Tag Archives: Atkinson County

Victory on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1, and more voting for clean water

Voters in every county in Georgia approved Amendment 1, to dedicate state fees and taxes to their stated purposes. The statewide victory was 81.6%.

There is more work to do, to get the legislature to use this new law to stop taxes from being diverted to the general fund, so for example counties and cities can get more grants for tire amnesties. But now the mechanism is available.

That wasn’t the only good referendum news, and there is more voting for clean water to do.

[Victory: 82%]
Victory: 82%
Special thanks to the Suwannee River Basin cities of Adel, Hahira, and Valdosta, Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties, for passing resolutions in support.
See also previous blog post.

The other good clean water news is that Amendment 2 passed with 74.5% Yes, also passing in every county. That’s HR 1023: people may petition for declaratory relief from certain acts of this state or certain local governments or officers or employees.

Dave Williams, Capitol Beat News Service, 4 November 2020, Georgia voters pass three ballot questions by wide margins,

The sovereign immunity amendment stems from a 2014 Georgia Supreme Court decision that essentially granted the state blanket immunity from citizen lawsuits in a case brought by the Center for a Sustainable Coast. The group had filed suit alleging the state Department of Natural Resources was illegally allowing alterations to private property in fragile coastal wetland areas protected by state law.

So that’s two victories for clean water by the people of the state of Georgia.

As everyone probably knows, there are Georgia runoff elections on January 5, 2021, with the usual early voting and absentee ballots. Both Georgia U.S. Senate seats are in the runoff.

A Public Service Commission runoff that was scheduled earlier will also be on January 5, 2021. WWALS has long advocated for GA-PSC to make responsible decisions on power plants and pipelines that affect all our waters, from water levels to coal ash to mercury.

Once again, we urge you to vote for clean water.

As an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, WWALS cannot Continue reading

The real trash problem: the companies that make it

People shouldn’t litter, but individuals are not the real litter problem. The companies that make all those throwaway items are the problem. There are fixes, which we can implement. One fix Georgians can vote on right now: vote Yes on Amendment 1 please!

There was no lack of trash on the Alapaha River in September, at Berrien Beach Boat Ramp in Berrien County and at Berrien Beach in Lanier County. We found the usual cigarette butts, shotgun shells, and yes, a few used diapers.

Plus tires. To help stop tires being dumped by rivers, please vote Yes on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1 to stop fee diversions.

We found fewer shotgun shells and tires but more of everything else at Twomile Branch in Valdosta, Sugar Creek, and the Withlacoochee River in August.

Come to the big cleanup this Saturday on the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers in Lowndes County and on Sugar Creek, Onemile Branch, and Twomile Branch in Valdosta October 10, 2020!

We expect as usual the most numerous items will be plastic and glass bottles and cans.

[Bottles]
Bottles

Sure people shouldn’t litter, but Anheuser-Busch and other beer makers, as well as Nestlé, Coca Cola, and Walmart, should stop making and selling disposable bottles and cans.

Fifty years ago those things had deposits on them, and people would collect them for the cash. In economic downturns such as right now, that could be useful to a lot of people, and a lot more cleanups would happen. Sure, there was still trash back then, but not as much.

People still do in Hawaii and nine other states: California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Vermont, plus Guam. They don’t have nearly as big of a litter problem.

But Georgia or Florida do not have such container deposits. Maybe we should change that.

No, recycling will not solve this problem. There’s no market for plastic to recycle, and recycling has been pushed by big oil for years as an excuse to make more plastic throw-away containers. Laura Sullivan, NPR, 11 September 2020, How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled.

You’ve probably seen the famous ‘Crying Indian’ ad from 1971: Continue reading

Please vote Yes on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1: dedicate fees to their stated purpose

Update 2020-10-07: On Steve Nichols radio show, with video.

Don’t you think taxes and fees charged by a state should go to the purposes the state said they would? Well, in Georgia, many such funds have been mostly diverted to the general fund, and then who knows where. You can vote in this election to stop that: vote Yes on Amendment 1.

