Saturday, May 31, 2008

National Pest Management Association Supports EPA Recommendations on Rodenticide; Decision Further Encourages Protection of Public Health

BUSINESS WIRE--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday announced new restrictions limiting the sale of rodenticides. Further, these restrictions require that all rodenticide products, which can be sold directly to consumers, be sold in tamper resistant bait stations. Integral to this decision is a continued effort by the EPA to protect children, pets and wildlife from accidental exposure to rodent-control products an effort that the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a longtime protector of public health and property, firmly supports.

Rodents certainly pose a significant public health risk, said Bob Rosenberg, senior vice president of government affairs for NPMA. The EPAs decision on rodenticides balances the availability of vital tools to deal with hazardous rodent problems with the need to minimize the potential exposure to children and non-target wildlife. This is an important decision as it recognizes requisite professionalism in treatment and allows the pest management industry to retain the means for providing effective and affordable services that protect consumers from rodent-borne dangers.

Since 1998, NPMA and EPA have worked together closely as rodenticide products have undergone considerable reevaluation to ensure that all pesticides meet current health and safety standards. This working relationship has proven beneficial, as it not only focuses upon protecting public health but also promoting the highest level of professionalism within the pest management industry.

For more information on rodents or to find a local pest professional, visit For more information regarding the EPA and its most recent decision, visit

Stay Safe During Severe Weather Season

Though Georgia can get bad weather any time, the heart of severe weather season is now until mid-May. To keep you and your family safe, be prepared with a weather radio and a little knowledge, says a University of Georgia expert.

The No. 1 way to stay informed is to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, radio, said David Stooksbury, state climatologist and associate professor of engineering and atmospheric sciences with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

SAME radio

A NOAA weather radio sounds an alarm and broadcasts up-to-date details about tornadoes, thunderstorms, flash floods or tropical weather. Make sure you buy one with the Specific Area Message Encoding, or SAME, technology. It can be programmed for particular counties.
“You can buy NOAA weather radios at most electronic stores and even some grocery stores,” Stooksbury said.

It is common for severe weather to strike at night in Georgia. For this reason, place the radio in the bedroom to warn sleepers.

“Outdoor warning sirens aren't a good way to monitor severe weather,” he said. “Don't depend on them. Outdoor sirens are to warn people working or playing outside of approaching severe weather. They're not intended to warn people in cars, buildings or people who are sleeping.”

In the event of a tornado, seek shelter in a sturdy building. The lowest level away from windows is the safest place, he said. If one isn't around, lie down in a ditch or low spot where cars or trees won't blow on top of you. Don't stay in a car.

“Regardless of where you seek shelter, protect your body, especially your head and neck, from flying debris,” he said. “Use pillows, blankets, coats or whatever you can find to protect yourself.”

Turn around, don’t drown

Turn around. Don’t drown, he said. Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm hazard.

“Most people literally drive right into the water,” Stooksbury said. “If you can’t see the bottom of the road, turn around.”

As little as six inches of water can cause someone to lose control of a vehicle.


An estimated 25 million lightning flashes strike the United States each year, killing 62 people annually, according to the National Weather Service. Using the simple 30-30 rule can help keep you safe during thunderstorms.

“The 30-30 rule for thunderstorm safety is simple,” he said. “When you hear thunder within 30 seconds of a lightning flash, seek shelter and stay there at least 30 minutes after the last lightning flash.”

Since sound travels one mile in five seconds, a 30-second count means lightning has struck within six miles of you. That's within the striking distance of lightning.

Small sheds, picnic shelters, baseball dugouts and bleachers don't offer adequate protection from lightning, Stooksbury said.

“If you're outside, avoid water, open high ground, metal fences and isolated large trees,” he said. “Lightning often, but not always, strikes the highest point in the area, so don't let yourself be the tallest object around.”

Stay clear of windows, landline phones, running water and computers indoors, too. Cell phones and wireless laptops are OK.

“If you have time, unplug everything,” Stooksbury said. “Surge protectors will not protect electrical devices from a direct hit.”

by April Sorrow
University of Georgia

April R. Sorrow is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

UGA Workshop Helps Counties Handle Animals During Disasters

After Hurricane Katrina, Don Hamilton and other University of Georgia employees took care of 3,000 abandoned animals for 10 days at a shelter in Mississippi. The experience sparked them to develop a workshop to help keep Georgia animals and citizens safer during disasters.

They’re now taking the “Handling Animals during Disasters” planning workshop to counties around Georgia.

“If you don’t have a place to shelter animals in disaster, people aren’t going to evacuate,” said Hamilton, homeland security coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Georgia requires that each of its 159 counties have a local emergency operations plan. This plan contains a section on agriculture and natural resources, which includes handling companion animals. This is also required through the national Pet Evacuation Transportation Standards Act.

“After evacuation and disaster, there’s a tremendous problem with abandoned animals – dogs, cats, birds and livestock,” said Jeff Doles, director of Peach County’s Emergency Management Agency. “Before you can re-inhabit an area or allow citizens to return, you have to control the animal population. Now the encouragement is to take your animals with you so they don’t have to take care of themselves.”

Through the workshop, UGA experts helped Peach County research and develop its plan and guided various county players through mock disaster situations.

“They did a lot of groundwork where the rubber hits the road,” Doles said. “I can’t tell you how much help they were to us. We’re a small county. It would be virtually impossible for us to accomplish a plan of the magnitude we’ve got using our local resources.”

In February, Dole, UGA Cooperative Extension coordinator Frank Funderburk and others from the Fort Valley area tested their on-paper plan for handling animals in a disaster situation.

The two mock disasters “taught us to adapt,” said Doles, who is also the county’s fire chief. “We had some problems that we identified in our exercises, but we had a lot of strengths. I think it’s some of best training done in a while.”

The Georgia Department of Agriculture was a key player in the effort. UGA’s Fanning Institute helped facilitate it.

The county’s board of commissioners has since added the animal plan to the local emergency plan, which the city and county use to respond to and recover from any manmade or natural disaster.

As part of the plan, Doles is the first person county officials will call if there is a disaster. The third person on that list is Funderburk, who keeps a copy of the plan close by, ready to grab in case a tornado hits a veterinarian’s office or a hurricane sends evacuees up I-75, pets in hand, looking for shelter.

“I hope we don’t ever have to use it, but at least we’ve got a plan,” he said.

Hamilton is now helping emergency management officials in Brooks and Houston counties develop their own plans. These counties were chosen because of their proximity to Georgia’s interstates, their willingness to participate and their local resources.

The workshops are funded by a Department of Homeland Security grant through the Georgia Emergency Management Agency on behalf of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.

By Stephanie Schupska
University of Georgia

Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Homeowners, Renters and Businesses are Urged To Prepare for Disaster Before it Strikes

As several states recover from the destruction and loss of life caused by recent tornadoes, floods and wildfires, and other areas prepare for the beginning of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season on June 1, the U.S. Small Business Administration is urging the public to develop an emergency plan before the disaster hits.

“Every threat, from wind storms, floods and wildfires, to power outages and computer system failures, reminds us to be proactive when it comes to planning strategies to survive a disaster and recover quickly,” said SBA Deputy Administrator Jovita Carranza. “The catastrophic events of the last few years demonstrate the need for preparedness at the individual level, to diminish the risk to life and property.”

The SBA stands ready to help communities recover in the aftermath of a disaster. Following the Gulf Coast Hurricanes of 2005, the SBA approved more than $5 billion in disaster loans to 102,700 homeowners and renters in the region. Businesses in the area were approved for 16,780 business disaster loans worth $1.6 billion.

During the past two years the SBA has been preparing to respond to major disasters by reengineering the Disaster Assistance program with a significant focus on customer service, direct accountability, and new technologies that have quadrupled processing capacity. In June 2007 the agency completed its Disaster Recovery Plan, which includes procedures to better handle future catastrophic disasters, and has begun testing this plan through simulations conducted with outside experts.

Disasters strike in all seasons. Since Oct. 1, the SBA has responded to 137 declared disasters, including those for drought. Of those, 118 are open at present.

