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Staff / Margot Carvallo <br>Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks at the Fulton County Republican Party luncheon Tuesday at Heritage Sandy Springs. The event benefited Maggie's List, a nonprofit that helps women run for federal office.
Staff / Margot Carvallo
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks at the Fulton County Republican Party luncheon Tuesday at Heritage Sandy Springs. The event benefited Maggie's List, a nonprofit that helps women run for federal office.
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Ohio governor mulling presidential run speaks in Sandy Springs
by Margot Carvallo
May 26, 2015 06:08 PM | 305 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Margot Carvallo <br>Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks at the Fulton County Republican Party luncheon Tuesday at Heritage Sandy Springs. The event benefited Maggie's List, a nonprofit that helps women run for federal office.
Staff / Margot Carvallo
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks at the Fulton County Republican Party luncheon Tuesday at Heritage Sandy Springs. The event benefited Maggie's List, a nonprofit that helps women run for federal office.
slideshow
As he considers running for president in 2016, Ohio Gov. John Kasich sounds like he is leaning toward that decision. Although the Republican did not announce if he is running for president for the 2016 election, he set a clear position regarding different national and international topics concerning the current White House decision makers. “We have 10,000 people in our prisons who have mental illness or drug abuse problems. They need to be treated not ignored, so they end up in jail. We are treating them now,” he said of the need for improving Medicare for residents with mental illnesses during his speech at a luncheon hosted by the Fulton County Republican Party at Heritage Sandy Springs. The event benefited Maggie’s List, a Tallahassee, Fla.-based organization that helps women run for federal office. Kasich also talked about his budget control advances and adjustments in Ohio. “I got the state to be $2 million in the black and cut income taxes by 50 percent,” he said of Ohio’s debt, which was $8 million when he took office in 2010. He was re-elected last year and won in 86 of the state’s 88 counties. While he is still not disclosing when he will announce his candidacy, Kasich said he thinks he might be the only one who has national security and executive experience and has also worked in the private sector, putting him in a unique position to run. Following his speech, Kasich answered questions from the media. He was asked to weigh in on current international topics, including responding to former President Jimmy Carter’s recent statement about the unwillingness of Iraq’s army to fight. “When they throw away their guns and run the other direction, you just cannot hope that the Iraqis are going to get their act together,” he said. “That’s going to take about a hundred years [of American army training]. We ought to set up a coalition even if it means American boots on the ground.” During his speech, Kasich said, “We as a country have to work domestically on personal responsibility, resilience, empathy, teamwork, family and faith. “I’m working to provide opportunities for everybody to be lifted up. The government should be improving education and decentralizing power.”
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Transformation took perseverance at Lithia Springs High School
by Bill Baldowski
May 26, 2015 05:14 PM | 305 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Although Lithia Springs Assistant Principal Jessica Ainsworth said she was proud to be named a national educational leadership group’s 2015 assistant principal of the year, she was more pleased with the effects of her staff’s efforts on the school’s learning environment. Ainsworth, who is married and the mother of a 7-year-old, said the teachers and staff not only turned things around academically but in other areas before she received her award recently from the National Association of Secondary School Principals. “We are evaluating, on a daily basis, how we are performing in our efforts to meet our goals in such areas as behavior and attendance, as well as preparing our students for college or a career,” Ainsworth said. Ainsworth said it has taken hard work and perseverance to convince students to display better behavior and discipline. “We had students who did not understand the school’s behavioral expectations in the hallway and in the classroom,” she said. “It was through behavioral intervention with these students and our support of them that we were able to correct these problems.” Ainsworth said that, over a period of time and through sacrifices school personnel made, including giving their time to address student behavior, that the positive changes took place. The changes included increases in reading scores among all subgroups, such as students with special needs.
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Douglasville Police Chief Womack suspended pending ‘use of force’ probe
by Bill Baldowski
May 26, 2015 05:03 PM | 355 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An investigation is continuing this week into the alleged use of excessive force by Douglasville Police Chief Chris Womack during an early March arrest on the side of I-20 following a high-speed chase. The Douglasville City Council on May 14 voted 6-1 to suspend Womack with pay until June 25, pending the results of the investigation into the arrest of Morris Tommy Slaughter, 27, of Atlanta, near the Fulton Industrial Boulevard exit in Fulton County. Douglasville Assistant City Attorney Suzan Littlefield said her office is still in the process of researching and reviewing records, including any emails or correspondence sent or received by Womack regarding the incident within the last 30 days. In documents on the case received from Douglasville through an open records request, City Manager Bill Osborne wrote the incident began when an off-duty Douglas sheriff’s deputy became suspicious of the activities of two men at Arbor Place Mall. A physical altercation ensued and officers learned of the incident from an E-911 operator, he said. According to excerpts from an incident report filed with Osborne’s report, Douglasville Officer Stacy Fuller said he and another officer saw the suspect’s vehicle on Chapel Hill Road at Douglas Boulevard. The chase then began after Fuller turned on his blue lights and two Douglas sheriff’s deputies joined the pursuit. The suspect’s vehicle entered nearby eastbound I-20 and accelerated to speeds of 130 mph. At that point, Fuller reported Womack entered the chase in an unmarked vehicle with a blue light flashing. Fuller said heavy traffic prompted him and the deputies to slow their vehicles, and he lost