Category Archives: JUST4U

Mega Millions jackpot soars to $400 million

The Mega Millions jackpot for Friday’s drawing jumped to $400 million after no players matched all six numbers drawn Tuesday night.

Five players, two in Ohio and one each in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey, matched the first five numbers drawn Tuesday – 5, 12, 22, 41 and 65 – but not the Mega Ball of 13. Those players won $1 million each.

If a single player matches all six numbers in Friday night’s drawing and chooses the cash option, he or she will receive a one-time payout of approximately $216 million before taxes.

Check today’s lottery results.

The jackpot for Wednesday night’s Powerball multi-state lottery is $122 million.

www.ajc.com.

New film studio to open in Fayette County

A huge new movie studio is just weeks away from opening in Fayette County. Construction on Pinewood Studios began earlier this year.

In addition to film production, Channel 2’s Diana Davis reports that businesses that support film production are also going up, including Atlanta’s Home Depot.

Just a stone’s throw from picturesque barns and rural fields sits the brand-new, state-of-the-art movie studio.

Nearly 300 acres with five sound stages will be ready to go in a few weeks. England’s Pinewood Studios is known worldwide for “Harry Potter” and James Bond films.

wsbtv.com.

Opinion: Obama’s Orwellian image control

THE Internet has been abuzz over the spectacle of President Obama and the prime ministers of Britain and Denmark snapping a photo of themselves — a “selfie,” to use the mot du jour — with a smartphone at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa on Tuesday.

it was appropriate, the moment captured the democratization of image making that is a hallmark of our gadget-filled, technologically rich era.

Manifestly undemocratic, in contrast, is the way Mr. Obama’s administration — in hypocritical defiance of the principles of openness and transparency he campaigned on — has systematically tried to bypass the media by releasing a sanitized visual record of his activities through official photographs and videos, at the expense of independent journalistic access.

NYTimes.com.

Pope Francis named Person of the Year

The Vatican on Wednesday responded to TIME naming Pope Francis as Person of the Year for 2013 by saying the Holy See doesn’t seek “fame,” but that it’s a “positive sign” religious and moral values are being recognized.

“The decision didn’t come as a surprise given the great resonance and attention surrounding the election of Pope Francis right from the start of the new pontificate,”  Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, head of the Holy see’s Press Office, said in a statement. “The fact that one of the most prestigious awards to be attributed by the international press should go to someone who promotes spiritual, religious and moral values as well as call for peace and greater justice in an incisive manner is a positive sign. As for the Pope himself, he’s not someone who seeks fame and success, because he has put his life at the service of announcing the Gospel of the love of God for mankind. It is pleasing to the Pope that this service should appeal and give hope to women and men. And if this choice of ‘Person of the Year’ should mean that many people have understood this message – at least implicitly – the Pope is really happy about this.”

TIME.com.

Fraud allegations pointed at 20 Grady High football players

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis said they received a tip Nov. 7 that several players did not live within the school boundaries and they were recruited to play for the Grady Knights.

Davis said, “Parents have an ethical obligation to provide accurate addresses to the district and to set an appropriate ethical example for their children as well. Not all used the same address, but a number of them did.”

Davis said they have just started their investigation and have decided to remove and reassign long time head coach Ronnie Millen. No action was taken against the assistance coaches because they do not work for the district.

ActionNewsJax.com.

Bobby Cox elected to baseball Hall of Fame

Former Atlanta Braves skipper Bobby Cox was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. by the shrine’s Veteran’s Committee.

Cox enters the hall with fellow ex-managers Tony La Russa and Joe Torre.

“Cox skippered the Braves and Blue Jays for 29 seasons, leading his teams to 15 first-place finishes. From 1991-2005, Cox led the Braves to 14 straight seasons where they finished in playoff position,” the hall said. “The Braves won five National League pennants and the 1995 World Series under Cox, who finished with 2,504 victories – the fourth-best total of all time. He won the BBWAA’s Manager of the Year Award four times.”

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Opinion: Alternatives to Obamacare exist

For many of us, it’s that special time of the year- the time when you get notification for renewal from your healthcare insurance provider.

I got a letter in the mail from my health insurance provider a few weeks ago.  It contained good news, bad news and even worse news.

The good news was that my existing plan had not been cancelled and was available for renewal.

The bad news was that my premiums would be increasing by 28% for the next year.

The even worse news was that, as a small business owner who pays for a portion of my eligible employees’ coverage, their costs would be increasing as well, resulting in an increase in my costs as a business owner.

By now, most, if not all of us, realize that Obamacare is a train wreck.

For those of us who haven’t had our existing healthcare plan cancelled, we’re experiencing staggering increases in our premiums.

A majority of Americans agree that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced.

Or, as I like to say, Obamacare should be turned into a 3-D movie- Delay it, Defund it, and Defeat it!

And while the vast majority of us agree with this, a question asked by many is whether there are any alternatives being offered?

Fortunately, the answer is yes.

First of all, in September of this year, Rep. David Roe, R-TN, on behalf of the House of Representatives Republican Study Committee (RSC), introduced The American Health Care Reform Act, HR 3121, to repeal and replace Obamacare, saving billions in taxes.

According to the RSC, HR 3121 would spur competition among insurance companies, and therefore lower health care costs, by allowing Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines.  It would also enable small businesses to pool together and get the same buying power as large corporations, resulting in lower costs.

HR 3121 also limits trial lawyer fees and non-economic damages by reforming medical malpractice laws without weakening protection for patients.

Reforming the tax code to allow a standard deduction for health insurance to be available for families and individuals just as it is for companies would level the playing field according to HR 3121.

Also under HR 3121, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) would be expanded, increasing the amount of pre-tax dollars that individuals can use for health care expenses.

State based high risk pools would be created and strengthened by HR 3121, allowing individuals with pre-existing conditions to purchase health insurance.

Finally, HR 3121 would ensure that no federal funding of abortions will be allowed.

Another bill proposing comprehensive healthcare reform is HR 2300, the Empowering Patients First Act of 2013, authored by Rep. Tom Price, R- GA.

Like HR 3121, HR 2300 repeals Obamacare, allows for the purchasing of health insurance plans across state lines, and provides for the reforming of medical malpractice laws.

It also calls for tax reforms to even out the playing field between individuals and small businesses and large corporations.

HR 2300 would allow individuals to keep their health care policies that are provided by their employers when they lose or change jobs.

This portability is important since over half of all insured Americans have plans provided by their employers and the average American worker has between ten and twelve different employers in their lifetime.  It would assure that individuals who like their plan can keep it and therefore could continue to see their preferred doctors.

Finally, HR 2300 would provide Americans with a number of incentives such as deductions, tax credits, refundable tax credits and advanceable refundable tax credits to purchase health care policies as opposed to the penalties imposed by Obamacare.

Yes, Obamacare is a train wreck and should be repealed and turned into a 3-D movie.

And yes, there are alternatives such as HR 3121 and HR 2300 that will provide Americans with health care insurance, reduce costs, save taxpayers money and improve the greatest health care system in the world.

 

Senator Buddy Carter can be reached at 421-B State Capitol, Atlanta, GA, 30334.  His Capitol office number is 404-656-5109. You can connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/buddycarterga or follow him on Twitter @Buddy_Carter.

Police: Wendy’s employee drops pot in burger

A former Wendy’s employee gave the term “burger joint” a new meaning last month after allegedly dropping her marijuana in a hamburger.

Police arrested 32-year-old Amy Seiber and charged her with possession of less than an ounce of pot for the Nov. 1 offense, authorities said.

About 10:30 p.m. that night, Lovejoy police Lt. Michael Gaddis said a woman ordered a Wendy’s single from the drive-through of the 11121 Tara Boulevard location.

ActionNewsJax.com.

Police search for gunman in Columbus shooting

Columbus police are searching for a gunman who opened fire at an intersection.

The Ledger-Inquirer reports that the apparent target, a 31-year-old man, was not injured in the attack Friday. The victim told police that he had been targeted while walking in the street.

Police described the suspect as 29-years-old, 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing roughly 180 pounds. He was driving a white Dodge Avenger.

ActionNewsJax.com.

Opinion: The South has indeed risen again and it’s called the Tea Party

Inspired by the values of the old South and fueled by corporate money, the Tea Party scorns compromise and leaves us again a house divided.

The historian Jill Lepore wrote recently in The New Yorker that a study by political scientists of congressional roll-call votes going back to 1789, together with longitudinal poll results and voter interviews, found that the electorate and its representatives are more polarized today than at any time since the South seceded.

The Daily Beast

Another gun maker for Georgia? Remington seeks to relocate

A major firearms manufacturer is considering Georgia for a possible relocation and state Sen. Burt Jones wants to bring it to Butts County or the surrounding area.

Jones, R-Jackson, said that while Beretta has narrowed its focus to two Georgia locations — not in Butts County — the Remington Arms Company is considering relocating from New York, where its Ilion Firearms Plant and Custom Shop is located. He said state officials are working to try to bring the plant to Georgia and he’s hoping to land it in his district, possibly his home county.

Progress-Argus.

NSA tracking cell phone location data worldwide

The U.S. National Security Agency collects five billion records every day tracking cell phone movements around the world, according to documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

In terms of scale, the NSA’s location-tracking program dwarfs the other surveillance programs revealed since Snowden’s leaks began coming to light in June.

The NSA is “getting vast volumes” of location data from people around the world, said one anonymous employee, but the agency does not target Americans in the United States, the Washington Post reports. The agency does, however, vacuum up a substantial amount of location data on Americans  “incidentally,” as a result of its monitoring of global cell phone networks that support US and foreign traffic as well as the cell phones of Americans traveling abroad. U.S. officials say the program is legal and designed to collect information only on foreign targets.

“The dragnet surveillance of hundreds of millions of cell phones flouts our international obligation to respect the privacy of foreigners and Americans alike,” ACLU Staff Attorney Catherine Crump told TIME. “The government should be targeting its surveillance at those suspected of wrongdoing, not assembling massive associational databases that by their very nature record the movements of a huge number of innocent people.”

TIME.com.

Even disconnected computers may face cyber threats

If your computer is infected with a virus or other forms of malware, disconnecting the machine from the Internet is one of the first steps security experts say you should take. But, someday, even physically separating your laptop from a network may not be enough to protect it from cyber evil-doers.

German computer scientists have come up with a prototype for building “covert channels” between computers using the machines’ speakers and microphones, potentially defeating high-security measures that rely on placing a so-called “air gap” between computers.

via GPB

Delta to Supreme Court: It’s our right to mistreat loyal customers

A Twin Cities rabbi and Delta Air Lines Inc. squared off before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, arguing about who abused whom in a frequent-flier relationship gone bad.

Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg, of St. Louis Park, Minn., claims Northwest Airlines Corp. dumped him from its frequent-flier program and took his already-earned miles away. The airline, since acquired by Atlanta-based Delta (NYSE: DAL), said it banned him because he constantly complained in an effort to wheedle out cash compensation and booked himself on already-full flights, knowing that he’d be bumped and thus generate more complaints.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Ford redesigns Mustang for 2015

Fifty years after Ford first unveiled the Mustang at the New York World’s Fair, the American automaker is betting a total redesign can make the vehicle appeal to drivers around the world.

TIME got an exclusive look into the sixth-generation Mustang’s development, including these never-before-seen images of the car Ford will formally reveal tomorrow. The vehicle, which will go on sale next year as a 2015 model, is lower, sleeker and wider than the current Mustang. The most notable difference: this is the first Mustang to be produced for foreign markets, as Ford tries to turn an American icon into its global flagship.

Ford executives and engineers told TIME they found themselves straining to satisfy the demands of drivers in Europe and Asia, produce a Mustang with right-side steering for the U.K., India and Australia, while retaining the performance American customers expect. At one point the project had to be rebooted because original designs were not meeting these requirements, TIME has learned. That cost Ford millions. The new Mustang will also have a surprise under the hood: an optional 4-cylinder, turbo-charged engine. It’s a nod to Europe, where gas prices are twice those in the U.S. but also risks undercutting the Mustang’s marketable heritage as a V8 power machine.

Now, by producing a Mustang for sale around the globe, Ford will be extending its strategy of building so-called world cars that can be sold profitably in a wide array of markets with arguably its most recognizable brand. The full story will be available tomorrow on Time.com and in the 12/16 issue of TIME.

TIME.com.

Diagnosis: Unrealistic technology expectations doomed Healthcare.gov from the start

The fiasco with the $600 million federal health insurance website wasn’t all bureaucratic. Forcing slow and disparate databases run by government and insurance companies to work together in real time—and then launching the service all at once—would have challenged even technology wunderkinds.In particular, the project was doomed by a relatively late decision that required applicants to open an account and let the site verify their identity, residence, and income before they could browse for insurance. That meant the site would have to interface in real-time with databases maintained by the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies.

MIT Technology Review.

Oconee Wildlife Management Area expands by 1,390 acres

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division will expand by more than 1,390 acres the already 4,800-acre Oconee Wildlife Management Area in Greene and Hancock counties.

The agency said the addition is made up of three tracts of land that will enhance the Oconee WMA by increasing the availability of public land for hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts.

“We are thrilled with these new additions to the Oconee WMA, as this will expand opportunities for hunters pursuing deer, turkey, and small game,” Dan Forster, Director of the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division, said in a statement. “Even better, no need to wait to use them – they are open now!”

Georgia Wildlife Resources Division staff will manage the new tracts for hunting in conjunction with the management of the natural habitat. The tracts are populated with a variety of wildlife inhabiting a mixture of hardwoods and planted pine stands, along with some large pasture area.

Hunting enthusiasts can immediately begin pursuing small game and deer under current Oconee WMA regulations, the wildlife agency said. Hunters pursuing deer may use archery equipment through Jan. 1, 2014. Firearms deer season is closed for this WMA. Small game hunting continues through Feb. 28, 2014. Additionally, several opportunities to hunt turkey are available in the spring. See page 48 of the current hunting regulations for more information.

State-managed public hunting lands are funded through a combination of state license fees and matching federal funds from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services’ Wildlife Restoration Program. Hunters account for $977 million in retail sales in Georgia each year with a $1.6 billion ripple effect and almost 24,000 jobs.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Remote-controlled helicopter smuggled goods into prison

A prison lieutenant says he caught four people from Atlanta flying contraband into a south Georgia prison.

Calhoun County Sheriff Josh Hilton said two men from Gwinnett County and two other people from DeKalb County traveled to a prison in southwest Georgia and used a remote-controlled helicopter to sneak tobacco to prisoners.

A lieutenant from the Calhoun state prison noticed a small helicopter hovering over the gates, and a search of the area began, Hilton said. About an hour later, he said, deputies noticed a suspicious black car with Gwinnett County tags.

“After we gained consent to search the car, we found the helicopter and — I don’t know exactly how much it was, but probably about 1 to 2 pounds of tobacco rolled up,” Hilton said.

Hilton says people try different things to get contraband to inmates, but the helicopter was something he had never heard of.

“It is a surprise. I’ve never seen a helicopter. They were in the woods flying it. They had binoculars, evidently, so they could watch it,” Hilton said.

Investigators say the group made two drops before they were caught, but prison officials recovered those items.

All four suspects were arrested and later released on bond, Hilton said.

