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Lawmakers to spend this week amending bills

For three days this week, legislators will tackle bills sent over from "the other side." Legislators and lobbyists who saw bills they supported fall by the wayside after missing the March 7 crossover deadline are urging committees to attach the wording of those bills as amendments to living bills. At the same time, other legislators are voting in committee to remove unwanted provisions from bills.

A more frequent feature in the floor sessions this week will be “the agrees and disagrees” as the authors of bills ask the whole House or Senate to either accept or reject the changes all that surgery created. Agreement sends the amended bill to Gov. Nathan Deal, where he’ll have until April 7 to sign or veto them.

A “disagree” gives the other chamber the opportunity to recede from its position and accept the original version after all or, more commonly, to insist, which sets up the need for a conference committee to negotiate the differences. Agrees and disagrees happen fast, without debate, without an agenda and in any order. That forces legislators and observers to keep on their toes.
Source: Georgia Times-Union

Medicaid: Will Gov. Deal do what is right...or what is political?

"According to a Kaiser poll, the majority of the country (56%) wants the GOP, my party, to get out of the way and permit the 2009 Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) to be smoothly implemented. The voters are rightly tired of the constant bickering and partisanship that typified the last election and Congress.

"Voter disillusionment with political theater is why the 31st vote for repeal in the Republican House last year was counterproductive ... as were Gov. Deal's announcement at the Republican National Convention that he would not endorse the expansion of Medicaid in Georgia and his more recent ideological pronouncement that he would not set up a state insurance exchange."
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer


Slideshow: Fort Benning soldiers who died in Iraq
A look at the soldiers who have died in Iraq.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer/Sunday

• Tenth anniversary of Iraq war
3rd Brigade soldiers tell their stories.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer/Sunday

Investigation commences in Veteran's Support Organization
The Department of Veterans Affairs said it no longer works with the group because of a Federal Trade Commission investigation.
Source: WSB-TV

Big-scale buyers snapping up foreclosures in Georgia
The purchases help stabilize prices but also foster concerns about the longer-term effect of neighborhoods filled with bulk-purchased homes owned by out-of-state investors.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/weekend

3rd ID soldier dies in Afghanistan
Chief Warrant Officer James E. Groves III, 37, of Kettering, Ohio, died March 16 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Source: Savannah Morning News

Atlanta prepares for Final Four
The Final Four tournament weekend is April 6-8 at the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

NCAA: The downside of being No. 1
Fourteen college basketball teams made at least one appearance in the top five but none for each week of the season.
Source: New York Times


 Sen. Mike Dugan says he'll derail election board changes
Dugan says he'll derail any changes to the makeup of the Douglas County Board of Elections and Registration.
Source: Douglas County Sentinel

 Sen. Burt Jones talks about Senate progress
Sen. Jones serves as vice chair for the state institutions and property committee.
Source: Milledgeville Union-Recorder

Lawmakers face deadline on ethics plan
The two-bill package would generally prohibit lobbyist spending on individual state officials, including lawmakers, though it contains significant exceptions.
Source: Savannah Morning News/Saturday

Metro Atlanta legislators dominate General Assembly
Legislators from Augusta, Savannah and other parts of Georgia are complaining that the General Assembly is spending too much time on matters centered around Atlanta.
Source: Savannah Morning News/Sunday

Political gap exposed by conflict over gun rights in Georgia
In such a gun-friendly state, the NRA has recently pursued changes to the state's firearms laws that likely affect small groups of people. For example, one would allow people to hunt with silencers, while another makes clear people in public housing can own guns.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Vehicle taxation: Revisions made to leasing and out-of-state buys
Source: Macon Telegraph/Sunday

Standoff in legislature over Payne City entering Macon-Bibb consolidated government
State Rep. James Beverly has so far refused to abolish the tiny city in his district on principle, because by a margin of two votes, Payne City voters turned down the consolidation in 2012.
Source: Macon Telegraph/Sunday

Political Notebook, Gwinnett: Woodall, Broun talk about federal budget
"This past week, Gwinnett Congressman Rob Woodall worked on Paul Ryan's proposed federal budget, helping the mark-up process as a member of the Budget Committee."
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post/weekend

