March 5th Last Day To Donate For Community-Wide Baby Shower

Friday, March 5th is the last day to donate for the community-wide baby shower being hosted by Far Above Rubies Women’s Ministry.

Organizer Glori Boyd said on Thursday, “This community baby shower has really brought us together, and shown how much love Chattooga County has for its residents. These 31 mothers are going to have their socks blessed right off their feet.”

Boyd says that in addition to local residents volunteering to help with the shower, many have donated services, and businesses and churches and individuals have all donated money for the shower.

Boyd says, “It’s about showing others the love of God, loving our neighbors as much and more than we love ourselves.”
Friday is the last day to donate items for the shower.  You can drop off donations at the Chattooga County Tax Commissioner’s Office in Summerville.

Northwest Georgia Counties Get Funding From GA DOT

Northwest Georgia received almost $16 million in new contracts in January. The largest contract for the area will repair six bridges over I-20 in Carroll County for approximately $7.5 million.  There were no new contracts for Chattooga County in the latest round of funding.


“Engineers recently inspected the six bridges and recommended them for repairs,” said Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) District Six Engineer Grand Waldrop. “The project dovetails with our current I-20 resurfacing project through Carroll and Haralson counties.”

GDOT awarded $60 million in contracts throughout Georgia. District Six in Northwest Georgia received $15.9 million for five contracts for projects that will be getting underway in the coming months.

The bridge rehabilitation contract, with a March 31, 2024 completion date, was the largest contract awarded in District Six. Other contracts include:

  • Resurfacing 7.4 miles of US 27 in Polk County. The contract was awarded for $4.2 million with a completion date of December 31, 2021.
  • Resurfacing 3.5 miles of the SR 1 Loop in Floyd County. The project will cost approximately $1.7 million and be completed December 31, 2021.
  • Resurfacing 6.8 miles of US 76 in Murray County. The $1.7 million project is slated to be completed December 31, 2021.
  • Intersection improvements on US 27 in Walker County. The $862,655 contract is expected to be completed October 31, 2021.

Kemp Disputes "Worse Vaccination Rate" Rating

Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta show that Georgia remains among the worst in the nation in getting the vaccines to the people who want the shots.

But, the state says those numbers are not telling the whole story.

Vaccinations have increased in Georgia, as supplies of the vaccines increase week after week. The debate is whether the state is doing better at it – and doing better than other states – than the CDC numbers show.

The latest tally on the CDC website shows that just over 3 million doses of the vaccines have been delivered to Georgia so far, but just over 2 million doses have actually been administered.

“Unfortunately, Georgia is ranked near the bottom when it comes to the doses actually making it to people’s arms,” said Amber Schmidke, Ph.D. She was formerly with the CDC and is now a science writer.

Dr. Schmidke’s Daily Digest tracks how Georgia’s vaccination program is doing compared to other states, based on CDC data.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday that the CDC numbers don’t measure what’s really going on in Georgia.

“You don’t see on that website where Georgia’s at 60% of vaccinating people over 65 years of age, and the national average is 49%,” Kemp said. “We have got to target the population that gets hit the hardest.”

Schmidke said it’s “fantastic that the state is doing a great job at vaccinating seniors, and those that are in long term care facilities, but the problem remains that we still have over 900,000 doses in freezers, and we have people who want them who cannot get them.”

The numbers on the Georgia Department of Health website show the state has actually received less than 3 million doses, so far, and has administered 76% of them, so far.

Kemp said that the reason the CDC website is showing more doses delivered to Georgia than the state’s website shows is that the CDC is including the doses that went not only to the state public health agency, but also the doses that went directly to private providers in Georgia, such as pharmacies. The governor said it’s the private providers that are holding back hundreds of thousands of doses, not the state.

“The federal pharmacy program—we can’t control who’s holding second doses,” the governor said. “I don’t think they should be doing that, they should be giving those doses. The supply chain is caught up. They don’t need to do that anymore. They need to get shots in arms … But if you look at what the state’s controlling, at our sites, we get 94% of shots going into arms.”

Schmidke said it still leaves an issue “of not efficiently using the available supply.”

On Monday, some 1 million additional people in Georgia will become eligible to receive the vaccines, including teachers. The state believes the unused supplies of vaccines will likely be put to use, then, even as the state’s allotments of the vaccines are expected to increase, week to week.

See more from WXIA

Prescribed Burns Today Through March 7th At Little River Canyon

 

Favorable conditions will allow the National Park Service (NPS) to conduct two prescribed burns at Little River Canyon National Preserve this Thursday through Sunday, March 4th – 7th, along the CR 861 Unit and the Kral’s Complex Unit (see map below).