 

ActionNewsJax.com.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss seeks answers on Iran

Since President Obama announced a compromise with Iran over its nuclear agenda, Georgia’s U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss has been a key figure in the debate.

Chambliss, the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was quick to express his disapproval of the deal.

“Now is not the time to ease sanctions when they are working,” he said on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “We’ve got all the leverage in the negotiation and we’ve let them out of the trap.”

On Tuesday, Chambliss was among a group of senators who sent a letter this week urging federal officials for verifiability of the administration’s agreement.

With eight other Republicans, Chambliss is urging Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Robert Menendez, D-Fla., and Ranking Member Bob Corker, R-Tenn., to request the study from the secretary of state, as current law states that the chairman or ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee may request reports on the verifiability of any arms control, nonproliferation or disarmament proposals.

via POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss seeks answers on Iran | Gwinnett Daily Post.

Beware: Black Friday ‘discounts’ aren’t always what you think

Stores have thousands upon thousands of “discount” labels ready to be slapped on products when Black Friday sales begin. But just like the name “Black Friday” itself (since the sales will actually start Thursday in many cases), those labels aren’t exactly accurate.

The Wall Street Journal has a story on what it calls the “dirty secret” of Black Friday discounts, which really shouldn’t be a secret to anybody: Retailers work well ahead to set starting prices of goods so that, when the products are “marked down” by 50 percent, everybody still makes money.

Shoppers know this, rationally, but they don’t seem to care much. When former J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson tried to break that chain’s habit of continually marking up goods to later “discount” them, customers rebelled and he was shown the door.

But sometimes, the math goes off and retailers have to actually discount stuff below what they hoped to sell it at. That may be what happens this year, given the caution on margins from Best Buy Co. Inc. CFO Sharon McCollam, who said, “If our competition is in fact more promotional in the fourth quarter, we will be too.”

via Black Friday ‘discounts’ aren’t always what you think – Atlanta Business Chronicle.

No Thanksgiving celebrations for Obamacare team as another deadline nears

The technology team working to fix computers problems hobbling the federal insurance web site healthcare.gov may not have time for turkey this week. Federal officials set a Nov. 30 deadline to expand hardware capacity and fix software bugs for the site and say they are racing against the clock to make it work well “for the vast majority of users” by Saturday.

“We have a lot of work left to do in the next few days,” Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), told reporters Wednesday. Bataille said healthcare.gov, which launched Oct. 1 and is meant to facilitate health insurance enrollment for individuals in 36 states, can now handle 25,000 users at a time. She said CMS expects that capacity to double by Saturday. “We are on track for that to happen,” she said.

Yet, Bataille warned that Nov. 30 is “not a magical day.”

“There will be times after Nov. 30 when the site, like any website, does not perform optimally,” she said. Heavy traffic could overwhelm the site, causing long delays for consumers trying to sign up for coverage. Bataille said that by Saturday, CMS will implement a “more advanced queuing system” for consumers forced to wait for one of 50,000 user slots. In addition, the website may recommend some users leave and come back during “off peak hours” and will have a system to e-mail consumers when they can return to the website and enroll in a health insurance plan.

via No Thanksgiving Celebrations For Obamacare Website Team As Deadline Nears | TIME.com.

Small-business access to online health exchanges delayed — again

The Obama administration is delaying yet again online signup for small businesses through the Affordable Care Act. The program was intended to make it easier for small employers to provide health insurance to their workers on a more equal footing with big business.

Employers with 50 or fewer workers were supposed to be able to participate in something called the SHOP marketplace, for Small Business Health Options. The marketplace offers plans that meet the health law’s standards and would let some businesses qualify for tax credits.

But the online part of the SHOP exchange has not yet been available, at least in the 36 states where the federal government is running the program. And now, says the government, it won’t be working until November 2014.

It’s the second major delay for the SHOP program. In April, the administration delayed the ability of workers in small businesses to choose from among more than one plan.

In a conference call with reporters, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille was frank in saying that getting the SHOP program online was less important than getting the HealthCare.gov website working for individuals.

“It was important for us to prioritize the functionality that would enable consumers and individuals to shop and enroll online in coverage,” she said. “Those are the things we put in place Oct. 1 that we have continued to make sure we work on to improve the capacity and functionality to do that work, and it was important for us to continue doing that.”

via Small-Business Access To Online Health Exchanges Delayed Again.

After internal review on Benghazi report, CBS puts reporter, producer on leave

CBS has asked Lara Logan, the 60 Minutes correspondent whose recent story on a deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was found to have multiple flaws, to take a leave of absence, along with her producer on the story. An internal report also found wider problems at the network; a summary of that report’s findings was leaked to the media Tuesday.

The news was revealed to staff at CBS in a memo from network chairman Jeff Fager, who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes. In it, he cited the “distinguished” work Logan and her colleague have done for CBS over the years.

Logan’s report on the attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans was retracted within weeks of its airing on Oct. 27. It featured Dylan Davies, a security contractor who reportedly told a different version of events to 60 Minutes than he did to his employer and to the FBI.

PBS

Jury orders Newegg to pay $2.3 million in ‘patent troll’ case

The online retailer Newegg has lost a patent case centering on web encryption, after a Texas jury rejected its argument that a claim from the company TQP Development was invalid. The jury ordered Newegg to pay $2.3 million less than half the damages TQP had sought.

The result is a resounding victory for TQP, widely seen as a “nonpracticing entity” whose sole source of income is settlements and legal fees related to its patents. Retailers and others often term such firms “patent trolls,” as NPR reported this summer.

The verdict could also put a chill into other companies who might consider fighting TQP’s claims, particularly because Newegg is seen as a consistent opponent of patent trolls. The patent in question relates to a common method of securing customers’ privacy in online banking and commerce.

TQP has previously wielded the patent, which it acquired in 2006, to extract more than $40 million in settlements from Microsoft, Amazon, and scores of other companies. Newegg says it will appeal the verdict, which followed several cryptography experts’ testimony on its behalf.

via Jury Orders Newegg To Pay $2.3 Million In ‘Patent Troll’ Case.

Ford to recall Escapes again for oil, fuel leaks

Ford is recalling the Escape small SUV again, this time to fix oil and fuel leaks that could cause engine fires.The hot-selling SUV has been recalled seven times since it was redesigned and went on sale in the spring of 2012.The first of two recalls announced Tuesday affects more than 161,000 Escapes worldwide from the 2013 model year with 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines.Ford says the cylinder heads can overheat and crack, causing oil leaks.Of those SUVs, fuel lines on about 12,000 may have been installed incorrectly. They could become chafed and leak gas. Many were repaired under a previous recall.Ford says the oil leaks caused 13 fires but no injuries. There havent been any fires from the fuel line problems.

 jacksonville.com.

Removal of DeKalb school board members constitutional

Georgia’s Supreme Court has ruled that a law the governor used earlier this year to remove six members of the DeKalb County is constitutional.

The 47-page opinion released Monday states that Georgia’s law does not violate the state Constitution.

“First, it is a fundamental principle of our constitutional tradition that no public officer – whether constitutional or only statutory – is above the law,” the opinion states.

Gov. Nathan Deal earlier this year used a 2010 provision to remove six of the nine members of the DeKalb County school board. Former board chairman Eugene Walker filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block his suspension from office. The federal judge hearing the case declined to stop the governor from appointing new school board members but also asked the Georgia Supreme Court to clarify several key questions.

U.S. District Judge Richard Story asked the high court to determine whether the law Deal used to remove the school board members undercuts requirements in the state constitution that local education boards control school districts. He also asked the high court to rule on whether the General Assembly went beyond its powers to generally regulate school boards when it created the removal process.

“Throughout our history, the General Assembly has understood its legislative power to include the power to provide by general law for the removal of local constitutional officers for cause, notwithstanding that the Constitution did not explicitly and specifically confer such a power, and in some cases, even with respect to officers for whom the Constitution made other provision for their removal,” according to the opinion published Monday.

The governor’s action “is not an unconstitutional infringement upon the governing authority of local school boards, nor is it a violation of any other constitutional provision or right,” the court concluded.

DeKalb County is the state’s third-largest school district, serving about 99,000 students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools had placed the district on probation in December after a six-month investigation. The accreditation agency cited in a report long-term leadershi*****ues including nepotism, fiscal mismanagement, inappropriate micromanagement and intimidation within the district.

Following the 2010 law, the state Board of Education recommended the removal of six of the nine members of the county school board. It took no action against board members who were elected after the conduct cited in the report. Deal, a Republican, subsequently removed the six board members from office and replaced them with appointees.

jacksonville.com.

Police under fire for FSU QB Invesitgation

 Its handling of sexual assault allegations against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is just the latest controversy to hit the Tallahassee Police Department.

A handful of grand juries recently have issued scathing reports about how some officers have conducted themselves in the line of duty. In the most egregious case, a fumbled drug investigation resulted in the death of an informant.

Now, the department is under scrutiny for its handling so far of a sexual assault case in which a Heisman Trophy candidate is accused. The family of the student who says she was raped claims the department tried to squelch the case: It took 11 months for police to hand over information to prosecutors.

But interim police Chief Tom Coe says the full story has yet to come out.

News – Home.

Man steals alligator from Flint RiverQuarium

A Gainesville, Ga., man has been arrested for stealing an alligator from the Flint RiverQuarium in Albany, reports the Albany Herald.

According to an Albany Police Department report, aquarium employee Richard Brown called police and said a man had scaled a wall at the RiverQuarium and was seen in the alligator tank handling the reptiles.

Brown said the man was later seen by construction workers at a bridge under construction on Albany’s Broad Avenue carrying the alligator under his arm. Brown said he was advised that the man had tossed the alligator into the Flint River.

Brown told police that he and other aquarium employees went to the river and retrieved the gator.

Hai Tany has been charged with theft by taking, the paper said.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Georgia Target store to close due to poor performance – Atlanta Business Chronicle

Clayton County will lose about 100 jobs February 1, when the Target in Morrow closes after about 18 years of business, a city official told Clayton Daily News. The store is one of four locations the retailer plans to close nationwide due to poor performance, the paper reports.

City Manager Jeff Eady told the Clayton paper the city received a letter from Target (NYSE: TGT) informing officials the company will close the store at 1940 Mt. Zion Road in Morrow. The other stores that will close are in Florida, Arizona and California, the paper said.

“They [the Morrow Target] have roughly 100 jobs, but not all of them are full-time,” Eady said. “It’s full-time and part-time jobs. A lot of part-time. Anytime a big box store closes, it’s painful. It is a (surprise). Several years ago, they actually came to us about turning it into a Super Target and actually pushing the store out into the parking lot, which they can do.

via Georgia Target store 1 of 4 to close due to poor performance – Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Restaurant owner fined for flying too many flags

A McDonough business owner who was fined for flying patriotic flags above his restaurant may get to keep the flags after all, reports Fox 5 Atlanta.

The business owner told the station he was just trying to show his patriotic spirit and give thanks to the military, but the city told him to take his flags down.

A code enforcement officer cited CJ’s Hot Dogs on Friday, but Saturday, McDonough City Administrator Frederick Gardiner told him that city law is not clear in the matter, Fox 5 said.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Georgia lawmaker pushes for elected local superintendents

A Georgia lawmaker is traveling the state trying to build support for his constitutional amendment to allow local school districts to elect their superintendent instead of a board appointment.

Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, says he sponsored House Resolution 550 because he believes someone who must be elected makes for a more responsive public official.

Jasperse hastens to add that his wife and daughter are teachers and his father-in-law was an assistant superintendent. Plus, he has no complaints about his own superintendent in Pickens County.

“I like mine very well, so don’t take it that way, and it’s not personal,” he said.

The amendment wouldn’t require the election of superintendents in all 180 school districts, but merely make it the option of each local legislative delegation.

“It’s an opportunity to give Georgians a choice,” said Jasperse, a retired county agent.

Online Athens.

Opinion: Obamacare total is a pitiful number

No wonder why President Obama didn’t want to tell Americans how many people have enrolled in Obamacare through its troubled website, which opened for business Oct. 1.

According to The Washington Post, only about 40,000 people signed up for health insurance in the past six weeks.

That’s deplorable. And embarrassing. It’s what Sanford Stadium at the University of Georgia looks like when it’s less than half full.

It’s also no wonder why a growing number of Democrats in Congress who are up for election next year are demanding changes. This may be Mr. Obama’s last term. But they don’t want to go down in flames, as voters hold them accountable for serious flaws in his signature piece of legislation.

The White House had expected to have at least 500,000 people enrolled by now. It’s not even close.

Worse, there’s no reliable indication of when HealthCare.gov will be working.

To add to the administration’s woes, the Obamacare “navigators” who are helping people enroll in person do not have to pass a criminal background check to do these jobs. That means personal information is being collected by workers who may have broken the law.

Such a security risk wouldn’t be tolerated in the private sector, which deals with sensitive data and has safeguards in place to protect individual privacy. The federal government must not tolerate it either.

Meanwhile, leave it to former President Bill Clinton to give Mr. Obama some sage advice this week: Keep your promise.

Mr. Clinton said the president should honor his oft-repeated pledge to Americans that if they liked their health plans, then they can keep them under Obamacare. That clearly hasn’t been the case, as thousands of people have received cancellation notices from their insurance carriers.

“So I personally believe, even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got,” Mr. Clinton said.

House Republicans, as well as some Senate Democrats, are planning legislation that would allow people losing their current coverage to keep their plans.

But that’s Plan C.

Plan B should be delaying the individual mandate. Plan A should be amending the entire law and coming up with a better plan.

via Cherokee Tribune

After the Obamacare train wreck

Congressional Republicans have Obamacare right where they want it. The idea of a one-year delay of the law, always far-fetched as long as the Democrats controlled the Senate, is suddenly looking plausible.

“I think there needs to be a one-year suspension of the entire law, at least, if not a longer suspension,” says Georgia Republican Tom Price. “The Senate Democrats and the president are the ones that have to decide it needs to be done.”

When asked about a delay, House Republican whip Kevin McCarthy chuckles but doesn’t answer. Instead, he suggests that the law’s destructiveness could upend the entire health care system.

It’s not just the faulty health insurance exchange website and a slew of insurance policies canceled in light of Obamacare’s regulations. Starting in January, Americans will almost certainly be looking at higher out-of-pocket costs for doctor’s visits and procedures.

The disruptions in the individual market will soon be felt in the small-business health insurance market. Folks may be showing up at their doctor’s office only to find their provider network has changed.

“You’re going to see a great deal of frustration, and each wave getting stronger,” McCarthy says, adding, “How far will Democrats finally go in their minds to say, ‘Hey, we should repeal this whole thing’?”

The sense among Republicans in the House is that as public outrage grows and the full brunt of the law is felt, Democrats will have no choice but to defect.

“Our friends on the other side of the aisle are beginning to feel the heat, and the heat is only going to get hotter because of the disastrous consequences of this law for real people,” says Price.

The Weekly Standard.

Macon preacher fatally shoots self between Sunday services

The pastor of a church in Macon apparently shot himself fatally after returning to his home from Sunday services, authorities said.

The Rev. Teddy Parker, Jr., pastor of Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church, was found dead in the driveway of his home in Warner Robins, Houston County Coroner Danny Galpin told Macon’s 13WMAZ. He was 42.

