25 October 2014

Early/Absentee Voting Numbers by Congressional District for the Week Ending 25 October 2014

As of 25 October 2014, 335,098 Georgians have either voted at their local elections office or cast ballots by mail.

Below are the totals by congressional district:

Number of
Early Votes
Increase from
18 Oct. 2014
1 20,558+12,017
2 25,225+15,226
3 30,740+19,056
4 28,099+17,278
5 20,911+14,075
6 22,521+15,877
7 13,791+7,754
8 27,531+18,368
9 31,025+18,138
10 30,415+17,980
11 19,537+11,408
12 21,034+11,524
13 25,362+16,701
14 18,349+10,388
Totals 335,098+205,790

24 October 2014

Callaway Gardens Announces the Return of Fantasy In Lights for the 2014 Holiday Season

The holiday season is right around the corner, and Callaway Gardens is preparing to welcome families to Pine Mountain for the 23rd annual Fantasy in Lights spectacular.

(The Fantasy in Lights holiday spectacular returns to Callaway Gardens for its 23rd year in 2014.)
Named one of the “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights” by National Geographic Traveler, Fantasy In Lights features 8 million lights stretching more than five miles, creating 15 larger-than-life holiday scenes.

Fantasy In Lights at Callaway Gardens sets Pine Mountain, Ga., ablaze from 21 November through 30 December 2014.

Visitors experience the light and sound extravaganza on the “Jolly Trolley” or by driving through the lighted scenes in their personal vehicle. The sparkling, animated displays include Snowflake Valley, a winter wonderland filled with enormous snowflakes and thousands of white lights; Magical Christmas Garden with a 24-foot wreath entrance; and Santa’s Workshop, showcasing animated versions of Santa’s elves busy making toys for the big night. Two “don’t miss” scenes are on Robin Lake Beach and are both narrated: ’Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Nativity.

Ninety-nine percent of the frames used to create the scenes in Fantasy In Lights are custom designed and built just for Callaway Gardens, taking 3,900 hours to install. In keeping with Callaway Gardens’ mission of connecting man and nature, every kilowatt of power used to light up Fantasy In Lights is compensated with “green” power. Callaway Gardens was the first destination in the Southeast to offset 100 percent of its electricity use by purchasing wind power credits.

Purchasing tickets in advance is strongly advised and provides discounted price. Advance ticket prices start at $17 for adults and $8.50 for children. Children 5 and younger are always admitted for free. Tickets purchased on the same-day of visit are $28 for adults and $14 for children; and will be sold on a first-available basis.

For more details, visit www.callawaygardens.com

23 October 2014

The Polling Does Not Match Georgia's Early Voting Numbers

This week, two polls were released measuring the level of support Democrat Jason Carter and Republican Nathan Deal have in their respective gubernatorial campaigns.

Insider Advantage says the race is a tie. SurveyUSA says Deal leads Carter by two points.

The numbers; the actual early voting numbers say something totally different.

The latest data from Georgia's Secretary of State's office says 293,818 people have cast early ballots.

According to analysis from the United States Election Project, the current demographic breakdown of Georgia's early voters is as follows:

63% White;

28% Black;

0.4% Hispanic;

0.8% Other; and

8.0% Unknown.

That equates to 185,105 white voters; 82,269 black voters; 1,175 Hispanic voters; 2,351 other voters; and 23,505 unknown voters. The numbers were rounded.

It is commonly accepted that in 2010, Gov. Deal received 77% of the white vote. That is 142,531 early votes in 2014.

The Democratic nominee in 2010 received 23% of the white vote, or 42,574.

It is also commonly accepted that blacks vote between ninety and ninety-five percent for the Democratic nominee. We'll low ball that, and say state Senator Jason Carter gets 95%. That is 78,156, leaving Nathan Deal with 4,113.

So with just the black vote and the white vote, Nathan Deal has 146,644 (54.8%) early votes. Jason Carter has 120,730 (45.2%).

It is highly unlikely that Democrat Jason Carter wins every last one of the 26,444 remaining votes. If Carter wins 95% or 25,122, he's still stuck at 49.6%.

It is possible though that people are switching their voters from Deal to Carter. Newly registered voters could swing the pendulum to Carter as well. But as things stand today, Governor Deal is looking pretty good in his bid for a second term.

Former UN Ambassador Picks Perdue for Senate, Says Nation Needs Well-Informed Decision Makers

John Bolton, who served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration, endorsed David Perdue for U.S. Senate this week.

Perdue is facing off against Mary Michelle Martin for the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss (R - Georgia).

"The United States has a responsibility to maintain an active and competitive global footprint on the stage of world affairs," Ambassador Bolton said. "To achieve this objective we need leaders that are unapologetic and committed to exercising every lever of American statecraft to ensure our nation's primacy in shaping and responding to the needs of our allies, and challenges of our enemies.

