The news in Georgia has gone to the birds. Literally. The latest big debate in the state isn't centered on how lawmakers are tackling the much-hyped $1 billion budget hole or even how the Atlanta Braves look at spring training. The campaign creating the most buzz isn't political in nature - it's ornithological.
In the midst of one of the worst economic crises in memory, the Georgia General Assembly has to make some extremely difficult financial decisions. I don't envy their job.
The news is not good for Georgia on the economic front. It seems sales tax revenue is down approximately 10 percent from February 2009, and last year revenue was down ... well, let's say they were way down and leave it at that for now.
April 1, 2010 is the deadline for accepting applications for homestead exemption for tax year 2010. Applications can be accepted year round but those received after April 1st will be applied to 2011 taxes. You can file at either of the two offices of the Tax Commissioner: (1) 11 North College Street in Pembroke or (2) 185 Richard Davis Drive in Richmond Hill.
As a child who wanted nothing more than to grow up and become a journalist, I used to write stories for and draw out my own homemade "newspapers" to distribute to my family on Sunday mornings at breakfast. I tried to design my publications based on what I thought each of my family members might want to read. Dad's "newspaper" was about sports and my younger sister's often featured reports on Strawberry Shortcake and her social circle.
For the past two weeks, the Georgia state legislature has taken a working recess to address our budget crisis. At issue are both the FY 2010 amended and the FY 2011 general budgets.
The crowd gathered behind barricades in barely contained anticipation - and in some cases adoration - Tuesday prior to President Barack Obama's arrival at Savannah Technical College reminded me of Beatle-mania way back in the 1960s, when four charismatic musicians from Manchester, England, forever changed America's rock music scene.
Editor's note: State Rep. David Casas, R-Lilburn helped write this column.
The budget was the focal point and our top priority last week. Although the General Assembly was not in session, our time consisted of attending and giving input during the subcommittee meetings of the Appropriations Committee.
I am up to my gizzard with our governor and Legislature and assorted bureaucrats stomping around in public education with little regard for the consequences of their actions. Example: One school system in the state has been considering allowing the police to bring Tasers into the schools to quell unruly students.
Editor's note: Carter (R- Pooler) is reporting each week during the Legislative Session. The session began Jan. 11, and is expected to last until the latter days of March.
The Georgia General Assembly adjourned last Thursday, after day 20 of the 2010 legislative session. The Assembly has decided to take a two-week break from the legislative session to work on the daunting task of balancing the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.
The body is a little frail and he walks with a cane but the man still has the look of a warrior. His name is Charles Ector. He experienced the uglier side of society and with dignity and determination took prejudice head on.
The House and the state Senate voted Thursday to adjourn the current legislative session until March 8 to allow Appropriations Committee members to work full-time over the next two weeks on the budget proposal for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1.
A majority of the House of Representatives Thursday approved an amended state budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2010. Overall state spending is reduced by $1.2 billion to reflect that state revenues have declined for 14 consecutive months.
Nostalgia is popular these days: Retro fashions, disco and '80s pop, "Throwback Thursdays" on social media. What's old is new again, what used to be hip turned square and then back to cool.
For many environmental organizations in Georgia, Earth Day will never be the same.
Editor, My hat goes off to the Tri County RC Flyers for their recent airshow and the thousands of dollars they raised for wounded veterans. Unfortunately, the Courier's story contained a description of the Wounded Warrior Project organization that was misleading and is inaccurate. It read "… which helps veterans wounded in conflict…"
Editor, My wife went grocery shopping the morning of Aug. 21 with our 2-year-old son. While shopping, she bumped into another shopper along the way several times and made small talk. My son started to get bored and upset, so my wife cut her trip short and headed to the checkout.
It is a potential killer whose numbers rival the deadly Ebola virus and it doesn't get near the attention it should. Unlike the dreaded illness currently ravaging West Africa this is one with a quick cure.
I am fascinated by how other countries approach recycling. I recently visited a website called Recycle More from Ireland. Their approach, like so many European countries, is detailed. They expect their citizens to make the effort to recycle as many items as possible. And they certainly don't limit their recycling to plastic bottles and aluminum cans. There is no one-stop drop-off for many items. If you are Irish, you take electronics back to electronic shops, batteries to shops that sell them, etc.
As an unusually mild, rainy summer was melting away - or rather, frosting its way into autumn - I took to noticing signs that our mountain people always have used to judge the forthcoming severity of winter.
Football season is upon us. I'm sure some of you are thrilled about its arrival. I am not.
We are constantly reminded that the world is a very deadly place - not just for our military personnel - but also for members of the Fourth Estate. Some journalists working in dangerous regions in a globe full of conflict will not return home. The latest: 40-year-old James Foley. His gruesome death at the hands of ISIS has been available for all to see.
The regional transportation sales-tax referendum failed two years ago across most of Georgia. So it's encouraging to see movement again, in the form of a joint study committee on transportation funding that met Aug. 5 for the first of seven meetings around the state before the legislative session.
Editor, I would like to respond to the Long County audit for the year ending June 30, 2013, which is - needless to say - a joke.
Rap! Rap! Rap: "The special called meeting of the Loyal Order of Liberals will come to order. Let's begin the meeting as we always do - with the Liberal Pledge of Allegiance:
Editor, I lost a friend last week. I lost a longtime coworker. I lost an Army comrade, though we never served together nor did we share "war stories." And Liberty County lost someone who was a loyal, extremely dedicated and tireless worker until his "untriumphant" retirement last year.
A while back, a messy problem loomed ahead. I don't like confrontation. If that makes me less than a person then consider me to be itty bitty. Life, I figure, is too short for squabbling. My motto is "whenever possible, step out of the way."
My 2-year-old daughter, Reese, adores the Disney movie, "Frozen." I admit, it's a cute flick with plenty of catchy tunes and even a few good one-liners. There's one part, however, that I'm having trouble explaining to Reese, and I fear I'll have even more difficulty with it as she gets older.