His wife, Larrinecia Sims Parker, found his body. Authorities believe the gunshot wound that caused his death was self inflicted. The couple has two daughters, Kamry Tednae and Kerrington Tyier Parker. It could not be determined if they were with their mother when she found him.

In a sermon posted on Frequency.com from 2010 entitled “Facing Your Storm With Confidence,” the first of three parts, Parker told his congregation that God does not always immediately respond to struggle.

“There are times when God wants you to have faith,” said Parker, who was dressed in purple robes. “You might not be able to feel Him. You might not be able to see Him. You might not be able to hear His voice, but you’ve got to walk by faith. Not by sight, not by hearing, walk by faith!”

via Macon Ga. Preacher Fatally Shoots Self Between Sunday Services | The Afro-American Newspapers | Your Community. Your History. Your News..

Former NY Times journalist: Newspaper is now the President’s ‘propaganda arm’

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Fox News contributor Michael Goodwin used to work for The New York Times, but he claims they were a different newspaper back then.

“The Times that I worked for no longer exists. This has now become a propaganda sheet for the president,” says Goodwin, referring specifically to their latest editorials defending the president’s campaign promises regarding ObamaCare. “When they say he clearly misspoke instead of calling it what it is — a lie — what they’re doing is … covering up for him, to make him look better,” Goodwin states.

“The country sees these stories of individuals who have lost their health care despite what the president promised,” continues Goodwin. “They’ve seen the prices go up, they’ve seen all kinds of confusion about what’s really going on. And for The Times to blame it on republicans, [and] say that basically it’s overblown and that the president just misspoke, I think passes over into an area where nobody believes The Times, and therefore, that hurts the president.”

Goodwin also thinks The New York Times has “crossed over from being a liberal newspaper to a propaganda arm for the president,” and it’s destroying Obama’s credibility in the process.

“We know our presidents are human. Obama himself apologized somewhat over this issue. But, for for The Times not to admit it’s a real issue, I think damages both the paper and the president.”

Fox News Insider.

Braves to relocate to Cobb County in 2017

The Atlanta Braves are relocating to Cobb County at the intersection of I-75 and I-285.

“We are excited to announce plans to build a world-class stadium, which will open in 2017 at the NW intersection of I-75/I-285. #Braves,” read one tweet from the official Braves Twitter account.

“We have secured a large tract of property at this location & will work to build a world-class ballpark for our fans. #Braves,” followed another.

The Braves’ 20-year agreement with Turner Field expires at the end of the 2016 season.

“This decision to move was not easy, and we have mixed emotions about leaving a ballpark that holds so many great memories. However, knowing that our lease will expire in 2016, we have devoted our time trying to secure the best option for our fans, our team and our organization. We believe this new site will be the best location for our fans and our organization for the next 30 years,” said the Braves on their website.

[Click here for a video message from Braves President John Schuerholz.]

Since the facility opened in 1997, the Braves have invested nearly $125 million in Turner Field.

Turner Field currently needs $150 million in infrastructure work (including seat replacement, upgrades to the lighting, etc.), none of which would significantly enhance the fan experience. If the Braves were to pay for additional projects focused on improving the fan experience, the additional costs could exceed $200 million.

During construction of the stadium, more than 5,227 jobs will be supported, with a total payroll of more than $235 million.

Statement from Mayor Kasim Reed on the Atlanta Braves:

“”The Atlanta Braves are one of the best baseball teams in America, and I wish them well. We have been working very hard with the Braves for a long time, and at the end of the day, there was simply no way the team was going to stay in downtown Atlanta without city taxpayers spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make that happen. It is my understanding that our neighbor, Cobb County, made a strong offer of $450M in public support to the Braves and we are simply unwilling to match that with taxpayer dollars. Given the needs facing our city and the impact of Turner Field stadium on surrounding neighborhoods that was something I, and many others were unwilling to do. We have been planning for the possibility of this announcement and have already spoken to multiple organizations who are interested in redeveloping the entire Turner Field corridor. Over the next three years, we will be working with our prospective partners to bring residential and business development that is worthy of our city and strengthens our downtown. Those conversations will continue and I am excited about how we use the land that is now Turner Field, to be a tremendous asset for our residents, our city, and our region for years to come.”

Cobb Commission Chair Tim Lee released this statement:

“The Atlanta Braves are a great organization and will be a welcome addition to Cobb County. Our focus is on finalizing an agreement that will bring jobs and economic growth to the area while enhancing the experience of sports fans from across metro Atlanta.

“Atlanta has evolved over the years into a broader community that offers so much for so many. Cobb County is proud to be a part of the region’s continued success.”

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement by the Atlanta Braves:

“The Braves have kept us apprised of their stadium situation throughout this process. Major League Baseball fully supports their decision to move to a new ballpark in Atlanta for the 2017 season, and we look forward to their continued excellence representing their community, both on and off the field.”

More details can be found at homeofthebraves.com and will be posted as they become available.

via Braves to relocate to Cobb County in 2017 – WAL – Flash Player Installation.

Amazon taps post office for Sunday deliveries

Much of the talk in recent years about how the U.S. Postal Service could stem its huge losses has been about the things it might stop doing most notably, delivering the mail on Saturdays something Congress wont let it discontinue.Now, as we reported earlier, theres word that Amazon.com has struck a deal with the Postal Service for Sunday delivery of packages. The service begins immediately in the Los Angeles and New York City metropolitan areas and is planned to expand next year to other metros, including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix.The early analyses of the deal say its a winner for both sides.For the Postal Service, notes The New York Times, the deal offers “a chance to take some business from United Parcel Service and FedEx, which do not deliver on Sundays. Now, some orders that would have been handled by either of those carriers for Monday delivery will go through the Postal Service and arrive on Sunday.”Package delivery is a profitable part of the Postal Services business, unlike money-losing delivery of Saturday mail.According to The Washington Post, the Postal Service will deliver the packages “at regular rates. … Previously, a shipper had to use its pricey Express Mail service and pay an extra fee for Sunday delivery.” The Postal Service, adds the Post, “said it would increase staffing in the locations where Amazon will offer the service, but did not offer specific numbers. … [It] also declined to comment on how much additional revenue the new initiative is expected to bring.”Amazon, meanwhile, “wont change shipping prices for customers” who want Sunday delivery, Bloomberg News says.But the online shopping giant “is seeking to siphon away customers from Target Corp. and other retailers,” Bloomberg adds, at a time when it is “also facing competition from online-shopping sites that are rolling out new services to get products to customers more quickly and efficiently. EBay Inc. offers deliveries under an hour, seven days a week, for some products, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. operates a same-day delivery service for groceries and household goods.”

via Amazon Taps Post Office For Sunday Deliveries; A Win-Win?.

Huddle House to open eight new restaurants

Huddle House, one of America’s favorite breakfast franchises for nearly 50 years, has inked deals in the past 30 days to open eight new restaurants in three different states.

The growth in Alabama, Georgia and Illinois is part of Huddle House’s planned expansion for the brand, which is currently enjoying the uptick in popularity in homestyle and regional cuisine in the restaurant sector, which saw increasing growth last month. According to the ADP’s National Franchise Report, restaurants accounted for 9,190 of the 15,040 new jobs created in franchising in September. Those numbers have been trending upward all year.

Part of Huddle House’s appeal is its recently updated menu and new Evolutions store design, which gives the restaurant a fresher, more contemporary look. The new store design accommodates more guests, helping to generate higher sales numbers than older designs. It features an open kitchen, inviting more interaction with customers, who love to watch their meals being made fresh-to-order. The menu of homestyle dishes includes breakfast classics; burgers, fries and milkshakes; and favorite entrees such as chopped steak dinners and country-fried steak.

Huddle House was founded in 1964 in Decatur, Ga., as a place for the community to gather and “huddle up” for a great meal. With its branded Southern hospitality and 24-hour service that offers any meal, any time, Huddle House franchises work anywhere. The company has locations in travel centers and convenience sites as well as large metropolitan markets — but its focus is small towns and mid-sized markets that other brands tend to pass up. Huddle House thrives in place where there’s a lot of demand for full-service dining but little competition. As one of the least expensive breakfast franchises to own, Huddle House is highly ranked by the SBA, making it easier for franchisees to get business loans.

Huddle House, with 400-plus units nationwide, signed deals for eight new restaurants in Georgia, Alabama and Illinois and is looking to expand further.

For more information, visit: huddlehousefranchising.com.

 

EIN News.

Jesse Jackson ‘effectively banned from White House’

President Obama considered veteran Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel a political hack and had such little regard for Jesse Jackson that he “effectively banned” the civil rights leader from the White House, a new book claims.

The political tome about the 2012 presidential campaign, “Double Down,” says Obama had little patience for “professional left” activists and “vanishingly close to zero” for what a White House aide called “professional blacks.”

“Apart from Georgia Congressman John Lewis and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, Obama had nearly as much contempt for the CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) as he did for the Tea Party Caucus,” the book says.

“New York’s Charlie Rangel he derided as a hack; Jesse Jackson Sr. was effectively banned from the White House. . .”

Rangel has had an uneasy relationship with Obama. In the 2008, Rangel backed Hillary Clinton over Obama in the Democratic presidential primary.

In 2010, Obama said he hoped that Rangel, a decorated Korean War veteran, would retire “with dignity” as the embattled congressman was fending off ethics charges that later led to a humiliating censure by the House.

A wounded Rangel shot back that Obama “hasn’t been around long enough to determine what my dignity is.”

But Rangel, the former House Ways and Means Committee chairman, also helped craft and pass Obama’s chief domestic initiative — the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare. And Rangel has staunchly defended the law.

A source close to Obama heatedly denied that Obama characterized Rangel as a hack, but confided that the president felt the five-decade congressman held on to office for too long.

“The president actually respects Charlie Rangel. Charlie was one of the few leaders who fought the good fight during Republican rule. Charles has done great things,” the White House insider said.

“But the president does believe that Charlie should have resigned a few election cycles ago,”

Rangel’s office had no immediate comment.

New York Post.

Four suspects detained after gunman opens fire at Kennesaw Waffle House

Police have detained four suspects after someone fired at a Waffle House in Cobb County.

The shooting happened Friday.

Police said there was a disturbance in the early morning, causing a group of people to exit the restaurant. One suspect pulled a gun in the parking lot, fired two shots into the air, then shot out a restaurant window.

Authorities said they took four suspects into custody.

via 4 suspects .

‘Ferrari Of Space’ crashing back to Earth maybe tomorrow

Sometime Sunday or early Monday, a 2,425-pound satellite that ran out of fuel last month and began falling from its already low orbit will plunge back to Earth.

The European Space Agency’s Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) so sleek that it was nicknamed “the Ferrari of space” during its mission mapping Earth’s gravitational field is expected to break into hundreds of pieces as it falls through Earth’s atmosphere, with a few dozen fragments big enough to make it to the planet’s surface or (more likely) its oceans.

Reuters reports that as much as 25 percent of the satellite could survive re-entry.

Scientists say there’s little to worry about from the falling debris, at least statistically. (The head of the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office says it’s “250,000 times more probable to win the jackpot in the German Lotto than to get hit by a GOCE fragment.”) But unlike many other out-of-control satellites scientists have tracked over the years, they have little idea at this point where the chunks of GOCE will land.

That’s because, as The New York Times explained this week, “Its orbit goes almost directly over the poles, and as the planet rotates, almost all places on Earth pass beneath it at some point.”

As the satellite’s re-entry nears, scientists will have a better idea of which areas of the Earth could be in its path.

In a post Saturday on the European Space Agency’s blog, GOCE Operations Manager Christoph Steiger said the satellite had descended to an altitude of around 160 kilometers (about 99 miles) above the Earth Saturday morning. “GOCE is expected to fall by over 13 km (8 miles) today, with the final re-entry into the atmosphere probably less than 2 days away,” Steiger wrote.

The Times explains:

“An uncontrolled re-entry was always the planned fate for GOCE, which was launched in March 2009. Unlike most spacecraft, which use thrusters to adjust their orbits, it has a highly efficient propulsion system called an ion engine. Unlike thrusters, the engine can fire continuously to offset atmospheric drag.”

“That allowed GOCE, with its sleek, airplanelike shape, to maintain a low orbit, just 160 miles up and later 140 miles. From that perch, it made gravity measurements that were much more accurate and detailed than previous ones.”

via ‘Ferrari Of Space

House arrest recommended for Georgian in Misissippi bribery case – SFGate

Federal prosecutors are recommending house arrest for a Georgia woman charged with bribing a Mississippi school superintendent in a district that spent $1.4 million to use her reading program for children, according to court records.

Edna Goble, who owned Teach Them To Read in Conyers, did business with the Greenville Public School District in the Mississippi Delta. The reading program is called EDNA, for Early Detection Necessary Action.

Goble was indicted in December 2012 on 10 counts related to the bribery of Harvey Franklin, who had been the Greenville Public School District superintendent. Franklin — who moved to Mississippi from Georgia — used his position to influence the school board to enter a contract for Goble’s services in exchange for about $270,000 in bribes, prosecutors say. Franklin resigned as superintendent in May 2012.

The information that prosecutors will recommend six months of house arrest for Goble came Wednesday in a filing from Franklin’s lawyer. In the filing, attorney Lisa Ross, requests that Franklin be sentenced to less than the federal sentencing guideline range of 70 to 87 months.

via Document: House arrest recommended in bribery case – SFGate.

Inebriated woman tried to wear cheeseburger after sex

A couple having sex in a Georgia Waffle House parking lot was busted on Sunday, according to police. But that isnt even the weird part.Loganville authorities said the woman was so drunk that she tried to put a cheeseburger on her foot as if it were a sandal.”I guess that would speak to her level of intoxication,” Assistant Chief of Police Dick Lowry told The Huffington Post.Lowry said the fast food-as-footwear was a first for him.Rachel Gossett and Frank Lucas were cited in the Nov. 3 incident for public drunkenness and loitering. According to the police report, Lucas blew a .154 into the breathalyzer and Gossett .216.

via Huffington Post

Jason Carter to Run for Ga. Governor

Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter and a state lawmaker from Atlanta, said Thursday that he plans to run for governor of Georgia next year, energizing Democrats coming off a 2010 election in which the GOP claimed every statewide office.Carters decision resets the 2014 race as Republican Gov. Nathan Deal seeks re-election.

Deal already faces two primary opponents and will now have to deal with a Carter campaign that is likely to grab national attention, be well-financed, and criticize the governors ethics and leadership.Carter said concerns about education and the economy were at the center of his decision to run.

“I’ve traveled around the state, and people believe our education system is on the brink. People believe the economy is not working for the middle class, and people want to see an honest government that works for everyone,” Carter said in an interview with The Associated Press early Thursday. “As a state we can’t wait four years to start getting those right.”

Georgia Democrats have been dealing with poor state party finances and a lack of political firepower since Republicans claimed every statewide office in 2010.

Theres been much internal optimism about the 2016 presidential race and the 2018 governors race as being opportunities for Democrats, but Carter is clearly betting changing demographics in the state could be enough to carry him to the governors mansion next year.

Carter, 38, was first elected to the Georgia Senate in May 2010 and has been at the forefront among Democrats on issues like education and redistricting. Carter said he plans to stay in the state Senate during his gubernatorial bid. His decision to run for governor was first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A big question will be how his grandfather will factor into the campaign.When the younger Carter first ran for office, the former president didnt start campaigning until a few days before the election.