The 277 acre CR 861 Unit is along Cherokee County Road 861 to the east rim of the canyon down to the TVA powerlines. County Road 861 will remain open, but NPS staff will be posted at County Road 861/AL Highway 35 and at the TVA powerlines on County Road 861
to inform drivers to turn on headlights and drive very slowly for smoky conditions and for
their safety as well as that of firefighters.

The 365 acre Kral’s Complex Unit is along AL Highway 35 and AL Highway 176 south to Mushroom Rock. AL Highway 176 (Little River Canyon Rim Parkway) will be blocked at AL Highway 35 and Mushroom rock. Park visitors will still be able to access the Little River
Canyon Rim Parkway from the south end of AL Highway 176 at Eberhart Point and by
DeKalb County Rod 255 near Canyon View overlook.

NPS Fire Management crews may conduct a test-burn on Thursday, March 4th, and will conduct mop-up operations on Sunday, March 7th – expect smoke during these processes.

The primary goal of the prescribed burn is to reduce hazardous fuel loads, restore and maintain natural landscapes, and promote and improve the health of the park ecosystem. Our professional team of fire fighters are led by the Mississippi River Fire Zone, out of
Natchez Trace Parkway and assisted by NPS Fire Management crews from Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and other federal agencies.

WEIS Radio

Arrest Report - Thursday March 4, 2021

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Thursday March 4, 2021:

Ministry in Negotiations To Acquire Current Homeless Shelter

Sample Image

While the Hope Rebirth Homeless Shelter is closing its doors, the building will still be put to good use, if all goes according to plan.

Currently a Ministry, Community Resource Center of Chattooga is in negotiations to acquire the former North Summerville Elementary School. While they have not spoken of specific plans, Community Resource Center of Chattooga plans to expand on current resources.

Georgia National Fair To Return In 2021

After the Georgia National Fair was canceled last year due to the pandemic, officials have announced that it will be returning this year.

The move last year was done to comply with COVID-19 precautions and was a hit financially to many vendors as the fair employs about 300 part-time employees every year. It was the first time in 30 years the event did not take place.

Officials say the 32nd Georgia National Fair will take place October 7-17, 2021.

It will return to the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry.

The fair says there will be family fun, free entertainment, yummy fair food and new surprises that will be announced at a later date.

No information on how COVID-19 guidelines will be upheld has been announced at this time but it is expected to come in the future as the date draws near.

Updates and announcements will be posted daily on https://www.gnfa.com.

Commissioner Looking For Help At Convenience Centers

Chattooga County Commissioner Blake Elsberry is looking for some help at the convenience centers in the county.  The centers are the remote dump sites that are located around the county for residents to bring their trash in for disposal.  Elsberry says that the jobs are part-time and applications can be picked up at the Chattooga County Commissioner’s Office at 10102 Commerce Street in Summerville.  If you have questions, you can call the commissioner’s office at 706-857-0700.

Chattooga Kindergarten Registration Coming Up Later This Month

Chattooga County Kindergarten Registration for the 2021-2022 school year will take place later this month.

Registration for Leroy Massey, Menlo and Lyerly will be held on March 23rd from 8 AM until 3 PM at the Chattooga County Enrollment Center, located at 286 Maple Drive in Summerville.  Another registration opportunity will be on May 10th from 8 AM until 3 PM.

Children registering for kindergarten must turn 5 years-old before September 1, 2021.

Here is what you need to register your child:

  • Proof of residence (Utility bill, Rent/lease agreement, Notarized Residence Affidavit)
  • Driver’s License or picture ID of parent/guardian that is enrolling the child.
  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • Proof of Immunization (3231)
  • New Eye, Ear, Dental Form (3300)
  • Custody papers when applicable

Chattooga Sheriff Talks About Litter Issues

We have all seen it – litter along the roadways in Chattooga County.  If you think it seems like the litter problem has gotten worse since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be right according to Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader.

Sheriff Schrader says that because of the COVI-19 pandemic, his office has not been able to take inmates out of the jail to do litter pick-ups around the county.   Also, the sheriff says that because of a reduced number of beds and quarantine requirements, the Chattooga County Jail is currently mostly housing inmates that cannot be classified for work detail because of the charges they face or their criminal history.

Last week, the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Department started back up with litter patrol, but the sheriff says “It’s going to take a long time to catch up.”  The sheriff said earlier this week inmates picked up over 1,200 pounds of trash and only made if half-way down Rocky Hollow Road.

