23 April 2014

Filming for Goosebumps: The Movie, Starring Jack Black, Started in Conyers, Madison, & Atlanta

(The film adaptation of the popular book series Goosebumps is filming in Georgia.)
Nearly two decades after premiering on the small screen, Goosebumps --the popular horror fiction series aimed at youth-- is headed towards the big screen.

Principal photography has commenced on Goosebumps, starring Jack Black. Rob Letterman directs the film from a screenplay by Darren Lemke and Mike White and a story by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski and Darren Lemke, based on the Goosebumps book series published by Scholastic and written by R. L. Stine. The producers are Neal H. Moritz and Deborah Forte. Executive producers are Bill Bannerman and Tania Landau. The film will be released on March 23, 2016.

Also starring in Goosebumps are Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Amy Ryan, Jillian Bell, Ryan Lee, and Ken Marino.

In Goosebumps, upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach's comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange . . . he is a prisoner of his own imagination – the monsters that his books made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town, it's suddenly up to Stine, Zach, and Hannah to get all of them back in the books where they belong.

The production films in and around Conyers, Madison, and Atlanta, Georgia, notably in the counties of Morgan, Rockdale, Cobb, and DeKalb.

Scholastic has sold over 350 million Goosebumps books worldwide in 32 languages since the series introduction in 1992, earning critical acclaim and dominating global best seller lists. In 1995, a Goosebumps TV series began showing, and aired 74 episodes over the course of four seasons. Goosebumps author R.L. Stine has been recognized as one of the bestselling children's authors in history.

22 April 2014

High School Grad Rate for North Fulton Minorities Higher than Their South Fulton Counterparts

Minority students attending north Fulton County high schools have a higher high school graduation rate than minority students attending south Fulton County high schools.

That's the word from a new Georgia Department of Education report measuring the college and career readiness for all Georgia public school students.

The Georgia College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) evaluates various factors and indicators, assigning all Georgia schools a grade, using a scale of 0 - 100.

Statewide, the high school graduation rate was 71.80% for 2013. With a grad rate of 75.5%, Fulton County exceeded the state rate.

Banneker High School, in south Fulton County, had the lowest graduation rate of any school in Fulton County. Just 41.7% of Banneker's seniors received high school diplomas in 2013. The highest rate in the county, 96.4%, came from north Fulton's Johns Creek High School

White students in Fulton County have a graduation rate of 91%. Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic, and Multi-Racial students have graduation rates of 94.3%, 63.3%, 59.3%, and 70.5% respectively.

In Fulton County, there are a total of sixteen high schools; five in south Fulton and eleven in north Fulton. When averaged together, the high school graduation rate for minority students in north Fulton is higher than the graduation rate for minorities in south Fulton.

Here are the numbers:

Graduation RateNorth FultonSouth Fulton
Asian/Pacific Islander93.1%Too Few Students
Multi-Racial84.87%Too Few Students

Democrat Michelle Nunn Channels Her Inner Paul Broun, Endorses His "No Budget, No Pay" Bill

Two years ago, Republican Paul Broun introduced House Resolution 3883.

H.R. 3883 was a very simple, three-page bill. It said if Congress doesn't pass a budget, then the members don't get paid.

At the time of the legislation's introduction, Broun said, "My Budget or Bust Act forces the House and Senate to finally pass a budget, or else our salaries will be held as collateral until Congress can get its job done."

Later in 2012, United States Senator Saxby Chambliss (R - Georgia) cosponsored Broun's "No Budget, No Pay" bill, saying, "It is unacceptable that it has been more than 1,000 days since Congress passed a budget.

"With this bill, if the congressional appropriations and budget process is not completed by October 1, congressional salaries --including staff salaries-- would cease until appropriations are completed. Members would not receive their lost salaries retroactively," Chambliss continued.

Two years later, we find Democrat Michelle Nunn joining Republicans in saying Congress should pass a budget or not get paid.

Greg Bluestein of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution points us to a new Nunn ad, where she says, "I don’t think congressmen should get paid unless they pass a budget."