At the time, Carter told The Associated Press he wanted to prove that he could do the hard work on his own and didnt want to be “trading on my family name.”The younger Carters path would seek to follow that of his grandfather.

Jimmy Carter served two terms in the Georgia Senate before running for governor. Although Jimmy Carter lost his first bid in 1966, won four years later.

While Democrats once dominated state politics, the Republicans have been the party in power since 2002 when Sonny Perdue became the first Republican governor of Georgia since Reconstruction.

The state has voted for every Republican presidential nominee since 2000, although President Barack Obama garnered 47 percent of voters in 2008. Last year, Obama received 45.5 percent of the vote.

Also on the ballot in 2014 will be Democrat Michelle Nunn, who is running for U.S. Senate. Nunn also hails from a prominent political family; her father is former U.S. Sam Nunn, who represented Georgia for years.

Democrats are clearly hoping a strong slate with both Nunn and Carter on the ballot and an emphasis on economic and education issues will be able to connect with not only big-city voters but those who hail from rural parts of the state.

On education issues, in particular, Carter has already challenged the governor on an effort to address a financial shortfall facing the states popular HOPE scholarship program, which is funded by lottery revenues.

Challenging Deal in the Republican primary are state schools Superintendent John Barge and Dalton Mayor David Pennington.

On the Democratic side, former state Sen. Connie Stokes has also announced her intent to run for governor.Carter, who lives in Atlanta and represents Decatur and Atlantas eastside neighborhoods, is married with two sons.

via ABC News

Georgia man flicked lighter near gas tank, setting wife ablaze, officials say

A Georgia man was arrested after he flicked his cigarette lighter near the gas tank of his truck and touched off an explosion and fire that left his wife with second- and third-degree burns to her head, arms and legs, authorities said.

The man, Austin Dawkins, 37, was captured in surveillance video on Oct. 16 at a gas station in the town of Clarksville, about 85 miles outside Atlanta.

He was charged with reckless conduct and could face a year in prison.In the video, released Monday by the state fire commissioner’s office, Dawkins is gassing up the truck when his wife, identified by authorities as Jessica Dawkins, walks over to talk to him.

via NBC News

Barge mystery solved: Floating structures Google Glass showrooms

Over the past week, two floating structures on opposite sides of the country have provoked a lot of speculation: Early on, the Internet settled on Google as a likely culprit. Could the barges off of San Francisco and Maine, the masses divined, be giant data structures built to circumvent NSA spying? Could they be huge, floating stores?

Well, yesterday, speculation was finally backed by cold, hard facts, when the Coast Guard responded to a Freedom of Information Act request from The (New London) Day.

The paper reports that the documents show the Coast Guard met with officials from Google, Turner Construction and Cianbro Corp. to talk about the project. The paper adds:

“Construction on a structure made of container units continued through July. Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound took part in a conference call on July 1 with a naval architect, a marine transportation company and Michael Tierney, of Google Glass, to review the plans.

“The purpose of the vessel is not described in the documents, but they reveal a plan to operate the vessel in various ports, the first being New York Harbor.”

KPIX-TV in San Francisco cites multiple unnamed sources familiar with the project saying the two barges are indeed mobile showrooms intended to out-wow the Apple store concept.

The station reports that the barges include a three-level show room and a party deck. All of which can be assembled and disassembled quickly to move the barge from place to place.

The station also adds that these showrooms will likely not be open to the general public; instead they’re intended for Google VIPs.

Google, perhaps expectedly, has remained quiet on the issue.

via Barge Mystery Solved: Floating Structures Tied To Google Glass.

Mayor of Dawson shot several times during attempted robbery

A 23-year-old mayor was shot and his mother tied up during an attempted robbery at their Georgia home last night.

Dawson mayor Christopher Wright was shot multiple times in the leg at his Crawford Avenue, Dawson, home after 11pm. He was rushed to hospital in a stable condition.

The suspects also tied up Wright’s mother, who he reportedly lives with, before they attacked the young mayor. She suffered minor injuries.

Shocking: Dawson mayor Christopher Wright, 23, was shot multiple times in the leg at his home last night

Stable condition: Wright is reportedly awaiting surgery at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital

Wright’s friend, Jessae Goshae, told FOX 31 that Wright was in a stable condition and awaiting surgery at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany.

Wright’s aunt, Ann Smalls, said Wright’s mother was also injured after being tied up. She has not been identified.

 

Mail Online.

Food stamp cuts to take effect Friday

Americans on food stamps will see a reduction in benefits starting Friday.

For a family of four on the maximum allowed benefits, that’s $36 less per month for food on the table.

It sounded like a great idea when it was launched; a program aimed in part, at making school lunches healthier.

“We’re determined to finally take on one of the most serious threats to their future. And that is the epidemic of childhood obesity in America today,” Michelle Obama said in 2012.

But to fund that war on obesity, the White House borrowed money from the war on hunger.

via WTOC-TV

Belgium considering new euthanasia law for kids

Should children have the right to ask for their own deaths?

In Belgium, where euthanasia is now legal for people over the age of 18, the government is considering extending it to children — something that no other country has done. The same bill would offer the right to die to adults with early dementia.

Advocates argue that euthanasia for children, with the consent of their parents, is necessary to give families an option in a desperately painful situation. But opponents have questioned whether children can reasonably decide to end their own lives.

Belgium is already a euthanasia pioneer; it legalized the practice for adults in 2002. In the last decade, the number of reported cases per year has risen from 235 deaths in 2003 to 1,432 in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available. Doctors typically give patients a powerful sedative before injecting another drug to stop their heart.

via The Augusta Chronicle

‘Dumb and Dumber To,’ ‘Walking Dead’ and ‘Ender’s Game’ make headlines around state

Filming in Georgia: ‘Dumb and Dumber To” shoots at Gwinnett Center
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post

• “The Walking Dead” starts filming today in Griffin
Source: Griffin Daily News 

• “The Walking Dead” convention to be held this weekend in Atlanta
About 10,000 participants are expected; plus, a look at how the show has impacted Georgia communities.
Source: WXIA-TV 

• Peachtree Ridge High graduate appears in ‘Ender’s Game”
Cameron Gaskins, a UGA freshman, is appearing in a new science fiction action film where he plays the commander of the Leopard Army.
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post

Federal prosecutors reopen probe into Lowndes County student’s death

Lowndes County sheriff’s investigators concluded that Johnson died in a freak accident, but his family insists someone must have killed him.
Source: Macon Telegraph

• U.S. Department of Justice opens formal review of Kendrick Johnson’s death
The death of the student, Kendrick L. Johnson, has been the subject of persistent questions since his body was found in the upright blue mat at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Ga., on Jan. 11, a day after his mother reported him missing after a basketball game.
Source: New York Times

Government document: Health site posed ‘high’ security risk

An internal government memo obtained by The Associated Press shows administration officials were concerned that a lack of testing posed a “high” security risk for President Barack Obama’s new health insurance website.

The Sept. 27 memo to Medicare chief Marylin Tavenner said a website contractor wasn’t able to test all the security controls in one complete version of the system.

Insufficient testing “exposed a level of uncertainty that can be deemed as a high risk,” the memo said.

The memo recommended setting up a security team to address risks, conduct daily tests, and a full security test within two to three months of going live.

At a congressional hearing, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the site’s security certification is temporary, but asserted consumers’ personal information is secure.

 WALB.com

Joe Klein: With Obama, the buck stops nowhere

Still, I expected more from Obama. I expected more at the Veterans Administration, since the President said that making sure that our veterans received the best treatment really mattered to him. It is remarkable that five years on, Obama still hasn’t resolved the dispute between the VA and the Department of Defense about providing a unified electronic medical records system that would follow active-duty personnel into retirement. The waste, heartache and delay caused by his inaction is appalling.

And I certainly expected more from the Affordable Care Act, since it is the most significant piece of social welfare legislation since the 1960s, and an absolutely crucial piece of a social safety net going forward. It is early days for the ACA and we should reserve judgment about whether this legislation was just too big and complicated a mess to implement. But, surely, SOMEONE–maybe many people–should be fired for these opening pratfalls.

There is a larger point here. It lies in the nature of government work. It is near-impossible to fire anyone in the civil service–and without the fear of firing, the incentives for hard work diminish. (And also the rewards for finding creative solutions.) This is the 130th anniversary of our Civil Service system, enacted by Chester Alan Arthur. It may have been a good thing in 19th century, when Abraham Lincoln was hiring political hacks to run the post offices–but it has transformed agencies like the VA and HHS into lugubrious sludge glaciers in the 21st century.

The President should set the tone for the way the federal government operates. This President hasn’t done that. He still has three more years in office to get it right, perhaps even to propose some radical changes in the work rules governing federal employment. He could even force DOD and VA to agree on the unified electronic records system that he promised.

Otherwise, there is a danger that the Obama Administration will be remembered as not even good enough for government work.

Click the link to read the entire column.

TIME.com.

The new secession movement

There’s a big race right now to become the 51st state.

Forget traditional contenders like Puerto Rico. In several existing states, residents of less populous areas are hoping to create new states of their own.

Citizens in 11 northeastern Colorado counties are among them. They’ll vote on Nov. 5 whether to break off and form their own state. Many are unhappy about liberal state legislation they believe reflects the values of the Denver-Boulder corridor, but not their part of the world.

“We’re rarely listened to when it comes to legislation,” says Butch White, the mayor of Ault. “I’m sure the vote will pass in Weld County quite easily.”

The Colorado counties aren’t alone. There’s been occasional talk of secession at various times in recent decades, but now the idea is showing signs of taking root across the map.

There is talk about and sometimes movement toward secession in several states. These are locally motivated startups, but they share some themes in common.

People in mostly conservative areas feel isolated living in states controlled by Democrats. Rural residents, in particular, believe their values are given no respect in capitols now completely dominated by urban and suburban interests.

Secession may be part of the same impulse that leads states to sue or otherwise try to block or nullify federal laws they don’t like. People are losing respect for institutions that don’t reflect their preferences and would prefer, to the extent possible, to extricate themselves from them.

“What we would like to do is gain representation for the northern people of the state,” says Mark Baird, spokesman for a committee seeking to split off part of California. “The only way to do that is to have our own state.”

via Take This State And Shove It: The New Secession Movement.

Jax aviation authority security chief’s resignation near

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority’s director of security is on paid leave while his bosses seek his resignation, though the official reason remains a mystery.

Sources familiar with Wednesday’s action against career cop Wayne Clark Sr., told The Times-Union the move followed internal strife over his management style. Clark declined to comment.

Authority Spokesman Michael Stewart emailed The Times-Union an unsigned separation agreement listing the Authority and Clark as parties, but Stewart wouldn’t discuss details.

“Wayne Clark has decided to pursue other interests,” Stewart said.

An email from the agency’s human resources director to Authority directors said that the security department has “experienced a transition in leadership,” but gave no other details. Lt. Mark Stevens will serve as interim director.

The unsigned agreement calls for Clark to be paid his $113,000 salary through Dec. 20. He would also receive a four-week severance and accrued leave. The agreement states the parties desire to end their relationship “amicably.” Clark would promise not to seek civil claims against the agency or making any public statements under the agreement.

Clark headed a police force of about 30 officers responsible for Jacksonville International Airport and the Authority’s three general aviation airports: Jacksonville Executive Airport, Herlong Recreational Airport and Cecil Airport.

The authority hired Clark in June 2010 after rejecting an option to contract out its security services to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Clark was a 30-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office before retiring as a chief, one of the highest ranks in the agency. His experience included patrol and enforcement, investigations and homeland security and the department of corrections.

Clark’s ability to lead the airport police force was cited by the Authority as one reason it didn’t make the switch. He told the Authority that keeping the force together also would save money, including training costs.

Clark hired a new patrol operations commander, increased the number of sworn officers and raised the hiring standards for new officers, according to the Authority’s website. He also reorganized the police department into police operations and general aviation/investigative/regulatory compliance, the website said.

jacksonville.com.

Gingrey calls for Sebelius’ resignation

U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga) called yesterday for resignation of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the failure of healthcare.gov, federal website where Americans are supposed to sign up for mandatory health care insurance.

“Secretary Sebelius must be held accountable,” said Gingrey in a statement. “This fiasco is yet another warning sign of Obamacare nightmares to come. After months of promising patients that health care exchanges would be ready to go online, Sebelius’ promises have come up empty. Healthcare.gov is plagued with far more than glitches—it’s unable to perform the basic functions for which it was designed.

“Through no fault of their own, the individuals unable to enroll in health care exchanges will be slapped with a penalty tax for being uninsured. Secretary Sebelius has dodged questions and delayed providing answers to the American people. Enough is enough.”

Late Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced a six-week delay for health care sing-ups, due to website difficulties.

Gingrey, member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, signed on to a letter from House Republicans to President Obama, calling for Sebelius’ resignation.

Gingrey represents Georgia’s 11th congressional district.

Examiner.com.

Representative: White supremacist statues should remain on Capitol lawn

“That’s a Confederate soldier,” Tommy Benton says, pointing to a new bronze statue on the square in his hometown. Three years ago, the GOP state representative helped raise $50,000 to build it. New confederate monuments are a rarity, he says. “You don’t get many at all because of basically the political climate,” he says.

Benton says it is the same political climate that is forcing the removal of the statue of Tom Watson from the main entrance of the state Capitol. Watson was a turn-of-the-century white supremacist who served in the Georgia legislature and the US Senate.

Benton, a former high school history teacher and onetime Sons of Confederate Veterans commander, laments the statue’s removal.

“I think there’s room for all of it. And just because I disagree with what somebody stood for, doesn’t mean that I would oppose their monument,” Benton said.

Watson’s background as a white supremacist doesn’t disqualify the statue’s placement on the Capitol’s grounds “because of the good things that he did,” Benton said.

Benton smells trouble for other historic figures on the the Capitol grounds. Like General John Gordon, a US Senator and early backer of the Ku Klux Klan; Senator Richard Russell, a powerful US senator who fiercely opposed civil rights legislation; and Eugene Talmadge, elected four times governor of Georgia– and a man whose politics gave chills to the grandmother of Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta).

via Rep. says white supremacist statues should remain on Capitol lawn | 11alive.com.

Iraq veterans SpongeBob gravestone removed

An Iraq war veterans towering SpongeBob SquarePants headstone has been removed from her final resting place because officials at the historic Cincinnati cemetery deemed it inappropriate for their traditional grounds.

The headstone of Kimberly Walker, 28, was made in the likeness of her favorite cartoon character and erected at Spring Grove Cemetery on Oct. 10, almost eight months after she was found slain in a Colorado hotel room.

Despite getting the cemeterys prior approval of the headstones design – a smiling SpongeBob in an Army uniform, with Walkers name and rank – her family said Monday that cemetery staff called them the day after it was installed to say it would have to come down.

The 7-foot headstone, along with a near-exact duplicate erected for Walkers living twin sister, have been removed and will not be allowed back up, cemetery President Gary Freytag said Monday.

“Weve decided that they arent appropriate for our historic cemetery and they cant be displayed here,” Freytag said, adding that the employee who approved the headstones made an inexplicable error in judgment, given the cemeterys traditional, stately appearance.

He acknowledged that the cemetery is at fault and that staff members would be meeting with Walkers family on Tuesday to try to find a solution, which could include a more traditional gravestone bearing small likeness of the character.