The sheriff said, “We are in the process of trying to organize a ‘Clean up Chattooga campaign’ where inmates and citizens can pick up and the sheriff’s department will collect what’s been picked up and dispose of it.

Sheriff Schrader says that he is very appreciative to the citizens of Chattooga County who have taken it upon themselves to pick up trash along the roadways over the past several months.

THC Manufacturer Could Spur Industry In Chattooga County

image256 – Photo Credit: Remedium Life Sciences of Georgia

The Northwest Georgia Joint Development Authority (NWGJDA) says that the partnership between the Town of Trion, Chattooga County, the NWGJDA and Remedium Life Sciences of Georgia could spur additional economic development and industry as plans move forward for Remedium to build a low-THC oil producing facility in Trion.

“Georgia’s Hope Act” created a safe and effective medical cannabis program for qualified patients in Georgia. The act established the Georgia Medical Cannabis Commission to oversee the program and authorized the commission to award six licenses to companies for in-state cultivation and manufacturing of low-THC oil. Included in this legislation was language encouraging companies to select Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties for their facility locations.

Jeff Mullis, who serves as the state senator for Georgia’s 53rd District and as the CEO of the NWGJDA says, “The Town of Trion, Chattooga County and Northwest Georgia are fortunate to be involved in the application process, having partnered with Remedium Life Science of Georgia. In fact, Chattooga County is one of only three Tier 1 counties north of I-20 and prior to COVID-19 reported the highest unemployment rate in the state at 12.2%.”

Mullis points out the significance of an economic development project of this size in a rural community that is expected to produce an initial 50 jobs.  Mullis says that Remedium has already donated over $200,000 to local families and the company has agreed to a profit-share arrangement with the Town of Trion and Chattooga County which could generate up to $1 million annually to support education and public health programs throughout the community.

According to Remedium’s website the company will be, “Utilizing cutting-edge technology and equipment in our state-of-the-art facility, will allow us to produce safe and effective treatments with efficiency while ensuring access to patients statewide. We specialize in researching and developing broad spectrum to indication specific treatments and partner with physicians and patients to deliver unique results.”

 

Calhoun Police Seek Public's Help Identifying Car Break-In Thieves

The Calhoun Police Department  is asking the public’s help in identifying two suspects who they believe have been breaking into automobiles. The two men in these photos located below are wanted for questioning in connection with entering auto’s on W.C. Bryant Parkway. The suspects are driving a small, black SUV, make, model and tag number is unknown.

Calhoun Police say, “Suspects breaking into cars are looking for cash, credit cards, firearms, electronic devices such as, cellphones, laptop computers and GPS units. When leaving your vehicle unattended, leave nothing in plain view for others to see. Don’t leave computer and cellphone chargers in plain view, suggesting those items are in the vehicle. While exiting your car, watch for suspicious persons hanging around and report them to 911.”

Although the pictures give little to go on, should anyone recognize the suspects, contact Lt. David Nelson at 706-602-5774 or email, dnelson@calnet-ga.net

Georgia Power Joins In Plan For Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

With an increase of electric vehicles (EVs) on Georgia roads every day, Georgia Power is committed to assisting customers with access to efficient and reliable charging options. Southern Company, the utility’s corporate parent, today announced plans to join other utilities across the South, Midwest, Gulf Coast, Central Plains and mid-Atlantic to enable EV drivers’ seamless travel through a coordinated network of Direct Current (DC) Fast Chargers.

This effort, called the “Electric Highway Coalition,” represents an unprecedented level of coordination to increase charging options along major highway routes from Texas to Washington, D.C., and provide easier access to environmentally friendly vehicle options for drivers.

“As the sixth largest market nationally for EV fast charging, Georgia Power is committed to continuing growth of EV infrastructure across the state and providing increased access to customers looking to drive electric,” said Nicole Faulk, senior vice president for customer and corporate services. “As Southern Company’s largest subsidiary, our commitment plays a significant role in the increasing growth of electric vehicle adoption, and the connection of communities across Georgia and the country.”

Working with the Georgia Public Service Commission, the company has installed 49 DC fast chargers in locations statewide and is investing $6 million over three years in fast-charging infrastructure across Georgia. The installation represents the newest technology in EV fast chargers, offering charging speeds up to 125kW – adding 100 miles in 12 minutes – dual dispensers and power sharing capabilities to maximize the number of ports that can be deployed and still receive an optimal charge.

Additionally, the company has partnered with Cox Automotive Mobility to complete one of the largest EV charging single property installations in the southeast at the Pivet Atlanta facility near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Georgia Power also supports 24 charging stall stations through Electrify America, Tesla and the EVgo Fast Charging Network. These investments further enable electric vehicle adoption and the connection of communities across the country.

