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Biden making trip to Georgia to thank state that gave ‘voice to his presidency’

ATLANTA — When President Joe Biden arrives in Georgia on Thursday, he won’t just be commemorating his first 100 days in office. He’ll also be taking a victory lap in the state that put his expansive legislative agenda within reach. Biden is set to visit former President Jimmy Carter in his hometown of Plains and headline a drive-in rally in Gwinnett County the day after rolling out a sweeping $1.8 trillion plan to expand access to education and bolster family assistance programs that would be partly financed by higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans. The proposal is a part of a package of ov...

Biden to meet with Jimmy Carter during Georgia swing this week

President Joe Biden will meet with former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn during his swing through Georgia to celebrate his first 100 days in office, White House officials said. Biden is set to visit Carter in his hometown of Plains in southwest Georgia during the trip Thursday, which will also involve a drive-in rally at an unspecified location in metro Atlanta. Biden and Carter have a long and fruitful relationship. Biden was a first-term U.S. senator from Delaware when Carter took office, and the Georgia Democrat said he was his first and most effective supporter in the upper c...

Our 36 favorite novelty songs of the past 60 years

What makes a hit song memorable is often how it evokes certain emotions, typically big ones like joy, heartache and sexual desire. On much rarer occasions, a tune gets released to the universe to evoke a chuckle, a raised eyebrow, a “what is that doing on the radio, and why do I like it?” Those in the latter category are often called novelties or oddballs, or in more modern parlance, viral sensations. They pop up in every decade under different circumstances, sometimes capturing a pop culture zeitgeist or the public’s momentary lunacy. None are featured in Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 songs of...

Georgia firefighter dies during first shift

ATLANTA — A Georgia fire department in Camden County is mourning the loss of a firefighter who died April 17 while on duty during his first shift. Efren Medina, a 21-year-old EMT, died after responding to a medical call with the team early last Saturday, St. Marys Fire Chief Tom Lackner told Action News Jax. "He was known for his long time passion for firefighting and his love of the fire service. ... We greatly appreciate the outpouring of sympathy, support and condolences during this very difficult time," the department said in a Facebook post. Lackner told Action News Jax the department has...

Businesswoman image key to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s rise

ATLANTA — Marjorie Taylor Greene relentlessly repeated her central argument: Democrats were destroying the country, and she was ready to fight them. In stump speeches and on social media posts, in television ads and on campaign signs, she spread her message “Save America, Stop Socialism!” She fired an AR-15 gun from the back of a Humvee in one campaign ad, blowing up a sign with the word “socialism” painted in red letters. The stunt drew national attention to her candidacy. “This is why I’m running for Congress, America’s the greatest country in the world,” she told voters in her northwest Geo...

Absentee ballot rejections declined after Georgia installed drop boxes

Fewer Georgia voters returned their absentee ballots too late in last year's presidential election, when many of them used drop boxes to avoid the risk of slow mail delivery. Ballot drop boxes won't be available for last-minute voting in future elections. Georgia's new voting law limits drop boxes to early voting locations that close the Friday before election day. Election data obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows that ballot rejections plummeted as a record number of voters, over 1.3 million, cast absentee ballots. The figures were provided by the secretary of state's office in...

As Chauvin trial concludes, Rayshard Brooks’ case drags on

ATLANTA — Their names have been intertwined since last June, when Rayshard Brooks, 27 was fatally shot in a downtown Wendy’s parking lot after resisting arrest for a suspected DUI. Less than three weeks earlier, in Minneapolis, George Floyd, 46, died after police confronted him for allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. For nine minutes and 29 seconds, Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck and back. This week, Chauvin was remanded to state custody after jurors found him guilty of two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter for actions that led to Floyd’s death. As family...

Spa shooting survivor stood face-to-face with gunman, begged for mercy

ATLANTA — Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz had some free time after running an errand on March 16 and decided to stop by Young’s Asian Massage in Woodstock. Five minutes later after he got there, he was pleading for his life. “Don’t shoot me,” Hernandez-Ortiz, who was released recently from the hospital, pleaded with the gunman. In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the attorney for Hernandez-Ortiz said he was in a massage room when he heard gunshots. Hernandez-Ortiz opened the door and stood face-to-face with alleged gunman Robert Aaron Long. He dropped to the ground and begged Long to...