Freytag also said Spring Grove is prepared to reimburse the family for each headstone, which cost a combined $26,000, and pay for new ones.

via WTOC-TV

Criminal probe launched after students fight in Bacon County

An off-campus fight between high school students last week is now a criminal investigation with the Bacon County Sheriffs Office.

WTOC received a video of the fight. Superintendent Dr. Laine Reichert told WTOC that not everyone involved was a Bacon County High School student.

However, parents at Friday nights football game against Benedict told WTOC news that several Bacon County High School football players were suspended for the game because of an off-campus incident.

Many parents told WTOC that that they agree with a criminal investigation looking into the incident.

One parent said that because it was an off-campus incident, she doesnt think the players should have had to sit the game out.

via WTOC-TV

OPINION: Putting more bite into ethics law long overdue

“It’s possible, if not probable, that Georgia could put teeth into its notoriously gummy ethics oversight system early next year. And under the right (or wrong, depending on one’s perspective) circumstances, some of those teeth might belong to Georgia voters.

“As Jim Galloway reported in his “Political Insider” column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, is pushing for a long-debated change that could close a lot of yawning ethics loopholes: a statewide grand jury.”
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Georgia officials to revisit interbasin water transfers

For the first time, the state will have a way to transfer water from reservoirs on one stream and move it to another that is depleted by drought. Environmental organizations that oppose the building of reservoirs object to this new plan.

Downstream communities like Athens, Augusta, Savannah and Brunswick have generally opposed such interbasin transfers when used to provide water for upstream drinking and industry. They may be no happier about transfers for boosting the flow of streams in other regions for the sake of endangered species and drought mitigation.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

 

Spongebob movies wraps up filming in downtown Savannah

The big movie shoot came to end Friday in downtown Savannah.

Cars packed up, signs taken down and roads re-opened.

For a week and a half Broughton Street was transformed into “Bikini Bottom” for the “Spongebob Squarepants 2” movie.

Business owner John Croley says although cars couldn’t drive up to his shop a lot of the time, it wasn’t too much of a problem.

“It’s been a pretty decent week for us. It hasn’t impacted business negatively but it hasn’t really brought too much in so I can’t complain,” said Croley.

A sigh of relief for city leaders, who also worried the road closures, would’ve been a problem.

“Honestly, that was my biggest thing I was worried about and it was much better than I was expecting. We had it backed up in one or two places now and then but we had a lot of police officers out there helping direct traffic and we were able to solve any issues is there was any,” said Savannah film commission interim film services administrators William Hammargren.

via WJCL News

‘The Walking Dead’ inspires new convention in Atlanta

Cable TV’s “The Walking Dead” has inspired a new convention, a podcast, and a one-man play.

The podcast and Atlanta-based convention are the creations of Eric Nordhoff and James Frazier, also known as the “Walker Stalkers” because of a road trip they made last fall from Nashville, Tenn., to Georgia to see the AMC show being filmed.

The convention, Walker Stalker Con, is expected to draw 10,000 or more participants when it’s held early next month, Nordhoff said.

“The Walking Dead” characters battle zombies known as “walkers” in the streets of downtown Atlanta and in forests, small towns and a prison south of the city.

The convention will feature appearances by some of the show’s actors, including Norman Reedus, who slays walkers with a crossbow as Daryl Dixon; Andrew Lincoln, who plays Sheriff Rick Grimes, and Lauren Cohan, also known as Maggie Greene on the show.

The series returned for its fourth season this month with its biggest audience ever.

The 16.1 million people who watched the Oct. 13 series premier shattered the show’s previous record of 12.4 million, the Nielsen company said.

via Online Athens.

Telegraph reporter runs with the bulls near Atlanta

It’s over, and I’m dripping red. I’m bruised and throbbing. It feels like someone kicked me in the ribs and punched me in the jaw.

People have asked me why I wanted to run with the bulls. I gave them the expected answers: “I’m a thrill seeker.” “You only live once.” “I’m certifiably insane.”

But here’s the sincere reason: It was there, so why not? The century-old adventure, which has become a tradition for danger-chasers, has migrated stateside from Pamplona, Spain. On Saturday, the Great Bull Run brought people, like me, to the Georgia International Horse Park near Atlanta.

Thousands of adrenaline junkies, curious spectators and downright nutcases ventured to the park on a cloudy, chilly afternoon. Many were clad in the customary all-white garb, but there were a handful of tutus, capes and a few people with bright, red bull’s-eyes painted on their shirts.

via Macon.com.

Cain to local church: U.S. is troubled

Black, white, young and old crowded into the Old Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Powder Springs on Sunday to listen to former presidential candidate, the Rev. Herman Cain, speak of patience, gratitude and his Christian faith.

Congregants clapped, swayed and sang “This is my story. This is my song. Praising my savior all day long,” filling the small sanctuary with song.

Many were long-time members of Cobb County’s oldest African-American church, founded in 1854, but a few attendees had skipped their home church’s services just to hear and see Cain in person.

Sixteen-year-old Glendon Genty, a practicing Catholic who lives in Powder Springs, attended the service alone. A friend had told him that Cain would be speaking, and, “as a libertarian, it’s just nice seeing a brother in our lord Jesus Christ,” he said.

Genty was joined by about 50 others in the building tucked behind the homes on Friendship Church Road, a few miles from Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.

via The Marietta Daily Journal

Former Georgia woman says she bought half a house in Idaho

A Treasure Valley woman bought a home in Nampa, only to find out later that she only owns half of it. She owns the front half of the property, while someone else owns the back half.

At age 76, Betty Galloway was looking to settle down in Nampa. She is retired and lives on Social Security. The widow and mother of five sold her home in Georgia, planning to use the money to buy a home here.

“I’d been looking around at homes that I could afford that I could pay outright for,” Galloway said.

In May, Galloway found 127 High Street in Nampa. It was repossessed in March of 2011, and then owned by Fannie Mae.

“My realtor, bless her heart, she sent the papers in the night of the 14th and Fannie Mae accepted them the morning of the 15th, and so then we closed at Pioneer Title,” said Galloway.

As far as she knew, the house was hers. Then, Kathy Meyers showed up at the front door.

KTVB.COM Boise.

Report: Health-care exchange website woes widen

Insurers say the federal health-care marketplace is generating flawed data that is making it difficult to handle even a trickle of enrollees who have gotten through so far, in a sign that technological glitches are worse than the website traffic and software issues already identified, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Executives at more than a dozen health plans told the WSJ errors include duplicate enrollments, spouses reported as children, missing data and suspect eligibility determinations.

The flaws could do lasting damage to the law if customers are deterred from signing up or mistakenly believe they have obtained coverage, the paper says.

Aetna Inc.’s Chief Executive Mark Bertolini told the WSJ, “The longer this takes to resolve…the harder it will be to get people to [come back and] sign up. It’s not off to a great start.”

Bertolini added that despite the problems, he believes the marketplaces are “here to stay.”

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Students accused of recording sex act in high school cafeteria

Students in suburban Atlanta school say a dare prompted two students to perform a sex act in a high school cafeteria.

A student at Etowah High School in Woodstock, Ga., used a cellphone to record the incident, which happened during lunch with plenty of people around.

Students at the school told WSB-TV – Atlanta that a male and female freshman were involved in the incident. The Cherokee County School District said the students were charged with misdemeanor public indecency.

“The guy who recorded it, he sent it to people…a lot (of people),” one student told WSB-TV.

Students said word of what happened and the video got around quickly.

“I don’t think it’s a responsible thing to do, but knowing our generation, you know, we don’t really think before we act and we just send it off,” student Callie Goldman said.

 

ActionNewsJax.com.

Early County suspects hiding out after attempted home burglary

Three men are still on the run Monday night after a long manhunt Sunday night. The men shot a man’s dog during the attempted burglary attempt at the Early County home. The owner was shot at as he chased the men into a wooded area.

Those three men ditched the car they were in and ran into some woods. Law enforcers from several agencies searched from the ground and the air for them.

The owner of the home on Five Bridges Road said he was taking a nap around 3:30 p.m. Sunday, when his dog started barking. Someone then started banging on his door and he saw three men were on his porch. The men drove away, but Brad Waller jumped in his truck and followed them.

“Cause I was mad. I want to get them,” said Brad Waller, Homeowner. He followed the men down Highway 27 South for several miles.

“He was trying to keep an eye on them because when he was driving down the road he was on the phone with our 911 center trying to let them know where the vehicle was headed,” said Investigator Brent Alderman, ECSO.

The men were driving an Oldsmobile Alero, now in custody of the Early County Sheriff Office. They started firing shots at Waller.

“The suspects stuck a gun out the window, shot several times at the homeowner, jumped back in the vehicle took off and officers pulled up, when the suspects jumped out and ran in to the woods,” said Investigator Brent Alderman, ECSO.

The Sheriff Office brought in helicopters, search dogs and a swat team from Houston County, Alabama to search the wooded area off Chrystal Springs Road and 27 South. The search lasted for about 5 hours before it was called off around 11:30 last night.

“We don’t believe the guys are still in the woods. We believe somebody has picked them up.” said Investigator Brent Alderman, ECSO.

Waller says he wants the men found.

“It was a robbery gone bad. They picked the wrong house because I was in it,” said Brad Waller, Homeowner.

Late this afternoon the Early County Sheriff Office named Keithtavis Curry as person of interest only in this case.

Brad Waller says his dog had to have surgery after the men shot him as they ran from his property.  The Sheriff’s Office says the investigation continues.

If you have any information about the case, call the Early County Sheriff’s Office at 229-723-3577.

WALB.com

GOP comes to Deal’s defense on ethics

In politics, one of the most important rules is never miss an opportunity to take a shot at the other side.

Last month, Georgia’s Democratic and Republican parties attacked each other over the issue of ethics. The genesis of this fight was an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report that the head of Georgia’s ethics commission is accused by current and former commission employees of improperly intervening in an investigation of Gov. Nathan Deal.

“Senate Dems Warned of State Ethics Oversight,” read the headline of a news release by the Democrats the day the article was published.

The news release accused Deal, a Republican, of engaging in “cronyism.” The governor strongly denied any involvement in the ethics case.

The Georgia Republican Party sent out its own news release that day, as well.

“For over a century, Democrats occupied the Governor’s Mansion and set the legislative agenda under the Gold Dome. Rather than prioritize and pass ethics reform measures to restore trust in state government, they sat on their hands and did nothing,” the Republican Party said in a statement.

via PolitiFact GeorgiA

Filming in Georgia: SpongeBob cart crash ends with restaurant damage

A member of the film crew for the “SpongeBob Squarepants 2” movie caused an accident Wednesday morning that sent a woman to the hospital and damaged a downtown building, according to city officials.

Paul Brinkley, a resident of Wilmington, N.C., was cited for failure to yield while entering a roadway after the John Deere utility vehicle he was driving east on Congress Lane entered Whitaker Street without stopping and collided with a van about 6:30 a.m., reported Savannah-Chatham police officer Michael Zaragoza.

The driver of the van, Barbara Maxwell, then crashed into the wall of the Hercules Bar & Grill Restaurant on the west side of Whitaker, slightly north of Broughton Street.

Maxwell was treated and released that day after being transported to Candler Hospital.

Source: Savannah Morning News/Saturday

Strange happenings: 7-foot fork found in Statesboro

A huge metal fork reported stolen earlier this year was found propped against a utility pole along a busy highway Wednesday.

Statesboro Police Advanced Patrol Officer Justin Samples, the public information officer with the department, said the 7-foot-tall, 150-pound steel fork stolen from the intersection of Johnson and West Main streets — the fork in the road — was recovered shortly after noon Wednesday when someone noticed the jumbo-sized eating utensil standing against a utility pole on Veterans Memorial Parkway near Cypress Lake Road.

Source: Statesboro Herald

Parents of Valdosta teen upset over missing organs

The parents of a Georgia teenager whose body was found inside a rolled-up wrestling mat at school said Thursday that they have a new reason to suspect signs of foul play were covered by investigators — their son was buried without his internal organs.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

• CNN broadcasts video and photos of Kendrick Johnson death
CNN obtained a 15-minute video and almost 700 photos taken by investigators with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department to document the scene. The channel shared a few moments of footage from the video and several photos in which Johnson’s body is clearly seen inside a rolled wrestling mat.
Source: Valdosta Daily Times

Ohio school fined nearly $100,000 for displaying Jesus painting

An Ohio school was forced to pay a $95,000 fine for displaying a painting of Jesus in its hallway.

The case against the Jackson City School District was brought by the Ohio Chapter of the ACLU and the group Freedom From Religion, who claimed that the painting was an “egregious violation of the First Amendment.”

Rather than spend taxpayer dollars fighting the case, the school agreed to settle with the plaintiffs and remove the portrait.

The painting had been hanging in the school’s hallway since 1947 as part of a display honoring famous historical figures.

Fox News Insider.

Michelle Nunn raises $1.7 million

Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn raised more than $1.7 million between July and September, her Senate campaign said Tuesday, a fast start for the first-time candidate.

Nunn, who announced her campaign July 22, ended the third quarter fundraising period with more than $1.4 million in the bank. Her haul came from more than 6,700 individual donors.

Nunn is head of the Points of Light Foundation and the daughter of former Democratic senator Sam Nunn. Democrats are bullish on her chances in 2014, but Georgia’s Republican tilt means she faces an uphill climb.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Rep. Jack Kingston, one of the candidates in the crowded Republican field, raised $800,000 during the third quarter, and ended the period with nearly $2.9 million in the bank.

via Washington Post

Prescription drug abuse now more deadly than heroin and cocaine combined

A new study shows that deaths from prescription drug overdoses have quadrupled during the past decade, suggesting that a stronger response is needed.

More people are dying in the US from prescription drugs than from heroin and cocaine combined, a new study says, signaling that pill abuse is not just the leading cause of drug overdose deaths, but that it also requires more oversight and training by both doctors and state health agencies.

Deaths involving prescription pills have quadrupled between 1999 and 2010, according to a report released Monday by Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit organization in Washington that studies health policy. About 6.1 million people abuse prescription pills, and overdose deaths have at least doubled in 29 states, where they now exceed vehicle-related deaths. In 10 of those states, rates tripled; in four of them, they quadrupled.

Source: Christian Science Monitor

 

Bicycle registration bill pulled by lawmakers

Lawmakers backing the bicycle registration bill are pulling the bill after overwhelming outcry from bicyclists from all over Georgia.

Cyclists and non-riders from all over Georgia packed the Hall County Government Center in Gainesville during a town hall meeting Monday night. An overwhelming majority of the speakers were against the proposed changes.

Under the proposed bill, a bicycle owner would be subject to a $100 fine and could face a misdemeanor if the bicycle is not registered with the state.

Georgia House Bill 689 would have also required license plates to be put on any bike that shares a road with other vehicles.  Groups of bicycle riders would have to stay in single file lines, no more than four cyclists per line, with four feet between each bike.  50 feet would have to separate each group of four riders.

But Monday night, State Representative Carl Rogers announced he and the other two sponsors would cancel the bill, saying “no further action” would be taken on pushing it forth.

After the meeting, which exceeded 2.5 hours, sponsors Carl Rogers (R-Gainesville), Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) and Emory Dunahoo (R-Gainesville) said the point of the bill was to bring people to the table to discuss bicycle safety, but they realized this bill itself was not the answer.

