Georgia quota hunt applications accepted starting June 1

SOCIAL CIRCLE  – Beginning June 1, hunters can apply electronically for quota hunts including adult/child, deer, alligator, waterfowl, dove and many others, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

“Are you hoping to get to hunt the area of your choice? If so, be sure to take note of quota hunt deadlines and get that application in before that date,” says Tina Johannsen, Assistant Chief of the Game Management Section with the Wildlife Resources Division.  “Quota hunts allow for a specific number of hunters are on a particular area and provide for excellent hunt opportunities.”

A quota hunt is a scheduled event at a Wildlife Management Area or other state-managed property where a limited number of hunters are allowed.  Quota levels are based upon the sound principles of wildlife management and public desires for a quality hunt.  These hunts provide a challenging and rewarding experience to hunters of all levels.  Selected hunters must be properly licensed to participate in a quota hunt.

Applying for a Quota Hunt is simple. Visit www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com and select “Quota Hunts” and follow the steps to complete your application.  Make sure that your email is current and correct in order to receive quota updates, confirmations or any notices about quota hunts.

Application deadlines vary depending on hunt type. The first deadlines are July 15 for Alligator, August 15 for Dove (including Adult/Child hunts), and September 1 for all types of Deer Hunts (including Adult/Child hunts). Check the complete deadline list located at http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/quota#deadlines.

To view selection odds, based on previous years’ applicants, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/quota#odds.

For more information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/quota.

Kemp to let bars, summer school open

By Beau Evans
Staff Writer
Capitol Beat News Service

Gov. Brian Kemp moved Thursday to relax broad social restrictions in Georgia on bars, nightclubs, summer school classes and overnight summer camps in the coming weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Kemp also announced he will extend the public health emergency in Georgia through July 12, granting him powers to continue issuing executive orders.
The latest pulling back of business restrictions comes amid a bump in positive coronavirus cases in recent days prompting caution from local health experts concerned about people returning too quickly to normal behavior.
At a news conference, the governor said “encouraging data” trends in the number of positive coronavirus cases and hospitalizations convinced him it was time to start slowly reopening more businesses.
“We remain encouraged by the numbers that we are seeing in testing, hospitalizations and a wide variety of other data points across the state,” Kemp said.
In an executive order the governor signed Thursday, bars and nightclubs will be allowed to reopen starting June 1 after nearly two months of closures, so long as establishments meet strict rules. Restrictions include limiting occupancy to 25 patrons or 35% of a building’s occupancy and only serving drinks to seated patrons or in designated areas.
Summer school classes will be allowed starting next month if schools can keep students separated in classrooms and routinely sanitize facilities. Overnight summer camps will be permitted starting May 31 under similar sanitizing and social distancing requirements.
Live performance venues will remain closed for the foreseeable future, though Kemp said he is working with businesses owners on a reopening plan.
Kemp also announced businesses like restaurants and other gathering spots will be allowed to have larger groups of up to 25 people if they keep six feet of space between them starting in June. The six-foot rule has applied for several weeks to groups of up to 10 people.
Additionally, the governor is allowing amusement parks, water parks, carnivals and circuses to reopen under several restrictions starting June 12. Sports leagues will also be permitted to hold practices starting June 1 and must abide by guidelines that the leagues themselves have drafted, Kemp said.
As of 1 p.m. Thursday, more than 45,000 people had tested positive in Georgia for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel strain of coronavirus that sparked a global pandemic. The virus had killed 1,962 Georgians.
Kemp and health officials attributed a bump in positive COVID-19 cases seen on the state Department of Public Health’s website in recent days to a large backlog of old test results the agency received from private labs over the weekend.
The state’s public health commissioner, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, backed Kemp’s decision to ease business restrictions, citing the state’s bolstered testing capacity and the hiring of 800 contact tracers tasked with charting an infected person’s web of physical interactions.
“I felt very comfortable … particularly because the data trends have been staying very, very favorable,” Toomey said Thursday.
Ahead of Kemp’s news conference, leading health experts at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta urged people to continue keeping their distance from each other even as social restrictions begin to relax.
“This pandemic is not over just because a politician is saying it’s safe to get out,” said Dr. Carlos del Rio, who chairs the Hubert Department of Global Health at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. “I think there are important economic decisions that need to be made, but what I would tell people is … take care of yourselves, practice social distancing, be careful.”
“The data tells me that I should probably continue sheltering in place,” he added. “I’m not ready to go to a restaurant yet.”
Del Rio, who previously criticized Kemp for waiting too long before ordering Georgians to shelter-in-place, said he expects to see positive COVID-19 cases rise as people interact with each other more and testing increases.
He and a colleague at Emory, Dr. Colleen Kraft, said people need to weigh how comfortable they are exposing themselves or family members to the virus. Kraft, an associate chief medical officer at Emory, said the state should start gaining a better picture of whether cases are on the rise “within the next month.”
In the meantime, Kraft said Georgians should consider viewing their social habits within a “coronavirus circle,” by which she meant the number of other people someone could potentially expose by ignoring social-distancing practices.
“The bottom line is you need to be aware of keeping yourself safe and other people safe,” Kraft said Thursday. “We’re in a country of personal choices, but you need to be sure that you’re being respectful to other people and their medical fragility.”