‘Black Panther 2’ will stay in Georgia and director/co-writer Ryan Coogler explains why

“Black Panther 2″ will stay in Georgia, said director and co-writer Ryan Coogler in an essay where he expressed his negative feelings toward the recently passed voting law but explained why he chose not to leave the state. He said he spoke with voting rights activists in the state and came to “understand that many of the people employed by my film, including all the local vendors and businesses we engage, are the very same people who will bear the brunt of SB202. For those reasons, I will not be engaging in a boycott of Georgia. What I will be doing is using my voice to emphasize the effects o...

Grassroots fury at Kemp bubbles up in county GOP meetings around Georgia

The grassroots anger at Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and other top state officials who refused to overturn former President Donald Trump's election defeat bubbled up on Saturday at several county GOP meetings across the state as activists gathered to censure or rebuke the GOP leaders for their stances. Republican delegates in more than a half-dozen counties passed resolutions over the past week assailing Kemp for not doing more to help Trump's false claims of voting fraud. And several more also punished Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who have also drawn Trump's wra...

Former Vice President Mike Pence undergoes heart procedure

Former Vice President Mike Pence received a pacemaker Wednesday. Pence underwent the procedure at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus in Falls Church, Virginia, according to a statement. He is expected to fully recover and return to normal activity soon, according to the statement. “I am grateful for the swift professionalism and care of the outstanding doctors, nurses and staff at Inova Heart and Vascular Institute. ... My family has been truly blessed by the work of these dedicated health care professionals,” Pence said in the statement. In 2016, Pence, then the governor of Indiana, disclosed his m...

Stone Mountain Park denies permit for Confederate Memorial Day service

ATLANTA — The Georgia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will not host its annual Confederate Memorial Day service at Stone Mountain Park this year. The gathering was proposed to take place Saturday. But the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, the state authority that oversees management of the popular and divisive park, declined to grant the necessary permit. In a letter dated March 31, memorial association CEO Bill Stephens listed three reasons for the denial. Foremost among them, Stephens cited an ordinance declaring large events should be denied if they create “a clear and prese...

Republican Kelvin King to challenge Warnock in 2022 Senate contest

ATLANTA — A Republican owner of a metro Atlanta construction company entered the race for U.S. Senate on Monday with an attack on “cancel culture” and a pledge to run against Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock as a business-minded outsider. Kelvin King becomes one of the first in a likely wave of Republicans to challenge Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church who is up for full six-year term in 2022 after narrowly winning a January special election runoff. King was one of former President Donald Trump’s most prominent Black supporters in Georgia and founded a political outr...

Georgia hopefuls begin lining up to run in 2022 -- with a likely Kemp-Abrams rematch topping the ticket

ATLANTA — Only three months removed from supercharged, nationalized elections, Georgia candidates are already lining up to run for statewide office, the U.S. Senate and congressional seats in 2022, seeking a head start in what will be another tumultuous political season in one of the nation’s premier battleground states. The race will likely be topped by a rematch between Gov. Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams, the titans of the state Republican and Democratic parties, and a still-developing field of GOP candidates angling to challenge newly elected U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock. Some elected officials...

He heeded Trump’s call to fight -- and now a Georgia teen awaits the consequences

ATLANTA — Long before he stormed the U.S. Capitol, Bruno Joseph Cua flashed warning signs he was headed for serious trouble in his hometown of Milton, Georgia. Perched behind the wheel of his Toyota pickup with a Trump 2020 flag streaming from the truck bed, the 18-year-old harassed drivers whose vehicles showed support for Joe Biden or liberal causes. He joined social media sites favored by the extreme right and filled up his feeds with screeds that became more strident following Trump’s Nov. 3 loss. He wrote of acquiring an assault-style weapon illegally. And when Trump called supporters to ...

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