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Feb. 12, 2016 Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech Helps LIGO Observe Historic Gravitational Wave

Jason Maderer reports that for the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, validating a prediction made by Albert Einstein 100 years ago. A team of global scientists, which includes 12 Georgia Tech faculty members, postdoctoral fellows and student researchers, announced the finding Thursday morning. The observed wave originated from the collision of two black holes nearly 1.5 billion years ago and reached Earth last September.


Feb. 12, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Economic Development: February 2016

Christy Simo reports that Georgia’s capital is making a name for itself in the entrepreneurial scene. Atlanta was named one of the best cities in the country to launch a startup, outside of New York and Silicon Valley, coming in at No. 7 in a list by San Francisco-based DataFox. Los Angeles-based outsourcing services provider VXI Global Solutions is opening a call center in College Park this year that will create 570 jobs.


Feb. 12, 2016 WABE

Georgia Gives $70 Million To Mercer, Morehouse Medical Schools

Michell Eloy reports that Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announced Wednesday that the state will give $70 million to Morehouse School of Medicine and Mercer University’s medical school.  The money comes from a settlement with the federal government over disputed Medicaid reimbursements. Deal said the two schools were chosen because of their efforts to place graduates in rural and underserved areas in Georgia.


Feb. 12, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Comcast wants its Atlanta customers to ignore Google Fiber

Staff reports that Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has sent out a flier all but begging its Atlanta customers to not switch to Google Fiber, ArsTechnica reported. The mailer promises: “The fastest in-home Wi-Fi,” “9X more FREE TV shows and movies On Demand,” “DVR recordings to go,” and the “X1 voice remote” as features that Google Fiber doesn’t offer, ArsTechnica noted.


Feb. 12, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

$7 million entertainment complex Stars and Strikes coming to north Columbus by June

Tony Adams reports that anearly 57,000-square-foot entertainment complex that blends bowling, laser tag, bumper cars and an arcade with a restaurant, bar and meeting space is landing in the former Front Porch of the South thrift mall building in north Columbus by June. The $7 million center at 7607 Veterans Parkway, called Stars and Strikes, will be the ninth such attraction by an Alpharetta, Ga.-based company launched a little more than a decade ago. This will be the first location outside of the Atlanta area, with it having eight there.


Feb. 12, 2016 Macon Telegraph

Dublin VA to build multi-million dollar mental health building

Wayne Crenshaw reports that the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin is planning to build a new mental health clinic expected to cost between $5 million and $10 million. The center already has issued a pre-solicitation, which gives builders a heads up that bids will soon be accepted for the project. Fred Williams, the hospital's chief engineer, said he hopes to award a bid in March, and construction would begin sometime this summer.


Feb. 12, 2016 Saporta Report

Mayor Reed: City ‘very close’ to 20-year Delta deal; thanks CEO Richard Anderson for commitment to Atlanta

Maria Saporta reports that the  city is “very close to finalizing an agreement” with Delta Air Lines on a new 20-year lease at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told people attending the Atlanta Press Club’s Newsmaker Luncheon on Thursday. Reed said the agreement would keep Delta’s headquarters in Atlanta for the duration of the lease.


Feb. 12, 2016 Albany Herald

Quail Hunt draws industry leaders and prospects to Albany

Brad McEwan reports that Albany and Southwest Georgia took center stage this week as local and state leaders welcomed several industrial prospects looking for a great place in which to do business, at this year’s annual Georgia Quail Hunt, which got under way Wednesday. This year’s hunt marks the 28th year of the event in which the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Allies, the Albany Dougherty Economic Development Commission, the Southwest Georgia Chamber Council, and several sponsoring companies have used the Georgia Quail Hunt to bring business and economic leaders together with industry guests who are considering locating or expanding their companies in Georgia.


Feb. 12, 2016 Northwest Georgia News 

C.W. Matthews hiring 200 road, construction workers for projects in Rome, Cartersville

Staff reports that  Georgia Department of Labor will help C.W. Matthews, a highway and heavy construction company, recruit about 200 workers for projects in the region. Future construction projects are planned in Rome, Cartersville, Cumming, Dawsonville, Gainesville, Griffin, Macon, Marietta, Norcross and Stockbridge.


Feb. 12, 2016 Savannah Morning News

PortSide: Deepening work won't slow down

Mary Carr Mayle reports that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has enough funds to keep the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project on track for the coming year, according to Col. Marvin Griffin, the Corps’ Savannah District commander. “The president’s proposed budget includes what we need to make good progress with this effort,” Griffin said, adding that funding isn’t the only thing that could affect the pace of a project of this size.


Feb. 12, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Fintech Kabbage to add up to 300 jobs, expand Atlanta HQ

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Atlanta “tech unicorn” Kabbage will more than double its workforce and lease up to two additional floors — or more than 40,000 square feet — in Midtown.


Feb. 12, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Marco Rubio picks up another establishment Georgia Republican endorsement

Greg Bluestein reports that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is looking to reestablish his claim as the mainstream Republican who can unite the party. And he can’t get more mainstream than the latest Georgia endorsement he landed. Alec Poitevint said Thursday he was backing the candidate, who is trying to recover his footing after a fifth-place finish in New Hampshire. Poitevint chaired Sonny Perdue’s 2002 campaign for governor and David Perdue’s 2014 Senate bid.



Feb. 11, 2016 Georgia CEO

Governor Deal, Senators Isakson & Perdue: Port Funding in Budget Falls Short

Gov. Nathan Deal today said the $42.7 million in the president’s budget for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project falls short of the Obama administration’s commitment to the state. “Georgia taxpayers have already invested, in advance, the state’s full local share to SHEP. As we've fulfilled our commitment, which amounts to roughly $266 million, we continue to look to the federal government to do the same,” said Deal.


Feb. 11, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Business Casual - The Grownup's Table

I’m not quite sure when I realized I was officially an adult – a grownup, a responsible person expected to behave appropriately, no matter how tedious that might be, and fairly comfortable with that charge. It certainly wasn’t on my 21st birthday, when I had assumed I’d be issued a leather-bound copy of The Grownups Playbook to read while I was sipping my first legal beer. It didn’t happen. Not that day or the next.


Feb. 11, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Varsity: Owners of Atlanta icon face a big decision

Matt Kempner reports, is the Varsity OK? That's what I asked its president, Gordon Muir, whose mom is the CEO and whose grandfather founded the restaurant chain that is as Atlanta as Atlanta. It seemed like a fair question after the recent closing of the Varsity's Alpharetta restaurant, leaving all of north Fulton unVarsitized a dozen years after the outpost opened there.


Feb. 11, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Muhtar Kent, James Blanchard to be inducted as Georgia Trustees

Carla Caldwell reports that Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia Historical Society will Saturday induct Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board and CEO of The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) and James H. “Jimmy” Blanchard, retired Chairman and CEO of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE: SNV) as the newest Georgia Trustees. The induction at the annual Trustees Gala in Savannah, Ga., is part of a celebration of the 283th Anniversary of the founding of Georgia.


Feb. 11, 2016 Saporta Report

Georgia creates job to boost hunting, shooting to raise funds for conservation programs

David Pendered reports that Georgia has created a position, paid with public/private funds, to recruit and retain hunters and shooters. The purpose is to maintain and grow the level of funding for conservation and law enforcement on state land, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. Fees collected from hunters help pay to maintain public lands. The amounts have been declining over the past decade, according to a federal report.


Feb. 11, 2016 UGA

UGA summit on women in agriculture pulls attendees from throughout Southeast

J. Merritt Melancon reports that more than 150 agricultural leaders from across 13 Southern states and Washington, D.C., converged on the University of Georgia's campus in Athens on Feb. 8 to discuss leadership roles for women in agriculture. "The delegates at this summit represent the future of agriculture," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead in his welcoming remarks.


Feb. 11, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Spotted in Georgia — Stripling’s General Store

Karen Kirkpatrick reports that  Stripling’s General Store in Cordele, is home to family-made sausage for three generations. Learn more about what’s happening in this corner of Georgia in this month’s feature on Cordele and Crisp County, “Banking on Trains.”


Feb. 11, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

New bill aims to help create jobs, grow the music industry in Georgia

Phil W. Hudson reports that State Rep. Bert Reeves of Marietta, Ga., introduced a bill supported by Georgia Music Partners Inc. that seeks to help create jobs and grow the music industry in Georgia. According to GMP, not-for-profit corporation that operates in pYear's First Religious Freedom Bill Passes Georgia Houseartnership with The Recording Academy Atlanta Chapter, House Bill 956 will help keep Georgia’s homegrown musical talent working in in the state, bolster the industry, aid the recording industry and help spur development of music facilities.


Feb. 11, 2016 Athens Banner-Herald, Morris News Service

Less reliance on standardized tests in Georgia Senate proposal

Walter C. Jones reports that teacher, evaluations would be less dependent on student-exam scores, and parents would be able to opt out of standardized tests under legislation introduced Wednesday in the Senate. Just three years ago, the legislature enacted a grading system for classroom instructors where half was based on test scores in compliance with federal mandates. The state is only now phasing in that requirement statewide after trying it in a dozen or so districts as part of a $400 million Race to the Top grant Georgia received.


Feb. 11, 2016 GPB

Year's First Religious Freedom Bill Passes Georgia House

Sam Whitehead reports that Rep. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough) sponsored the bill, which prevents state schools from participating in sports associations that bar athletes from wearing religious images. "As long as the expression does not conflict with the rules of the event or the safety of the players, it cannot be prohibited," Strickland said from the House floor.


Feb. 11, 2016 Northwest Georgia News, Georgia Health News

Dental hygienist bill remains on hold, but prospects improving

Andy Miller reports that for the second time in two weeks, a health committee of the Georgia House tabled a bill Tuesday that would allow dental hygienists to practice in safety-net settings without a dentist present. But a hearing on House Bill 684 showed there was new dialogue between Rep. Sharon Cooper, chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, and the Georgia Dental Association about the proposal.


Feb. 11, 2016 WABE

Ga. Case Could Decide Whether State Law Is In Public Domain

Stephannie Stokes reports, can Georgia state law be copyrighted? A legal research company, Fastcase, is trying to prove that it can’t. The company filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta. The suit is against another research service, Casemaker, that has exclusive rights to Georgia's Rules and Regulations through an agreement with the state.


Feb. 11, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

When your Legislature violates the laws of Southern stereotypes

Jim Galloway reports, the South is such a strange, nuanced place. Which means your state Capitol can be a curious and contrarian haunt as well. One week, the dominant topic within its walls is a white Republican lawmaker who wants Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Atlanta restored to its previous name, owned by a Confederate general. Who describes the Ku Klux Klan as a group of strict guidance counselors tasked with keeping society on the straight-and-narrow. The very next week – this one, in fact — another white Republican lawmaker argued for his bill to prohibit discrimination at restaurants, hotels, and other profit-making entities doing business with the public.



Feb. 10, 2016 Marietta Daily Journal

Hoteliers fight back against proposed fee

Meris Lutz reports that owners and operators of budget hotels came out against a proposed $3 per room fee during Tuesday’s commission meeting, a day after many of the same owners signed a letter calling the tax “blatantly discriminatory and legally indefensible.”


Feb. 10, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Cordele | Crisp County: Banking On Trains

K. K. Snyder reports that necessity has certainly become the mother of invention in Southwest Georgia’s Crisp County, where economic development and downtown revitalization are both banking on the presence of rails to boost the local economy. Much of the county’s bread and butter still originates through some aspect of the railroad – from existing industries such as railroad crosstie manufacturer Stella-Jones to the expanding Cordele Inland Port to the tourism draw of the SAM Shortline Excursion Train.


Feb. 10, 2016 Atlanta  Journal-Constitution

Growing itch: Tackling the business of Zika and blood suckers

Matt Kempner reports that professional mosquito killers are a little puzzling on this thing about the Zika virus. They are kind of laid back about it, at least compared to some members of the public. It's not like this is their first disease rodeo.


Feb. 10, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

How far did NCR Corp. dip into the red in 2015?

Staff reports that NCR Corp. (NYSE: NCR) went in to the red in 2015 after foreign currency headwinds, lower revenue and ongoing pension expenses. The Duluth, Ga.-based maker of ATMs and other transaction technologies reported revenue for the year dipped 3.3 percent to $6.4 billion. The company posted an annual net loss of $174 million, or a loss per share of $1.09.


Feb. 10, 2016 Macon Telegraph

Byron creating new economic department

Michael W. Pannell reports that the Byron City Council is creating a new department and redefining duties in other departments based on proposed city ordinances. Three ordinances received a first reading at Monday's meeting and likely will be voted on March 14. According to the proposed ordinances, the council will create a new Economic and Community Development Department with its own director.


Feb. 10, 2015 Georgia Historical Society

Georgia Historical Society Surpasses $1 Million in Contributions for Annual Georgia History Festival and K-12 Educational Programming

Staff reports that the Georgia Historical Society announced today that the 2016 Georgia History Festival has surpassed all previous milestones by raising more than $1 million for K-12 educational programs in Georgia. “We are grateful to our 2016 Georgia History Festival Co-chairs Alice Jepson and Bill Jones III, and the entire committee who worked so tirelessly to achieve this milestone,” said Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society.  “It is because of their hard work and our corporate sponsors who support the Georgia History Festival each year that we will continue to bring exceptional Georgia history based educational programs to future generations.”


Feb. 10, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post

ARC grants Gwinnett, CIDs $643,728 in livable centers funding

Curt Yeomans reports that the Atlanta Regional Commission announced on Tuesday that it is sending about $643,728 to Gwinnett County and two of its community improvement districts to work on four trails and transit-oriented development projects in the county. The Gwinnett Village and Gwinnett Place Community Improvement Districts each received Livable Centers Initiative study grants, worth $100,000 and $48,000, respectively. Meanwhile, the county is receiving about $495,728 in LCI transportation funding from the ARC to help implement multi-use trail projects in the Norcross, Lilburn and Buford areas.


Feb. 10, 2016 Saporta Report

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank discloses having curable prostate cancer

Maria Saporta reports that Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons and co-founder of the Home Depot, disclosed in an exclusive interview Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with curable prostate cancer. Blank, 73, said that after multiple visits with different cancer specialists and hospitals around the country, he has opted to have surgery later this month.


Feb. 10, 2016 Georgia CEO

Southeast Manufacturing Begins 2016 on an Upswing

Staff reports that Southeast manufacturing activity increased 3.3 points to 55.3, propelled by strong growth in new orders and production, according to the Southeast’s Purchasing Managers Index report released today by Kennesaw State University’s Econometric Center in the Michael J. Coles College of Business. January’s PMI increase to 55.3 marks the Southeast’s highest reading going back to April 2015. The combination of increased new orders, production and finished inventory paints a positive picture for Southeast manufacturing growth going in to 2016.


Feb. 10, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Tip sheet: Take Two for student athletes’ religious expression

Aaron Gould Sheinen reports that religion will be a major theme in and around the Capitol again today. Lawmakers will be considering bills on the topic, including House Bill 870. That bill prohibits public schools from participating in athletic associations (Can you say GHSA?) that prohibit athletes from literally wearing their faith on their sleeve, headband or other apparel. A similar Senate bill is up in committee.



Feb. 9, 2016 Savannah Morning News

Gov. Deal kicks off 2016 Georgia Foreign Trade Conference

Mary Carr Mayle reports that Gov. Nathan Deal kicked off the 2016 Georgia Foreign Trade Conference on Monday morning with high praise for the Georgia Ports Authority and its outgoing director Curtis Foltz. “For 12 years, he’s done a great job in raising the value of the port, increasing its worth to the state and literally putting the Port of Savannah on the world map,” Deal said, noting that 2015 was another record-breaking year for the GPA.


Feb. 9, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Banking and Beverages: 2016 Georgia Trustees

Karen Kirkpatrick reports that this year’s Georgia Trustees, the state’s highest honor presented by the Office of the Governor and the Georgia Historical Society, are Jim Blanchard and Muhtar Kent. Blanchard led Synovus – with an emphasis on servant leadership – in Columbus for 35 years before retiring in 2005. Kent is the Chairman and CEO of Coke, leading that powerhouse with one eye on sustainability.


Feb. 9, 2016 Athens Banner-Herald

UGA head baseball coach position endowed by Tom Cousins

A gift from University of Georgia swimming letterman and Atlanta philanthropist Tom Cousins has permanently endowed the UGA head baseball coaching position according to a joint announcement by UGA J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity and the Cousins family. The position bears the name of Cousins' father Ike, a three-sport athlete, including baseball, at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.


Feb. 9, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Developer Post breaks ground on downtown project

J. Scott Trubey reports that apartment giant Post Properties on Monday broke ground on a $96 million residential project in downtown Atlanta that company CEO David Stockert called Post’s largest-ever bet in metro Atlanta. Post Centennial Park, at Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Simpson Street, includes 438 units across two mid-rise towers, and city leaders hope will serve as a catalyst for further downtown residential development.


Feb. 9, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta, Marietta, Cumming among America’s most educated cities

Phil W. Hudson reports that for those who have a degree, Georgia may be the place to be. The Peach State landed three cities on DegreeQuery’s list of most educated places in America. Atlanta came in at No. 24 on the list. The website reported 48.2 percent of people over age twenty-five in Fulton County hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.


Feb. 9, 2016 Augusta CEO

Charlie Harper: Port Growth Requires All of Georgia to Get Ready

Charlie Harper writes, sometimes the sound of success can also sound like a broken record. The Savannah port continues to grow, with yet another record breaking year now in the books. The Georgia Ports Authority provided details via press release: “Over the last calendar year, the Port of Savannah moved an all-time high 3.73 million twenty-foot equivalent container units, an increase of 391,356 TEUs, or 11.7 percent compared to CY2014.


Feb. 9, 2016 Gwinnett Daily Post, Georgia Health News

Data breach affects thousands in Georgia Medicaid, PeachCare

Andy Miller reports that a health insurer’s data breach has affected 148,334 Georgians on Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids, state officials say. That total includes current and former Medicaid and PeachCare members from 2009 to 2015. The breach occurred when health insurer Centene lost computer hard drives containing about 950,000 individuals’ personal data, including name, address, date of birth, Social Security and member ID numbers, and health information.


Feb. 9, 2016 Macon Telegraph

Residential sales, values in Middle Georgia trended upward in 2015

Linda S. Morris reports that Kathryn and David McGehee bought their house in north Bibb County 10 years ago, just before the real estate crash and the Great Recession. It was one of the largest houses on the block in the Barrington Hall subdivision in northwest Bibb County. Trying to sell it promptly and at a profit about two years ago turned into "a nightmare," Kathryn McGehee said.


Feb. 9, 2016 Mercer University

Stetson School of Business and Economics Featured in CEO Magazine's Global MBA Rankings

Staff reports that Mercer University’s Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics features prominently in CEO Magazine’s annual ranking of Master of Business Administration (MBA), Executive MBA (EMBA) and Online MBA programs, released today. Mercer’s Online MBA program comes in at No. 16, and its MBA and EMBA programs are placed in the top tier of the magazine’s global rankings. “We are delighted to receive this recognition from CEO Magazine,” said Dr. Susan P. Gilbert, dean of the Stetson School of Business and Economics. “We have deliberately kept our classes small, our population diverse and our quality standards high – all of which are considered within the magazine’s ranking EMBA_Tier1methodology.”


Feb. 9, 2016 Saporta Report

Georgia’s coastal marshland buffer zone again protected by state rules

David Pendered reports that Georgia has a new set of rules to govern development along the Georgia coast, and they provide the state with statutory authority to enforce a 25-foot salt marsh buffer. The salt marsh buffer became an issue in 2014, following a ruling by state Attorney General Sam Olens. The matter involved Georgia’s Erosion and Sedimentation Act of 1975.


Feb. 9, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Whoops: Hillary Clinton campaign lets Georgia Republican in on plans

Greg Bluestein reports that Hillary Clinton campaign will hold a Tuesday kick-off rally at the state Capitol.Followed by a bit of phone-banking in Marietta. Then more phone-banking on Saturday.We know this not because the Clinton campaign has informed us of the events, but because they sent their email to Doug Chalmers, a prominent GOP attorney. We did hear from the Clinton camp over the weekend with a statement reminding voters that in-person, early voting for Georgia’s March 1 presidential primary begins today. Several metro Atlanta counties have boosted their hours or added additional locations since the last presidential election.



Feb. 8, 2016 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service

Georgia Transportation officials hope traffic fatalities are on the way down after a bad year

Walter C. Jones reports that an 11-percent decline in Georgia road fatalities last month has safety experts hopeful Friday but not ready to declare victory. The number of traffic deaths was 108 in January compared to 121 in the same month of last year, according to Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.


Feb. 8, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Promoting Prevention

Mary Anne Dunkin reports that each day at hospitals throughout Georgia, doctors are using techniques that were once unimaginable to treat patients with heart disease. Robotics allow surgeons to operate with greater precision; faulty aortic valves are replaced through catheters, not large incisions; and machines support weak hearts and lungs while patients recover from heart attacks. But some of the most important work in heart disease is what hospitals are doing to prevent it.


Feb. 8, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Coca-Cola, 19 other big firms form alliance to target health-care costs

Carla Caldwell reports that Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) and 19 more big companies are banding together in a bid to hold down the cost of providing health-care benefits to workers.
The new alliance, which covers about four million people among them, plans to share information about members’ employee health spending and outcomes, with a goal of changing how they contract for care, reports The Wall Street Journal.


Feb. 8, 2016

Carter Visits U.K., Welcomes More Funding for Final Push to Wipe Out Guinea Worm

Trevor Williams reports that Jimmy Carter is in the United Kingdom this week drumming up further support for his Atlanta-based nonprofit’s efforts to wipe out tropical diseases. The former U.S. president gave a nearly half-hour speech to the House of Lords in London, held in the ornate Robing Room, to gather momentum for the final push to eradicate Guinea worm, one of the neglected tropical diseases the Carter Center has had in its crosshairs since 1986.


Feb. 8, 2016 Saporta Report

SunTrust launches campaign to help reduce financial stress felt by 3 of 4 in U.S.

David Pendered reports that SunTrust has purchased a TV ad during Super Bowl 50 to launch a consumer education campaign. It intends to help people ease their financial stress by helping them improve their skills managing money. SunTrust chose the nation’s largest TV audience in order to draw widespread attention to the bank’s new Onward and Upward campaign, dubbed onUp.


Feb. 8, 2016 Albany Herald, Georgia Health News

Lung Association flunks Georgia on tobacco control

Andy Miller reports that Georgia received three F’s and one C in the latest American Lung Association assessment of states’ tobacco control efforts, released this week. The 2016 Georgia grades, the same as last year, reflect inadequate funding for anti-smoking initiatives, the report says. Most other states also received F’s on three measures: spending on tobacco prevention and control; smoking cessation programs, and tobacco taxes.


Feb. 8, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Georgia ports director retiring

Karen Kirkpatrick reports thatCurtis Foltz, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority for the past six years, will step down June 30. During his tenure with GPA, Foltz has overseen record growth, as well as the start of the long-awaited Savannah Harbor Deepening Project. “In addition to record cargo growth, GPA, under Curtis’ leadership, modernized its terminals and developed operational practices that increased efficiency, improved safety and focused on environmental stewardship,” Jim Walters, chairman of the board, said in a statement.


Feb. 8, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

University of Georgia wants to change how athletes perceive, report concussions

Phil W. Hudson reports that  University of Georgia is launching a new study that aims to find ways to reduce the stigma surrounding concussions. The school reported it will use a three-year, $400,000 grant from the NCAA and the U.S. Department of Defense, for Julianne Schmidt, an assistant professor in the UGA College of Education’s kinesiology department, and Welch Suggs, an associate professor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, to create intervention methods to help athletes seek assistance after they have suffered a concussion, an injury commonly associated with football.


Feb. 8 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Proposed Georgia laws could help grandparents raise grandchildren

Alva James-Johnson reports that Child Protective Services removed Joe Ann Howe's two grandchildren from their mother's home about 16 years ago and placed them in the foster care system. But Howe, then a resident of Woodland, Ga., didn't want strangers caring for her grandbabies, who were then 4 and almost 5 years old. So she filled out the necessary paperwork to have them placed in her custody. From there, Howe faced a mountain of challenges, which included court battles with the children's birth mother, anger management counseling for her grandson and additional expenses for tutoring and medical care for health problems that went above and beyond what was covered by Medicaid.


Feb. 8, 2016 Augusta Chronicle

Georgia Bank CEO honored with resolution

Staff reports that Georgia Bank & Trust CEO R. Daniel Blanton is being honored with a state House resolution recognizing Blanton's leadership role in the state and national banking industries.


Feb. 8, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

David Perdue to push Obamacare replacement bill that’s long eluded Tom Price

Tamer Hallerman reports that David Perdue is planning to take the lead on an Obamacare replacement bill in the Senate that Roswell GOP Rep. Tom Price has long peddled in the House – with little success.The outcome in the Senate is unlikely to be any different in this thinly-scheduled election year, but the legislation will undoubtedly be red meat for Republican voters that could also help shield the party from criticism from Democrats that the GOP is unable to come up with policy alternatives for their No. 1 legislative target.



Feb. 5, 2016 Georgia Times-Union

Heavy rains, flooding close some Southeast Georgia schools

Terry Dickson reports that heavy rains that began before dawn Thursday flooded and degraded Southeast Georgia roads to the point that at least four systems closed schools Friday and one warned that buses may not be able to get some home, officials said. Five inches of rain fell in parts of Coffee County before dawn and that water quickly trickled downhill to Ware County where the school superintendent canceled Friday classes, said Jonathan Daniel director of Ware County Emergency Management.


Feb. 5, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Spotted in Georgia — Inman Park, Atlanta

Karen Kirkpatrick reports, the spring-like weather has everyone enjoying the outdoors — even the ducks of Inman Park in Atlanta. Send us photos of your favorite spots around the state for our Spotted in Georgia series. Check out our submission guidelines.


Feb. 5, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Georgia not ready for interstate compact aimed at Clean Power Plan

Dave Williams reports that legislation calling for Georgia to join other states in a compact to oppose the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan was shelved Thursday after environmentalists and the state agency they most like to criticize raised concerns. Members of the state Senate’s Natural Resources & the Environment Committee agreed to set aside the issue for further study rather than move forward with the bill this year.


Feb. 5, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Delta’s ‘next man up’ aims for upside

Kelly Yamanouchi reports that the newly named next CEO of Delta Air Lines on Thursday said he sees plenty of upside left in the company’s recent run of financial and operational successes. “I think our gas tanks are pretty full with ideas and opportunities,” Ed Bastian, who will become chief executive on May 2, said in a short interview.


Feb. 5, 2016 WABE

Delta Sole Airline Against Air Traffic Control Privatization

Stephannie Stokes reports that Republican Rep. Bill Shuster wants a private company to take over the nation's air traffic control system. Shuster, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, introduced a bill Wednesday that would end the Federal Aviation Administration's management of air traffic control and put a nonprofit corporation in its place. He has the support of all major airlines in the U.S., with the exception of one: Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines.