Six jailed on drug charges

SUBMITTED BY MURRAY COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE

On 5-27-2020, Murray County’s Proactive Investigative Unit and Whitfield County Sheriffs Office Drug Unit detectives executed a probable cause search warrant at 4850 Hwy 52 Alternate Chatsworth, Ga. after a rapidly evolving joint investigation involving drug activity. Six individuals were arrested. Seized in the search warrant were approximately 5.1 lbs. of methamphetamine, $52,222.00 cash, and 2 vehicles.

Those arrested are listed:
Michael Douglas Dison, 1417 Hwy. 41N. Calhoun, Ga. -Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of drug related objects.

Anthony Dewayne Oglesby, 4850 Hwy.52 alt. Chatsworth, Ga.- Trafficking methamphetamine, Possession w/ intent to distribute methamphetamine, Possession of methamphetamine, Possession of drug related objects.

Jeffery McCullough, 547 Ridley Rd. Chatsworth, Ga. – Possession of methamphetamine, Possession of drug related objects.

Lucinda Nicole Self, 4580 Hwy 52 alt. Chatsworth, Ga.- Trafficking methamphetamine, Possession w/intent to distribute methamphetamine, Possession of methamphetamine, Possession of drug related objects.

Andrew Joseph Anthony, 488 Smyrna Circle Chatsworth, Ga. – Possession of Methamphetamine.

Selina Marie Smith, 231 Keith Ave. Chatsworth, GA. – Trafficking Methamphetamine, Possession w/intent to distribute methamphetamine, Possession of methamphetamine.

PSC votes to lower electricity costs

SUBMITTED BY PSC

ATLANTA – The Georgia Public Service Commission on Thursday approved a 17.2 percent fuel-rate reduction for Georgia Power over the next two years. When fuel prices drop, energy costs drop as well, saving customers money.

In addition to the savings from the fuel-rate reduction, Georgia Power customers will receive a rate cut through September due to an additional temporary reduction in fuel rates – the summer months typically reflect the heaviest electricity usage by residential customers.

Georgia Power officials estimated that the combined fuel-rate cut and interim additional temporary cut will save average household customers, who use 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month, $10.26 per month on their power bills through September 2020.

The PSC and Georgia Power ensure Georgia’s energy production utilizes a diverse mix including nuclear, coal, natural gas, solar, hydroelectric, and wind. This ensures reliable and low-cost energy for Georgians. Currently, natural gas is in great supply, driving down fuel costs.

“I’m just glad, in Georgia, we ensure our diverse energy mix can help save Georgians money,” said Commissioner Jason Shaw. “That is especially true during the current health crisis.”

“Since the last fuel-rate adjustment, the partnership between the Public Service Commission and Georgia Power has resulted in the renewable-energy sector gaining a near 300-percent increase within our energy mix,” Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald said. “Today’s adjustment and our faith in renewables represent direct savings to the consumer.”

“This bill decease couldn’t come at a better time for Georgia Power customers,” said Commissioner Tim Echols. “A typical residential customer using an average of 1,000-kilowatt hours will save over $10 per month this summer.”

The Georgia Public Service Commission is a five-member constitutional agency that exercises its authority and influence to ensure that consumers receive safe, reliable, and reasonably-priced telecommunications, electric and natural gas service from financially viable and technically competent companies.