“I knew there would be a lot of opinions against it, and we heard that,” Rogers said. “But I knew it would get people in here,” he added, pointing to the standing room only crowd.

“I had no intention of signing or passing or voting for this law,” Dunahoo told 11Alive’s Blayne Alexander. “To me, it was to bring attention to an issue that’s gonna be a problem if we don’t start working together.”

“It was dropped just for someone six months later to pull it out,” Dunahoo added.

13wmaz.com.

Police: Georgia fugitive found in Hempstead

A  man who was being actively sought by authorities in Georgia for allegedly assaulting a police officer was found Friday and arrested, Nassau County police said in a news release.

John Jones, 28, was arraigned Oct. 4 at First District Court in Hempstead. Judge Eric Bjorneby ordered him held without bail after he was charged with being a fugitive from justice. He will appear again in a Nassau courtroom on Oct. 7.

Members of the US Marshals New York-New Jersey Regional Task Force and Nassau County Police Fugitive Section nabbed Jones at 6:45 a.m. inside a home at 20 James LL Burell Ave. Detectives said he had open arrest warrants in Stewart County, Ga., on charges of assaulting a police officer, eluding a police officer, burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary.

On Aug. 18, authorities in Georgia were trying to locate Jones and question him in connection with a burglary, when an acquaintance contacted police and informed officers that he saw Jones driving through the town of Richland, according to Richland Police Chief Robbie Wells. Jones was reportedly driving a white Chevrolet Tahoe as he passed through the town of about 1,800 people.

“My officer saw [his] Tahoe and pursued it,” Wells told Examiner.com in a telephone interview. After the officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop, Jones allegedly fled and “flew through town at 100 mph.”

The police chief said Jones continued to lead cops on a high-speed pursuit through residential areas, crashed into a fence, rammed a police car and finally took off on foot after police pushed his SUV into a ditch. A police officer was injured during the incident.

via Police: Georgia fugitive found in Hempstead – Long Island Crime | Examiner.com.

Readers to editorial boards: We don’t care

Once upon a time, political campaigns cared a lot about landing newspaper endorsements. Strategy memos were hatched, fake editorial board meetings functioning as candidates’ dress-rehearsals were conducted, and policy papers unveiled – all with the seemingly consequential goal of landing these editorial nods.

Politicians thought voters cared what the top papers thought. That may not be the case any longer.

In New York, the city’s three largest papers – which each happen to also be among the nation’s top 10 in circulation – suffered huge collective whiffs in recent weeks. For the office of mayor, the entire trifecta of the New York Times, Daily News and Post, all endorsed Christine Quinn in the Democratic primary over Bill de Blasio. This was notable because the papers rarely agree on much (though all supported Michael Bloomberg). And the editorial consensus was viewed as a significant, possible turning point in the campaign for Quinn.

In reality, of course, the papers’ candidate was trounced, failing to make it into a runoff and trailing the winning primary candidate, Bill de Blasio, by nearly 25 points. One could argue that the margin might have been larger without their endorsements, which is hard to disprove. But polls at the time the papers weighed in showed Quinn with a fighter’s chance at squeezing into the primary. It just didn’t happen.

Fortunately for the editorial boards, there would be a second chance just weeks later. The primary for Public Advocate, the second-ranking office in the city, resulted in a runoff, leaving two candidates: Daniel Squadron and Letitia James.

As they did in the mayoral primary, all three papers of seemingly disparate ideological bents – the Times is generally seen as liberal, the Post conservative, and the News somewhere in between – went for Squadron. And last night when the runoff results came in, their chosen candidate …  was defeated by 20 points.

To understand the significance of this, consider that in the old days (of, say, 2010), simply landing one of these endorsements – the New York Times – would have been viewed as a big deal.

via Readers to editorial boards: We don’t care! – Salon.com.

Police lock down Capitol after shots fired

Latest updates

3:22 PMSuspected reportedly tried to breach White House grounds

3:21 PMSeeing the chase from the Capitol steps

3:16 PMSources: Chase began near White House

3:14 PMPhotos from inside during the shelter in place

3:11 PMPresident briefed on reports of gunfire

Shots were fired outside the U.S. Capitol Thursday afternoon, and at least one Capitol Police officer was injured in the incident, police said.

The shooting occurred about 2:19 p.m. outside the Hart Senate Office building, on the northeast side of Capitol Hill near the intersection of Constitution Avenue, 2nd Street, and Maryland Avenue NE.

Witnesses reported two bursts of gunfire: it was unclear who did the shooting, whether it was the police or another person or both. Afterward, rescuers transported at least one injured person from the scene.

Federal officials said that the incident had actually begun near the White House, when a car struck a security bollard at 15th and Pennsylvania Avenue NE. A pursuit started and the driver was chased toward Capitol Hill.

There, eyewitnesses reported seeing a black car speeding down the street, pursued by several police vehicles.

“At first I thought the driver was trying to get out of the way of police but then I realized he was being chased,” said Giancarlo Refalo, a tourist from Malta.

Refalo said he heard several gunshots followed by “lots of screaming and shouting.” Then the black vehicle came back on 1st Street toward Constitution chased by police. “They were swerving all over the place,” he said “by that time I was hiding in the bushes because I was so scared.”

“We was up at the Capitol, seeing some of the protesters, saw five or six cop cars chasing that car,” said Ryan Christiansen, from Idaho Falls, Idaho. He said it was a small black car that looked like a Toyota Celica, and that police had chased it “around and around” a traffic circle near the Capitol.

“I thought it was a motorcade,” he said.

“He was pulling away, and somewhere between six and eight shots were fired,” Christiansen said.Police tried to corner the driver with their cars and block him in, “but he got out of that and got away.”

He said he heard the shots and police told them all to hit the ground.

“Then there was a loud bang,” Christiansen said.

At the time, the Capitol was full of lawmakers and staff, stuck in the middle of a bitter debate about the government shutdown.

After the first shots were heard, officers with semiautomatic weapons were seen running toward the building’s exits.

“It was almost like two very rapid fire bursts, very loud,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) was standing on a balcony of the Capitol building with Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) when they heard two bursts of gunfire. Connolly thought the shots had come from the opposite direction, toward the House office buildings to the south.

After the shots, Connolly said, “that’s when we saw people fleeing, and we realized this was no fireworks,” Connolly said. “It sounds liked the first volley of a 21 -gun salute.”

Connolly said he could see people fleeing away from the Rayburn building and police officers running towards it before he was shepherded back into the building.

Connolly says he was told by the sergeant-at-arms that a suspect has been apprehended. The D.C. fire and emergency medical services department said one person had been transported to a hospital for treatment.

The order sent to Capitol personnel began with an all-caps message: SHELTER IN PLACE. “Gunshots have been reported on Capitol Hill requiring staff in all Senate Office Buildings to immediately shelter in place. Close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows,” said the message, sent by Capitol Police.

The Washington Post.

Source: Cobb deputy fired over ties to homicide

The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office had fired one of its deputies after finding out he had ties to a woman who’s accused of killing her ex-fiancé.

Neighbors on Clifton Road in DeKalb County said the night of the homicide, former Deputy Fredrick Price was at the scene and revealed information about the murder weapon.

“He told me he gave her the gun, a .40 caliber. She called him and told him that he had shot him and to come over here,” Gilbert Rachel told Channel 2’s Ryan Young.

The same deputies that Price worked with since 2004 led him out of the Cobb County Courthouse after he was fired.

Sources told Young that Price would not cooperate with Atlanta or Cobb County investigators who were looking into the murder case.

Victoria Rickman, the accused shooter, told Atlanta police her ex-fiancé raped her and she had to shoot him in self-defense. Police and the family of the victim don’t believe her story.

Attorney R. Stephen Roberts, the victim’s family attorney, told Young a few days ago that Rickman has a history of violence and went on to say the victim was shot several times.

“He was lying down when he was shot multiple times, as many as 10 in the back,” Stephens said

via ActionNewsJax.com.

Democrat Party staffer suggests Georgia voters less educated

A cardinal rule of politics is never insult the voters.

The voters will never put a candidate in office if they believe that candidate feels the people they seek to represent are beneath them.

It looks like a Georgia Democratic Party staffer has yet to learn that lesson, so it’s time for this left-leaning politico to go back to school.

Liz Flowers, Executive Director of the Georgia Senate Democratic Caucus, had this to say in response to new poll numbers suggesting more Georgians blame the Democrats for the federal government shutdown:

“Good work. More concerned about the misinformed voting public on how government works. Maybe even more concerned that some elected Republicans don’t understand how government works. Would be interested to see our state results against a state with a more highly educated electorate.”

Georgia poll: Shutdown Dems’ fault

Georgians blame Democrats more than Republicans for the federal government shutdown, according to a new poll.

But that’s largely a function of the Democrats’ control of two-thirds of the parties involved in the dispute: the White House and the U.S. Senate.

According to the survey of 1,000 active voters, conducted Oct. 1, 32.6 percent blame President Barack Obama for the failure to continue funding the federal government past the end of September, while 38.8 percent blame the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

But when you add the 13.1 percent who blame the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, it tips the scale of blame to the Democrats at 45.7 percent.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Police investigating threats, assault of women calling for Obama’s impeachment

Police near Atlanta are investigating an attack on a group of women as they protested on an interstate overpass and carried signs calling for President Barack Obama’s impeachment.

The women told police they were demonstrating on the Steve Reynolds Boulevard overpass in Gwinnett County on Saturday, when a man pulled up beside them. They said he pointed a gun at one of them and splashed another with an unknown liquid.

Marge Moore tells WSB Radio that she felt the liquid burning on her foot and thinks it was a household chemical. She says a couple in a car had driven by moments before the incident and threatened to kill them.

No arrests have been made.

The women say they plan to hold another protest Saturday at the same spot.

 jacksonville.com.

Obamacare navigators or posers could put people at risk of fraud

The chairman of a Senate committee examining fraud warned today that Obamacare navigators or people posing as them could make Georgians vulnerable to identity theft.

Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, met with reporters before holding a hearing on fraud risks.

He said he’s already heard reports of 200,000 individuals’ personal information being accidentally released in the first day of the Obamacare exchanges and that safeguards are not in place to screen the criminal backgrounds of legitimate navigators.

He warned against giving any personal information to someone calling or visiting door-to-door claiming to be a navigator.

Navigators are the people with state and federal training about private and public health-insurance plans.

via Obamacare navigators or posers could put people at risk of fraud, Georgia senator warns | jacksonville.com.

NASCAR Notebook: Unemployment line might await Nationwide leader

Sam Hornish Jr. is five races away from a possible NASCAR Nationwide Series championship. His reward, however, may be the unemployment line.

Hornish has a four-point lead over Austin Dillon heading into Saturday’s Dollar General 300 at the Kansas Speedway. As he tries to give car owner Roger Penske his second Nationwide championship, he knows he doesn’t have anything lined up for next year.

But the former Indianapolis 500 winner and three-time IndyCar Series champion knows one thing for sure: He wants to stay in NASCAR.

“I don’t see myself doing that,” Hornish told RacinToday.com.

Hornish’s position isn’t based on performance, he said. It’s all about money.

Penske now is more committed to 19 year-old Ryan Blaney in the Nationwide Series, and that doesn’t leave any other openings within the organization.

Hornish now is talking to other teams. He said many competitors were surprised to hear he was about to become a free agent.

Nobody was more surprised than Hornish.

via NASCAR Notebook: Unemployment line might await Nationwide leader | jacksonville.com.

Poor Sen. Saxby Chambliss: “We’ve got nowhere to eat”

U.S. lawmakers have been deluged by calls from constituents in the past few weeks, urging them to help avert a shutdown or stand firm against the health-care law. Todays callers were likely to reach voice mail instead of a worker.

The political impasse over the 2010 Affordable Care Act that led to the furlough of 800,000 federal employees and the closure of offices and parks also idled services and staff in Congress. Food service and trash pickup was sparse in the Capitol as lawmakers sought a way out of the stalemate.

“We’ve got nowhere to eat and a lot of the entrances are closed,” said Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican. By early afternoon, he had a staff of four out of 30, with phone calls to his office’s main line answered by voice mail.

Businessweek.

What federal government shutdown means for Georgia

More than 77,000 executive branch civilian workers in Georgia could be furloughed if the federal governmentpartially shuts down at midnight on Tuesday. Although the government will not halt altogether, this shutdown has many Georgians bracing for the massive disruption and ripple effects that it will cause.

Services such as Social Security, Medicare reimbursements, and food stamps would continue to be active, as well as the United States Postal Service. Federal Courts will remain open as well, although it is not known for how long. Entities such as the Women, Infant, & Children program will be affected as will National Parks across the United States, which will close. In addition, lower-income and first-time home buyers would not be able to get a federally backed loan.

Georgia’s state government will continue to function as normal in the event of a federal shutdown, although experts say that a lengthy standoff could prove to be extremely disruptive. The state spends roughly $12 billion in federal money, between 31 and 32 percent of the state’s budget, with most going to Medicaid, school lunch and special education programs.

Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which provides worldwide AIDS prevention and vaccinations for children, will not be affected in the event of a shutdown.

Funding for the CDC and its programs is mandatory, but according to the Department of Health and Human Services, in the event of a shutdown the CDC will have a “significantly reduced capacity to respond to outbreak investigations, processing of laboratory samples, and maintaining the agency’s 24/7 emergency operations center.”

CBS Atlanta.

CNN, director cancel Hillary Clinton documentary

CNN has decided to scrap its plan to make a documentary about the life of Hillary Clinton.

The director, Charles Ferguson, said “nobody was interested in helping me make this film,” explaining that requests for interviews were being turned down by both Democrats and Republicans.

Ferguson wrote on Huffington Post a detailed explanation of why he has decided to abandon the project.

Neither political party wanted the film made. After painful reflection, I decided that I couldn’t make a film of which I would be proud. And so I’m cancelling. (Not because of any pressure from CNN — quite the contrary.) It’s a victory for the Clintons, and for the money machines that both political parties have now become. But I don’t think that it’s a victory for the media, or for the American people. I still believe that Mrs. Clinton has many virtues including great intelligence, fortitude, and a deep commitment to bettering the lives of women and children worldwide. But this is not her finest hour.

Fox News Insider.

Dozens rally against Chuck E. Cheese in Atlanta

Special needs parents joined a group of civil rights activists outside a Chuck E. Cheese in Smyrna this weekend.

The NAACP organized the rally after a father claimed he and his 9-year-old special needs daughter were mistreated by employees when he tried to take her to the restroom back in May.

Mark Eschoe said his daughter, Marley, was excited to attend a friend’s party at the restaurant located at Cumberland Boulevard. She had just gotten out of the hospital after suffering two strokes within six months, caused by brain aneurisms.

“We were there for about 20 minutes when she finally said, ‘Hey Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom,’” Eschoe said.

Eschoe said the men’s room was full, but a waitress told him the women’s room was empty. He said as he started to take Marley into the women’s room, a manager stepped in, became agitated and said, “No.”

“She just went, ‘You know what? I’m done. I’m not going to inconvenience my patrons. I don’t care if she’s special needs. I’m not going to treat her any differently,’” Eschoe said.

via Dozens rally against Chuck E. Cheese in Atlanta|Action News – Jacksonville News, Weather & Sports – ActionNewsJax.com.