Feb. 5, 2016 Saporta Report

SunTrust launches campaign to help reduce financial stress felt by 3 of 4 in U.S.

David Pendered reports that SunTrust has purchased a TV ad during Super Bowl 50 to launch a consumer education campaign. It intends to help people ease their financial stress by helping them improve their skills managing money. SunTrust chose the nation’s largest TV audience in order to draw widespread attention to the bank’s new Onward and Upward campaign, dubbed onUp.


Feb. 5, 2016 Augusta Chronicle

Residents, activists speak out on possible German waste shipment to Savannah River Site

Travis Highfield reports that U.S. Department of Energy on Thursday heard comments on the possibility of accepting spent nuclear fuel from Germany for processing at Savannah River Site and disposal at a yet to be disclosed location. In a meeting at the North Au­gusta Community Center, several dozen citizens and activists were provided opportunities to discuss the draft environmental assessment issued by the Energy Department last month. The assessment evaluates the potential impact of accepting the spent fuel, which comes from two German reactors that ceased operations in the late 1980s.


Feb. 5, 2016 Kennesaw University

Business School recognized for global ingenuity

Kennesaw State University’s Michael J. Coles College of Business has earned accolades for creating an environment where out-of-the-box thinking flourishes. AACSB International, the global accrediting body and membership association for business schools, has recognized the College’s innovative Doctor of Business Administration program (DBA).


Feb. 5, 2016

Wales Opens Investment Office in Atlanta

Trevor Williams reports, for Georgia companies entering the European market, Wales is rarely the first place that springs to mind. That’s why those promoting investment into the United Kingdom country are now doing their best to at least get “on the shopping list,” says Martin Jenkins, head of trade and investment for the Welsh government. The plan to raise the Welsh profile here includes the appointment of an Atlanta-based investment officer focused on building bridges with the business and political communities across the 14 southern states.


Feb. 5, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Georgia House bill would restore Delta's tax break

Dave Williams reports that et another attempt to subtract some of the tax revenue from the $900 million transportation funding bill the General Assembly passed last year surfaced Thursday in the Georgia House of Representatives.
House Majority Whip Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, introduced legislation that would partially restore the state’s sales tax exemption on purchases of aviation fuel. The tax break primarily benefited Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. before lawmakers repealed it last year to help fund the transportation measure.


Feb. 5, 2016 Macon Telegraph

Milledgeville's Floyd eyes state House seat

Maggie Lee reports that veteran Milledgeville politician Floyd Griffin Jr. says he will consider trying a return to the state Legislature in Atlanta in an election this year. "I'm announcing my intent to run for House seat 145," said Griffin, a Democrat.The district covers all of Baldwin County and part of Putnam. Griffin, 71, said he thinks that he is the best-qualified person for the office. He also said it is time for incumbent Rusty Kidd, an independent, to leave office.


Feb. 5, 2016 Gwinnett Daily Post

Evans: Georgia lawmakers consider bold move to reduce healthcare costs

Charles R. Evans writes, as we move through presidential primary season, a new poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that the cost of healthcare and health insurance among the top concerns of registered voters. Falling only behind terrorism and the economy, the rising cost of healthcare is very much on the minds of voters across the country. That’s certainly the case here in Georgia as we approach the SEC Presidential primary on March 1.


Feb. 5, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Sonny Perdue endorses Jeb Bush in GOP presidential contest

Jim Galloway reports that former Gov. Sonny Perdue had been GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s most prominent backer in Georgia. In part, Perdue said last year, because he liked Huckabee’s mantra of “I’m a conservative, but I’m not mad about it.” Huckabee got someone angry toward the end, but he bowed out of the contest after a poor showing in Iowa. And Sonny Perdue is now backing Jeb Bush, who once described his campaign as “joyful” but is now struggling to save it in New Hampshire.



Feb. 4, 2016 Saporta Report

Georgia Ports Authority names new leader, who will serve as harbor is deepened

David Pendered reports that board that oversees the Georgia Ports Authority on Wednesday announced the appointment of a new executive director, just a week after announcing that 2015 was the ports’ busiest year ever. GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz is stepping down after six years in the job and a total of 12 years at GPA. Foltz intends to continue working as a consultant for the next 10 to 15 years. He’ll serve the GPA as a consultant for one year, according to GPA.


Feb. 4, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Neely Young: The Chosen Few

Neely Young writes, my friend Marion Pope Jr., who served in the legislature and later as both a Superior Court and Appeals Court judge, maintains that of all the 236 members of the Georgia General Assembly, only a fraction really decide what laws will be passed in the 40 days they are in session, which this year began Jan. 11.Gov. Nathan Deal really has the ultimate power. In the first stages of lawmaking he sits on the sidelines because he cannot formally introduce a bill, so he works through his floor leaders to push his legislative initiatives. At the session’s end, he can veto or sign a bill into law.


Feb. 4, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

UGA and GeoVax partner to develop Zika vaccine

Ellie Hensely reports that the University of Georgia and metro Atlanta-based GeoVax Labs Inc. will collaborate to develop and test a possible Zika virus vaccine. No proven vaccine or treatment currently exists for Zika, which is related to other mosquito-borne viruses like yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya. Ted Ross, director of UGA's Center for Vaccines and Immunology and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, will lead the team of UGA researchers.


Feb. 4, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Delta CEO departing, successor named

Kelly Yamanouchi reports that Atlanta’s biggest airline — and one of its biggest private employers — soon will have a new leader. Delta Air Lines said Wednesday that CEO Richard Anderson will retire on May 2 after a nearly nine-year tenure in which he led the company through a blockbuster merger and turned it into a financial star of the industry.


Feb. 4, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Carmike grabs two more movie complexes for $5.4 million, continuing its diet of buyouts, new and renovated theaters

Tony Adams reports that Carmike Cinemas has pulled the trigger on a $5.4 million purchase of two Northeast theaters from competitor AMC, continuing its steady stream of acquisitions, newly built theaters and conversions of old complexes to state-of-the-art amenities and technology. The company, headquartered in Columbus, said the deals for the East Windsor Town Center 10 theater in East Windsor, N.J., and the Berlin 12 Theatre in Berlin, Conn., were paid for in cash.


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Feb. 4 2016 Gainesville Times State

EPD: Glades Reservoir not needed for water supply

Joshua Silavent reports that Georgia no longer requires the proposed Glades Reservoir in North Hall County to meet the state’s water supply needs through 2050, according to the state Environmental Protection Division. However, a door has been left open for the reservoir to be developed as additional storage to augment downstream flows on the Chattahoochee River in times of drought.


Feb. 4, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

2016 Hall of Fame and Most Influential Pictures on Facebook

Georgia Trend and guests celebrated the 2016 Georgian of the Year, Hall of Fame Inductees and Most Influential Georgians last week. Nearly 400 attendees enjoyed the awards luncheon and meeting the honorees. These photos are provided by


Feb. 4, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Health insurer Anthem considers several hundred jobs for Sandy Springs

Douglas Sams reports that the Indianapolis-based company (NYSE: ANTM) has entered advanced discussions to put the business unit at 3 Glenlake Parkway, known as the current headquarters of Newell Rubbermaid Inc.


Feb. 4, 2016 GPB

Georgia Lawmaker Wants STEM Classes To Count More For HOPE Scholarship

Sam Whitehead reports that Rep. Jan Jones' (R-Milton) bill passed unanimously on Wednesday after she explained it on the House floor. "The legislation authorizes the Board of Regents to select bachelor level science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses to receive extra weight for purposes of calculating the HOPE scholarship GPA," Jones said.


Feb. 4, 2016 Macon Telegraph

Peake won't run for lieutenant governor

Maggie Lee reports that State Rep. Allen Peake is abandoning the idea of a 2018 run for lieutenant governor, saying his well-reported deliberations about the office are undercutting his push for medical marijuana. "I keep hearing that the only reason I'm pushing this medical marijuana bill is to elevate my name ... as a platform for higher office," Peake, R-Macon, said.


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Feb. 4, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

New poll: 84 percent of Georgia voters want to decide casino issue themselves

Jim Galloway reports that backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to allow casinos in Georgia are out with a fresh poll that says an overwhelming number of Georgia voters want to be able to settle the issue themselves. Before being placed on the November ballot, the measure first must achieve a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate.



Feb. 3, 2016 Albany Herald

UGA experts predict strong Georgia economy in 2016

Brad McEwan reports that experts from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business predict a healthy state economy, and the potential for a strengthening local economy during the presentation of the annual Georgia Economic Outlook Tuesday at Hilton Garden Inn. Benjamin Ayers, dean of the Terry College of Business, and Beata Kochut, a research analyst for the Selig Center for Economic Growth at Terry College, addressed a room full of Albany area business and civic leaders, where they delivered the positive outlook.


Feb. 3, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Political Notes - February 2016

Susan Percy reports that State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), who championed the successful effort to allow the use of cannabis in Georgia for certain medical conditions, has left his post as a floor leader for Gov. Nathan Deal. Peake and the governor have some differences on what’s next for medical cannabis in the state. At present, individuals who qualify can use cannabis oil but cannot buy it legally in Georgia; growing cannabis is also illegal in the state.


Feb. 3, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Georgia Tech creating new 'Interdisciplinary Design Commons' to foster innovation

David Allison reports that goal of the proposed project is to create an interdisciplinary design commons that will foster design, creativity, innovation and invention for students from all disciplines at Georgia Tech.


Feb. 3, 2016 Georgia Times-Union

Comment period extended until March 4 on rail yard for coal ash at Wayne County landfill

Terry Dickson reports that opponents of a rail yard that would be used to accommodate trains that would haul coal ash to a Wayne County landfill will have another month to comment. A public comment period that was to have expired Wednesday has been extended to March 4, but the rules have not changed, said Billy Birdwell, spokesman at the Corps of Engineers Savannah Office.


Feb. 3, 2016 WABE

Georgia Power’s Plan To Slow Renewable Energy Growth

Tasnim Shamma reports that Georgia Power has laid out its energy production plan for the next three years. The utility is asking the state Public Service Commission to approve its plan, kicking off a months-long review process. Georgia Power is required to file an Integrated Resource Plan every three years, detailing its plan for the next two decades.


Feb. 3, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Southern Co. promotes head on nuclear plant expansion

Russell Grantham reports that the executive who has been in charge of constructing the Vogtle nuclear power plant’s expansion has been named to head Southern Co.’s wholesale energy arm. Southern Co. said Tuesday Joseph “Buzz” Miller will become president and chief executive of Southern Power on March 7. He replaces 32-year veteran Oscar C. Harper IV, who is retiring.


Feb. 3, 2016 Augusta Chronicle, Morris News

Service State panel to review Plant Vogtle costs

Walter C. Jones reports that electricity customers and the public will get a detailed look at what's to blame for cost overruns in the construction of two nuclear reactors. Also, one commissioner called on the legislature to make Georgia Power stop billing customers for the reactors because construction is about to exceed the original completion date.


Feb. 3, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Anthem adding 450 employees at its BlueCross BlueShield complex in Columbus

Tony Adams reports that health-care insurer Anthem plans to add 450 employees at its BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia office complex in the Midland area of Columbus by the end of 2017, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s office said Tuesday. The expansion comes with a capital investment of more than $3 million, with the new staffing on top of the 1,285 workers already earning a paycheck at the Columbus “Customer Care Center” in Muscogee Technology Park.


Feb. 3, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

United Parcel Service annual profit rises

Staff reports that bellwether company United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) posted a higher profit in 2015, but revenue was almost flat. The Atlanta-based package shipper and logistics company said its annual revenue increased 0.2 percent to $58.4 billion, while its annual profit jumped 59.8 percent to $4.8 billion, or $5.35 a share.


Feb. 3, 2016

Korean Chamber Dinner Held at Kia Plant That Has Transformed West Georgia Counties

Phil Bolton reports that judging the impact of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia on Troup and the counties surrounding West Point comes easily to Randy Jackson, who was hired shortly after the momentous West Georgia deal was signed in 2006 and has overseen three waves of hiring at the plant.


Feb. 3, 2016 Athens Banner Herald, Morris News Service

Georgia budget writers consider prison locks and revolving doors

Walter C. Jones reports that state officials asked budget writers Tuesday for money for upgrading locks at the state’s prisons and juvenile facilities as well as 7-percent pay increases to reduce turnover of guards. Nearly half of the guards in the Department of Juvenile Justice, 47 percent, leave in a year’s time. It’s almost as high in the adult prisons of the Department of Corrections at 32 percent.


Feb. 3, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

MARTA rail push assigned a skeptical Senate chairman

Jim Galloway reports, only a day old, and already MARTA’s push to greatly expand rail service in metro Atlanta is in trouble. S.B. 313, which would permit a referendum to accomplish this, was dropped Monday by state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, as had been advertised. Also on Monday, at 8:35 a.m., state Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, tapped out the following on Facebook: "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Miami wanted to expand heavy rail which drew accurate criticism from then President Ronald Reagan, who stated that it would have been a lot cheaper to buy everyone a limousine."



Feb. 2, 2016 Savannah Morning News

Trade Center wants convention hotel

Mary Carr Mayle reports that the board that governs the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center will ask interested developers to submit their qualifications for building a 300-500 room convention hotel on Hutchinson Island, adjacent to the trade center. At a special called meeting Monday, the trade center authority voted unanimously to have the Georgia World Congress Center Authority send out an RFQ — or request for qualification.


Feb. 2, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

New partners in fight against cancer

Karen Kirkpatrick reports that now patients with cancer in Southwest Georgia will be able to access the cutting-edge research and treatment of Emory’s nationally recognized Winship Cancer Institute without leaving the area. A new collaboration has brought the Lewis Hall Singletary Oncology Center at Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville into Emory’s Winship Cancer Network.


Feb. 2, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

WellStar Kennestone Hospital opens new $11 million cancer center

Ellie Hensley reports that Marietta, Ga.-based WellStar Kennestone Hospital opened its new cancer center Feb. 1 after spending $11 million on renovations. The 100,000-square-foot center will offer traditional treatments like radiation and surgery as well as integrative healing methods like acupuncture. The center will also be the first ever to collaborate with the American Cancer Society (ACS) to open a resource center to educate patients and their families about their diagnoses, treatment options and cancer risks.


Feb. 2, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Aflac reports $730 million profit in quarter, $2.5 billion for 2015

Tony Adams reports that Aflac, seeing solid performance from its insurance sales in Japan and the U.S., reported Monday a fourth-quarter profit of $730 million, up nearly 4 percent from $703 million in the same period of 2014. However, the late three-month push wasn’t enough to grow the Columbus-based company’s full-year numbers. It posted a profit, or net earnings, of $2.53 billion over the 12 months, which was down 14 percent from $2.95 billion in 2014.


Feb. 2, 2016 August Chronicle

Lawmakers, Unisys celebrate opening of office in Augusta

Travis Highfield reports that announcements and ground breaking ceremonies are special occasions, but there’s nothing quite like a ribbon cutting ceremony, Augusta Economic Development Authority Chairman Henry Ingram said. Monday, Ingram joined Gov. Nathan Deal, U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis and Unisys Corporation executives outside the old Fort Discovery building along the Augusta Riverwalk to celebrate the opening of the company’s newest client service center and the potential to create up to 700 jobs over the next five years.


Feb. 2, 2016 Saporta Report

Savannah port handles more cargo as GDOT aims to facilitate access to, from port

David Pendered reports that the state port in Savannah handled a significant increase in freight in 2015, compared to 2014, and is purchasing four new cranes to expand its ability to move cargo. State transportation officials are working to respond to a demand for mobility to and from the port.


Feb. 2, 2016 Athens Banner-Herald

Solarize Athens marks first bulk-purchase residential solar installation

Jim Thompson reports that the solar panels now atop parts of the south- and west-facing roofs of Jim Pinneau’s home in eastern Athens-Clarke County are the first tangible evidence of Solarize Athens’ efforts to boost solar energy use across the Athens metropolitan area through the bulk purchase of equipment and installation.


Feb. 2, 2016 Georgia Health News

Sale of Clayton County hospital finalized

Andy Miller reports that Prime Healthcare Foundation announced Monday that it has completed its acquisition of Southern Regional Medical Center, Clayton County’s only hospital. The deal, which closed Monday, follows a hectic year in which the struggling Southern Regional, near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, sought a financial partner to avoid closure.


Feb. 2, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Painful prediction: Army cuts at Benning fuel projections of 1,000 additional job losses in Columbus area, declining population

Tony Adams reports that they were blunt and painful words to hear Friday from a respected Georgia economist delivering an annual prognostication that essentially sets the tone for the rest of the year. "My forecast for Columbus for 2016 is not good," said Jeff Humphreys, director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business.


Feb. 2, 2016 Macon Telegraph

State Bank releases fourth quarter and 2015 financial results

Linda S. Morris reports that State Bank Financial Corp. recently announced unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and full year at the end of January. Operating income for the fourth quarter of 2015 was $12.1 million, or 33 cents per fully diluted share, compared to $8.7 million, or 24 cents per share, for the same quarter of 2014.


Feb. 2, 2016 GPB

Undocumented Students Will Continue To Pay Out-Of-State Tuition

Sam Whitehead reports that 2014, a group of undocumented students sued Georgia’s Board of Regents to establish their legal presence under an Obama administration policy that grants them renewable work permits. Such a ruling would have qualified the students for in-state tuition. That lawsuit was dismissed by a lower court, a decision that was upheld by the Supreme Court of Georgia on Monday.


Feb. 2, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Tip sheet: If it’s Pastor’s Day, RFRA is the topic

Jim Galloway reports, number of legislative days remaining: 27. Both chambers convene at 10 a.m. The Senate takes up a bill by Sen. Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton, to clamp down on cases of repeat domestic violence. Expected to draw attention later in the day, besides committee meetings, is a 1:15 p.m. press conference in the third-largest meeting room in the state Capitol, featuring Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, Rep. Sam Teasley, R-Marietta, and representatives of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.



Feb. 1, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

TSYS shares jump $2.20 apiece after two turbulent trading days

Tony Adams reports that shares of global credit-card and payments processor TSYS took back some lost ground on the New York Stock Exchange Friday. The company, headquartered in Columbus, saw its shares jump $2.20 apiece, or 5.8 percent, closing at $40.16.


Feb. 1, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Servant Leader

Karen Kirkpatrick reports, there are people who pay lip service to the idea of servant leadership, spouting good words while leading a company and its people off a cliff, or business leaders so firmly fixed on the bottom line that they don't raise their eyes for a good look at their employees. Then there's Jim Blanchard, a man whose name is said reverently and with a smile, almost as if he were George Washington (a man he greatly admires.)


Feb. 1, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Breakup of Weather Co. empire takes hold in Cobb

Matt Kempner reports that the Weather Channel is on its own again. IBM announced it has officially closed on its deal to buy most of the channel’s parent company, the Cobb County-based Weather Company. That includes, the company’s mobile apps and, crucially, the ability to gather, crunch and distribute huge amounts of weather data not only to consumers but to the Weather Company’s business customers, including airlines, media outlets and energy businesses.


Feb. 1, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Report: Coca-Cola makes largest overseas acquisition since 2012

Carla Caldwell reports that the Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) has agreed to buy Nigeria’s largest juice maker as the Atlanta-based beverage giant continues to diversify amid slowing soft-drink sales. Coca-Cola said Saturday it has acquired an initial 40 percent stake in TGI Group’s Chi Ltd., which also sells dairy and snacks, reports The Wall Street Journal.


Feb. 1, 2016 UGA

UGA Alumni Association unveils 2016 Bulldog 100 rankings

Elizabeth Elmore reports that the University of Georgia Alumni Association recognized the 100 fastest-growing companies owned or operated by UGA alumni during the seventh annual Bulldog 100 Celebration Jan. 30 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. The 2016 fastest-growing business was SMD LLC, founded by Shane Douthitt and Scott Mondore.


Feb. 1, 2016 Athens Banner-Herald

Athens-based Onward Reserve succeeds with curation of men's clothing, seeks to create own clothing line

Hilary Butschek reports that after just four years of having a storefront in Athens, Onward Reserve has opened six stores and is now producing its own clothing line. TJ Callaway, a University of Georgia graduate, is the trendsetter and manager behind the business. However, his journey after college didn’t start with the men’s clothing store.


Feb. 1, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Caterpillar to shutter Georgia plant, cut 250 jobs

Olivia Barrow reports that Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) will close a plant in Thomasville, Ga., and cut about 250 jobs as part of a larger restructuring. The Peoria, Ill.-based heavy equipment maker also will also close four other U.S. plants and one in China.


Feb. 1, 2016 Macon Telegraph

Lawmakers considering tweaks of fireworks law

Maggie Lee reports that last year, a great Georgia tradition of driving just over the state line to buy fireworks ended when the state legalized fireworks sales. Now, state lawmakers in Atlanta -- noise and safety complaints in hand -- may seek to limit the fallout from what they did.


Feb. 1, 2016 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service

Consumer issues taking no backseat in Ga. General Assembly

Walter C. Jones reports that a clue to how at least one consumer-protection bill may fare in this year's session of the General Assembly came during a panel discussion when all four legislators and the moderator complained of falling victim. That issue was something called balance billing, in which patients get charges they expected their health insurance to cover. It’s one of dozens of matters dealing with consumers up for consideration in the remaining 28 days of the session.


Feb. 1, 2016 WABE

Georgia House Passes Mid-Year Budget Thursday

Johnny Kauffman reports that the Georgia House of Representatives approved changes Thursday to the state’s budget, adding about $1 billion in spending through the middle of 2016. Three-fourths of that additional money is for transportation projects. It comes from new taxes on gas and hotel stays. The mid-year budget changes also include an extra $91 million for public health care programs and about $100 million for education.


Feb. 1, 2016 GPB

Legal Or Not, Rep. Allen Peake Plans to Keep Helping Registered Users Obtain Cannabis Oil

Shelby Lin Erdman reports that Macon Republican Allen Peake said he plans to continue helping registered cannabis oil users in Georgia obtain the drug, despite what was widely seen as a warning earlier this week from Governor Nathan Deal. “We are providing as much input to these families and citizens that are properly registered with the state of where to obtain cannabis oil and providing them whatever assistance is needed to get it,” Peake said Thursday during an interview with Capitol Report.


Feb. 1, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

A national effort for ‘victims’ rights’ legislation is headed to Georgia

Greg Bluestein reports that a national group backed by a California billionaire is ready to wage a campaign to get a constitutional amendment on victims’ rights on the Georgia ballot in November. House Resolution 1199 would require that victims and their families receive information about what services are available to them, notification of hearings and major developments in the criminal case and the right to be heard at plea or sentencing proceedings.



Jan. 29, 2016 Saporta Report

Georgia ranks 20th as retirement destination; Baby Boomers a growing segment of metro Atlanta’s population

David Pendered reports that a  new analysis shows Georgia ranks 20th in the nation in terms of its desirability as a place to retire. Meanwhile, Census figures show the region is graying and the fastest growing age group is aged 45 years to 64 years. The retirement ranking is based on a comparison of 50 states and the District of Columbia. The comparison is based on three dimensions: Affordability, quality of life, and health care.


Jan. 29, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Economy: Savannah Soars

Jeffrey Humphreys writes, Savannah’s growth prospects are among the best in the nation. The city’s unique ambiance and transportation infrastructure make it an attractive place to live and do business. Visitors are drawn to the thriving historic district and waterfront. Hotel development has been and will continue to be very strong. Retirees will remain an important force powering and diversifying the region’s economic development, but the area will also benefit from the fact that its population is increasing for all age groups.


Jan. 29, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

$80 million project will rise at Avondale MARTA station

Amy Wenk reports that an $80 million mixed-use project is set to break ground beside the Avondale MARTA station — one of several transit-oriented developments MARTA looks to kick off this year.


Jan. 29, 2016 Savannah CEO

Kinder Morgan Releases Impact Study of Proposed Palmetto Pipeline on Georgia’s Economy

Staff reports that according to renowned University of Georgia economist Jeffrey Dorfman, the Palmetto Pipeline proposed by Kinder Morgan, Inc. will result in an estimated benefit to Georgia of $3.9 billion over the next 20 years. “With a current population of 1.3 million Georgians in the potential service area for the Palmetto Pipeline, the total economic benefits to Georgia become quite large. In its first 20 years of operation, the economic impact from pipeline construction and operations will be $948 million (in today’s dollars),” Dorfman noted.


Jan. 29, 2016 Georgia Health News

Emory’s Winship finds partner in Thomasville

Andy Miller reports that Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta has announced the first community hospital partner for its new cancer network: Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville. The affiliation means that physicians with the South Georgia hospital will have access to Emory cancer specialists for care consultations, the latest protocols and research, and a route for patients to participate in clinical trials.


Jan. 29, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Columbus chamber of commerce working deal to sell depot

Chuck Williams reports that the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce is exploring the possibility of selling the historic downtown train depot it has owned for about 15 years and it looks like there could be a buyer. A prominent local law firm, Pope McGlamry PC, is exploring the possibility of a deal that would put its offices in the depot. Pope McGlamry has formed a limited liability corporation that could lease a portion of the building to the firm, according to Paul Kilpatrick.


Jan. 29, 2016

New Honorary Consul Aims to Raise Italy’s Profile in Georgia

Trevor Williams reports that Italy’s new honorary consul in Georgia is aiming to raise the profile of a country with a heavy business influence here that hasn’t been appropriately recognized. “Unlike countries like Germany that have a very organized presence in Atlanta, the Italians to date haven’t really had that, and so one of my goals is to help raise our profile and help make that happen,” said Ryan Kurtz, a Miller & Martin LLP attorney who was named Italy’s official representative in Georgia this month.


Jan. 29, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

How big a profit did PulteGroup build in 2015?

Staff reports that Atlanta-based PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM) reported profit increased in 2015 as housing demand remained strong, and the homebuilder ended the year with its highest backlog since 2007. PulteGroup’s backlog of 6,731 homes (worth $2.5 billion) in 2015 was its highest year-end backlog since 2007, and is up from prior year backlog of 5,850 homes ($1.9 billion).


Jan. 29, 2016 Gainesville Times

State House, Senate split on new medical cannabis bill

Joshua Silavent reports that hearings kicking off this week in the state legislature over a proposed bill to allow the in-state cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis, the line between supporters and opponents has become clear. There appear to be enough votes in the House to pass the bill, but pushback in the Senate, as well as from Gov. Nathan Deal, could scuttle the proposal.


Jan. 29, 2016 WABE

Ga. Democratic Senators Propose Minimum Wage Hike

Elly Yu reports that Georgia Senate Democrats have introduced a bill to raise the state's minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $15 an hour. It's not the first time state Democrats have introduced such a bill. Similar proposals have been dropped in many past sessions. State Sens. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, is the bill's main sponsor, and co-sponsors include Sen. Minority Leader Steve Henson, D-Tucker, and Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta.