Disaster preparedness for homes and businesses should include:

A solid emergency response plan. Find evacuation routes from the home or business and establish meeting places. Make sure everyone understands the plan beforehand. Keep emergency phone numbers handy. Business owners should designate a contact person to communicate with other employees, customers and vendors. Ask an out-of-state friend or family member to be your “post-disaster” point of contact – a person to call to provide information on your safety and whereabouts.

Adequate insurance. Disaster preparedness begins with having adequate insurance coverage—at least enough to rebuild your home or business. Homeowners and business owners should review their policies to see what is or isn’t covered. Businesses should consider “business interruption insurance,” which helps cover operating costs during the post-disaster shutdown period. Flood insurance is essential. To find out more about the National Flood Insurance Program, visit the Web site at

Making copies of important records. It’s a good idea to back up vital records and information saved on computer hard drives, and store that information at a distant offsite location. Computer data should be backed up routinely. Copies of important documents and CDs should be stored in fire-proof safe deposit boxes offsite.

Protection of windows, doors and roofing. Installing impact-resistant window and door systems, or simple plywood shutters installed before the storm hits can enhance their ability to resist impacts from wind-borne debris. Hire a professional to evaluate your roof to make sure it can weather a major storm.

A “Disaster Survival Kit.” The kit should include a flashlight, a portable radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, non-perishable packaged and canned food, bottled water, a basic tool kit, plastic bags, cash, and a disposable camera to take pictures of the property damage after the storm.

More preparedness tips for businesses, homeowners and renters are available on the SBA’s Web site at The Institute for Business and Home Safety ( ) also has information on protecting your home or business. For learn more about developing an emergency plan, visit or call 1-800-BE-READY to receive free materials.

Friday, May 30, 2008

ALIPAC Release - SC Outlaws Illegal Aliens in College and Jobs While Momentum Moves to NC!

ALIPAC activists are celebrating a victory in South Carolina today, after months of activism that resulted in one of the strongest state laws in America cracking down on illegal immigration.

The new legislation will bar illegal aliens from all taxpayer funded colleges and require employers to verify they are only hiring American citizens and legal immigrants. The SC legislation follows new tough laws in AZ, GA, OK, RI, and others.

"Our activists on the ground and from across the nation worked very hard in South Carolina," said William Gheen of ALIPAC. "The momentum for immigration enforcement is clear in the states. The illegal aliens are leaving SC and GA making North Carolina one of their top destinations. As the illegal aliens are headed our way, we hope to bring our progress with enforcement legislation to North Carolina now."

North Carolina recently made national headlines over a decision to admit and then bar illegal aliens from community colleges. This week, a handful of Democrat legislators announced plans to try and assist illegal aliens. In 2008, the state has considered over 1,100 bills that deal with aspects of immigration. The vast majority of these bills advocate enforcement and the removal of taxpayer resources.

"We have a destructive human tsunami headed our way," said William Gheen. "NC lawmakers must act NOW to protect American jobs, tax resources, and lives. Our state must follow the lead of our neighbors and batten down the hatches immediately."

ALIPAC is a national organization credited with defeating pro-illegal alien legislation, while securing the passage of NC laws that favor enforcement. The group has announced plans to launch a historic and unprecedented statewide effort that begins next week!

FDA Advises Patients to Switch to HFA-Propelled Albuterol Inhalers Now

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a public health advisory to alert patients, caregivers and health care professionals to switch to hydrofluoroalkane (HFA)-propelled albuterol inhalers because chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-propelled inhalers will not be available in the United States after Dec. 31, 2008.

CFC-propelled albuterol inhalers are being phased out because they are harmful to the environment by contributing to depletion of the ozone layer above the Earth's surface.

Three HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers have been approved by the FDA: Proair HFA Inhalation Aerosol, Proventil HFA Inhalation Aerosol, and Ventolin HFA Inhalation Aerosol. In addition, an HFA-propelled inhaler containing levalbuterol, a medicine similar to albuterol, is available as Xopenex HFA Inhalation Aerosol.

"Concern about the environment stimulated the need to phase out CFCs," said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "The FDA wants to emphasize that HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers are safe and effective replacements for CFC-propelled albuterol inhalers."

Albuterol inhalers are used to treat bronchospasm (wheezing) in patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Patients use albuterol inhalers to deliver medicine directly into the lungs.

The FDA is urging patients to talk with their health care professionals now about switching to HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers. These products are safe and effective replacements for CFC-propelled albuterol inhalers.

Manufacturers have been increasing production of HFA albuterol inhalers, so an adequate supply is available now.

HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers may taste and feel different than the CFC-propelled albuterol inhalers. The spray of an HFA-propelled albuterol inhaler may feel softer than that of a CFC-propelled albuterol inhaler. Patients must also prime and clean HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers. Doing so prevents buildup of the drug in the inhalation device, and buildup can block the medicine from reaching the lungs. Each HFA-propelled albuterol inhaler has different priming, cleaning, and drying instructions, and patients should read and understand the instructions first before using the inhaler.

The phaseout of CFC-propelled inhalers is the result of the Clean Air Act and an international environmental treaty, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Under this treaty, the United States has agreed to phase out production and importation of ozone depleting substances including CFCs. No CFC-propelled albuterol inhalers may be produced, marketed or sold in the United States after Dec. 31, 2008.

Active 2008 Hurricane Season Predictions Reinforce the Need to Prepare

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center announced today that projected climate conditions point to a near normal or above normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin this year. The prediction was issued at a news conference which urged residents in vulnerable areas to be fully prepared for the onset of hurricane season, which begins June 1. In addition, the 2008 outlook indicates a 60 to 70 percent chance of 12 to 16 named storms, including 6 to 9 hurricanes and 2 to 5 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale).

“Living in a coastal state means having a plan for each and every hurricane season. Review or complete emergency plans now - before a storm threatens,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Planning and preparation is the key to storm survival and recovery.”

The American Red Cross urges the public to renew hurricane preparedness, sensing that it may not be top of mind after two uneventful hurricane seasons. It is recommended that everyone dust off their disaster supplies kit and get better prepared now for a variety of disasters such as hurricanes and the high winds, flooding and tornadoes that may accompany them.

“By taking three basic preparedness actions you can get “Red Cross Ready” for disasters and other emergencies 1) Get a kit, 2) Make a plan and 3) Be informed,” said Mary S. Elcano, Acting President and CEO of the American Red Cross. “The Red Cross is also here to help you get prepared for specific disasters like hurricanes. Even if you took action to prepare last hurricane season, it’s important that you revisit and update your communication plan and check your disaster supplies kit for expired items.”

The American Red Cross recommends the following preparedness actions:

Get or assemble a disaster supplies kit:

Gather enough emergency supplies to meet your needs. A portable kit, stored in a sturdy, easy to carry, water resistant container should have enough supplies for three days. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home and to keep a smaller kit in the trunk of your car. Check your kit and replace the stock every six months. Whether you purchase a kit or choose to build your own, your kit should include:

A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person, per day) and ready-to-eat non-perishable foods, such as tuna fish, peanut butter, crackers, canned fruit, juice boxes, etc.
A manual can opener
A battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries
A first aid kit and reference guide
Prescription and non-prescription medication items
Copies of important documents, including birth certificates, insurance policies and social security cards
Cash. ATMs and credit cards won’t work if the power is out.
Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members
A change of clothes for everyone, including long-sleeved shirts, long pants and sturdy footwear
One blanket or sleeping bag per person
Emergency tools, including tools to turn off utilities
An extra set of home and car keys
An extra pair of glasses or contact lenses, extra batteries for hearing aids
Pet supplies

Prepare a Personal Disaster and Evacuation Plan

The American Red Cross urges each and every household to develop a household disaster plan.

Meet with your family to create a plan. Discuss the information you have gathered and why it is important to prepare for a disaster.

Identify two meeting places; One right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire, and one outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.

Be sure to make advanced preparations for your pets. Be aware that pets may not be allowed in shelters. Contact hotels, motels, family members and animal shelters to see if they would allow pets in a disaster situation. Keep a contact list of “pet friendly” locations. If you are asked to evacuate, take your pets with you.

Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. During or after a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance, especially if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your emergency contact person’s phone number and email address.

Tell your family about the Safe and Well web site accessible at all times via The Safe and Well Web site is an Internet-based tool that allows those directly affected by a disaster to let their loved ones know of their well-being. People within a disaster affected area are able to select and post standard “safe and well” messages. Concerned family members who know the person’s phone number (home, cell, or work) or a complete home address can search for the messages posted by those who self-register.

