Speaker Ralston Attends Trump’s Infrastructure Announcement

News, Politics

ATLANTA – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) attended President Trump’s infrastructure announcement at The White House this morning.  Speaker Ralston was one of several local and state elected officials invited to participate in a series of discussions with the President as well as members of his cabinet and senior staff about the plan and the infrastructure needs facing our nation.

I appreciate President Trump’s emphasis on public-private partnerships, as well as rural areas of America, as we look to address the nation’s infrastructure needs,” said Speaker Ralston.  “Much like his Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, this measure will make a real difference in projects of profound economic importance like the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project or long-overdue efforts like expanding broadband infrastructure into rural areas.  This is another example of President Trump focusing on creating jobs and expanding economic opportunity across our country.  I am honored to represent the State of Georgia at this important announcement.”

President Trump’s infrastructure plan looks to leverage the power of public-private partnerships to improve the nation’s infrastructure including transportation, water/sewer and other critical needs like broadband internet access.  More details on the President’s plan are available on The White House website at http://www.whitehouse.gov.


U.S. Penitentiary Lt. Arraigned on Excessive Force and Obstruction of Justice Charges

State & National



ATLANTA – Lieutenant Gregory McLeod, a senior correctional officer at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, has been arraigned following an investigation of an allegation that McLeod used excessive force against an inmate in 2016.  McLeod was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 24, 2017, and has been charged with unnecessarily assaulting the inmate, writing two false official accounts about the encounter, and lying to federal investigators about his conduct.

“We recognize that detention officers have a difficult job as they maintain order and protect inmates in our nation’s prisons,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “This officer, however, allegedly abused his power, committed a violent and unnecessary assault on an inmate, and then filed a false report to cover up the incident.”

“The FBI continues to play a vital role in ensuring that all credible allegations of civil rights violations involving law enforcement officers are appropriately investigated.  That was certainly the case with U.S. Bureau of Prisons Lt. McLeod, wherein allegations of excessive force were received, resulting in a federal investigation, grand jury indictment, and today’s arraignment in federal court.  The FBI would like to remind the public, however, that the vast majority of law enforcement officers and corrections officers provide admirable services while often under stressful and time constrained situations,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the indictment, and other information presented in court:  McLeod, who worked as a supervisor at the prison, allegedly strip-searched an inmate in his office in front of three other correctional officers.  After the inmate complained that the strip-search was taking too long, McLeod repeatedly punched the inmate in his face, injuring him.  Following the assault, McLeod wrote an incident report and a separate memorandum about the encounter in which he falsely claimed that the inmate swung a closed fist at McLeod and attempted to assault other officers before the officers could apply hand and leg restraints.  The indictment charges that McLeod used excessive force and thereby violated the inmate’s constitutional rights. The indictment also accuses McLeod of intentionally impeding and obstructing the investigation of the incident by writing false reports and lying to two federal agents.

Gregory McLeod, 44, of East Point, Georgia, was arraigned on these charges during a hearing in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Catherine M. Salinas.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges.  The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by the DOJ Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Alan Gray and DOJ Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Mary J. Hahn are prosecuting the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

GBI Issues Synthetic Opioids Alert




Decatur, GA – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is issuing a public safety alert

regarding illegal synthetic opioids. In the last four months, 17 deaths have been caused by the

drugs U-47700 and/or furanyl fentanyl, equal to the number for all of 2016. U-47700 and

furanyl fentanyl are both Schedule I drugs and used in the same manner as heroin. Schedule I

drugs have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical treatment use in the

United States. The drugs are distributed in either powder or tablet form.

The GBI Crime Lab has received approximately 50 cases containing U-47700 and furanyl

fentanyl this year. Many of the cases contained three or four different additional opiates.

Because furanyl fentanyl and U-47700 are lethal at very low doses, law enforcement and the

public should use caution when handling these drugs. They can be inhaled or absorbed through

the skin and are extremely toxic in the smallest quantities.

U-47700 or furanyl fentanyl may cause symptoms such as shallow breathing, pinpoint pupils,

nausea or vomiting, dizziness, lethargy, cold or clammy skin, loss of consciousness, and/or heart

failure. Should someone come in contact with the drugs and an overdose is suspected,

administer Naloxone immediately and call 911. Multiple doses of Naloxone may be required.