Bill sponsored by Sen. Isakson seeks money for 1979 Iran hostages
A bill introduced last week by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson would allow the hostages and their families substantial compensation, and fresh public interest in the issue from the Oscar-winning film “Argo” gives the bill’s backers confidence that they can push it through.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/weekend

Political Insider: Fight for control of Fulton County likely to escalate over Grady
"This fight in the Legislature over control of Fulton County’s government is about to graduate from a bitter local fracas into a near-nuclear case of mutually assured discomfort. With statewide implications."
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/weekend

Maverick lawmakers during tumultuous Civil Rights years shaped Modern Georgia
A look at the Georgia Legislature in 1963.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/weekend

Legislature enters its next-to-last week
Last week, the bills passed by the House got assigned to Senate committees and then to subcommittees while the House did the same with Senate bills.
Source: Savannah Morning News

Audio: A talk with Rep. Hank Johnson
Source: WABE.org


 Gerresheimer plant expansion to bring 120 jobs to Peachtree City
Gerresheimer is known as the European market leader for manufacturing medical drug-delivery plastic systems. It also makes other glass and plastic products used by the pharma and life science industry including complex drug delivery systems.
Source: Fayette Citizen News

Savannah-based Citi Trends reports 4th quarter sales were down
Source: Savannah Morning News/Saturday

AT&T launches 4G speed in Augusta
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Dublin pizzeria makes USA Today's top pizza parlors list
Deano’s Italian Grille in downtown Dublin made the USA Today list of "51 great pizza parlors."
Source: Macon Telegraph/Saturday

A look at the iconic Peeps
Just Born Inc., a Pennsylvania company, is celebrating its 60th anniversary and has launched its first TV ad in a decade.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday/AP

Cobb Chamber of Commerce recognized as one of ten fastest-growing in nation
Source: Marietta Daily Journal/Sunday

Downtown Rome restaurants doing well
Source: Rome News-Tribune/Sunday

Mike's Country Store opens in Putney
The new location is on U.S. 19 South and has brought 24 jobs to the area, which had previously lacked a store to provide food basics.
Source: Albany Herald/Sunday

Future of peanuts to rely on breeding
UGA's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Tifton is working on breeding peanuts to improve the crop.
Source: Albany Herald/Sunday

Georgia lawyer recounts effort of entering coffee market
Kenneth Lander is involved in growing and selling coffee beans in Costa Rica during a time that farmers are rewriting the process.
Source: New York Times

$27 million in unclaimed tax refunds available to Georgians
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Concrete pour for reactor complete at Plant Vogtle
Workers spent 41 consecutive hours pouring concrete for the reactor's six-foot thick basemat foundation.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Georgia World Congress Center approves deal with Atlanta and Falcons on new stadium
Source: WSB-TV

• Final OK for new Atlanta Falcons stadium could happen today
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle


 UGA's Red & Black named best website, best non-daily
The awards were announced at the Society of Professional Journalists' MediaAtlanta conference, honoring outstanding collegiate journalism done in the previous year.
Source: Red&Black.com

 Georgia Power's program reaches 100,000 students
Georgia Power's Learning Power program has reached 100,000 students, with eleven education coordinators working around the state teaching the curriculum at elementary, middle and high schools.
Source: Clayton News Daily

GBI asks Muscogee County BOE about lawyers
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer/Saturday

Shorter University captures first men's national basketball title
The Shorter Hawks won the NCCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.
Source: Rome News-Tribune/Saturday

Buzz-in entry system being considered by Richmond County schools
The buzz-in entry, fully launched last week, is an added security measure being tested at Garrett Elementary for consideration at other schools.
Source: Augusta Chronicle/Sunday

City Ink, Augusta: Former ASU president doesn't mince words
"In her parting letter to Dr. Ricardo Azziz, president of what once was the Medical College of Georgia and Augusta State University but now Georgia Regents University, interim ASU President Shirley Strum Kenny minced no words critiquing his leadership of the two campuses he’s supposed to be merging and warning him to mend his fences there and in the community he’s alienated."
Source: Augusta Chronicle/Sunday

15 years of building at UGA, and campus needs more space
High on UGA’s wish list is a science learning center, conceived as a science-engineering equivalent of the Miller Learning Center, and study and library building with lab space.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Poorest schools don't get equalized funding
New equalization funding formula leaves most small-town school systems out, according to calculations by the Georgia Department of Education; most of the additional $40 million announced by Gov. Deal in January will go to Gwinnett, Clayton and Paulding school systems.
Source: Rome News-Tribune/Sunday

