Republicans trim Cagle’s powers

UPDATE: Story picked up by Augusta Chronicle, cited in AJC Jim Galloway’s Political Insider

Republicans trim Cagle’s powers –  (view published story on Macon.com)

By Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Saturday, Nov. 08, 2010

Following a heated day of closed-door meetings in downtown Macon, Georgia’s Senate Republican leaders decided Friday to strip some of newly re-elected Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s powers in the Senate.

Chamber leaders are calling it a new “power-sharing agreement.”

The Republican caucus gathered at Mercer University’s Woodruff House on Friday to discuss its rules and elect new leaders. Also at issue during the caucus meeting was a discussion of whether the lieutenant governor has too much power in the chamber.

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Scott topples Marshall in 8th district congressional race

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Scott topples Marshall in 8th district congressional race

By Mike Stucka and Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010

Reflecting the broader national backlash against the Democratic Party this election season, voters denied U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall of Macon a fifth term in office Tuesday, choosing Republican Austin Scott as his replacement.

With 78 percent of precincts reporting, Scott led Marshall 52.5-47.5 percent in a bruising battle for Georgia’s 8th Congressional District seat.

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Sen. Brown pushes HOPE limits, seeks family annual income cap of $150K

Sen. Brown pushes HOPE limits, seeks family annual income cap of $150K (link to story on Macon.com)

By Carl Lewis

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clewis@macon.com

Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010

Georgia’s Senate minority leader proposed one possible solution to the dwindling HOPE Scholarship fund Wednesday: Only give it to the students who need it the most.

Calling for a “return to the original intent” of the state lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship program, state Sen. Robert Brown, D-Macon, pushed for the family income cap to be reinstated for HOPE eligibility as a way to keep the program afloat and ensure it allows the most possible students to afford college. Continue reading

Woman’s body found in backyard of vacant Macon home

UPDATE: Follow-up on autopsy report from Aug. 21

SPACE

Woman’s body found in backyard of vacant Macon homeScreen shot 2010-10-28 at 8.40.16 PM

By Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Friday, Aug. 20, 2010

Breaking news – Crime reports


A woman’s body was discovered in the backyard of a vacant south Macon home Thursday afternoon.


Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said police received an anonymous call about 2 p.m. that a fully-clothed, dark-haired white woman in her late 30s or early 40s was lying dead in the bushes at 1284 Glendale Ave., near Houston Avenue. She had severe lacerations on her body from what appeared to be dog bites and had been dead for between six and eight hours, Jones said. Continue reading

Landfill expansion opposed by some Twiggs County residents

Landfill expansion opposed by some Twiggs County residents – (view story on Macon.com)

By Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010

It’s not just the rumble of garbage trucks past Tracie Fountain’s Twiggs County home each day that perturbs her.

It’s the odor.

Fountain lives just down the road from the Wolf Creek Landfill in Dry Branch, so close that she can smell the garbage dumped there. She’s one of the 779 Twiggs County residents who have signed a petition opposing a planned expansion of the landfill. Continue reading

State colleges, universities hit with furloughs

State colleges, universities hit with furloughs

By Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009

Public college students in the midstate may experience canceled classes, longer lines at the cafeteria and less one-on-one time with their professors this fall.

As part of a new cost-cutting measure approved Wednesday by the Georgia Board of Regents, faculty and staff at Georgia’s colleges and universities will take six furlough days during the upcoming academic year. The measure is expected to save the state $42 million.

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Shoppers turn out for sales-tax savings

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Midstate shoppers turn out for sales-tax savings

By Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Friday, Jul. 31, 2009

 

Ready, set, shop. It’s a sales-tax holiday.

The four-day sales-tax holiday kicked off Thursday, and many area stores saw crammed parking lots and congested shopping aisles as a result.

So far, in 2009, retail sales nationwide have dropped about 5 percent, said John Heavener, president of the Georgia Retail Association. But in Georgia, numbers could be better than in other states because of this weekend’s sales tax holiday, which promises to lure in cash-strapped consumers who might not otherwise make purchases.

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College officials: Enrollment up at midstate colleges

Click here to view article online at Macon.com

By Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Monday, Aug. 17, 2009

Enrollment at midstate colleges is higher than ever this fall as the sluggish economy compels students to work toward the safeguard of a college diploma, officials say.Picture 4

At Georgia College & State University, 6,665 students are set to start classes today. That’s a 15 percent increase from last year’s enrollment.

“Young people these days are starting to figure out that, in this economy, they’re going to need a college degree if they want to keep up,” Georgia College and State University spokeswoman Judy Bailey said. “And our dorms are filled to capacity.”

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Cochran home infested with estimated 1,000 bats

 

Update: Follow-up story ran on Jul. 30.

Cochran home infested with bats

Owner can’t afford $10,000 extermination price tag

By Carl Lewis

Saturday Jul. 18, 2009

COCHRAN — It smells foul on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Really, really foul.

Walking down the street toward Victoria Jackson’s home, the musky stench gets even worse. Stepping inside, it grows almost unbearable.

“It’s a very, very bad odor,” the homeowner said.

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It’s the scent of the droppings from what exterminators estimate are more than 1,000 bats that have made Jackson’s home their roosting spot.

