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Editor's Note: Final edition posted at 9:02 a.m.

Democrats launch statewide campaign to push exemptions for HOPE Scholarship

The plan is aimed at letting Georgia high school seniors and current college students to keep their full HOPE Scholarships. Democratic lawmakers are touring college towns to urge people to call Gov. Nathan Deal and tell him to grandfather incoming freshmen and existing HOPE recipients into the old full-tuition scholarship. They held a town hall meeting Monday at the University of Georgia.

"It's a campaign, really, for the soul of the HOPE Scholarship," said state Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur. Not many students or parents are aware of the change, because they haven't had to pay their tuition bills yet, Democrats say.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Deepening funds: Hands off port

"Savannah Port deepening must not get sucked into a messy power struggle for control of the Georgia Senate. Unfortunately, a one-on-one conversation last week between State Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle left the impression — at least with Mr. Carter — that state funds for the critical project could be imperiled because statehouse politics.

"But that’s not how Mr. Cagle remembers their private chat. A Cagle spokesman said the lieutenant governor would never put port deepening into play to influence a vote. He also said Mr. Cagle remains firmly committed to the project, which will benefit the entire state. That’s reassuring. It also makes complete sense."
Source: Savannah Morning News


Illegal immigrants plan rally and protest in Atlanta at Georgia State
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Georgia Supreme Court hears case over Lottery game name
The lawsuit revolves around the popular game "MoneyBag$."
Source: Georgia Times-Union

Georgia's Historic Preservation Division seeks photos of modernist buildings
Photos are being sought of buildings from the mid-20th century.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Labor unions to march on MLK Jr.'s death anniversary for collective bargaining rights
Martin Luther King III said Monday if his father had not been killed more than four decades ago, the civil rights icon would be fighting alongside workers rallying to protect collective bargaining rights.
Source: Washington Post

• Memorial observance held in honor of MLK Jr. in Valdosta
Monday was the 43rd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.
Source: Valdosta Daily Times

• Audio: Media pioneer Xernona Clayton remembers April 4, 1968
Source: WABE.org


 Sen. Greg Goggans: South Georgia at the State Capitol
"On Wednesday the Senate approved its version of HB 78, the FY2012 Budget, by a vote of 47-4. This concludes the Senate stage of the process, and the bill will now go to conference committee for finalization."
Source: Valdosta Daily Times

 Democrats say changes in HOPE Scholarship harm the poor
Rep. Stacey Evans says changes will turn the HOPE scholarship into a program that redistributes money from lower-income people, who spend more money to play the lottery, to higher-income families.
Source: Dalton Daily Citizen

Federal approval granted for Georgia's voter ID proof law
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp says the U.S. Department of Justice has approved Georgia's requirement for new voter registration applicants to provide evidence of U.S. citizenship.
Source: Savannah Morning News/AP

• Justice Department approves voter ID proof law
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

House and Senate begin budget talks
A legislative conference committee worked on the budget for an hour on Monday while political sparring among Senate leaders continued into the afternoon.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

• Gov. Deal hints at cutting budget estimate below $18 million
Source: Georgia Times-Union

State Rep. Ralph Long calls Atlanta blight 'a disaster'
“There are so many broken aspects of the city right now. It’s a big problem and a growing problem,” said Long.
Source: WSB-TV

Gov. Deal appoints two Gainesville men to state boards
Brian Daniel has been named to the State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors and Dr. John Sundstrom has been named to the State Board of Veterinary Medicine.
Source: AccessNorthGa.com

Political Insider: Where were you on the night MLK died?
"Forty-three years ago this evening, I was inside the College Park High School auditorium, where the students of nearby Lakeshore High School had just put on a talent show dubbed 'April Follies.'"
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution


AirTran ranked #1 in airline quality study
The rankings are based on Department of Transportation data.
Source: Savannah Morning News

• Delta's Airline Quality Rating improves
Despite having more complaints than any other major U.S. carrier, Delta's Airline Quality Rating rose to seventh in 2010 from fifteenth in 2009.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Industry analysts, General Dynamics express confidence in Gulfstream's G650 program
Jay Johnson, chairman and CEO of Gulfstream’s parent company, General Dynamics, issued a statement regarding the fallen employees and reiterating the company’s confidence in the G650 aircraft and program.
Source: Savannah Morning News