SACS to train new DeKalb County Board of Education members
The board will be trained by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools on what the accreditation issues are and what is expected of board members.
Source: WSB-TV

Suzuki School to open campus at Ponce City Market in midtown Atlanta
Suzuki School, one of the oldest and most respected private preschools in the Southeast, is slated to open its Midtown campus in fall 2014.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

UGA research explores link between dating and academic success
Students who date in middle school have significantly worse study skills, are four times more likely to drop out of school and report twice as much alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use than their single classmates, according to new research from the University of Georgia.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Last one-room school in Houston County renovated
The schoolhouse will be used for educational events.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Dublin schools break ground on solar project
Solar panels will be installed on the roof and on the grounds of Dublin High School, and they are expected to be up and running by June.
Source: Macon Telegraph


 DNR asks Georgians to help reduce spread of bat disease
The DNR is warning recreational cavers, cave owners and conservation organizations about limiting trips into caves and following national decontamination protocols (whitenosesyndrome.org) for disinfecting clothes and gear.
Source: Newton Citizen

900 pounds of illegally dumped tires cleaned up at Summerville Park in Rome
Source: Rome News-Tribune/Saturday

DNR officials seek rare sparrow
Biologists are seeking the rare and tiny Henslow's Sparrow.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald


 Oakwood VA clinic to open June 1
Source: Gainesville Times

 Upson County's STD and teen pregnancies above state averages
Source: Thomaston Times

Athens' Mercy Health Center to celebrate new facility March 20
The new building will allow Mercy to expanded its mission to provide physical, emotional and spiritual care for low-income uninsured people in the area.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Saturday

FTC moves to block Phoebe/Palmyra merger in Albany
The Federal Trade Commission has moved to lift the stay on administrative proceedings in connection to the purchase of the former Palmyra Medical Center, stating a hearing on the matter ought to be held no later than July 15.
Source: Albany Herald/Saturday

CDC doctor to talk at UGA about meningitis outbreak
The 2012 outbreak was the largest health care associated outbreak in U.S. history, infecting more than 650 people and killing 44.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Hundreds checked for rabies after transplant death
Public health agencies in five states, including Georgia, are assessing the rabies risk for hundreds of people who may have had close contact with an infected organ donor and four transplant recipients, one of whom died, officials said Saturday.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Program available to help soldiers with PTSD
Ten years after the war started in Iraq, post traumatic stress disorder is one of the top medical issues facing deployed soldiers along with traumatic brain injury and major loss of limbs.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Athens man named youngest president-elect of Georgia Society of Nuclear Medicine Technologists
Patrick Jackson, 27, is a nuclear medicine technologist.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald


 Valdosta officials list eleven priorities at retreat
The City plans to conduct public information meetings and develop a direct mail effort to educate and inform city residents of facts and data regarding wastewater issues and the sewer system.
Source: Valdosta Daily Times

 Long history for Albany gangs
A look at gangs found in Albany.
Source: Albany Herald

 Dalton once a hub for medical care
During the Civil War, Dalton became a major health care site.
Source: Dalton Daily Citizen

 Loganville manager challenges SPLOST fee
During Thursday night’s council meeting, Loganville Manager Bill Jones brought to the attention of the city’s leaders how they will be losing $21,000 of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds over the six-year span of the collection.
Source: Walton Tribune (subscription)

Crowds filling Savannah's River Street, City Market on Saturday
Source: Savannah Morning News/Saturday

• Cleaning crews move in to restore Savannah following parade
The crowds were big on River Street, but not quite as packed as years past. City officials say expanding the festival zone farther south to Broughton Lane gave party-goers more room to spread out.
Source: Savannah Morning News/Sunday

• 2013 Savannah St. Patrick's Day arrests comparable to 2012
Source: Savannah Morning News/Sunday

Posthumous Hero Award for Marietta's Otis Brumby Jr.
The late Otis Brumby Jr., former publisher of the Marietta Daily Journal, was honored with the Open Government Hero Award on Thursday night by the Georgia First Amendment Foundation at a gala in Atlanta.
Source: Marietta Daily Journal/Saturday

