GDC Gets New Uniforms

The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) has unveiled new uniforms for its 5,500 dedicated Correctional Officers as part of the agency’s commitment to staff, as well as efforts to enhance
security. The uniforms were designed to be cooler and to provide a more streamlined process for Officers as they enter the facility.
“The new uniform has been a priority of the agency and I am proud to see it come to fruition,” said Timothy C. Ward, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections. “Our dedicated Correctional Staff work hard and they deserve to have a new look that matches their excellence, and we are excited to be able to announce the new uniforms while we are celebrating National Correctional Officers Week.”

A team of Officers conducted research on several designs, taking many factors into consideration such as durability, comfort and “breathability.” Staff were able to field test the designs prior to recommending the final uniform, which includes a polo-style shirt with the GDC logo and rank patches, and tactical cargo pants.

 

Press Release

Frozen P.F. Chang Entrees Recalled

More than 2 million pounds of frozen entrees have been recalled due to misbranding and an undeclared allergen, the US Department of Agriculture said.

The recall affects 2,094,186 pounds of P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Chicken Pad Thai and Chicken Fried Rice. The items may contain milk, a known allergen that’s not declared on the product labels.

“The products are … described as frozen, heat treated, not fully cooked and not shelf stable,” the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said Saturday. They were produced between Oct. 1 and April 11, 2019, with “Best By” dates of Sept. 26, 2019 through April 5, 2020.

The products were distributed to retailers nationwide and health officials are urging consumers who have them in their freezers to throw them away or return them to their place of purchase.

“There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to the consumption of these products,” the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said.

“The problem was discovered when Conagra Brands, Inc. conducted a routine label verification check and determined that the product did not declare milk on the label.”

The recall does not include products sold at PF Chang’s restaurants.

Phone Scam Warning

The Federal Communications Commission is warning consumers of an ongoing robocall scam that could fool people into paying per-minute toll charges.

FCC officials said they have received reports of “One Ring” or “Wingiri” scam robocalls targeting specific area codes in waves.

The scam involves multiple calls to potential victims in the middle of the night. The robocall will usually hang up after a ring or two. The goal of the scam is the get people to call the number back. Those return calls could result in unexpected toll charges for the victim.

The FCC says recent reports show the scam calls are coming from numbers beginning with “222,” which is the country code for the West African nation of Mauritania.

Here are some consumer tips from the FCC to protect yourself from phone scams:

  • Do not call back numbers you do not recognize, especially those appearing to originate overseas.
  • File a complaint with the FCC if you received these calls: www.fcc.gov/complaints
  • If you never make international calls, consider talking to your phone company about blocking outbound international calls to prevent accidental toll calls.
  • Check your phone bill for charges you don’t recognize.

Georgia’s First Execution of 2020

The first execution of 2020 in Georgia was carried out by the Georgia Department of Corrections on Thursday night.  The convicted murderer was put to death at 9:38 PM at a prison in Jackson.

Scotty Garnell Morrow had been convicted and sentenced to die twenty-five years ago. He was convicted of murder in the shooting deaths of his ex-girlfriend Barbara Ann Young and her friend Tonya Woods at Young’s Gainesville home in December 1994.

Morrow’s state and federal appeals were exhausted in February when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his case. The State Board of Pardons and Paroles, the only authority in Georgia that can commute a death sentence, rejected Morrow’s request for clemency following a closed-door hearing Wednesday.

Morrow reportedly apologized to the families of his victims before the death sentence was carried out.