Banks alerted of email breach
Watch out for emails from Chase or Citi asking you to log into your credit card account, as there is a scam working to trick people into revealing personal information.
Source: Savannah Morning News/AP

Bed taxes in Savannah highest ever in 2010
In 2010, bed-tax collections reached $14.5 million.
Source: Savannah Morning News

World's largest concrete pump heads to Atlanta, then Japan
The pump, previously used at Savannah River Site, will be airlifted to Japan.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Pendergrass Flea Market vendors eager to see damage to their stalls
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

• Roof collapse at Pendergrass Flea Market slows investigation
Source: Gainesville Times

Coca-Cola's totally recyclable bottle now used by Dasani, Odwalla
The “PlantBottle” is now available on Coke’s Dasani and Odwalla products across the nation.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Georgia's farmers express concerns about immigration legislation
A group of 270 farmers and other businessmen mostly representing Georgia’s agricultural and landscaping industries is warning lawmakers about the impact their immigration enforcement legislation could have on the state’s economy.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

McDonald's Corp. to hold first national hiring day
The company will hold the hiring fair on April 19 and plans to hire 50,000.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP

Carl Johnson marks 50th year as Masters caddie in Augusta
Jackson will be caddying in his 50th Masters this week, a link to a segregated past in which all the players were white and required to use black caddies who worked for the club.
Source: Washington Post/AP


 Rockdale County students invited into athletic aide program
Rockdale County Public Schools is looking for rising seventh- through 12th-grade students interested in caring for school athletes in its student athletic aide program next school year.
Source: Rockdale Citizen

 Troup County schools show decrease in cursive instruction time
Source: LaGrange Daily News

It could be weeks before list of finalists for Macon State president revealed
The Board of Regents is overseeing the hiring process of the new president, but it won’t make the list of finalists available until 14 days before the regents meet to make a decision.
Source: Macon Telegraph

Public school students can now register for Georgia Virtual School
Students in grades 6-12 can now register for courses from the state's online school.
Source: Macon Telegraph

Marietta City Schools Superintendent cautiously optimistic about budget
The school district expects the budget hole to be in the $1 million to $3 million range.
Source: Marietta Daily Journal

Doug Snow of Rome officiated NCAA title game
UConn won the NCAA title game for the third consecutive year.
Source: Rome News-Tribune

Study shows recession hasn't cut college presidents' salaries
A national survey by The Chronicle for Higher Education shows that presidents continue to be well paid despite the recession.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Kennesaw State professors to discuss academic freedom
This is the second event about academic freedom since Timothy Chandler withdrew as the college's provost in response to accusations that he was a Marxist because of a paper he co-authored.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution


 Mobile homes in Statesboro flattened during storm last night
Source: Statesboro Herald

UGA marine biologist recounts experiences on Gulf oil spill research
Samantha Joye led a Gulf trip last fall, when she and her research team discovered that wide areas on the seafloor now are covered in an oily sediment, devoid of life.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Severe thunderstorms hit North Georgia overnight
Winds of over 100 mph had blown through the area at one point.
Source: WSB-TV

• Severe storms cause heavy damage in Carroll County
Source: Carrollton Times-Georgian

• Bartow County hit by strong storms
Source: Cartersville Daily Tribune News

• Gordon County has downed trees but no major damage
Source: Calhoun Times

• Strong storms kill two in Butts County
There was also a close call in Lamar County stemming from the storm.
Source: Barnesville Herald-Gazette

• As of Tuesday morning, 154,000 Georgia Power customers without power
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

• Over 1,300 Jackson EMC customers still without power
Source: AccessNorthGa.com

• High winds, rain and hail hit the South overnight
Source: AccessNorthGa.com

• Hundreds of thousands lose power in strong overnight storms
Storms have packed high winds of 30 to 50 mph in some places. Hundreds of lightning strikes have been reported but no confirmed tornadoes.
Source: WGST-AM

• Three killed in overnight storms
A man and his young child were killed in Butts County when a tree fell on his home and another person was killed and two injured when a mobile home was destroyed by high winds in Dodge County.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution


 Hutcheson Medical Center to make major job cuts
75 employees will be cut.
Source: CatWalkChatt.com

 Colquitt Regional Medical Center to upgrade medical record-keeping
Source: Moultrie Observer

 April 14 is date for Phoebe Putney Health System to close on Palmyra Medical Center in Albany
Source: Albany Herald

 Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month marked in Cartersville
Pinwheels and a press conference marked the launch of the awareness week.
Source: Cartersville Daily Tribune News

• Investigator in Dalton stresses importance of knowing abuse signs
Source: Dalton Daily Citizen

Rome city officials blast state over proposed hospital closing
Commissioners are upset how the state is handling the proposed closing of Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital, saying employees read about it in the paper.
Source: Rome News-Tribune


 Douglas County Sheriff's Office to use confiscated drug money for new car
Source: Douglas County Sentinel

 Guinness World Record event was held in Tifton
Cable network "truTV" held a doughnut eating contest in Tifton.
Source: Tifton Gazette

 Albany sets the dates for when it plans to interview three city manager finalists
Source: Albany Herald

 Brunswick looks to combine with Glynn County on animal control services
The city is also looking at other ways to consolidate services.
Source: Brunswick News

 City of White to launch website next year
Source: Cartersville Daily Tribune News

 Taste of Clayton to be held in Jonesboro this weekend
Source: Clayton News Daily

 Hogansville city manager finalists includes councilman
Four finalists have been named, including Councilman Jack Leidner.
Source: LaGrange Daily News

State Attorney General says Savannah City Council violated the Open Meetings law
Savannah City Council members three times violated the letter and the spirit of the law by holding closed-door meetings with job candidates during its city manager search, but the Attorney General's Office could not show there were "knowing and willful" violations of the Open Meetings law.
Source: Savannah Morning News

Tybee Island: Dick Smith to run for mayor
A look at his background and platform.
Source: Savannah Morning News

St. Pius X Family Resource Center shuts down in Savannah
Source: Savannah Morning News

Columbus charter panel may recommend more power for mayor
A subcommittee of Columbus’ Charter Review Commission is debating whether to increase the power held by the city’s mayor, the committee chair reported Monday. No thanks, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson replied.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

NewTown Macon seeking $5 million bond to bring more residential space downtown
The group will also seek space for commercial space downtown.
Source: Macon Telegraph

Historic mill fire in Macon declared accidental
The exact cause of the fire may never be known.
Source: Macon Telegraph

Macon City Council may consider smoking limits
The ordinance may restrict smoking "in public places and in places of public accommodation."
Source: Macon Telegraph

Macon-Bibb Industrial Authority seeks money for marketing
The authority is seeking a $241,784 increase from the County Commission to cover marketing operations at the authority.
Source: Macon Telegraph

Athens-Clarke Commission likely to close Hancock Avenue
The closure would be done to clear the way for a Classic Center expansion.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Cobb County nonprofits worry about cuts to funding
Source: Marietta Daily Journal

Marietta Square Artists Market to debut Saturday
The Artists Market will take place near the Marietta Square Farmers Market.
Source: Marietta Daily Journal

Hall County planners approve women's shelter near Gainesville
Source: AccessNorthGa.com


 Another Industrial Authority misstep
"A news article and editorial on Sunday pointed out that several key dates on the critical timeline released by the Industrial Authority concerning the Wiregrass biomass project had been missed, including the date for which a construction manager was to be hired and a date by which purchasing contracts with electric companies were to be finalized."
Source: Valdosta Daily Times

 Justice OKs citizenship requirement
"Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced Monday that the U.S. Justice Department has approved the state’s requirement that applicants to vote in the state provide evidence of U.S. citizenship."
Source: Albany Herald

 Fighting drug trade crucial for community
"Local, state and federal drug enforcement agencies continue to make major busts on the coast. They're removing from the streets, if only for a short while, vultures who prey on the weak and the weak-minded."
Source: Brunswick News

 Keep your powder dry
"There seems to be a lot of chatter about the discussion of merger. As many of you know, we had a little fun with the situation and played an April Fools joke on all. We have seen about a 95 percent positive response from the community and many of you agree with us. We needed to laugh a little with all the pressures on our community at this time."
Source: Dalton Daily Citizen

 A special week for sports fans
"The arrival of April is always a special time for sports fans. This first full week of April is a sporting bonanza."
Source: Newnan Times-Herald

 Tom Long: A side of John Crunkleton you may not know
"In July 1977 soon after I took the position of director of economic development for the Gwinnett Chamber, John Crunkleton, who was then police chief for Gwinnett County, called. He wanted to have lunch."
Source: GwinnettForum.com