Richmond County: Lack of healthy choices form food deserts around county
An Augusta Chronicle analysis of Richmond County found five Census tracts where there are virtually no healthy options, creating what is referred to as a “food desert.”
Source: Augusta Chronicle/Sunday

Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia launch "Operation Cookies from Home" campaign
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Record crowd turns out for Cherry Blossom Festival events in Macon
Bed races and a "pink high heels" run brought out the crowds; Brig.Gen. Cedric George participated in the high-heels run, sporting a pair of high-heel pink boots.
Source: Macon Telegraph/Sunday

• Cherry Blossom Festival haiku
Source: Macon Telegraph/Sunday

• Recap of Cherry Blossom Festival
Source: Macon Telegraph

Four finalists named for Hudgens Center visual arts prize
After three juried judges examined 370 artists' entries through the month of February, four finalists have been named for the Hudgens Center for the Art's Prize Visual Arts Competition.
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post/weekend

79 arrested during St. Patrick's Day festival in Savannah
Source: Savannah Morning News

Richmond County Sheriff's Office changes patrol cars again
Less than a year ago, the patrol cars were new Ford Police Interceptors; now, Dodge Chargers will be on patrol.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Five Thurmond Lake campgrounds under new management
A nonprofit corporation will take over management; Officials estimate the new arrangement will translate to an annual cost savings of $300,000 to $400,000 a year in a district where federal cuts have sliced recreation dollars by 20 percent in the past six years.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Thunder in the Valley Air Show still a success despite lack of military
The Air Force, Army and Navy canceled appearances because of the mandatory budget cuts known as the sequester, so there was nothing on display from the military currently being used in training or on the front lines.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Valdosta professor takes part in documentary
The U.S. is facing a nearly silent epidemic of small, rural communities vanishing from existence; Valdosta State professor Jason Brown is participating in a new documentary.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Officials in Acworth embrace IMAGE
The Acworth government is taking steps to become certified for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, or IMAGE, program.
Source: Marietta Daily Journal

Cobb County to vote on one-cent education SPLOST
Source: WSB-TV

Bison ranch in McIntosh County open for tourists and chefs
Source: Georgia Times-Union

Thousands attend Suwanee beer festival
About 5,000 people attended the Suwanee American Craft Beer Fest.
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post


 Enjoy a Taste of Home
"If you’ve never attended the Taste of Home Cooking School, well, then, you don’t know what you’ve been missing."
Source: Valdosta Daily Times

 A special talent, a special concert on stage April 20
"For the past 20 years, as spring approached in Newnan, so did the annual Wadsworth and Friends concert in the downtown Newnan Wadsworth Auditorium."
Source: Newnan Times-Herald

St. Patrick's Day: Keeping the faith
"Technically speaking, the feast day of St. Patrick isn’t today. It’s tomorrow."
Source: Savannah Morning News/Saturday

Gaming devices: Georgia lawmakers hit jackpot
"Georgia lawmakers should be applauded for doing something positive about a shady activity that is all-too-easily overlooked — video gaming machines in the back corners of some convenience stores that illegally pay off in dollars."
Source: Savannah Morning News/Saturday

Cartoon: Mark Streeter -- We love a parade!
Source: Savannah Morning News/Saturday

• Mark Streeter -- Pity potty
Source: Savannah Morning News/Sunday

• Rick McKee: An empty pot of gold
Source: Augusta Chronicle/Sunday

• Mike Lester: Freedom 2013 -- actual size
Source: Rome News-Tribune/Sunday

• Mike Luckovich: His Holiness
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/weekend

Frank Clancy: Savannah like a small scale Dublin
"A Dublin friend told me a tale about a fellow Dubliner who launched a lament to him on one black beast of an afternoon in McDaid’s Pub on the sad fact that all of Dublin’s great characters had made their final curtain call, that there were no magnificent eccentrics left on the broad streets of Dublin."
Source: Savannah Morning News/Saturday

Wrong method, right message
"It seems paradoxical, but we don’t think it is. We feel that while society desperately needs to be more civil, at the same time we should chill a bit and give one another a little more room to be inappropriate."
Source: Augusta Chronicle/Saturday