Massengale a leader on 12-win team

Asking a lineman about his statistics usually generates a shrug. There’s not much that jumps off the page. It was no different for Murray County Sports Hall of Famer Winston Massengale.

“I don’t remember,” said Massengale, a 1985 Murray graduate. “Made a lot of blocks and tackles. The proudest stat from my high school career was our team’s record, 12-2 (1984).”

Pick up a copy today of The Chatsworth Times to read the full story.

SBA disaster loans available

 

Submitted by U.S. Small Business Administration

Homeowners, renters, faith-based and non-profit organizations, small agricultural cooperatives, and businesses of all sizes are eligible for physical disaster loans, and small businesses and non-profit organizations are eligible for economic injury as a direct result of the storms April 12-13.

There are a lot of good features to the disaster loans, such as:

* Interest rates as low as 1.563 percent for homeowners and renters, 2.75 percent for non-profits, and 3.75 percent for businesses

* Businesses and non-profits can borrow up to $2 million; homeowners can borrow up to $200,000; and homeowners and renters can borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace their damaged personal items, including vehicles

* Terms up to 30 years

* No collateral required for loans of $25,000 or less

* No cost to apply, no points, etc., and no obligation to accept the loan if you’re approved

*A 5-month payment deferment

* Loans are direct from the US Treasury; loan terms and interest rate do not change

* Disaster loans cover things that insurance often does not, such as debris removal, decks, fencing, driveway repair, etc. – and loans can be increased by 20 percent to fund mitigation projects such as a storm shelter

* Even if someone turns down a loan at this time, they can still “reactivate” it for 6 months, which gives people time to consider all their financial options. Disaster loans are one tool in the recovery toolkit.

The application deadline is July 20.

People can find out more about disaster loans and apply online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ . We have staff who can help them submit their applications over the phone if needed:

Raffensperger: Turn in absentee ballots

By Beau Evans
Staff Writer
Capitol Beat News Service

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger renewed calls Thursday for voters who have requested absentee ballots to send them in the mail or put them in a local drop-off box ahead of the June 9 primary election.
More than 600,000 Georgia voters have returned absentee ballots so far, marking roughly 40% of the 1.5 million voters who requested them since March when the coronavirus pandemic escalated in the state, Raffensperger said.
At a news conference Thursday, Raffensperger urged voters whose mail-in ballots are “sitting on your kitchen table” to make sure they are returned by 7 p.m. on June 9, after which ballots will not be counted.
Raffensperger called for as many people as possible to vote by mail rather than in person to lower the risk for spreading the virus among voters and poll workers, many of whom are older individuals more vulnerable to the virus’ health impacts. State election officials are also allowing counties to install drop-off boxes where voters can place their absentee ballots instead of mailing them.
“We need as many of you as possible to use this safe and easy voting tool,” Raffensperger. “The [coronavirus] threat is still a potential threat to orderly elections and in-person voting.”
As of Wednesday, Raffensperger said more than 100,000 Georgians have voted in person during the early-voting period, which began May 18. Many precincts have already seen long lines with people forced to keep their distance from each other while queued up to vote and spend time canceling absentee ballots they requested since they are voting in person.
A handful of elections officials and a voter contracted the virus recently in McDuffie and Appling counties, highlighting the high risk brought by ramped-up voting numbers on June 9. The virus has also complicated efforts by county elections officials to process an influx of absentee ballot applications and ballots that have arrived in recent weeks.
Fulton County’s elections director, Rick Barron, noted Wednesday his office was slow to turn around ballots after a staff member died from coronavirus in early April. Barron said his office has since caught up with the application backlog amid complaints from many voters who still had not received a ballot weeks after requesting one.
“It has not gone as quickly as we had hoped,” Barron said in a virtual news conference Wednesday. “But we finally did get caught up, and we can look forward to the future and having this process go smoother.”
Speaking Thursday, Raffensperger attributed the slow processing time in Fulton to “missteps” and asked voters who have not yet received their absentee ballots to “just be patient.”
“You’ll get your ballot shortly,” he said.
To speed up ballot processing, Raffensperger said his office has sent high-speed scanners to counties to help them reduce their absentee ballot turnaround times. The scanners are part of the state’s new $104 million voting machines that will see their first large-scale statewide test on the June 9 primary.
Amid the push for mail-in voting, Raffensperger also touted Georgia’s push to keep polling places open during the early-voting period. On Thursday, he claimed the state has “maintained more in-person voting options during this pandemic than any other state in the country combined.”
“We have cut through the political rhetoric, ignored the talking heads and put you the voter first,” Raffensperger said. “We have maintained your right to choose in this election.”