Show and explain to each family member how and when to turn off the water and electricity at the main switches. Turn gas off only if instructed by local authorities. Remember, if the gas is shut-off, only a professional can turn it back on.

Plan your evacuation route. Use local maps and identify alternate evacuation routes from home, work and/or school. Know where you are going and how you plan to get there before you leave home.

Be informed:

Find out what types of disasters are likely to occur in your area and how to prepare for each.
Find out how local authorities will contact you during a disaster. Listen to local media broadcasts or NOAA Weather Radio for the latest storm conditions and follow the advice of local authorities.
Contact your local American Red Cross chapter for details about community disaster education presentations that may be arranged or are available in your workplace, school or community organization.
Get trained in CPR and first aid so you will know how to respond to emergencies in the event that help is delayed.
If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately. You may choose to evacuate sooner than alerted if you think you may need additional time.

Know what to do if a hurricane WATCH is issued:

Listen to weather updates from your battery-powered or hand-cranked radio.
Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, hanging plants, bicycles, toys and garden tools, anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
Close all windows and doors. Cover windows with storm shutters or pre-cut plywood.
If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture or move it to a higher floor to protect it from flooding.
Fill your vehicle’s gas tank.
Check your disaster supplies kit to make sure items have not expired.

Know what to do if a hurricane WARNING is issued

Listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
If in a manufactured home, check tie-downs and evacuate as told by local authorities.
Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve.
If you are not advised to evacuate, stay inside, away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
Do NOT use open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
If power is lost, turn off appliances to reduce damage from a power surge when electricity is restored.

For more information regarding how individuals and families can prepare for disasters or to purchase emergency preparedness and first aid kits, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

Hurricane Season Begins June 1st - CPSC Urges Consumers to Prepare for Dangers After the Storm

June 1st marks the start of hurricane season. As you put your hurricane plan in place to protect your family and your home, CPSC is urging consumers to include a plan for after the storm.

If a storm knocks out power, consumers who use portable gasoline generators to restore power can place themselves at risk for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Only use portable generators outdoors, far away from the doors, windows and vents of indoor spaces. Generators should never be used indoors, including inside homes, garages, basements, crawlspaces and sheds.

The amount of CO from one generator is equivalent to hundreds of idling cars in a garage and can kill consumers in minutes. At least 65 people died from CO poisoning associated with portable generators in 2006.

CPSC also advises consumers to keep charcoal grills outside. Never use them indoors. Burning charcoal in an enclosed space can produce lethal levels of CO.

If flooding occurs after a storm, do not use gas or electrical appliances or equipment that has been submerged. The electrical components and safety controls may be damaged and burner parts may be plugged with debris, leading to a fire risk. Have fireplaces, furnaces, and other heating equipment inspected by a professional to make sure they are working properly.

CPSC recommends that consumers install CO alarms in their homes as a line of defense against CO poisoning. Battery operated CO alarms or plug-in alarms with battery back-up add an important layer of protection in consumers' homes. Remember to replace CO alarm batteries annually.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Arrest for Sale of Counterfeit Movies in Fayetteville

On Wednesday, March 28, 2008 the Fayetteville Police Department was contacted by a Private Investigator working for the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) investigating the sale of counterfeit material. Officer of the Fayetteville Police Department met with the Investigator who stated that he had bought counterfeit movies from a man selling them out of his SUV.

Officer located a 1999, white, Dodge, Durango driven by Kenneth McCrory in the area of “The Barber Shop”, 891 North Glynn Street. McCrory had 363 counterfeit movies and 820 counterfeit music CD’s in his SUV. The movies consisted of children’s movies, family oriented movies, and adult videos. Included in the movies were movies that are currently in theaters now.

McCrory has been charged with Unauthorized Distribution and Sale of Recorded Material, a felony.

McCrory is a clean cut, black, male, 6’-02”, 200 pounds, and fifty years old. The Fayetteville Police Department is asking that anyone that may have had contact with this person, please call the Detective Mike Whitlow at the Fayetteville Police Department, 770-461-4441.
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Peachtree City Police Department Special Press Release - May 29, 2008

Between midnight and 1:00 a.m. Wednesday May 28, 2008, what appeared to be a home made explosive device was found by a homeowner on the front porch of his residence in the 300 block of Loring Lane in Peachtree City. The device is described as a small 20 ounce bottle containing an unknown liquid. Although the device had detonated, it did not cause damage to the residence and there are no reported injuries pertaining to this incident.

On the evening of May 28, 2008 (6:00 p.m.), police officers were dispatched to the area of Georgian Park concerning four male juveniles that were setting off "bottle bombs" on the city’s cart path system. Before officers were able to arrive on the scene, the juveniles had left the area on a golf cart. After interviewing witnesses, officers were able to locate the juveniles; however, the juveniles obstructed the officers by refusing to stop their vehicle. Eventually, three of the juveniles jumped off the golf cart and fled the area by running away. The driver of the golf cart was stopped a short time later at Turtle Bay. After identifying and interviewing the juveniles (two 16 years of age and two 15 years of age), juvenile complaints were filed with the Fayette County Juvenile Court for Manufacturing an explosive device and Obstruction of a Police Officer. While detectives were interviewing the four juveniles, the police department received another call regarding 4-5 other male juveniles who were setting off another device in the area of Cove Road and Fishers Luck. A subsequent investigation determined that these other juveniles had purchased chemical agents at one of the city’s shopping centers just prior to the incident. The following morning, May 29, 2008, the police department received additional reports of “bottle bomb” incidents and determined that the devices were detonated in the Timber Walk, Interlochen, and Carnellian Lane areas. One of the “bottle bombs” was placed in the home owner’s mail box.

Investigators from the Peachtree City Police Department are following up on leads associated with these incidents as well as a similar incident that occurred on Monday, May 26, 2008, in the 300 Block of Hippocket Road. The police department has offered a $500.00 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individuals involved in these crimes.

The Loring Lane and Hippocket Road incidents are still under investigation.

If anyone has information that would assist the Police Department in these or other incidents, please contact the Peachtree City Criminal Investigations Division at 770-631-2510, or the Crime and Narcotics Information Hotline at (770) 487-6010.

Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

10 Tips For Keeping Your Kids Safe On Social Networks

BUSINESS WIRE--June is Internet Safety month. With hundred of millions of teens, pre-teensand adultsaround the world using social networking sites, theres no better time for parents to be aware of the fun, the benefits, the powerful attractions, and the potential risks that MySpace, Facebook and other similar sites offer their children., the recognized leader in Internet safety solutions, has assembled a list of practical tips parents can use to ensure a safe networking environment for kids:

  • Show Interest Ask questions about how your childs preferred social networking site or sites work. Kids are generally happy to demonstrate their knowledge if you show genuine interest. You can even ask your teen to show you how to set up your own social networking sitea great way to visit your childs page and see whats been posted there.
  • Encourage Instinctive Responses Kids often can instinctively do the right thing, which makes them their own first defense against those who may take advantage online. Encourage your children to avoid contact with people they feel funny about. Tell them to not reveal anything online they would not want a stranger to know. Limit the posting of pictures and remind them that once something is placed online, it can never be taken back.
  • Know Your Kids Passwords If your child changes his or her password suddenly and refuses to share it with you, thats trouble. Insist on knowing how to access his or her accountsthen keep their confidence by not sharing the information with their friends or siblings.
  • Set Hours for When Kids Can Access Social Networks Late nights are the favorite time for predators to seek out their adolescent prey. Set firm limits not only for the time of day, but also the total amount of time, that your children may access social networking sites.
  • Be Aware of Alternate Access Points Kids dont have to access their social networks at home. Libraries, friends houses, even cell phones make the Internet easy to reach today. Keep up with whats happening on your childs social networking page and be aware when changes have been made despite the lack of access from home.
  • Exercise Your Parental Right to Supervise Theres a difference between being snoopy and ensuring safe activity. You dont have to read every last word of a personal message your son or daughter sends to a friend. But you do have the rightand the obligationto see who your kids are talking to, and to know the general subject matter.
  • Check for Photos By clicking on the Windows Start button, youll find the Search tool. Click on Pictures, Music or Video, the box next to Pictures and Photos, and finally Search. Ask your child to identify any photos of strangers, or any other pictures you find questionable.
  • Install Filtering Software PC products like Safe Eyes allow parents to block or record Instant Messenger chats, limit email use to prescribed addresses, block objectionable Web sites (including peer-to-peer file sharing programs that often expose kids to inappropriate material), and receive alerts when kids post personal information on social networking sites.
  • Watch for CyberBullying Encourage your children to tell you immediately if they are being harassed online. Children also need to know that it is not acceptable to be a party to cyberbullyingor to remain silent when they know others are being harassed. Visit or for excellent tips and information.
  • Dont Lecture Finally, if you should find reasons for concern, dont browbeat, insult or condescend to your child. Have a discussion about values and why they are important. Respect your child but be firm. And most of all, lead by example. Parents have a powerful ability to influence their childs behaviorand nothing is more powerful than someone who not only talks values, but lives them.