[Six cities and counties for Amendment 1]
Six cities and counties for Amendment 1: Adel, Hahira, and Valdosta, Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties.

For example, the state of Georgia charges a fee on every tire sold, with funds supposed to go to cleaning up old tires and other waste management. Yet more than $50 million of those funds have been diverted to other purposes. It’s not just tires. Other examples of diverted funds include ones for indigent defense and judicial programs, peace officer training, and teen driver training.

There is no organized opposition to Amendment 1. Pretty much the only opposition stated during passage of the authorizing bill was about being able to use funds during an emergency. The bill explicitly allows that. The bill passed the Georgia Senate unanimously and the House with only one vote against.

Organized support for Amendment 1 includes six cities and counties in the Suwannee River Basin: the cities of Hahira, Valdosta, Adel, and Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties, each of which passed a resolution in January 2019 in support of the bill that authorized putting Amendment 1 on the ballot for 2020. Also, the Valdosta Daily Times supported it in an editorial. WWALS supports Amendment 1, as do, so far as we know, all the Riverkeepers of Georgia.

Amendment 1 on the ballot

This is how Amendment 1 appears on the ballot:

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were intended?

( ) YES

( ) NO

Please vote YES.

Addition to Georgia law

Below is the text that Amendment 1, when approved, will add to subparagraph (r)(1) to paragraph VI in section 9 of Article III of the Georgia state constitution: Continue reading

Berrien Beach Boat Ramp Clean Up, Alapaha River, 2020-09-12

Update 2020-09-13: Pictures.

Cleanup on the Alapaha River in Berrien County, Georgia, at Berrien Beach Boat Ramp.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch N/A, end 12 PM, Saturday, September 12, 2020

Put In: Berrien Beach Boat Ramp. Concrete boat ramp on the north side of GA 168, west side of Alapaha River, in Berrien County, Georgia. About 20 minutes east of Nashville, GA, same southwest of Pearson. Less than 45 minutes southeast of Tifton and northeast of Valdosta. About an hour north of Madison, Jasper, Live Oak, or Lake City, FL; two hours north of Gainesville, FL.
The boat ramp is public, but the Berrien (west) side of the river is owned by Langdale Timber Company. Also known as Berrien Beach Landing. Float downstream under the bridge to the sand beaches of Berrien Beach.

GPS: 31.159076, -83.045554

Take Out: Berrien Beach Boat Ramp , which is on the WWALS Alapaha River Water Trail.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.
Actually, you don’t have to bring a boat to this one: there’s plenty of trash to clean up right at the boat ramp.

Free: it’s a cleanup. However, we recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, meetup

Bret Wagenhorst: Public access on north side of bridge, with cement strip boat ramp at higher water level but no facilities. Access road is unpaved and about 1/4 mile long. Nice sandy beach 2014-10-20
Photo: Bret Wagenhorst, Public access on north side of bridge, with cement strip boat ramp at higher water level but no facilities. Access road is unpaved and about 1/4 mile long. Nice sandy beach 2014-10-20.

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Winner: Within these WWALS #2 2020-04-18

The winner of the second Within These WWALS contest is…

Shirley Kokidko, of Pearson, Atkinson County, Georgia!

She got a packet of WWALS photo notecards for Swamps and Springs from WWALS charter board member emeritus Bret Wagenhorst.

WWALS notecards, Swamps and Springs

Because all these plants and animals are found in the Okefenokee Swamp, headwaters of the Suwannee River.

Remember to send a comment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the titanium strip mine proposed near the southeast corner of the Swamp.

[Map: Floyds Island middle of Okefenokee Swamp]
Map: Floyds Island middle of Okefenokee Swamp
on the WWALS Suwannee River Wilderness Trail map.
The proposed Twin Pines Minerals Mine site is towards the lower right.

Quiz #4 will start shortly, but first, here are the answers to Quiz #2.

Name the flower: Continue reading

Coal Ash, Trust Funds, and Water Quality Testing at Lowndes County Bird Supper in Atlanta 2019-02-13

Last night Georgia legislators from all over the state, including numerous committee chairs, feasted on quail supplied by Lowndes County and Valdosta in the annual Bird Supper, a six-decade tradition of local lobbying in the Georgia state capitol.