Last year, Georgia Power announced it will electrify portions of its vehicle fleet as part of Southern Company’s plans to convert 50 percent of its system fleet vehicles across the auto/SUV/minivan, forklift and ATV/cart/miscellaneous segments by 2030. The internal fleet goal is part of a larger focus on electrification of the transportation industry and the company’s commitment to expanding zero-emission electric vehicles and clean transportation options.

Now offered by most major manufacturers, EVs continue to advance in range, performance and features. In addition, EVs benefit the environment with zero direct emissions, specifically improving air quality in urban areas, have a lower cost of ownership than petroleum vehicles and, with their domestic energy source, promote local jobs.

EV Resources for Customers

In addition to developing public charging infrastructure, the company is committed to explaining the benefits of EV ownership and making the decision to switch easier than ever by providing customers with the resources they need to learn more about the benefits and potential savings of driving electric. By visiting www.GeorgiaPower.com/EV, customers have access to information on:

  • buying an electric vehicle,
  • understanding electric vehicle options,
  • charging an electric vehicle,
  • charging locations,
  • electric transportation news, and
  • frequently asked questions.

Georgia Power also offers EV charger rebates for business and residential customers, an online calculator to help customers find out how much driving electric may save them and a special rate for EV customers. The company’s Plug-in Electric Vehicle rate offers lower prices from 11 p.m. – 7 a.m. to encourage nighttime EV charging.

Mullis Supports Bill Limiting Mail-In Voting And Other Voting Restrictions

State Senator Jeff Mullis, who represents several counties in Northwest Georgia -including the largest portion of Chattooga County – signed on to sponsor Senate Bill 241 this week.  The bill would severely limit who is eligible to vote by mail, require applications to be made under oath with additional ID requirements and require some ballots to have a witness signature and include a photocopy of ID to be counted.

Currently, Georgia is one of 34 states that does not require an excuse to vote by mail and one of 19 states that conducts signature verification of absentee applications. Only two states, Alabama and Arkansas, require photo ID to be submitted with the actual ballot.

Under this proposal, only voters who are required to be absent during in-person voting periods, work in elections, are disabled, are “required to remain on duty” at work when their workplace is a polling place, observe a religious holiday that conflicts with the election day or are older than 65 would be allowed to vote by mail. To apply for a ballot, you would have to list your reason and swear under oath everything is true or correct, plus add your driver’s license number or state ID number and date of birth.

All but three Republicans in the Georgia Senate supported the bill.  Senator Mullis said after the vote on Tuesday: Voters all across the state have reached out, urging members of the General Assembly to take action to address the issues they witnessed on and after the November election. These concerns deserve to be treated seriously and the Senate has already acted swiftly and passed numerus bills that directly impact several of the improprieties brought to our attention. SB 241 offers a comprehensive approach that addresses many of the key areas that citizens have requested we act on including absentee ballots, transparency in the tabulation process, streamlining the fraud reporting process, and more. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this bill and will do all I can to advance the bill through the legislative process.”

The next step for the bill will be the Senate Rules Committee, followed by a vote before the full Senate.  Senator Mullis is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.

You can read the full text of SB 241 here: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/6000

 

 GPB contributed to this report

AAA Auto Club School Safety Patrol Celebrates 100 Years

Princess Anne Elementary PTA Home Announcement Volunteer Signup Calendar  Form & Payment Facebook Twitter * Important Links ** PAES Information  Programs & Events Favorites & Wish Lists Fundraising Membership Newsletters  & Meetings PTA ..

AAA is proud to celebrate its School Safety Patrol program’s centennial anniversary. For 100 years, Patrollers around the world have provided school-aged children an extra sense of safety and security when going to and from school. The program and its more than 440 Lifesaving Award recipients have contributed to the steady decline of U.S. student pedestrian (ages 5–14) deaths—a 24% decrease since 2010.

“AAA’s School Safety Patrol program is the world’s largest school-based safety program. We could not be prouder of the thousands of young men and women annually who dedicate their time before and after school each day to ensure the safety of their classmates,” said AAA President and CEO, and former Patroller, Marshall Doney. “This community program teaches safety and leadership skills to ensure our youngest generations are making smart decisions. I can attest first hand. The important pedestrian and traffic safety measures I learned as a Patroller had a profound and lasting impact on my career.”

