Arce: “Le vamos a hacer la vida imposible” a Chile

El seleccionador de Paraguay, Francisco Arce, afirmó hoy que la Albirroja hará prevalecer su condición de local en Asunción frente a Chile este jueves “independientemente de quiénes sean los rivales”, y aseguró que les van a hacer “la vida imposible” a los actuales campeones de América.

Arce: “Le vamos a hacer la vida imposible” a Chile

Work on repairing Lula’s Cobb Street bridge has started

Work has started on the Cobb Street bridge that spans the railroad in Lula, and repairs could be completed within 30 days, City Manager Dennis Burgin said by email.

However, delays in delivery of materials or weather could interfere with that work.

The railroad, city and state Department of Transportation officials agreed in July that Norfolk Southern would pay for, and make, the repairs to the bridge.

Norfolk Southern plans to replace six timber beams supporting the bridge deck and one timber post in the repairs.

“Our understanding is that the work could be completed within 30 days. However, it could be delayed, in the event additional timbers have to be replaced that were not identified initially,” Bergin said by email.

The bridge closed in October 2015 after failing a Georgia Department of Transportation inspection. It also was closed from April 2011 to October 2012 for a similar issue.

Burgin said in July that the planned repairs should take care of the bridge needs for the foreseeable future.

“We feel confident the longevity of the bridge is being extended in its current form,” Bergin said in July about the expected repairs.

The city and DOT had said the bridge needed to be repaired, but Norfolk Southern in March proposed tearing down the bridge and replacing it. The railroad agreed to pay for the demolition and offered to make a cash contribution of $100,000 to Lula.

But the city maintained that the bridge over railroad tracks should be repaired.

The state DOT set a deadline of July 8 for the repairs on the bridge to start or Norfolk Southern could face fines of up to $500 per day.

The railroad, city and DOT agreed on the repairs July 5.

Work on repairing Lula’s Cobb Street bridge has started

Busy travel weekend expected for Labor Day thanks to lower prices than last year

It hasn’t felt like it recently, but this summer has featured the cheapest gas prices since 2004, according to GasBuddy.com.

That’s good news for drivers ahead of the Labor Day weekend, as Georgia gas prices — at $2.16 per gallon — were still more than 14 cents cheaper than a year ago as of Wednesday. And nationally, prices were 6.5 cents higher than the current Georgia average but a full 25 cents cheaper than the national average a year earlier.

See the cheapest gas prices in the area.

Garrett Townsend, Georgia public affairs director for AAA, looks for those prices to make a major impact.

“We expect Georgians to hit the roads in record numbers and make the most of the final (summer) holiday,” Townsend said.

Perhaps the best news of all for consumers, according to GasBuddy, is an estimated $18.9 billion in savings nationally on gas purchases compared to last summer.

“As the holiday approaches, it’s true that gasoline prices have risen across the country due in part to rumors of production cuts from OPEC which could begin to correct the balance of supply and demand, but take note, it could be just the third time in a decade prices are rising ahead of Labor Day,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, in a press release. “While today’s trend may lead to some frustration, gas prices are likely to soon revert, leaving behind what has been the cheapest summer at the pump in over a decade.”

The end of the summer driving season marked by Labor Day weekend should lead to less demand for gas and falling price, according to GasBuddy’s press release.

Summer gasoline requirements from the national Environmental Protection Agency end Sept. 15, which should make way for the cheaper winter blend to make its way back to gas pumps, according to GasBuddy.

Townsend said in a press release that through Aug. 29, Georgia road fatalities were up to 921 from 900 at the same time a year ago. He said that underscores the importance of wearing a seat belt, avoiding distractions and not driving while tired.

Busy travel weekend expected for Labor Day thanks to lower prices than last year

Georgia Chair to close after 102 years of business in Gainesville

After a century of building quality wooden furniture for Georgia homes and schools, Georgia Chair is closing.

The family-owned Gainesville business has produced American-made furniture primarily for school systems throughout the United States. But the Great Recession of 2008-09 meant schools were spending less on furniture, and President Harry Bagwell said the company never fully recovered.

“It’s the economy,” Bagwell said. “We realize 2008’s economy was just worse than we thought it would be. We thought we had a good recovery plan, and we worked on it pretty hard. We were going along really well with it, but some of the things we thought we could do, in the end, didn’t pan out as well as we hoped.”

According to a press release, school systems have shifted to cheaper plastic furniture since the recession in 2008 and 2009. While the company made “dramatic attempts” to adjust, it was unable to do so profitably.