Parents should never feel that their level of involvement in their childs social network activity is excessive. Since 1998, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Childrens CyberTipline has logged over 33,000 tips about children being enticed online for sexual acts, said Shane Kenny, President and COO of Better that the parent error on the side of intrusion, rather than bear the consequences of doing nothing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Governor Perdue Asks President Bush for Major Disaster Declaration

Today Governor Sonny Perdue asked President Bush for a major disaster declaration to assist residents and local governments in Cherokee County with emergency response measures and aid for losses resulting from the severe weather and tornadoes that occurred on Tuesday, May 20, 2008.

“This is the third tornado event this spring that has disrupted the lives of our citizens and devastated one of our communities,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “I am hopeful that our federal partners will recognize the extent of this damage and will render the appropriate assistance to help the residents of Cherokee County recover in the aftermath of this severe weather.”

The disaster declaration is requested as the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) continues to work with local officials to assess and recover from the damages caused by the storms. GEMA officials estimate initial governmental response and clean up efforts will exceed $2.9 million.

The request is for Public Assistance to pay for the cost of emergency protective measures, debris removal and repairs to public buildings. This request also includes Individual Assistance for affected households. Approximately 1,300 homes were impacted statewide. The residents of 1,000 of those homes will need help with repair or replacement costs.

The National Weather Service confirmed that an EF1 rated tornado struck Cherokee County with a path reported to be five miles long and three-fourths to one mile wide. The tornado was a part of a line of storms that marched south through much of north and central Georgia during the evening. At least thirty-five counties reported large hail and wind damage.

For additional information on storm damage and assistance, visit

Peachtree City Police Department Special Press Release

Between midnight and 0100 a.m. Wednesday May 28, 2008, what appeared to be a home made explosive device was found by a homeowner at their residence in the 300 block on Loring Lane in Peachtree City. The complainant found the device on the front porch of his residence.

The device is described as a small 20 ounce bottle containing an unknown liquid. Although the device had detonated it did not cause damage to the residence and there are no reported injuries pertaining to this incident.

Investigators from the Peachtree City Police Department are following up on leads associated with this incident and a similar incident that occurred on Monday, May 26, 2008, in the 300 Block of Hippocket Road. The Peachtree City Police Department is offering a $500.00 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individuals involved in these crimes.

If anyone has information that would assist the Police Department in these or other incidents, please contact the Peachtree City Criminal Investigations Division at 770-631-2510, or the Crime and Narcotics Information Hotline at (770) 487-6010.

Actions Taken by the Georgia State Board of Used Motor Vehicle Dealers at its May 21 Meeting

The Georgia State Board of Used Motor Vehicle Dealers held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 21, 2008.

The Board voted to issue Final Decisions in the following cases:

Angel’s Auto World, Inc., Covington: A $1,000 fine for one instance of failure to apply for a title in the retail purchaser’s name within 30 calendar days of the date of sale; and one instance of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.

Cars & Trucks Unlimited, Moultrie: Fines totaled $2,000.
A $1,000 fine for one instance of failure to apply for a title in the retail purchaser’s name within 30 calendar days of the date of sale; and one instance of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.
A $1,000 fine for four instances of failure to post FTC Buyer Guides on each vehicle offered for sale.

Collectorique, Tucker: A $1,000 fine for one instance of failure to apply for a title in the retail purchaser’s name within 30 calendar days of the date of sale; and one instance of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.

Exotic Enterprises, LaGrange:
A $1,000 fine for one instance of failure to apply for a title in the retail purchaser’s name within 30 calendar days of the date of sale; and one instance of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.
A $1,000 fine for four instances of failure to post FTC Buyer Guides on each vehicle offered for sale will be waived, provided licensee submits Bills of Sale showing vehicle identification numbers purchased between April 4 and April 9, 2008.

Torres Auto Sales, Jesup: The Board voted to waive the citation.

The Board accepted Public Consent Orders in the following cases:

BNS Used Auto Car Sales, College Park: Fines totaled $2,500.
A $2,000 fine for two instances of failure to apply for titles in the retail purchaser’s name within 30 calendar days of the date of sale; and two instances of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.
A $250 fine for one possession of an open title.
A $250 fine for one instance of failure to submit application for address change within 30 days.

KSL Automotive LLC, Conyers: The Board voted to grant licensure by Consent Order with 12 months probation. Applicant is also required to report to the Board when criminal probation is completed.

Busy Bee Ventures, Atlanta: A $500 fine of failure to submit application for address change within 30 days.

DAJ Used Auto Sales, Inc., Atlanta: A $500 fine for aiding and abetting an unlicensed person in selling vehicles.

Addis Car Sales, Inc., Tucker: A $2,000 fine for eight instances of failure to post FTC Buyer Guides on each vehicle offered for sale.

Atlantic Auto Remarketing, Inc., Marietta: A $500 fine for one instance of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.

TCL Auto Sales, Gray: A $7,000 fine for seven instances of failure to apply for a title in the retail purchaser’s name within 30 calendar days of the date of sale; and one instance of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.

The Board approved Orders Accepting Fine Monies & Settling Inspection in the following cases:

Georgia Car Mart LLC, Roswell: A $1,250 fine for five instances of failure to post FTC Buyer Guides on each vehicle offered for sale.

Key Auto Sales, Inc., Buford: A $1,000 fine for one instance of failure to apply for a title in the retail purchaser’s name within 30 calendar days of the date of sale; and one instance of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.

Mint Condition Auto Sales, Inc., Decatur: A $1,000 fine for four instances of failure to post FTC Buyer Guides on each vehicle offered for sale.

Exotic Motors of Atlanta LLC, Decatur: A $1,000 fine for one instance of failure to apply for a title in the retail purchaser’s name within 30 calendar days of the date of sale; and one instance of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.

Albertsons Auto-Mart, Hiram: A $1,000 fine for one instance of failure to apply for a title in the retail purchaser’s name within 30 calendar days of the date of sale; and one instance of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.

Triple Z, Inc. d/b/a Pars Car Sales, College Park: A $1,000 fine for one instance of failure to apply for a title in the retail purchaser’s name within 30 calendar days of the date of sale; and one instance of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.

Jim’s Auto Sales, Marietta: Fines totaled $1,500.
A $1,000 fine for one instance of failure to apply for a title in the retail purchaser’s name within 30 calendar days of the date of sale; and one instance of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.
A $500 fine for two instances of failure to post FTC Buyer Guides on each vehicle offered for sale.

Liberty Expressway Public Auto Auction, Albany: Fines totaled $2,500.
A $1,000 fine for one instance of failure to apply for a title in the retail purchaser’s name within 30 calendar days of the date of sale; and one instance of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.
A $1,000 fine for four instances of failure to post FTC Buyer Guides on each vehicle offered for sale.
A $500 fine for one instance of failure to properly complete Finance Contract on financed vehicles.

World One Used Cars, Folkston: A $250 fine for one violation of failure to submit application for address change within 30 days of effective date of change.

Budget Of Bainbridge, Inc., Bainbridge: A $2,500 fine for ten instances of failure to post FTC Buyer Guides on each vehicle offered for sale.

Priority Automotive Group, Smyrna: A $1,000 fine for one instance of failure to apply for a title in the retail purchaser’s name within 30 calendar days of the date of sale; and one instance of failure to furnish appropriate documents required for tag transfer to the retail purchaser within 30 days of the purchase date.