Jan. 29, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia legislator says bill offers ‘postive alternative’ to abortion

Kristina Torres reports that a Georgia lawmaker would make $2 million worth of state grants available to dozens of pregnancy resource centers across Georgia, saying it was a “positive alternative” to efforts restricting women’s access to abortions. “Instead of getting up and bashing and saying how awful an abortion is — which I do believe they are — this is the alternative to give people the option and reach a wider scope of pregnant women that can make what I feel like are better choices,” said Senate Health and Human Services Chairwoman Renee Unterman, R-Buford, sponsor of Senate Bill 308.



Jan. 28, 2016 WSB Radio

Change in cases Supreme Court of Georgia hears

Sandra Parrish reports that Georgia’s Chief Justice is calling for a shift in the kind of cases the state’s highest court considers. During his State of the Judiciary, Chief Justice Hugh Thompson says it’s time to bring the Supreme Court of Georgia into the 21st century and consider more cases affecting state law. Citing recommendations from Gov. Nathan Deal’s Appellate Jurisdiction Review Commission, he wants cases like divorces, property disputes and wills to be heard by a newly expanded Court of Appeals and not the Supreme Court.


Jan. 28, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Filling In The Gaps

Mary Ann Dunkin reports that while dental visits for children have increased over the past decade, dental care among adults in the state is steadily declining, as many adults wait until easily preventable or treatable problems become painful – and expensive.In 2007 (the most recent available figures) in Georgia, there were about 60,000 visits – at a cost of more than $23 million – to emergency rooms for non-traumatic dental problems, which are oral health issues not caused by injuries.


Jan. 28, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Hair products firm adds 100 jobs in Duluth

Staff reports that hair products maker and distributor Shake-N-Go and Model Model Hair will expand into a 100,000-square-foot warehouse in Duluth and plans to hire 100 employees over the next five years. The new facility at 2660 Pinemeadow Court will distribute hair products to domestic and overseas customers and handle imports from overseas.


Jan. 28, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

TSYS stock tumbles nearly $7 per share day after earnings release, TransFirst acquisition news

Tony Adams reports that stock of TSYS suffered a major shock Wednesday, a day after an overall solid earnings report and news that the company is buying a firm called TransFirst for $2.35 billion.Shares plunged just after the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange and never recovered, losing $6.78 apiece to finish the day at $39.22 per share, a nearly 15 percent drop from Tuesday’s closing price of $46.


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Jan. 28, 2016 Rome News-Tribune

Georgia Trend: Corbin among ‘Most Influential’; other local leaders named 'Most Notable'

Doug Walker reports that Rome’s Gretchen Corbin, commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia, has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend magazine. Lamar Norton, a native of Summerville who worked with Georgia Power in Rome for a number of years before becoming executive director of the Georgia Municipal Association, is also listed among the 100 Most Influential Georgians.


Jan. 28, 2016 Georgia Times-Union

Riverkeeper appeals Rayonier AM's permit to dump wastewater into Altamaha River at Jesup

Terry Dickson reports that Altamaha Riverkeeper and other conservation groups filed an appeal Wednesday of the issuance of a state permit that allows Rayonier Advanced Materials to continue discharging treated process water into the Altamaha River at its huge Jesup mill. Hutton Brown, a senior lawyer for GreenLaw, said the permit the Georgia Environmental Protection Division issued at the end of December should have had more stringent limits on color, odor and turbidity and, without those standards, the permit does not comply with the Clean Water Act.


Jan. 28, 2016 Covington News

Local manufacturer, NyloBoard, stops production

Sandra Brands reports that NyloBoard, LLC, located at 14187 Industrial Park Blvd NE in Covington has ceased production and the company was put up for sale Monday.According to a prepared statement by Doug Morse, NyloBoard’s president and chief operating officer, the company’s “venture capital owner has decided to no longer fund the business. The business, including all assets is for sale as an operating entity.”


Jan. 28, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Rollins generates record revenue, profit growth in 2015

Staff reports that Rollins Inc. (NYSE: ROL) achieved record revenue and profit growth in 2015. The Atlanta-based pest control company’s annual revenue rose 5.2 percent to $1.5 million, while its yearly profit jumped 10.5 percent to $152.1 million or 70 cents a share.


Jan. 28, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Trumpism is already roiling Republican politics in Georgia

Jim Galloway reports that Donald Trump has yet to finish with Iowa. Three more states stand between him and our “SEC primary” on March 1. The petulant GOP frontrunner has made only two appearances here in the last six months. And yet, Trumpism is already roiling Georgia politics, renewing a debate over who is a conservative and what that label means. The Trump presidential campaign is already shaping the race to replace U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland in Washington.



Jan. 27, 2016 Macon Telegraph

$87.1 million warehouse proposed for Butts County

Linda S. Morris reports that a huge warehouse for distribution valued at more than $87.1 million may be built in Butts County. The facility would have more than 1 million square feet of space and is projected to produce $1.2 million in annual local tax revenue, according to a form filed with the Middle Georgia Regional Commission. The commission would determine if the project is a development of regional impact, and if it is, other county or city governments that might be affected would be asked to comment about the impact.


Jan. 27, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Sustainable Georgia: Food For Thought

Ben Young writes, I hope you enjoy the new and improved Georgia Trend. I was blown away to see the redesign of our magazine complete with augmented reality (AR) interfaces. Our staff worked hard, and I hope you’ll agree it’s a bold new look for us and really raises the bar for business journal design. We now can use AR to bring the people and places of Georgia Trend to life by downloading an app and viewing the print edition through a tablet or smartphone, as you can see on our cover this month.


Jan. 27, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Insurance giant AIG to sell Atlanta-based subsidiary FSC Securities

David Allison reports that insurance giant American International Group Inc. (NYSE:AIG) said Tuesday it will sell its Atlanta-based subsidiary FSC Securities Corp. as part of a broad streamlining of its business. AIG said that as part of a strategy to become leaner, more profitable and focused it will return at least $25 billion to shareholders over the next two years, sell up to 19.9 percent of United Guaranty Corp.


Jan 27, 2016 Columbus Ledger Enquirer

TSYS buying TransFirst for $2.35 billion in cash

Tony Adams reports that credit-card and payments processor TSYS said Tuesday it is making the largest acquisition in its history, paying $2.35 billion for TransFirst, a privately owned firm that serves merchants across the U.S. The all-cash deal, with TSYS buying TransFirst from San Francisco-based Vista Equity Partners, is expected to close in the second quarter of this year, pending regulatory approval.


Jan. 27, 2016 Athens Banner-Herald

Governor's plan would create a school district of minority students in poverty, critics say

Lee Shearer reports that wording of a proposed constitutional amendment to the Georgia constitution sounds helpful: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?” But in fact, the amendment would create an entirely new school system in Georgia, nearly all of its students minority, poor and living in inner cities, according to skeptics meeting in an Athens church on Monday.


Jan. 27, 2016 Georgia Times-Union

Wayne County residents worried about Republic's plan to bury coal ash at landfill near Jesup

Terry Dickson reports that the Wayne County Commission did something uncharacteristic for a governing authority Tuesday night: They urged everyone in the county to oppose a new business venture that would put millions of dollars into county coffers. But the cost, they said, of Republic Services' plan to bury hundreds of thousands of tons of coal ash at its Broadhurst landfill near Screven is just too high.


Jan. 27, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Coca-Cola finds big success in small sizes

Carla Caldwell reports that data service Nielsen says U.S. store sales of soft drinks fell in volume in 2015, but had the best performance since 2012 when sales were flat – which is attributed, in part, to the aggressive marketing of smaller cans and bottles. “The improved performance comes as companies increasingly market soda as a special treat, in part by steering Americans to smaller 7.5-ounce cans and 8-ounce bottles, but charging more per ounce," reports The Wall Street Journal.


Jan. 27, 2016 WABE

Ga. Lawmaker Proposes Ban On LGBT Conversion Therapy

Lisa Hagen reports that State Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) wants Georgia lawmakers to ban conversion therapy. She's filed a bill that would prevent psychiatric professionals and other therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation of a minor. "The American Psychological Association has ruled that this therapy is ineffective and doesn't work," Waites said on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress" earlier this month. "Over the years, you may have noticed that many teenagers have committed suicide under this particular type of therapy." 


Jan. 27, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Nathan Deal’s pledge to ‘revolutionize’ Georgia’s education system

Greg Bluestein reports that Gov. Nathan Deal may have backed down this year on a push to start fundamental changes to education policy that would overhaul the state’s school funding formula and begin to tie teacher pay to the performance of their students. But in a speech this week to education leaders, he renewed a vow to press those changes next year to “revolutionize” the school system. In the prepared remarks of his speech Tuesday to the Educate Georgia Summit, he told teachers, administrators and policymakers that he wants to seize a “truly historic moment in the life of our state” to make dramatic changes to education policy.



Jan. 26, 2016 Savannah Morning News

GPA moves 3.73 million boxes in 2015

Mary Carr Mayle reports that with containerized cargo volume for the last two years up 700,000 — a total of 23 percent — Georgia Ports Authority continues to lead container growth in the country, GPA executive director Curtis Foltz told his board Monday. The port moved a record-breaking 3.73 million TEUs — or 20-foot equivalent units — in 2015, an 11.7-percent increase over 2014, also a record-breaking year for containers.


Jan. 26, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Operation Workforce

Karen Kirkpatrick reports that every month the new unemployment rate in Georgia is announced, and we learn how, despite the number creeping down, it continues to be higher than the U.S. rate. What we don’t hear as often is that in Georgia, there are currently 144,000 jobs open – these are positions that companies cannot find qualified people to fill. And that figure is just the tip of the national iceberg.


Jan. 26, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Gwinnett seeks $12.3 million in state grants to upgrade transit system

Carla Caldwell reports that Gwinnett County officials will seek seven State Road and Tollway Authority grants worth $12.38 million to buy and replace buses and to upgrade and build transit facilities.Commissioners voted last week to apply for the State Road and Tollway Authority GO! Transit Capital Program grants to buy 28 replacement buses, buy five new buses, make improvements at four existing transit facilities and build two new facilities in the county, reports Gwinnett Daily Post.


Jan. 26, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta most “travel friendly” city, Tripnary says

Kelly Yamanouchi reports that travel app Tripnary says Atlanta is the best big city to fly from, based on having the lowest median fares to the top 30 destinations in a sampling of airline pricing data. Tripnary, using data from its travel partner Skyscanner, said that makes Atlanta the most travel-friendly of the 10 largest U.S. cities.


Jan. 26, 2016 UGA

UGA president to chair SEC working group on compliance, enforcement, governance

Staff reports that  the Southeastern Conference has appointed nine individuals from campuses across the SEC to form a working group to review and discuss issues concerning compliance with NCAA regulations and effective operation within the NCAA governance process, Commissioner Greg Sankey announced. University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead will serve as chair of the group. Sankey announced in July 2015 at the SEC's annual Football Media Days that he would convene the SEC Working Group on Compliance, Enforcement and Governance, a collection of campus leaders to review and discuss NCAA issues.


Jan. 26, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Local neurologist joins in the 'revolution' in Alzheimer's care

Columbus neurologist Jonathan Liss believes significant progress is being made in the fight against Alzheimer's Disease. Liss said there is important clinical research involving people with every stage of the illness and some who have the genetic makeup making it likely they will get it. Liss is seeking volunteers for a major clinical trial with which he is involved. Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Arizona has partnered with Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis to conduct a medical trial to determine whether two anti-amyloid drugs can prevent or delay the emergence of Alzheimer's symptoms in people at particularly high risk.



Jan. 26, 2016 City of LaGrange


Deal: Jindal Films Americas to create 240 jobs

Jindal Films America is expanding their operations in LaGrange and more than doubling their workforce with 240 new jobs and a $180 million investment. Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Jindal Films Americas LLC (JFA), a global leader in the manufacturing of specialty films for packaging and labels, will relocate its U.S. Research and Development (R&D) Center and national headquarters to Troup County.


Jan. 26, 2016 Macon Telegraph

Valmiera Glass expansion to create 425 new jobs in Laurens

Maggie Lee reports that fiberglass manufacturer Valmiera Glass Group announced Monday it will expand operations in Laurens County, creating about 425 new jobs."Once they're up and operational, they'll be the largest manufacturer, from a jobs count, in the entire community," said Brad Lofton, president of the Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority.



Jan. 26, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Statesboro: America’s Best Community?

Karen Kirkpatrick reports that lots of folks think their town or city or community is the best – and they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. But people in Statesboro have an outside organization that thinks it’s one of the 15 best communities in the country. And, who knows, come April 2017 it may become known as America’s Best Community.


Jan. 26, 2016 Saporta Report

BeltLine Partnership asking for public donations to light the trail

Maria Saporta reports that Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail attracts about one million users a year. Now the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership is asking them to help light the way. Chuck Meadows, executive director of the Partnership, announced a $1.1 million “crowd-funding campaign” to “Light the Line.” The campaign would cover the costs for 110 light fixtures that would be placed about every 90 feet along the trail from the Krog Street Market to Piedmont Park at 10th and Monroe Drive, according to Lee Harrop, program director of Atlanta BeltLine Inc.


Jan. 26, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Tip sheet: A HOPE bill to encourage students to take tougher classes

Jim Galloway reports that the Senate and House meet at 10 a.m. today. The first bill has yet to receive a floor debate in either chamber, but that’s likely to change soon. The rules committees of both chambers meet Tuesday, and they’re expected to start pushing bills to the floor.House and Senate committees take up some bills Tuesday afternoon, including one that would clarify the state’s garnishment law.



Jan. 25, 2016 Savannah Morning News, Morris News Service

Legislators want road-funding fairness with Atlanta

Walter C. Jones reports that as the echoes fade from the press conference in which the governor and other state leaders announced a 10-year, $10-billion road-improvement plan, lawmakers from around the state are taking a closer look. The governor, House speaker, lieutenant governor and chairmen of the House and Senate transportation committees stood before the media the first week of the legislative session to ballyhoo the coming results of a tax package enacted in 2015. The boost in gasoline taxes and new fees on electric cars and hotel stays is politically risky for Republicans, and the leaders were providing the political cover they had promised last year when soliciting passage.


Jan. 25, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Georgia companies part of Small Biz Revolution

Karen Kennedy reports that two Georgia companies representing industries about as diverse as they come – agriculture and robotics – were spotlighted as part of the national Small Business Revolution project in 2015. Sponsored by the Deluxe Corp., the project celebrated the important role small businesses play in communities across our country, with a documentary and photo essays of two innovative small businesses per state.


Jan. 25, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Office tower surge brings gridlock fears

J. Scott Trubey reports, where will Dunwoody and Sandy Springs put all those cars? That was the sentiment Wednesday night at a community forum about a proposed five-skyscraper development near Abernathy Road and Ga. 400. The angst wasn't just about that project though. The area is suddenly awash in rising towers or drawing-board plans that promise more congestion.


Jan. 25, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

State of Emergency over for 21 Georgia counties

Carla Caldwell reports that winter weather State of Emergency issued by Gov. Nathan Deal for 21 counties expired as of midnight Sunday. Deal declared the State of Emergency on Thursday at 5 p.m. for: Banks, Catoosa, Dade, Dawson, Fannin, Franklin, Gilmer, Gordon, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Lumpkin, Murray, Pickens, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, Walker, White and Whitfield counties. The State of Emergency orders government agencies to implement emergency plans.


Jan. 25, 2016 Athens Banner-Herald

UGA will hold line on food, parking prices, do more to increase diversity, Morehead says

Lee Shearer reports that the cost of the University of Georgia’s meal plan won’t go up next year. “In the interest of affordability, I am pleased to announce that the University will extend the freeze on food services rates for a third year in a row and also extend the ongoing freeze on parking rates,” UGA President Jere Morehead said Wednesday in the university president’s annual “State of the University” speech in the UGA Chapel.


Jan. 25, 2016 Georgia State University

Researchers Get $792,000 to Study Combination Radiation and Immunotherapy for Cancer

Brian Mullen reports that Georgia State University researcher, in collaboration with the Winship Cancer Institute, has received a four-year, $792,000 Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society to fight cancers using a combination of therapies. Charlie Garnett Benson, assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Georgia State and the principal investigator on the grant, is defining ways to maximize responses to novel immune-based therapeutic approaches in combination with radiation treatment of cancer.


Jan. 25, 2016 Macon Telegraph

Marijuana bills pile up in Georgia Legislature

Maggie Lee reports, of seven bills filed in the state Legislature that would loosen some cannabis laws, only the one dealing with cultivation of medical cannabis has any strength behind it so far.While this might not be the year it or any of the other marijuana bills pass, some see growing evidence that marijuana isn't the taboo subject it once was.


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Jan. 25, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta snags busiest airport by flights crown back from Chicago’s O'Hare

Phil W. Hudson reports that Atlanta is once again the home to the nation’s busiest airport as ranked by 2015. The airport already held the title of busiest airport as ranked by number of passengers. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was the busiest U.S. airport by number of flights from 2005 to 2013 but was edged out by Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in 2014.


Jan. 25, 2016 Gainesville Times

Gun control proposal would require training for carry license

Joshua Silavent reports that a bill before the state legislature that would enact bans on assault rifles if passed has generated lots of buzz and controversy in recent weeks. However, Republican lawmakers have said there is no chance such a law would be put on the books. But there is another, less publicized gun control measure before the Georgia General Assembly that conservatives may support.  That proposal would require anyone seeking a weapons carry license to first complete a firearms safety training course.


Jan. 25, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Tip Sheet: A first hearing on cultivating medicinal marijuana

Jim Galloway reports, Number of working days until the end of the 2016 session: 32. After a slow first two weeks and a short day Friday due to wintry weather, the pace should start to pick up. The House and Senate go in at 10 a.m. on Monday. No bills or resolutions are expected to be debated on the floor of either chamber, but committees are getting busy and bills should start moving soon.



Jan. 22, 2016 WSBRadio 

Kaiser Permanente to expand in Duluth

Sandra Parrish reports that Kaiser Permanente plans to bring 800 new jobs to Gwinnett County when it opens a national member contact center by 2020. Most of those jobs will come by next year. “This region offers a unique opportunity with so many capable employees; the environment here is just amazing to work and live and raise a family,” says Julie Miller-Phipps, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia. 


Jan. 22, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Business Casual: Coming Home

Susan Percy writes, my first impressions of Athens on the day I arrived as a freshman at the university were that it was hot, it was hilly, it was scary and that there was nowhere else I would rather be. Next came the realization that I did not have the right shoes. The heat pretty quickly gave way to a splendid Athens fall, and a trip downtown to a now long-shuttered department store resolved the footwear crisis. I got used to the hills and came to love them.


Jan. 22, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Southwest to appeal judge’s order that allows Delta to fly out of Love Field

Carla Caldwell reports that Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) warned in early January that Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) had not heard the last of its attempts to boot the Atlanta-based carrier from Dallas Love Field – and Southwest has held true to its word. A federal judge ruled in early January that Delta can continue to use to Southwest Airline-controlled gates at city-owned Dallas Love Field, despite Southwest’s effort to remove Delta from the airport.


Jan. 22, 2016 Savannah Morning News

PortSide: Oakley hopes to deliver with dry bulk facility

Mary Carr Mayle reports that Oakley Transportation Group on Tuesday announced the launch of its newest service — dry bulk transportation of food-grade products. The company joined with Imperial Sugar, one of its largest customers, and Oakley partner Quala for a ribbon-cutting at its Savannah terminal on Brampton Road.


Jan. 22, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Local tourist site one of CNN's '16 intriguing things' for 2016

Mark Rice reports that CNN's "16 intriguing things to see and do in the U.S. in 2016" includes a local tourist site. Pasaquan, the internationally renowned psychedelic art compound in Marion County, is on the exclusive list that ranges as far as Alaska and Hawaii. Columbus State University has owned Pasaquan since December, when the Wisconsin-based Kohler Foundation, dedicated to preserving art environments, gifted the property to the CSU Foundation.


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Jan. 22, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

 Invest Atlanta commits $10 million to City Plaza project

Dave Williams reports that Atlanta’s economic development agency is putting $10 million toward the acquisition of property across the street from City Hall to be converted into a mixed-use project. Invest Atlanta’s Board of Directors voted unanimously Thursday to issue $10 million in bonds to help finance a $15 million purchase the city closed on late last month.


Jan. 22, 2016 Newnan Times-Herald

Crane running for Congress

Sarah Fay Campbell reports that Coweta’s state senator, Mike Crane, is officially running for the Third District seat in the U.S. Congress being vacated by Lynn Westmoreland. Crane announced his candidacy at a press conference Wednesday at the Georgia Capitol, flanked by several fellow lawmakers from the Third District – all of whom had been considered potential candidates for Westmoreland’s seat.  


Jan. 22, 2016 GPB 

Sen. Greg Kirk Introduces More Religious Freedom Legislation

Sam Whitehead reports that Sen. Greg Kirk (R - Americus) says his bill doesn't challenge the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage but simply keeps the government from discriminating against religious individuals. "The legislation does not excuse a public official from doing his or her official duty with respect to marriages, but it does offer protection to private individuals and organizations who hold to the traditional view of marriage," he says.


Jan. 22, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Furious negotiations underway over craft brewery bill

Aaron Gould Sheinen reports that last week we told you of a coming fight over a plan to make major revisions to Georgia’s three-tiered system of alcohol sales. State Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, was drafting a bill to allow small brewers and distillers to sell limited amounts of alcohol directly to consumers, something that is that now illegal under the state’s booze laws that were written after the end of Prohibition.




Jan. 21, 2016 Gwinnett Daily Post 

ARC chairman: Gwinnett expected to be region’s most populous county by 2040  

Curt Yeomans reports that Gwinnett County is expected to surpass Fulton County to become the most populous county in metro Atlanta by 2040 if population growth follows current forecasts, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission. The projection was part of ARC board Chairman Kerry Armstrong’s State of the Region Address, which he delivered to the Gwinnett Chamber at the 1818 Club in Duluth on Wednesday. The county is currently estimated to have about 860,000 residents and that number is expected to continue growing and surpass the 1 million people mark in the future.


Jan. 21, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Spotted in Georgia – Booth Western Art

Karen Kirkpatrick reports that Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville is a great place to get your cowboy – or cowgirl – on. There’s sculptures by Frederick Remington, paintings of and by Native Americans, a room devoted to the Civil War called War is Hell, and even a couple of real stagecoaches – be glad you were born in the age of the automobile!


Jan. 21, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Georgia’s unemployment rate declines to 5.5 percent

Carla Caldwell reports that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December was 5.5 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 5.6 percent in November, the Georgia Department of Labor said early Thursday. The rate was 6.6 percent in December 2014. “The rate dropped to its lowest level in nearly seven years as our employers continued to create jobs and hire more people,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler in a prepared statement.


Jan. 21, 2016 Savannah Morning News 

Economic outlook for 2016 'all good'

Mary Carr Mayle reports, calling it a good time to be in business in Savannah, leading local economist Michael J. Toma declared 2016 the “year of no whining” Wednesday at the Savannah Chamber’s annual Economic Outlook Luncheon. The Savannah metro-area economy expanded rapidly in the first half of 2015 and began settling into a more sustainable pace during the latter portion of the year, according to Toma, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at Armstrong State University’s Department of Economics.


Jan. 21, 2016 Georgia State Univ. 

School of Public Health Receives $867,000 Grant to Continue Tobacco Control Work in Chinese Cities

Anna Varela reports that Georgia State University’s School of Public Health has received a grant of more than $867,000 from Pfizer Inc. to continue working with Chinese health officials to implement tobacco control programs in five major cities in China. China produces more tobacco and has more smokers than any country in the world. The grant supports ongoing work with officials to develop policies and programs to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke, encourage smokers to quit and prevent women, children and young adults from starting smoking.


Jan. 21, 2016 Athens Banner-Herald

Education groups lining up to fight Georgia governor's plan for failing schools

Lee Shearer reports that education groups across the state are gearing up to campaign against the proposed Opportunity School District constitutional amendment that Georgia voters vote on in November. If passed, the legislation allows Gov. Nathan Deal to pick up to 20 schools a year, up to a total of 100, from across the state in a special school district  for schools labeled as poor performers that would be run through the governor's office, under the supervision of a superintendent picked by the governor.


Jan. 21, 2016 Georgia Health News 

Piedmont plans to expand presence in mountains as Ellijay hospital downsizes 

Andy Miller reports that the owner of North Georgia Medical Center in Ellijay plans to close the hospital’s inpatient services and lease its emergency room and medical offices to Piedmont Healthcare. Piedmont Mountainside Hospital in Jasper, about 20 miles away, would take over operation of the Ellijay hospital’s ER, doctors’ offices and imaging and outpatient surgery centers, under a lease agreement that requires state regulatory approval.


Jan. 21, 2016 Saporta Report 

Atlanta ranks 3rd in income inequality; top tier earns 17.5 times more than bottom 

David Pendered reports that a new report from Brookings Institution shows the city of Atlanta ranks third in the nation in terms of income inequality. The top 5 percent of households earns 17.5 times the income of the bottom 20 percent of households. Atlanta’s lower economic rung has lost 18 percent of its income since 2007. The upper rung has lost 8 percent of its income in the years since the start of the Great Recession, according to the report released Jan. 14.


Jan. 21, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 

Regional bank Synovus reports profit of $55.8 million in fourth quarter of 2015

Tony Adams reports that it was steady as she goes for Synovus Financial Corp. in the fourth quarter of 2015, with the company on Tuesday reporting a profit of $55.8 million, up 10.3 percent from $50.6 million a year ago. For 2015 as a whole, the regional bank posted a profit of $215.8 million, an increase of 16.7 percent from $185 million in 2014.


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Jan. 21, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Merchant e-Solutions puts headquarters in Atlanta, will bring 140 jobs

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that a global financial technology firm has picked Atlanta as the site of its U.S. headquarters. The move that will create more than 140 jobs. Merchant e-Solutions, a division of Sao Paulo, Brazil-based Cielo S.A., is a commercial acquirer and global payment processing company. Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported on Merchant e-Solutions Atlanta plans on Jan. 19. The relocation was codenamed Project Voice in economic development circles.


Jan. 21, 2016 Augusta Chronicle, Morris News Service

Bias in marijuana arrests shows need for law, backers say

Walter C. Jones reports that penalties associated with marijuana-felony convictions hit more than the fair share of blacks, according to a legislator who wants to limit the penalty for possession of any amount to a misdemeanor.    


Jan. 21, 2016 WABE 

Georgia Senator To Propose Personal Income Tax Cut  

Elly Yu reports that a Republican state senator says he plans to introduce legislation this week to decrease the personal income tax rate in Georgia from 6 percent to a flat rate of 5.4 percent. State Senator Judson Hill (R-Marietta) said the “Tax Relief Act of 2016” would also increase personal exemptions by $2,000 per person, while maintaining the current sales tax rate of 4 percent.


