Report: State lags in public health spending

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

Georgia ranks 37th among states in per capita spending on public health, according to a newly released report.

The $18.48 that Georgia spent per capita on public health in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 is less than half the funding in some other Southeastern states, such as $59.22 in Alabama, $47.94 in Arkansas and $43.97 in Tennessee.

The Georgia public health budget did exceed those in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina, said the report, released this week by the Trust for America’s Health.

Georgia’s per capita amount increased from the $18.08 per capita amount spent in 2012-2013.

The report found that nationally, combined federal, state and local public health spending is below pre-recession levels at $75.4 billion in 2013 –- or $239 per person compared to $241 per person in 2009.

Georgia has a heavy disease burden, including high rates of HIV, hypertension, diabetes, tuberculosis, and low-birthweight babies. The state also has large percentages of people living in poverty and without health insurance.

“There is a direct relationship between what we spend and the outcomes we achieve,’’ said Marsha Davis, an associate dean at the University of Georgia’s College of Public

Health. “In the long run, the costs of poor health outcomes far outweigh the costs of prevention.

“Clearly funding for public health needs to be increased at all levels — federal, state, and local,” Davis said. “And we in Georgia, particularly, need to be advocates for more population health investments. This is critical for the health of Georgians and the economic viability of the state.”

In response to a query from GHN about the report, a Department of Public Health spokeswoman, Nancy Nydam, said in an email, “The governor and the Legislature have strongly supported the Department of Public Health through increased funding for such initiatives as local public health services, early diagnosis of autism, Alzheimer’s disease and hepatitis surveillance. The Department of Public Health is extremely grateful for this funding, which will impact the health of Georgians now and in generations to come.”

logoThe report said federal funding for public health has remained relatively flat for years. The budget for the CDC has decreased from a high of $7.07 billion in FY 2005 to $6.93 billion in FY 2015.

The CDC allocated $23.78 in public health spending per capita in Georgia in fiscal 2014, ranking the state 17th. That amount was a reduction from the $21.03 spent the year before.

The new report is the 10th of its kind from the Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit organization based in Washington.

The report urged that core funding for public health at the federal, state and local levels be increased.

“Stable, sufficient, dedicated funding is needed to support public health emergencies and major disease outbreaks — so the country is not caught unprepared for threats ranging from Ebola to an act of bioterror — and is better equipped to reduce ongoing threats such as the flu, foodborne illnesses and measles,” the report said.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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GDOL to help North Georgia Staffing hire workers in Cedartown

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor will help a staffing company, North Georgia Staffing, recruit more than 50 manufacturing workers for plants in Rockmart and Rome.

Several recruitments will be held in April and May at the GDOL’s Cedartown Career Center, 262 North Park Blvd. in Cedartown. The recruitments have been set for Friday, April 24; Wednesday, April 29; Wednesday, May 6; and Wednesday, May 13. All recruitments will be held from 12 noon to 2 p.m.

The company is hiring forklift operators, quality control inspectors, and robot welders and stamping operators.

Due to U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, applicants must be at least 18 years old. They must also have a high school diploma, or a General Education Diploma, and at least one year’s experience.

For a more complete description of the job openings, visit the GDOL’s website at www.gdol.ga.gov and click On-line Services, then Job Search. Always include the job order number in the search. The job title and number for the available positions are as follows: forklift operators (8286906), quality control inspectors (8286877) and robot welder/stamping operators (8286917).

Source: Cedartown Standard

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One of four defendants in B.B. gun shooting spree pleads guilty, gets 4 years in jail

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

One of four defendants decided it was time to face the music and got four years of jail time in a plea deal on charges for his involvement with a January vandalism incident in downtown Cedartown.

According to a press release from District Attorney Jack Browning, Ronald Ambrose Paul, Jr., agreed to a guilty plea to Aggravated Assault, Criminal Damage to Property in the Second Degree, and Criminal Trespass charges in connection with the January 2015, shooting at and damaging of windows of several businesses located on Main Street in downtown Cedartown, in addition to shooting at the windows of vehicles and, most significantly, the window of a motorist travelling on Main Street.

Paul admitted that on Jan. 21, 2015, he was a passenger in a vehicle that included co-defendants, Joshua Lamar Matthew, Michaela Dawn Bailey, Samantha Rayann Brumit, and James Edward Preston, and that he shot at and damaged the windows of several windows along Main Street, in addition to several vehicle windows.

Paul also admitted to shooting at a passing motorist and shattering the driver’s side window while the motorist’s infant child was in the back seat. Fortunately, no one was injured during the incidents.

Superior Court Judge Michael Murphy accepted Paul’s plea and imposed District Attorney Jack Browning’s recommended sentence of 20 years, to serve 4 years, in the state prison system.

The sentence also required Paul to pay restitution to cover the losses of each of the victims. As a further condition of the sentence recommended by Mr. Browning, the Court ordered that Paul have no contact with his co-defendants in the case, nor with any of his victims.

District Attorney Browning stated that he was satisfied that the Court accepted his recommended sentence, adding that “when this deviant little crime spree took place, I worked closely with law enforcement and spoke with each of the victims in the case at that time and assured them that my office would not tolerate this kind of behavior, and that our office intended to act quickly to see that justice was done in this case as swift as possible to send a message that the community is fed up with and has had enough of this sort of delinquent criminal behavior.”

