Saturday, August 30, 2014

Victory for Government Transparency

ATLANTA, GA (PR) - On August 21, 2014, Judge Robert Adamson ruled in favor of Attorney General Sam Olens in a lawsuit filed in June 2012 against the City of Cumming and Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt for violations of the Open Meetings Act. Judge Adamson ordered the defendants to pay $12,000 in penalties, the highest amount possible under the law. Defendants have also been ordered to pay attorney’s fees in an amount to be determined at a later hearing.

“This ruling is a major victory for government transparency,” said Olens. “Georgians deserve a government that operates openly and honestly. The essence of our democracy is that elected officials are held accountable to the citizens and that citizens are allowed to exercise their rights granted by the First Amendment.”

Making a Safe Labor Day Weekend

ATLANTA, GA (PR) - UPDATE: Total fatalities reported for Labor’s Day Weekend: 10.

Senate Run-off Election in Mississippi Isn’t Over

Pay offs? Bribes? Back-room deals? Steak dinners? Thad Cochran's (Left) hoping you have forgotten how he sold-out to steal the Mississippi primary out from under the tea party hero Chris McDaniel (Right).

NOW, the lawsuit to overturn Thad's bought-and-paid-for June primary has been filed and DISMISSED!!!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Transit Advisory Board Kick-off

AUGUSTA, GA (Anibal Ibarra) - It has been over a year since Mayor Deke Copenhaver signed off on and Augusta Commissioners approved the proposal to form a citizens advisory committee for public transit. Known as the Transit Citizens Advisory Committee, the TCAC held its first official meeting this week.

It has formally begun its work by electing its first Chair, Terence Dicks a public transit consumer for more than 20 years (District 2) and Vice Chair, Denice Traina, a public transit advocate and 2012 candidate for Commissioner in District 1.

Few Asian Students Apply for DACA

NEW YORK, NY (PR) - U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), joined by local elected officials and immigration advocacy groups urged young undocumented immigrants in the New York area to enroll and reapply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an initiative implemented in June 2012 that provides temporary protection against deportation.

The program, put into place by President Obama, allows qualified immigrants – under age 31 – who were brought to the country illegally as children to receive work permits and stay in the United States for period of two years.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Neighbors TIRED of Tires

ATLANTA, GA (Anibal Ibarra) - During the 2013 session of the Georgia General Assembly, House Bill 226 was passed which included changes related to tire carrier responsibilities and tire storage requirements. These changes went into effect April 30, 2013. The City of Atlanta has updated its scrap tire ordinance to comply with state law changes. The Initiative to Reduce and Eliminate Dumping (TIRED) has being working on the issue for several years educating and cleaning dumping areas.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ban for "Illegal" Students Can't Be Lifted

ATHENS, GA (Special Report) - Four University of Georgia students asked Gov. Nathan Deal during a speech on campus Tuesday night over the state Board of Regents policy prohibiting undocumented immigrants from attending UGA and other public universities and colleges in the state. Deal said the ban can’t be overturned.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sube impuesto a la propiedad en Augusta

AUGUSTA, GA (Anibal Ibarra) - Los propietarios de inmuebles en el condado de Richmond deberán pagar más por sus casas o terrenos. La comisión municipal aprobó el aumento del impuesto a la propiedad en 1.75 por milla y con ello una vivienda evaluada en 100 mil dólares ($100.000) por ejemplo, tendrá que abonar la suma superior a los 70 dólares más por el total de la cuenta anual. Es posible que la nueva tarifa esté llegando a su puerta a fines de setiembre. El pago total debe realizarse para noviembre.

Customers Can Shop Securely at UPS

SAN DIEGO, CA (PR) - The UPS Store, Inc., among many other U.S. retailers, recently received a government bulletin regarding a broad-based malware intrusion not identified by current anti-virus software. Upon receiving the bulletin, The UPS Store retained an IT security firm and conducted a review of its systems and the systems of its franchised center locations. The UPS Store discovered malware identified in the bulletin on systems at 51 locations in 24 states (about 1%) of 4,470 franchised center locations throughout the United States.