Jan. 21, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Tip sheet: A look at police encounters with citizens

Jim Galloway reports, number of working days until the end of the 2016 session: 34. Thursday sees members of the House and Senate budget committees winding down their review of Gov. Nathan Deal’s revised spending plan for the current fiscal year. The House and Senate convene at 10 a.m. Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, will hold a press to discuss details of his First Amendment Defense Act, a measure that mirrors proposed federal legislation. 





Jan. 20, 2016 Macon Telegraph 

Aviation company expects to double its Middle Georgia workforce 

Linda S. Morris reports that Yulista Aviation expects it will be able to double the number of employees in Middle Georgia with a hangar it will move into at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport. About 75 people gathered at the 20,000-square-foot hangar Tuesday to officially announce the company's expansion. It now has offices in Byron and Warner Robins. "Since 2002, we have been very fortunate to have some remarkable growth," Yulista President Darrell Harrison said.


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Jan. 20, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Arthur Blank and Alana Shepherd join Georgia Trend’s Most Influential Hall of Fame 

Karen Kirkpatrick and Lindsay Thomas Jr. report that when Arthur Blank founded The Home Depot with Bernie Marcus in 1978, no one knew how significantly their home-improvement superstore would change not only their own lives, but the lives of handy men and women around the world – and the character of Atlanta, which continues to reap the benefits today.


Jan. 20, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Atlanta lands U.S. headquarters of global fintech

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Atlanta has scored the U.S. headquarters of a global financial technology firm. The undisclosed company, codenamed Project Voice, will create more than 140 jobs, according to a filing with Invest Atlanta, the city’s economy development arm. The company, a merchant acquirer and global processor, will locate the headquarters at Live Oak Square in Buckhead.


Jan. 20, 2016 Savannah Morning News 

Allegiant exec resigns as safety concerns swirl

Mary Carr Mayle reports that Steve Harfst, the chief operating officer for Allegiant Air, resigned Friday amid questions about maintenance and other safety issues at the low-cost airline during his year-long tenure. While not giving a reason for the executive’s abrupt departure, Allegiant said in a statement that it would “use this leadership change as an opportunity to refocus on operational needs and areas for improvement.”


Jan. 20, 2016

Clearing the Air: Family Filtration Company Sells to Diaper Factories Worldwide

Trevor Williams reports that David Ankenbrandt knows a lot about what makes up a diaper. Part of it may be his background as a high-school chemistry teacher, but put simply, it’s his business to know: That’s what his technology is up against. Wherever diaper factories operate around the world, you’ll find Osprey Corp.’s drum filters, large spinning cylinders at the end of trailer-sized systems that remove fiber particles from the air. 


Jan. 20, 2016 Augusta Chronicle

Shutdown of MOX project could cost up to $500 million, lawmakers told

Travis Highfield reports that U.S. Rep. Rick Allen said he was told by contractors that halting the mixed-oxide fuel project could cost as much as $500 million. 


Jan. 20, 2016 WABE

Grady Memorial Hospital Settles Over Alleged ADA Violations

Al Such reports that Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta has reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office over allegations that the hospital violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Grady Hospital violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by “failing to ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing,” the DOJ said.


Jan. 20, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

HD Supply wants to expand HQ in Cobb; New tower could add 800 workers

Carla Caldwell reports that HD Supply (NASDAQ: HDS) wants to expand its operations in Cobb County, Ga., with a $75 million, 200,000-square-foot office tower that could accommodate up to 1,000 employees. HD Supply, which has its headquarters in the county’s fast-growing Cumberland area, is one of the largest industrial distributors in North America.


Jan. 20, 2016 Athens Banner-Herald, Morris News Service

Governer Deal's budget equips UGA biz building, narrows school 'austerity cuts' 

Walter C. Jones Jr. reports that equipment for a new, University of Georgia business building gets funded, and the prolonged shortage in education funding gets smaller but doesn’t disappear under a spending blueprint Gov. Nathan Deal has recommended Thursday to the General Assembly.


Jan. 20, 2016 Brunswick News 

Jekyll Island beach erosion could get help from the Governor

Donna Stillinger reports that Jekyll Island’s north shore could see new life in 2017 if Gov. Nathan Deal gets all of his proposed budget items. Deal is proposing millions of dollars in state funds for rock and sand. At the board meeting of the Jekyll Island Authority on Tuesday, board chair Richard Royal, who also is interim chair of the board’s legislative committee, said Deal is proposing $4 million in his proposed fiscal year 2017 budget for shoreline erosion control on the north end of Jekyll Island.


Jan. 20, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

Tip sheet: A bill to erase the ‘felony’ from pot possession

Jim Galloway reports that Wednesday looks to be another fun day for members of the House and Senate budget committees, who will be holding hearings all week on Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposed spending plans. The hearings will start at 8 a.m. and go on all day. The House and Senate will convene at 10 a.m. Neither chamber has bills up for discussion. Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. to outline his personal legislative agenda, which includes expanding Medicaid and other items not likely to go over big with the Republican majority.



Jan. 19, 2016 Saporta Report 

Atlanta-based Operation HOPE helping fulfill King’s legacy for economic inclusion   

Maria Saporta reports that the fourth annual HOPE Global Forum in Atlanta was a testimonial to the economic revolution that Operation HOPE founder John Hope Bryant has been building since 1992. No, Operation HOPE’s revolution is not a sit-in or a protest march or an ultimatum to big business or Wall Street. Instead, it works with bankers, business leaders, social activists and civil rights leaders to implement strategies that will help those living below the poverty line as well as the working poor to access the American dream of financial opportunity.


Jan. 19, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

2016 Economic Outlook for Georgia

Ben Young reports that Georgians can look forward to a brighter 2016, predicted economists at the University of Georgia’s Economic Outlook events held around the state last month. Speakers at the Atlanta event included UGA’s Terry College of Business Dean Benjamin Ayers and Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo.


Jan. 19, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

ATL Airport District launches to boost College Park and East Point

Amy Wenk reports that a new effort has launched to boost the visitor appeal of two south Fulton cities. Destination marketing organizations Meet College Park and Explore East Point have rebranded under a new name: the ATL Airport District. The organization aims to generate economic development for College Park and East Point by marketing the community as a viable tourism, convention and meeting destination.


Jan. 19, 2016 Macon Telegraph 

Aviation company to take over hangar at Macon airport

Linda S. Morris reports that Yulista Aviation plans to open its doors Tuesday to an airplane hangar in Macon. The 21,000-square-foot hangar at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport will offer hangar and office space to support aviation programs, according to a news release from the company. Yulista, which has offices in Byron and Warner Robins, provides aviation prototyping, engineering and manufacturing support, and currently has more than 40 employees.


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Jan. 19, 2016 Georgia Health News

Legislative panel reflects divide on Medicaid expansion

Andy Miller reports that a bipartisan panel of state lawmakers voiced agreement Thursday on at least a couple of health care issues. Support for a higher cigarette tax, and for the emerging trend of ambulance crews treating people in their homes rather than in ERs were two areas of general unanimity on the panel, at an event sponsored by the group Georgians for a Healthy Future. But as expected, there was sharp division among the four legislators on the panel when it came to the issue of expanding the state’s Medicaid program.


Jan. 19, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Large investors are making big plans and changes for Broadway's 1200 block 

Chuck Williams reports that the 1200 block of Broadway, with its assortment of smaller two-story buildings has become attractive to smaller investors looking to score the perfect spot for a restaurant or business. Columbus real estate developer Chris Woodruff bought two side-by-side buildings, 1230 and 1232 Broadway, in 2006. For nearly 10 years, they have been waiting for development in other parts of downtown to move in that direction. Last year, Woodruff hired Brasfield & Gorrie to stabilize the buildings and prepare them for the development that is coming.

Read more here:


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Read more here: Trimarchi reports that 1200 block of Broadway, with its assortment of smaller two-story buildings has become attractive to smaller investors looking to score the perfect spot for a restaurant or business.One of those is Pat Daniel, owner of the Forest Road Package One of those is Pat Daniel, owner of the Forest Road Package Store.

Read more here: year ago, Daniel's husband, attorney Steve Hodges, asked his wife what she wanted her "second act to be" after building a successful business.

Read more here:

Jan. 19, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta sees No. 9 largest rent increase in January

Phil W. Hudson reports that let's hope Santa brought you some money for Christmas because according to a new report Atlanta saw the No. 9 largest increase in rent from December 2015 to January 2016. ABODO reported rent for a 1-bedroom apartment jumped 3 percent from December 2015 to January 2016. Michael Taus, vice president of growth for ABODO, said the rent increase in Atlanta could result from a number of issues.


Jan. 19, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

Hillary Clinton echoes House Democrats call to expand Medicaid in Georgia

Greg Bluestein reports that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton joined the House Democratic caucus in calling for Georgia to expand the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. The former secretary of state urged lawmakers to pass legislation to expand the program and for Republican Gov. Nathan Deal to put the “well-being of Georgia’s families ahead of ideology by signing it into law.” “Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do because it’s good for rural hospitals, it’s good for doctors and nurses, and it will lead to lower costs and healthier Georgians,” said Clinton in a statement.



Jan. 18, 2016 

1996 Summer Olympics 20th Anniversary Celebration Fires Up ‘Job Interview’ Contestants

Phil Bolton reports, no, Sara Blakely, Arthur Blank and Boland Jones weren’t there. But judges at the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Nebo Agency LLC’s “the Ultimate Job Interview Contest” represented the companies they founded including Spanx, Home Depot and PGI. Representatives from General Assembly, the online and alternative education company, and Cardlytics, a card-linked marketing firm, which both have offices in the Ponce City Marketalso participated as judges.


Jan. 18, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Metro Atlanta Chamber Looks Ahead

Ben Young reports that the mood was upbeat at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce (MAC) Annual Meeting last month. Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO, spoke of the success of MAC’s Choose ATL regional marketing campaign and the city’s economic development promise. She and fellow chamber leaders Larry Gellerstedt III, CEO of Cousins Properties and outgoing 2015 chairman, and Jenner Wood, corporate executive vice president of SunTrust Bank and incoming 2016 chairman, all spoke of the region’s appeal to millennials and young workers.


Jan. 18, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Wal-Mart closing seven stores in Georgia

Staff reports that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT: NYSE) will close 269 stores, including seven in Georgia, and eliminate about 16,000 jobs. Of the closures, 154 are in the United States, the discount retail chain said. It will cut 10,000 American jobs.


Jan. 18, 2016 Macon Telegraph

Work to begin soon on popular midstate public fishing area 

Wayne Crenshaw reports that work is expected to get started soon on the repair of the Ocmulgee Public Fishing Area. The lake has been closed since 2012, when its water began draining into the aquifer below. Last year the General Assembly approved $2.3 million to fix the lake. A contract has been awarded to make the repair, and work is expected to start within 30 days, said Bert Deener, the fisheries regional supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources.


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Jan. 18, 2016 Saporta Report

Global Ministries moving to Midtown from NYC, attracted by public health sector, airport   

David Pendered reports that Metro Atlanta’s thriving public health sector has attracted an international faith-based ministry with a focus on health to move to Midtown from New York City. Global Ministries, the mission agency of The United Methodist Church, is relocating after almost 200 years in New York. The move is part of the ministries’ strategic plan to shift from a centralized operation to one based on regional offices.


Jan. 18, 2016 Atlanta CEO

Hartsfield-Jackson Become First American Airport to Obtain ISO Sustainability Certification

Staff reports that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport officials announced today that the Airport is the first in the United States to receive ISO 50001:2001 accreditation.  The award, given in December by the International Organization for Standardization, an independent, non-governmental organization, validates ATL’s Energy Management System and recognizes that the system meets the organization’s requirements. 


Jan. 18, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Southern Co. subsidiary awarded nuclear research grant

Dave Williams reports that Atlanta-based Southern Co. has been awarded up to $40 million in federal funds to conduct research on advanced nuclear energy technology. Under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Southern subsidiary Southern Company Services will work with the federal agency’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and several private partners. The research, to be conducted at the Oak Ridge lab in Tennessee, is aimed at developing molten chloride fast reactors, an advanced concept for nuclear power generation.


Jan. 18, 2016 Gainesville Times 

Changes to state transportation tax bill unlikely

Joshua Silavent reports that state lawmakers from Hall County believe there is little chance changes will be made this year to the transportation tax bill that will fund Gov. Nathan Deal’s 10-year, $10 billion plan to improve Georgia’s roads and bridges. “I think we need to wait at least a year to see how much actual revenue it generates,” Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, said.


Jan. 18, 2016 Gwinnett Daily Post 

Martin seeks to extend gun carry exemptions to more law enforcement retirees

Curt Yeomans reports that legislation that would extend weapons carry exemptions to law enforcement retirees who worked for agencies outside of Georgia was filed on Friday by one of Gwinnett County’s state senators. Sen. P.K. Martin, R-Lawrenceville, said his bill will give the retirees the ability to carry weapons in the same places that law enforcement officers can carry them. Senate Bill 270 covers any state statute that limits the places where a person can carry a firearm, as well licensing to carry those weapons.


Jan. 16, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

In S.C., David Perdue warns ‘political class’ must be stopped

Aaron Gould Sheinen reports that U.S. Sen. David Perdue on Saturday told several hundred Tea Party activists here that the United States cannot stand another four years of Democratic rule. “I don’t care who the final candidate is,” Perdue told the S.C. Tea Party Coalition Convention. “We’ve got to make sure our candidate wins this year. I don’t know our republic can stand another four years. We have to make sure Hillary Rhodam Clinton has not one more night in our White House.”





Jan. 15, 2016 Macon Telegraph 

Georgia governor files record budget request

Maggie Lee reports that Gov. Nathan Deal is asking the state Legislature for a budget that counts on Georgia's largest-ever annual tax revenues, but that plan still would spend less per person than the budget did 15 years ago. Deal is proposing to spend $23.74 billion in state money in the fiscal year that begins in July. That's up from the roughly $22.99 billion that is being spent this fiscal year. Counting federal dollars that come through Georgia's budget books, state spending increases to $47.5 billion.


Read more here:

Jan. 15, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Organizations - Tapestri

Candice Dyer reports that Tapestri began in 1996 as a coalition to address the problem of domestic violence against immigrant women under the umbrella of the Refugee Women’s Network. The group became a nonprofit in its own right in 2002 and eventually expanded its services to meet the needs of survivors of human trafficking. Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, and a U.S. Justice Department study has ranked Atlanta No. 1 in the country for the sex trade because of the city’s status as a transportation hub and convention center.


Jan. 15, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

China's woes felts on Georgia coast, inland too

Dan Chapman reports, few cargo ships run the Savannah River at low tide since they can carry more cargo when the water is deeper. Yet one recent day, a container ship with steel boxes stacked eight high steamed into the Atlantic Ocean at low tide with no worry of scuffing the river's bottom. The ship carried hundreds of containers filled with one of the port of Savannah's hottest export commodities – air. 


Jan. 15, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Data startup Social123 raises $4.25M

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Data provider Social123 has raised $4.25 million in venture capital. Social123 helps companies identify marketing and sales leads and keep their contact data up-to-date. The Series A was led by Vocap Investment Partners and included existing investors Ellis Capital and serial Internet Security Systems’ co-founder Tom Noonan.


Jan. 15, 2016 Athens Banner-Herald

Athens high security poultry-lab getting $160 million makeover

Lee Shearer reports that the federal government is spending $160 million to modernize its aging Southeast Poultry Disease Research Laboratory in Athens. Congress last month voted to appropriate $113.7 million in this year's federal budget for the modernization project, which will replace many of the old buildings, according to Sandra Avant, a public affairs specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. 


Jan. 15, 2015 Georgia State University 

Researcher Gets Grant to Study How Immune System Can Prevent Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

LaTina Emerson reports that a Georgia State University researcher has received a private grant of nearly $300,000 to investigate how the immune system can prevent inflammatory bowel disease. Benoit Chassaing, assistant professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences, will study how the adaptive immune system, which protects the body against pathogens, can control intestinal bacteria to prevent inflammation in the gut. The project is funded by a Career Development Award from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.


Jan. 15, 2016 Georgia Tech 

Humanitarian Activist to Receive Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage  

Laura Diamond reports that humanitarian activist who advocates for a military culture free of sexual assault and violence has been named the recipient of the 2016 Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage, Georgia Institute of Technology President G.P. “Bud” Peterson announced today. Nancy Parrish helped launch a national movement to reform how the U.S. military prosecutes sexual violence. Protect Our Defenders works to transform the culture of harassment and rape within the military through legal reform, advocacy, education and free legal and case assistance for victims.


Jan. 15, 2016 Augusta Chronicle

CEO stresses significance of Vogtle expansion 

Travis Highfield reports that the nation has its eyes fixed on Plant Vogtle, where contractors are building the first nuclear reactors in more than three decades, and Geor­gia Power CEO Paul Bowers said he is starting to feel the pressure.  In a meeting with The Augusta Chronicle’s editorial board Thursday, Bowers said the country is on the verge of a “nuclear renaissance” with the construction of Units 3 and 4, and he believes other energy companies are following the developments in Waynesboro, Ga., closely, perhaps to use as a template for future developments elsewhere. 


Jan. 15, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Cousins divests North Point Center East 

Staff reports that Cousins Properties Inc. (NYSE: CUZ) two office buildings, including North Point Center East in Atlanta. The Atlanta-based real estate investment trust sold North Point Center East for $92.3 million. It also sold the 203,000-square-foot The Points of Waterview in Dallas for $26.8 million.


Jan. 15, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

The Georgia taxpayer tab for water wars litigation is about to grow another $10M

Greg Bluestein reports that the costly legal battle with Florida over water rights is about to cost Georgia taxpayers another $10 million. Gov. Nathan Deal set aside about $11 million for his emergency fund, and his top aide Chris Riley said $10 million of that would “unfortunately” go to the costs of the litigation. Lawmakers still must approve his spending plan, but they are unlikely to tinker with that part of the fund.



Jan. 14, 2016 Emory University

Emory-UGA agree to reciprocal use of core facilities

Staff reports that research leaders at Emory University and the University of Georgia recently agreed to the reciprocal use of core facilities at the two institutions. Cores are available for the use of researchers from either institution at the same rates and terms offered to internal faculty users. The aim of the Memorandum of Understanding is to create a greater availability of research support services for faculty at both institutions, to minimize duplication of resources, and to expand research collaboration opportunities.


Jan. 14, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Remembering Mike Egan

Karen Kirkpatrick reports, Mike Egan, former Georgia legislator, attorney and Justice Department official under President Jimmy Carter, died Jan. 7, 2016, at age 89. Egan, a Republican when Republicans in Georgia were scarcer than hen’s teeth, was called the “Conscience of the Senate” by fellow senators when he retired in 2000. A funeral mass celebrating Egan’s life will be held at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta at 10 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 14.


Jan. 14, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta's residential market finishes 2015 strong

Phil W. Hudson reports that 2015 ended on a strong note for residential real estate in December. According to the Atlanta Board of Realtors citing data from the First Multiple Listing Service, average and median sales prices continue to rise and zoom past 2014’s figures, with positive gains. The median sales price in December was $225,000, an increase of 7.1 percent from last December. The average sales price was $286,000, up 5.5 percent from the previous year.


Jan. 14, 2016 Gwinnett Daily Post 

Six with Gwinnett ties make Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians list

Curt Yeomans reports that three Gwinnett County politicians, the head of the county’s school system and two of its business leaders are among the most influential people in the state, according to a new list published by Georgia Trend magazine. The magazine published its annual 100 Most Influential Georgians list in its January issue, which featured Attorney General Sam Olens as the Georgian of the Year.


Jan. 14, 2016

Deal: December tax revenues up 3.6 percent

Staff reports that Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Georgia’s net tax collections for December totaled $2.04 billion, for an increase of $67.7 million, or 3.6 percent, over December 2014. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled $10.44 billion, an increase of $834.2 million, or 8.7 percent, compared to December 2014, when net tax revenues totaled nearly $9.61 billion.


Jan. 14, 2016 Rockdale Citizen 

Batchelor & Kimball to build $5 million facility in Rockdale County

Staff reports that Batchelor & Kimball Inc., a contractor specializing in commercial HVAC mechanical and plumbing construction for large facilities such as hospitals, laboratories, data centers and others, has announced plans to relocate its business to Rockdale County. According to the Conyers-Rockdale Economic Development Council, Batchelor & Kimball will construct a 100,000-square-foot facility on a 20-acre tract off Plunkett Road near Sigman Road and Interstate 20. 


Jan. 14, 2016 Georgia Tech 

New Lab to Give Nation’s Researchers Remote Access to Robots

Staff reports that the Georgia Institute of Technology is building a new lab that will allow roboticists from around the country to conduct experiments remotely. Researchers from other universities, as well as middle and high school students, will schedule experiments, upload their own programming code, watch the robots in real-time via streamed video feeds and receive scientific data demonstrating the results. The “Robotarium” is expected to house up to 100 ground and aerial swarm robots. No other university has a similar facility.


Jan. 14, 2016 Brunswick News

Camden spaceport opponents question contract

Gordon Jackson reports that the contract to purchase an industrial site in Camden County is generating questions from opponents of a proposed spaceport. They are asking why the county has redacted some information in the agreement with Union Carbide to purchase the 4,011-acre tract. Parts of the contract are blacked out, including the purchase price, sections of the adjustments at closing, extension period price and other information.


Jan. 14, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Gov. Deal delays education reform votes until next year

Dave Williams reports that this year’s General Assembly session will be a time for reviewing but not voting on the recommendations of Gov. Nathan Deal’s education reform commission. The governor asked lawmakers during his annual State of the State address Wednesday to consider the commission’s report carefully but hold off on legislation implementing the proposals until 2017.


Jan. 14, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

Tip sheet: Show us the money

Jim Galloway reports that Thursday is “show us the money” day. Gov. Nathan Deal has outlined his proposed budget in broad strokes. On Thursday the details will emerge, and the larger tally – perhaps a record-breaking $23 billion. The hefty spending plan, which will be posted on the Office of Planning and Budget website sometime in the afternoon, will be the best-read document of the day for lobbyists, lawmakers and others eager to see what it contains. Deal’s chief of staff and top budget director will hold a briefing to explain it at 1 p.m.



Jan. 13, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Georgia No. 1 state in America for racial progress

Phil W. Hudson reports that the Peach State has come a long way since the Civil Rights Era. According to a new report from WalletHub, Georgia is the No. 1 state in the nation for racial progress. The personal finance website said it compared the 50 states and Washington, D.C. across 10 key metrics — including median annual income, homeownership rates and voter turnout — to identify the states that are most racially integrated and have come the furthest in their efforts of racial progress.


Jan. 13, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

100 Most Influential Georgians

Karen Kirkpatrick and Christy Simo report that here in Georgia, we have a lot to be proud of: a strong economy, top-rated universities, nationally recognized restaurants – the list goes on. And while it can be easy to take all this for granted, it’s because of many of this year’s Most Influential Georgians that we are happy to call Georgia home. Some work behind the scenes and some wield their influence in the limelight, but every one of the 100 people you’ll find on the following pages have an enormous impact on the daily lives of Georgians.


Jan. 13, 2016 Gwinnett Daily Post

InComm bringing 120 jobs to Gwinnett as part of metro area expansion

Curt Yeomans reports that major prepaid product and transaction services company plans to create 120 new jobs in Peachtree Corners and Suwanee as part of a $20 million expansion in the area. The Gwinnett Chamber’s Economic Development team announced the local jobs numbers in partnership with InComm, the mayors of Peachtree Corners and Suwanee, commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash and the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The new jobs are expected to mostly be in the information technology field.


Jan. 13, 2016 University of Georgia 

UGA’s online programs ranked among the best in nation

Kristen Morales and Matt Weeks report that the University of Georgia has some of the best online degree programs in the nation, according to the 2016 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs Rankings. UGA is ranked No. 3 among all universities for best online graduate programs in education and No. 5 for best online bachelor's programs overall. "These latest rankings from U.S. News reflect our commitment to delivering a world-class learning experience, whether on our campuses or online," said President Jere W. Morehead.


Jan. 13, 2016 Georgia Health News

Blue Cross softening its approach, says new president

Andy Miller reports that for years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia has maintained its dominance as the state’s No. 1 health insurer. Its membership now approaches 3 million members — in a state with slightly more than 10 million people. The company has also built a reputation as a bruising adversary in contract negotiations and pay disputes with hospitals and doctors. The new president of Blue Cross, though, says he wants to change that image.


Jan. 13, 2013 Brunswick News 

Sea Island project goes to Army Corps, with state appeal pending 

Larry Hobbs reports, with plans to build a new beach on Sea Island facing environmental and political scrutiny at the state level, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to review the necessary federal permitting for the project. The first phase of the Corps’ consideration process wraps up Friday, the last day to submit public comments on Sea Island Acquisition’s proposal to install a 350-foot rock groin at the south end of the island to build 1,200 feet of new beach. The request will go through an internal review, with the final decision resting with Col. Marvin Griffin, commander of the Corps’ Savannah District, said Corps spokesman Billy Birdwell.


Jan. 13, 2016 GPB 

Gov. Deal Shares $10 Billion Transportation Plan

Sam Whitehead reports that short term, the plan calls for projects like road repaving and bridge repairs. Long term, the 10-year plan looks at infrastructure improvements along Georgia's major interstates. Gov. Nathan Deal says the transportation investment will boost the state economy. "For every dollar invested, we will see at least four dollars in return. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that this investment will generate 13,000 short term jobs a year," he says.


Jan. 13, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

LINDE + WIEMANN plans facility, 200 jobs in Hart

Dillenberg, Germany-based automotive products maker LINDE + WIEMANN will invest $35 million into a U.S.-based assembly operation in Hart County, Ga. The plant and associated national sales and distribution offices will be on a 29-acre site in the Gateway II Industrial Park in Hart, in northeast Georgia, and will employ 200 people initially. The company plans a 60,000-square-foot facility and a 3,500-square-foot head office building in the initial phases of the project. The facility will supply a number of customers, including BMW in Greer, S.C., and Daimler in Tuscaloosa, Ala.


Jan. 13, 2016 WABE 

As Protest, Jackson County Publisher Says He Plans To Grow Weed    

Lisa Hagen reports that Mike Buffington is going to grow his own weed. The Jackson County man said he's fed up with the state's inaction on moving forward with medical cannabis research in the state. He announced his plan to grow marijuana as a form of civil disobedience in a recent op-ed.  Though cannabis oil is a legal treatment for eight diseases in Georgia, lawmakers haven't agreed on how Georgians can actually get the stuff. 