Created to make schoolchildren safer while walking to school, the program has grown-up and matured with the times while remaining steadfast to its mission to provide a safer environment and leadership opportunities for millions of schoolchildren. The training that Patrollers receive instills safety sense beyond street crossings, including bus and car drop-offs, monitoring hallway congestion, and teaching Patrollers invaluable leadership skills. The famous Patroller belt has seen change, too, going from white to neon orange to today’s fluorescent green called ‘Lectric Lime.

“Patrollers direct children, not traffic. Their focus is on helping students be safe where traffic is concerned,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Their actions save lives. Patrollers serve as role models in schools across the country.”

For some students, becoming a Patroller is inspired by wanting to help others and the privilege to wear the ‘Lectric Lime belt and badge proudly. For others, it is also a tradition passed on from generation to generation, like 14-year-old Kayo Cook from Richmond, Virginia, whose uncle, grandfather, and great grandfather all proudly served as Patrollers.

“It taught me how to be a leader,” Cook said. “It’s always good to be able to help others.”

The belt may come off after fifth grade, but the leadership values and safety awareness have inspired many to pursue admirable careers, including the sitting president.

Other notable Patrollers include Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, astronauts, governors, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, Olympic medalists, and authors, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney. Many Patrollers now serve as educators, executives, and community leaders. Some, like Karen Guilbeault, enter law enforcement. Guilbeault rose to become the first female captain in the Cranston, R.I., police department and their first to graduate from the FBI’s National Academy in Virginia.

“Being a patroller helped me get involved in community service and gave me a sense of belonging and instilled self-confidence,” said Guilbeault. “It opened so many doors for me and formed my interest in going into law enforcement.”

The 2020–21 school year, different as it may be, boasts 679,000 Patrollers in 35,000 schools in the United States. The legacy doesn’t stop here, however. Over the last 100 years, interest in and excitement for the program have spread around the world. The AAA model has been adopted in at least 30 other countries, including England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.

Since 1920, AAA provides various equipment and education materials to Patrollers, including reflective belts, patrol badges and training resources.

To learn how to bring the AAA School Safety Patrol to your school, email AAASchoolSafetyPatrol@acg.aaa.com.

 

Fire Departments Called Out For Chimney Fire

Local firefighters responded to a call about a chimney fire on Tuesday night.

The fire broke out in the area of Halls Valley Drive in the Northeastern part of Chattooga County.  Trion firefighters were able to stop the fire from spreading into the main structure of the home.  The Summerville Fire Department and Hays Correctional Fire Department also responded to the scene.

As the winter season comes to a close, those who use wood-burning stoves and fireplaces are reminded to regularly inspect their chimneys and flues.

According to the latest statistics available, there are over 25,000 chimney fires per year in the US that are responsible for approximately 125 million dollars in property damage.

No photo description available. May be an image of one or more people, people standing and outdoors – Pictures from Trion Fire Department Facebook page.

Arrest Report - Wednesday March 3, 2021

Here is the latest arrest report from the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office for Wednesday March 3, 2021:

Summerville Resident Receives Leash Law Citation After Dogs Kill Cats

A Summerville man was issued a leash law citation last week after his two dogs escaped and killed at least one cat.

Last Saturday Summerville Police Officers received a call that two dogs, described as Pit bull Dogs, had a cat and appeared to be harming it. Officers arrived and located the dogs, however when Animal Control arrived the dogs had managed to run off.

Sometime later, a second call came into the City Police and stated that the dogs were on Pink Dogwood Circle and had killed a cat there. Animal Control was able to locate the dogs this time, and they were taken to the local animal shelter.

The owner was located and a citation was issued for a leash law violation.

Rep. Eddie Lumsden Gives Week 7 Update From State Capitol

Sample Image

In his weekly updated from the State Capitol, Rep. Eddie Lumsden highlights the bills in consideration to be voted on before the upcoming “Crossover Day”. Rep. Lumsden and his colleagues passed House Bill 307 which looks to extend telehealth services for health care providers. This bill will restrict insurances from requiring additional deductibles and co pays for these services, while striving to maintain current record keeping practices for telehealth visits. House Resolution 119, honoring retired U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, who served for 43 years, was unanimously adopted. The Resolution would dedicate the bridge on State Route 307 over the Georgia Ports Authority Mega Rail Site in Chatham County as the Senator Johnny Isakson Bridge. You can read Rep. Eddie Lumsdens’ full update below.