What the world needs
"Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has only one healthy lung. Yet he’s been a leading voice for the poor and downtrodden, particularly in his native Argentina."
Source: Augusta Chronicle/Saturday

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes: Attack of the really big weeds
"My friend Mike “The Inquirer” Owen likes to say that pine trees are just big weeds. He doesn’t say this as a joke; he says it with a certain degree of contempt. Until this week, I’ve never had any ill will toward pine trees. This summer, I moved into a house with a whole bunch of pine trees in the backyard, which gives the place a woodsy feel."
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer/Saturday

Eddie dePeterse: Subsidized, monetized - and educated - in Athens
"On paycheck Fridays, I wait in longer lines than usual at convenience stores to pay for my afternoon coffee. Lottery ticket purchasers crowd businesses on those days."
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Saturday

Dink NeSmith: When the Masters was a million-mile bus trip away
"The Sand Greens Golf Course was one million miles from the Augusta National, but a Trailways bus got me from Jesup to there in a little over three hours. I had as much business being at the Masters as a hippo trying to hula dance, but I was there — for the first time — in 1963. And before I witnessed Jack Nicklaus beating Arnold Palmer out of the green jacket for the first time, I, too, had scored a long list of firsts."
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Saturday

Around Town: Marietta High's White House tour is latest sequester strike out
"Nearly 100 of Marietta High School’s “best and brightest” will have to forgo one of the most anticipated parts of their trip next week to the nation’s capital, thanks to President Obama’s sequester gambit."
Source: Marietta Daily Journal/Saturday

Dick Yarbrough: Cobb not perfect, but no one does it better
"Twenty years ago this week, I was in the midst of one of the worst blizzard in our state’s history and dealing with poobahs from the International Olympic Committee who were here to express their concerns that our summer heat could be dangerous for the athletes competing in the 1996 Olympic Games. I think that blizzard was one of God’s greatest practical jokes."
Source: Marietta Daily Journal/Saturday

Southwest Georgia has its Bright Side
"Life, in many ways, is perspective. Is the glass half full or half empty? Is a rainy day a blessing or a spoiler for outdoor plans? When life gives you lemons, can you make sweet lemonade out of it or just pucker in disgust?"
Source: Albany Herald/Saturday

City manager audit: No new skeletons
"An independent financial audit of Savannah’s former city manager, Rochelle Small-Toney, didn’t appear to uncover any new skeletons."
Source: Savannah Morning News/Sunday

Tom Barton: How Irish eyes have smiled
"God must like Savannah. And have a good sense of humor. How else do you explain this city’s long-running luck with Irish-born priests?"
Source: Savannah Morning News/Sunday

A thorough schooling
"As one online commenter noted, it was indeed a blockbuster. Fact is, it was as damning a letter as a genuine gentle lady could probably bring herself to write. Former interim Augusta State University President Shirley Strum Kenny’s exit letter to her old boss, Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz, was a scholarly, cultivated, thoughtful attempt to help Augusta on her way out the door in January."
Source: Augusta Chronicle/Sunday

Nick Evans: Though name isn't perfect, GRU Augusta deserves our support
"The Save the A campaign was formed to encourage Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and the leadership of the state’s newest university to have “Augusta” in the school’s name – preferably, the University of Augusta or Augusta University. Augusta was the only one of four communities chosen for consolidation that gave support to the governor and the Board of Regents in their decision to create this new enterprise and a school of which we can all be proud."
Source: Augusta Chronicle/Sunday

Gloria Norwood: Stop bickering and embrace new university
"A great deal of attention has been directed toward the decision of the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents to rename universities in Augusta."
Source: Augusta Chronicle/Sunday

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes: Soldier photos tell their stories
"Today's front page contains the faces of Columbus-area soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq. Many of these are official Army photos, with the green-clad soldier standing at attention in front of the American flag. But some of these photos were contributed by family or friends and were not formal head-and-shoulders shots. We cropped the faces for our cover."
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer/Sunday

Darrell Huckaby: Sunday drive is long-gone entertainment
"Whatever happened to getting in the family car and going for a ride? Other than $4 a gallon gas, I mean."
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Myra Blackmon: 'Parent trigger' is wrong approach to education reform
"Recently, I asked a Florida middle school principal, 'What are three things that could make it easier for you to be a highly effective principal?' The first thing he said was 'more and better parental involvement.'"
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