Governor Kemp Signs Several New Bills

GOVERNOR BRIAN KEMP WAS AT THE GORDON LEE CAMPUS IN CHICKAMAUGA FRIDAY TO SIGN SEVERAL BILLS INCLUDING SENATOR JEFF MULLIS’ MONUMENT PROTECTION LAW.
THE LEGISLATION ALLOWS LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO PROSECUTE VANDALS WHO DEFACE MONUMENTS AND BANS MOVING THEM TO MUSEUMS.
GOVERNOR KEMPS SAID “IT IS TRUE THAT THERE ARE MONUMENTS IN OUR HISTORY THAT DO NOT REFLECT OUR VALUES… BUT WE CANNOT ERASE THEM FROM OUR HISTORY.  WE MUST LEARN FROM THEM”.
UNDER THE NEW LAW, WHEN MONUMENTS ARE MOVED, THEY MUST BE PLACED AT A SITE OF SIMILAR PROMINENCE.

Unemployment Numbers Down Across NW Georgia

According to the latest numbers from the Georgia Department of Labor, unemployment is down across Northwest Georgia and Chattooga County saw a dramatic decrease in unemployment claims over the past month.

All area counties in Northwest Georgia saw a decrease in the unemployment numbers.  Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says that the drop in unemployment is due to the job growth that continues to remain strong across the state.

Chattooga County’s unemployment dropped from 8.5% in February to 3.9% in March, according to the latest statistics.  Other area counties also saw decreases in unemployment with Walker County dropping from 5.4% to 3.6% and Whitfield County dropping nine-tenths of a percentage point to 4.4%.  Catoosa County continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in Northwest Georgia, and one of the lowest in the state at 3.3%.

Georgia Gas Prices Up According to AAA

Georgia gas prices are up this week compared to a week ago, according to AAA Auto Club. Georgia drivers are now paying an average of $2.73 per gallon for regular unleaded- 3 cents more than a week ago and 13 cents more than this time last month. However, drivers are only paying 1 cent more than this same time last year.

Motorists are paying an average of $40.95 for a full 15-gallon tank of gasoline; a discount of $1.05 from when prices were their highest last May.

“Gasoline prices nationwide continue to rise,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman, AAA- The Auto Club Group. “The market price for crude and gasoline are major factors as well as local supply and demand.”

In its latest weekly petroleum report, the Energy Information Administration revealed that while demand decreased slightly to 9.41 million b/d last week, the rate is more than 325,000 b/d higher than where it was last year at this time. Alongside healthy demand, total domestic stocks of gasoline fell by 2.2 million bbl to 225.8 million bbl last week – 11 million bbl lower than the total stock level during this same week in 2018. Two other contributing factors are the switch over to more expensive to produce summer blend gasoline and reduced gasoline production as a result of maintenance at refineries across the country. As a result, American motorists should expect increased pump prices as demand remains robust and stocks dwindle.

Gas Prices:

  • Most expensive metro markets – Atlanta ($2.79), Athens ($2.76), Gainesville ($2.75)
  • Least expensive metro markets – Albany ($2.61), Columbus ($2.59), Warner ($2.59)
  • Area averages – Gordon County ($2.72), Floyd County ($2.68), Chattooga County ($2.64), Walker County ($2.62), DeKalb County, AL ($2.49), Cherokee County, AL ($2.41)

American Red Cross – Sound the Alarm

This weekend, the American Red Cross is launching a two-week Sound the Alarm home fire safety effort to install 100,000 free smoke alarms in 100 high-risk communities across the country—including 12 smoke alarm installation events, in Georgia. Next weekend, Saturday, May 4th, the event will be held in Chattooga County at the Chattooga County Ag Building. “Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half,” said Jennifer Pipa, CEO for the Red Cross of Georgia.  “Every day across this country seven people die due to home fires—but working smoke alarms can be the difference between survival and tragedy. Today, we are asking for everyone’s support to help us Sound the Alarm and save lives.”

Efforts in Georgia got off to an early start, where last weekend in Tifton, nearly 60 volunteers installed more than 230 free smoke alarms to make well over 100 homes safer from home fires.

People can visit SoundTheAlarm.org to get involved with the Red Cross of Georgia’s home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events from April 27 to May 11. During Sound the Alarm events—which are part of the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign to reduce fire deaths and injuries—volunteers will go door-to-door with community partners to install free smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms and help families create escape plans.