Will Georgia’s Child Advocate Keep Her Job?


Dee Simms, who holds the office of Child Advocate for the state may end up losing her job. But, wait a minute! Does she still have one?
It’s all very confusing.

Simms’ recent report on the sad state of Fulton County’s Department of Family and Children’s Services(DFCS) is seemingly at odds with the views of State Human Resources Commissioner, B.J. Walker. Walker was hand-picked for the job by Governor Sonny Perdue, who has made a signature issue out of improving the child welfare system. Now,the report is being used to criticize Purdue and Walker.

In the report, Simms used blunt terms such as “high failure rate”, “obviously poor casework”, and “inexcusable” to describe the work being done by Fulton County DFCS. She also stated that the county office had “fallen apart”. To me, those words strongly indicate that her job will be gone. After all, such words paint a really negative picture of Fulton County DFCS in particular and the state’s DFCS program in general. Never mind that they’re the truth. We can’t have a negative picture being painted of a program which, according to Governor Perdue and Walker, has made improvements.

Now comes word that Dee Simms’ appointment to Child Advocate had expired in September of 2006 and Perdue had not yet decided whether to reappoint her. According to Perdue spokesman Dan McLagan “It’s not uncommon for appointments, particularly to important roles like this, to take a bit of time.” What?! Important roles such as this should be filled immediately, precisely because they are so important.

To lag behind six months in making an official appointment to the role of state Child Advocate says a lot to me about how important improving our child welfare system is to Governor Perdue. Not very. Perhaps DFCS is taking a hint from the governor when it comes to their work-take your time and deal with more important things first. Things which are obviously more important than the welfare of Georgia’s children!

Personally, I think Ms. Simms might as well be preparing to vacate her office. Her job is probably as good as gone. It will be a surprise if she is reappointed. However, it will be a surprise which would be welcome and refreshing. For a change, let’s listen to someone who tells it like it is, without trying to couch the truth in politically favorable terms. Let’s listen and let’s act. The lives of children are at stake here.

[tags]Georgia, child welfare, Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services, Georgia DFCS, Fulton County DFCS, Dee Simms, Georgia Child Advocate, B.J. Walker, Sonny Perdue, Governor Perdue[/tags]

UGA VI To Continue as Mascot


According to the Athens Banner-Herald and owner Sonny Seiler report that UGA VI will continue to serve as the University of Georgia’s mascot at least one more year after the 2007 football season. UGA VI will be 9 years old in July. Former Uga’s haven’t served when they were past ten years old. “He is in excellent health for his age. We fully expect him to serve another year…The vets say he can,” says Sonny Seiler.

As a University of Georgia graduate, I’m delighted with the news! I’ve always been a big fan of Uga!

[tags]UGA VI, University of Georgia, Athens Banner-Herald, Athens, college football, UGA football, University of Georgia football, Sonny Seiler[/tags]

Georgia Wine Country Festival


This year’s Georgia Wine Country Festival will be held June 2 and 3 at Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery near Dahlonega. This is the festival’s 6th year. It attracts thousands of people to North Georgia the first weekend in June.

International wines, along with wines produced by statewide wineries will be presented, along with folk art, horse drawn wagon rides, and live folk, contemporary and bluegrass music. There will also be a silent auction for Georgia charities. The festival is looking for vendors and sponsors for the two-day event. Artists that paint, draw, create pottery, or produce original folk art items are encouraged to participate.

Festival hours will be from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm, and admission will be $20 for adults age 21 and older. For more information on the festival, directions to the winery, or to sign on as a vendor, visit the above website or contact Doug Paul at 706-865-9463 or 678-624-7660.

This is a great event! I attended a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the festivities!

[tags]Georgia, wines, wine, vineyards, wineries, Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Three Sisters Vineyards and Winery, Georgia Wine Country Festival [/tags]

Lynn Turner Sentenced


In Dalton, a Whitfield County jury sentenced Lynn Turner to life without parole in the murder of Randy Thompson, the father of her two children, and a former deputy sheriff in Forsyth County. Ms. Turner is already serving a life sentence for the 1995 poisoning murder of her husband, Glenn Turner, who was a Cobb County police officer.

My question is: Why do we have the death penalty on the books?

Now, I’m not in favor of going out and seeking the death penalty every time a crime is committed. I’m no fan of the death penalty. Never have been. However, over the years, I’ve come to realize that there are people out there for whom it is appropriate. And, in this case, I feel it was appropriate.

This woman had murdered two men in cold blood. She killed them for money. Plain and simple. And one of them was the father of her children. The Dalton Daily Citizen reported that, although Turner did not testify on her own behalf at the sentencing, her mother took the stand and tearfully pleaded for Lynn Turner’s life. Apparently, having the children lose their mother was one of the reasons she gave.