Georgia Rep. Tom Graves leading GOP charge against Obamacare

In many ways, the tough spot that Washington finds itself in this weekend is because of Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.). It was Graves who came up with a plan to defund the new health-care law, known as Obamacare, as part of a short-term spending bill. The idea quickly drew the support of dozens of colleagues, forcing House leaders to adopt the plan as part of a bill that passed the House, but was rejected by the Senate on Friday.

The 43-year-old lawmaker epitomizes the modern-day House Republican in style and substance. On the strength of a very conservative voting record in the Georgia legislature and an up-from-the-bootstraps life story (he grew up “in a single-wide trailer on a tar and gravel road,” according to his official biography), he won his congressional seat in a special election in July 2010. That got him to Washington just a few months before the tea party wave swept over the country, giving Republicans control of the House.

Graves is one of dozens of Republicans who continue to reap political rewards for their long-running fight against Obamacare.

After the Senate vote, Graves and his like-minded colleagues had another idea: delay Obama­care. But that would mean sending the spending bill back to the Senate with just hours to go before a shutdown. When asked, Graves said he wasn’t worried because there was still time left to act.

The Washington Post.

Allegations facing state senator also concern governor

Friday’s unsealing of an 18-count indictment against a state senator may have also struck Gov. Nathan Deal as bad news and not just because the two Republicans have been allied on some issues.

A Fulton County grand jury charged Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, with filing false claims on his legislative expense account. He acknowledged mistakenly claiming reimbursement for doing official business in Georgia on days when various lobbyists also claimed to have bought him meals during out-of-state conventions.

If convicted, Balfour could spend time in prison for violating the state’s ethics laws.So, what’s it to Deal?

The governor is facing accusations that he also violated Georgia’s ethics laws.

jacksonville.com.

Dogs and hunters slay wild hog in suburban Atlanta

Tracking dogs managed to chase down and attack a 400-pound wild hog that has been scaring children and adults in a suburban Atlanta neighborhood.

After the dogs attacked, a hunter stabbed it to death Thursday night in the neighborhood near Lithonia, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The subdivision is about 17 miles east of downtown Atlanta.

The leashed dogs picked up the pig’s scent and attacked it, said Tavares Dennis, one of the hunters.

“They just absolutely attacked him, and there was a lot of noise, a lot of screaming,” resident Dell Powell said.

Powell was one of many neighbors watching as the dead pig was pulled out of the woods.

“I’ve been terrorized the last couple of nights,” Powell said. “This is a wonderful feeling.”

Authorities have said as many as four feral hogs have been roaming the DeKalb County neighborhood for several days.

An exterminating firm has been hired to search for remaining pigs in the area, WSB-TV reported.

savannahnow.com.

State Sen. Don Balfour indicted on 18 counts

A grand jury has indicted state Sen. Don Balfour on 18 counts, Channel 2 Action News has learned.

The indictment includes 16 counts of making a false certificate, one count of theft by taking and one count of false statement and writings.

The GBI investigated the Snellville Republican last year over questionable mileage and per diem claims.

Many of the charges against Balfour include specific reimbursements for travel between Snellville and the city of Atlanta, according the indictment.

The Senate ethics committee fined Balfour $5,000 in 2012 after a complaint accused him of taking money from taxpayers for mileage and per diem payments when he was out of state.

Lawmakers can only legally accept pay for work done while in Georgia.

“I inadvertently made some mistakes. I’ve corrected those mistakes,” Balfour told Channel 2’s Lori Geary a year ago.

ActionNewsJax.com.

600,000 Georgians make too little for new health care subsidy

Open enrollment begins under the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday but hundreds of thousands Georgians don’t qualify for federal subsidies to buy health insurance because they make too little.

More than 600,000 Georgians will fall into a coverage gap because they make too much to qualify to Medicaid and too little to qualify for federal help to buy health care, Channel 2’s Lori Geary reported Thursday.

Ellen Wall, a part-time nanny from Duluth is one of those residents who fears what may happen.

Wall told Geary she is constantly looking for work, but right now she couldn’t afford health insurance because her salary averages about $10,000 a year.

She was relieved when health care reform passed. She told Geary she now fears a bad diagnosis every time she goes to the doctor.

“It can’t be that I have to decide do I want to pay health insurance this month or rent,” Wall said.

However, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal decided not to expand Medicaid to more than 600,000 Georgians. Deal said state taxpayers cannot afford the $2 billion dollars the expansion would cost over a decade.

“I absolutely agree with his stance on his part. This is federal encroachment on state rights,” Atlanta Tea Party leader Debbie Dooley said.

via 600,000 Georgians make too little for new health care subsidy|Action News – Jacksonville News, Weather & Sports – ActionNewsJax.com.

Why PopSci is shutting off comments from readers

Comments can be bad for science. That’s why, here at PopularScience.com, we’re shutting them off.

It wasn’t a decision we made lightly. As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter.

That is not to suggest that we are the only website in the world that attracts vexing commenters. Far from it. Nor is it to suggest that all, or even close to all, of our commenters are shrill, boorish specimens of the lower internet phyla. We have many delightful, thought-provoking commenters.

But even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story, recent research suggests. In one study led by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Dominique Brossard, 1,183 Americans read a fake blog post on nanotechnology and revealed in survey questions how they felt about the subject (are they wary of the benefits or supportive?). Then, through a randomly assigned condition, they read either epithet- and insult-laden comments (“If you don’t see the benefits of using nanotechnology in these kinds of products, you’re an idiot” ) or civil comments. The results, as Brossard and coauthor Dietram A. Scheufele wrote in a New York Times op-ed:

Uncivil comments not only polarized readers, but they often changed a participant’s interpretation of the news story itself.

In the civil group, those who initially did or did not support the technology — whom we identified with preliminary survey questions — continued to feel the same way after reading the comments. Those exposed to rude comments, however, ended up with a much more polarized understanding of the risks connected with the technology.

Simply including an ad hominem attack in a reader comment was enough to make study participants think the downside of the reported technology was greater than they’d previously thought.

Another, similarly designed study found that just firmly worded (but not uncivil) disagreements between commenters impacted readers’ perception of science.

If you carry out those results to their logical end–commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded–you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the “off” switch.

Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story.

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.

There are plenty of other ways to talk back to us, and to each other: through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, livechats, email, and more. We also plan to open the comments section on select articles that lend themselves to vigorous and intelligent discussion. We hope you’ll chime in with your brightest thoughts. Don’t do it for us. Do it for science.

Suzanne LaBarre is the online content director of Popular Science. Email suzanne.labarre at popsci dot com.

via Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments | Popular Science.

USPS wants a three-cent increase in first-class postage stamps

The financially struggling Postal Service is seeking a 3-cent increase in the cost of mailing a letter – and that would raise the price of a first-class stamp to 49 cents.

The chairman of the postal Board of Governors, Mickey Barnett, cites the “precarious financial condition” of the agency and the uncertain prospects for postal overhaul legislation in Congress.

Source: AccessNorthGa.com/AP

 

Army officials consider banning tattoos on soldiers

New army recruits would be banned from getting tattoos on their forearms,lower legs, and above their necklines.

There’s a story behind each one. For Cody Turner, it’s a reminder of who he’s lost, now written in in on his skin forever.

“To put that somewhere where it’s going to be the rest of my life, it was a symbolic way of saying thank you,” Turner said.

A thank you to his “battle buddy”, Danny Lee.

“When I look at that, it’s a memory for me and I can always remember those guys just by a simple piece of ink,” he said.

Ink that’s gone unnoticed for years until now. New army recruits would be banned from getting tattoos on their forearms,lower legs, and above their necklines.

Source: WRDW-TV

 

Guide dog killed while saving boy

ATLANTA —  “Simon” the boxer was a guide dog for Dave Furukawa, who is blind. Dave says the boxer was his best friend. But their bond got even deeper when Dave’s son, Will, was born.

Recently, the trio were involved in a car crash. Witnesses told police a driver ran a stop sign and hit Simon, and then Dave while they were walking.

But it was Simon that saw the car seconds before and pushed the 4-year-old boy out of harm’s way at the last minute.

“He had a broken leg, a gash on his side and internal bleeding. But he followed us home. Once he was sure Will was OK he laid down. He loved my son.”

Bystanders who saw the accident picked up the boy and ran him back home to his mom.

Simon followed before finally succumbing to his injuries. Dave is recovering in the hospital.

The organization that provided Simon will give Dave another guide dog as soon as he is on his feet again.

via Guide dog killed while saving family |Action News – Jacksonville News, ActionNewsJax.com.

Should Georgia wipe clean some criminal records?

Sarah Hamilton’s January arrest based on a mistaken identity has kept the whole family in turmoil even after police dropped the charges against the 26-year-old former honor graduate, her father told a hushed Senate hearing Tuesday.

“The system carelessly wronged a private citizen, my daughter Sarah. Is it not the government’s moral obligation to correct it?” asked John Hamilton, chairman of the health-textile company Compass Group of McDonough.

The story he recounted provided a dramatic climax to a morning-long hearing of a special Senate committee studying the issue of expungement reform, the removal of criminal records. Experts say Georgia – which has one of the nation’s highest incarceration rates – is among the toughest on young people trying to find jobs after getting a criminal record, even when charges are dropped.

John Hamilton said he expects it will take many more months to have her record clean, running the risk that her reputation and career could be damaged in the meantime by anyone looking at government records on the internet.

“Sarah doesn’t deserve this treatment,” he said, noting that a cab driver mistook her for another woman in her apartment complex who was too drunk to pay the fare.

Thomas Weaver of Canton also testified that his career had been harmed because he was convicted of carrying a gun in a public park just months before the legislature changed the law to make it permissible.

Mobile Augusta.

Wild pigs threaten Lithonia neighborhood, animal control says nothing to do

Residents of a Georgia neighborhood say local animal control workers told them there is nothing they can do about four wild hogs roaming about.

People living on Stonebridge Crescent in Lithonia said four of the animals were spotted Monday night and DeKalb County Animal Control officers told Taneisha Danner there was nothing they could do, WSB-TV, Atlanta, reported Tuesday.

“They don’t handle that,” Danner said. “They don’t handle wildlife like that. They handle dogs and domesticated animals.”

Danner said a member of her family, who recently moved to Georgia from New Jersey, was chased back into their home by one of the wild pigs.

“There’s kids out here,” she said. “Don’t tell us that you can’t do anything about this. I’m supposed to be a prisoner in my own house?”

DeKalb County police officer said they visited the subdivision Monday and contacted animal control again.

via Wild pigs in Lithonia neighborhood, animal control says nothing to do – UPI.com.

Fort Benning shows off new combat equipment

The Maneuver Battle Lab at Fort Benning  Tuesday showed off some of the new combat equipment and technology it has been testing.

The equipment includes the Lightweight Small Arms Technology Cased Telescoped Lightweight Machine Gun and the Maneuver & Fires Integrated Application, or MAFIA, a new smartphone software that acts as a mission command center for soldiers to quickly call for artillery fire or air support, reports the Ledger-Enquirer.

The battle lab works with soldier systems, robotics and weapons systems to help ensure success in military operations, the paper reports.

According to the Ledger-Enquirer, the items shown Tuesday at the McKenna Military Operations in Urban Terrain training area were tested with both computer simulation and live experimentation from Aug. 6 to Sept. 20.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Angler reels in relic from prehistoric past

A giant fish captured in Lake Lanier is a reminder of the monster fish that lurk in the depths of Georgias lakes.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says the prehistoric-looking Longnose Gar caught this month at the northeast Georgia lake is a new state record at more than 30 pounds and nearly 5 feet long.

It was caught in the Chattahoochee River arm of Lake Lanier on Sept. 4 by Gerald Kennedy of Murrayville.The Longnose gar is considered a surviving relic from a large group of primitive fish. They have long, narrow snouts with many sharp, needle-like teeth.

savannahnow.com.

The fatal mistake that doomed BlackBerry

Beleaguered gadgetmaker BlackBerry said on Monday that it’s signed a tentative agreement to be purchased by a group led by Canadian holding company Fairfax Financial in a $4.7 billion deal. The transaction, in which BlackBerry would become a private company, represents a turning point for a once high-flying tech giant that played a key role in the mobile-device revolution only to be eclipsed by Apple and Google.

Fairfax, which already owns 10% of BlackBerry, will pay $9 per share for the company, about 3% more than its closing price on Friday. BlackBerry still has the flexibility to accept a better offer in a maneuver known as a “go-shop” process, but it’s hard to imagine that a sweeter overture will be forthcoming.

On Friday, BlackBerry announced that it would cut 4,500 jobs as it prepares to absorb nearly $1 billion in losses related to unsold-device inventory, sending its stock price plunging by 20%. Since last month, BlackBerry’s “special committee” has been evaluating strategic alternatives (like a sale) for the company. BlackBerry and Fairfax are expected to complete their due diligence by Nov. 4. By going private, BlackBerry (until recently known as Research in Motion) can continue to attempt a turnaround without the Wall Street pressure that accompanies public companies.

 TIME.com.

U.S. House panel rejects proposal to federalize Florida-Georgia water dispute

Oysters in Northwest Florida are dying off from a lack of fresh water and the oyster industry is struggling because of it.

Much of the freshwater that would normally flow from Georgia into Apalachicola Bay is being cut off and redirected to Atlanta where the growing population needs more water.

Steve Southerland, a congressman who represents the North Florida district heavily hit by the water shortage, proposed a change to the way water management works between Florida and Georgia.

His proposal would have required the Army Corps of Engineers to get congressional approval before diverting the natural flow of water.

Southerland said in a House committee that the people in his district have been through enough and that the oyster industry is the area’s “last lifeline.”

“Already staggered by powerful storms, the Deepwater Horizon disaster, a fishing net ban, a shuttered paper mill, an ever-dwindling job market, and also 60 percent of their land is owned by the federal government, they are trapped,” he said.

House lawmakers rejected Southerland’s proposal and said it’s up to the states to work out an agreement.

While this initiative failed, the fight to end the water wars is not over.

Gov. Rick Scott said the state is going to sue Georgia over its increased consumption of water, and its affect on the Apalachicola Bay.

Scott said in a statement that, “the lawsuit will be targeted toward one thing – fighting for the future of Apalachicola.”

via U.S. House Panel Rejects Proposal To Federalize Florida-Georgia Water Dispute | WLRN.

Wrestling legend Bill Goldberg remembers his UGA teammate

They are all in their 40s now, but professional wrestling legend Bill Goldberg still considers his teammates from his college football days as among his closest friends.

“I’ve done a lot in my career, but the best times of my life, other than getting married to my wife and having my little boy, were the years I spent with the best of friends at the University of Georgia,” he said Thursday by phone from his home in southern California.

Online Athens

Brunswick shipbuilder wants to construct 56-foot schooner on waterfront

What Joe Lawson wants from the city is free use of a tract it owns along the waterfront that was formerly the grounds of the Public Works Department. There, he plans to build a 56-foot vessel that could travel under sail or from the power of an inboard motor. The ship would draw middle school students and teachers from 31 counties in southeast Georgia along with their friends and family members.

Source: Georgia Times-Union

Georgia’s freshman receiver makes first career catch count

Chris Conley had two words go through his mind when he saw Reggie Davis reel in a catch at the Georgia 40-yard line.