Legislative Update
Week Seven
On Monday, February 22, we returned to the State Capitol for the seventh week of the 2021 legislative session. Monday marked the halfway point of the session, and this week was our busiest yet as we geared up for the impending “Crossover Day” deadline. From expanding access to health care to looking after some of our more vulnerable residents, the House examined a myriad of legislative initiatives this week that are important to  Georgians. At the beginning of the week, my colleagues and I passed House Bill 307 to authorize health care providers to continue to provide telehealth services from home and patients to receive telehealth services from their home, workplace or school even after the pandemic is over. This legislation would also allow for audio-only care via phone call under certain circumstances, such as a lack of broadband connection. To extend insurance coverage for telehealth services, HB 307 would prohibit insurers from requiring separate deductibles or an in-person consultation before paying for a virtual appointment and restrict insurers from requiring providers to use a specific telehealth platform or vendor. Likewise, insurers could not restrict the prescribing of medications through telehealth that are more restrictive than what is currently required under state and federal law for in-person prescribing. Further, this bill would require providers to maintain documentation of each virtual health care appointment in a manner that is as extensive and thorough as their documentation for in-person visits. Throughout the pandemic, health care providers across the country have utilized telehealth services to continue to treat patients while COVID-19 has limited in-person options, especially for mental and behavioral health treatment. Many Georgians have benefited from these safe and convenient types of appointments, and HB 307 would ensure that Georgians can continue to receive this type of care for years to come.
We honored a great Georgian this week through the unanimous adoption of House Resolution 119, which would recognize and honor retired U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, who served our state and country with distinction for 43 years. This bipartisan measure would dedicate the bridge on State Route 307 over the Georgia Ports Authority Mega Rail Site in Chatham County as the Senator Johnny Isakson Bridge. Senator Isakson’s commitment to growing our state’s economic footprint could not be more apparent than in his work to guarantee federal funding for the Port of Savannah. During his time as a leader in Washington, D.C., Isakson secured major federal funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project and the Mason Mega Rail Yard, which has ensured the efficient movement of goods through the state. Renaming this bridge is an abundantly fitting way to pay tribute to this outstanding Georgian
who spent his life bettering our state through economic opportunities like the Georgia Ports Authority system.
Additionally, the House passed House Bill 437 to require gas station employees to dispense gas to vehicles that have a special disability permit displayed when the disabled driver is not accompanied by someone who can provide adequate assistance at the gas pump. Gas stations would be required to have a working phone number that answered by an employee during the hours of operation in order for customers to request assistance. If a request is made
when a second employee is not present, the gas station would not be required to provide assistance but would be encouraged to do so when able. A decal or sticker would be affixed to each pump across the state that clearly displays the international symbol of accessibility, a blank for the gas station to fill in the phone number to reach an attendant and wording to instruct these drivers to call for assistance. This legislation would help make these necessary trips to the gas station less burdensome and more accessible to some of our disabled drivers.
House Bill 442 was also passed by the House this week, and this legislation highlights the prevalence of social media in today’s society. Currently, Georgia’s child custody laws require one or both parents to be responsible with decision-making authority for a child’s education, health, extracurricular activities and religious upbringing. If parents agree, these matters should be decided jointly, or, if there is disagreement, they must together decide how to resolve the situation. HB 442 would require parents to also include social media management in their joint
parenting plan. As technology and social media have evolved, they have become much more customary in our children’s daily lives, and this bill would allow our child custody laws to remain relevant with the ever changing technology in our world.
My colleagues and I received news from Governor Brian Kemp this week that the state is poised to expand Georgia’s COVID-19 vaccine priority list to include teachers and school staff. Starting March 8, all of Georgia’s pre-k and K-12 teachers and school staff, as well as Department of Early Care and Learning staff, will join the state’s Phase 1A+ group, which currently consists of those who are 65 and older, first responders, health care workers and staffers and residents of long-term facilities. In addition to Georgia teachers and school staff, the state will also expand vaccination access to adults with mental and developmental disabilities and their caregivers and children with complex health issues plus their caretakers. The state also recently launched four state-operated mass vaccination sites across Georgia in Bibb, Dougherty, Fulton and Habersham counties. The governor and our state’s public health leaders have taken to heart the calls to expand vaccination efforts to more Georgians and have been advocating for increased vaccine allocations from the federal government.
  • House Bill 149 , which would allow Subchapter “S” corporations and partnerships to
    make an irrevocable decision on an annual basis to pay income taxes at the entity
    level instead of the individual shareholder or partner level;
    House Bill 150 , which would prohibit governmental entities from adopting any policy
    that prohibits the connection or reconnection of any utility service based on the type
    of energy or fuel source;
    House Bill 152 , which would allow the Nonpublic Postsecondary Education
    Commission to use alternative methods to review renewal applications to operate
    submitted by institutions that are in good standing with an accrediting agency
    recognized by the U.S. Department of Education; such alternative methods would be
    deemed appropriate by the commission’s executive director;
    House Bill 156 , which would require utilities and state and local governmental
    agencies to report cyber-attacks to the director of the Georgia Emergency
    Management and Homeland Security Agency; these reports would not be subject to
    public inspection or disclosure;
    House Bill 161 , which would remove a provision in Georgia law that requires
    downtown development authorities to exist in perpetuity;
    House Bill 179 , which would update the design for an existing license plate
    supporting breast cancer related programs; create a specialty license plate supporting
    the fight against cancer; and create a specialty license plate supporting members of
    the armed forces;
    House Bill 210 , which would clarify the types of vehicles that are exempt from the
    requirement of disclosing odometer mileage on title certificates;
    House Bill 218 , which would allow reciprocity for any state’s weapons carry license
    as long as the holder carries according to Georgia’s laws, and the bill would update
    the governor’s emergency powers in regards to seizing or prohibiting the possession
    and sale of legal weapons and ammunition;
    House Bill 234 , which would be known as the “Self-funded Healthcare Plan Opt-in to
    the Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act” and would allow for self-funded
    health care plans to annually elect to participate in the Surprise Billing Consumer
    Protection Act; participating plans would notify the Department of Insurance (DOI)
    and could join at the beginning of each year or first day of the plan, and the DOI
