Georgia No. 2 for fraud complaints to FTC

  Georgia ranked second nationally for fraud complaints to the Federal Trade Commission in 2016 with about 1,137 complaints per 100,000 residents. The state was No. 11 in identity theft complaints with 124 complaints per 100,000 residents. The FTC released its annual report on consumer complaints this weekend, and it showed that imposter scams is a fast-growing type of fraud, but debt collections scams remain the top issue. For all types of scams, Georgia ranks behind only Florida for the most per population in the United States. In Georgia, almost half of the total complaints were about debt collection scams, while scams related to telephone and mobile services was second. Imposter scams, where the fraudster pretends to be someone in a position of authority or trust, is third in the state. The FTC issued a specific warning about that type of fraud. Imposter scams are a serious and growing problem, and you can be sure that the FTC will use all the tools at its disposal to address it,” Thomas Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said in a release. “That includes law enforcement actions against scammers and consumer education to help consumers avoid losing money.” A common theme to all types of fraud is that the scam often involves a wire transfer of money, which is impossible to reverse and difficult to trace. The FTC warned customers to be wary of anyone requesting payment by wire transfer, and said the government will never seek be paid by wire transfer. Most scammers made initial contact with their victims by telephone, the FTC reported. For Georgians...

Gwinnett looks at transportation future

Gwinnett County residents love their cars. That shouldn’t surprise anyone, but the point is being driven home at a series of meetings for citizens to give input on transportation plans. The second of six in the series was Thursday at Snellville City Hall, and county transportation director Alan Chapman again heard the same message. Through a series of interactive exercise, about 100 or so citizens picked new roads over expanded transit. That didn’t surprise Chapman, especially since the meeting was in the less densely populated southern end of the county. At a series of similar meetings last year, people along the I-85 corridor in the northern part of the county were more equally split between new and expanded roadways and improvements to public transportation. Overall though, the county still wants to get where it is going in a car. The meetings are to address both the short and long term. In fact, the meetings are called “Destination 2040” and are to update the county’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan for the next 25 years. Chapman agreed that in the near future road projects are likely to get the bulk of the county’s transportation money– but other projects will be funded. “We need to have a balanced transportation plan where we address all the needs,” he said. On maps around the edges of the room, county workers had set up maps showing a potential network of walk/bike trails, intersection improvements, new roads and transit expansions. Possibly the most popular exhibit for people browsing the displays was a proposed extensive of Sugarloaf Parkway from Georgia Highway 316 to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. “We are...

Braves home opener tickets at a premium

  The Braves have not started selling single game tickets, but ticket resellers are asking a steep premium for the April 14 inaugural game at SunTrust Park. Tickets for the home opener range from $120 to almost $800 per seat on reseller Stub Hub. On Monday, there were plenty of seats in most locations of the stadium for the opening game. Those prices are far higher than for the remainder of the opening series against the Padres. Fans buying seats on Stub Hub can get into the stadium and get an seat in the corner of the upper deck for as low as $38 for the April 15 game. The next two games have even lower ticket prices. It cost only $17 for the cheap seats for that Sunday, and Monday’s game for the opening weekend has tickets as low as $6. Even the March 31 exhibition game against the Yankees has a premium on the tickets at resellers. Stub Hub wants $108 for the cheapest seats for that game.  Another reseller, Seat Geek, has similar prices for the opening weekend and the exhibition game. The cheapest seats there on Monday cost $147 for the opener, $124 for the exhibition game. Tickets for the second home game were going for $46, and it cost just $12 for a seat to that Monday’s game. Emory professor Tom Smith, who follows economic trends in sports, said such a premium is to be expected, but he said it is impossible to predict whether ticket prices will rise or fall as the opener nears. The success of the team in its season-opening eight-game...

Lake Lanier Association sees continued pressure on lake

  Georgia won a major victory in its long-running water fight with Florida last week, but a group of Lake Lanier residents and businesses says it is too early to celebrate the victory.  The Lake Lanier Association warns that new bills in Congress threaten the victory, and the lake. A special master appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court issued a final report last week that basically accepted Georgia’s position in a suit brought by Florida. That suit blamed Georgia’s water use from the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers for a collapse of the oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay. Specifically, the association is worried about a bill introduced by Democratic Florida Senator Bill Nelson that would require new studies of water flow in the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint (ACF) basin below Lake Lanier and would likely require larger water releases from Buford Dam. “Needless to say, Nelson’s goal ignores the purposes for which the ACF facilities were built and seeks to restore natural flows in what is now a very unnatural system, with unproven impacts on the problems that Florida claims,” the association said in a release. The group is calling for Georgia’s congressional delegation to keep the bill from advancing beyond the committee stage. The lake is almost 10 feet below full pool, about where it has been for the past three months. It has been below average for much of the past decade, often dangerously so. When water levels drop more than a few feet below normal level, hazards to water recreation increase.  That is of immediate concern to those around the lake, but the long-term impacts can be...

Major live-work development planned for Duluth

  Legacy Partners, a metro development firm, hopes to build a high-density work-live complex near the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth. The proposal, which is scheduled to go before the Gwinnett Planning Commission, is specifically targeted to young professionals known as millennials. It will include, according to the developments rezoning application, 294 luxury apartments and 123,100 square feet on non-residential developments.  The project would have 323,400 square feet of residential space, an average of 1,100 square feet per unit. It also will have a separate amenity building.  Many of the residential units would be on the upper floors above commercial development on the ground floor.   The proposal is for a 29.47-acre parcel of land bounded by Georgia Highway 120, Meadow Church Road and Primerica Parkway. It would require rezoning of more than 21 acres to regional mixed use from commercial and office. In their application, Legacy Partners, represented by Mahaffey Pickens Tucker called their development a game-changer for the area. And it appears the planners are attempting to cut off a typical reason for opposition, the increase in traffic “The proposed development would provide shopping, housing and employment all contained within the property, and residents could perform most, if not all, of their typical daily activities on-site or within a short distance of the property,” the firm wrote in its application.  “The proposed development provides an excellent opportunity for high-quality in-fill development in an important area of the county.” The buildings with residential over commercial will front Highway 120. It would have office buildings in the rear of the property, closest to the Primerica campus.  The land for...

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