Huali Floors to Create 315 Jobs, Invest More than $27 Million in Murray County

Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced that Huali Floors, a leading manufacturer of resilient flooring, will establish its first U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility in Murray County. Huali Floors will create at least 315 new jobs and invest more than $27 million in an existing facility.

“We are excited to welcome Huali Floors to Murray County,” said Governor Kemp. “It’s a testament to Georgia’s logistics network and readily available workforce when an innovative company like Huali Floors chooses Georgia to establish their first U.S. manufacturing operation. I congratulate the hardworking Georgians in Murray County on this exciting news, and I am confident Huali will find success in the Peach State.”

Established in Taizhou, Jiangsu Province in 2002, Huali Floors is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of resilient flooring. Huali manufactures a variety of high-quality floor covering products, including luxury vinyl tiles, stone plastic composite, and wood plastic composite flooring.

“Our USA headquarters and manufacturing facility will further support our commitment in bringing world-class service and quality to our customers,” said Philip Yuan, president of Huali Group. “The strong flooring community that the Northwest Georgia area embodies was a determining factor in our commitment, and we want to be part of that spirit. We, Huali Floors, are very excited and proud to be able to call Murray County our USA home and become an active member, as we saw and felt the strength of the community through the project process. We look forward to growing here in Northwest Georgia and are committed to investing and supporting our new community.”

Huali Floors employs more than 2,000 full-time associates with revenues in excess of $360 million. Huali currently utilizes the Port of Savannah and plans to use the Appalachian Regional Port in Murray County. Jobs at the new facility will include administration, manufacturing, and research and development positions. Individuals interested in learning more about the project or employment opportunities can do so by visiting https://murraycountychamber.org/hfusa/.

“The experience of this project from day one has been exactly what a community wants,” said Steve Smith, chairman of the Murray County Industrial Development Authority. “The partnership between the state and our Industrial Development Authority Director, Illya Copeland, has been great. The people from Huali have the best people on the job to make this project a success. We are excited that they chose Murray County as their home in the United States.”

“The reason this project is successful is due to the partnership between our Industrial Development Authority and the Georgia Department of Economic Development,” said Greg Hogan, sole commissioner of Murray County. “From the first visit with Huali, there was a natural feel in the air that told me we would become home to their first U.S. facility. We welcome these wonderful people to our community and couldn’t be more proud of the work put in by the state and our local industrial development authority.”

Georgia was the No. 1 exporter among U.S. states for floor covering products in 2019, with a total export value of $485.4 million, and Northwest Georgia is home to a majority of the state’s floor covering industries. The new inland Appalachian Regional Port plays a key role in Georgia’s supply chain network.

“It speaks volumes that Huali Floors sees the benefit in the Port of Savannah and the connection to the Appalachian Regional Port, and plans to locate their very first U.S-based manufacturing facility 9.5 miles away from the terminal,” said Wesley Barrell, Georgia Ports Authority regional manager of strategic operations. “Huali’s projected volume will be handled with efficiency and precision, we look forward to a long-standing relationship both at the Appalachian Regional Port and the Port of Savannah.

Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Regional Project Manager Taylor Kielty and Project Manager Sandra Yang represented the Global Commerce division in partnership with Georgia Quick Start, the Murray County Industrial Development Authority, Georgia EMC, Georgia Ports Authority, and Georgia Power.

“We are thrilled to hear that Huali Floors will be calling Georgia its U.S. home. By locating here, the company will not only benefit from our logistics infrastructure, including the Appalachian Regional Port, but also from becoming a part of our business community,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Winning this competitive project will have a big impact in Murray County and the state as Huali will continue to do business with industry leaders and attract new suppliers to the region. We want to thank all of our business development partners for bringing this investment to Northwest Georgia.”