These children have already lost their mother. She will spend life in prison without the chance of parole, but they actually lost her when she poisoned their father. How do you have a loving relationship with a woman who killed two men, one of whom was your father? Personally, I cannot see one valid reason why Lynn Turner was spared the death penalty. A message has just been sent that you can deliberately kill two people and still not warrant the death penalty. Why should murderers be afraid?

[tags]Lynn Turner, Glenn Turner, Randy Thompson, Dalton, Whitfield County, Georgia, death penalty[/tags]

No Sunday Booze and Other Vital Issues Facing the Legislature!


Well, if you were hoping for the opportunity to go out and buy a six-pack on Sundays, it looks like the Legislature has dashed your hopes! One of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s front-page headlines today announced that it looks like Sunday liquor sales will not be put to the public vote this year. The Senate Rules Committee did not bring up the bill when setting it’s agenda for today, the day when bills must have passed at least one chamber to stay alive for this year’s session.

Other bills which won’t stay alive this session:

*Senate Bill 136-which would require sellers of prepaid cellphones to register personal information about buyers for law enforcement purposes

*Senate Bill 259-which limits use of no-knock warrants

*Senate Bill 283-which would create Confederate History and Heritage Month

I really hate to see Senate Bill 283 go. I am a Georgia resident who was born here and have lived here all my life. I have many ancestors who fought in the Civil War. For a short time at least, the “Confederate States of America” was a country. It is part of our history and part of the heritage of many people, both Southerners and Northerners. We should remember it.

I’m also in favor of Senate Bill 259, limiting use of “no-knock” warrants. I’m decidedly not in favor of Senate Bill 136, requiring personal information to be collected when you purchase a prepaid cellphone. More invasion of our privacy. More information being collected on us by every Tom, Dick, and Harry. Not to mention George!

Some bills whose chances are “iffy”:

*Senate Resolution 125- calling for a constitutional amendment to prohibit the use of lottery money for anything other than the HOPE Scholarship and pre-K programs.

*Senate Resolution 345-calling for a constitutional amendment to allow faith-based organizations to receive public funding.

I’m all for Resolution 125. This money is for the education of our children and young people. Leave it alone. We have enough problems funding education now. Don’t create more by siphoning off money that should be used for education. I can do without Resolution 345. First, there’s the separation of church and state issue. Then, there’s the fact that this would, at least in some ways, force religious organizations to answer to the government. If they receive government money, then they must account for how that money is spent. Our religious organizations may need the money, but they don’t need to have the government hanging over their collective shoulders.

Some bills with a good chance of surviving:

*House Bill 340-changes eligibility for PeachCare and reduces services

*House Bill 163-repeals prohibition on “payday lending” businesses

*Senate Bill 66-require doctors to offer ultrasounds to women seeking abortions

I am totally DEAD-SET AGAINST Senate Bill 340. Our children need PeachCare. They already need better healthcare and more of it-and we propose to reduce the services they have and take it away from some of them altogether! What?!

I’m also against House Bill 163. Payday lenders are vultures. Many of us have enough problems paying our debts without these scavengers picking our bones.

I’m strongly FOR Senate Bill 66. If women are choosing to destroy a life, they should at least see that life before it’s destruction. This could help change their minds.

These are just a few of the issues currently facing the legislature and where I stand on them. For a more complete picture, see the Metro/Legislature & Politics section of the Journal-Constitution.

And, by all means, feel free to comment on your feelings about any of the bills facing our legislature. Looking forward to hearing from you.

[tags]Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Georgia, Georgia legislature, Georgia house, Georgia senate, Senate Bill 136, Senate Bill 137, Senate Bill 259, Senate Bill 283, Senate Resolution 125, Senate Resolution 345, House Bill 340, House Bill 163, Senate Bill 66, Georgia politics[/tags]

The Final Four are coming to Atlanta!


The finals of the NCAA are coming to Atlanta! On March 31st, at approximately 6:07pm, the tip-off for the first game will begin. The second game will take place approximately forty minutes after the first game.

A ton of Final Four Events, beginning the day before, have been scheduled. For information on the events, as well as other things to do and places to see around Atlanta, visit 2007 Final Four Atlanta. It’ll be a great weekend for NCAA fans!

[tags]Final Four, NCAA, NCAA Championships, UCLA, Florida, Georgetown, Ohio State, Hoyas, Buckeyes, Gators, Bruins, Atlanta, basketball, college basketball[/tags]

The Peach State


Welcome to the wonderful world of the Peach State! This site will discuss news and goings-on in Georgia. From the political to the apolitical. From the extraordinary to the mundane. Legal and illegal. Education and ignorance. We’ll cover all this and more. So, if you’re a resident of the Peach State, a former resident, a potential resident-or if you just like reading about us-stay tuned! We’ll try to keep up with all the happenings!