"The American people need well informed decision makers in Congress who will work tirelessly to defend our core strategic interests abroad," Bolton continued.

Since leaving the Bush Administration, Ambassador Bolton formed the John Bolton PAC to raise the importance of American national security in federal elections. The PAC supports and contributes to candidates who are committed to restoring strong American economic and national security policies that secure America's interests in a challenging world.

To date, the John Bolton PAC has contributed $465,000 to candidates running for elected office in the 2014 midterm elections, including a $5,000 check to Rick Allen, who is challenging Georgia Congressman John Barrow for the 12th district post.

22 October 2014

Serenbe Plans 200,000 Square Feet of Commercial Office Space in Chattahoochee Hills

Serenbe, one of metro Atlanta's best kept secrets, announced plans to build 200,000 square feet of commercial office space; including a stand-alone office building that will serve as the environmental engineering headquarters for Southeastern Engineering, Inc. (SEI)

(The Blue Eyed Daisy Bake Shop is part of a collection of businesses in Chattahoochee Hills' Serenbe community. Image courtesy The Serenbe Inn)
With the recession behind us and the growth and value of walk-up communities, we are excited to move forward with the first of 200,000 sq. ft. of planned office space, says Serenbe founder, Steve Nygren. "We are also planning a 110-room hotel, and will announce details in early 2015."

SEI is scheduled to open for business in June 2015; the new office was designed by architect Michael Landry and is being built by Stonecrest Homes. SEI has worked hands-on with Serenbe since 2002. The company’s role has been multi-faceted, providing the gamut of services including green infrastructure design and permitting, trail design, builder services, construction staking, final platting and more.

“Working with Serenbe has been a great opportunity for SEI to showcase its professional capabilities and be involved in the growth of the Chattahoochee Hills area,” says Chad Epple, PE and Vice President of SEI. “We value the relationship we’ve forged with the community, and look forward to continuing it. This new office location suits both our needs and the needs of the Serenbe community."

In addition to SEI locating their environmental engineering division in Chattahoochee Hills, Serenbe’s fast paced commercial growth will increase with the November ground breaking of the anticipated Textile Lofts. This will be Serenbe’s first apartment building, located in Phase II Grange with over 10,000 sq. ft. of ground floor retail that already has a tenant waiting list. These varied segments of office, commercial and nearly 100 new homes under construction, in permit or design, total over $85M in new construction for 2015.

Serenbe is pioneering a new community model connected to nature on the edge of Atlanta. It is a neighborhood with fresh food and fresh air that makes wellbeing as natural as nature itself. A community built with a sense of place; where people live, work, learn and play in celebration of life’s beauty. With over 400 residents and 180 homes, Serenbe is the first community to successfully build a self-sustaining organic farm, three farm-to-table restaurants and over 30 businesses all connected by 15 miles of nature trails in a 1,000 acre rural place based development.

20 October 2014

AJC Report: Unincorporated South Fulton County is One of Metro Atlanta's Biggest Ticket Traps

Since 2007, the jurisdiction of the Fulton County Police Department has been reduced to 107.3 square miles of land in unincorporated south Fulton County.

Fulton County has a total land area of 528.7 square miles and an estimated 2013 population of 984,293 [SOURCE: Fulton County Government].

A wave of municipalization, including the creation of four new cities and the annexation of unincorporated land into existing cities, between 2005 and 2007 narrowed the footprint of Fulton County; leaving the police department as the local law enforcement agency for an estimated 121,000 people or 12.2% of Fulton's total population.

Municipal police departments in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Chattahoochee Hills, College Park, East Point, Fairburn, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, Palmetto, Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Union City handle law enforcement in those fourteen cities.

Despite having such a small area to service in relation to the entire county, a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says tickets written by Fulton County law enforcement resulted in $16.7 million in fines between 2008 and 2013; the fifth highest in metro Atlanta.

Read the entire Atlanta Journal-Constitution report on ticket traps here.

Iris Prepares to Revolutionize Atlanta's Night Life with a New 21+ Experience

Iris, the promotion that brought the Imagine Music Festival to Atlanta in 2013, is planning once again to revolutionize the city's club scene.

Coming fresh off a "Best of Atlanta" award from Creative Loafing, Iris presents a new 21-and-up experience at the Havana Club called Iris Premium Thursdays.

Iris promises the ultimate electronic dance music (EDM) experience with superior bottle service and customer care. It's EDM for the more mature crowd.

Iris Premium Thursdays starts 6 November 2014, and ladies get complimentary entry. Guest list spots are still available, but won't last too much longer.

For details, visit IrisPresents.com.