Jan. 13, 2016 Georgia Times-Union

Conservation groups appeal state permit for stone groin on Sea Island beach

Terry Dickson reports that environmental groups have filed an appeal of a state permit that will allow Sea Island Acquisitions to build a concrete structure to retain sand on what would be a 1,200-foot stretch of restored beach. In December, the state Shore Protection Committee approved Sea Island's plan to build a 350-foot, T-shaped rock groin south of an existing 700-foot groin on what opponents call the Sea Island Spit. The new groin would retain sand in front of eight lots that would be 50 to 75 feet from the beach on the east and overlook the Black Banks River to the west.


Jan. 13, 2016 Athens Banner-Herald, Morris News Service

Gov. Deal warns of dredging delays if feds don't pony up $90 million soon

Walter C. Jones reports that foot dragging by the federal government to provide greater funding soon will cause delays in the deepening of the Savannah River, Gov. Nathan Deal warned Tuesday. "We can't afford to lose much more time," he told business leaders attending the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's annual Eggs and Issues breakfast.


Jan. 13, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Tip sheet: If it’s an election year, raises for state employees are on the front burner

Jim Galloway reports that Number of legislative days left until the end of the 2016 session: 38. Now that the president has delivered the State of the Union, it’s Gov. Nathan Deal’s turn to talk about the State of the State. The governor will visit the House chamber at 11 a.m. to give his annual address. Lawmakers won’t be the only ones eager to hear what he says. Deal is likely to announce significant (relatively speaking) raises for teachers and state employees.




Jan. 12, 2016 Saporta Report 

Census study shows educated, high-earning millennials want to live near transit 

David Pendered reports that it may seem like old news in metro Atlanta, but a new demographic study of Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Census Bureau has determined that well-educated, high-earning young people disproportionately reside near a transit rail stop. This report could find its way into the debate in Fulton County over a possible sales tax for transportation. Elected officials are considering if MARTA should receive any of a possible 1 percent sales tax for transportation in order to expand the rail system.


Jan. 12, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive! 

Manuel’s Tavern: Last Day, Last Call

Susan Percy reports, the last Sunday of 2015 marked the last day for Manuel’s Tavern – for a while. The venerable Atlanta bar, which opened in 1956, is closing for several months for renovations. On the morning of the final day, folks wandered in for a late breakfast or an early lunch. Some took pictures, some chatted up the servers, and everyone engaged in a little reminiscing.


Jan. 12, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Atlanta Fed CEO, President Lockhart expects economy, wages to grow in 2016

Phil W. Hudson reports that Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President and CEO Dennis Lockhart on Monday told the Rotary Club of Atlanta he expects “the broad economy to continue to expand at a moderate pace” — “between 2 and 2.5 percent, possibly a little higher.” “This rate of growth should be sufficient to maintain positive momentum in employment conditions,” he said. “Growing employment—in both jobs and hours—adds to aggregate household incomes that, in turn, keep consumer activity growing.”


Jan. 12, 2015 Brunswick News

Flooding continues on Altamaha River; community warned of danger 

Anna Hall reports that Donna Knight is tired of the high waters surrounding her business and interrupting her daily life. “I’m ready to get back to work,” Knight said. As general manager of Altamaha Regional Park and operator of the park’s cornerstone general store, Knight has been unable to tend to her duties of late. Water has increasingly inched its way higher and higher in the park in Everett City in northern Glynn County. The flooding along Altamaha River has been ongoing for more than a week as a result of heavy rains in central and northern areas of the state flowing downstream since late December.


Jan. 12, 2016 Albany Herald

Overnight rains have little impact on local flood recovery

Brad McEwan reports that although many Southwest Georgians impacted by recent flooding likely held their collective breath Thursday night and early Friday morning, rains that moved through the area had little impact on receding water levels and flood recovery efforts. According to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Tallahassee, only a little more than a half inch of rain was reported at the Albany airport, and that the rain had little impact on area waterways such as the Flint River and the Muckalee and Kinchafoonee creeks, all of which swelled well above flood stage at various times during the recent holiday season.


Jan. 12, 2016 Emory Univ. 

Emory Integrity Project launched with $2.6 million grant from Templeton Foundation

Elaine Justice reports that thanks to a $2.6 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, Emory University is preparing to launch the Emory Integrity Project (EIP), a comprehensive effort to promote and develop a culture of ethics and integrity throughout Emory's undergraduate experience. The EIP, a joint project of Emory's Center for Ethics and its Division of Campus Life, is intended to make Emory a national model for integrating ethics and integrity in undergraduate life, says Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Center for Ethics and project leader of the grant.


Jan. 12, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Delta wins battle with Southwest at Love Field (for now)

Carla Caldwell reports that a federal judge has ruled that Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) can continue flying out of Dallas Love Field while the carrier and Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) continue to fight over space at the Texas airport. A judge ruled Friday that Atlanta-based Delta’s five daily flights out of the airport do not interfere with Southwest's schedule, The Dallas Morning News reports.


Jan. 12, 2016 Newnan Times Herald

Open congressional seat a rare opportunity

Sarah Fay Campbell reports that it's not often that a U.S. Congressional seat comes open. But when it does, people get excited. “Something like this comes along only once in a generation or once in half a generation,” said Dr. Charles Bullock, professor of political science at the University of Georgia. “I would anticipate some state legislators, maybe some county officials, and perhaps some well-to-do private individuals who will say ‘this is my shot,’” Bullock said.  


 Jan. 12, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

Good and bad news for casino supporters on Legislature’s first day

Aaron Gould Sheinen and Kristina Torres report that Georgians who want casinos got good and bad news Monday, when state lawmakers said they would concentrate on authorizing a statewide voter referendum to legalize widespread gambling across Georgia. The bad? Lawmakers have essentially abandoned efforts for now to also pass required “enabling” legislation that would govern any gambling expansion here, a move that comes as gaming advocates and state officials are still divided over what the proposed rules should be. That means it would take at least another year for casinos to win final approval.


Jan. 12, 2016 GPB 

House Speaker David Ralston's 2016 Legislative Outlook

Sam Whitehead reports that House Speaker David Ralston says he supports medical marijuana cultivation in Georgia, that there are still questions surrounding legalizing casino gambling in the state, and that the state’s rural hospitals are facing serious funding problems. He shared those thoughts at a pre-session press conference last week.


Jan. 12, 2016 WABE

Revenue Growth Leaves Ga. Budget With Possible ‘Wiggle Room’    

Elly Yu reports that Georgia lawmakers head into the 2016 legislative session Monday with stronger growth in revenues than in recent years, which could mean a chance for the state to catch up from the recession, experts say. “I think things are, at long last, looking pretty good,” said Carolyn Bourdeaux, director of the Center for State and Local Finance at Georgia State University. “The state has been through a really long, tough period.”


Jan. 12, 2016 11Alive

Religious freedom bill poised to be major issue of 2016 legislative session

Doug Richards reports that the Georgia legislature opened it's new session Monday, and Gov. Nathan Deal and lawmakers will face a number of high-profile issues this election year, including a controversial one surrounding religious freedom. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act may not be the most important bill this legislature faces this year, but it's sure to be one of the most volatile as the legislative session gets fully underway.


Jan. 12, 2016 Georgia Times-Union 

Dedications, lobbying mark first day of Georgia's legislative session

Walter C. Jones reports that the first day of the 2016 legislative session Monday featured a pageant queen, professional entertainers, a tribute to victims of a deadly vehicle crash and the first phase of discussions about major proposals to be addressed during the 40-day session. A casual observer might have thought all that happened was the General Assembly was in session for a couple of hours to hear from preachers, some honorees and to pass a resolution setting the days off for the next three weeks.


Jan. 12, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

Tip sheet: Coming up, a move to rewrite Georgia’s three-tier system of alcohol sales

Jim Galloway reports that Tuesday is Eggs and Issues Day. The annual Georgia Chamber of Commerce event puts Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, and House Speaker David Ralston in front of a business-minded crowd hungry for a particular type of news. Last year the three top leaders announced they would support the big transportation funding bill that business leaders had pushed hard for.




Jan. 11, 2016 Augusta Chronicle

Peach farmers in Augusta area happy to see lower temperatures

Doug Stutsman reports that two weeks after record high temperatures hit the Augusta area, the thermostat has since dipped southward – and no one is more grateful than peach farmers."We needed this cold weather in the worst kind of way," said Chalmers Carr, the president and CEO of Titan Farms in Ridge Spring, S.C. “Up to this point, we’ve experienced the fewest chill hours we’ve had in 10 years. … Without cold weather, the peaches won’t go into dormancy. And without dormancy, we lose our crop.”


Jan. 11, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

New year, new look for Georgia Trend

Karen Kirkpatrick reports that Georgia Trend is starting 2016 with a bang – a redesign of the magazine, including an exciting new augmented reality (AR) feature and new Trendsetters column. AR allows you to bring the people and places of Georgia Trend to life when you download a free app and view certain pages of the print or online edition through a tablet or smartphone. 


Jan. 11, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

Radio giant Cumulus tumbles after flying high

Russell Grantham reports that the signal has weakened at radio giant Cumulus Media. Over the last 18 years, the entrepreneurial duo Lew Dickey Jr. and his younger brother John spent billions building the Atlanta company into the nation’s second-largest radio network through a string of 150 acquisitions. But Cumulus, which has 454 stations in 90 markets, is struggling to keep its debt-fueled empire together in an age when broadcasters are slowly losing listeners and revenue to iPods and online music streaming services.


Jan. 11, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Taylor Morrison buying Atlanta homebuilder for $85 million

Phil W. Hudson reports that an out-of-state publicly traded homebuiler has taken aim at another Atlanta-based homebuilder. Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taylor Morrison Home Corp. (NYSE: TMHC) is buying Atlanta-based Acadia Homes & Neighborhoods LLC for $85 million. Acadia is currently the No. 11 homebuilder in Atlanta based on number of homes closed in 2014, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle Book of Lists


Jan. 11, 2016 Georgia Times-Union

Chairman defends work of Georgia education reform commission

Walter C. Jones reports that the chairman of the Governor's Education Reform Commission defended its work Friday during a session with education reporters from across the state on the eve of legislative consideration of its recommendations. "I get the impression that there seem to be some people out there that are not careful in reading the report," said Charles Knapp, a labor economist who once served as the president of the University of Georgia.


Jan. 11, 2016 Athens Banner-Herald

Georgia Legislature gets down to business

Jim Thompson reports that the Georgia General Assembly convenes this morning for its 2016 session at the state Capitol in Atlanta, and in addition to its single constitution mandate to pass a balanced budget, the state legislature is also set to consider a range of issues from dealing with domestic terrorism to education reform to casino gambling. The 2016 session is actually the second year of the two-cycle legislative sessions, meaning legislative proposals introduced last year but got no definitive action can be considered again this year. 


Jan. 11, 2016 Valdosta Daily Times

Legislators reject linking teacher pay to test scores

Jason Stewart reports that South Georgia lawmakers said Friday they do not think the Georgia General Assembly will attempt to tie teacher salaries to standardized test scores. In a meeting with The Valdosta Daily Times, State Represenatives Jason Shaw (R), Amy Carter (R), Dexter Sharper (D), John Corbett (R) and State Sen. Ellis Black (R) discussed issues elected officials may face during the upcoming legislative session that begins Monday.


Jan. 11, 2016 GPB

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams Looks to 2016 Legislative Session

Sam Whitehead reports that House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams has a lot on her mind going into this year's legislative session. Abrams wants to expand Medicaid in Georgia and says the issue tops her list of priorities for the 2016 legislative session. Despite opposition from Gov. Nathan Deal and GOP lawmakers, Abrams says House Democrats will introduce legislation to ask for Medicaid expansion.


Jan. 11, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 

Columbus legislators to push familiar agenda in new term

Chuck Williams reports that the 2016 Georgia General Assembly session will have a similar feel to last year when it comes to the legislators who represent Columbus. For the fourth consecutive year, the seven-lawmaker team that makes up the Muscogee County delegation has not changed. And some of the issues remain the same, as well.


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Jan. 11, 2016 Gainesville Times 

8 issues to watch as legislature kicks off 2016 session

Staff reports that while funding for K-12 education has increased 21 percent since 2011, the payoff in student performance has not been equal to that investment, according to the state education reform commission launched this year. The commission recommends permanently adding $258 million to the current K-12 state budget beginning in the 2018 fiscal year budget. The commission has also recommended adding $209 million toward a modern, student-based new funding formula for classrooms.


Jan. 11, 2016 Saporta Report - Guest Column 

Georgia – it’s time to pass a statewide nondiscrimination law   

Jeff Graham writes, we’re barely two weeks into the New Year, but politics here in Georgia are already in full swing. There are rumblings about what bills the legislature will or won’t take up in this year’s session – a session which will play out against the backdrop of a contentious presidential election that’s sure to bring a steady procession of national candidates to our state.


Jan. 11, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

Five things to watch in Georgia Legislature in 2016

Greg Bluestein reports that the new year brings a new legislative session – and plenty of familiar debates. Here are five things we are watching during the 40-day session that begins on Monday. ‘Religious liberty’ legislation: State Sen. Josh McKoon’s controversial proposal is seen by supporters as a way to protect people of any religion from government interference and by critics as a last gasp from opponents of gay marriage. 




Jan. 8, 2016 Macon Telegraph

$14 million hotel planned on Lake Sinclair near Milledgeville

Macon Telegraph Liz Fabian reports that hotel guests will be able enjoy the beauty of Lake Sinclair from a rooftop bar as part of a $14 million investment near Milledgeville. Real estate developer Gary B. Spillers of Collegiate Ventures announced plans to build a 94-room Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham at the lake off U.S. 441. "There's a need there that's not being served," Spillers said Thursday.


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Jan. 8, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Rome | Floyd County: Reinvestments and Opportunities

Randy Southerland reports that anufacturing companies like being in Rome and Floyd County. This is still an industrial region with a host of companies that still make things. Decades ago textiles dominated here, but when they left for low-wage nations overseas, local leaders moved quickly to replace them with new, more resilient forms of industry.


Jan. 8, 2016 Marietta Daily Journal

Survey shows many Georgia educators do not recommend profession

Jon Gargis reports that representatives of two groups that advocate for Cobb teachers say they are not surprised with the results of a recent statewide survey that shows that many Georgia educators would not recommend going into the field. A report titled “Georgia’s Teacher Dropout Crisis” published last month by the Georgia Department of Education highlighted the survey sent to teachers across the state. More than 53,000 teachers responded to the online survey that was sent out in November.


Jan. 8, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Shorenstein Properties buys Bank of America Plaza

Douglas Sams reports that Shorenstein Properties says it’s bought Atlanta’s 55-story Bank of America Plaza, the Southeast’s tallest office tower. San Francisco-based Shorenstein is buying the tower under its Shorenstein Realty Investors Eleven LP, a $1.2 billion fund formed last year. Transaction details were not released, though Bank of America Plaza was appraised at $236.5 million, according to Morningstar Inc. The deal is expected to be close to that number, though some insiders familiar with the transaction say the price might be near $220 million, or $165 a square foot.


Jan. 8, 2016 Georgia Health News

Community paramedicine: Unclogging ERs by helping people at home

Andy Miller reports that three years ago, Grady Health System in Atlanta was getting thousands of 911 calls from people with mental health problems. Some were calling up to 30 times a month for emergency help. A large majority of these people were transported by ambulance to the Grady Memorial Hospital ER, said Michael Colman, vice president of EMS Operations at Grady. But he added, “A lot of the patients didn’t need to go the ER.”


Jan. 8, 2015 Georgia Times Union

Researchers to map sand deposits off St. Simons, Sea Island and Jekyll

Terry Dickson reports that researchers will conduct a two-year study of underwater sand deposits off St. Simons, Sea Island and Jekyll Island that could be used to replenish beaches in the event of erosion from hurricanes. Clark Alexander, a scientist at the University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, will lead the study that will be funded by Georgia Sea Grant, the institute said in a release. Citing the billions in damages that Hurricane Sandy caused along the East Coast in 2012, the institute said that Georgia's coastal communities are vulnerable to future storms. Some of those communities have begun developing strategies to "increase their resilience" to storms and speed the recovery should one strike, the release said.


Jan. 8, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

How did Georgia fare in Bloomberg’s ranking of the most innovative states?

Staff reports that Georgia is about average in Bloomberg’s ranking of the most innovative states in the United States published Thursday. Georgia ranked 26th among the 50 states. Massachusetts is the most innovative state, while Mississippi is the least innovative.


Jan. 8, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Rep. Westmoreland to retire at end of year

Ben Wright reports that U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who represents north Columbus in the 3rd Congressional District, announced Thursday that he won't seek re-election this year after six terms in office. Since taking office in 2005, Westmoreland has served the district that stretches from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to north Columbus and Griffin. The Republican said he made the decision to retire at the end of the 114th Congress after some reflection over the Christmas break.


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Jan. 8, 2016 Brunswick News

Rep. Atwood asks for second look at Sea Island beach groin

Larry Hobbs reports that wave of discontent over plans to build a new beach on Sea Island rose Thursday, with state Rep. Alex Atwood calling for a second look at last month’s state-level decision to approve the project. Atwood, R-St. Simons Island, said his request is prompted by concern from St. Simons residents about the possible negative effects the proposed project’s will have on the beaches south of Sea Island. He was concerned also by the Shore Protection Committee’s narrow 2-1 vote to approve, with one commissioner absent. The committee, which considers permits for such projects under the auspices of the state Department of Natural Resources, voted in favor of the beach buildup Dec. 11, 2015, despite overwhelming objections from more than 100 people who attended the meeting.


Jan. 8, 2016 GPB

Questions Linger About Opportunity School District Plan

Sam Whitehead reports that passage of SB 133 last year got the ball rolling on the Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposal, which would create a statewide school district called the Opportunity School District or OSD.The OSD would be made up of schools that don’t meet the state’s standards for three years in a row, would take in 20 schools a year with a total capacity of 100 schools, and would be run by a state superintendent appointed by the governor.


Jan. 8, 2016 Macon Telegraph

Georgia House leader previews cannabis, teacher pay, casino debates

Maggie Lee reports that ahead of Georgia's annual legislative session, one of the state's most powerful politicians said he supports expanding medical marijuana access, is concerned about recruiting teachers and stressed that the casinos issue is much more complicated than a simple "yes" or "no." House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, will set the agenda in the House of Representatives when the Georgia General Assembly opens for business Monday. In remarks Thursday, he gave his opinion on some of the issues that are expected to come up for debate under the Gold Dome.


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Jan. 8, 2016 Georgia Times-Union

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson backs off 1st Amendment bill

Walter C. Jones reports that hen the Georgia General Assembly convenes Monday for its next session, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson said it should leave to Congress one of its most controversial issues: religious objections to gay marriage. The Georgia Republican told reporters Thursday after addressing the Atlanta Press Club that he favors the national uniformity congressional action offers.


Jan. 8, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Lawmakers to weigh ticket tax breaks for any Super Bowl in Atlanta

Greg Bluestein reports thatAtlanta is about to step up its bid for a Super Bowl. Georgia lawmakers are set to consider a measure this year that would waive the state sales tax on tickets for the Super Bowl – worth an estimated $10 million to $12 million – and possibly other pricey sporting events. No measure has been introduced yet, but the effort has the backing of Gov. Nathan Deal’s office and Atlanta sports officials, according to four people with knowledge of the legislation.




Jan. 7, 2016 New York Times 

Georgia Town Teaches ‘Fight Back’ as Option in Mass Shootings

Richard Faussett reports that when the police held town hall meetings here in the past, they were lucky to see a half-dozen people. But the topic of the most recent one was “Active Shooter: A Citizen’s Guide to Planning for Survival.” And the place was packed. Chief Gary Sparks, an Army veteran with 29 years on the police force, set the mood with an opening chat that was part folksy pep talk and part pragmatic self-defense lecture. 


Jan. 7, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Neely Young: Leading with humor

Neely Young writes, it is rare to see a chamber of commerce executive lauded by a senator on the Senate floor in the nation’s capital. Yet this has happened to Woody Woodside in honor of his 30 years of service as head of the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce.    


Jan. 7,  2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

5-star luxury, 214-room Solís Hotel planned near Porsche HQ

Amy Wenk reports that Capella Hotel Group will develop a 214-room Solís Hotel next to the Porsche Experience Center. The five-star luxury hotel will open in 2017 at Two Porsche Drive and be the first new hotel on the east side of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport since the opening of the new International Terminal.


Jan. 7, 2016 WABE

Tech Innovation Centers Encourage Atlanta Startups

Tasnim Shamma reports that the Atlanta Tech Village in Buckhead features an independent coffee shop, free beer on tap, video game consoles, nap rooms and some desks. Office spaces like this go by many names: tech incubator, maker space, startup accelerator, hub, innovation center. Technology companies have been eager to put entrepreneurs, ping pong tables and tech support all in one building -- especially within the last five years. 


Jan. 7, 2016 Athens Banner Herald, Morris News Service 

Regents OK last phase of UGA’s Terry College business building

Staff reports that as expected, the Board of Regents voted Wednesday to approve Phase III of the University of Georgia’s Business Learning Community. The final classroom and office building is budgeted for $42 million, with half coming from private donations. Of that, $32.8 million will go to the costs of construction.


Jan. 7, 2016 Emory University 

Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center: Contributing to the community

Karen Schindler reports that Emory clinicians provided more than $67 million in charity care to patients in Emory Healthcare facilities in fiscal year 2014-2015. They also provided more than $25 million in uncompensated at the publicly funded, safety net facility, Grady Memorial Hospital, where Emory doctors provide 85% of care.


Jan. 7, 2016 Saporta Report 

Georgia’s recovery from recession evident in weak state revenues: GSU report   

David Pendered reports that Georgia’s economy and employment rate are improving, but that doesn’t mean the state government will have a surge of revenues available to lawmakers when they devise a budget in the upcoming Legislative session, according to a new report from Georgia State University. Sally Wallace, director of GSU’s Fiscal Research Center at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, prepared the new analysis. The center delivered the report at a time when it can inform the upcoming debate over Georgia’s 2017 state budget.


Jan 7, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta Fed: Economy growing at 1 percent

Phil W. Hudson reports that the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta reported Jan. 6 its GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate)i n the fourth quarter of 2015 is 1 percent. On Jan. 4, the forecast for real GDP growth was 0.7 percent. The real GDP growth rate is a key indicator of economic activity. " The forecast for the contribution of net exports to fourth-quarter real GDP growth increased 0.2 percentage points to -0.2 percentage points after this morning's international trade report from the U.S. Census Bureau," the Atlanta Fed reported.


Jan. 7, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Last Chance: Best Places to Work in Georgia

Karen Kirkpatrick reports, you've got one more opportunity to nominate your organization for Georgia Trend magazine’s listing of the best places to work in Georgia. This year we’ve teamed up with Best Companies Group and SHRM Georgia State Council to expand the program that is dedicated to finding and recognizing Georgia’s best employers.


Jan. 7, 2016 Albany Herald

GBPI chief Taifa Smith Butler: Georgia needs more investment in human capital 

Terry Lewis reports that as next Monday’s opening of of the General Assembly draws closer, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute held a meet and greet luncheon Tuesday to introduce Executive Director Taifa Smith Butler to Southwest Georgia. In attendance were regional educators, legislators, and city and county officials. The GBPI bills itself as a non-partisan think tank which “produces research and state budget analysis to show Georgia ways to provide better education, healthcare and opportunity for everyone.”


Jan. 7, 2016 Macon Telegraph 

Ga. Rep. Allen Peake from Macon files medical cannabis grow bill

Maggie Lee reports that the author of Georgia's medical marijuana law, state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, is starting the year by filing a bill he hopes will win over the skeptics of planting medical cannabis in Georgia. Peake wants the state to issue up to six licenses for medical cannabis cultivators in Georgia. His bill also would open medical cannabis use to many more Georgians. People who have any one of 17 diagnoses -- including post-traumatic stress disorder, intractable pain, HIV and AIDS -- would be eligible for Georgia-made cannabis liquids or pills.


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Jan. 7, 2016 Gwinnett Daily Post 

Gov. Nathan Deal among supporters feting Brooks Coleman at campaign kickoff

Curt Yeomans reports that State Rep. Brooks Coleman has a new picture from Gov. Nathan Deal to hang on his wall after the Duluth resident announced his bid to seek another term in Georgia’s House of Representatives on Wednesday. Deal and his wife, Sandra, attended the announcement at the Payne-Corley House in Duluth, and in one of the more light-hearted moments at the event, the governor presented the picture to Coleman, R-Duluth. It was of a man who looked like the state representative, but was not the Gwinnett legislator.


Jan. 7, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Sam Olens may have just passed on a 2018 race for governor

Jim Galloway reports that very likely, Attorney General Sam Olens has decided he would rather be right than governor. And we all may be better off as a result. On Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal retreated from what, in all likelihood, was one of the most popular decisions of his administration – an executive order barring all state assistance to Syrian refugees settled here. A Southern Baptist church in Marietta picked up the slack and took in hand the one Syrian family sent our way last month.




Jan. 6, 2016 11 Alive

Atlanta chosen for "Smart City" upgrades

Jeremy Campbell reports that on Tuesday, Atlanta was chosen as one of just three cities nationwide to earn the designation of "Smart City." The designation, alongside Chicago and Dallas, means AT&T will be implementing some high tech infrastructure around certain neighborhoods as part of a test program. "We're going to deploy it into a few areas of Atlanta so that we can develop key learnings, and then be able to take those key learnings and those data points and fine tune the model and scale it across the framework of the rest of the city," explained AT&T's Mike Zeto.


Jan. 6, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Political Notes: January 2016

Susan Percy reports - Oops Times 6 Million: Secretary of State Brian Kemp has taken “full responsibility” for an error made by a now-fired staffer that illegally disclosed private information, including Social Security numbers, of more than 6 million Georgia voters. Two Fulton County residents have filed a class action suit against the secretary of state’s office, claiming a data breach.


Jan. 6, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Ambitious, five-tower project planned for Sandy Springs

Staff reports that the project at 1117 Perimeter Center West would rise amid existing office buildings and shopping centers clustered just east of Ga. 400 in Sandy Springs.


Jan. 6, 2016 Albany Herald

Southwest Georgia receives grant funding from Healthcare Georgia Foundation

Jennifer Parks reports that the Southwest Public Health District received a grant recently from the Healthcare Georgia Foundation of $150,000 for the purpose of improving birth outcomes in the region, while $50,000 was also awarded for lupus support in Southwest Georgia. The most recent round of awards from the Foundation includes nearly $1.5 million to 20 organizations for the delivery of health care services, addressing Georgia’s rural healthcare crisis and evidence-based approaches and outcomes.


Jan. 6, 2016 Savannah Morning News

UGA reports $355 million impact in Savannah area 

Dash Coleman reports that University of Georgia researchers say the state’s flagship academic institution has an annual economic impact of nearly $355 million on the greater Savannah area. The number was released Monday in a report detailing a $4.4 billion annual impact across the state. According to the university, 62 percent of its graduates remain in Georgia after earning degrees. UGA economist Jeffrey Dorfman looked at graduates’ earnings, revenue from licenses stemming from university inventions and the creation of jobs spurred by the university’s outreach programs.