"Crazy" and "off-base" are a couple of the kinder things folks have said about Georgia Republican Paul Broun. But in this case, Broun doesn't seem that crazy, because he can now proudly say the Democrats' hand-picked U.S. Senate candidate agrees with him.

District Represented by Congressman David Scott Ranks Near Bottom of American Well-Being Index

A new report on the "state of American well-being" found which congressional districts are feeling good and which are suffering.

Georgia's 13th Congressional District appears to be suffering most out of the districts that make up the Metro-Atlanta area. The district, represented by Democrat Rep. David Scott since 2002, came in last out of the 6 metro districts that were evaluated in the survey.

The data for districts were collected from January 2012 through December 2013.

The survey, conducted by Gallup and Healthways, uses a "Well-Being Index" that takes six factors into account: life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and basic access to health care. According to the report, high well-being means healthier populations, more productive and profitable businesses, and more economically vibrant communities.

The district represented by David Scott lags well behind the rest of the congressional districts that make up the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Metro Atlanta districts such as the 6th district, 7th district, 5th district, 11th district and 4th district all scored within the top 50% within the US and at the top of the list for the Peach State. Residents in these districts experienced "high well-being, making their lives healthier and more satisfying," the report said.

"These high well-being locations tend to exhibit many shared characteristics, including lower chronic disease rates, lower incidence of obesity, more frequent exercise, less smoking, and a more positive outlook on their communities," the report reads.

Meanwhile, the 13th district, which includes, in part, Douglas, southern Cobb, southern Fulton, northern Fayette, most of Clayton and sections of Henry counties, did far worse than any other Metro Atlanta area, scoring near the bottom a study that included all congressional districts in the entire United States and well behind its counterparts in the Metro Atlanta area. This study actually ranks the 13th district 233 positions behind the 4th district, which includes parts of Decatur, Stone Mountain and Conyers.

The ranking analysis in the report states that a “well-informed and active leadership is crucial to a state’s success” in its well-being. The reports go on to say that, “no one should discount the role that leadership plays in engendering well-being among residents.”

Click here to read the complete Gallup-Healthways 2013 State of American Well Being.

Fulton County Commissioner Had a Lien Placed Against Home for Failure to Pay State Income Taxes

Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards, who previously had trouble staying current on his homeowners association dues, owed back income taxes to the Georgia Department of Revenue for two years before paying them off.

In a document obtained through open records requests, Georgia Unfiltered learned that Edwards had a lien placed against his home in south Fulton County for failing to pay $865 in income taxes to the state. The back taxes were owed for Edwards' 2002 individual income tax return. After interest, penalties, and fees were added, the amount ballooned to $1,405.54.

Edwards settled up with the state in June, 2004, and the lien was cancelled later that year.

The Culture Wars Return to Georgia with Federal Lawsuit to Overturn State's Gay Marriage Ban

Georgia politics is about to get a whole lot of interesting this week.

The Georgia Voice, a publication that caters to the state's LGBT community, reports Lambda Legal plans to file a lawsuit seeking to overturn Georgia's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage [Saunders, Patrick (22 April 2014). BREAKING: Lambda Legal to file class-action gay marriage lawsuit in Ga., meet plaintiffs in exclusive interview. Georgia Voice. Retrieved on 22 April 2014.].

The legal action will be filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Lambda Legal, a New York-based organization that focuses on civil rights for the LGBT community, is representing seven gay and lesbian individuals --Christopher Inniss, Shelton Stroman, Rayshawn Chandler, Avery Chandler, Michael Bishop, Johnny Shane Thomas, and Jennifer Sisson-- in a proposed class action suit consisting of: "A.) All Georgia residents who are unmarried same-sex couples; and B.) All Georgia residents who have lawfully married a same-sex
spouse in another jurisdiction."

In addition to overturning Georgia's gay marriage ban, the lawsuit also seeks to have O.C.G.A. § 19-3-1.1 and O.C.G.A. § 19-3-30 ruled unconstitutional.

O.C.G.A. § 19-3-1.1 states, "No common-law marriage shall be entered into in this state on or after January 1, 1997."

O.C.G.A. § 19-3-30 governs the issuance of marriage licenses in Georgia, and reads in part, "No marriage license shall be issued to persons of the same sex."

