Arrest Report - Wednesday - January 26, 2022
Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Wednesday, January 26, 2022:
Rep. Lumsden Legislative Update
State Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee) released a legislative update on Tuesday. The Georgia General Assembly has been meeting in Atlanta working on the state budget. During “budget week” committees from the Georgia Senate and Georgia House hold joint budget hearings over the course of three days. Governor Brian Kemp kicked off Budget Week, addressing the lawmakers under the Gold Dome. The Governor told the legislators that because of positive economic projections, the state can fully fund the Revenue Shortfall Reserve and any additional revenue, he would like to give back to the taxpayers in the form of a refund. The governor also proposed a $3,000 pay raise for Georgia teachers. You can read Rep. Lumsden’s complete report below:
On Tuesday, January 18, my colleagues and I returned to the State Capitol for a highly anticipated “budget week.” Each year, the Georgia General Assembly is required by the state’s Constitution to pass a balanced budget, and the House and Senate typically devote the second week of the legislative session to this very important process. During budget week, the House and Senate Appropriations committees held a series of joint budget hearings over the course of three days. To kick off the state budget process, Governor Brian Kemp gave opening remarks on Tuesday and presented his formal budget recommendations for the current and upcoming fiscal year budgets. We also heard from the state’s lead fiscal economist and other state agency heads, each of whom provided valuable insight into the vast budgetary needs of our state government.
This session, the House will first consider legislation for the Amended Fiscal Year 2022 (AFY 2022) budget, which will adjust the state’s current budget based on changes in revenue. Next, we will consider the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY 2023) budget, which will go into effect on July 1, 2022, and end on June 30 of the next calendar year. The FY 2023 budget is set at a record revenue estimate of $30.2 billion and includes approximately $3 billion more than the FY 2022 budget, making FY 2023 the largest budget in the state’s history. Throughout the pandemic, the state kept its doors open to doing business and cut spending, while still providing uninterrupted services to Georgians. As a result of some difficult yet proactive spending decisions that were made over the last two years, the governor and the state economist reported that revenue projections have soared since we first passed the original Fiscal Year 2022 budget. In December
2021, Georgia broke records when unemployment dropped to 2.6 percent and experienced an all-time high of employed individuals. Now, 20 months out from the beginning of the pandemic, more than 97 percent of Georgia jobs lost during the pandemic have been regained, while other states, unfortunately, continue to experience higher unemployment rates.
With these positive economic projections in mind, the governor announced that the state can fully fund its Revenue Shortfall Reserve and has accrued an additional undesignated surplus, which he intends to give back to Georgia taxpayers. Gov. Kemp proposes that the Department of Revenue issue $1.6 billion in tax refunds to every taxpayer in Georgia using funds from this surplus. Under his plan, single tax filers would receive a $250 refund, and those who file jointly would receive a $500 refund once 2021 tax returns are processed by the state.
Education spending remains a top priority for the governor, and this is certainly reflected in each of his budget proposals. In 2019, the General Assembly provided a $3,000 pay increase to Georgia’s public school teachers, and Gov. Kemp’s AFY 2022 and FY 2023 budget proposals include an appropriation to complete his initial goal of providing a $5,000 pay raise to our K-12 teachers, assistant teachers and pre-k teachers. To ensure our school systems and teachers have the necessary resources to provide quality education to students, the governor’s proposal restores $388 million in both fiscal years to eliminate the austerity cuts that were made at the start of the pandemic. Furthermore, the AFY 2022 and FY 2023 budget proposals collectively add $1.4 billion in direct funding for our K-12 schools and designates more funding per student than ever before. The HOPE scholarship also needs to be adjusted to meet evolving needs and keep pace with rising postsecondary education costs. Therefore, the FY 2023 budget proposal allocates $79 million to fund program growth to allow the HOPE programs to cover at least 90 percent of tuition at the state’s public institutions. Additionally, Kemp’s budget proposal reflects $85 million in higher education formula earnings for the upcoming fiscal year, and his FY 2023
proposal restores more than $271 million in austerity cuts that were previously made to our higher education systems. Restoring these funds would allow the University System of Georgia to remove the statewide special institution fee that was originally implemented due to the Great Recession, and the Technical College System of Georgia would be able to expand its vital health care, manufacturing and commercial truck driving programs without raising tuition. The governor’s budget proposals recognize many of today’s challenges that students and teachers face and makes educational investments that could pay off in dividends down the road.