“He’s gone,” Conley said of Davis’ 98-yard touchdown in the second quarter of Georgia’s 45-21 victory over North Texas. “He’s one of the fastest guys on the team coming in here as a freshman. … I knew that was to the house.”

The Mean Green had pinned Georgia on its own 2-yard line and Aaron Murray let it fly from near the back of the end zone.

The last thing the quarterback wanted to do was underthrow the 6-foot, 159-pound receiver.

“You just got to let it go and let it fly and let him run under it because he’s going to catch up to it,” Murray said. “He ran a great route, made a great catch and he’s too fast for anyone after that.”

The Augusta Chronicle.

Bruce Schneier says more to come from NSA documents

Bruce Schneier, a cryptographer and author on security topics, last month took on a side gig: helping the Guardian newspaper pore through documents purloined from the U.S. National Security Agency by contractor Edward Snowden, lately of Moscow.

In recent months that newspaper and other media have issued a steady stream of revelations, including the vast scale at which the NSA accesses major cloud platforms, taps calls and text messages of wireless carriers, and tries to subvert encryption.

This year Schneier is also a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. In a conversation there with David Talbot, chief correspondent of MIT Technology Review, Schneier provided perspective on the revelations to date—and hinted that more were coming.

MIT Technology Review.

Coca-Cola apologizes for ‘You Retard’ message in bottle cap

Atlanta-based beverage giant Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is apologizing profusely for the message found by a Canadian girl inside the bottle cap of the company’s Vitaminwater drink: “You Retard.”

The girl’s younger sister suffers from cerebral palsy and autism. The message was part of a promotional campaign in Canada that put random English words with French words. In French, “retard” means late or delayed.

“This word should have been removed due to the English connotations and we have taken immediate action to thoroughly investigate this matter and to stop producing bottles with the offending caps. This was a genuine mistake in the review process and we sincerely apologize,” said Shannon Denny, director of brand communications, Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada.

Ms. Denny also said the promotion had been canceled and no further bottle caps would be produced.

via Coca-Cola apologizes for ‘You Retard’ message – Atlanta Business Chronicle.

BlackBerry slashes workforce, reports massive Q2 loss

BlackBerry Ltd. (Nasdaq:BBRY) announced today it expects to post a nearly $1 billion loss for the second quarter and cut its global workforce by 40%, according to a report from CNN.

The company attributed the loss to a charge it was taking on restructuring its business and the “increasingly competitive business environment.”

Sales of shares of the company were halted an hour before the announcement and then plunged 20% afterward. The stock was already down 13% for the year.

In August, the company announced that it was putting itself up for sale.

Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Albany teens arrested in assault on 68-year-old catering employee

Albany Police have charged one teen and charges are pending against another in the August beating of a 68-year old man.

Albany Police located a juvenile they wanted to speak with about the August 12th attack on Raymond Tilley around 4:00 p.m. Friday afternoon.

Police also apprehended 19-year old Andrew Jamal Gadson.

After interviews, Albany Police have charged Jamal with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, robbery, possession of a tool during the commission of a crime and probation violation.

The 16-year old has been taken to the Regional Youth Detention Center and is charged with four counts of entering a auto. Charges are pending in the assault incident.

Police say Raymond Tilley was assaulted as he prepared to open Dinner Bell Catering around 4:30 in the morning on August 12th.

WALB

Home Depot to cut benefits for part-time workers

Atlanta-based Home Depot is eliminating the limited medical insurance is has offered to its many part-time employees.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the change means those workers will either seek coverage from new public insurance marketplaces that open Oct. 1 or face a penalty.

The retailer said its decision is in response to the new law on health care coverage, the Affordable Care Act.

Home Depot joins a growing list of corporations that have cut back on or shifted their employee health insurance offerings. Some have cited potential savings and others are pointing to better employee benefits as reasons for their decision.

The change affects about 20,000 part-time Home Depot workers nationwide who take the insurance coverage.

ActionNewsJax.com.

Ethics head who is accused of helping governor got a raise during cost-cutting

The head of Georgia’s Ethics Commission, who is accused of intervening in a case involving Gov. Nathan Deal, received pay raises despite being hired as the agency said it had to cut costs, according to records reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The salary of the commission’s executive secretary, Holly LaBerge, increased from $85,000 when she started work in September 2011, to $92,000 the following year. She was earning $100,000 by June. By comparison, LaBerge’s predecessor quit after absorbing a 30 percent pay cut and later filed a lawsuit alleging that she was punished for aggressively pursuing the investigation involving Deal.

LaBerge declined to comment to the newspaper and could not be immediately reached for comment by The Associated Press Friday.

Current and former staffers have given sworn testimony accusing LaBerge of ordering the removal of documents from the case file and meeting with top Deal aides while the probe was ongoing. According to the testimony, LaBerge said that the governor “owed her one” after she claimed to have made ethics complaints against him “go away.”

Deal said he barely knows LaBerge and denied that she did him any favors. He settled complaints related to the campaign by paying a $3,350 penalty.

The accusations emerged in testimony from the commission’s former computer specialist, John Hair, and its current attorney, Elisabeth Murray-Obertein. They were ordered to testify as part of whistleblower lawsuits filed by the commission’s former executive director, Stacey Kalberman, and her former top deputy, Sherilyn Streicker.

Kalberman and Streicker said they were ready to move forward with the investigation involving Deal’s campaign. Then the agency’s commissioners voted to cut Kalberman’s salary by nearly 30 percent and eliminate Streicker’s job. At the time, the commissioners said it was a cost-cutting move to solve a budget crisis.

Kalberman ultimately resigned. She and Streicker filed lawsuits alleging they were punished for pursuing the probe involving the governor.

jacksonville.com.

‘Crazy’ new ant found in Albany

The tawny crazy ant has made its way into Georgia for the first time. University of Georgia Extension agent James Morgan in Dougherty County discovered the ant—  which originates in South America— on Aug. 15 and submitted a sample to UGA entomologists for identification.

Prior to his discovery, the ant was found only in a few counties in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Where it occurs in those states, it is a major nuisance.

Morgan stumbled upon the ants at an assisted living facility, after the director called the UGA Extension office for help controlling the insect.

“What I found was thousands of dead ants in a pile in the corner of the bathroom floor,” Morgan said. “The duplex was vacant, and the ants had come in looking for a food source. When they came in, they died and we found hundreds of them piled up around baseboards and in corners.”

After further investigation outside the facility, Morgan found droves of the ants in an outbuilding.

“We found them in the lawn on debris and dead wood, and we traced them back to a storage area that was full of appliances,” he said.

Accustomed to identifying Argentine ants, fire ants and other ants common to Georgia, Morgan knew these ants were different.

“They’re reddish in color, very tiny, and they run around and scurry really fast. And they don’t march in a straight row like Argentine ants,” Morgan said.

via ‘Crazy’ new bug found in Albany – WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports.

Paula Deen back in the public’s eye

Paula Deen is making her way back into the public’s eye, so far with good reception.

She made her first public appearance in Houston last week, where she got a standing ovation. On Thursday, she hosted a book signing for her son Jamie in Savannah – and the crowd went wild.

Outside the Paula Deen Store on St. Julian, the line wrapped around the block as fans waited for Paula and Jamie at a signing for his new cookbook.

The Coastal Source.

OPINION: Tom Crawford – Georgia turns students away from its colleges

“In many states, one of the top policy objectives is to provide a K-12 and college education for as many people as possible in the belief that a well-educated citizenry is good for a state’s future wellbeing. In Georgia, we see things a little differently. This state for years has made deep cuts in funding for public education, which has had the effect of keeping students out of the classrooms.”
Source: Alma Times

Filming in Georgia: Tybee Island hosting a SpongeBob SquarePants meeting

Tybee Island will be one location for the production of “SpongeBob SquarePants 2: The Movie” beginning this month.
Source: Savannah Morning News

• “Walking Dead” to film in Milner
Source: Barnesville Herald-Gazette (registration) 

• Traffic in downtown Savannah to be impacted by SpongeBob SquarePants II
Source: WJCL-TV 

• SpongeBob movie leads to coral paint in downtown
Source: WJCL-TV

Girl abducted in home invasion found safe in Conyers

A 14-year-old Georgia girl abducted in a home invasion robbery was found alive on Wednesday after a massive search by multiple law enforcement agencies.

Ayvani Hope Perez had been taken from her home early Tuesday after authorities said robbers broke in, demanded money and jewelry and were told there was none. Authorities have said the robbery and abduction appeared to be random.

Clayton County Police Chief Gregory Porter said the girl was found in Conyers and has been reunited with her family.

“She’s in good health, she’s being evaluated as we speak,” Porter said.

He said two suspects were in custody.

The FBI and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assisted Clayton County police in the search.

jacksonville.com.

Suspects seeking $10K ransom for abducted teen

As law enforcement agencies all around Georgia search for 14-year-old kidnapping victim Ayvani Perez, one of her best friends is praying for her safe return.

“I want to tell her that I love her,” said Perez’s friend and classmate Ariana Soeun. “I hope that she comes home because she knows everybody misses her.”

A Levi’s Call alert has been posted for Perez, who authorities said was abducted from her family’s Ellenwood home Tuesday about 2 a.m.

Police released sketches of the two armed men they believe took her during the home invasion on Brookgate Drive. Police said the mother tried to hide her two children, but the suspects found the family, along with the family’s dog, and demanded money and jewelry.

The FBI told our news partners at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the suspects are demanding a $10,000 ransom for Perez’s safe return.

A friend of Perez told Channel 2’s Richard Elliot she’s praying for the teen’s safe return

via AJC: Suspects seeking $10K ransom for abducted teen|Action News – Jacksonville News, Weather & Sports – ActionNewsJax.com.

No more free football tickets for.Georgia lawmakers

One college football tradition in Georgia will soon disappear: Letting politicians into the stadium for free.

A new law taking effect next year bans lobbyists from giving Georgia’s politicians free college football tickets, a rite as well-established as Game Day beer and barbecue in the football-obsessed South. As the season kicks off, lobbyists and lawmakers are squeezing in a few more free games before the prohibition takes effect Jan. 1.

Disclosure reports show that lobbyists have given Georgia politicians nearly $1,400 in college football tickets and related entertainment since the start of the season in late August. That’s just the beginning. Last year, registered lobbyists shelled out more than $14,000 in tickets and perks at college football games, according to an Associated Press review of the spending reports that lobbyists must file.

 savannahnow.com.

EyeNetra aims to shake up optometry with DIY kit

Vitor Pamplona isn’t a doctor. He’s not even an optician. He can’t write you a prescription for glasses, or sell you a pair. Still, he’s pretty sure he’s going to disrupt the $75 billion global eye-care market.

At EyeNetra, the startup he cofounded, goofy curiosities like plastic eyeballs line the shelves, and a 3-D printing machine whirs in the background. It’s printing out prototypes of a device that will attach to your smartphone and, in a minute or two, tell you what kind of eyeglasses you need.

The device, called the Netra-G, is based on some clever optics and software Pamplona came up with—a way to measure the refractive error of the eye using a smartphone screen and an inexpensive pair of plastic binoculars. The whole setup might cost a few dollars to make. It does the job of a $5,000 instrument called an autorefractor.

 MIT Technology Review.

Summer enrollment drop could indicate problems for colleges

A general drop in enrollment this summer foreshadows what’s expected to be a rare decrease in the number of students attending the University System of Georgia this fall.

Fewer students translates to less money for colleges because they will have less tuition revenue. Tuition and fees provide roughly half the cost of teaching students.

Of the system’s 35 colleges, 33 taught fewer students this summer. Leaders blamed the system’s 10 percent decline on the weak economy as well as changes to the federal Pell Grant program and the state’s HOPE scholarship.

A dip also is expected for the fall semester, which has already started on some campuses. About two-thirds of the colleges will see fall enrollment remain flat or decrease slightly, said John Brown, vice chancellor for fiscal affairs. Enrollment had steadily increased over the past decade and has only dropped twice since 1978.

Georgia colleges have relied on the extra tuition revenue from higher enrollments to soften cuts in state funding. Gov. Nathan Deal told colleges to prepare for another $54 million reduction this fiscal year.

The fall decline is predicted to hit two-year colleges such as Georgia Perimeter and Atlanta Metropolitan the hardest because they will be affected the most by new admissions criteria. Students who need too much remedial help in English and math can no longer attend.

via Summer enrollment drop could indicate problems for colleges this | www.ajc.com.

Patient bills soar as health law program falters

Coping with advanced cancer, Bev Veals was in the hospital for chemo this summer when she got a call that her health plan was shutting down. Then, the substitute insurance she was offered wanted her to pay up to $3,125, on top of premiums.

It sounds like one of those insurance horror stories President Barack Obama told to sell his health overhaul to Congress, but Veals wasn’t in the clutches of a profit-driven company. Instead, she’s covered by Obama’s law — one of about 100,000 people with serious medical issues in a financially troubled government program.

Raw political divisions over health care have clouded chances of a fix for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, leaving families like Veals and her husband Scott to juggle the consequences. That’s not a good omen for solving other problems that could surface with “Obamacare.”

“You don’t advertise one thing and then give the customer another thing,” said Veals, 49, who lives near Wilmington, N.C. “I finally felt for the first time going through this cancer that I had something dependable, and somebody pulled the plug.”

RN-T.com.

Georgia lawmakers explain their positions on Syria

With members of Congress returning to Washington on Monday, more of them are beginning to weigh in on their positions regarding a possible strike on Syria.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, (R) GA, who, at first, was supporting a military strike against Syria, late Monday afternoon announced he will vote against a military strike. “It is clear to me that Georgians overwhelmingly oppose our country getting involved militarily in Syria,” Isakson’s statement said. “The administration’s lack of a clear strategy is troubling, and the potential fallout following a military strike is also troubling.”

Rep. Tom Graves (R – 14th District) announced from Washington Monday evening that after attending a classified briefing, he would vote No.

“The Obama Administration has not provided a clear or convincing strategy for inserting our military into the conflict,” Graves said.  “I am also deeply concerned about the extent to which al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists are involved in the rebellion.  President Obama has made clear his opinion that this situation does not currently present a direct or imminent threat to the United States.”

Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-10th District) office contacted 11Alive News Monday morning to note his opposition to military action in Syria. The office released a formal statement from the Congressman.

via Georgia lawmakers explain their positions on Syria | 11alive.com.

Georgia law trims reimbursement money to local jails

Georgia’s 2012 criminal justice reform law reduces the amount of money some local jails receive. One example, Whitfield County.

The law changed some property and drug-related crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. And that has a direct impact on who pays to house inmates.

The state pays counties to house inmates until state prisons pick them up. Because of the law change, less reimbursements have gone back to county jails.

And Whitfield County, for one, has seen money drop significantly.

It costs about $45 per day to house an inmate in Georgia. For convicted felons, the state reimburses local jails $22 per inmate, per day until they are picked up.

But Georgia’s 2012 justice reform law shifts some of that money away from counties.For example, many property crimes are not classified as felonies.Instead of going to prison, offenders stay in local jails or alternative rehabilitation.

Whitfield County Captain Wes Lynch, who is over the corrections division, explained. “Now you see more of those are misdemeanors, so more of them are going to be referred to the county level. So that leaves less people in the prison system which saves the state money, but it also shifts a little of that burden on local agencies.”

via WTVC