The Board accepted Voluntary Cease & Desist Orders for the following individuals or businesses for unlicensed practice:

Raymond Moledo d/b/a Certified Transmission, Macon
Lolo Auto Sales, Inc., Decatur
Michael L. Williams, Lithonia
John Evans, Fairburn
Rukhsana Najam, Tucker
William Ralph Baker, Grovetown
Rufino Dominguez Barrera, Dalton
Noel Miller, Lithonia

The Georgia State Board of Registration for Used Motor Vehicle Dealers will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 10 a.m. at the Professional Licensing Boards in Macon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Slow Assimilation of Mexican Immigrants Poses Questions for Policy Debate

Are today’s immigrants having a harder time blending into society than their predecessors of a century ago? This question is central to the current immigration policy debate, but the answers we hear often rely on personal anecdotes or subjective opinion. The first annual Index of Immigrant Assimilation issued this week by the Manhattan Institute, which uses U.S. Census data to assess the progress of immigrants since the early 20th century, offers us some answers. To judge from this research (which I authored), the news is both good and bad.

The newly arrived immigrants of 2006 bear much resemblance to the newly arrived Italian, Greek, and Polish immigrants of 1910. These immigrants are quite distinct from the native-born population because they speak English relatively poorly and tend to occupy lower rungs on the socioeconomic ladder. Yet the immigrants of a century ago, and many groups of immigrants today, make quick progress as they spend more time here - advancing economically, and becoming naturalized citizens. In addition, their children are in most ways nearly indistinguishable from native-born children.

However, the set of immigrant groups making substantial progress today excludes the largest group: the 11-million-plus natives of Mexico who are at the heart of most immigration policy debates. In contrast with more successful groups from Asia, the Caribbean, and other parts of Latin America, Mexican immigrants struggle to make progress.

This strong contrast poses a number of questions, some obvious and others not. Why haven’t Mexicans made progress comparable to other groups? There are several factors. Mexicans’ incentives to assimilate fully into U.S. society are low, particularly relative to politically motivated immigrants from countries such as Cuba and Vietnam. Many have strong expectations of returning to Mexico. Moreover, a strong network of Spanish-speaking immigrants exists in most major American cities, reducing the need for Mexican immigrants to learn English in order to survive.

Even so, there are undoubtedly many Mexican immigrants who strongly want to integrate their families into American society. Many of these immigrants find their path to the American mainstream blocked, however, by the simple fact that they cannot live or work legally in the United States. Without legal status, there is no road to citizenship. Economic advancement is difficult when one is relegated to the shadows of the labor market.

What, if anything, should we do to encourage assimilation? The anemic progress of Mexican immigrants is but one sign that our current immigration policy is not working. Before deciding what to do about it, though, we need to make some important decisions as a society.

First, should the goal of our immigration policy be to satisfy industrial demand for low-skilled labor? Or should we place a higher priority on admitting new residents who seek to build a permanent attachment with American society? A guest worker program sounds like a great way to achieve the first goal, but runs the risk of creating a class of American residents culturally distanced from the majority, and lacking fundamental political rights and responsibilities. In contrast, demanding a deep commitment to the United States could mean excluding individuals who stand to make important economic contributions - from the unskilled farm worker to the highly-skilled entrepreneur.

Should our policy toward immigrants place a greater value on cultural or civic assimilation? Those who think all immigrants should speak English might see Canadian immigrants as the ideal. Culturally and economically, they are indistinguishable from native-born Americans. But Canadian immigrants don’t have particularly high naturalization rates. As a group, they benefit from American opportunities but place little value on American citizenship.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese immigrants, with the highest naturalization rates among major immigrant groups, are closer to the ideal from a civic perspective. But from a cultural perspective, they are almost as distinct as Mexicans are. As a society, would we rather have Mexican immigrants strive to be more like Canadians, or more like the Vietnamese?

The Index of Immigrant Assimilation can’t answer these questions by itself. It does make clear, though, that any serious effort to reform immigration policy will have to address them.

By Jacob Vigdor

Vigdor is associate professor of public policy and economics at Duke University’s Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. This commentary was first published in the Boston Globe on May 19, 2008.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Several County Hazard Mitigation Plans Approved by FEMA in 2008

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) announced today (May 23, 2008) the approval of 19 county multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plans by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Today's announcement brings the total number of approved county plans to 117 of the 159 counties in the state. FEMA is currently reviewing 22 county plans for approval; GEMA is scheduled to submit the final 20 county plans to FEMA over the next year. Currently, the approved plans cover approximately 8.2 million people or 88% of the state's population. These approved plans allow the counties to apply for grant assistance to implement mitigation projects.

The newly approved plans are from the following counties: Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Brooks, Candler, Cook, Coweta, Dooly, Echols, Grady, Irwin, Jasper, Macon, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Towns, Turner and Ware.

"I appreciate the hard work of these 19 counties and the proactive measures taken to lessen the risk of natural disasters in their communities, "said GEMA Director Charley English. "Their plans will help to ensure the state's eligibility for assistance in the event of a disaster." So far, FEMA has funded nearly $2.3 million toward county plan development in Georgia.

Counties are required by the federal government to have approved hazard mitigation plans in place in order to be eligible to receive grant funding for mitigation projects. Since 2002, the Hazard Mitigation Division has provided technical assistance to counties throughout the state to develop the plans. FEMA recently approved the state of Georgia's Hazard Mitigation Strategy which enables the state to maintain eligibility for the full range of disaster assistance through the Stafford Act.

Hazard mitigation is any sustained action taken by state or local governments to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to its citizens and property from natural hazards. Examples of mitigation include purchase or development of warning systems, configuration of community shelters and safe rooms, property acquisition, storm water management improvements, and structure elevation or relocation.

For more information on Georgia's hazard mitigation plans or the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, call GEMA toll-free at 1-800-TRY-GEMA or visit

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Georgia Receives Presidential Disaster Declaration for 14 Counties Damaged By Mother’s Day Tornadoes

Governor Sonny Perdue announced that President George W. Bush approved a Federal Disaster Declaration today for the 14 counties that Governor Perdue requested aid for following the tornadoes and severe thunderstorms that hit Georgia on May 11-12.

“I am grateful to President Bush and FEMA Director Paulison for their quick action in offering assistance,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “This Federal Disaster Declaration will broaden our capability to recover from these devastating storms.”

This means that individual assistance is now available to disaster victims in 10 counties: Bibb, Carroll, Douglas, Emanuel, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, McIntosh, and Twiggs.
The President has also designated that Bibb, Carroll, Crawford, Emanuel, Glynn, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, McIntosh, Treutlen, Twiggs and Wilkinson counties will all be able to receive federal funds to help offset 75 percent the cost of the initial emergency response, debris removal and restoration of damaged public facilities.

For the counties receiving individual assistance, aid can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.

Governor Perdue made the request May 16 for a federal declaration after touring the areas and reviewing preliminary damage assessment figures.

Residents and business owners in Bibb, Carroll, Douglas, Emanuel, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, McIntosh, and Twiggs counties who sustained losses can begin applying for assistance by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (local time) Monday through Sunday.

GEMA is the lead state agency for coordination of emergency and disaster response activities. For more emergency information and updates, visit

GEMA Distributes Hazard Mitigation Funds to the City of Alpharetta

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), on behalf of Governor Sonny Perdue, recently reimbursed the City of Alpharetta $102,385 for the costs associated with the construction of a detention pond to mitigate flooding to residential areas.

"We are pleased that the funding was available to take a common sense approach to mitigate flooding in these areas," said GEMA Director Charley English.

The purpose of the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program is to provide funds to state agencies and local governments for projects that reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from the effects of natural hazards by breaking the repetitive cycle of destruction and reconstruction.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Emory Department of Emergency Medicine Joins ACEP Recognizing EMS Professionals

The Emory Department of Emergency Medicine joins the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in recognizing the local, regional and national emergency medical services (EMS) providers who are often the first responders in a traumatic accident or medical emergency.

Emergency medical service providers include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, first responders, fire fighters and police. ACEP kicked off its 35th annual Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week May 18 with events in communities across the nation, as well as several national events organized around the theme "Your Life is Our Mission."

