Friday, January 23, 2009

GNB Weekend Update

Well, the weekend is here! What better way to go into finding out what's going on statewide right now.

A state lawmaker who has received criticism for wanting to merge two of Georgia's historically black public universities will speak at a conference in Atlanta next week.

State Senate Higher Education Committee chairman Seth Harp will be the featured speaker at the Georgia Alumni Association of Black State Universities legislative conference, which starts next Wednesday, and continues into next weekend. His plan to merge Albany State University and Darton College in Albany, as well as Armstrong Atlantic and Savannah State Universities, both in Savannah, has received opposition from alumni from both ASU and SSU. Savannah State's national alumni association is the sponsor of the conference.

Georgia doesn't have the authority to close a visitor's center for a former president.

That's the response State Senator George Hooks of Americus gave to state economic development officials during a budget hearing Thursday. He cites a law passed in 1977 saying the state can't close any facility that's near the home of any Georgian elected President. The Georgia Department of Economic Development wants to eliminate more than $186,000 for former President Jimmy Carter's visitor center in Plains as part of the state budget cuts. Economic Development chairman Ken Stewart says he and his department "will certainly look at other options".

The Georgia Department of Transportation is also a target of statewide budget cuts. Transportation commissioner Gena Evans appeared before approriators Thursday to convince them to raise taxes in hopes of closing her department's budget hole. But the Georgia Legislative Watch reports it could be sometime next year before lawmakers take action.

Finally, the ongoing investigation into salmonella contamination at the Blakely peanut plant has resulted in job losses. WSB-TV in Atlanta reports that nearly all of the 46 individuals employed at the plant were laid off Thursday. The three managers that still work in Blakely were in the process of putting together records to FDA officials at this moment.

Remember to visit the "GNB Report" section at for the latest statewide news all day and night. In the meantime, have a good weekend.

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