Jan. 6, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Older portion of Columbus Convention and Trade Center getting $1 million roof

Tony Adams reports that a portion of the city’s primary convention and meeting facility needs a new roof and it’s going to cost a little more than $1 million. Kimberly Lewis, assistant director of the Columbus Convention and Trade Center, said Monday the older portion of the 182,000-square-foot structure at 801 Front Ave. is due for work, specifically the roof over the mammoth meeting halls that feature exposed, ultra-high ceilings.

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Jan. 6, 2016 Georgia Times Union

Georgia issues permit for Rayonier to continue discharges into Altamaha River at Jesup mill

Terry Dickson reports that Georgia Environmental Protection Division issued a permit to allow Rayonier Advanced Materials to continue discharging treated wastewater into the Altamaha River at its Jesup plant but with tighter limits on pollutants. The EPD sent out a letter in late December informing those who commented during the permitting process that the resulting document protected the environment and that the permit had been issued.


Jan. 6, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Delta first to hike fares in 2016

Staff reports that Delta Air Lines Inc. rang in the new year by becoming the first of the major carriers to raise ticket prices, according to travel site Delta Air Lines Inc. rang in the new year with the first fare hike of the major carriers, according to travel site


Jan. 6, 2016 WABE 

Ga. Senator Proposes 'More Palatable’ Religious Freedom Bill 

Johnny Kauffman reports that new bill from Republican state Sen. Greg Kirk of Americus would protect public employees who object to same-sex marriage, but at this point even its sponsor said he is uncertain exactly how far those protections will extend throughout Georgia governments. Kirk said the bill would protect individuals who do not want to issue marriage licenses based on their religious beliefs, but he is not sure whether the bill he plans to make official next week will affect employees who issue death certificates or certain tax benefits.


Jan. 6, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Dax Lopez’s GOP allies turn up heat on Georgia senators

Daniel Malloy reports that fter our story over the holidays about the immigration-related Senate stall for the nomination of DeKalb County state court Judge Dax Lopez to the federal bench, his Georgia Republican allies are turning up the public heat on Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue.



Jan. 5, 2015 WABE 

Group That Helps Youths Fleeing Violence To Open Atlanta Office

Martha Dalton reports that a national nonprofit that represents children who’ve fled violence in Central America is opening an Atlanta office. The organization, Kids in Need of Defense, or KIND, was founded by actress Angelina Jolie and Microsoft Corp. Christina Iturralde is the supervising attorney for KIND's new Atlanta office. She says unaccompanied minors who arrive in the U.S. have to go through two systems: immigration court and juvenile court. But, she says, few attorneys handle such cases.


Jan. 5, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Remembering Gene Asher

Karen Kirkpatrick reports, longtime sportswriter and Georgia Trend columnist Gene Asher passed away Dec. 28 at the age of 87. Asher’s popular monthly column on sports legends for Georgia Trend ran from 1998 to 2013 and included profiles of Major League Baseball’s Bob Hendley and University of Georgia’s first lady of football Barbara Dooley, among many others.


Jan. 5, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Theragenics buys Eckert & Ziegler assets

Jacques Couret reports that prostate and breast cancer products company Theragenics Corp. bought Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG’s U.S. and Canadian seed business for an undisclosed amount. The deal includes the EZB’s U.S. and Canadian customers, the U.S. and Canadian rights to the AnchorSeed, VariStrand and related seed products, and the rights to the SeedLock Needle product.


Jan. 5, 2015 Brunswick News

Flooding expected to get worse in the Altamaha River region

Anna Hall reports that Donna Knight was more than ready to take on possible flood conditions late last week when the National Weather Service in Jacksonville sounded the call that the Altamaha River might get higher than usual. As manager of Altamaha Regional Park in northern Glynn County, she has long known the area is susceptible to high waters and occasional flooding.


Jan. 5, 2015 Augusta Chronicle, Columbia County News Times

High water from dam releases to continue

Valerie Rowell reports that high water levels in the Savannah River are likely continue as releases from the dam are expected through the end of the week. “We are maintaining an aggressive release until we can get Thurmond (Lake levels) down,” said Russell Wicke, a district spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.    


Jan. 5, 2015 UGA

Study: UGA has a $4.4 billion economic impact on Georgia

Sam Fahmy reports that Georgia's flagship university has a $4.4 billion annual economic impact on the state, according to a new study that analyzed how the three-part teaching, research and service mission of the University of Georgia contributes to the economy. The study, conducted by UGA economist Jeffrey Dorfman, quantified variables such as the increase in earnings that graduates of the university's schools and colleges receive, revenues from the licensing of university inventions, and the creation of business and jobs resulting from the university's public service and outreach units.


Jan. 5, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 

LifePoint Health, new CEO focus on future after purchase of St. Francis Hospital

Chuck Williams reports that new St. Francis Hospital Chief Executive Officer David Koontz was not talking about the hospital’s troubled financial past on Monday. Instead, he was focusing on the future under new ownership. Koontz, who has been working as part of a transition team for four months, was announced as the new CEO at the same time official word of LifePoint Health’s acquisition of the Columbus hospital was released.


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Jan. 5, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Cobb completes bus rapid transit system study

Carla Caldwell reports that Cobb County has completed a study on a proposed $494 million bus rapid transit system to connect Kennesaw to Midtown Atlanta and expects to soon receive approval from federal authorities to move forward with the project. But it is not likely that the county will soon create the system.


Jan. 5, 2015 Saporta Report

City of Atlanta pays APS $9 million as they move towards resolving BeltLine dispute   

Dave Williams and Maria Saporta report that the city of Atlanta paid Atlanta Public Schools $9 million last week in an important step toward resolving a long-running legal dispute over tax allocation district revenues from Atlanta BeltLine Inc. Word of the payment emerged Monday from a source close to the negotiations as the Atlanta City Council met behind closed doors for more than an hour to discuss an issue of “potential litigation,” in the words of council President Ceasar Mitchell.


Jan. 5, 2015 Georgia Times-Union, Morris News Service

Georgia Senate bill would make pot possession a misdemeanor

Walter C. Jones reports that ossession of marijuana would no longer be a felony under legislation awaiting lawmakers when they return next week. Democrat Harold Jones of Augusta filed Senate Bill 254 Dec. 29 that would make possession of any amount a misdemeanor. That would make the maximum punishment 12 months in jail and $1,000, The freshman senator announced the proposal Monday, noting that 10 states already consider marijuana possession a minor crime.  


Jan. 5, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

Hillary Clinton wants Georgia to expand autism insurance

Greg Bluestein reports that Georgia lawmakers rallied behind a law last year that requires insurers to provide coverage for children who have been diagnosed with autism. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton wants to take a step further with a proposal to require insurers to cover autism treatment for any age. The Democratic candidate is set to discuss her plan for expanded autism insurance and new screening and treatment initiatives on Tuesday at a town hall meeting in Iowa. It would require insurance plans offered through state health exchanges in Georgia and other states to cover autism treatment.




Jan. 4, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

High-impact projects loom large in 2016

J. Scott Trubey reports that Metro Atlanta is seeing a surge in new development after the lonely days of the recession that left cranes idled and development dreams stalled. As 2016 dawns, apartments by the thousands are in the pipeline, two new professional stadiums are taking shape and developers are taking chances again with numerous projects on the drawing board.


Jan. 4, 2016 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Georgia's Advocate

Susan Percy reports, he's a lot more, but Sam Olens is basically a good guy. Georgia’s Republican attorney general, in the middle of his second term, is a plays-well-with-others, roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-to-work consensus-builder, a lawyer’s lawyer who is quick to share credit and gives every sign of loving what he does. “What greater honor can there be for an attorney than to represent the state?” Olens asks.


Jan. 4, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Lockheed Martin to deliver 78 C-130J Super Hercules in $5.3 billion deal 

Carla Caldwell reports that Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) will deliver 78 C-130J Super Hercules to the U.S. government through a C-130J Multiyear II contract. The new contract comes on the heels of Lockheed Martin's announcement in December that the company has delivered its No. 2,500th C-130 Hercules from the company’s Marietta, Ga., production line.


Jan. 4, 2016 Albany Herald 

Farmland key element of microbrewery project

Carlton Fletcher reports, in the aftermath of Dr. Tripp Morgan’s announcement of his plans to build a microbrewery in Albany’s downtown district, the primary focus has been on the brewery itself. But another major component of that project is already under way some 10 miles west of downtown. Acres of wheat, only recently bursting through the soil on farmland purchased by Morgan in southwest Dougherty County, are being tended by employees of the Pretoria Fields project, setting the stage for an organic farming operation that will encompass more than 400 acres in Dougherty, Lee and Mitchell counties.


Jan. 4, 2016 Macon Telegraph 

Five Middle Georgia education stories to watch in 2016

Jeremy Timmerman reports that the last year has brought plenty of changes for Middle Georgia's schools, and more could be in store in 2016. In 2015, some of the major stories revolved around new superintendents, a new school and a new name for what is now Middle Georgia State University. Looking ahead, some of those same themes will continue with added interest in at least one statewide decision.


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Jan. 4, 2016 Georgia Health News

Shots at the pharmacy — a growing trend in Georgia

Ruobing Han reports that state law that’s been in place for less than six months has improved access to key vaccines for Georgia adults. The legislation allows pharmacists and nurses to administer vaccines for influenza, pneumococcal disease, shingles and meningitis.  This is a big development for Georgia pharmacists, who have been administering flu vaccine to all comers since 2009 and other shots to people with individual prescriptions from a doctor.


Jan. 4, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Audit questions need, impact of science, math teacher incentives

James Salzer and Ty Tagami report that a new state audit argues that lawmakers may want to reconsider the need for incentive programs aimed at attracting more and better-trained math and science teachers. Lawmakers approved the program in the late 2000s because of concerns that the state faced a shortage of math and science teachers, something the audit said may not currently be as big a problem in Georgia as it is nationally.


Jan. 4, 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Atlanta among top cities in United States to launch a startup

Phil W. Hudson reports that Atlanta has been named as one of the best cities to launch a startup, outside of Silicon Valley and New York. DataFox, a San Francisco-based deal-sourcing and research platform, ranked Atlanta No. 7 on its list after crunching the numbers on over 12,000 U.S.-based, pre-Series A companies in its database to find the best cities to found a startup.


Jan. 4, 2016 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 

2016 will be a busy, possibly odd election year in Columbus

Tim Chitwood reports that much more will be on area ballots this year than Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They'll be up for a vote in the March 1 presidential preference primary in Georgia and Alabama, but after that voters won't see such big names until the winning party nominees fight for the top job in the Nov. 8 General Election. Meanwhile, residents will have other choices to make. Columbus will hold local elections during state party primaries on May 24, when a lot of local offices will be up for grabs.


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Jan. 4, 2016 Gwinnett Daily Post

English language, Milton County among issues in prefiled legislation 

Curt Yeomans reports that as the new legislative session draws near, legislators have spent recent weeks pre-filing pieces of legislation they want to begin working on immediately when the General Assembly reconvenes Jan. 11. The new bills that are already in the hopper deal with a host of topics ranging from the old debate about recreating Milton County to the English language and congressional reapportionment.


Jan. 4, 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

Nathan Deal builds second term around an education overhaul

Greg Bluesein reports that Gov. Nathan Deal devoted much of his political capital in his first term toward an ambitious overhaul of the state’s criminal justice system. He’s building his second around fundamental changes to how the state operates and pays for its school system. They seem like an incompatible mix for a governor who will be inevitably pulled toward building legacy projects as his final term in public office draws closer to an end. But Deal’s insistence that the two are inextricably linked will shape his last years in the Governor’s Mansion.




Dec. 31, 2015 GPB

Attorney General: Georgia Can't Deny Benefits To Syrian Refugees

Staff reports that Attorney General Sam Olens says Georgia cannot deny benefits to refugees from Syria, as ordered by Gov. Nathan Deal. Deal's November exeuctive order called on President Obama to suspend the resettlement of Syrian refugees. It also directed state agencies not to assist in the processing of Syrians already in the state and to deny them access to services, such as Medicare and food stamps.


Dec. 31, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

T-Splost Redux

Keven Hogencamp reports that even consumer guru Clark Howard has jumped into Georgia’s transportation funding discussion. Pointing to a recent study that says automobile damage caused by shoddy roads is on the rise nationwide, Howard insisted in a recent radio segment that it’s much smarter for government to repair roads and bridges now than later.


Dec. 31, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Southern-Made: Beverages that won't be mistaken for boring

Linda Jerkins reports, after studying the diets and cultures of people across six continents, Atlanta native Kelley Sibley was inspired to create an organic, cold-pressed juice company in her hometown. Bamboo Juices was founded in Atlantan in 2013. When the company partnered with Serenbe in 2014, it moved its kitchen to Palmetto.


Dec. 31, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Software firm Marketo plans Atlanta expansion, will boost workforce by 50 percent

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Marketing automation software maker Marketo (Nasdaq: MKTO) is planning a large expansion that will boost its Atlanta workforce by 50 percent.In May 2014, Marketo put its East Coast hub in Atlanta — the company's first major expansion in the United States. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company, which leases more than 20,600 square feet in Buckhead, will add 50 jobs. 


Dec. 31, 2015 Macon Telegraph 

Georgia State Patrol gets $2.37 million grant for DUI task force

Liz Fabian reports that specially trained Georgia state troopers will continue to remove impaired drivers from the state's highways under a $2.37 million grant. The Governor's Office of Highway Safety awarded the grant to the Georgia Department of Public Safety through the Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic program, or HEAT, according to a news release.


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Dec. 31, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald 

Dam in Oconee County under repair as danger of collapse subsides

Wayne Ford reports that the threat of a earthen dam failing in Briars Lake subdivision has subsided with repairs made to the structure in Oconee County, authorities said Wednesday. Officials evacuated residents along Briar Lakes Court below the dam while the lake was lowered and the repairs made overnight after damage to the dam was discovered Tuesday. Approximately nine homes are located along this street in a subdivision bordering Mars Hill Road.


Dec. 31, 2015 WABE 

Looking Forward To 2016: Health Care In Georgia 

WABE's news reporters, producers and editors are already looking toward 2016. "Morning Edition" host Denis O'Hayer says he is curious about Obamacare and what the state of Georgia will decide to do about Medicaid:"Part of the dispute is whether the state would expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and Gov. Deal has said, 'no no no.' There have been rumblings for a long time that the state would try to negotiate some sort of third way with the feds, something between 'absolutely no' and 'we're going to expand Medicaid.'" 


Dec. 31, 2015 Augusta Chronicle

Augusta metro area home prices affordable, analysis shows

Damon Cline reports that a recent analysis of rental, sales and federal wage data by Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac shows homes in the metro area's three most populous counties are within reach of the typical wage earner. A recent analysis of rental, sales and federal wage data by Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac shows homes in the metro area’s three most populous counties – Aiken, Columbia and Richmond – are within reach of the typical wage earner. 


Dec. 31, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Chick-fil-A makes rare exception – opens on Sunday 

Carla Caldwell reports that Chick-fil-A famously does not open on Sunday but made a rare exception in Texas. The Atlanta-based company opened several restaurants northeast of Dallas on Dec. 27 after tornadoes ripped through the state, reports


Dec. 31, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Georgia’s fight over ‘religious liberty’ comes out of the closet

Jim Galloway reports that six months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court declared state prohibitions on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. Perhaps elsewhere, the high-court decision may have defused the debate. But not in Georgia, where certain Republican state lawmakers have decided that, come January, they’ll double down. If you’ll pardon the expression, they intend to bring opposition to gay marriage out of the closet.



Dec. 30, 2015 WABE 

Warm Winter Puts Georgia Peach And Nut Crops At Risk

Tasnim Shamma reports that Georgia's No. 1 agricultural crop is cotton, followed by timber, peanuts and blueberries. The official state fruit, the peach, is also a big money-maker. But an unusually warm winter is not ideal for many crops like peaches. Georgia peach growers say they're concerned about whether they'll have enough this spring.


Dec. 30, 3015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Art of the Meal: The Grey

Krista Reece reports ,if “romantic bus travel” ever existed, the only evidence is Frank Capra’s 1934 film classic, It Happened One Night (original title: Night Bus). Even then, before Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert fall for each other, the couple are thrown together for a cramped, bumpy ride. But Savannah’s sleek year-old restaurant, The Grey, shows you how it might have been possible. 


Dec. 30, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

State kicks in $15M for Paulding reservoir project

Dave Williams reports that the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) is helping accelerate a 305-acre reservoir project in Paulding County with $15 million in direct investment, the state agency announced Tuesday. GEFA already has helped underwrite the planned Richland Creek Reservoir with a $2.86 million planning loan in 2012 and $56.7 million in construction loans approved during the last four years, agency spokesman Shane Hix said. GEFA's board is expected to vote on another $8.2 million in loan funding next month, he said.


Dec. 30, 2015 Brunswick News 

Sewer system completed in St. Marys

Gordon Jackson reports that the 15-year wait for municipal sewer service is over for Gaines Davis residents. Residents in the 138-home subdivision in St. Marys, many with aging septic systems, have one year to hook up to the new sewer system at the discounted rate of $1,500 — the fee that was charged at the time the development was annexed in 2000.


Dec. 30, 2015 

France’s Consul General Foresees New Opportunities for Strengthening Atlanta Ties in 2016

Phil Bolton reports that it was in January 2009 that the departments of Gironde and Landes in southern France, one of Europe’s largest forest areas, were pulverized by a devastating cyclone. Half the trees in the area — mainly pine and poplar — were struck down to the ground. Thousands of people who relied on the timber industry for a living saw eight years of potential harvesting destroyed. The trees normally destined for the packaging and paper industries and for wood energy had toppled over each other, the older trees crashing down onto the younger growths.


Dec. 30, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post 

Classes set to begin at new $24 million Gwinnett Tech campus in Fulton County

Keith Farner reports that they’re not in the real estate business, but employees working admissions at the new Gwinnett Technical College campus repeated the familiar mantra: Location, location, location. Located across from the Avalon shopping center and near several IT companies in the North Fulton area, the new building is also close enough for an Alpharetta High School student to ride her bike to the Old Milton Parkway address.


Dec. 30, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Georgia medical marijuana sponsor to push expanded bill

Dave Williams reports that the sponsor of this year’s bill legalizing medical marijuana in Georgia will push to expand the law, despite opposition from Gov. Nathan Deal and a study commission created by the governor. State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, said Tuesday he plans to pre-file legislation next week allowing marijuana to be grown in Georgia and used to produce cannabis oil for treating patients with seizure disorders and other diseases. The 2016 General Assembly session starts Jan. 11.


Dec. 30, 2015 GPB 

Georgia Lawmakers Push To Help Kinship Caregivers

Sam Whitehead reports that the story of how Bernice Smith’s grandson became her son is a story told by documents. Some of the ones she flips through in the living room of her Decatur, Georgia home are official looking, covered with stamps and seals. Others are more informal. “This is his autobiography that Stephen wrote himself,” Smith says, holding a printed page.


Dec. 30, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

How a sweeping election upended Savannah politics

Greg Bluestein reports that to say conventional political wisdom in Savannah was upended by this month’s elections is like saying this city near the sea has only a passing fascination with St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Edna Jackson, the city’s first black female leader, became the first incumbent mayor defeated here in 20 years, beaten by a conservative business owner. Two other black female contenders for the City Council were rejected by voters. They, too, fell to a pair of graying, white candidates.



Dec. 29, 2015 WABE 

Looking Forward To 2016: Georgia's Economy Trends

Staff reports that University of Georgia economists say Georgia's gross domestic product will grow at 3.5 percent, almost a full percentage higher than the nation’s average. "So that means we're doing a lot better than the nation overall," she says. "But we're also going to see job growth slowing, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. We'll see more high-tech, high-skilled paying jobs and that's good for the Atlanta area."


Dec. 29, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Organizations: CURE Childhood Cancer

Candice Dyer reports that when Emory University’s first pediatric oncologist, Dr. Abdel Ragab, started CURE Childhood Cancer in 1975, Atlanta offered few resources to physicians and families struggling with the disease. “Doctors didn’t have the equipment they needed, and parents didn’t have support systems,” says the nonprofit’s executive director, Kristin Connor. “Today, Atlanta ranks in the top 10 centers for treating pediatric cancer, and we just donated $2.5 million toward research, most of which is taking place in Atlanta.”


Dec. 29, 2015 Macon Telegraph 

Macon's Amerson park, river walk remain closed as Ocmulgee recedes 

Staff reports that after torrents of rain sent the Ocmulgee River out of its banks in Macon, water levels are dropping from the river's seventh-highest historical crest. Amerson River Park and the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail remain closed until the river returns to a safe level, and crews are able to assess any damage, make needed repairs and clean the area, according to a news release.


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Dec. 29, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Flood Update: Georgia Power opens another gate at Lake Oliver

Mark Rice reports that Georgia Power spokesman Robert Watkins emailed the Ledger-Enquirer this update at 10:26 p.m. Monday: "It has been since 7:48 that we opened one more gate at Oliver (5 open) and the storm has basically passed. It does not look to be a repeat of Christmas Eve. There may be more water headed our way from the North part of the river basin, but we still are a long way from the 13 open gates at Christmas."


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Dec. 29, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald 

Flood watch in effect for northeast Georgia through Thursday morning

Jim Thompson reports that after lifting a flood watch for parts of northeast Georgia including Athens-Clarke County briefly during the weekend, the National Weather Service has issued a new flood watch for this part of the state — a watch that is not set to expire until Thursday morning — as the forecast calls for as much as 5 inches of rain in the area over the next couple of days.


Dec. 29, 2015 Albany Herald

Emergency crews cautiously optimistic in wake of flood

Carlton Fletcher reports that even as the National Weather Service was projecting an even lower-than-first-expected crest elevation for the Flint River as flood waters from creeks in Lee County and points north moved inexorably into the rapidly flowing Dougherty County portion of the river today, there was a feeling of unease among residents who filed into Riverfront Park to take photos of the rain-swollen river. “I keep hearing that we’re going to be OK, but I don’t like the way that looks down there,” one said around noon as the Flint’s waters covered all but the tops of some lights lining the flooded riverwalk and edged nearer the tops of concrete pilings on which the newly rebuild Broad Avenue Memorial Bridge sits.


Dec. 29, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

2 of the country's 'coolest' new businesses are in Atlanta

Lauren Colley reports that w


Dec. 29, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Two more Atlanta-area cities eye Disney-style monorail system

Carla Caldwell reports that Brookhaven and Chamblee are joining Sandy Springs in looking into Disney-style monorail as a public transportation option for high-density areas. In November, Sandy Springs Planning Commission chair Lee Duncan pitched a monorail system like the one used at Walt Disney theme parks as a potential solution for Sandy Springs’ growing traffic woes. The idea gained traction in mid-December when Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said the city is “not unserious” about studying such a system to help address growing transportation needs.


Dec. 29, 2015

Atlanta Payments Giants Cash In As World Moves From Paper to Plastic

Trevor Williams reports that when promoting the payments industry — the web of companies making things work behind the scenes when you swipe your credit card — Atlanta boosters often mention the fact that 70 percent of U.S. transactions pass through companies in Georgia. That may sound impressive, but it could be understating the future opportunity in the industry: About 95 percent of consumers live outside the U.S., and the market for outsourced card-processing services internationally is slated to grow twice as fast as in the U.S. in the coming years.


Dec. 29, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

Democratic bill would require divorce judges to sign off on new gun purchases

Greg Bluestein reports that a rookie Democrat in the state Senate says he’s under “no false illusions,” but he’s moving forward with a bill that would require parties in the throes of divorce to get a judge’s permission before newly purchasing a firearm.



Dec. 28, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Gov. Deal: State of emergency in 3 counties, more could be added

Carla Caldwell reports that Gov. Nathan Deal has announced a state of emergency in three north Georgia counties following major flooding. The counties are Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens. Deal said in a statement released late Thursday that more counties could be added to the declaration.


Dec. 28, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive! 

Political Notes: December 2015

Susan Percy reports that the State Department of Education has hired its first economic development liaison. He’s Richard Goble, who was previously general manager and finance manger for a car dealership in Jasper and a director of business and industry for Chattahoochee Technical College. 


Dec. 28, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Which Georgia banks were the biggest market movers in 2015?

Phil W. Hudson reports that the Peach State’s banks had a good year in 2015 — especially those that are publicly traded. And the success of those bank's stocks can primarily be attributed to growing tangible book value per share (a way of company valuation on a per-share basis by removing intangible assets then measuring its equity), according to Christopher Marinac, managing principal and director of research for Atlanta-based FIG Partners LLC.


Dec. 28, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hartsfield-Jackson tops 100 million mark

Kelly Yamanouchi reports that Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which started as a humble airfield on an abandoned racetrack, set a world record Sunday by handling 100 million passengers in a single year. The milestone capped a surprising 5 percent increase in passenger traffic this year.


Dec. 28, 2015 Augusta Chronicle

2015 a year of unprecedented growth, Fort Gordon official says

Travis Highfield reports that this year will be remembered as Fort Gordon’s “coming out party,” Garrison Com­mander Col. Sam Anderson said. It was a year of unprecedented growth in both personnel and construction, he said. As expected, the installation swelled by roughly 1,000 service members as it continues to prepare for the arrival of Army Cyber Command, expected to relocate to the Augusta-area base by 2019.


 Dec. 28, 2015 WABE 

Gullah-Geechee Residents Fight Sapelo Island Development

Molly Samuel reports that most of Sapelo Island is a wildlife preserve owned by the state: bright white beaches, wide-open salt marsh and giant live oak trees with Spanish moss hanging down. The ferry to the island mostly carries visitors on day trips with cameras and binoculars and backpacks.


Dec. 28, 2015 Macon Telegraph 

Georgia Attorney General's Office offers settlement to Gordon mayor for alleged Open Records Act violations

Amy Leigh Womack reports that if Gordon Mayor Mary Ann Whipple-Lue doesn't sign a memorandum of understanding drafted by the state Attorney General's Office, admitting that she violated the state's sunshine laws, the city may be headed for another legal battle -- this one with the state. A copy of the unsigned document, obtained by The Telegraph through a request filed with the Attorney General's Office, alleges that Whipple-Lue used personal email accounts to conduct city business, but failed to hand over all emails subject to disclosure under the state's Open Records Act when The Wilkinson County Post filed a request for them Aug. 25.

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Dec. 28, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post 

Legislators to embark on widely debated education funding formulas

Keith Farner reports that there's one topic expected to generate plenty of discussion around the Gold Dome next month: Education funding and how that relates to paying teachers. The Education Reform Commission, which has more than 30 members, recently completed its work and passed its report to Gov. Nathan Deal. One of the key parts of the commission’s report was a new funding formula to replace the three-decade old Quality Basic Education formula.