The governor’s budget proposals also reinforce our efforts to support Medicaid and vital health care services for vulnerable populations. First, the FY 2023 budget proposal includes $139 million to implement the state’s reinsurance program and online health insurance portal in an effort to keep insurance plans and premiums more affordable. His FY 2023 budget proposal also allocates an additional $85 million for improved provider rates to stabilize the state’s Medicaid system; these funds would allow physicians to serve Medicaid patients without operating at a loss. As we continue to address the state’s maternal mortality rates, Kemp’s FY 2023 budget proposal adds new funding that would extend Medicaid coverage for new mothers for a full year postpartum. The FY 2023 proposal appropriates $39.5 million to automatically enroll children in Medicaid services if they enroll in food assistance or TANF benefits, which would ensure that these children receive health benefits in a more efficient and timely manner. His current and upcoming fiscal year proposals also include a combined $33.5 million to fund the state’s mental health crisis networks and services that benefit individuals with behavioral and developmental disabilities. Lastly, the upcoming fiscal year proposal also incorporates $27.8 million to provide a 10 percent provider rate increase, which would offset the rising costs of caring for our state’s foster children. Now, more than ever, it is critical that all Georgians have access to affordable and quality health care services.
Gov. Kemp’s budget proposal also upholds his commitment to keeping all Georgians safe across the state. His recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year include approximately $1.6 million to establish a gang prosecution unit in the attorney general’s office and expand the state’s human trafficking unit. His proposal also includes several million dollars for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s medical examiners and forensic services, which have experienced backlogs in processing criminal evidence. While Georgia’s judicial system has focused on reducing recidivism and rehabilitating low-level, nonviolent offenders when appropriate, the state’s aging correctional infrastructure was not intended to house the number of dangerous offenders that are currently in our prisons. In both budget proposals, the governor recommends a historic total of $600 million to purchase a newer prison facility and build a 3,000 bed facility to house medium and high-security prisoners; investing in modern correctional facilities would allow the state to close four of its older, more dangerous facilities. Overall, these initiatives would create a more efficient criminal justice system, save operational costs and create a safer environment for both officers and offenders.
Like Georgia’s private sector, the state has faced a worker shortage and high turnover rates this last year. To attract and retain the best and brightest state personnel, the governor recommends a $5,000 pay increase for all full-time, benefit eligible state employees starting this fiscal year, which would be the first cost-of-living adjustment for state workers in 14 years. The governor also recommends increasing the state employer match for 401(k) contributions and allowing state employees to withdraw up to 40 hours of eligible leave as pay each year starting July 1. During our hearings this week, nearly every state agency expressed the critical need for this cost-of-living adjustment for state employees, especially in the face of inflation and a competitive job market.
At the end of last year, the governor announced that Rivian, Inc., an American electric vehicle automaker, will build a $5 billion plant in our state that will eventually employ approximately 7,500 Georgians. As a part of this landmark project, the governor seeks to provide $125 million for land and training development opportunities for Rivian and area residents. The governor’s version of the budget also proposes an investment of more than $41 million for our state parks and $80 million to complete the new Savannah-Georgia Convention Center, both of which aim to enhance tourism and economic development in Georgia.
Now that the joint budget hearings have concluded, the House Appropriations subcommittees will begin to meet separately to review specific portions of the budget and delve deeper into the state agencies’ budget needs. Since the Georgia Constitution requires the budget bills to originate in the House, each House Appropriations subcommittee will pass their respective portions of the current and upcoming fiscal year state budgets, which will collectively result in two complete budget bills to be approved by the full House Appropriations Committee. Then, each budget bill will go to the House Rules Committee to be scheduled for a vote on the House floor. After the budget bills make their way through the House, these bills will be transmitted to our counterparts in the Senate, where they will undergo the same process. As the House and Senate continue to work through the budget process, there will likely be changes to the governor’s original proposals, and I will keep you updated as these bills are finalized.