"Around one million EMS professionals provide lifesaving care to people in their communities when every minute counts, before they even get to the emergency department," says Dr. Linda Lawrence, president of ACEP. "This year's theme, 'Your Life is Our Mission' illustrates the selflessness and commitment these extraordinary people bring to their jobs every hour of every day of the year. For this they deserve our recognition and thanks."

According to Katherine Heilpern, MD, chair of the Emory University Department of Emergency Medicine, EMS resources in a steadily growing Fulton County are continually under pressure to respond to a growing population, and recent funding cutbacks have made the challenge even greater.

"EMS professionals are literally the chain link that connects an individual involved in a traumatic accident or health event, such as a heart attack, and the lifesaving medical resources that await at a hospital or trauma center," says Heilpern. "Not only are these men and women involved in a frequently dangerous - and always high pressure - line of work, they are also faced with serving a constantly growing population, challenged by cuts in government funding and shrinking resources in terms of manpower to meet the needs of millions of citizens."

Two recent events nationally highlight the risk and danger EMS professionals face. In Wisconsin, a medical helicopter dropped off a patient and then crashed shortly after it took off on its return flight to Madison, killing the surgeon, nurse and pilot on board.

In Illinois, police are still searching for three suspects in the shooting of an ambulance worker who was transporting one of two brothers also wounded in a shooting incident.

"The challenges and dangers are real each day these men and women leave home in order to save others," says Heilpern. "We are grateful for these professionals and this special week affords us an opportunity to publicly recognize and thank them."

Lifetouch And The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children Continue Commitment To Keep Kids Safe With Smilesafe Kids® And Take 25

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) and Lifetouch, the nation’s largest school photography company, are continuing their commitment to child safety by encouraging parents, guardians and other adult role models to talk to their kids about safety and to keep an up-to-date photo of their child available at all times in case of an emergency.

Because having a current image is so important in the search for a missing child, NCMEC partnered with Lifetouch to develop the SmileSafe Kids® program. One of the largest child safety initiatives in the country, SmileSafe Kids has helped in the recovery of 10 missing children in nine different states since 2004 as a direct result of someone recognizing them from the image provided by Lifetouch.

“Since this partnership started nearly five years ago, the response from families and schools has been tremendous,” said Bruce Martin, Vice President Marketing of Lifetouch National School Studios. “Through our relationship with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, we’ve been able to provide parents and guardians important and useful tools to help keep children safe at no cost to families.”

The SmileSafe Kids program features a 24 hours a day, seven days a week rapid-response system. If a child is reported missing, Lifetouch will provide the child’s image to NCMEC. Lifetouch will only provide the image to NCMEC if it is requested and verified by the child’s parent or guardian. In addition, two free photo identification cards are given to parents and guardians featuring the most current school portrait of their child. Each child’s identification card has a Safety ID number which Lifetouch uses to accurately locate and retrieve a child’s image. This number is unique to Lifetouch and does not contain any personal information about the child.

“In the case of a missing child it is important that the search begins immediately,” said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. “That is why our partnership with Lifetouch is so important, because it can put the child’s photograph in the hands of law enforcement within minutes. A photo is the most critical tool in the search for a missing child and we have been proud to partner with Lifetouch on this effort.”

Since October 2004, Lifetouch has distributed more than 90 million photo identification cards. Two SmileSafe Kids identification cards are sent to the parent or guardian of every K-8 child photographed by Lifetouch in participating schools, free of charge even if no portraits were ordered.

Fayette Front Page
News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Report Shows Increase In Pool and Spa Drownings

A new report (pdf) issued today (may 21, 2008) by the staff of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) indicates that the average number of drowning deaths involving children younger than 5 in pools and spas has increased from a yearly average of 267 (for 2002-2004) to 283 (for 2003-2005). The average number of emergency room treated pool and spa submersion injuries decreased from an annual average of 2,800 (for 2004-2006) to 2,700 (for 2005-2007). The report also shows that the majority of deaths and injuries occur in residential settings and involve children ages 1-2. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death to children ages 1-4.

At a press conference today, CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Safe Kids USA parent advocate Nancy Baker, and American Red Cross Chief Public Affairs Officer Suzy DeFrancis came together in an effort to reduce the number of drownings and injuries this summer. Parents, caregivers, and pool owners were encouraged to make safety a top priority at the pool and spa.

A new federal pool and spa safety law was signed by the President on December 19, 2007. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act requires that by December 19, 2008, all public pools and spas have safety drain covers, and in certain circumstances, an anti-entrapment system. The goal of the law is to improve the safety of all pools and spas by increasing the use of layers of protection and promoting uninterrupted supervision to prevent child drownings and entrapments.

"CPSC is calling upon all public pool and spa owners to comply with the new federal law and we urge parents to never let their children out of sight when they are in or around a pool or spa," said CPSC Acting Chairman Nord.

"The tragedy of hundreds of children dying each year from accidental drowning and four times as many who are near-drowning victims with devastating injuries, is made even more painful by the knowledge that these types of accidents are preventable," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. "Parents should know that simple safety measures for their pool or spa could very well prevent their own child from being lost through such nightmare scenarios as accidental drowning or entrapment."

"This legislation helps give meaning to the tragic circumstances that took Graeme's life and the lives of many other children," said Nancy Baker whose 7-year-old daughter died in 2002 when she was entrapped underwater by the suction of a spa's drain. "It is a tribute to these children and their grieving families that this law will prevent injuries and deaths as a result of drowning. Graeme would be honored that it is in her name."

New CPSC data (pdf) also shows that between 1999 and 2007 there were 74 reported incidents involving entrapment, resulting in 9 deaths and 63 injuries. Six of the deaths occurred in pools and three occurred in spas and all of the deaths except for one involved children 14 or younger. These entrapment incidents involve being trapped by the force of suction at the drain and can occur because of a broken or missing outlet cover.

Drowning occurs more commonly when children get access to the pool during a short lapse in adult supervision. To reduce the risk of drowning, pool owners should adopt several layers of protection, including physical barriers, such as a fence completely surrounding the pool with self-closing, self-latching gates to prevent unsupervised access by young children. If the house forms a side of the barrier, use alarms on doors leading to the pool area and/or a power safety cover over the pool.

"I encourage all parents to contact their local American Red Cross chapter and ask about the many services offered," said Suzy DeFrancis, Chief Public Affairs Officer for the American Red Cross. "From CPR and First Aid training to the Learn to Swim program, the Red Cross can be your greatest resource to preventing any pool and spa accidents this summer."

In addition, parents should use these tips to help prevent drowning deaths:

Since every second counts, always look for a missing child in the pool first. Precious time is often wasted looking for missing children anywhere but in the pool.

Don't leave toys and floats in the pool that can attract young children and cause them to fall in the water when they reach for the items.

Inspect pools and spas for missing or broken drain covers.

Do not allow children in a pool or spa with missing/broken covers. Inserting an arm or leg into the opening can result in powerful suction and total body submersion/drowning.

For above-ground and inflatable pools with ladders, remove or secure the ladder when the pool is not in use.

It is important to always be prepared for an emergency by having rescue equipment and a phone near the pool. Parents should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

GEMA Recognizes Mitchell County Schools for Implementing Approved Safety Plan

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) congratulates Beauford Hicks, superintendent for the Mitchell County School System, for adopting an approved safety plan.

“Although spared from the most recent bout of severe weather, Mitchell County has experienced its share of devastating tornadoes in the past and officials realize it is imperative they be prepared for an emergency,” says GEMA Director Charley English. “GEMA commends Mitchell County school officials for creating safety plans for all five schools that take an ‘all-hazards’ approach to prepare for man-made and natural disasters.”

By law, every public school in Georgia must develop and implement a wide-ranging safety plan that addresses acts of violence or terrorism, natural disasters, hazardous materials and radiological incidents. GEMA’s School Safety Unit has developed a planning guide for schools to help them create their plans.

In addition, GEMA’s School Safety Unit provides services that help schools have a safe and secure school year. GEMA’s school safety coordinators offer training and technical assistance to educators, emergency management and public safety personnel. This includes site surveys, classes on weapons screening, school bus safety, gangs, bullying, exercise design and bomb threat management. They also respond to school crises.