Dec. 28, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Atlanta developer greenlights big 316-unit apartment complex in North Carolina

Amanda Hoyle reports that an Atlanta multifamily development firm is moving forward with plans to build a 316-unit, high-end apartment community next to the Wells Fargo mortgage operations center in west Raleigh. An affiliate of Pollack Shores Real Estate Group of Atlanta has acquired nearly 16 acres of undeveloped land at the intersection of Nowell Road and Conference Drive, paying $6.65 million, or $420,900 per acre, according to county records.


Dec. 28, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Newly-elected Georgia House Republican skirts campaign vow

The following story was written by Leighton Rowell, a University of Georgia student part of The Georgia News Lab, which trains students in investigative journalism and partners with the AJC and WSB-TV to showcase their work. Newly elected State Rep. Sheri Smallwood Gilligan, R-Cumming, accepted funding from two influential conservative advocacy groups before her July election to a suburban Atlanta House seat, despite vowing to reject campaign contributions from “special interests.”




Dec. 24, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald

UGA gets best bang for buck for research in U.S., analysis says

Lee Shearer reports that the University of Georgia isn't near the top of most national rankings, but in one, it's the best in the country, according to an analysis by a new online health and life sciences news site.


Dec. 24, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Spotted in Georgia — Happy Holidays!

Karen Kirkpatrick reports that lots of spots in Georgia get themselves decked out this time of year. For a simple, homespun take on the holidays, check out the William Harris Homestead in Monroe. The homestead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features an 1825 log house, outbuildings, gardens and lovely landscapes.Happy Holidays from all of us at Georgia Trend. We’ll be back with more Latest Trends in 2016.


Dec. 24, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Metro Atlanta unemployment rate drops to lowest point since April 2008

Carla Caldwell reports thatMetro Atlanta’s unemployment rate for November was 5 percent, down four-tenths of a percentage point from 5.4 percent in October, the Georgia Department of Labor said early Thursday. The rate in November 2014 was 6.1 percent.


Dec. 24, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta giants lend a hand to global aid efforts

Kelly Yamanouchi reports that UPS has spent decades honing the most efficient methods for shipping boxes around the world. Coca-Cola has figured out how to get bottles of soft drinks to some of the most remote villages on the globe. The Atlanta-based giants also use that expertise to help with humanitarian efforts, when quickly getting medications or relief supplies into countries with poor airports or roads can be exceedingly difficult.


Dec. 24, 2015 GPB

Launching a startup: Lessons learned

Rickey Bevington reports that although Georgia tops a recent national list of women-owned businesses, only a fraction of technology businesses are founded and led by women.Atlanta’s Stacey Osiecki has bucked that trend. In September 2015 Osiecki attended Launchpad 2X , a local program that teaches women entrepreneurs to go from startup to CEO.


Dec. 24, 2015 Savannah Morning News

BiS: Newcomer of the Year

Mary Carr Mayle reports that it's a multi-million-dollar company that was essentially started by accident. Brothers Tyler and Danny Merritt, both Army captains, wanted to do something to help raise funds for Eddie Kline, one of Tyler’s West Point classmates who had lost three limbs in Afghanistan.


Dec. 24, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta ranks high as an affordable rental market

Tom Schooley reports that Atlanta ranks among the top five markets in the country for rental affordability, according to a new report by RealtyTrac. The research firm analyzed rental data from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development along with wage reports and home sale data to assemble a report assessing whether it was more affordable to buy a home or rent in markets of at least 100,000 people throughout the country.


Dec. 24, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Democrats fear cost of defending data breach will ‘cost Georgia taxpayers dearly’

Greg Bluestein reports that pair of House Democrats contend that Georgia’s top lawyer “could cost Georgia taxpayers dearly” by declining to represent Secretary of State Brian Kemp in the lawsuit that exposed the disclosure of confidential information of more than 6 million voters. State Reps. Scott Holcomb and Taylor Bennett, both of DeKalb, challenged Gov. Nathan Deal’s decision to appoint a trio of outside attorneys to represent Kemp’s office after Attorney General Sam Olens recused himself.




Dec. 23, 2015 Georgia Health News

Exchange enrollment nears 500,000 in Georgia

Andy Miller reports that nearly a half-million Georgians have enrolled in a 2016 health plan through the insurance exchange or had their coverage automatically renewed, federal officials announced Tuesday. Georgia’s total of 498,901 as of Dec. 19 would appear to put the state on a faster pace than 2015 enrollment. By the end of that enrollment period in mid-February, roughly 540,000 Georgians had signed up or been renewed.


Dec. 23, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Sustainable Georgia: Driving with the Sun

Ben Young writes, I was thrilled to see one of my great sci-fi dreams come true in West Point when Georgia unveiled its first solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging station. We’ve been rewarded by the convergence of public, private, local and global efforts. It makes sense that it opened at the Visitor Information Center on the Ray Anderson Memorial Highway.


Dec. 23, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta fintech Payscape plans 200-job expansion

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Atlanta-based financial technology company Payscape has acquired Vendevor, an Austin-based e-Commerce shopping platform. As part of the deal, Payscape will acquire the assets of Vendevor, according to a statement. Financial terms were not disclosed.


Dec. 23, 2015 Athens Banner Herald 

Georgia may ease teacher testing burden, legislators say at Oconee forum

Lee Shearer reports that teachers may get some relief from the thousands of state-required tests they have to administer yearly, legislators said at a forum sponsored by the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce Monday. "I think there's sort of a coming realization in the legislature that testing and the amount of time needs a serious rewind," said Rep. Chuck Williams, R-Watkinsville.


Dec. 23, 2015

Chinese Judicial Reform Officials Visit Atlanta to Study Public Safety Policies

Phil Bolton reports that a high-level Chinese delegation developing recommendations for reforming China’s criminal justice system visited Atlanta Dec. 12-14 to meet with local law enforcement officials and attorneys on a 12-day study tour of legal procedures in the U.S. Chinese local courts are facing increased pressures due to the country’s rapid economic development and social change, especially in the countryside where reportedly government agencies haven’t been able to cope successfully with legal issues brought forward.


Dec. 23, 2015 Chattanooga Times-Free Press

Veteran Atlanta auto dealer buys Pye Acura in Chattanooga

Mike Pare reports that one of the longest-standing car dealerships on Chattanooga's so-called automotive row off Highway 153 has changed hands. After about 30 years, Pye Acura has been sold by owner Johnny Pye to Atlanta veteran auto dealer Bill Stout, who has renamed the business Acura of Chattanooga.


Dec. 23, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Kenny Rogers’ Georgia theme park to be ‘more high-tech’ than Dollywood, similar to SXSW

Phil W. Hudson reports that Kenny Rogers may be retiring from touring, but the Gambler still has something up his sleeve — a Dollywoodesque theme park in the Peach State. Rogers told The Guardian newspaper “40 miles north of Atlanta, on an island, [will be] Kennyland or Kenny World. It’s going to be something really special.”




Dec. 22, 2015 Georgia Health News

Feds to investigate Waycross cancer mystery

Andy Miller reports that a federal agency that investigates hazardous substances has accepted a community petition to investigate possible environmental links to cancers in the Waycross area. Much of the residents’ concern recently has centered on three childhood cases of rhabdomyosarcoma and one case of Ewing sarcoma in and near Ware County, in the southeast corner of Georgia.


Dec. 22, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive

Generation Orbit’s GoLauncher

Karen Kirkpatrick reports that it may look like your garden-variety airplane. But, in fact, it is used to launch satellites into orbit. In the past, a great deal of energy, waste and danger were involved in launching large rockets – the method for carrying satellites. Generation Orbit’s GoLauncher deploys satellites in a way that saves fuel and expenses and is far safer. The plane carries a rocket high into the atmosphere then releases the rocket, launching it into space. 


Dec. 22, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Arthur Blank hires Mercedes-Benz USA CEO to lead AMB Group

Phil W. Hudson and Maria Saporta report that AMB Group LLC tapped Mercedes-Benz USA President and CEO Stephen Cannon as its new CEO. AMB reported Cannon will lead all business operations of the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons; Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer; Atlanta Falcons Stadium Company, the developer of Mercedes-Benz Stadium that is scheduled to open in 2017; PGA TOUR Superstore; and Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.


Dec. 22, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post 

Gwinnett Medical ICUs win national awards for critical care

Curt Yeomans reports that Gwinnett Medical Center’s intensive care units in Lawrenceville and Duluth recently got national props from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. Hospital officials announced the group named ICUs among the recipients of its Beacon Awards for Critical Care Excellence. Units that receive the award are judged on their leadership structure, staff, communication, evidence-based practices, outcome measurements, development and knowledge management.


Dec. 22, 2015 Augusta Chronicle

Richmond County schools owe more than $1 million to company for tax overpayment

Susan McCord reports that the city of Augusta isn’t the only local government affected by a multimillion-dollar sales tax overpayment by an aircraft maintenance business.  Richmond County schools will be on the hook for about $1.86 million, plus interest. 


Dec. 22, 2015 UGA 

NIH grants $2.1 million MERIT award extension to UGA researcher studying B-12

Alan Flurry reports that the National Institutes of Health Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded a five-year extension to the University of Georgia's Jorge C. Escalante. He will use the funds in the study of vitamin B-12, looking at the biosynthesis and anaerobic metabolism in salmonella. The MERIT, Method to Extend Research in Time, award is an extension of $2.1 million to an initial five-year award announced in 2010.


Dec. 22, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

UPS to power fleet with gas from landfills

Carla Caldwell reports that Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) will supply its fleet in two states with renewable natural gas produced by landfills. UPS says its fleet in Jackson, Miss., and Memphis, will use an estimated 15 million diesel gallon gas equivalents of renewable natural gas (RNG) as part of a multi-year agreement with Memphis Light, Gas and Water and Atmos Energy Marketing, LLC.


Dec. 22, 2015 GPB 

Education Reform Commission Report Receives Scrutiny

Sam Whitehead reports that a new report from Gov. Deal’s Education Reform Commission calls for a number of changes to how Georgia runs its school, but some of the report’s recommendations have received some scrutiny. The report calls for rebuilding Georgia’s current school funding model and for increasing spending under the new model by more than 250 million dollars.


Dec. 22, 2015 WABE

Allen Peake Steps Down As Georgia House Floor Leader 

Lisa George reports that one of Gov. Nathan Deal's floor leaders in the Georgia House of Representatives is stepping away from that job. State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) accepted the post just a few months ago. But Peake said he and Deal disagree on what has come to be known as Peake's signature issue.


Dec. 22, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

Buddy Carter opts out of GOP revolt over coastal drilling

Jim Galloway reports that the Washington Post reports today that a Republican revolt is brewing along the Atlantic coast over the prospect of oil drilling off tourist-dependent shores. However, the Savannah Morning News says U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, a freshman whose district spans the entirety of the Georgia coast, has opted out of any such revolution. He’s refused to sign onto a bipartisan letter calling for the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to oppose seismic testing for offshore oil.




Dec. 21, 2015 Savannah Morning News 

Georgia Ports capitalizing on efficiencies to grow container business

Curtis Foltz keeps waiting for things to slow down, something the Georgia Ports executive director has been expecting as container volumes continue to set new record highs month after month. “We anticipate, at some point this year, to begin seeing throughput leveling off to more normal patterns,” he said in early October. It hasn’t happened yet. “It’s our best November ever, expanding on the 11.6 percent increase we had last year when we were at the height of the diverted traffic,” he said Thursday.


Dec. 21, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

2015 Family Business Awards

Ralph Ellis and Karen Kirkpatrick report that successfully blending family and  business is no small feat, but this year’s crop of Family Business Award winners show that not only can it be done, but that it can create a solid business foundation for generations to come. Now in its 24th year, the annual awards recognize companies that have successfully mixed business with family. 


Dec. 21, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Local investors pay $46 million for TWELVE Atlantic Station, TWELVE Centennial Park

Douglas Sams reports that two of Atlanta’s big-name hotels have a new owner. A local venture between Global Management & Investment and Compass Real Estate recently bought TWELVE Atlantic Station Hotel, the 26-story high-rise that opened about a decade ago in the well-known mixed-use project overlooking the Connector. The partnership also bought TWELVE Centennial Park Hotel.


Dec. 21, 2015 University of Georgia

A fish may hold the key to more efficient wireless networks

Mike Wooten reports that as wireless networks become more crowded with devices and more taxed by the demand for anytime, anywhere access, these networks are susceptible to radio frequency interference and jamming. It's a problem that potentially affects everything from personal smartphones to communications satellites.An unlikely source—a small South American fish known as Eigenmannia that depends on electrolocation for survival—presents a potential solution, according to researchers in the University of Georgia College of Engineering.


Dec. 21, 2015 Georgia Times-Union

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., declines to sign letter opposing siesmic testing for offshore oil

Mary Landers reports that, l ed by U.S. Reps Mark Sanford, R-S.C., and Bobby Scott, D-Va., a bipartisan group of 33 house members last week sent a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management opposing seismic testing for offshore oil. U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, the Republican freshman whose district spans the Georgia Coast, did not sign on. The letter requested a halt to the permitting and review process for potential seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean from Virginia through Georgia.


 Dec. 21, 2015 Emory University

Emory ranked again as a 'Best Value' by Kiplinger's

Staff reports that Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine has named Emory University a "Best Value" for 2015-16, ranking the university 10th in its annual Best Value survey of 100 top private universities that exemplify excellent academics while keeping costs to a minimum. Emory has consistently been ranked among the top "Best Value" private universities by Kiplinger's since 2007. Emory ranked No. 23 among all U.S. universities, public and private.


Dec. 21, 2015 Georgia State University

Georgia State Gets $1.2 Million in Grants to Expand Summer Success Academy for First-Year Students 

Andrea Jones reports that the Kresge Foundation and the ECMC Foundation have awarded Georgia State University two grants totaling $1.2 million to improve and expand its Summer Success Academy, a program that supports incoming freshmen who may need help in the transition to the college classroom. The academy enrolls students during the summer semester before their first fall semester at Georgia State. Students take three college-level courses during the summer, while being supported with intensive advising, supplemental tutoring, financial literacy training and leadership experiences.


Dec. 21, 2015 Georgia Health News 

Judge demands quicker action on Georgia-DOJ settlement deal 

Andy Miller reports that a federal judge told state officials and the U.S. Department of Justice to speed up efforts to reach agreement on improving Georgia’s system for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities. The hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Charles Pannell came in the wake of a September report describing Georgia’s lack of progress in moving people with developmental disabilities out of state hospitals.


Dec. 21, 2015 Georgia 

Deal announces professional learning grants for mathematics and computer science 

Staff reports that Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the four winners of the Innovation in K-8 Mathematics and/or K-12 Computer Science/Coding Professional Learning Grants. This competitive grant program supports Local Education Agencies (LEAs), Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESAs) and individual schools in improving instruction in those subject areas through the development of innovative professional learning models.


Dec. 21, 2015 Augusta Chronicle

Steven Wade named general manager of Chronicle Media, 'The Chronicle'

Staff reports that Stephen Wade has been named the general manager of The Augusta Chronicle and Chronicle Media by William S. Morris III, the publisher of The Chronicle and the chairman of Morris Communications Co. “Steve is a great leader, and I’m thrilled to have him take over the operational management of The Chronicle and its work serving the greater Augusta area,” Morris said. Wade is the vice president of audience for The Chronicle, and will immediately assume his new responsibilities. Wade will report to Morris and to Derek May, the executive vice president of Morris Publishing Group.


Dec. 21, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

 2016 Best Places to Work nominations

Karen Kirkpatrick reports that as we roll into the holidays, here’s one last reminder, Georgia Trend magazine is once again looking for the best places to work in Georgia. This year we’ve teamed up with Best Companies Group and SHRM Georgia State Council to expand the program that is dedicated to finding and recognizing Georgia’s best employers. If you think your company or organization has what it takes to be honored on the Best Places to Work in Georgia list, submit your nomination at before Jan. 8, 2016. 


Dec. 21, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

Georgia Democrats draw a line between Ted Cruz and Alabama segregationist

Greg Bluestein reports that the Democratic Party of Georgia sees parallels between Ted Cruz’s comments about illegal immigrants and the rhetoric from a notorious Alabama segregationist. Party spokesman Michael Smith said the Republican presidential candidate’s remarks in Kennesaw Friday, in which he vowed to oppose granting illegal immigrants U.S. citizenship “today, tomorrow, forever,” is alarming and inexcusable.




Dec. 18, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

Water wars ‘slap in the face’ to Georgia yanked from spending bill

Daniel Malloy reports that the constantly churning battle over water use among Georgia, Alabama and Florida resurfaced in a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, as House leaders agreed today to remove harmless-sounding language Georgia feared could tip the scales against it. After months of behind the scenes wrangling, the thousands of pages covering every corner of the federal government initially included a partial win for Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., in the water fight.


Dec. 18, 2015 Georgia Trend

2015 Deals of the Year 

Anna Bentley and David Shivers report that businesses are expanding at a rapid clip, corporations continue to relocate their headquarters to Georgia, and the state’s economy is going like gangbusters. In a time like this, being named one of the Georgia Economic Development Authority (GEDA) Deals of the Year is impressive indeed.


Dec. 18, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Technology provider VXI Global Solutions to put 570-employee call center in College Park

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Los Angeles, Calif.-based technology provider VXI Global Solutions (VXI) will open a call center in College Park in 2016. The facility will create 570 jobs for the community, according to a statement. VXI specializes in call center and business process outsourcing services, software development, quality assurance testing and infrastructure outsourcing. The company has operations in Asian and Latin America, VXI employs 21,000 people worldwide.


Dec. 18, 2015 WABE

Paulding Airport Pushes Growth Despite Wildlife Concerns    

Tasnim Shamma reports that the Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport in Paulding County, also known as Silver Comet Field, wants to add commercial flights. More than 300 people attended a public hearing earlier this month to discuss a recently published environmental assessment. Opponents of the project released a statement that said they fear endangered species will be impacted.


Dec. 18, 2015 Albany Herald 

Multiple Southwest Georgia hospitals recognized by Georgia Trend

Jennifer Parks reports that Georgia Trend magazine gave high ranks to several Southwest Georgia hospitals, including Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital at No. 5 among top teaching hospitals in Georgia and Phoebe Sumter Medical Center at No. 9 among the state’s top small hospitals, in its December edition. The magazine’s 2015 Top Hospitals report is based on information from the U.S. Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which tracks 40 quality-related indicators, including patient experience, outcomes of care, process of care and efficiency and value of the services rendered.


Dec. 18, 2015 Macon Telegraph 

Macon-based companies Whitby Construction, Piedmont Construction form partnership

Linda S. Morris reports that two Macon-based companies have joined forces. Whitby Construction, led by Cliffard Whitby, and Piedmont Construction Group Inc., led by Scott and David Thompson, have formed Whitby + Piedmont -- a full-service construction and real estate company, according to a release. The new company is a new general partnership that will provide construction management and real estate services across Middle Georgia.


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Dec. 18, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

TSYS gives $1 million to Columbus Regional Health

Larry Gierer reports that global credit card and payments processor TSYS announced at a ceremony Thursday morning it has donated $1 million to create the TSYS Mother-Baby area at Midtown Medical Center. "We are truly humbled that TSYS considered us for a gift this large," Scott Hill, president and chief executive officer  of Columbus Regional Health, told a group of people gathered on the fourth floor of Midtown Medical Center in Columbus.


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Dec. 18, 2015 Savannah Morning News

PortSide: Local Customs agents show off dangerous toys and electronics seized at port

Mary Carr Mayle reports that with the holiday shopping season in full swing, last-minute Santas are scurrying around looking for bargains and hoping to finish their Christmas lists. As they do, Lisa Beth Brown has a few words of advice, especially for parents. "If the price looks too good to be true, take another look. If you’re not certain about the source of the item, you could be looking at an unsafe counterfeit,” said Brown, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection area director. 


Dec. 18, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Delta eager to resume flights to Cuba

Phil W. Hudson reports that the United States and Cuba announced Dec. 17 they have agreed to resume flights between the two countries. And Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) is ready for it. Delta congratulated the two governments and said it “looks forward to resuming service to Cuba as soon as approvals are granted.”


Dec. 18, 2015 University of Georgia

UGA, Georgia Tech partner to create fully-accessible camp for children with disabilities

Staff reports that the University of Georgia's College of Environment and Design and Georgia Tech's College of Architecture have partnered with Extra Special People Inc. to build Camp Hooray, the first-of-its-kind, fully accessible overnight camp for children and young adults with developmental disabilities. Located on a 70-acre parcel of land in Jackson County, the camp will have traditional camp activities including music, sports and games, art, swimming, boating, archery, field days, talent shows and overnight stays-while providing a safe, fun and meaningful experience for campers of all abilities.


Dec. 18, 2015 Georgia Times-Union 

State Ethics Commission finds 88 campaign violations against Augusta lawmaker 

Susan McCord reports that State Rep. Earnest Smith may face criminal charges and hefty fines after the state ethics commission found probable cause he violated campaign finance laws in 88 instances. In a Wednesday hearing, the commission's ethics commission voted 3-1 in agreement with commission attorney Robert Lane that the Augusta Democrat over the last six years repeatedly failed to report numerous campaign contributions and expenditures, some $19,000 of which were checks written to himself, Lane said. 


Dec. 18, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

A new surge of ‘border kids’ could shake up 2016

Daniel Malloy and Greg Bluestein report that in the summer of 2014, a surge of unaccompanied minors at the Mexican border became a humanitarian crisis and a political maelstrom that shook up the midterms. During the last border kids surge, more than 1,600 ended up in Georgia. Such a surge would only inflame the immigration fight in the presidential race.




Dec. 17, 2015 WSB Radio, Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

Georgia still ranks near bottom for high school graduation rate

Ty Tagami reports that Georgia’s public high schools ranked sixth from the bottom among states, judged on their ability to graduate students on time. The new report on the “four-year adjusted cohort rate” is for the 2013-14 school year. Georgia’s overall rate was 72.5 percent, ahead of Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico and the District of Columbia, according to the data assembled by the National Center for Education Statistics.


Dec. 17, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Spotted in Georgia — Perry

Karen Kirkpatrick reports, still looking for the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list? Shop local! Artists and artisans across the state offer up everything from tasty treats to fabulous works of art to handcrafted candles. Unique gifts for your unique loved ones.


Dec. 17, 2015 11Alive

Georgia’s unemployment rate declines to 5.6 percent in November

Staff reports that Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced Thursday that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November was 5.6 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 5.7 percent in October. The rate was 6.7 percent in November 2014. “Our employers created 3,700 jobs in November, which helped push the unemployment rate down to its lowest point since March 2008,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.


Dec. 17, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Wieland Homes sold to PulteGroup

Michael Kanell reports that in 


Dec. 17, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Novelis to supply aluminum for new Ford F-Series Super Duty lineup

Carla Caldwell reports that Atlanta-based aluminum rolling and recycling company Novelis Inc. (NYSE: NVL) says it will supply the aluminum for the new Ford F-Series Super Duty lineup of trucks. Ford's switch to an aluminum body for the lineup was announced by the car company in September.


Dec. 17, 2015 UGA

UGA remains best value in public colleges according to Kiplinger

David C. Bill reports that the University of Georgia continues to rank as one of the nation’s top values in higher education, according to Kiplinger, which placed UGA 12th on its Personal Finance list of 100 best values among public colleges and universities for 2016. Kiplinger assesses value by measurable standards of academic quality and affordability. Quality measures include the first-year retention rate, the student-faculty ratio and four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include sticker price, financial aid and average debt at graduation.


Dec. 17, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 

Columbus rated sixth-worst city for dating in America

Kyle Nazario reports that Columbus ranked 113th in "Romance & Fun" but 134th in "Dating Economics." Jill Gonzalez, an analyst for Wallethub, said economic issues can affect dating opportunities. According to the survey of Columbus, our city is great for having a low cost of living, low cost of a meal at a restaurant and a high percentage of singles. Columbus struggled most on the job growth rate, unemployment rate and number of cafes.


Dec. 17, 2015 Brunswick News

Proposed port draws questions

Gordon Jackson reports that the Port of St. Marys Industrial & Logistics Center may be a misleading name. Chris Ragucci, the New York businessman behind the proposed port, told an audience Tuesday that if his rezoning request is approved at the 722 acre Durango-Georgia Paper Co. site, there is still no guarantee a port will be established.


Dec. 17, 2015 Rome News-Tribune 

Update: City gets extension on purchasing closed mental hospital property

Doug Walker reports that the State  Properties Commission has agreed to give Rome an 18-month extension on its option to buy the former Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital property. A consultant has suggested using the 132-acre site for a mixed-use development with advanced manufacturing, medical office, retail and a small residential component. The original option was set to expire at the end of this month. 


Dec. 17, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Delta to add up to 40 jets

Carla Caldwell reports that Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) says it will add up to 20 Embraer 190 and 20 new Boeing 737-900ER jets acquired through a new agreement with The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA). The agreement is part of the Atlanta-based airline's continued strategy to improve its efficiency by adding additional 737-900ERs and upgauging its mainline fleet with the nearly 100-seat, twin-engine E190 jets while reducing the use of small regional aircraft, Delta said in a prepared statement.


Dec. 17, 2015 Gainesville Times 

Gov. Nathan Deal keeps Butch Miller as top floor leader

Joshua Silavent reports that State Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, will once again serve as Gov. Nathan Deal’s senior floor leader when the General Assembly convenes in January. “I’m excited to be doing it,” Miller told The Times after meeting with Deal earlier this week. Miller was given the same role during the 2015 state legislative session.


Dec. 17, 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle outlines transportation, education as key issues for 2016 legislative session     

Curt Yeomans reports that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle used economic development as a common denominator in a speech to Gwinnett government and business leaders on Wednesday about the big issues facing the state General Assembly in 2016. Cagle addressed the Gwinnett Chamber about the upcoming session during the chamber’s legislative luncheon at the Infinite Energy Forum. He said transportation and education will receive a significant amount of attention from legislators during their time under the Gold Dome in Atlanta.


Dec. 17, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

A ‘Gay Pride Festivus Pole’ could soon land in Georgia’s Capitol

Greg Bluestein reports that new phase in the War on Christmas? A free speech group called The Humanity Fund petitioned state authorities for the right to hoist a “Gay Pride Festivus Pole” under the Gold Dome. Chaz Stevens, the group’s director, said the pole is 6’6″ tall, painted with purple glitter, splotched with rainbow colors and topped with a disco ball. The pole has already graced statehouses in Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Washington, and it was recently approved by officials in Oklahoma.



Dec. 16, 2015 Athens Banner Herald

Solar Power project will benefit UGA and Georgia Power

Jim Thompson reports, sunlight fell generously across rows upon rows of solar panels off South Milledge Avenue in Athens on Tuesday afternoon to mark the beginning of a solar energy partnership between Georgia Power Company and the University of Georgia. It's an initiative the Georgia Public Service Commission will be watching as Georgia Power, and other utilities across the state, look toward diversifying their portfolio of options for power generation.