Packed house, Inside

I thanked Jeff Jones (District 167) for his new coal ash bills, and reminded other legislators to vote for them this year, like they did his earlier ones last year: Continue reading

Pictures: Hike to the Dead River Sink 2018-01-27

It was a nice day for a Hike to the Dead River Sink in the Alapaha Quest on the Alapaha River Water Trail, with Practicing Geologist Dennis J. Price of Hamilton County, Florida. Here are some pictures and a Google map from Saturday, January 27, 2018.

[Almost there, 13:16:34, 30.5837666, -83.0535975]
Almost there, 13:16:34, 30.5837666, -83.0535975

You can come along when we do it again in January 2019. Continue reading

Radioactive well water, coal ash, fertilizer, and Tifton superfund sites 2018-10-29

Best to test for arsenic, and maybe lead, radon, and uranium, in your well and hot water heater water. In March 2013, South Health District and the Georgia Department of Health recommended testing for arsenic. That was three years after Janet McMahan discovered the arsenic problem after her family members and pets got cancer. As we wrote a few months before the Health Departments finally made their recommendation, after Janet got Erin Brockovitch involved, you may also find lead and uranium. The problem has not gone away. Also, you may find radon.

Uranium and Lead, Well water

Janet wrote Monday:

This Water is from Well on private property 3 miles from Willacoochee. Sample taken from Water Heater. Lady says she uses all of the hot water when taking a shower each morning. Looking for her Radon Level now.

Radon, Well water

Janet added:

Radon sample collected at Same Well. Continue reading

Alapaha Quest, Naylor Boat Ramp @ US 84, 2018-09-15

Update 2019-09-14: We’ve moved downstream, to put in at Naylor Boat Ramp and take out at Mayday Landing. This section does have some rough rocky spots with rapids for a short distance. The takeout at Mayday is a little difficult due to soft sand to climb up to the parking area. Bring plenty of water to drink and food for the day. Bring a PFD to wear. Plan to arrive early enough to unload gear and begin the shuttle to the take out.

Experience the wilderness of the Alapaha River Water Trail. The water is barely above our recommended low, so bring a rope in case we have to drag boats.

When: 8 AM, September 15, 2018

Put In: Naylor Boat Ramp @ GA 84, 6955 US 84 E, Naylor, GA 31641. Lowndes County hasn’t actually built the boat ramp yet, but they have bought the park and we can put in there, just west of the Alapaha River off of the north side of US 84.

GPS: 30.92507, -83.03867

Take Out: Mayday Landing @ Howell Road, 749 Howell Road, Stockton, GA 31649, in Echols County. We will all help each other drag boats up the steep sand slope.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

With trash can Gretchen asked for, 2018:05:16 11:10:37,, Beach
Naylor Boat Ramp beach with trash can Gretchen asked for, 2018-06-16.

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Fundraising for Water Trail signs

Update 2019-11-08: Donate through GA Gives, including if you wish for Brochures.

Update 2019-04-26: Price of metal signs at the water at boat ramps and landings. Just the signs, Westbound

Update 2018-04-27: Pictures of Lakeland Boat Ramp signs in the ground.

Update 2018-03-15: People want to know how much the signs cost:

  • Road Signs
    • $150 one road sign
    • $300 pair of road signs for a landing or boat ramp
  • Signs at the water near a boat ramp or landing: if you donate for a specific location, your logo can go on the signs there, and on the water trail brochures and web pages

Any amount of donation helps put up the road signs that let people know the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT) exists and directs them to the landings, as well as the kiosks that inform people about what to expect nearby, so we get more people paddling the Alapaha River who will take care of the river.

The pair of metal signs at the water also work for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT). Here is an example pair of metal signs at the water for Troupville Boat Ramp:

[Side by Side]
Side by Side

The Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT) is a reality. We are ordering have bought the road signs from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) which has planted them on roads leading to landings, and we need to pay for them. We have a small amount of money from Continue reading