The entire federal lawsuit can be read below.

A recent SurveyUSA poll of 2,300 adults said 59% of all Georgians, including majorities across all age groups and races, believe the state constitutional amendment should remain in place.

Inniss et al. v. Aderhold

21 April 2014

Shane's Rib Shack Offering Free Half Rack of Ribs to First 100 Guests Next Month

Shane's Rib Shack, today, announced the date of its 5th annual Rib Giveaway.

On Saturday, 17 May, the first 100 guests at participating Shane's Rib Shack locations will receive a free half rack of slow-cooked baby back ribs, a 20 ounce beverage and special edition Rib Giveaway t-shirt in honor of the official month of BBQ.

"Since we founded Shane's Rib Shack 12 years ago in McDonough, Ga., our main priority has been to serve our customers the best-tasting, all-American barbecue and provide a place that feels like home," says Shane Thompson, president and founder of Shane's Rib Shack. "Seventy locations later, we are still committed to providing customers in each location with the best food and customer experience. Our fifth annual Rib Giveaway provides us the opportunity to say thank you to all of our loyal customers and fans who have made Shane's Rib Shack what it is today."

For more information or to find a nearby location, visit www.shanesribshack.com.

AT&T Considering 12 Georgia Cities for 1 Gigabyte Per Second Internet Service

AT&T today announced a major initiative to expand its ultra-fast fiber network to up to 100 candidate cities and municipalities nationwide, including 11 new cities in Georgia. The fiber network will deliver AT&T U-verse with GigaPower service, which can deliver broadband speeds up to 1 Gigabyte per second and AT&T's most advanced TV services, to consumers and businesses.

AT&T will work with local leaders in these markets to discuss ways to bring the service to their communities. Communities that have suitable network facilities, and show the strongest investment cases based on anticipated demand and the most receptive policies will influence these future selections and coverage maps within selected areas.

The list of 12 Georgia candidate cities includes Alpharetta, Atlanta, Augusta, Decatur, Duluth, Lawrenceville, Lithonia, McDonough, Marietta, Newnan, Norcross, and Woodstock.

"We're delivering advanced services that offer consumers and small businesses the ability to do more, faster, help communities create a new wave of innovation, and encourage economic development," said Lori Lee, senior executive vice president, AT&T Home Solutions. "We're interested in working with communities that appreciate the value of the most advanced technologies and are willing to encourage investment by offering solid investment cases and policies."

AT&T U-verse uses advanced IP technology and a network that includes fiber-optic technology to go beyond what cable can offer. It transforms the user experience for consumers and business users and is an essential part of AT&T's commitment to fiber infrastructure.

The planned expanded availability of U-verse with GigaPower is part of AT&T's Project Velocity IP (VIP) investment plan to expand and enhance its wireless and wireline IP broadband networks to support growing customer demand for high-speed Internet access, advanced TV services, and new mobile and cloud services. This expanded fiber build is not expected to impact AT&T's capital investment plans for 2014. And AT&T continues to expect that its wired IP broadband network will reach 57 million customer locations in its 22-state wireline footprint by the end of 2015.

For more information about AT&T U-verse with GigaPower, please visit www.att.com/gigapowercities.

PolitiFact Rates Carter's Claim About Equal Pay Mostly False After Prod From Georgia Unfiltered

Thirteen days ago, presumptive Democrat gubernatorial nominee Jason Carter tweeted the following on Twitter:

Carter's claim that, "Women are paid 77 cents for every $1 men get for the same work," was rated false in 2012 when Barack Obama made the statement. But that didn't stop Carter from repeating it. So Georgia Unfiltered prodded PolitiFact, an independent fact-checking site, gently to verify the accuracy of Jason Carter's claims.

It only took thirteen days, but just like with Barack Obama, the independent fact-checking website said Carter's claim, "Women are paid 77 cents for every $1 men get for the same work," is mostly false.

Let's see if Democrat Jason Carter repeats it again.

For #MusicMonday, "The Late Anthem" by Orjan Nilsen

"The Late Anthem" by Orjan Nilsen

Commissioner Bill Edwards Sued Twice for Failing to Pay Homeowners Association Dues

(Image courtesy Google Earth)
Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards, a Democrat, lives on this serene little street (shown right) in unincorporated south Fulton County.