Dec. 16, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Georgia View: Additions, not subtractions

Bill Crane writes, a stroll along our National Mall in Washington, D.C., almost never fails to conjure feelings of pride and patriotism. All within a reasonable walk at just under 310 acres are the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Here in Georgia, we have our own memorials marking the state’s past. The most visited destination, by a healthy margin, remains Stone Mountain Park, hosting roughly 4 million annual visitors.


Dec. 16, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Bank of America Plaza buyer emerges

Douglas Sams reports that San Francisco-based Shorenstein Properties is emerging as the front-runner to buy the 55-story tower.


Dec. 16, 2015 Georgia CEO 

Delta Named Leading Airline by Business Travelers for Unprecedented Fifth Consecutive Year

Staff reports that corporate travel buyers are calling Delta Air Lines the leading airline for the fifth consecutive year, rating it No. 1 in the Business Travel News Annual Airline Survey. This is the first time BTN voters, who manage tens of billions of dollars in annual travel spend, have selected the same airline for five years in a row. Delta Air Lines and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 370 destinations on six continents. For more information visit


Dec. 16, 2015 Macon Telegraph

Biofuel plant expected to be built in Dooly County, creating about 138 jobs

Linda S. Morris reports that a biofuel plant is planning to locate in Dooly County and is expected to produce 20 million gallons of renewable fuel a year. Ensyn Georgia Biorefinery would construct and operate a cellulosic biofuel refinery, according to a news release from the Dooly County Office of Economic Development. The company would convert 440 dry tons of woody biomass into a renewable fuel oil product.

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Dec. 16, 2015 University of Georgia

UGA Marine Extension launches state’s first oyster hatchery

Erin Geoffrey reports that a Georgia's oyster season just beginning, the University of Georgia Marine Extension has opened the state's first oyster hatchery, which is expected to revive the once-thriving oyster industry in Georgia. The hatchery will help establish an oyster aquaculture industry in Georgia, allowing harvesters to farm single oysters that can be sold on the half-shell, a lucrative market fueled by rising restaurant and consumer demand.


Dec. 16, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Georgia PSC sets hearings on Southern-AGL merger

Dave Williams reports that Georgia energy regulators will decide in May whether to approve the proposed merger of Atlanta-based Southern Co. with AGL Resources Inc. The state Public Service Commission (PSC) voted Tuesday to schedule hearings on the mega-deal in March, April and early May, followed by a decision on May 24.


Dec. 16, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

A big night for Georgia Tech at Republican debate

Greg Blue stein reports that in the midst of tonight’s CNN debate, moderators three times gave way to citizen questioners with sharp questions for the Republican candidates. And twice the Atlanta-based network went to Georgia Tech students for the queries. The first was Josh Jacob, a student at Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, who asked about the candidates’ strategy for attacking the Islamic State without threatening innocent civilians.




Dec. 15, 2015 Brunswick News

Questions surround proposed barge port

Gordon Jackson reports that a proposed barge port in St. Marys could be the economic boost the city has been seeking since more than 900 employees lost their jobs when Durango-Georgia Paper Co. declared bankruptcy 13 years ago. Or, depending on an individual’s perspective, a barge port could be a boondoggle that creates fewer jobs than advertised and generates more negative impacts than imagined.


Dec. 15, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

This month in Georgia history — December

Karen Kirkpatrick reports that this is the final month of our 30th anniversary celebration – and the final This Month in Georgia History. We’ve enjoyed this year-long look at people, businesses, celebrations and accomplishments that have made the state what it is today. As we look forward to the new year, we’re glancing back once more, this time at events from Decembers past.


Dec. 15, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Walmart to raise hourly wage in Georgia; provide raises for 58,900 workers

Carla Caldwell reports that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) says it will provide 58,900 additional raises for associates across the state, which will increase the full-time average hourly wage in Georgia to $13.64, and the average wage for part-time associates to $10.47 an hour. The raises will take place by February 2016, the company says. The raises represent an investment of $87.4 million in Georgia, Walmart adds.


Dec. 15, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald 

Construction fills up spots throughout downtown Athens

Hilary Butschek reports that downtown Athens will soon get its first urgent care center. Reddy Medical Group, which has an Athens location off Epps Bridge Road, is planning a seven-days-a-week urgent care center in the West Broad Street space that previously held Juice Up.


Dec. 15, 2015 Saporta Report 

New report highlights metro Atlanta’s bright future in growing sector of data centers 

David Pendered reports that a new market analysis by CBRE Group, Inc. suggests that metro Atlanta will continue to grow as an enterprise data center – largely because of findings that rank the region as a low-cost market. One cost center that stood out favorably for the region was low cost of electrical power. Power is such an important cost component of data centers that centers are measured in megawatts rather square feet. Power is used to operate and cool the facilities and some markets – such as Boston – offer “free cooling” in some seasons.


Dec. 15, 2015 Chattanooga Times Free Press 

Hutcheson Medical Center finds last-minute savior

Tyler Jett reports that salvation came to Hutcheson Medical Center. The Fort Oglethorpe hospital, which closed Dec. 4, may soon reopen after U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Paul Bonapfel tentatively approved a management agreement Monday between Hutcheson and ApolloMD, an Atlanta-based health care company. Though lawyers still needed to hammer out some small details of the agreement, they told Bonapfel in court they believed they could finalize a deal later this week.


Dec. 15, 2015 University of Georgia 

College of Environment and Design ranked in top 10 nationally

Camie Williams reports that the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design earned top 10 rankings in four categories in DesignIntelligence magazine's 2016 edition of America's Best Architecture and Design Schools. The report, which is published by the Design Futures Council-a global network of design, product, construction and real estate leaders-also lists the college's dean, Daniel Nadenicek, among the 25 Most Admired Educators for 2016.


Dec. 15, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald

UGA's carbon footprint huge but getting smaller 

Lee Shearer reports that the University of Georgia is a long way from meeting anyone’s definition of environmentally “sustainable,” but the school’s semiannual “sustainability semester in review” this week gave a glimmer of hope as UGA officials released a "campus sustainability plan" for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Dec. 15, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, McClatchy News Service 

Dems continue frustrating search for Georgia senator candidate 

Tony Pugh reports that Georgia Democrats’ search for an opponent to run against U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson next year continues to be a hurry-up-and-wait affair. And the longer it takes to find a challenger for Isakson, the harder it will be to defeat the popular two-term Republican. “To even have a chance to unseat him, they would need to run someone that’s a quality challenger,” said M.V. Hood, a political science professor at the University of Georgia. “Someone that’s got political experience, elected office-holding experience – and it doesn’t look like they have anyone who wants to jump into the fray.”


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Dec. 15, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Emory Healthcare appoints Dr. Jonathan Lewin its new president and CEO

Ellie Hensley reports that Emory Healthcare named Dr. Jonathan Lewin its new president and CEO, the health system announced Dec. 10. Lewin will also be Emory's Woodruff Health Science Center's new executive director and executive vice president for Health Affairs at the university. Currently, Lewin serves as senior vice president for integrated health-care delivery and co-chair for strategic planning at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. He also serves as professor and chair of Johns Hopkins University's Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science and radiologist-in-chief of Johns Hopkins Hospital.


Dec. 15, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

The love affair between the trial bar and Nathan Deal burns brighter

Greg Bluestein reports that a few years ago, we told you of the unusual partnership between trial lawyers, long the backbone of Democratic campaigns in Georgia, and Republican Gov. Nathan Deal. That surprising love affair burns brighter than ever today. The governor leaned heavily on the trial bar during his re-election campaign, getting more donations from the legal community in the first six months of his bid for a second term than his predecessor, Sonny Perdue, got from attorneys in his entire 2006 campaign.




Dec. 14, 2015 University of Georgia

UGA experts predict a better Georgia economy in 2016, but slower job growth

Matt Weeks reports that while Georgia's economy will grow faster than the nation's next year, the pace of job growth in the Peach State will slow, according to the Georgia Economic Outlook report by the University of Georgia Terry College of Business. Speaking at the Georgia Economic Outlook series kickoff event in Atlanta, Terry College Dean Benjamin C. Ayers said Georgians can look forward to a rise in personal income of 5.7 percent and a state GDP increase of 3.3 percent.


Dec. 14 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Murray County: Major Win

Randy Southerland reports that Murray County may be landlocked, but its fortunes are now tied to the sea. This North Central Georgia county scored a major win when it was selected as the location for the state’s second “inland port.” The Appalachian Regional Port will be a $24-million development on U.S. 411 that will allow shipping containers hauled by trucks to be stored and then loaded on freight trains for the 388-mile trip by rail to the Port of Savannah.


Dec. 14, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

Ga. Tech prof: Light regulation sank housing

Michael Kanell reports the housing crisis was widespread, deep and lingering. Up to 9 million homes were lost to foreclosure, more than 250,000 of them in metro Atlanta. The broader economy took a shellacking it has still not totally shaken off. Into that discussion comes Georgia Tech professor Dan Immergluck, housing expert and professor in Tech’s School of City and Regional Planning. His new book, “Preventing the Next Mortgage Crisis,” explores the bust and its aftermath.


Dec. 14, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

State dumps bike lanes from Peachtree Road plan

Staff reports that, bowing to public pressure, the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) Friday abandoned a proposal to add bicycle lanes along Peachtree Road in southern Buckhead. The bike lanes, one in each direction, were part of a broader plan to improve traffic flow through the heavily congested corridor by converting six lanes into four. That would leave room for a fifth two-way left-turn lane in the center of the roadway.


Dec. 14, 2015 WABE

New Education Law Would Include Music As A Core Subject    

Martha Dalton reports that the U.S. Senate is expected to take a final vote Wednesday on a law that would replace the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as No Child Left Behind. The Every Student Succeeds Act includes music as a core subject – along with English, math, science and history – for the first time. Cecil Wilder, the executive director of the Georgia Music Educators Association, says that's good news for students here.


Dec. 14, 2015 Georgia Health News

Feds cut funds to 30 Ga. hospitals over infections, injuries

Andy Miller reports that the federal government is cutting payments to 30 Georgia hospitals for high levels of infections and patient injuries. Of those hospitals, 16 were penalized last year for the same problems. The new Medicare crackdown on hospital-acquired infections and preventable injuries is similar to the existing federal penalties on excessive numbers of readmissions of patients within 30 days after discharge.


Dec. 14, 2015 Augusta Chronicle

Partridge Inn renovations complete

Damon Cline reports that Augusta's "grand dame of hospitality" will start her second 100 years looking as good as her first. And in many respects, better. The Patridge Inn's top-to-bottom renovation has brought back a luster the historic property hasn't seen since its heydey as a turn-of-the-century haven for well-heeled winter visitors.


Dec. 14, 2015 Marietta Daily Journal

Up-and-Coming: Construction underway on new luxury community

Staff reports that Alliance Residential Company is starting construction on Broadstone Ridge, a five-story mixed-use community, which is within walking distance of Chattahoochee National Recreation Area and SunTrust Park, the new Atlanta Braves baseball stadium in the Cumberland area.



Dec. 14, 2015 Macon Telegraph 

Efforts underway to restore train, offer trips through Middle Georgia

Stanley Dunlap reports that a locomotive in Macon could be brought back to life. A drive is underway to restore Steam Locomotive 509 that has been in Central City Park for decades. The idea is to offer Middle Georgians a special way to travel inside the only coal-fueled locomotive in the state, said train enthusiast Philip Lord, who pushed for the restoration earlier this year. The goal is to have it restored in time for the 100-year anniversary of Macon's landmark Terminal Station in October.


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Dec. 14, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Feeding the hungry

Karen Kirkpatrick writes, did you know that you can feed four people in Georgia for just $1? Think about it; for less than the cost of a single cup of coffee, four people, maybe four children, who might not have enough to eat can get a meal. This financial slight-of-hand – or maybe it’s a miracle – is courtesy of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. We at Georgia Trend have long been fans of this organization, which Charity Navigator gives a 96.46 rating. Founder Bill Bolling was our Georgian of the Year in 2012 and named to our Most Influential Hall of Fame in January.


Dec. 14, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Mayor says city not “unserious” about building monorail

Carla Caldwell reports that Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul says the city is “not unserious” about studying a Disney-style monorail to serve the growing city’s transportation needs. A monorail system like the one used at Walt Disney theme parks was pitched in November by Sandy Springs Planning Commission chair Lee Duncan as a solution for Sandy Springs’ traffic woes. Duncan said at a Nov. 19 meeting that such a system could run from the City Springs redevelopment to MARTA stations and loop through Perimeter Center, reported Reporter Newspapers.


Dec. 14, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

Gov. Deal’s building legacy will cost Georgians

James Salzer and Greg Bluestein report that when Gov. Nathan Deal handed in his list of last-minute additions to the state budget earlier this year, it included $10 million to buy land in Gainesville for a new technical college campus in his hometown. The money was a down payment on the legacy Deal is building as he heads into the second year of his final term as governor. That legacy includes his nationally acclaimed criminal justice reform and, he hopes, a new school funding system.




Dec. 11, 2015 Rome News Tribune

Giant turbine leaving Rome for Argentina

Doug Walker reports that traffic in Rome on a Friday can be challenging so logistics personnel from the General Electric plant in West Rome will wait until 10 p.m. to start another 200-ton megaload. A mammoth power turbine is slated to be moved from the facility, through Adairsville, to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Friday night and Saturday morning.


Dec. 11, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Economy - Blue skies ahead

Jeffrey Humphreys reports that my 2016 economic forecast calls for Georgia’s inflation-adjusted GDP to increase by 3.3 percent, 0.8 percent higher than the 2.5 percent rate estimated for U.S. GDP. It will also be above the long-term average rate of U.S. GDP growth – 2.9 percent. The positive differentials reflect projects already in Georgia’s economic development pipeline, more leverage from the housing recovery, more supportive demographic forces, more small business startups and expansions, and low oil and gas prices.


Dec. 11, 2015 Bloomberg Business 

Global Payments Said to Be in Talks to Buy Heartland Payment 

Matthews Monks reports that U.S. transactions-processor Global Payments Inc. is in talks to buy smaller rival Heartland Payment Systems Inc., according to people with knowledge of the matter. Shares in both companies rose. A deal could be announced as soon as this month, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details aren’t public. No final decision has been made, and talks may still fall apart, they said. 


Dec. 11, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

CRE crowdfunding platform GroundFloor raises $5 million

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that real estate microlender has raised $5 million from Atlanta-based Fintech Ventures Fund. Atlanta-based GroundFloor finances real estate projects by raising capital from a large number of investors, also known as “crowdfunding.” GroundFloor bills itself as the first and only real estate lending marketplace open to non-accredited investors. With investments starting at $10, Groundfloor connects independent developers seeking alternative funding outside the traditional banking structure with retail investors who want the higher risk-adjusted returns associated with secured real estate lending.


Dec. 11, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

Manufacturer to move HQ to Georgia, create 240 jobs

Lauren Colley reports that 


Dec. 11, 2015 Georgia Health News

Broader strategy: From local hospitals to regional players

Andy Miller reports that big metro Atlanta health systems are looking to get bigger – and are targeting potential partners that are farther away from their home bases. Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare’s entering partnership talks with Athens Regional Health System, announced this week, is another sign of hospital consolidation reshaping the health care landscape in Georgia.


Dec. 11, 2015 Emory University

Former refugee, now Emory cardiologist, works toward better health for all

Michelle Hiskey reports that during the fall of 2001, in a small restaurant kitchen near Emory, Heval Mohamed Kelli 15MR faced a stainless steel contraption knowing that his family’s survival depended on him figuring out how to work it. His manager gave him a hairnet and told him in Arabic, “You have to wear it. It’s required here even if you are only washing dishes.” 


Dec. 11, 2015 Macon Telegraph 

Plans for revitalized Capricorn studio area another boost for downtown Macon

Joe Kovac Jr. reports that the down-in-the-mouth recording palace was coming back to life. Word had spread in recent days that the wasting-away Capricorn Records studio, now a cream-colored brick building that for decades has blended into a background of downtown Macon blahs, was again becoming a focal point. So on Thursday, at the public unveiling of a $25 million plan to build apartments, offices and recording space for budding musicians, they called in a famous piano man and keyboardist, one who like other stars of old had made their marks at Capricorn.


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Dec. 11, 2015 WABE

Ga. House Leader Suggests Brewery Regulations Repeal     

Johnny Kaufmann reports that Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) says the Department of Revenue needs to change regulations on craft beer sales from breweries after the agency blocked a new state law that allows beer sales to customers who take brewery tours. In a statement he said, the new law, SB 63, “was meant to allow craft breweries – a growing industry of small businesses – to expand their operations and grow jobs across this state.” 


Dec. 11, 2015 GPB

Blue Ribbon Panel Hasn't Stopped Medical Marijuana Effort

Grant Blankenship reports that State Representative Allen Peake said he will continue to push for the in-state cultivation of medical marijuana in Georgia despite a blue ribbon panel's recommendation against it. Peake said he will submit a bill that would allow for cannabis production in Georgia, early in the next legislative session despite the results of the panel investigation. “It stacks the odds against me, that’s for sure. It sure makes it a tougher battle,” Peake said. “And I’m sure not going to pick a fight with Governor Deal because I will lose.”


Dec. 11, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider

Georgia teen sensation flips from Ted Cruz to Bernie Sanders

Daniel Malloy reports, talk about a 180. Grovetown’s 13-year-old C.J. Pearson, who became a conservative star for his YouTube denunciations of President Barack Obama, has a new favorite presidential candidate: arch-liberal Bernie Sanders. The onetime chairman of “Teens for Ted Cruz,” Pearson announced last month that he was no longer conservative. And Wednesday he said he had shifted all the way to the “democratic socialist” Sanders, essentially the polar opposite of his previous choice.





Dec. 10, 2015 Georgia State University 

Consolidation Plan for Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College Approved by Accreditors

Sonja Roberts reports that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) gave its approval today to the consolidation plans of Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College (GPC). Chancellor Hank Huckaby first announced the consolidation plan to create a new, combined institution in January 2015.


Dec. 10, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Spotted in Georgia - Talbotton

Ben Young writes, some things just get better with age. Spotted near Talbotton, a town between Macon and Columbus. Remember, we’re taking submissions for Spotted in Georgia. Get all the info you need about how to share photos of your favorite Georgia spots here.


Dec. 10, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Axion Biosystems expands in Buckhead 

Urvaksh Karkaria reports that Atlanta-based life sciences startup Axion Biosystems is expanding its office footprint. Axion has leased nearly 4,500 square feet at 1819 Peachtree Road, bringing its total office footprint to about 12,500 square feet in the seven-story building in lower Buckhead. The VentureLab graduate is commercializing technology that will allow scientists to evaluate the electrophysiology of neural cells and cardiac cells.


Dec. 10, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald

Athens Regional moves to pursue affiliation with Piedmont Healthcare

Ed Morales reports that earlier this year Dr. Charles Peck, president and CEO of Athens Regional Health System, looked at the landscape of health care in Georgia and came to a realization — to succeed in the mission set forth for the hospital, it needed a viable partner to bolster its reach and scale.


Dec. 10, 2015 

Payments Sector Driving Innovation in Atlanta: A Conversation With Leading Voices

Trevor Williams reports, as part of its upcoming special report on the payment-processing sector in Atlanta, Global Atlanta in November convened a group of experts from the industry to discuss where it’s going and how it’s driving the broader technology landscape forward in Atlanta. Paying Atlanta Forward was held at the offices of the law firm Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, the event sponsor, with participation from the American Transaction Processors Coalition


Dec. 10, 2015 Georgia CEO

Investcorp Acquires 69-Building Industrial Portfolio in Metro Atlanta

Staff reports that Investcorp, a leading provider and manager of alternative investment products, today announced that its U.S.-based real estate arm, through four separate transactions, has acquired a portfolio of office and industrial properties in the metropolitan areas of Atlanta, San Francisco and Boston for approximately $400 million. 


Dec. 10, 2015 Albany Herald 

State to see large boost in transportation funding

Carlton Fletcher reports that Georgia will see work on vital transportation projects ramp up quickly now that President Obama has finalized with his signature passage of a long-awaited federal transportation bill, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s deputy commissioner.


Dec. 10, 2015 Macon Telegraph

Medical marijuana panel rejects Georgia grow

Maggie Lee reports that a blue-ribbon study panel appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal has voted to reject a Macon lawmaker's pitch to allow growing medical marijuana in Georgia. A majority of the members of the Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis say the governor and the state Legislature should continue to tell Georgians to comply with the federal ban on growing cannabis.


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Dec. 10, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Parkside Partners plans a $12 million overhaul of a forgotten 3-story building on West Peachtree Street

Douglas Sams reports that Parkside Partners will call the project 16th Station, and renovations would begin once the developer lands a tenant to anchor the 40,000-square-foot building. The redesign, led by architect MSTSD Inc., would aim for a building with a character and feel like those in the Westside Provisions District.


Dec. 10, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution -  Political Insider 

Georgia’s SEC Primary ballot is set, with apologies to Jim Gilmore

Daniel Malloy reports that the ballot for Georgia’s March 1 presidential primary is set, with 13 Republicans and four Democrats competing in the SEC Primary. The lists submitted to Secretary of State Brian Kemp from the Georgia GOP and Democratic Party of Georgia are as follows: Republicans: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Donald Trump. Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders and Michael Steinberg.




Dec. 9, 2015 Augusta Chronicle

Georgia, South Carolina decline in state health ranking

Tom Corwin reports that most Southern states like Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Texas showed some improvement on health indicators but continue to rank near the bottom in a state ranking. The Commonwealth Fund released its annual Scorecard on State Health System Performance today and found that most states showed improved in more categories than worsened. Georgia improved in the number of individuals ages 19-35 receiving all doses of seven recommended vaccines and continues to rank well in terms of fewer adults who smoke and more home health patients who improved their mobility.


Dec. 9, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Business Casual: Riding with History

Susan Percy writes, on a recent Sunday afternoon, while bumping along quiet residential streets and bustling city blocks, Wayne Smith artfully avoids getting-out-of-church crowds at the new Ebenezer Baptist Church on Auburn Avenue and Falcons’ game day traffic near the Georgia Dome. He is driving a busload of Civil Rights veterans (and a couple of observers) as they reconnect with places they knew 50 years go.


Dec. 9, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

Report: Newell in talks with parent of Crock-Pot, Coleman

Leon Stafford reports that Newell Rubbermaid’s plan to move its headquarters to smaller digs in Sandy Springs could become complicated if the maker of Sharpie markers and other products merges with a similar company that includes the Crock-Pot, Coleman and Mr. Coffee brands. Reports Tuesday said Newell is in talks to merge with Jarden Corp., a Boca Raton, Fla., company with 120 brands under its umbrella, also including Grill Master and Sunbeam.


Dec. 9, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

Intercontinental Exchange to close $5.2 billion deal in December

Carla Caldwell reports that Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (NYSE: ICE) says it will on or around Dec. 14 close its $5.2 billion deal to buy Bedford, Mass.-based financial data company Interactive Data Corp. (NYSE: IDC) from Silver Lake and Warburg Pincus. ICE says it has received all required regulatory approvals.


Dec. 9, 2015 

Deal: November tax revenues up 7.5 percent

Staff reports that Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Georgia’s net tax collections for November totaled $1.64 billion, for an increase of $109.7 million, or 7.5 percent, over November 2014. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled nearly $8.4 billion, an increase of $699.5 million, or 9.1 percent, compared to November 2014, when net tax revenues totaled almost $7.7 billion.


Dec. 9, 2015 Athens Banner-Herald  

Company that began at UGA sells for $8.4 billion on promise of orphan drug

Lee Shearer reports that a company that began in a University of Georgia laboratory commanded one of the biggest price premiums in history in a multi-billion dollar takeover when the company sold this summer. It's another winner in the fast-emerging orphan drug market. Connecticut-based Alexion Pharmaceuticals announced in May it would pay $8.4 billion for Signageva BioPharma, originally called Avigenics when UGA geneticist Bob Ivarie and businessman Georgia Murphy founded the company nearly 20 years ago. 


Dec. 9, 2015 

Coke’s Chief Administrative Officer and former Africa Group President to Retire

Phil Bolton reports that Alexander B. Cummings, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at the Coca-Cola Co., is to retire March 31 next year after serving more than 18 years where he currently fills a key role in efforts to improve productivity throughout the company. Originally from Liberia, Mr. Cummings joined Coca-Cola in 1997 as deputy region manager for Nigeria and became president of its Africa Group in 2001.


Dec. 9, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 

Columbus State selected as a Georgia Film Academy site

Mark Rice reports that Columbus State University is one of three sites in the state that will offer classes for the Georgia Film Academy's inaugural semester. Registration is open for the academy's spring 2016 semester at CSU, Clayton State University and Gwinnett Technical College. The Georgia Film Academy, a partnership between the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia, is the nation's only statewide effort to train students to work in the film industry.


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Dec. 9, 2015 UGA

UGA to offer three-year J.D./M.B.A. program

Lona Panter reports that the University of Georgia is now offering an option for students to graduate with both a law degree and a Master of Business Administration in three years. The J.D./M.B.A. program, a joint effort between the School of Law and the Terry College of Business, equips students with the skills needed for successful careers combining law and banking, entrepreneurship, finance, international business or commercial interests.


Dec. 9, 2015 Georgia Health News

Network deal OKs bonuses for pediatric performance

Andy Miller reports that a pediatric network has inked its first major contract with a health insurer that will pay the doctors based on incentives in meeting quality-of-care standards. The Children’s Care Network, which has more than 1,100 pediatricians in Georgia, has signed a two-year agreement with WellCare Health Plans that will include bonus pay if the provider organization achieves improvements on medical quality standards in its care for children.


Dec. 9, 2015 Georgia Trend - Exclusive!

Talking Transportation in Georgia

Karen Kirkpatrick reports that transportation people are gearing up for a busy 2016, as evidenced by the more than 700 professionals who attended the Transportation Summit at the Georgia World Congress Center in November. The event was sponsored by the Georgia Transportation Alliance, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia (ACEC) and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).


Dec. 9, 2015 Atlanta Business Chronicle

PGi completes $1 billion sale to New York company

Carla Caldwell reports that Atlanta-based Premiere Global Services, Inc. (NYSE: PGI), a provider of collaboration software and services, has completed its acquisition by Siris Capital Group, LLC in a transaction valued at approximately $1 billionThe deal was completed Tuesday.


Dec. 9, 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Political Insider 

Ben Carson calls for citizen drills to prepare for jihadist attacks at Atlanta rally 

Greg Bluestein reports that Republican Ben Carson watched his standing in presidential polls plummet after the terror attacks in Paris shifted the debate toward international affairs. He’s now trying to claw his way back by burnishing his foreign policy chops. The retired neurosurgeon told  about 2,000 people at the Cobb Energy Centre he wanted more training for citizens to prepare for jihadist attacks – akin to the air drills conducted in schools and offices during the Cold War.





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