After this weekend, the House will reconvene for session on Monday, January 24. In the coming weeks, our focus will be turned towards the state budget process. House committees will also begin to meet more frequently to consider legislation that best serves you, your community and our state. As your voice at the Capitol, I always appreciate hearing directly from my constituents back home, especially about issues or policies that could impact our
county/counties. My Capitol office number is at 404-656-7850, and my direct email is Eddie.Lumsden@house.ga.gov.
As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative
Georgia Farm Bureau 2022 Art Contest
With over 42,000 farm and 9 million acres of agricultural production in Georgia, Georgia farmers are a vital part of the state’s economy. Georgia Farm Bureau represents the interests of agriculture in Georgia and the organization is calling on high school students across the state to enter art for the 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau Art Contest. A winner will be selected from each of Georgia Farm Bureau’s 10 districts and the top winners will receive $100 in cash. The state-wide runner up will receive $150 and the state-wide winner will receive $250. You can find all the rules and how to submit artwork below. Also, you can see the winners of last year’s contest.
Trion Town Council Meeting On Thursday
The Town of Trion will hold the first council meeting of the new year this week. It will also be the first council meeting for Trion Mayor Lanny Thomas since being elected in November of last year. The council will meet at the Trion Town Council Meeting Room at Trion City Hall at 6 PM. The public is invited to attend.
Special Election To Be Held In Menlo
The City of Menlo is short one council member and a special election will be held in March of this year to fill the seat.
The empty seat was held by Allen Keen who defeated longtime Menlo Mayor Theresa Canada in November of last year. With Keen now mayor, the seat is up for grabs.
Qualifying for the position will begin on January 31st and the fee to qualify is $9.
Early voting will begin on February 25, 2022 at Menlo City Hall and the election will be held on March 15, 2022. Absentee ballots can be requested until March 4, 2022.
Saturday voting will take place on February 26, 2022 and on March 5, 2022. The last day to vote early in the special election will be March 11, 2022.
Those who wish to vote in person may do so between 9 AM and 5 PM at Menlo City Hall.
Rome Drug Dealer Sentenced On Gun Possession Charges
A violent Rome-area drug dealer has been sentenced for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
On January 20, 2022, Aubrey Floyd, 45, of Rome, Georgia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael L. Brown to nine years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Floyd was convicted of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after he pleaded guilty on October 5, 2021.
“Floyd’s repeated felony and misdemeanor state convictions show his complete disregard for the law,” said U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “This conviction and sentence demonstrate the importance of the Rome Violent Repeat Offender initiative and should serve as a warning that this office will pursue those who put the community at risk by unlawfully using and possessing firearms.”
According to U.S. Attorney Erskine, the charges, and other information presented in court: In January 2020, Floyd sold methamphetamine to an ATF confidential informant at a motel that was notorious for drug trafficking in Rome, Georgia. Following the drug sale, Floyd sold the same informant a pistol he had brought to the deal. The serial number on the pistol had been removed.
Prior to the drug and gun sales that led to his federal criminal charges, Floyd had amassed nearly two dozen felony and misdemeanor convictions in the state system. Although some of those charges involved guns and drugs, many concerned shocking acts of violence against at least eight different women who Floyd admittedly choked, struck, or restrained against their will.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Theodore S. Hertzberg and Bryan Henderson prosecuted the case.
Bill Would Give Law Enforcement The Right To Confiscate ATV's
With bipartisan support, Georgia House Bill 906 stands to give police officers the right to confiscate ATVs from their lawful owners. HB 906 relates to off-road vehicles and authorizes forfeiture of that vehicle if the rider is found driving recklessly or fleeing police.
If the driver is arrested and charged with one of these crimes, the vehicle is declared contraband and can be taken by the officer. According to the bill, even people who rightfully own their vehicles could have them taken by the police.
HB 906 is currently backed by five representatives. Four Republicans and one Democrat. Representative J Collins, from Villa Rica, says the bill is meant to prevent large groups of riders from causing trouble on roads.