For more information on school safety or GEMA’s School Safety Unit, call GEMA toll-free in Georgia at 1-800-TRY-GEMA or visit For more information on specific risks in your area and how to prepare for them, contact your local emergency management agency.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Isakson, Chambliss Praise Senate’s Rejection of Amnesty Provision in Emergency War Supplemental Bill

U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today praised the Senate’s refusal to include an amnesty provision in the emergency war supplemental bill. Language that would have granted legal status to over 1 million illegal agriculture workers and their families was stripped Tuesday night from the spending bill for troops.

Isakson and Chambliss earlier this week had urged the Democratic leader to remove the amnesty provision from the bill.

“There’s no greater domestic issue in this country than illegal immigration, and I am pleased the Senate rejected this attempt to grant amnesty on a bill designed to give our soldiers the resources they need in the War on Terror,” Isakson said. “The war supplemental was the wrong vehicle to deal with this issue and this was the absolutely wrong approach to handling illegal agricultural workers. Congress can make immigration reform a reality by first delivering common-sense solutions to secure our porous borders and stop the flow of illegal immigrants.”

“I’m pleased the Senate recognized that removing this bad provision was the right thing to do,” said Chambliss. “We need to ensure that funding for our troops is approved and delivered as quickly as possible without getting bogged down in an unrelated immigration debate.”

On May 15, the Senate Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment to the emergency war supplemental spending bill that would give a five-year visa to 1.35 million workers plus their spouses and dependent children to live and work in the United States. For almost all legal purposes, the amendment requires that the illegal aliens who qualify for the proposed visa be treated as lawful permanent residents.

Adding the amendment to the appropriations bill violated Senate rules because it legislates on an appropriations bill. Last night, Democrats invoked Senate Rule 16 on the floor, which requires that provisions in amendments to appropriations bills be relevant to the underlying legislation. Among the provisions dropped was the proposal to grant visas allowing illegal aliens to hold agricultural jobs for up to five years.

On May 20, Isakson and Chambliss, along with eight other Republican senators, sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., urging the removal of the language. The text of the letter to Senator Reid is below. The letter was also signed by Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., David Vitter, R-La., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., James Inhofe, R-Okla., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., and Jim Bunning, R-Ky.

May 20, 2008

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington D.C. 20510

Dear Majority Leader Reid:

We write to express disappointment that the Senate Appropriations Committee chose to include in the War Supplemental more than 100 pages of immigration language that would grant legal status to more than one million illegal alien agriculture workers and their families. We urge you to remove these controversial provisions from the bill so we can enact essential funding for our troops without delay. If these provisions remain in the bill, you can expect a vigorous debate on immigration policy.

Isakson, Chambliss Praise Plan to Add Federal Prosecutors Along Southwest Border

U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today (April 25, 2008) praised an announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice that the agency will hire 64 additional federal prosecutors and 35 additional support staff for the southwestern border.

“This addition of manpower is absolutely essential in order to handle the growing number of immigration and drug trafficking cases along the border,” Isakson said. “There’s no greater domestic issue in this country than the problems on our southern border with Mexico, and it is time that we make a commitment to make border security a reality.”

“I’m pleased to see this additional support for those who are on the front lines of combating crimes committed by illegal immigrants,” said Chambliss. “Taking immediate action to secure the borders of this country is essential, because that is where the problem of illegal immigration begins and where it must be stopped.”

In 2006, Isakson introduced legislation to provide increased manpower, equipment and technology to secure the U.S. border. The legislation called for increases in the number of U.S. Department of Homeland Security personnel, including attorneys to handle cases involving illegal aliens or immigration issues, as well as attorneys participating in the Federal Defenders Program, attorneys in U.S. Attorneys' Offices and attorneys in the Office of Immigration Litigation.

Isakson and Chambliss are members of the Senate Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus. The Caucus is a platform to let Americans know that some members of the U.S. Senate are continuing to push for enforcement of immigration laws that are already on the books, to act as the voice of those concerned citizens who have expressed their opinions time and time again for better interior enforcement and border security, to push for stronger border security and interior enforcement legislation and to work together in the U.S. Senate to defeat possible future legislation that offers amnesty.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Gates Extols Public Service to VMI Graduates

PSN Note: Yeah, we know. The last time anyone checked, VMI was not in Georgia. However, we think the message presented to their graduates is one for all of us.

America needs dedicated public servants now more than ever, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told graduates at the Virginia Military Institute, in Lexington, Va., today.

Gates congratulated the 246 graduates of the state military college on their accomplishments and said the institute has taught them lessons on the importance of public service and duty to their fellow citizens.

"For generations, VMI has graduated young people ready to raise their right hands and defend their homeland," the secretary said. "This is something to be grateful for in any time period, but never more so than in a time of war."

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the number of VMI graduates taking commissions in the armed forces has risen. More than half of the class of 2008 will serve. Gates said.

"One of the strengths of America is that we have institutions like VMI, and young men and women like those sitting here today, who are answering this generation's challenge," he said. "From Kabul to Kirkuk, former VMI cadets are serving throughout the armed forces and the U.S. government in many roles: in military intelligence, organizing reconstruction efforts, building infrastructure, and commanding troops in the field."

Since 2001, 75 VMI cadets have been mobilized for active duty, and 41 have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. "More than 1,200 graduates of VMI have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since the start of the war on terror," Gates said. "Eight of them have not returned."

In Iraq and Afghanistan, initial military success has given way to stability and reconstruction campaigns against brutal and adaptive insurgents, the secretary said. "This has tested the mettle of our government, our military, and the patience of our people in ways we haven't seen in a generation," he said.

Not all graduates of the institute serve in the military, but all serve the nation in some way. Gates quoted from Gen. George C. Marshall, the most distinguished graduate of the college, who said, "Our graduates seldom amass great wealth, but just as seldom do they display weakness or indifference to their duties as citizens. They are trained to be soldiers, if there be need for soldiers. ... But what is far more important, they are trained to be good citizens."

Working as a public servant is not easy, as even Marshall found out. Following his service as the "architect of victory" in World War II, he was pilloried by some Americans for his actions while serving as secretary of state and secretary of defense, Gates said. Benjamin Franklin called the carping critics "bugwriters," the secretary said.

Today, the United States faces many challenges at home and abroad. "We live in a time of great necessities, a time in which we cannot avoid the burdens of global leadership," he said. "The stakes are too high. And it is precisely during these times that America needs its best and brightest from all walks of life to step forward and commit to public service -- to exchange the life of ease and contentment and take on the burdens and the bugwriters."

If America is to continue to be a force for good and justice and the rule of law in the world, "if America is to exercise global leadership consistent with our better angels, then the most able and idealistic of today's young people must step forward and agree to serve their country with the same honor and courage and dignity that marked the service of the long line of patriots that came before them," Gates said.

"Your country asks nothing more than that you live up to the values you have learned and lived in this place for these past four years. You owe yourself nothing less."

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Governor Perdue Orders Flags Lowered to Honor Peace Officers

Governor Sonny Perdue today signed an Executive Order to lower flags to half staff on Thursday, May 15, 2008, in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day. Text of the Executive Order is provided below:

Executive Order
Flags on State Buildings and Grounds Ordered Lowered to Half Staff

Whereas: Every day, in every area of the United States of America, a very special group of men and women are called upon to protect their communities and fellow citizens as law enforcement officers; and

Whereas: We, as a grateful people, owe a debt of gratitude to all those in varying capacities of law enforcement who have answered the call “To Protect and To Serve”; and

Whereas: By a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962, the President of the United States of America has been authorized and requested to designate May 15 of each year as “Peace Officers’ Memorial Day” and the week in which it falls as “Police Week,” and to direct that the flag be flown at half staff on Peace Officers’ Memorial Day.

Now, therefore, in honor and as a mark of respect for the officers who serve, and in memory of the officers who have fallen, pursuant to the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Georgia, it is hereby

Ordered: That the flags on all state buildings throughout the state of Georgia be flown at half staff on Thursday, May 15, 2008.

This 14th day of May, 2008.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Secretary of State Handel Applauds Governor Perdue for Signing HB 1104

Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel and Representative Katie Dempsey joined Governor Sonny Perdue as he signed House Bill 1104, a bill to strengthen Georgia’s Charitable Solicitations Act.