 Elliott Brack: AJC investigation never mentions realty tactics of options
"Here's the "rest of the story" about land purchases by the Gwinnett Board of Education in recent years. The Monday story in the Atlanta newspaper somehow omitted this part."
Source: GwinnettForum.com

Larry Atkinson: Prepare for rising sea
"Sea-level rise is mentioned in the media nearly every day. But what is really happening and what should we do?"
Source: Savannah Morning News

Kenneth Zapp: Don't short-change public employees
"William F. Shugart, senior fellow at the Independent Institute, claims that public employees are overpaid and by inference are the cause of the fiscal crisis in most states."
Source: Savannah Morning News

Bill Cooper: LNG poses no greater risk
"Savannah citizens and public officials have recently raised concerns about the proposed transport of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, through the area by truck."
Source: Savannah Morning News

Gulfstream crash: Time for prayers
"The community is shocked and saddened by Saturday’s fatal crash of a Gulfstream G650 corporate jet during tests in far-away New Mexico."
Source: Savannah Morning News

Cartoon: Mark Streeter -- Flight
Source: Savannah Morning News

• Rick McKee: Gallon of premium for two badges
Source: Augusta Chronicle

• Mike Lester: Koran burning riots
Source: Rome News-Tribune

Court ruling shines new light on financial crisis' origin
"And then the bottom fell out. The name Mark Pittman probably means nothing to most people. Pittman, a reporter for Bloomberg News, died almost a year and a half ago. But not before he had taken the Fed to court -- successfully, it turns out -- over its refusal to make public some crucial documents that the New York Times’ Gretchen Morgenson has summarized in a story headlined 'The Bank Run We Knew So Little About.'"
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Elmo Richardson: There are reasons to raise Bibb County taxes for 2012
"The Sunday, March 27 Opinion Page had two items of interest to me. First, Sir Charles Richardson’s editorial concerning Bibb County employee benefits and his suggestions were well received. However, if he had checked, Bibb County implemented some of his suggestions several years ago. All employees and retirees contribute a portion of their health benefit premium. Those that smoke contribute a higher premium as well as those that do not participate in the annual wellness screenings and wellness program."
Source: Macon Telegraph

Around Town: Empire enlarged -- Goldstein family picks up another property on Square
"Marietta City Councilman and downtown land czar Philip Goldstein has added to his portfolio, which was already the largest of any private landholder. Goldstein has just purchased the building housing the Ruth Mitchell Dance Theatre at 49 West Park Square from owner Elaine Fuller. The purchase price was $550,000, Goldstein told AT."
Source: Marietta Daily Journal

Pete Borden: Cobb can't let jury disrupt Democratic process
"Wow! What an industrious school board we have in Cobb County. If one can believe the accusations being leveled at the board by the grand jury and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the agency that issues accreditation to school districts, this board has eroded public confidence in their ability, lost focus, failed to communicate with the stakeholders, conspired against each other and interfered with the day-to-day operations of the school district."
Source: Marietta Daily Journal

Public needs more data on state pension system
"It's good to hear that new Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens would support a move to make more information on the state's pension systems, which provide retirement funds for teachers and state government employees, available to the public."
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

A really healthy diet
"It probably can be said that the health of the Greater Rome economy depends on its hospitals. The Georgia Hospital Association, hardly an uninterested bystander, recently pumped out some new economic-impact numbers showing all the state’s hospitals generated $39.1 billion in 2009. A good guess, for those who follow or feel the impact of health-care usage and inflation, is that it this up from that point to now. Well, at least health-insurance premiums certainly are and the two are joined at the hip or wherever this particular hospital gown closes."
Source: Rome News-Tribune

Maria Saporta: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed reaches out to Georgia leaders
"It is a pleasure to watch Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s courtship with leaders from around the state. As a former state senator and representative, this is familiar territory for Reed. But since he’s become mayor, he has perfected the message — as goes Atlanta, so goes Georgia; and as goes Georgia, so goes Atlanta."
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Jim Thompson: Hoping to 'grandfather' HOPE
"A group of Democratic state legislators have begun an effort to "grandfather" current recipients of Georgia's lottery-funded HOPE scholarship. Currently, HOPE recipients - with the exception of the highest-achieving students - will have 90 percent of the current year's tuition covered by HOPE going forward. That will, of course, mean that HOPE likely will erode over time, in the face of tuition increases."
Source: Athens Banner-Herald