“I come from a small community. Years ago, it wasn’t out of the ordinary to see an ATV running up and down the road somewhere. We don’t want to target specific individuals. But when you have these collective groups that are plaguing neighborhoods. They’re shutting down interstates. They’re shutting down major thoroughfares in the metropolitan areas of Atlanta, that’s dangerous.”
Despite what Collins says his intentions are, some Georgia riders are not in favor, making their stance known on social media, calling this bill “government theft.”
“That’s one of the reasons why we’re going to vet this bill in our committee. We want to look at some of the unintended consequences of this legislation. If you’re a 16-year-old kid or a 15-year-old kid out joyriding, that’s probably going to be one thing. But what we want to target are these groups of people.”
HB 906 is currently in a committee, set to be discussed by other lawmakers in the near future.
Wreaths Across America To Honor "The Four Chaplains"
On Thursday, Feb. 3rd, 2022, Wreaths Across America will honor the American heroes known as “The Four Chaplains” with a special Facebook live event at 12pm EST, from the Balsam Valley Chapel and tip lands located in Downeast Maine.
On January 23, 1943, the U.S.A.T. Dorchester left New York harbor bound for Greenland carrying over 900 officers, servicemen and civilian workers. The ship was a coastal passenger steamship requisitioned and operated by the War Shipping Administration (WSA) for wartime use as a troop ship. The ship was transiting the Labrador Sea when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat (U-233) on February 3, 1943. The ship sank and 675 people on board lost their lives. Amidst the chaos to save 230 lives four chaplains guided soldiers trapped below deck to escape hatches and gave away their life jackets to save others on that fateful day. When the chaplains had done all they could, they linked arms to pray and sing hymns as the Dorchester slipped beneath the waves.
In this ceremony, participants will hear messages and stories about Lt. George L. Fox (Methodist), Lt. Alexander D. Goode (Jewish), Lt. Clark V. Poling (Dutch Reformed) and Lt. John P. Washington (Roman Catholic), “The Four Chaplains.” As well as remembrances for the crew of the U.S.A.T. Dorchester and African American Coast Guardsman Charles Walter David Jr., who jumped into icy Greenland waters, from a nearby rescue ship, to save two men from drowning and then continuing to help rescue a total of 93 survivors from lifeboats. After his heroic acts, 54 days later Charles Walter David Jr., succumbed to pneumonia stemming from those icy waters.
A Memorial for the Four Chaplains called the “Field of the Four Chaplains” is located at Fort Benning in Georgia.
To watch live on Facebook, or share the ceremony on Feb. 3, at noon ET, use this link.
To listen live on Wreaths Across America Radio, click here.
To learn more about “The Four Chaplains,” view this video.
To learn more and to download pictures of the Four Chaplains and the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, follow this link.
To learn more about Coast Guardsman Charles Walter David Jr., follow this link.
Replica dog tags of the Four Chaplains and Guardsman Charles Walter David Jr. hang on trees located on the Tip-land in Maine as part of the Wreaths Across America Remembrance Tree program. This FREE program (open to all fallen veterans and their families) hangs replica dog tags on the branches of live balsam trees used to make veterans wreaths to honor the lives, duty and commitment of fallen soldiers and create a living memorial to inspire a new generation to make a positive impact.
You can sponsor a wreath for $15 at https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org. Each sponsorship goes toward a live, balsam veteran’s wreath that will be placed on the headstone of an American hero as we endeavor to honor all veterans laid to rest on Saturday, December 17, 2022, as part of National Wreaths Across America Day.
Two Arrested After Violent Domestic Incident At Cloudland
Chattooga County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a Cloudland residence after a report of a violent domestic incident in progress. As deputies were en-route, they were told that the suspects had left the residence in a grey Toyota passenger car.
When deputies arrived at the residence on Atlanta Avenue, the spoke with the victim who said that his wife’s uncle and aunt had forced their way into the residence and assaulted him and his wife while the couple’s juvenile children were upstairs.
