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Georgia without a back-to-school 2017 tax holiday
Tennessee offers exemptions July 28-30

Because Georgia legislators did not approve a back-to-school sales tax holiday for 2017, parents and students will need to cross the state line if they want to shop tax-free.

That is an inconvenience for those residing in the northwestern corner of the state, as both Tennessee and Alabama continued with their tax-free weekends this year.

It is too late to shop tax-free in Alabama, where tax exemptions on clothing, computers, supplies and books were offered the weekend of July 21-23.

But to the north, Tennessee's tax holiday will be this weekend, July 28-30.Exemptions apply to purchases of clothing ($100 or less per item), computers ($1,500 or less) and school and art supplies ($100 or less per item). Apparel priced at more than $100 will be taxed. Tax will also be collected on jewelry and handbags as well as sports and recreational equipment.

Though popular with consumers, some local governments claimed the loss of tax revenue — some estimate that figure as high as $70 million in Georgia — is too great a burden to bear.

Catoosa County's chief financial officer, Carl Henson, said having a sales tax holiday is "not a deal breaker" though it is not revenue neutral.

Using 2016 figures for July, he said LOST (local option sales tax) receipts were down about $24,000 and SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) collections were off about $34,000 compared to 2015.

Walker County, which has far fewer retail outlets than Catoosa, is not expected to see a big boost in revenue due to the tax-free weekend having been cancelled for 2017.

"The last time we had one we didn't really notice a decrease," Walker County financial officer Greg McConnell said. "Our sales tax collections are so small that it doesn't make much of a difference. Most people seem to travel outside the county to shop — most seem to go to Fort Oglethorpe to shop."


Tips to staying healthy during extreme heat

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services news release

Editor's note: Though lower temperatures and frequent rains are forecast this week, the next few weeks are prone to dangerously high combinations of heat and humidity.

Following the heat advisory issued by the National Weather Service for your local area, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reminds local residents about steps they should take to protect their health from the extreme heat.

People suffering from heat stress may experience heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale, and clammy skin; fast, weak pulse; and nausea or vomiting. Early signs include muscle cramps, heat rash, fainting or near-

fainting spells, and a pulse or heart rate greater than 100.

People suffering from heat stress should be moved to a cooler location to lie down. Apply cool, wet cloths to the body especially to head, neck, arm pits and upper legs near the groin area where combined 70 percent of body heat can be lost; and have the person sip water. They should remain in the cool location until recovered with a pulse heart rate is well under 100 beats per minute.

Signs of the most severe heat-related illness, heat stroke, include a body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit; hot, red, dry or moist skin; rapid and strong pulse; and altered mental status which can range from confusion and agitation to unconsciousness. Call 911 immediately and take steps to cool the person.

While children are especially vulnerable to heat illnesses, they may be unable to explain what is wrong but may act differently than usual. In extreme heat, consider changes in a child's behavior to be heat stress.

Similarly, people with communication-related disabilities may have difficulty expressing a heat-related problem. In extreme heat, look for a change in behavior as a sign of heat stress.

Older adults face additional risk of heat stress and heat stroke, for a variety of reasons. The National Institute on Aging's fact sheet explains more about how extreme heat can affect seniors.

To help prevent heat-related illness:

• Spend time in locations with air-conditioning when possible.

• Drink plenty of fluids. Good choices are water and diluted sport electrolyte drinks (1 part sport drink to 2 parts water) unless told otherwise by a doctor.

• Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing

• Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours

As air conditioning use increases, electrical grids can become overwhelmed causing power outages. In power outages, people who rely on electricity-dependent medical devices, like oxygen concentrators, may need assistance so check on family members, friends and neighbors who use this type of equipment.

Community organizations and businesses can help local emergency managers and health departments plan for the community's health needs amid the summer heat – and other emergency situations that cause power outages – using the HHS emPOWER Map. The HHS emPOWER Map provides the monthly total number of Medicare beneficiaries' claims for electricity-dependent equipment at the national, state, territory, county, and zip code levels.

For more information about how to prevent heat-related illnesses visit the HHS public health emergency preparedness website at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/. For information about how to better prepare for disasters and other emergencies, visit www.ready.gov.


Chickamauga renaissance plan begining to show retail growth

Plans to revitalize the historic town of Chickamauga, crafted over a period of months filled with meetings and surveys, are beginning to bear fruit.

Particularly regarding growth of the retail operations, both in its downtown business district and along U.S. Highway 27 to the east.

The downtown merchants have partnered with local government to host a monthly series of "First Friday" block parties. The purpose is twofold, these block parties offer opportunities to showcase small shops or businesses, and at the same time entertain residents and attract visitors.

Fanci Moore, the city's director of tourism and events, said July's event attracted nearly as many people — roughly 3,000 — as actually live within the city limits.

The city is not only drawing visitors, it is adding to its core of boutiques and mom-and-pop shops.

As an example, the city council this month approved leasing a city-owned building at 110 Gordon Ave. to Shannon Salisbury, owner of Chic Avenue Designs. Salisbury has relocated her business from Rossville.

In addition to renewed interest downtown, the area's newest Hardee's has opened at the intersection of U.S. Highway 27 with Lee and Gordon Mill Road and, about a block away, construction has begun on an O'Reilly's Auto Parts store.

And while there are new — or, in the case of Chic Avenue, vintage retail growth — the city council has adopted an ordinance regarding trees.

City Manager Micheal Haney described the new ordinance as making certain the maintenance or removal of shade trees is regulated. The ordinance applies to trees on public spaces and in right of ways — not on private land.

The "tree ordinance" will establish rules for the trimming/removal of trees as necessary to protect the safety of utility workers and maintain delivery of utilities either above or below ground. The new law also requires replacement of trees that are removed.


"Super Speeder" fee adds $200, or more, to drivers' fines

In case you haven't heard, this entire week, the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety and law enforcement agencies throughout the State of Georgia are teaming up with their counterparts in Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee in "Operation Southern Shield", a week-long speed prevention and enforcement initiative in each of their respective states on interstates, major highways and local roads.

With Operation Southern Shield well underway, the Department of Driver Services would like to take this opportunity to remind motorists of Georgia's Super Speeder law.

Georgia's 'Super Speeder Law' defines a Super Speeder as a driver convicted of speeding at 75 mph or more on a two-lane road or at 85 mph and above on any road or highway in the State of Georgia. In addition to the fines and fees paid to the jurisdiction where the speeding offense took place, a $200 Super Speeder state fee is to be paid by the convicted driver to the State of Georgia.

Many customers do not expect this additional state fee which may arrive after local and county citations have been adjudicated. Failure to pay the Super Speeder fee within 120 days of official notice will result in the suspension of the offender's license or driving privileges. Payment of a $50 reinstatement fee, in addition to the $200 Super Speeder fee, will then be required to reinstate their license or driving privileges.

DDS Commissioner Spencer R. Moore added "Please observe the speed limit and practice safe driving habits no matter where you are driving."

Super Speeder fees can be paid online at https://online.dds.ga.gov/onlineservices/.