“This legislation provides common sense changes that will help better protect Georgia citizens from fraud, ease administrative burdens on charities, and does more to stop dishonest solicitors from operating in our state,” Secretary Handel said.

House Bill 1104 will increase the transparency of financial arrangements between a charity and its paid solicitor and require paid solicitors to inform the person being solicited that the contract disclosing the financial arrangements between the paid solicitor and the charity is available from the Georgia Secretary of State.

The legislation ensures that the Secretary of State has jurisdiction over charitable solicitors acting on behalf of a charity located in Georgia which is soliciting contributions from outside the state, over solicitation originating in Georgia, and over out-of-state charities soliciting Georgia citizens.

HB 1104 was introduced by Representative Katie Dempsey and passed the House chamber 148-1. Senator Judson Hill of Marietta carried the bill in the Senate. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 49-0.

Karen Handel was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2007. The Secretary of State's office offers important services to our citizens and our business community. Among the office’s wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives and the Capitol Museum.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fayetteville Police Warn About E-Mail Scams

The Fayetteville Police Department has received information about an e-mail that is being circulated. The e-mail states that the recipient of the e-mail will be killed if money is not paid. This e-mail is similar to an e-mail scam identified by the FBI as the “Nigerian Letter”.

The Fayetteville Police Department would like to remind citizens that if they receive suspicious e-mails, do not open them as they could be a virus, do not forward them to others, check the Internet to see if it a scam, one of the places you can check is the FBI website (be crime smart) at

Governor Perdue Signs Consumer Protection Legislation

Today at a bill signing event held at GBI headquarters, Governor Sonny Perdue signed three pieces of legislation to protect Georgia’s consumers and prosecute identity thieves: House Bill 130, Senate Bill 388 and Senate Bill 24.

“This legislation will protect Georgia’s consumers and prosecute identity thieves who would prey upon innocent, hardworking people,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “I want to thank the members of the General Assembly and consumer advocates who supported these important bills.”

Clark Howard, a nationally-known radio personality and champion of consumer protection initiatives, GBI Director Vernon Keenan, Rep. Calvin Hill, Sen. Joseph Carter and Sen. Cecil Staton participated in the bill signing event today with Governor Perdue.

HB 130 enables Georgia’s consumers to freeze their credit and keeps criminals from accessing their credit history. It also prevents unauthorized individuals from taking out new credit cards or loans. This legislation sets the credit freeze amount at $3 and strikes a reasonable balance between the fees credit bureaus need to charge while giving consumers the ability to quickly and effectively protect their credit.

“I am excited beyond words that we in Georgia now have the best credit freeze law in the United States,” said Clark Howard. “Now, Georgians have the best way possible to shut down identity thieves cold.”

“This is one of the most significant pieces of legislation to come from the 2008 session,” said state Rep. Calvin Hill, the sponsor of HB 130. “It shows an excellent partnership between the business community and consumer advocates. We look forward to being first in the nation to enact instant credit freeze legislation.”

SB 388, an initiative that Governor Perdue announced in January, establishes the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Identity Theft Task Force and transfers the authority to investigate identity theft from the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs to GBI.

In addition to this legislation, Governor Perdue proposed and the General Assembly approved $1 million in the FY09 budget for the creation of this task force, which will support eight new agents.

“I am confident that these new laws will have a significant impact on the crimes associated with identity theft,” said Vernon Keenan, director of the GBI. “They not only give Georgia citizens the additional means to protect their identity, but they also provide the GBI additional resources to assist local law enforcement agencies in investigating this criminal activity.”

SB 24 protects Georgia’s consumers by increasing the penalties against identity theft by the use of Internet phishing, a method criminals use to steal an individual’s identity through the Internet.

“SB 24 takes an important step by empowering law enforcement with specific tools to go after criminals who seek to steal our identities and personal financial information through Internet and email phishing scams,” said Sen. Cecil Staton,” chairman of the Senate Science and Technology Committee and sponsor of the legislation. “I am grateful to Governor Perdue for his support for our efforts to tackle this growing problem or users of email and the Internet.”

Governor Perdue was also joined at the event by Sen. Bill Hamrick, Sen. Renee Unterman, Sen. Chip Rogers, Sen. Ronnie Chance, Rep. Rich Golick, Rep. Kevin Levitas, and Rep. Tommy Benton.

Judge Baird Issues a Call to Public Service to Clayton State Graduates

GPSN Note: Giving back to one's community through public service is a high calling and one that demands a strong commitment to caring for our neighbor. Community involvement is one of the features that make our area a great place to live. Thanks to the Honorable Baird for reminding all of us of our duties to our fellow man.

The Honorable Michael J. Baird, one of Clayton State University’s most distinguished graduates and a long-time public servant, issued a call to some 400 graduates of the University on Saturday… a call to join him in public service and giving back to the community.

Speaking to both ceremonies of the University’s 38th Annual Spring Commencement, Baird asked the class of 2008 to take the road less traveled. Noting that surveys have shown that only one in 10 current college graduates think of running for public office, and that just 29 percent of graduates say they would consider a job in the public sector, Baird urged Clayton State’s newest alumni to give back to their community and to play a role in making their city, state or country better by becoming involved.

“There is no better calling than public service, no more noble service than public service,” he said. “You represent the best and the brightest. We need you to give back to your community.”

Baird knows of which he speaks. A member of the first baccalaureate class of Clayton State University (B.B.A. in Management, 1989), he is also a 1992 graduate of the Georgia State University College of Law where he earned a Juris Doctorate. A native of Clayton County, Baird worked his way through college as a police officer with the Lake City Police Department.

After graduation, he served as a prosecutor in Clayton County. In 1996, he was elected to serve as the chief judge of the Magistrate Court of Clayton County and served in that capacity until January of 2005 when he was appointed a senior judge. In addition to his duties in the court room, Baird taught in the School of Business at Clayton State for 13 years. He was recently appointed as a federal immigration judge in Dallas, and expects to be sworn in for that Texas position by the end of this year. He will, in effect, continue to do his duty.

“We have a duty to one another,” he told the graduates. “We have a duty to improving the lives of our neighbors.

“Consider the benefits that come from a career in public service. We each bear the burden of improving our community. You have a chance to help build that bridge to tomorrow. Answer the call of public service and be the leaders of tomorrow.”

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Peachtree City and Leslie Contracting have reached an agreement concerning issues that have arisen regarding the City’s Police Department Building.

Leslie will perform certain repairs at no cost to the City or its taxpayers. In addition, Leslie has agreed to perform additional remedial work at a significantly reduced price, again resulting in a significant savings to the City based upon current estimates to repair the building.

The agreement resolves any claims that the City could have raised against Leslie regarding its construction of the Police Building. While Leslie disputed those claims, both factually and legally, it wanted to “assist the City in resolving this issue” according to Wayne Leslie, the firm’s CEO.

Mayor Harold Logsdon said that he appreciated Leslie’s willingness to come to the table in good faith and assist the City in this matter. “Leslie has a good reputation as a builder, and has successfully completed projects for the City before and after the Police Building. Naturally, we all wish there had not been a problem with the building. Leslie voluntarily came to the table and did the right thing, and I commend them for doing so. More importantly, the agreement will help the City get the building repaired in a more cost-effective manner than was originally anticipated,” said Logsdon.

With respect to the agreement, Wayne Leslie said, “As a member of the Fayette County community, we want to do our part in helping arrive at a solution. Sometimes it is prudent to agree to disagee and then move forward to solve a problem. I commend the efforts of the City officials and their consultants in reaching this resolution.”

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Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Tyrone, Brooks

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Approximately seventy-five 5th graders from Oak Grove Elementary School in Peachtree City received certificates for recently completing the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Program. This nationwide program deals with the consequences of drug usage and shows how students can cope with peer pressure. Taught by specially trained members of the Peachtree City Police Department and sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Peachtree City this program is presented to 5th grade classes in all of Peachtree City’s elementary schools. Each student submits an essay on what the programs means to them. One winner is selected from each class. Pictured from the left with Officer Paul Smiley, the primary instructor, are winners Shaelyn Comiskey, Jessica Ward, Sarah Mendes, and Haley Febrey. The other picture shows the students with their certificates.
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Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone