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City Notebook
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Liakakis to run for county commission chairman

Longtime city alderman and recent mayoral candidate Pete Liakakis announced last week he will run for Chatham County Commission Chairman.

Liakakis will run as a Democrat, facing current Republican county commissioner Frank Murray in November. Current chairman Billy Hair is term -limited out of the running.

Beberman bids for magistrate judge

Saying he will run a grassroots campaign to become “the people’s judge of the People’s Court,” Mark Beberman announced his candidacy for Judge of Magistrate Court of Chatham County April 6.

Magistrate Court, often referred to as the “People’s Court” or “Small Claims Court,” handles civil cases of

$15,000 or less, landlord/tenant disputes, and some criminal matters.

Beberman has a total of 25 years experience as a Judge Pro Tem, Attorney, Licensed Professional Counselor, businessman and teacher. He is currently employed by Recovery Place, Inc.

Reynolds to represent U.S.

Savannahian J.R. Reynolds was named to the national Beach Ultimate Team and will represent the U.S. in the Masters Division of the 2004 World Championships in Portugal this August.

The beach game is an outgrowth of the traditional field Ultimate game. About 40 nations are expected to compete in Portugal.

SCAD wins historic preservation award

The Savannah College of Art and Design received an award for Preservation Service from The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation at its annual meeting on April 17 in Savannah.

The college was honored “for restoring and renovating more than 50 buildings for adaptive reuse.”

The Trust cited the importance of the school’s impact on the preservation of the city, “not only through its

attention to individual buildings but also through its continuing effort to weave the historic buildings of the college into the surroundings of downtown Savannah.”

General Assembly highlights

Here are a few highlights of the Georgia General Assembly’s recent concluded session. Gov. Perdue has called for a special summer session to reconcile the state budget. The Governor has 40 days after the session ends to veto bills, sign them into law, or allow them to become law without signing.

Same Sex Marriage - There will be a state constitutional amendment on this November's ballot allowing voters to define marriage only as a union between a man and a woman. Same sex marriage is already illegal in Georgia, ever since the General Assembly passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

Tweaking Hope - The amount of school fees covered by HOPE have been capped at current amounts starting this year. After that, HOPE's $300-per-year book allowance would drop to $150 after the first time HOPE's reserves decline from one year to the next. The second yearly drop in reserve funding would cut all book allowances, except for Pell Grant recipients, and the third such funding

drop would remove all fee coverage from HOPE. Starting in 2007, high school seniors will need a 3.0 grade point average to qualify for HOPE, not the current 80 numerical average.

Child Endangerment - Parents will be criminally accountable for negligent behavior that endangers their children. An example of negligent behavior would be if a child died from heat exhaustion after being left in a parked car. Georgia was the only state in the nation without a felony child endangerment law.

Pay Day Lending - Georgia law prohibits loans with interest above 60 percent a year, but many lenders routinely make loans beyond 500 percent interest a year. The new law says those who violate the state's criminal usury cap of 60 percent annual interest could be charged with racketeering and face as much as 20 years in prison and fines of $25,000 per transaction. Previously it was only a misdemeanor.

Water Planning - DNRs' Environmental Protection Division, with oversight from a water council, will come up with a statewide water plan by July 1,

2007. The General Assembly would have to approve the plan and if not the council could submit a revised plan. Sale of withdrawal permits would be prohibited.

Reducing Traffic - Motorists who get into accidents where no injury occurs can move their vehicles to the side of the road before police arrive on the scene.

Fleeing Police - It will be a felony to flee a police officer. Currently it is only a misdemeanor to refuse to stop a vehicle for a police officer.

Dredging Sand - Beach sand dredged from Georgia's coastal rivers must be used to replenish the state's beaches. w