Migrants Deported from the U.S. in Limbo

Migrants deported from the United States sleep under a bridge on the stretch of the Tijuana River known as El Bordo, at the northwestern tip of Mexico, next to the border. Credit: Daniela Pastrana/IPS

TIJUANA, MEXICO (Inter Press Service, Daniela Pastrana) - The areas under the low bridges over a section of the canalized channel of the Tijuana River that runs along the border between Mexico and the United States have become enormous open-air toilets.

Friday, August 22, 2014

"Incident Report" on Michael Brown Death

FERGUSON, MO (PR) - On Aug. 12, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri asked the Ferguson Police Department to release the incident report for the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Michael Brown. After the request was denied, the ACLU filed a Missouri Sunshine Law suit on Aug. 15. Late Thursday afternoon, the ACLU received a heavily redacted copy of the incident report. The St. Louis County Police Department had released their redacted incident report on Wednesday.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Commission Will Address Vacant Seat, Mill Rate

AUGUSTA, GA - (PR) - UPDATE: Tax hike was approved with Commissioner Ben Hasan and Mayor Deke Copenhaver votes. Commissioner Mary Davis sat between Hasan (right) and Commissioner Grady Smith, pictured at the left. The 2014 Mill Rate of 1.75 vote was possible because Commissioner Marion Williams presented as a substitute motion. The motion made first by Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle to raise the property tax to 2.989 was never voted on in favor or against. Williams motion carried a tie 5-5 and Copenhaver broke it to pass a lesser increase.

148,000 Georgians Can Get Health Insurance

ATLANTA, GA (PR)  – Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace doesn’t start again until November 15, but a new report shows that approximately 2.7 Million people may be eligible to sign up before then. Today, Enroll America, the nation’s largest health care enrollment coalition, released a detailed analysis revealing that approximately 148,000 uninsured adults in Georgia are eligible to enroll in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace through a special enrollment period. The report details that those Georgians will likely experience a qualifying life event—such as moving, getting married, giving birth, or gaining citizenship—that triggers a special enrollment period, allowing them to get covered before open enrollment begins on November 15, 2014.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Korean War Veterans to be Honored

AUGUSTA, GA (PR) – Korean War veterans living at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home will be honored this week in a ceremony to be attended by a representative of the Republic of Korea.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Transforming Educator Preparation

AUGUSTA, GA (PR) – The College of Education at Georgia Regents University is working with a local school systems to help better prepare future teachers for the classroom.

With the support of a grant from the Georgia Network for Transforming Educator Preparation, GRU is launching a pilot program that will see faculty working with P-12 school officials to provide professional development and directly supervise teacher candidates as they learn to implement teaching strategies they learned in actual classrooms, says Dr. Paula Dahoney, Associate Dean of the College of Education.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Paying Attention to Low-Paid Workers

The Essential Economy is an occupational cluster that includes restaurant kitchen staff, janitors, landscape crews, farm workers, nursing aides, stock clerks and other non-managerial positions. The cluster spans six major economic sectors from agriculture and construction to hospitality and personal care. Workers in The Essential Economy have traditionally been described as low wage and unskilled. Their work is generally routine and labor intensive. As a group, they are undereducated and possess few, if any, educational degrees or certifications. The six sectors of The Essential Economy can be studied by business leaders, economists and elected officials to reveal valuable economic trends, patterns and information.

Vaticinan tiempos mejores para Augusta

AUGUSTA, GA (Anibal Ibarra) - Los residentes de la ciudad pueden estar confiados que días promisorios aún están por llegar. El gobierno municipal tiene sus problemas, no obstante, hay solidez financiera por lo que el condado de Richmond no sufriría el colapso experimentado por Detroit, Michigan. Una nueva generación de líderes con integridad está surgiendo en Augusta y estoy optimista, subrayó Brad Owens.

Friday, August 15, 2014

"Artivists" Showcase at GRU’s Byrd Gallery

AUGUSTA, GA (PR) – Women’s rights, race, poverty, LBGTQ rights, animal rights, war, environmental change, and the justice system are the focus of a new gallery show on artist activists opening today at The Mary S. Byrd Gallery of Art.