The street, Grey Hawk Way, is part of the Lakes at Cedar Grove community; which is governed by the Lakes at Cedar Grove Neighborhood Association, Inc.

Four times, in the past ten years, the Lakes at Cedar Grove Neighborhood Association has had to take legal action against Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards for failure to pay his neighborhood association dues.

Dues paid to the Lakes at Cedar Grove Neighborhood Association are used for maintaining the pool and community club house, landscaping, and other

Through open records requests, Georgia Unfiltered obtained copies of liens placed against Commissioner Edwards' home in the Cedar Grove community.

In 2004 and 2008, the Lakes at Cedar Grove Neighborhood Association placed two liens against Edwards totaling $1,175.

According to public records (shown below), in 2005 and again in 2009, the Lakes at Cedar Grove Neighborhood Association successfully obtained judgments in Fulton County State Court against Commissioner Edwards. The judgment amounts totaled $1,009.15 in 2005, and $2,907.95 in 2009. Attorneys for the Lakes at Cedar Grove Neighborhood Association filed two Writs of Fieri Facias (fi. fa.) on Edwards' home to collect on the judgments.

A fi. fa. is a court order directing the Sheriff, Marshall, or Constable to seize property (land, cars, money, etc.) and sell it to satisfy a debt. A fi. fa. on a person's home means that individual cannot sell their residence until the debt is paid off.

Edwards paid his debts to the Lakes at Cedar Grove Neighborhood Association, but it took him until 2011 to do so.

Liens against Fulton Commissioner Bill Edwards

18 April 2014

Private Prison Lobbyist Avoids Jail Time After Arrest for Cocaine Possession

A lobbyist for a private prison company recently avoided jail time for felony cocaine possession, after receiving a sweetheart deal from a Fulton County judge.

John Clayton, who is a registered lobbyist for a private prison firm that does business with the State of Georgia, was taken into custody by Atlanta police in February on charges of criminal trespass, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, and possession of cocaine.

The trespass and obstruction charges are misdemeanors. The cocaine possession charge is a felony, and carries a prison sentence of between one and fifteen years. A felony conviction for possession of cocaine won't appear on Clayton's record, however, due to the fact that Fulton County Magistrate Judge Karen Woodson placed Clayton's case on the dead docket after he completed a pre-trial intervention program.

A dead docket is a list of court cases that have been postponed indefinitely, but may be reinstated at any time at the pleasure of the court. A case that has been dead-docketed almost never comes back before a judge.

Georgia Unfiltered has learned that John Clayton's arrest for cocaine possession, earlier this year, was not his first encounter with the law.

In 2008, Clayton was arrested on seven charges of violation of restricted license, no driver's license, speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs, and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Once again, John Clayton received a sweetheart deal from Fulton County State Court Judge Myra H. Dixon. All three of Clayton's DUI charges were placed on the dead docket. Clayton entered into a negotiated plea on the reckless driving charge, and paid a $500 fine.

17 April 2014

David Scott Participating in Community Meeting with South Fulton Residents Thursday Evening

Thursday evening, the Pointer Ridge subdivision, located off Flat Shoals Road in south Fulton County, hosts 13th district Georgia Congressman David Scott at its monthly community meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6PM, at the Christians Living for Christ Church -- 6985 Connell Road, Fairburn, Georgia 30213

For #ThrowbackThursday, a 35-year-old Mail Piece from Herman Talmadge to a Black Voter in Macon

In 1979, former Georgia Governor and United States Senator Herman Eugene Talmadge sent the mail piece shown below to a black voter in Macon-Bibb County, Georgia.

The black voter is a member of my family, and lived in Macon's historically black Pleasant Hill community.

History remembers Senator Talmadge as a segregationist who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I think Talmadge was just a politician.

The simple truth of politics is all those who gain power are afraid to lose it. Politicians frequently pander to their constituencies in order to maintain the power they gained after their first election victory. Senator Talmadge, in this case, was very clever at following the passions and prejudices of his constituency to stay in power for twenty-three years.