Browning said he was pleased the court accepted his recommended sentence. According to the release he sent out following this morning’s sentencing proceedings, he said he and law enforcement worked together when the incident happened, and told victims his office wouldn’t tolerate “this kind of behavior.”

The release stated Browning felt the sentence also “sent a message that the community is fed up and has had enough of this sort of deliquent criminal behavior.”

Browning added that he felt the lengthy sentence, which includes serving 4 years in prison, was appropriate “not only because of the damage he did to the businesses, but, more importantly, because of the indiscriminate and utter disregard he showed for another’s safety when he fired at a random passing motorist, shattering her window as her infant child was seated only a couple feet away in the rear seat. For that young mother, the randomness and dangerousness of what happened to her with her young child in the car was a terrifying experience that she will continue to remember long after Mr. Paul has ‘served his time’ and is eventually released from prison.”

The case remains pending against the co-defendants at this time.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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Rockmart looking into downtown ordinances, enforcement following complaints from RBA

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

Rockmart city officials are promising prompt action after the Rockmart Business Alliance took the city to task Tuesday for allowing the downtown area to deteriorate to the point of civic embarrassment.

Kenny Teal, president of Rockmart Business Alliance, told the city council at its April meeting that maintenance of the properties and public areas in the “vital historic area” has continually declined since the city moved its offices from Marble Street to Piedmont Avenue, “We (merchants) have noticed continued disregard for appearance and upkeep of property by downtown property owners.”

Teal stressed that the city already has the appropriate laws on the books to govern the maintenance of properties downtown, but those laws aren’t being enforced. He advised the council the problem could be solved in large part by greater enforcement of the ordinances.

He invited city officials to “take a stroll” through the downtown area and “see the things,” he had described.

Uncollected litter, overgrown public areas and rundown buildings, are what tourists see when they come downtown, Teal said. The building at 101 Marble Street, visible to traffic coming into town, has had brown paper pasted over its windows for several weeks.

The Silver Comet Trail runs right through Rockmart’s downtown, he said. “You (city officials) have even staffed a trailhead for tourists who arrive here,” he said. “I can imagine what they think when they see the apparent lack of attention to the downtown area.”

Teal asked the mayor and council to consider a revision of ordinances that would give police officers a better stance when correcting the problems he described.

Mayor Steve Miller promised the problems would be addressed. “We will review the current ordinances,” he said in a later interview.

According to Miller, the idea is to “put more teeth” into existing regulations that would help control upkeep of property in Rockmart.

Meanwhile, City Manager Jeff Ellis said he would see that litter and overgrown grass was eliminated as soon as the weather clears.

Ellis reminded Teal and the Council that the continued inclement weather had slowed grass cutting throughout Rockmart.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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Aragon city council debates trash service discount for disabled citizens

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

The City of Aragon is putting together a plan to allow residents who are disabled to use trash service within the city limits at the same discounted rate senior residents of the community enjoy.

Public Works director Daniel Johnson put forth the plan, he said during Thursday’s regular meeting of the Aragon City Council, to give those residents who are disabled and living on a fixed income a break on at least one of their local bills.

Currently, seniors get trash service in Aragon for $14.45, as opposed to the $17 most customers pay for the service monthly. 

Though the council initially put the idea before a motion to vote, the measure was pulled following a discussion on how the city would prove who was eligible for the discount.

Council member Duel Mitchell first voiced his concerns, asking that whoever sought the discount should have to show evidence.

“It’s unfortunate that in today’s world we have people who try to abuse the system, but it happens all the time,” he said.

Mayor pro tem Curtis Burrus agreed, and asked that the measure be pulled until a criteria for how residents are proving they are disabled can be set up.

Though the city council didn’t initially approve of the measure, all agreed the idea was worth pursuing.

Mayor Ken Suffridge said in a phone interview this morning the disability program will be back up for vote during next month’s council meeting, set for May 21 at 7 p.m.

Check out the April 22 edition of the Standard Journal for more on the Aragon City Council meeting.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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Ensley: Carpenter bees are destructive

The Latest Local News from the Cedartown Standard

What looks like a bumblebee but sounds like a chainsaw? You may have seen one flying around the eaves of your home or boring holes in wood. This industrious little creature is the carpenter bee.

The carpenter bee becomes destructive by tunneling into solid wood of poles, fences, and buildings. The tunnels may extend to a depth of a foot or more and are divided into cells by partitions made of sawdust or plant fragments cemented together by their saliva. The food for the young is primarily pollen. These bees, which can sting, are a nuisance for about six weeks during April and May.

These bees are considered pollinators. They are not easy to control. However, there are some indications that the bees don’t attack oil-painted wood surfaces. You may wish to paint the eaves, under wooden steps, under porch railings and other surfaces prone to attack.

You can also use an insecticide to provide some relief from the carpenter bee. Spray walls and nesting sights with a jet spray aerosol. Treat the nest in late evenings when all bees have settled for the night. Then, patch up the holes.

Remember to follow all directions, restrictions, and precautions on pesticide labels. It is dangerous, wasteful, and illegal to do otherwise.

Source: Cedartown Standard

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