    website would list these participating plans;
    House Bill 241 , which would allow the deduction of benefits paid from any
    cancellation refund of a service contract to the customer, and it would permit
    contracts for the replacement of lost, stolen or inoperable key fobs to cover excess
    wear and use charges at the end of a lease;
    House Bill 245 , which would amend state law regarding fingerprint and criminal
    background checks used for the practice of podiatry by requiring satisfactory results
    from a fingerprint records check for new license applicants and reinstatements, not
    license renewals;
    House Bill 271 , which would authorize the Department of Community Health to
    assess one or more provider matching payments on a sub-class of ambulance services
    as defined by the Board of Community Health;
    House Bill 273 , which would allow local jurisdictions to enact an ordinance that
    would trigger a special election for whether the local jurisdiction should allow
    applications for package stores that sell distilled spirits;
    House Bill 275 , which would require firefighters to submit to random drug testing at
    least biannually for the first two years of being licensed or certified;
    House Bill 286 , which would prohibit counties and municipalities from reducing their
    police force budgetary appropriations by more than five percent unless specified
    conditions exist;
    House Bill 289 , which would allow for specified exemptions, such as military
    service, to the requisite qualifications for receiving a Class D or Class C driver’s
    license in Georgia;
    House Bill 292 , which would remove the requirement for a member of a county board
    of equalization to complete 20 hours of instruction in appraisal and equalization
    processes and procedures during the first year following the completion of each term
    of office;
    House Bill 305 , which would change the definition of a board-recognized massage
    therapy educational program to require that the program be approved by a national
    massage therapy certifying organization or a similar entity approved by the Georgia
    Board of Massage Therapy; continuing education for massage therapy would require
    that instructors be approved by and in good standing with a national massage therapy certifying organization;
    House Bill 306 , which would allow the board of directors of a corporation to hold
    annual and special shareholder meetings by means of remote communication unless
    otherwise provided by the corporation’s by-laws or articles of incorporation;
    House Bill 336 , which would make changes to hemp farming laws to ensure
    compliance with federal laws and regulations, including requiring prospective
    growers and processors to submit one set of classifiable fingerprints for the purpose
    of conducting a search of records;
    House Bill 338 , which would clarify the qualifications for receiving a veterans’
    driver’s license;
    House Bill 342 , which would prohibit any person from advertising as a master
    plumber or journeyman plumber without first obtaining a license from the Division of
    Master Plumbers and Journeyman Plumbers;
    House Bill 354 , which would require that any complaints received by the State Board
    of Cemeterians be investigated within 30 days of receipt, and if that investigation
    finds any potential violations of state or federal criminal law, then the board would
    provide notice of those potential illegalities to the attorney general’s office and the
    local sheriff’s office within seven days;
    House Bill 362 , which would allow .30 caliber and larger guns to be used during
    primitive hunts; allow for bag limits for the Deer Management Association program;
    make clear hybrid varieties of different fish species are covered by Georgia
    harvesting laws;
    House Bill 367 , which would provide the annual narcotics and drug update for
    Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V controlled substances to capture new synthetic opiates
    and synthetic marijuana;
    House Bill 370 , which would provide term limits for members of joint hospital
    authorities of 12 years or three consecutive terms, including any partial term,
    whichever is longer; this bill would only apply to the Fulton and DeKalb County
    hospital authorities, and it would restrict these hospital authorities from utilizing
    revenues to perform any power or duty delegated in a lease;
    House Bill 374 , which would amend Georgia law regarding exemptions from sales
    and use taxes by adding an exemption for sales to an authority that provides public water or sewer service;
    House Bill 384 , which would authorize law enforcement to issue a citation to a
    vehicle owner, rather than the driver, in specified instances and when the vehicle
    owner is present at the time of the citation issuance;
    House Bill 395 , which would enter Georgia into the Professional Counselors
    Licensure Compact if required legislation is passed in 10 total U.S. states;
    House Bill 409 , which would establish the Judicial Legal Defense Fund Commission
    to facilitate state-funded legal representation to justices of the Supreme Court and
    judges of the Court of Appeals, the Georgia State-wide Business Court and superior
    courts when such judges are sued for actions taken regarding their official duties;
    House Bill 449 , which would revise the “Georgia Utility Facility Protection Act” in
    order to enhance the processes for location requests of underground utility facilities or
    infrastructure; it also would require that 9-1-1 be contacted if an excavator damages a
    gas or hazardous liquid pipeline;
    House Bill 455 , which would allow local boards of education to use small motor
    vehicles that seat eight passengers or less to transport students;
    House Bill 458 , which would require all newly appointed board members of the
    Georgia Composite Medical Board to participate in training and education to support
    greater understanding of sexual misconduct, sexual boundaries and impacts of trauma
    and implicit bias within three months of such appointment;
    House Bill 488 , which would raise the minimum salary and compensation of chief
    magistrates and clerks of magistrate court;
    House Bill 509 , which would require every insurer delivering or issuing for delivery
    comprehensive individual major medical health insurance policies in Georgia to make
    at least one reasonably priced comprehensive major medical health insurance policy
    available to residents in the insurer’s approved services areas of Georgia;
    House Resolution 77 , which would support the creation of a state cemetery for
    veterans in Augusta-Richmond County;
    House Resolution 142 , which would create a conveyance resolution for certain state
    owned properties located in Hall, Baldwin and Columbia counties;
    House Resolution 143 , which would authorize the granting of non-exclusive
    easements for the construction, operation and maintenance of facilities, utilities and
    roads on state properties in the following counties: Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Camden,
    Chatham, Glynn, Harris, Macon, Montgomery, Murray, Paulding, Polk, Rabun,
    Talbot, Troup, Walton, Ware and Washington.
    In addition to passing legislation the House also take time to honor and remember the lives of
    notable Georgians. Speaker David Ralston and I came to the Well of the House and recognized
    the life of Chattooga County Resident and nationally know lawyer Mr. Bobby Lee Cook. His
    passing brings sorrow but his remarkable life is a colorful chapter in the history of this great
    state. His legacy will long be remembered.
    As “Crossover Day” draws near, we will continue to vote on meaningful House
    legislation before we start the process of reviewing Senate bills. I encourage you to reach out to
    me with any comments or questions about legislation that is important to you, your family and
    our community. My capitol office number is 404-656-7850, and you can reach me directly via
    email at eddie.lumsden@house.ga.gov.
    As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative for House District 12.
    Eddie Lumsden