One Metro-Atlanta law enforcement agency recently seized approximately 8 kilograms of the

furanyl fentanyl GBI Crime Lab and U-47700 mixture. A field test of the drugs was initially negative before

GBI Crime Lab testing identified the substance. The danger and complexity of the opioids led to

the GBI issuing a statewide officer safety alert. Law enforcement has been warned to use

extreme caution and utilize personal protective equipment when handling or packaging any

synthetic opioid.

Due to the diligence of the Georgia General Assembly, legislation was introduced this year to

ban both U-47700 and furanyl fentanyl. The Governor signed this law and it went into effect on

4/17/2017 upon his signature.

Joining Two Georgias


Gilmer recently became host to seven representatives from the Republic of Georgia as they visited our state to study and learn agriculture and entrepreneurship from our local businesses.

Open World - Paris Receives PostcardThe delegates met at the Bank of the Ozarks at Highland Crossing to begin their day as they have traveled to several counties in Georgia, and spent an entire day in Gilmer County. Dedicating two hours before noon, the representatives Nana Bagalishvili, Ketino Khvedelidze, Shalva Lagadze, Mindia Kavtaradze, Tinatin Gholadze, Nini Panjikidze, and Ketevan (Kety) Gviniashvili-Reaves met with County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, Chairman of the Joint Development Authority and Post Commissioner Travis Crouch, Post Commissioner Dallas Miller, and Executive Director Debbie Sadler.

The Open World Leader Center (OWLC) administers the Open World Program as an independent government agency of the United States Congress and is in the Legislative Branch.

The Open World program builds the groundwork for enduring cooperation by bringing emerging government and civic leaders to the United States to work with their American counterparts and facilitates continued relations. They have hosted more than 24,000 leaders in all 50 states since 1999.

According to Sadler,

The Mission of the OWLC is to introduce rising leaders of emerging countries to the importance of legislative functions in creating and sustaining democracies. This is done through the introduction of young foreign leaders to the American democratic governing systems and free market operations at every level:  federal, state, and local.  The Center also maintains a continuing relationship with the network of leaders it has enlisted, especially with those from countries critical to American national security interests.

As they met with our local leaders, Chairman Crouch began the meeting formally welcoming the visitors to our county and extending our great pleasure to host them for this trip. Telling the delegates a little about Gilmer County, Crouch compared one of Georgia’s highest mountains, Shkhara, standing at 17,000 feet to our local mountains closer to 4,000 feet.

Open World - R&A OrchardsChairman Paris spoke next, introducing our visitors to Gilmer County’s different types of agriculture, business, and industry. He walked them through Gilmer’s poultry going from the farms to the local processing plant as well as our growing grape industry and vineyards. Discussion continued in detail to explain how these industries are affecting Gilmer’s Agri-Tourism as well as the Apple Festival in October.

Questioning the way we advertise and promote the “Agri-Tourism” concept, the discussion continued as our visitors began thinking of how to incorporate these ideas and take them home to the Republic of Georgia. The delegates began asking if they could be invited back to our county in order to see the festival as well as opportunities to send workers here to work in our orchards and local farms to learn and see some of the farming technology they do not have access to at home.

Open World - Mindia Honey Charlie ParisAs the meeting continued, two delegates offered thanks by offering gifts to Chairman Paris including Mindia Kavtaradze giving him one of his jars of honey from his homeland as Kavtaradze owns one of the largest Bee farms in the country “hosting 1,500 Bee Families.” Paris also was given a postcard from the delegates depicting the Village of Shovi and Barakoni Church.

After their meeting and a following Lunch at the Davis House, the delegates toured the Water Vendors By Us on Progress Road and stopped into R&A Orchards before ending their day at Cartecay Vineyards on Clear Creek Road. Each stop allowed the delegates to look closer into our county’s industry, but also to ask questions and dig deeper into the entrepreneurs who have built these businesses.

Open World - Cartecay VineyardsAt Cartecay, the delegation sat down to a wine tasting comparing Gilmer’s wines to some of their own as well as European wines. Each visit became more than just teaching the delegates from Georgia, however. Speaking back and forth, they became very open and shared their own ideas and techniques with their hosts. Kavtaradze applauded Gilmer saying he could not imagine a country more hospitable than his own, but being in Gilmer exceeded his expectations saying, “I think these two Georgia’s are actually a part of one heart.”




#PresidentElectDonaldTrump Tweets about China, Taiwan and Carrier keeping Jobs in Indiana


Donald Trump has decided to talk directly to the people and bypassing the media using Twitter.

We read his tweets concerning China, taking a call from the President of Taiwan and the 35% tax on business who leave the United States and want to ship their product back into the US.

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