sight of Womack’s and the suspect’s vehicles. They kept pursuing the suspect on I-20 through Cobb County and into Fulton County. “The chief then asked in a distressed voice where the other units were,” Fuller reported. Fuller said he then saw the suspect’s vehicle had wrecked in the I-20 median area. While approaching the scene, Fuller said he saw Womack opening the driver side door and pulling on the driver. “As I stopped, I saw that the chief was bleeding from his forehead and had his pistol drawn on the suspect. At this point I did not know if the suspect had struck the chief or if [the suspect] was armed.” Slaughter was arrested on charges of hindering law enforcement, fleeing, attempting to elude an officer, possession of marijuana and other charges. He reportedly was still in the Douglas County Jail last week. Osborne said the location of the wreck placed it within the view of a mounted Georgia Department of Transportation monitor which continually transmits a video feed to GDOT’s traffic monitoring operations. A Georgia State Patrol officer “happened to be looking at the monitor as it showed the arrest and he was bothered by what he saw,” Osborne wrote. “He subsequently reported it to his supervisor who then made Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard’s office aware of it,” Osborne said. He said Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner told Osborne that Howard “or someone in his office contacted the [Georgia Bureau of Investigation] on March 4 and asked the GBI to investigate the situation.” On March 6, GBI Agent Rocky Bingham interviewed the Douglas County sheriff’s deputies involved in the incident as well as Fuller and Womack. “Fortner said Bingham contacted him on March 5 to let him know Mr. Howard’s office wanted the GBI to conduct a ‘use of force’ investigation into actions of members of the Douglasville Police Department surrounding Mr. Slaughter’s arrest,” Osborne said. Fortner was told the Georgia State Patrol officer “witnessed behavior that he thought was unprofessional and abusive,” Osborne said, quoting a letter from Fortner to Douglasville Mayor Harvey Persons. Fortner said he received Bingham’s report on April 29 and contacted Persons on April 30. He stated in a letter that he was turning over information about the investigation to Persons because he had no jurisdiction over a Fulton County case. Osborne said Fortner later showed all city council members the dash cam video from Fuller’s vehicle. The city manager said in his letter to the city council the department’s standard operating procedure regarding vehicle pursuits stated the on-duty supervisor should investigate and prepare a report on any police pursuits regardless of the outcome. “No written report was prepared and filed,” Osborne wrote. He also said the department’s standard procedure was for a city Pursuit Review Board to meet within seven days of the event and review the case. The board includes the deputy chief, major of operations, training officer and either a patrolman or detective. However, the board never met, he said. Osborne said he and Assistant City Manager Marcia Hampton met with Womack and Deputy Chief Gary Sparks May 4 concerning the arrest. Osborne said he did not learn of the event until Mayor Harvey Persons told him about it on May 1. Osborne said he asked Womack why the city manager’s office was not informed of the March 2 incident and the circumstances surrounding it.
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McHenry Hydrangea Festival to attract thousands to Douglasville
by Bill Baldowski
May 26, 2015 04:55 PM | 284 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The largest annual tourism event in Douglas County is returning for its eighth edition June 6 and 7. The annual Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival is scheduled both days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Douglas County Courthouse in Douglasville and other locations throughout the county. Festival coordinator Suzanne Hudson said more than 5,000 attended the two-day festival last year but she expectS that number to increase this year because of a national honor given to one of the festival’s main attractions. The event’s Standard Flower Show, which is held in the atrium of the Douglas County Courthouse, was rated best in the nation for 2014 by the National Garden Clubs Inc., she said. “With the notoriety we achieved from last year’s festival with regard to the Standard Flower Show, the popular events that are already a part of the festival and a new event we have planned, we should eclipse last year’s attendance,” she said. Organizers are encouraging Douglasville residents to decorate their mailboxes, lamp posts, fences and trees with flowers and ribbons to celebrate the event’s return, Hudson said. Keep Douglasville Beautiful Inc. will select a winning entry from among photos sent to city hall or emailed to info@keepdouglasvillebeautiful.org. A first for the festival this year is the Hydrangea Run 5K. Registration for the race begins at 6 a.m. at the courthouse; with the race starting at 7 a.m. “This 5K should be very popular this year and we anticipate it should remain a popular part of the festival,” Hudson said. “The course for the event runs through the decorated streets of Douglasville.” Each year, the Douglas County Commission selects a theme for the Standard Flower Show. This year’s theme, “Ooh, La, La,” is rooted deeply in French culture. “Our 2015 Standard Flower Show theme blossom this year is the hydrangea macrophylla, the classic white French hydrangea which grows well in Douglas County,” Hudson said. The Standard Flower Show will be open Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hudson said. Last year’s show featured 437 horticultural entries, 24 design entries and 47 special entries, she said. In addition to the flower show, the festival is set to include five separate markets featuring a host of different items geared to feature very different products. The separate markets include art and crafts, flowers, a farmer’s market and home and garden specialties. The artists market features original art, pottery, sculpture, jewelry, original home décor, garden structures and antiques while the craftsmen market focuses on craft creations. “The Flower Market features plants and flowers while the farmer’s market has fresh food items from local gardens while the home and garden market features local products and services,” Hudson said. If these markets and attractions were not enough, the festival will also feature a presentation by designer and author Tara Dillard titled, “Beautiful, Easy Landscapes.” Tickets are $10 for Dillard’s presentation, which will be held in Citizen’s Hall at the courthouse Saturday at 2 p.m. In addition, an annual festival feature, the Tour of Private Gardens, will feature six gardens in the Douglas County area.
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