Archive for September, 2009

Oxendine opposes cuts to top teachers

Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, a Republican candidate for governor in 2010, is the first hopeful out of the gate Monday with a news release denouncing cuts in bonuses for the state’s more 2,000 national board certified teachers.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this weekend that national board certified teachers are seeing  the 10 percent bonuses they were promised cut in half. Gov. Sonny Perdue proposed eliminating the bonuses completely, but lawmakers provided just over half of the funding needed to provide the bonuses.

So those teachers are getting the equivalent of a 5 percent pay cut, often on top of furloughs.

“I acknowledge and understand that in order to avoid raising taxes, Georgia  must address serious and substantial budget cuts, but teacher pay is off limits,” Oxendine said. “I call on Governor Perdue and thre General Assembly to immediately reverse this policy and restore this vital funding to the very best of Georgia teachers. The message this …

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More than 3,600 already applied for FEMA aid

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Friday that more than 3,600 Georgians have already applied for assistance in the wake of this week’s devastating floods.

And more applications are expected to continue to pour in as additional counties are added to the list of those eligible.

As of late Friday, eight counties had been added to the federal disaster list, making residents and business owners there eligible for federal aid. Five were named on Thursday and additional three Friday. Those eligible are: Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas, Paulding, Stephens and Walker.

If you are in one of those counties and have been impacted by the flood, or own property or a business there, FEMA officials encourage you to apply for assistance as soon as possible.

To apply, go to FEMA’s disaster Web site or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing impaired.

Individual assistance can include grants to pay for temproary housing, home repairs and other …

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Walker County added to disaster list

Federal officials have added another county to the disaster list from this week’s floods, as Walker County joins seven other counties were federal assistance is now available.

Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office announced the addition of Walker County on Friday afternoon, after Vice President Joe Biden announced that Chattooga and Stephens were also included.

The full list of eligible counties now is: Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas, Paulding, Stephens and Walker.

Residents and business owners in those counties can now apply for a wide range of federal assistance. To apply, go to FEMA’s disaster Web site or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing impaired.

Individual assistance can include grants to pay for temproary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses, as well as temporary unemployment benefits for those who have lost their jobs due to the flood.

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Additional counties added to disaster list; emergency center opened

Two additional counties have been added to Georgia’s disaster list and those in the most severely impacted area have a new way to get help.

Vice President Joe Biden was in Georgia today to tour damage from this year’s historic flood, which claimed nine lives and caused more than $250 million in damage.

Biden, speaking from the American Red Cross shelter at the Cobb Civic Center in Marietta, announced that Chattooga and Stephens counties have been added to the disaster list originally announced Thursday by President Barack Obama. Residents and business owners in the following counties now can apply for federal financial assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration: Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas, Paulding and Stephens.

While Biden actually announced that three counties were added to the list today, he included Carroll, which the White House announced Thursday afternoon.

Also Friday, FEMA and its state equivalent, …

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Update V: Chattooga, Stephens added to disaster list

Final update 12:18 p.m.: Biden and his party have departed for Air Force Two to return to Washington. Look for a complete story on his visit on ajc.com shortly.

Update: 11:40 a.m.: Biden said two more counties have been added to the disaster list: Stephens and Chattooga

Update: 11:39: Vice President Joe Biden said a resident of the Cobb County American Red Cross shelter told him she lost her home and wasn’t sure what would happen.

“‘I know it’s not Katrina,’” Biden said the woman told him.”The truth of the matter is for someone who lost their home, it is Katrina. For some in this shelter it is Katrina.

Sure, he said, it’s not nearly Katrina-like in overall scope, but for those affected, it might as well be.

Update: 11:31 a.m.: U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson (both,  R-Ga.) just praised the work of the Obama administration in responding to this week’s floods. Chambliss and Isakson, speaking at the Red Cross shelter at the Cobb Civic Center, toured the damage with …

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Updated: Confusion over disaster declaration solved

Update 4:08 p.m.: OK, confusion cleared. They were both right. The White House now says that Cherokee AND Carroll were included in the disaster declaration. That makes five counties instead of four.

Original post:

Is Cherokee or Carroll county a disaster area?

Carroll, along with Douglas, Cobb and Paulding, have appeared to have suffered the most damage in this week’s floods. But when Gov. Sonny Perdue announced on Thursday that President Barack Obama has declared a federal disaster in four Georgia counties, it was Cherokee and not Carroll listed with the other three.

But, then the White House issued a press release saying that Carroll was on the disaster list, not Cherokee. Compounding the confusion, however, Perdue communications director Bert Brantley told the AJC moments ago that the official document the governor received from the White House says Cherokee.

A White House spokeswoman is checking on the discrepancy, and Brantley said the governor’s office and the Georgia …

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Biden in Atlanta on Friday for flood briefing

Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Georgia on Friday to brief state and local leaders on federal response to this week’s devastating floods.

Biden will also meet witih families affected by the floods, the White House announced. More detailis are to be released later Thursday.

Biden’s visit comes the day after President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in four counties impacted by the flood.

Perdue asked for more than $16 million in direct federal aid. But the presidential declaration of an emergency will also make federal loans, grants and other resources available to homeowners, residents businesses impacted by the floods, which have claimed nine lives and caused more than $250 million in damage.

More to come …

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Obama approves federal disaster declaration

President Barack Obama has issued a federal disaster declaration for Carroll, Cobb, Paulding, Douglas and Cherokee counties in the wake of this week’s devastating floods, Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office has announced.

Perdue had asked Obama to declare an emergency in 17 Georgia counties and the governor said the request covering the other counties is still pending.

“The recovery is just now beginning,” Perdue said in a statement. “We have a great deal of work to do and I appreciate President Obama’s approval of the disaster declaration. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration will also be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.”

The five counties in the declaration suffered some of the most devastating losses in the floods that killed nine people and cost more than $250 million in estimated damages.

Perdue made his initial request for a presidential declaration of an emergency on Tuesday and some local officials …

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Official says College Football Hall of Fame moving to Atlanta

A state official called to say the  College Football Hall of Fame is going to announce Thursday that the hall is moving from South Bend, Indiana, home of Notre Dame, to Atlanta. The official said he has been invited to the press conference at ESPNzone in Atlanta

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Mitsubishi plant to bring 500 jobs to Savannah area

Mitsubishi Power Systems will place a new manufacturing facility in Georgia’s industrial “megasite” near Savannah and bring a $325 million investment and 500 jobs with it.

Gov. Sonny Perdue announced the deal Monday afternoon. Mitsubishi will build advanced steam and gas turbines at the site, and service turbines and other equipment for power generation. Construction begins this year, Perdue’s office said, and the company will begin hiring in early 2010.

The company will locate on 119 acres near Pooler that is part of the Chatham County Industrial Site.

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