The victim said that Brad and Candy Bass showed up at the Atlanta Avenue residence intoxicated and came in the home without permission. The victim said that the Bass couple were yelling and screaming at his wife and Candy Bass hit the victim’s wife in the head with her fists. As the victim attempted to assist his wife, Brad Bass is accused of pulling a .22 revolver and telling the victim and his wife that he “was going to kill them” while hitting the victim in the head with the pistol.
The victim and his wife said that they had no idea why Brand and Candy Bass had assaulted them at this point. The victims said that Candy Bass said during the assault that the couple had it “coming to them for twenty years.”
Forty-nine-year-old Robert “Brad” Bradford Bass and forty-year-old Candace “Candy” Bass of a Highway 157 Cloudland address, were both arrested in connection with the incident. The couple was charged with burglary for breaking into the residence and were also charged with criminal trespass and simple battery. Also, the couple were charged with cruelty to children because the assault took place in the presence of juveniles.
GNTC Names Nominees For 2022 Rick Perkins Award
Faculty and staff at Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) have nominated five of their peer instructors for the Rick Perkins Award of Excellence in Technical Instruction competition.
The Rick Perkins Award honors the Technical College System of Georgia’s (TCSG) most outstanding instructors. The award has been an ongoing statewide event since 1991 and is designed to recognize technical college instructors who make significant contributions to technical education through innovation and leadership in their fields.
Listed are the nominees for the 2022 award, including (from left to right) instructors name and program.
- Anne Clay, Adult Education lead teacher and site manager for Polk County
- Brittany Cochran, assistant dean of Sciences of General Education/Biology
- Donna Estes, program director and instructor of Heath Information Management Technology
- Crista Resch, director of Ultrasound programs and instructor of Vascular Sonography
- Kimberly Temple, clinical coordinator and instructor of Respiratory Care
“We are fortunate at Georgia Northwestern Technical College to have instructors who care so much about the students and the learning process,” said Beverly Padgett, GNTC Rick Perkins coordinator. “These nominees continuously go beyond what is expected of them to not only meet but to surpass the needs of their students.”
Formerly known as the Commissioner’s Award of Excellence, the award was renamed in honor and memory of Thomas “Rick” Perkins, an instructor at West Central Technical College, who received the Commissioner’s Award of Excellence prior to his untimely death.
The Technical College System of Georgia provides oversight for the Rick Perkins Award programs through the system’s office, the college presidents’ Academic Affairs Committee and the state planning committee.
A screening committee of administrators at GNTC reviewed each of the nominated instructors and conducted personal interviews with the nominees. From the screening committee interviews, a winner will be chosen to represent the college as GNTC’s 2022 Rick Perkins winner and move on to the regional competition.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma or a certificate in aviation, business, health, industrial or public service career paths. This past year, 11,820 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. GNTC has an annual credit enrollment of 8,591 students and an additional enrollment of 3,229 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.
LaFayette Police Find 3 Bodies At Residence
LaFayette Police discovered three bodies at a North Chattanooga Street residence Sunday, after relatives requested a welfare check.
Inside, they found fifty-five-year-old Wanda Lee Sweet and thirty-three-year-old Thomas Lebron Sweet, deceased in two separate bedrooms. Outside in the driveway, they discovered the body of fifty-seven-year-old Larry Lebron Sweet laying partially underneath a pickup truck. At least one of the deceased had reported being sick with COVID two weeks earlier, when relatives last heard from them.
A TV was still playing inside the home… and there was a kerosene heater that had run out of fuel. The house was in order with no sign of forced entry or ransacking, according to the report.
The bodies were turned over to the Coroner’s office.
Arrest Report - Tuesday - January 25, 2022
Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Tuesday, January 25, 2022:
Floyd County BOE Considering Speed Cameras Near Armuchee Elementary School
If you travel on Highway 27 towards Rome during school hours, you may want to make sure that you obey the speed limit in the school zone near Armuchee Elementary School. The Floyd County Board of Education met on Monday and is looking to install speed cameras in the area on Martha Berry Highway (US Highway 27) near the school.
Floyd County school officials say that Rome City Schools have had “a lot of success” since they installed camera’s near Rome Elementary School.
