Aerospace giant invests in Georgia

  Atlanta may get most of the headlines when it comes to adding jobs in Georgia, but other areas of the state are notching victories of their own on the employment front.  The latest of these is Columbus, where aerospace company Pratt & Whitney recently announced its intention to add over 500 jobs at its plant near the city. Those 500 jobs are part of a $386 million investment in Georgia, where the company already employs over 1,200 workers at its Columbus facility, which opened in 1984.  Pratt and Whitney is mainly a producer of engines for airplanes for both private and government use.  Its parent company, United Technologies, is among the largest producers of commercial technology in the world. Governor Nathan Deal was pleased by the news, saying in a press release, “Georgia’s pro-business structural framework and deep talent pool help to retain industry leaders such as Pratt & Whitney. By adding these new high-quality manufacturing jobs, Pratt & Whitney is making a significant investment in the Columbus community and we look forward to strengthening this longstanding partnership as the company continues to grow.” The company will also partner with the Technical College System of Georgia, which will offer specialized classes to help students prepare for careers in advanced manufacturing.  ...

See the February 12th Georgia Gang on Youtube

  On Sunday’s Georgia Gang InsiderAdvantage CEO Phil Kent and company discuss the latest news from around the Peach State, including the bribery scandal at City Hall, evolving casino bills, and Tom Price’s confirmation as Secretary of Health and Human Services....

Legislators at odds over hunting, fishing fees

  Dueling bills in the state House and Senate stand at odds over the future of hunting and fishing fees, with the former looking to raise their cost and the latter to freeze prices.  The altered House Bill 208, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Trey Rhodes, would increase annual hunting licenses from $10 to $15 and fishing licenses from $9 to $15.   By bringing those costs  “to align with Southern averages,” the state could hire as many as 40 new game wardens and build miles of new roads to and on public forests.  State auditors have claimed that by raising license rates, the state could bring in nearly $7 million annually.  The version of the bill passed its subcommittee and will head to the House Game, Fish, and Parks Committee later this week. Meanwhile on the other side of the Capitol, state Sen. Bill Heath, another Republican, sponsored Senate Bill 48, which would freeze the cost of hunting and fishing licenses where they are for the indefinite future.  The bill quickly passed the Senate without much issue by a margin of 53-1.  Said Heath on the bill, “I think that we need to keep our citizens’ ability to access these hunting and fishing licenses and the rights to hunt and fish as economical as possible.” Should HB 208 pass we could see an interesting moment when two conflicting bills find themselves on the floor of the House and...

Ehrhart’s HB 51 seeks funding for campus awareness and prevention

  State Representative Earl Ehrhart is now in his second legislative session fighting the failure of due process on Georgia’s university campuses. House Bill 51 seeks to force the colleges and universities to give serious consideration to the accused as well as spur the system to provide funding to those same institutions for counseling, campus safety and law enforcement. At issue is the Title IX Education Amendments Act of 1972. This federal law’s purpose was to target discrimination in schools based on sex in federally assisted educational programs and was mostly known for its support of women’s athletics. It was later amended to go beyond sports and the classroom to include sexual harassment and assault. But why the controversy? Rep. Ehrhart, Chairman of Appropriations for Higher Education believes that it was President Obama’s “Dear Colleague” letter that pushed school administrators into over-reacting to the detriment of the accused. “There are so many young people that have had their lives ruined by schools not allowing the basic Constitutional right of due-process to play out that I felt I had to act on this” says Ehrhart. He also stated that his goal was “not to deprive the victims of their right to due-process” as well, but to push the system to provide the needed funds to insure that the rights of all involved are protected. “These heinous acts should be prosecuted to the fullest and this bill does nothing to stop or impede this process. What it does do is turn the investigation over to those qualified to perform a full and proper investigation for the fairness of all involved.” The...

Regional rail carrier adds to Georgia network

  Genesee and Wyoming, a company that owns regional railroads, announced this week it will buy the Heart of Georgia Railroad, giving G&W an unbroken network of small railroads stretching from Savannah across Georgia and into Florida and Alabama. The Heart of Georgia operates along 219 miles of track leased from the Georgia Department of Transportation from Midville to the Chattahoochee River near Mahart, Ala. Most importantly, it gives G&W a connection to the Cordele Intermodal Services center. The center, adjacent to the state-owned Cordele Inland Port, allows container and other freight traffic that comes in at the Port of Savannah to reach road traffic at I-75 quicker than other routes. And it can be reached directly by G&W-owned railroads. G&W also owns the 171-mile Georgia Central line, which runs from Savannah to Macon. That line connects with the Heart of Georgia at Vidalia. The Heart of Georgia offers interchange with major railroads CSX and Norfolk-Southern. It also interchanges with G&W-owned Georgia Southwestern Railroad at Americus. That line offers connections to the Hilton and Albany, also owned by G&W, which then connects to the Bay Line to Panama City. With connections to Columbus and Albany, the network will serve four of the nine largest metro areas in Georgia. “The Heart of Georgia is an excellent bolt-on acquisition that we expect will enhance economic development by providing an efficient lane across southern Georgia,” G&W senior vice president Andy Chunko said. “Its proximity to other G&W railroads unlocks operational efficiencies, while enhancing the railroads’ abilities to serve customers and generate new commercial opportunities across the region. “We look forward to the...

Atlanta’s famous Cyclorama painting on the move this week

  The Cyclorama painting of The Battle of Atlanta will move to its new location this week after about two years of preparations. The painting has been housed in Grant Park next to Zoo Atlanta since 1921. Its new home will be at the Atlanta History Center on West Paces Ferry Road.  Moving the giant painting will be a work of engineering in itself. The 23,000 square foot work of art and history had to be removed from its display and rolled into two giant rolls. Those rolls will be transported by truck to the new center, where the process will be reversed.  The rolls are on 45-foot steel rolls that weight 6,200 pounds each. Each spool will be lifted by crane through a 7-foot hole cut in the concrete roof of the building at Grant Park.  Over the next few months, the painting will be unrolled in its new location. The display will be complete with the addition of the restored Texas locomotive, from the Great Train Chase, The entire project is expected to open to the public in late 2018. The painting was first displayed in Minneapolis in 1886 as a symbol of the Union victory in the Civil War. It moved to Atlanta the next decade and became a symbol of the Confederate effort during the war. Those differing perspectives on the piece only add to its historical value, according to Atlanta History Center CEO Sheffield Hale. “These shifting viewpoints are precisely what make The Battle of Atlanta such a distinctive and important artifact. No other object can so vividly tell the story of how attitudes...

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