James Garland: Rush to gun control producing bad laws
"In an emotional plea for more stringent gun control laws made during his recent State of the Union address, President Obama advocated a series of supposedly “common-sense” proposals and restrictions."
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Jessica Johnson: Still some distance to go on race relations
"Recent reports that someone dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe was spotted on the campus of Ohio’s Oberlin College prompted reactions of shock and disbelief, given the institution’s place in this nation’s civil rights history."
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Loran Smith: The laid-back allure of Charleston
"Steeped in history, energized by tradition, and boasting students who matriculate at three local colleges, Charleston doesn’t have a skyline — until a cruise ship slides up to the docks and empties a boatload of tourists."
Source: Athens Banner-Herald/Sunday

Ed Grisamore: Little Mr. Cherry Blossoms grows up in a hurry
"There comes a time when Little Mr. Cherry Blossoms aren’t so little any more. They grow up and wear size 13 shoes. Their voices drop two octaves. They can no longer be sent to “time-out” when they refuse to eat their squash."
Source: Macon Telegraph/Sunday

Handling of the Davis shooting a case study in what not to do
"In Mayor Robert Reichert’s attempt to explain away his decision to lock down tight any information in the killing of Sammie Davis Jr. by Macon police officer Clayton Sutton, he forgot a few facts. First, it was the police department that lifted the tent when it released incorrect information as to why officer Sutton appeared at the Kroger that fateful Dec. 21, 2012, afternoon. The initial police report said Sutton was executing a warrant on Davis, not responding to a 911 call. The department didn’t clear up its error for five days."
Source: Macon Telegraph/Sunday

Charles Richardson: Being left behind by technology
"'You’re feeling like you are being left behind because you are being left behind.' I came up with that pithy phrase because I thought my imagination was running away with me. As in the phrase, 'Just because you feel paranoid doesn’t mean you have nothing to be paranoid about,' feeling left behind is not my imagination taking over."
Source: Macon Telegraph/Sunday

David Oedel: Junebug, Clayton and Boo, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' similarities
"At the end of Harper Lee’s 1960 book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Boo Radley, an apparently crazy recluse, lashes out at a figure of twisted authority, Bob Ewell. Boo intervened to kill Bob while Bob was savagely breaking the arm of a young boy, Jem Finch."
Source: Macon Telegraph/Sunday

Bill Cummings: Where have all the Catholic leaders gone?
"There were 115 red-robed cardinals stuffed into that Sistine Chapel -- you saw them on TV. Not a woman among them. Not one. And since the pope had to come from this all-male group, we could never get a woman pope. Now, I have nothing but respect for the new Pope Francis, but he’s a man. Why not a woman?
Source: Macon Telegraph/Sunday

The New Pope - a carefully considered 'first'
"Pope Francis is faced with bringing reform to an institution that has survived for so many centuries precisely because it doesn’t change — or changes only as much as it needs to."
Source: Marietta Daily Journal/Sunday

Wellspring of concern
"Those who love the Cave Spring area as it is today and take special pride in its purest-found-anywhere natural waters do have reason to worry about plans for exploration for natural gas nearby."
Source: Rome News-Tribune/Sunday

Stakes high as GGC searches for new leader
"Gwinnett's Chamber of Commerce has found its man. Now the county's local college must do the same."
Source: Gwinnett Daily Post/weekend

Confusion over local sales tax
"With so many sales tax initiatives being discussed these days, it’s no wonder citizens are confused about the many “OST’S”. Between the MOST, SPLOST, TSPLOST and LOST, many are, well, lost. Misinformation regarding the various sales tax options is bandied about in conversations, online forums, and in rants, and it’s no wonder, as it seems to be an endless season of tax discussions."
Source: Valdosta Daily Times/Sunday

Markets enjoying the year so far
"Remember how the sequester was going to destroy the recovery and tank the stock market because of fear and uncertainty? It hasn’t quite worked out that way. At least it hasn’t so far."
Source: Albany Herald/Sunday

Carlton Fletcher: Real men can admit to having a man-crush
"I had one of the basic tenets of my long-held naive assumption that the female of our species is the kinder and gentler gender crushed recently when a pair of Herald vixens — Laura and Jennifer are their names, just for the record — conned me into making an embarrassing confession."
Source: Albany Herald/Sunday