Floyd County Police say that Martha Berry Highway in the Armuchee area is the second most likely place to have an accident in Floyd County. Police were on hand to give the board of education members information about speeding near the elementary school and high school, both of which are located on Martha Berry Highway.
Board members said that they were more inclined to install the cameras near the elementary school since there is already a stoplight at the entrance to the high school on Highway 27.
The speed limit in the school zone is 45 mph during school hours, and for an hour before and after. However, multiple speeding surveys were conducted in that zone and found many drivers are going much faster, according to Floyd County officials.
The Rome News Tribune reports that with the RedSpeed cameras, anybody traveling 11 miles or more over the speed limit would be clocked and the owner of the vehicle fined. A citation would be mailed out by the company after the photo evidence is vetted by county police.
The initial speeding fine would be $75 after a warning; any subsequent fine would be $125. About 65% of the fines would go to Floyd County police and 35% would go to RedSpeed, the company that provides the cameras.
Trion Mayor Talks About Land Swap For Water Customers
Trion Mayor Lanny Thomas says that the Trion Town Council will be discussing the possibility of a land swap with Chattooga County.
Mayor Thomas said that he has been in talks with Chattooga County Commissioner Blake Elsberry about deeding over the property near the Trion Industrial Park where the county dumpsters are currently kept. Thomas said “It will be a swap. The county uses it right now anyway and it is a good location for the area.”
The mayor said that he met with the commissioner and proposed swapping the land that houses the convenience dumpsters for some Chattooga County Water Customers that could be served by the Town of Trion Water Department. Thomas said that the county is already maintaining the dumpster area, so the swap makes sense.
Mayor Thomas said the swap would involve 8-10 houses at Riegel Crossing. He explained at the time the water line was originally installed, the town didn’t have the capacity to serve the residents. Thomas says that has changed with Mount Vernon Mills not requiring as much water capacity and the town can now adequately supply the residents at Riegel Crossing. Thomas added that the town would take on the cost of connecting the residents and running the water lines.
The mayor said that he appreciated the productive conversation he had with Commissioner Elsberry and plans to place the idea on the agenda for the Trion Town Council’s consideration.
Horses Cause Damage To Lyerly Man's Yard
Over the weekend, a Sling Alley, Lyerly man filed a complaint with the sheriff’s office about his neighbor’s horses. The complainant said that sometime overnight between Saturday and Sunday his neighbor’s horses were out and came in his yard. The complainant said that the horses “tore up the front yard with their hooves.” When questioned about the neighbor, the complainant told the deputy that the owner of the horses is currently in Florida. The complainant asked that a complaint be on file at the sheriff’s office about the damage to his yard.
Tenant Reports Drunk Landlord Kicking In Door
A Harrell Street, Trion woman called the sheriff’s office after she said her landlord kicked in the door of the property she was renting.
The complainant said that on January 21st, the landlord came to talk about rent and kicked in the door. The sheriff’s office report said that the complainant and landlord have been having an ongoing property dispute. The complainant said that the landlord was drunk when she kicked the door in.
The deputy observed the damage to the front door of the residence and advised the tenant to talk with the Magistrate Judge about the incident. The deputy also told the tenant if the landlord showed up again, she should call 911.
The tenant wanted a report on file at the sheriff’s office.
Calhoun Woman Stabs Ex-Husband In Grocery Store Parking Lot
Calhoun Police say that a twenty-three-year-old woman followed her ex-husband to a grocery store parking and stabbed him with a butcher knife following a domestic dispute.
Police say that Taylor Lynn Thomas had been arguing with her ex-husband over her refusal to move out of his home following their divorce in January of 2021. Police say that Taylor Thomas opened the door of her ex-husband’s pickup truck in the Calhoun Kroger parking lot and stabbed him with the knife in the back of his right thigh.
The woman had the couple’s children with her at the time of the stabbing, but police said on Monday that they were not sure if the children witnessed the stabbing.
The ex-husband drove himself to his grandparent’s house and was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Taylor Thomas has been charged with aggravated assault.
U.S. Labor Dept. Offers Webinar For Restaurant Owners Concerning Child Labor
Millions of minors under the age of 18 join the U.S. workforce each year – many in the food industry – and the U.S. Department of Labor is working hard to ensure restaurant employers in the Southeast know their legal obligations regarding the employment of minors and to curb a recent increase in noncompliance.
In support of their efforts, the department’s Wage and Hour Division invites restaurant employers, minor-aged workers and their parents, school representatives and other interested stakeholders to join its Southeast Region for a Child Labor Lunch and Learn webinar on Feb. 10 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. EST. This event provides an opportunity for participants to learn more about federal laws governing youth registration is required
In the Southeast, the division found child labor violations in more than 190 food service industry employers investigated in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, resulting in over $1 million in penalties assessed to employers. In addition, investigations recovered over $1.5 million in back wages and liquidated damages for over 2,000 workers. The division’s southeast regional office has responsibility for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Investigators identified the following child labor violations as most common:
- Hours standards laws for 14-and-15-year-olds.
- Allowing 14- and 15-year- olds to engage in prohibited or hazardous occupations.
- Allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to engage in hazardous occupations.
- Allowing workers under 16 years old to engage in hazardous occupations.
- Failing to keep accurate records for youth workers.
“In nearly 200 closed investigations, the Wage and Hour Division found employers allowed minors to work longer hours or more frequently than permitted, without knowledge of the workers’ ages. In over half of those cases, the employers also allowed minors to do dangerous or prohibited work,” said Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Juan Coria in Atlanta. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to preventing child labor violations, ensuring the safety of young workers, and ensuring that youth gain the benefits of work experience without suffering a negative effect on their academic progress.”
The division offers many compliance resources, including a fact sheet on employing youth in restaurants and its YouthRules! website for information on providing youth a positive and safe work experience.
For information about other laws enforced by the division or to report a violation, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Calls can be answered confidentially in over 200 languages. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.
Georgia Gas Prices Drop Slightly
Georgia gas prices experienced a slight increase. Georgia motorists are now paying an average price of $3.13 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline. Monday’s state average is 2 cents more than a week ago, 2 cents more than last month, and 89 cents more than this time last year.
It costs motorists $46.95 to fill a 15-gallon tank of gasoline.
“In the past few weeks, we have seen the price for a barrel of oil work its way from the mid-$60s to over $80 a barrel,” said Montrae Waiters, AAA-The Auto Club Group spokeswoman. “Since the price of oil accounts for roughly half of what consumers pay at the pump, higher oil costs will likely result in higher gasoline costs for Georgians.”
National Average Increases alongside Crude Oil Prices
Since last Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has increased 2 cents. According to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks rose by 5.9 million barrels to 246.6 million barrels last week. On the other hand, gasoline demand rose slightly from 7.91 million barrels a day to 8.22 million barrels a day. The small increase still puts gas demand in a typical range for the winter driving season, which was 8.11 million barrels a day in mid-January 2021. Typically, pump prices decline due to low gas demand and a rise in total stocks, but continued growth in the price of crude oil has helped to elevate pump prices. As crude prices continue to climb, pump prices will likely follow suit.
Most expensive Georgia metro markets – Savannah ($3.23), Hinesville-Fort Stewart ($3.21), and Brunswick ($3.20).
Least expensive Georgia metro markets – Rome ($3.01), Dalton ($3.02), and Warner Robins ($3.06).
Area Gas Price Averages – Chattooga ($3.02), Walker ($3.00), Floyd ($3.01), Gordon ($3.05), DeKalb, AL ($2.96), Cherokee, AL ($2.88)
Summerville Police Investigate Stolen Firearms
Summerville Police responded to a call about stolen firearms that was reported on January 22nd.
Police met with Patrick and Steffany Adams who told them that someone had broken into a locked dog-box on the back of a pickup truck that was parked at Mr. Adams’ mother’s house on Shropshire Drive. The complainants said that the break-in happened sometime between last Thursday night and Friday morning.
The thieves took three shotguns from the locked box. Police said that the complainant showed them pictures that showed someone had pried the lock off of the box.
The incident has been turned over to an investigator.