Catalytic Convertor and Oxygen Sensors Stolen From Car While Being Repaired

After being repaired, a Chattooga County womans’ car came back missing its’ catalytic convertor and oxygen sensors.

Last Saturday Chattooga County Deputies escorted two men to Gilreath Mill Road, Cloudland to inquire about retrieving a vehicle that was being worked on at a residence.

The vehicle, a Chevy Equinox, was being worked on by William Jones who had promised to have the vehicle completed in 3 hours but after 48 hours it was still not completed. Upon arriving, Jones was found to be working on the vehicle but promised to be done within 10 minutes so Deputies left.

A later call came in stating that the vehicle was not finished in 10 minutes, it actually took several hours later, and when picked up the Chevy broke down just several miles down the road. Arriving at the broken down vehicle, the owner started the SUV for Deputies to demonstrate the new, loud noise it was making. It did not make this noise prior to being repaired. Inspection by the Deputies discovered that the Catalytic convertor had been taken off, as well as oxygen sensors. The convertor had been replaced with a mesh type material that vented the exhaust straight out under the car, instead of out of the back.

Deputies went back to speak with Jones who stated he had no knowledge of what had happened to the car and he was not a thief. He invited Deputies to look around but they declined due to the state of the yard with several disabled cars. Deputies did search the immediate area where the SUV had previously been but did not find anything conclusive. Jones was the only individual in possession of the Chevy when the parts were removed.