An artist rendering of what a casino on Lake Hartwell would look like. While the legislature is still debating the issue, three potential sites have been put forward.
By Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA - Supporters of legalizing casino gambling in Georgia have failed to make headway in the General Assembly year after year for the last decade amid intense opposition from religious conservatives.
But this year’s push features a different wrinkle. A Georgia developer who helped build The Battery, a mixed-use complex in Cobb County that includes the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park, recently released renderings of three proposed casino resorts around the state, injecting tangible details into an issue that has been debated more often in broad generalities.
“It gives a hometown flavor to have somebody in Georgia who would be a frontline player,” said state Rep. Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus, co-sponsor of a constitutional amendment to legalize casinos in Georgia introduced in the state House of Representatives late last month.
Smyre’s hometown is the site of one of the casinos proposed by Rick Lackey, founder of Atlanta-based City Commercial Real Estate. It would be built along the Chattahoochee River.
Results from an open records request filed by the Progress last week found that the county’s school boards over the past 15 years have spent roughly $650,000 in replacing superintendents who they parted ways with before the end of their contracts.
The figure includes money spent to pay the remainder of superintendent contracts and the amount spent to hire interim-superintendents while they searched for replacements. It does not include the costs of any searches or consultants used to find replacements. It also does not include whatever deal might be reached with former superintendent Rick Townsend.
The amounts paid to the outgoing superintendents were generally dictated by terms in their original contract. The amount spent on all superintendent pay is a mixture of state funds and local tax dollars. The school’s finance director, Amy Smith, explained in an e-mail, “The function where superintendents are paid is not required to be designated state or local. We do earn some state funds but it is not enough to cover the total salary and benefits so it becomes a state and local expense.”
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Concept Drawing/City of Jasper
A concept drawing of what renovations to the old bank drive-thru area could look like. The city has plans to begin the phase I bathroom project immediately as part of a project that will enhance the entire North Main Street area around Peace Park and the Old Jail.
Jasper Council has big plans for parks in the upcoming year, from budgeting over half a million dollars to begin the first phase of a longer-range amphitheater project, to talks of new mountain bike trails, to public restrooms on North Main Street.
Perrow Park/Green Space
Council has allocated $525,000 in the 2021 budget to begin improvements to the green space at the corner of Main Street and Spring Street in downtown Jasper. Council plans for the project to culminate in an amphitheater area, which they feel will be a boon to the downtown community.
See full story in this week's print and online editions.
By Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA - U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Thursday walked back many of the controversial remarks and social media postings that have made the freshman Republican from Northwest Georgia a political lightning rod.
But Greene’s 10-minute speech on the House floor didn’t stop majority Democrats from passing a resolution 218-210 along party lines stripping her of assignments to serve on the House Budget and Education and Labor committees.
Greene, R-Rome, described herself to her new colleagues as a wife, mother and successful business owner who didn’t get involved in politics until the election of former President Donald Trump.
The Community Thrift Store, on Samaritan Drive, will “hopefully” be reopening February 2 after a long closure due to COVID. Unfortunately, with a volunteer force seriously depleted, they will not be able to help load the larger items at the store.
They are seeking new volunteers. “If you have some free time and would like to be a part of helping the charities in this county please consider volunteering,” the leaders at the 20-year-old establishment ask.
They could use people with as little as four hours to spare.
You’ll be blessed to be part of something that has given millions of dollars back to the Pickens community. For more information call 706-253-7770 or just come by and ask for Sarge.
New hours at the store, 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.