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Tuition ammunition

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Tuition Ammunition

New G.I. bill offers midstate veterans a full ride to Mercer, Wesleyan

By Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2009

From a young age, Elyse Jones wanted to be a dermatologist.

But when she was called to active duty with the Air Force in 2002, Jones, who was 19 at the time, almost gave up her plans to go to college.

“I put everything on hold, and I wasn’t sure of what would happen or if I’d be able to go to school in the future at all,” she said.

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Eyes on the ‘flies

Eyes on the Flies:

Annual Macon butterfly count keeps tabs on ecosystem

By Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Tuesday Jul. 7, 2009

The van rumbled along the damp clay road as Andy Rindsberg narrowed his eyes upon the thicket of verbena and kudzu scattered underneath the Georgia Power lines.

The vehicle screeched to a halt. Rindsberg grasped his camera, binoculars and field guide and leapt out of the car.

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Click to enlarge.

“Look at that!” he exclaimed, gesturing at what appeared to be a clump of average roadside weeds.

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Home schooling

 

Home schooling

Georgia College Foundation hopes to save home of pioneering black educator

By Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009

MILLEDGEVILLE — Fifteen-year-old Deandre Hooks crouched on the porch of a crumbling, wood-planked house Wednesday morning to complete a writing assignment.

The house was nothing special and the heat was blistering, but it didn’t seem to bother him. In fact, he felt perfectly at home.

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Outside the big box

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Outside the big box

Macon Mall turns to arts, entertainment to fill empty space

By Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Thursday, Jun. 18, 2009

Instead of showcasing his art in a downtown gallery like other artists, Michael Paul has chosen a different, less obvious place to share his work: the Macon Mall.

Paul is taking part in a new program called Artspace, which, along with a laser golf course, is one of the mall’s recent efforts to help reinvent itself.

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Seeds of community

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Seeds of community

Vegetable gardens help bring Macon neighbors together

By Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Monday, Jun. 15, 2009

Tucked away in a vacant lot behind Centenary United Methodist Church on College Street sits a humble plot where pole beans, tomatoes, eggplant and okra grow.

“But what we’re really growing is hope,” said Mark Vanderhoek, founder of the Beall’s Hill Community Garden.

Volunteers broke ground for the garden in May as a joint project of the church and the Beall’s Hill Neighborhood Association.

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Commemorating history

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Commemorating history

Annual Juneteenth festival celebrates liberation, educates about struggles of slavery.

By Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Sunday, Jun. 14, 2009

Four years ago, Nduta Mwangi, 39, lived in a small tenement apartment in Kenya, where she and her sisters sewed traditional African dresses for a living.

Saturday, she brought those dresses to Macon and put them on sale at the annual Juneteenth Freedom Festival at Tattnall Square Park.

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State colleges, universities hit with furloughs

Click here to view this story online at Macon.com

By Carl Lewis

clewis@macon.com

Aug. 13, 2009

Public college students in the midstate may experience canceled classes, longer lines at the cafeteria and less one-on-one time with their professors this fall.Picture 5

As part of a new cost-cutting measure approved Wednesday by the Georgia Board of Regents, faculty and staff at Georgia’s colleges and universities will take six furlough days during the upcoming academic year. The measure is expected to save the state $42 million.

“The university system is no more immune from the impacts of this economy than any other organization,” Chancellor Erroll B. Davis said. “There will be impacts, but we will try to keep the impacts on students to a minimum.”

Still, it won’t be easy to cushion all students from the cuts.

At Fort Valley State University, officials will most likely close the campus altogether during the furlough days, spokeswoman Vickie Oldham said.

“Closing down is something we hate to do, but it’s best to do it that way because it saves on energy and utility costs,” Oldham said.

Terrance Smith, FVSU’s vice president of student affairs, said he hopes the university won’t be forced to shut down. If it does, officials will try to schedule closures during days that will impact students the least, he said.

“We’re looking at maybe a day or two during the Thanksgiving holiday or Christmas break,” Smith said.

At Macon State College, classes won’t be canceled, but students could have a harder time scheduling appointments with their academic advisers, spokesman Bill Weaver said.

“We’re hoping the impact upon students will be negligible … but it is possible that there could be some very minimal time delays in getting seen,” he said.

Weaver said Macon State officials are trying to schedule professors’ days off during weekdays when they don’t teach classes, but plans are still preliminary.

“There’s a lot of things we don’t know yet. Does everybody have to take the same day off? Could we take half days?” Weaver said.

At Middle Georgia College in Cochran, quality of student services will be impacted across the board, President Michael Stoy said.

“It’s going to cause us to stagger our workload, which could cause students to see longer lines at places like the registrar’s office,” Stoy said.

Georgia College & State University hasn’t decided yet how it will implement the furloughs, but university operations will be impacted significantly, Georgia College President Dorothy Leland said.

“Collectively, the furloughs represent the loss of approximately 37,000 people hours during the fiscal year,” Leland said. “Our challenge is to find ways to continue to operate the university effectively and educate its students under these circumstances.”

Leland said she’s confident Georgia College faculty and staff will pull together during these tough times and find creative ways to do as little harm to the university’s 6,600 students as possible.

“Fortunately, the university has a history of people pulling together,” Leland said. “There is a creative, entrepreneurial spirit here. I’m confident we’ll figure it out.”

To contact writer Carl Lewis, call 744-4347.