In theory and by law, businesses in Liberty County are supposed to charge customers only 6 percent sales tax. That has been the case since April 1, when the county's Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax expired because a majority of voters chose not to renew it during the November election.
Fifteen months ago, a local reporter asked me if there was any interest within the General Assembly in taking on the medical marijuana issue for the 2014 legislative session, and I told him, emphatically, that there was none and that I did not foresee that issue coming up anytime soon in Georgia. Then, a week later, I met a little 4-year-old girl named Haleigh and her courageous mom and dad, and was I proved ever so wrong.
Editor, If you are a father seeking custody of your children in Hinesville, please read this carefully.
The April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was called catastrophic by many. President Barack Obama declared, "This oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced." The National Resource Defense Council said two years later, "A people wronged and a region scarred remains."
My fellow Americans, it is with a heavy heart that I announce to you today that I will not be a candidate for president of the United States in 2016.
Editor, It is mindboggling to me to hear Liberty County Board of Education members and Liberty County School System administrators talk of the millions of dollars tossed about our school district's budget during school-board meetings, work sessions and public forums as if it's no big deal. According to information presented by the district, our revenues for the 2013-14 school year were $92,203,140, and our expenditures were $98,130,080 - meaning, our school board authorized $5,926,940 in overspending. However, the board continued to operate in the same manner for the first half of the 2014-15 ...
Many people have crossed the path of my life, but only one crossed it from three different directions. Don Light, one of Nashville's most admired powerbrokers and star-makers, was meant to be part of my life. I said this repeatedly because I encountered him through friends in country music, Southern gospel and NASCAR racing.
Sometimes a man, despite his best efforts, doesn't find his destiny. Try as he might, down through the earnest years of his life, he chases it and even can believe he has it, only to awaken one morning and discover he doesn't - that what he has is an illusion, a mirage that he tried to turn into reality.
The activity surrounding each legislative session is always a combination of fast action with periods of slow-moving, tedious meetings as legislation is researched, deliberated and reconciled before the actual vote. This session was no different, and each day was used to the fullest as we set our sights on tackling some tough issues for the betterment of our state. The following is a summary of some of the major accomplishments and most-significant legislation passed this session.
On Wednesday, Liberty County residents will join millions of people around the world in celebrating the Earth on Earth Day.
There will be a public hearing Tuesday in Richmond Hill held by the Georgia Department of Transportation in reference to the proposed pipeline Kinder Morgan wants to install along the entire coast of Georgia. It is important that Coastal Georgia residents attend.
Lawmakers passed a nearly $22 billion spending plan that includes about $900 million in new revenues, consumed for the most part by school-enrollment growth, increasing retirement benefit-plan expenses for state employees and about $288 million to reduce an austerity cut for public schools. The 2016 budget also increases the local school-district cost of insurance for bus drivers and other non-certified school workers by more than $100 million, so it remains to be seen how much of the $288 million is used for teacher raises and undoing recession-era cuts.
Sometimes we forget that there are a lot of good people on this Earth doing good things. I was reminded of that by my friend, Jack Cookston, who recently had some medical issues that required him to cart around an oxygen tank wherever he went. (Happily, his health has improved and the oxygen tank is history.)
As expected, transportation funding and the governor's proposal to address persistently failing public schools dominated Georgia's legislative session. The measures passed, yet several opportunities to address critical economic issues were missed.
Carrie called the other day, and I grabbed the phone just as I was coming in from the garage. I dropped my purse at the foot of the stairs and sat down on a step to talk. No conversation with Carrie is ever short. Even her voicemails run three to four minutes.
It is raining while I write this. It is a typical summertime thunderstorm. I love a downpour like this. It just kind of refreshes the air even on a hot, humid day.
The classroom is changing.
This past week, it was reported that Josh Duggar, who is the son of Jim and Michelle Duggar from TLC's "19 Kids and Counting" reality show, molested several girls, including some of his sisters, when he was a teenager.
Taxes are nobody's favorite expense. Most people view them as simply a nuisance bill to pay or as an added cost on a major purchase. Average Georgians rarely give state tax policy a second thought, especially compared to critical challenges like education and health care. But few issues matter more to the pocketbooks of Georgia families, the bottom line of Georgia businesses and the ability of state and local governments to fund quality public services.
My recent open letter to Georgia's public school teachers produced as much response as I have received in a long time. Teachers from one end of the state to the other have weighed in, and the comments are still coming.
A friend said something the other day that has clung like mist to the crevices of my mind. She's soon to turn 70 and this is what she said:
Memorial Day weekend, as you've heard time and again, is that long weekend marking the unofficial start of the summer: beaches, boats and barbecue. Fun in the sun. With all the frolicking, many may overlook that Monday is, first and foremost, a special day set aside to remember those Americans who have died serving in our armed forces.
Editor, Whose great idea was it to let all the high-school students out at lunchtime with no bus service? This is a major issue for those of us who are working and have children.
Cumberland Island was struck head-on by a major hurricane 117 years ago. The Category 3 storm pounded the Georgia coast with winds of 135 mph and massive waves, causing a 16-foot storm surge in Brunswick that left much of the city underwater.
I have been trying to figure out what to do with my free time now that I have decided not to run for president of the United States (or what's left of it).
Getting math right for the students and teachers of Georgia has been a priority of mine since day one. One of my first actions as your state school superintendent was working with the State Board of Education to provide a needed choice between integrated mathematics and traditional discrete mathematics (with assessments to match each option) for our schools.
Here, I'll announce something I've never admitted publicly: I love going barefooted. It's how I was raised.
May is a very hard time for me.
May is Building Safety Month. Although the Hinesville Department of Inspections focuses on building safety all year long, we want to take the time to highlight some building-safety concerns locally. If an individual, organization or a business is trying to find a location within the Hinesville city limits, there are a few things they should know before signing on the dotted line to buy or lease.
Premium increases for Georgia's insurance-exchange health plans beat regional and national rates, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute, cited by Georgia Health News.