unusual step during the release.

Chantal Audran, executive director of the center, said normally the sea turtles crawl into the water, but Ike injured a flipper earlier this year and his vet at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center advised against letting him crawl against the sand. That didn’t stop Ike’s flippers from moving through the air as if it were waves.