Artist Activist is open to the public Thursday, Aug. 14 through Friday, Sept. 5 at the gallery, located in Washington Hall on the Summerville campus of Georgia Regents University. Gallery events include:

Artist Talk with Sue Coe
Sponsored by Morris Eminent Scholar Bill Willis
Thursday, Aug. 28, 5-6 p.m.
University Hall, room 170

Thursday, August 14, 2014


AUGUSTA, GA (Jill Peterson) - I painted these after covering a "police-involved shooting" in Augusta, Georgia for the alt-weekly (after applying for arts editor but getting assignments like this). The pictures are named after the Georgia state motto: "Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation." The first two are taken directly from police car dash cam stills; the last from imagination. How the neighborhood was encircled for I forget how long after the "riot." I asked the lieutenant who ordered the tank and convoy. He said he did. I asked why. He said he forgot.

The story goes like this: a anonymous tip comes in that a dark SUV is stolen and maybe there was something about guns and drugs. Cops in the projects surround this SUV which is a different model from what was described.

Funding Transportation in Georgia

Two thousand years ago there was a thriving commercial center and port on the coast of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) called Ephesus. In order to maintain its viability, the port had to be regularly dredged of silt deposits washed in by the Cayster River. Over time, however, the Ephesian government lost the will to maintain its port’s infrastructure, and, as it turned to marshland, the once mighty commercial center withered into ancient ruins.

Asegurados arriesgan cobertura médica

ATLANTA, GA - Aproximadamente 20.000 residentes de Georgia que compraron planes a través del Mercado de Seguros Médicos necesitan actualizar su información de estatus migratorio o ciudadanía para seguir cubiertos.

Panama Canal 100th Anniversary

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Expectativa ante Reforma Energética en México

CIUDAD DE MEXICO, MEXICO (PR) - Al promulgar las leyes secundarias de la Reforma Energética, el presidente de México, Enrique Peña Nieto, aseguró que “gracias a la unidad de propósitos, en meses superamos décadas de inmovilidad; se han derribado barreras que impedían a México crecer de manera acelerada y sostenida”.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Best Places to Work in South Carolina

Columbia, S.C. (PR) – The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Best Companies Group and SCBIZ are pleased to announce the rankings of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina. Best Places to Work is dedicated to identifying and recognizing the state’s most innovative and top-notch employers. The 2014 rankings were announced at an awards banquet, presented by Colonial Life, August 7.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ideological Press in News Coverage

BY JODI ENDA - When the bottom fell out of the news industry during the recession, many newspapers cut their reporting power in statehouse press rooms, abandoning desks and pulling journalists from a beat that dailies had long dominated.

Just as quickly, other organizations moved to fill the void. Among them: groups with stated points of view.

A new Pew Research study identified 33 ideological outlets that assign reporters to cover state government.  These outlets clearly state an underlying political philosophy, often on their websites. Most of them identify themselves as supporters of a “free market” or “limited government.” One says it provides “news for Republicans, by Republicans.” Just one identifies itself as “progressive.”

Sunday, August 10, 2014

South Carolina Breaks Down Barriers to Solar Power

The South Carolina Sierra Club supported the legislation in 2014, which incorporates distributed energy resource programs, net metering and third-party solar leasing in the state.  Photo: Sierra Club lobbyist, Benton Wislinski and Sierra Club solar organizer, Samantha Siegel, join Governor Nikki Haley (center) in celebration of the bill's passage.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Decrease in Apprehensions of Refugees

WASHINGTON, D.C. (PR) — Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Jeh Johnson released the numbers of apprehensions along the Southwest border during the month of July and prior months, which reflect a significant decrease in apprehensions of unaccompanied children and adults with children:

Secretary Johnson noted that apprehensions in the first few days of August continue along the July trend.

Cyber Attackers and Cyber Warriors

Fort Gordon is rebuilding its website after their server crash
In what is likely the largest data breach known today, a group of hackers has stolen an estimated 1.2 billion Internet credentials from major US companies and others around the world. The group based their operation in south central Russia, flanked by Kazakhstan and Mongolia. The Times said the group includes fewer than a dozen men in their 20s and that their computer servers are believed to be in Russia.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Net Neutrality: Why Small Businesses Should Worry

On a recent episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver motivated thousands of viewers to leave comments about net neutrality on the FCC website. It’s obvious that internet users are passionate about net neutrality, but what does it all mean for business? Thought leaders from Harvard, Wharton—and HBO—weigh in.

