My recent observations on the lack of respect given public school teachers in Georgia engendered a lot of responses but none better than this story sent to me by my friend, David Egan, co-director of the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island and a former educator himself. I commend it to those members of the General Assembly who seem to spend more time and effort these days trying to starve public schools to death financially and ...
I often write adventures from the past, but today I am writing about an event that is occurring this very moment - the Rome Confluence.
Last December, after a long day of meetings, I could think of nothing more important than going home and hugging my kids tightly. The Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy was everywhere that day - TV, newspaper, social media and general conversation. When a parent sends a child to school or when a teacher goes to work, it is assumed both will return home safe and sound at the end of the day.
Experts tell us that we need a vision of a desired outcome in order to achieve it. I've been thinking about some of the visions I have heard recently.
Are you sitting down? I had a meeting with House Speaker David Ralston last week at the Capitol. Got your breath yet? There's more. It was a good meeting.
Last week was another busy week under the Gold Dome. Bills were introduced on various topics and all of my committees met to discuss legislation and to learn about issues occurring in our State. The House and Senate went into a joint session on Thursday in the House of Representatives for the State of the Judiciary Address.
So far this winter we have had periods of chilly weather mixed in with more mild conditions. This is the time when we might expect to see some springtail activity popping up. I have already had one call from a household that was experiencing a sudden flush of tiny purple insects invading their house. This description is consistent with springtail activity, and if we continue to have mild and moist periods this winter, we can expect more springtail infestations.
As many of you recall, I opposed the recent charter school amendment, not because I oppose charter schools - I don't - but because I thought the wording of the amendment was duplicitous. I thought it grossly unfair that Gov. Nathan Deal could wax eloquently on the need for passage of the amendment but State School Superin-tendent John Barge was not allowed to talk about opposing it. It was like Goliath beating up David.
There are many things that I simply do not understand and that's OK. The fact that I am not able to take advantage of lots of electronic devices may make me feel stupid, but it does not raise my blood pressure. I have long ago acknowledged that my finite mind will not comprehend infinity or divinity. But arguments being floated against some measures of gun control not only surprise but outrage me.
In every middle school government class, there is a lesson about how a bill becomes a law-complete with charts, diagrams and textbook chapters. We spent many hours as students reviewing and memorizing the process, and of course, passed the quizzes with flying colors. But with age sometimes comes a fuzzy recollection of those important lessons we learned so many years ago, and the one step of the process I am asked about the most is ...
This past week was busy in the Georgia General Assembly. We voted on several bills, including House Bill 57, legislation designed to protect Georgians from the growing problem of synthetic marijuana and narcotic "bath salts." These designer drugs can cause extreme paranoia, suicidal tendencies, hallucinations or death in some cases.
Every month, I sit down to review my family's household bills and pay what we owe in full. Although there are always a few surprises (I remind my kids that they were not born in a barn, but the consequences of an open front door are reflected in the electric bill from time to time) my wife and I rearrange our budget to accommodate all of our monthly expenses. Even though our bills may fluctuate from time to time, we are careful to never spend beyond our means.
Last week the House and Senate appropriations committees began the arduous process of reviewing the governor's budget recommendations and turning them into the actual legislation that will ultimately guide all state spending. Gov. Nathan Deal started the process Jan. 22 and was then followed by the leaders of our state agencies, each of whom explained their agency's budget and answered questions from House and Senate members.
Knock. Knock. Knock. "Hello. Can I help you?" "Hi. Are you Teya Ryan, president of Georgia Public Broadcasting?" "Yes, I am. Who are you?" "I am Chip Rogers, your new employee. I used to be the majority leader in the state Senate, where I was responsible for such cutting-edge issues as preventing our body parts from being microchipped without our permission and for making people aware that the United Nations intends to take over local ...
My pilot eased back on the throttle, allowing our floatplane to start its decent toward the Wouri River. The massive river in Cameroon had flooded its banks because of the monsoons. Low clouds and spotty fog hid much of the river as we scanned for a clearing in the grey muck. As we skimmed just above the rain forest canopy an opening emerged and we drove down, pulling up just before the water.
It turns out that you can go home again. I recently established a chair in crisis communications leadership at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communi­cations at my beloved University of Georgia. UGA President-elect Jere Morehead, along with Dink NeSmith, chairman of the Board of Regents came for the ceremony and both made my family and me feel warmly welcomed on campus. That is something we haven't felt at my alma mater for a long time.
They are the best University of Georgia athletic team you have likely never heard of. They have won five national titles and go into next week's national championships one of the favorites to win it all again.
I stood on an oil rig miles off the coast of Africa as the final pipe joints were pulled from a just completed well. The mood was somber because we had not found oil. The following week I sat in an uncomfortable meeting where our corporate vice president declared my efforts had resulted in the driest well in years. Back in my office overlooking the beautiful San Francisco hills I pondered what to do next with the project.
When the phone rang, I knew who was on the other end: Skeeter Skates, owner of Skeeter's Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair in Greater Metropolitan Pooler. I can't tell you exactly why but the phone always sounds more urgent when Skeeter calls. One thing about Skeeter Skates. He gets right to the point. Niceties aren't his style.
In January, the Georgia State Senate started the first term of the 152nd legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly with a challenging task list. We were asked to find a way to fill a large anticipated Medicaid shortfall, evaluate the ethical behavior of elected officials, do more with less in the state budget, revamp the state's juvenile justice system, clarify points from 2012's tax code overhaul and find ways to expand access to higher ...
In my last column, I shared some observations about current happenings and promised some more. So here they are. As Christians observed Holy Week leading to Easter, one of the emphases has been on service and sacrifice.