Everette Freeman: Time right to explore early college options
"The time is right to explore the best long term options for the relocation of Albany Early College from the campus of Albany State University. Why now? Because the Dougherty County School Board is considering consolidating and closing schools in communities that desperately need the energy and vitality of a stable neighborhood institution. The relocation of a school with a bustling student enrollment to a facility where growth is stagnant is more prudent."
Source: Albany Herald/Sunday

A gulp of freedom
"Dr. John Pemberton could never have imagined it coming to this. Working in his Atlanta pharmacy in 1886, the inventor of Coca-Cola surely could never have foreseen that, nearly 150 years later, the question of how big a cup of soda could be sold to the general public would be fodder for the courts."
Source: Gainesville Times

Johnny Vardeman: Railroaders get together to swap tales
"The late Talmadge Pless, who served as Lula’s mayor, missed seeing his fellow Norfolk-Southern Railway workers after he retired."
Source: Gainesville Times

Mitch Clarke: To solve our budget woes, let's sequester the politicians
"In the days following Washington’s failure to deal with sequestration, I kept hearing a lot of the talking heads on TV telling me about cuts to nonessential government services."
Source: Gainesville Times/Sunday

Harris Blackwood: A pope, and a preacher, each with a calling
"There were two religious announcements last week. First, the Roman Catholic Church has a new pope, Francis I."
Source: Gainesville Times

A special talent, a special concert on stage April 20
"For the past 20 years, as spring approached in Newnan, so did the annual Wadsworth and Friends concert in the downtown Newnan Wadsworth Auditorium."
Source: Newnan Times-Herald/Sunday

Andre Jackson: Winning final leg of ethics race
"With three-quarters of Georgia’s 2013 legislating days now done, the General Assembly should resolve to do whatever’s necessary to ensure comprehensive ethics reform becomes law his year. This important topic for Georgians and for our state’s system of government cannot fall by the wayside."
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/weekend

Bill Keller: Smart drones
"If you find the use of remotely piloted warrior drones troubling, imagine that the decision to kill a suspected enemy is not made by an operator in a distant control room, but by the machine itself. Imagine that an aerial robot studies the landscape below, recognizes hostile activity, calculates that there is minimal risk of collateral damage, and then, with no human in the loop, pulls the trigger."
Source: New York Times

Adam Van Brimmer: Moving parade to Saturday every year a bad idea
"Savannah Irishmen of a certain age remember going to door-to-door to raise funds for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade."
Source: Savannah Morning News

Tybee Island: Unmade in the shade
"Tybee Island officials deserve a scolding for violating Georgia’s sunshine laws on a vitally important matter last week — whether to fire the city manager over some accounting errors."
Source: Savannah Morning News

Michael Edwards: 'Nobe idea' reaches half-century mark
"A dear friend of mine is famous for saying that you may be able to guarantee that you will never commit a crime, but you cannot guarantee that you will never be accused of one."
Source: Savannah Morning News

Droning on about drones
"It's a good bet that if the Israelis were using drones to defend themselves with preemptive strikes against Hamas, the Obama administration would be all over them to stop."
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Iraq in hindsight: Ten years after 'Shock and Awe'
"Ten years ago this week, the Iraq War began with the "Shock and Awe" air strike on Baghdad. Operation Iraqi Freedom would last longer than World War II and claim more than 4,000 American lives, as well as Iraqi lives in the tens, more likely hundreds, of thousands."
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Unknown Soldiers: 'Doc' remembered with Tide flag
"If you take a drive through the Deep South, you are virtually guaranteed to see numerous University of Alabama flags flying from houses and cars."
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Don McKee: Freshman Woodstock legislator out to make mark in Georgia
"One of Georgia’s rising young political stars is state Rep. Michael Caldwell, the 23-year-old Republican from Woodstock. He was first speaker up for the Conservatives Under 40 panel at the annual Conservative Political Action conference Saturday in Maryland."
Source: Marietta Daily Journal

Dwain Walden: Go feel some dirt between your toes
"There’s something about the smell of freshly turned sod that takes me back to my roots. And just recently, as I pulled my disc harrow through some unturned soil down at the old home place and watched the black loam churn to the top, I was awash in flashbacks of my childhood."
Source: Moultrie Observer