About Huali Floors
Taizhou Huali New Materials Co. Ltd. was established on April 15, 2002. As of 2019, the company owns two production bases that cover an area of 4.6 million square feet, including 4.3 million square feet in building area. The total investment reaches $130 million. The current monthly production capacity is approximately 1,800 containers, and 2018 sales figures reached $360 million. There are more than 2,000 employees in the company, including 20 engineers. For additional information, visit: www.hualifloors.com/about.html.

Georgia suffers record joblessness

  • ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced today an April preliminary unemployment rate of 11.9 percent. The number of unemployed increased from 342,601 to 581,820. April’s numbers represent the highest one-month recorded increase and also the highest total unemployment on record. Georgia’s April 2020 number of unemployed is more than 80,000 higher than the height of the Great Recession of 2009-2010.
  • “This is the highest unemployment rate on record, eclipsing the previous high of 10.6 percent that occurred in December 2010,” said Commissioner Mark Butler. “However, the cause of this high unemployment rate differs greatly from that of the previous record, and I have no doubt that we will recover just as quickly and get back to our record lows once again.”
  • Jobs were down 492,100 (-10.7 percent) over the month of April to 4,126,500, the lowest level since April 2014.  The leisure and hospitality sector, which includes the food services and drinking places and accommodation sectors, accounted for 206,700 of the job loss, 42 percent of the total.
  • Commissioner Butler said, “The surge in initial claims in accommodation and food services, retail trade, health care, manufacturing, and administrative and support services accounted for two-thirds of all initial claims processed.”
  • The GDOL announced it has issued over $3.1 billion in combined state and federal unemployment benefits in the past nine weeks.  Since the middle of March (week ending March 21, 2020), GDOL has processed 2,018,096 regular initial unemployment claims, more than the last five years combined (1.7 million).  Of these claims, 855,088 were valid as the claimant had earned enough reported wages to receive benefits. 651,000Georgians (86 percent of all those filing for unemployment) have already received their first payment. Of the remaining unpaid claims, many are still in the claims process awaiting eligibility determination. This also includes claims where duplicate claims have been filed, identification has been requested, excessive weekly earnings have been reported, or child support stops have been issued.  These claims require additional handling and the GDOL is working diligently to address many of these stops.
  • Last week, the GDOL issued over $55 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, employees of non-profits, or those with limited work history who do not qualify for state unemployment benefits. 132,888 PUA applications were processed and were eligible for payment. Over 25,000 applications have been processed, but have still not requested a payment. Applicants must request a payment each week to be issued benefits.
  • GDOL processed 177,731 regular state UI claims last week, a decrease of 65,000 from the week prior.  These claims totaled $187,412,786 in benefits for the week and totaled $927,514,749 over the past nine weeks.Of the weekly total, 132,191 were employer filed claims, seventy five percent of all claims. The number of initial unemployment claims filed throughout the United States was 2.4 million last week, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week’s revised level.
  •  In addition, the total federal funds issued for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, or FPUC, totaled over $545 million last week.  Over the past nine weeks, the GDOL has issued over $2.1 billion in FPUC federal funds. FPUC provides an additional $600 weekly payment to any individual eligible for any of the unemployment compensation programs – state and federal.
  • As of last week, the Georgia Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Balance was $1,795,322,812, down $752 million, or 30 percent, from the balance of $2,547,476,454 for week ending March 24.
  • At this time, the GDOL career centers are remaining closed to the public. All online services are still available as the staff continues to answer phones, return emails, and assist applicants. The GDOL will open offices to the public as soon as social distancing can be effectively implemented to protect both staff and customers.
  • The GDOL is also continuing to work with employers to get Georgians back to work.  Employers have been contacting the GDOL with job opportunities that are critical during this crisis – some in the workplace and others that can be done from home. Today, over 97,000 jobs are listed online at EmployGeorgia.com for Georgians to access. The GDOL offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume, and assisting with other reemployment needs.
  • Information on filing an unemployment claim, details on how employers can file partial claims, and resources for other reemployment assistance can be found on the agency’s webpage at dol.georgia.gov.

Missy Bailey starred for Murray County Lady Indians

Sometimes exceptional athletes burn out and want nothing to do with sports when their playing careers end. This was not the case for 1987 Murray County High School graduate Missy Bailey, a sharpshooting guard for the Lady Indians.

Sports have always been in her blood and continue to keep her inspired as recreation division manager for the Gainesville (Ga.) Recreation Department.

Buy a copy of The Chatsworth Times today to read the full article.