Unas 560 mil personas han recibido DACA

Primeras Aprobaciones Caducan en Setiembre

WASHINGTON (PR)El Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de Estados Unidos (USCIS, por sus siglas en inglés) presentó al Registro Federal un formulario revisado para permitir a las personas que se habían inscrito en el programa Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA, por sus siglas en inglés) renovar su acción diferida por un periodo de dos años.  Bajo la directriz del secretario, efectivo inmediatamente, USCIS comenzó a aceptar solicitudes de renovación meses atrás. USCIS también sigue aceptando solicitudes para DACA de personas que no han solicitado acceso previo al programa.  Hasta abril de 2014, más de 560 mil personas han recibido DACA.

Hamas in the Campaign Trail

Last week, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Michelle Nunn was ducking for cover as her leaked 144-page campaign playbook became the hot topic for media outlets around the country.  One of the most damning revelations in the memo came from a strategist who highlighted questionable grants and service awards given under Nunn's leadership at Points of Light.  According to IRS filings in 2008 and 2011, Points of Light gave thousands to an organization with ties to Hamas - a group described in the memo and designated by the United States as a "terrorist" organization.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hope for Hispanics Accessing Cancer Program

AUGUSTA, GA (PR) – The GRU Cancer Center has been awarded a five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to lead the state’s only cancer research program focused on better access to clinical trials and cancer treatments for minority and underserved patients.

Working in partnership with the Morehouse School of Medicine, University Cancer and Blood Center, and the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University – the Community Oncology Research Program Minority/Underserved Community Site at GRU Cancer Center will aim to increase awareness of, and participation in, NCI-sponsored clinical trials and cancer care delivery research throughout Georgia, particularly among minority and underserved populations.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Back To School Bash

Dementia and Guns: Crazy Legislative Strategy

When Gov. Nathan Deal signed Georgia House Bill 60, called the Safe Carry Protection Act last spring, the new law, which went into effect July 1, sharply contrasted with another document the governor signed recently—Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Plan (GARD).

Monday, August 4, 2014

More Americans Victims of War Fatigue

So much war. So many anniversaries of lies, death and destruction. Next week is the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin fraud that catapulted the Vietnam War. This week is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One.

You’ve probably noticed that few big online groups have much to say about the wars of today and tomorrow -- especially when there’s a Democrat in the White House. (Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 was awarded to President Barack Obama)

Water Safe to Drink in Augusta

AUGUSTA, GA (Anibal Ibarra) - “Augusta Utilities’ treated water continues to exceed all federal and state drinking water standards. I’m also so proud to share with you that Augusta Utilities’ treatment plants won either Gold or Platinum awards for perfect regulatory compliance in 2013.” Statement from Tom Wiedmeier, Utilities Department Director. There is nothing to be concerned about the situation in Toledo, Ohio, where more than 400.000 residents didn't have for two days drinkable water for toxic contamination, according to the local Utilities.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

New Plan Designs and Premiums for GA

More Choices for 650,000 State Employees in 2015

UPDATE: ATLANTA, GA (8/14/2014) – The Board of Community Health voted to approve the 2015 member contribution rates and plan designs for the Georgia Department of Community Health’s State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP), providing more choice in plan options for members next year. The Board’s vote establishes the general framework of the plan options for next year, including member premiums. In the coming months, SHBP will work with the vendors to finalize the benefit offerings of each plan option.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Congress in Recess, Immigration Reform Stalled, Again

UPDATE 8/6: The Senate didn't take action on the bill passed by the House of Representatives intended to block the Obama Administration Executive Order granting undocumented youth temporary legal status (DACA). Congress will return in session September 8. The bill might come embedded in another bill before the year ends, but with no chance to pass in the Senate.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Public Hearings on Tax Increase

UPDATE 8/25/2014: Watch the Video Here: Commissioner Ben Hasan and Mayor Deke Copenhaver made possible the increase on the property tax for Richmond County.

Unhealthy Rulings on ObamaCare Subsidies

WASHINGTON, D.C. (PR) — Yesterday, attorneys in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit's Obamacare case, King v. Burwell, requested Supreme Court review of the ruling handed down last week. The case challenged an Internal Revenue Service rule that provided insurance premium subsidies to all states, regardless of whether or not those states chose to establish their own Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance exchanges. Georgia is one of the 36 not participating and residents must enroll directly with the exchange provided by the federal government to buy health insurance.