“School furniture is a tax-based item, and the tax digest has not really recovered yet. So schools are just not spending their money on capital improvements as much as they are putting teachers back in classrooms,” Bagwell said. “It’s a normal progression, but it’s taken longer than most recoveries usually do.”

Bagwell said in a press release he was unwilling to compromise quality and “make a shoddy product” instead.

The company has been in the process of discontinuing operations for several months and will close officially by the end of September.

Bagwell is planning a close-out warehouse sale in mid to late September, providing an opportunity for folks to still own a piece of furniture from the company. The date of the sale will be set and announced in the coming weeks.

In 2014, Georgia Chair celebrated 100 years with plans for expansion. It signed an agreement with plans to distribute furniture in Saudi Arabia, but such efforts were not enough to keep the business afloat.

Over the company’s 100 years, its employees watched seven wars, seven stock market crashes, 16 recessions and two depressions.

It was founded by the Bagwell and Edmondson families. The Bagwells have continued to operate it to date.

Bagwell said he is grateful for the support in the community. He said many people reached out upon hearing the news of the closure, asking how they can purchase one more piece of furniture.

He said several men have called to share their stories of working for Bagwell’s grandfather or great-grandfather.

“You don’t always realize the reach you have,” he said.

After 33 years in management of Georgia Chair, Bagwell said he does look forward to doing something “new and different,” but he is grateful for his years with his family’s company.

“I’ve enjoyed doing what I’ve been doing,” he said. “This community has been very supportive of us. There’s a group of community business leaders who have helped me through the last few months, trying to give me some direction as we’ve worked through this. They’ve been invaluable, and we’re so appreciative of the community as a whole for its support.”

Georgia Chair to close after 102 years of business in Gainesville

City leaders oppose Hall push for consolidation

Officials in cities across Hall County appear universally opposed to plans to study merging local governments.  

“I would think we could … better serve our citizens rather than creating a larger, consolidated government that is further from the citizens,” Flowery Branch City Manager Bill Andrew said.

Residents across Hall County will be asked on Election Day whether they want a study conducted to determine the cost and feasibility of consolidating local municipal and county governments, just as was done in Athens-Clarke and Macon-Bibb counties.

If voters approve a study, county officials said they would contract with an independent agency, such as the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, to conduct it.

Commissioner Scott Gibbs has said he brought up the issue because the county is losing revenue as cities continue to annex unincorporated lands. And with about 73 percent of Hall unincorporated, Gibbs said, the likelihood of continued annexations is very real.

Andrew, meanwhile, said cities better understand what their citizens need and want in the community, and partnerships, such as road and paving projects, can be beneficial to both governments.

Oakwood Councilwoman Sheri Millwood said she also believes working relationships between local governments could be frayed by the push to study consolidation.

“That’s exactly how I feel,” Millwood, a lifelong Hall County resident, said. “I’m not in favor of it in any way, shape or form.”

These concerns are partly why Hall County Commissioner Jeff Stowe, whose district includes most of Gainesville, voted against putting the consolidation question to voters even though he thinks a merger could benefit local taxpayers.

Calls to merge the Hall County and Gainesville governments have been echoing for years, with voters across Hall overwhelmingly passing a ballot referendum in March 1992 that approved a study of how merging governments and services might benefit taxpayers.

“The study has been done before,” Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan said. “It’s not beneficial. Macon was in trouble. The city of Gainesville is not in trouble. We’re doing just fine.”

Gibbs has also floated the idea of turning all of unincorporated Hall into a city and then consolidating it with county government as a way to shore up the tax base.

Residents of “Hall City” would effectively see no change in how government is operated and how services are delivered, but it would prevent local cities from annexing additional land, Gibbs said.

Proponents believe consolidation would be good for economic development in the region.

But opponents say consolidation only works when it ensures more efficient public services and lowers costs for taxpayers. And there is also a need to protect against diluting the political power of blacks, Latinos and other minorities.

Lula Mayor Milton Turner said it’s a waste of money during a council discussion of consolidation a few weeks ago.
Moreover, it is unclear if Lula would be a part of any government consolidation plan because it’s located in more than one jurisdiction. Part of the northeast Hall city lies in Banks County.

“The question posed on the ballot will be placed before all Hall County voters, which includes those in the cities,” Hall County Administrator Randy Knighton said. “As the proposed referendum question states, various options could be reviewed.”

The study would aim to clarify these parameters, but for city leaders across Hall, a lot remains undetermined.

Clermont Mayor James Nix said the county has not reached out to local municipalities to gauge their opinions on consolidation, leaving many questions unanswered.

“I don’t know what would come out of it,” Nix added. “I don’t even know what they want to do. I don’t think much of it.”

City leaders oppose Hall push for consolidation