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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Texas gains the most in population; Rhode Island loses most

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the state of Texas had the most population growth, while the national growth slowed the most since the 1940s.

"The nation’s overall growth rate is now at its lowest point since before the baby boom,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. “Our nation is constantly changing and these estimates provide us with our first measure of how much each state has grown or declined in total population since Census Day 2010.”

States with the most population gains include Texas (529,000), followed by California (438,000), Florida (256,000), Georgia (128,000) and North Carolina (121,000). Combined, these five states accounted for slightly more than half the nation’s total population growth.

California remained the most populous state, with a July 1, 2011, population of 37.7 million. Rounding out the top five states were Texas (25.7 million), New York (19.5 million), Florida (19.1 million) and Illinois (12.9 million).

Among states and equivalents, the District of Columbia experienced the fastest growth between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011, as its population climbed 2.7 percent.

The only three states to lose population between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011, were Rhode Island (1,300 or -0.12 percent), Michigan (7,400 or -0.08 percent) and Maine (200 or -0.01 percent).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Child support payments to custodial parents decline

(Photo of children at National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

According to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, only 41.2 percent of custodial parents received the full amount of child support owed them in 2009, down from 46.8 percent in 2007.

Most custodial parents (82.2 percent) were mothers.

“Child support income is especially important to families in poverty, and the report shows that increasingly, custodial parents find themselves below the poverty level,” said report author Timothy Grall, a survey statistician in the Census Bureau’s Program Participation and Income Transfers Branch.

All in all, $35.1 billion in child support was owed in 2009 and 61 percent of that total was received.

The report, Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009, focuses on the child support income that the nation’s 13.7 million custodial parents reported receiving from noncustodial parents living elsewhere and other types of support, such as health insurance and noncash assistance.

These custodial parents had custody of 22.0 million children under age 21 while the other parent lived somewhere else.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Austell Community Taskforce readies to act for positive change

A team of over a dozen area activists, volunteers, and brand marketers met at the South Cobb Recreational Center in Austell, Ga. last night to discuss how they are going to launch a positive change movement in education, employment, and justice.

Having recently received its 501(c)3 tax exempt status, the Austell Community Taskforce (ACT) is developing initiatives to spur economic empowerment.

ACT President Mike Murphy pondered on how to move his community forward.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to help this area develop,” said President Mike Murphy.

Rev. Coakley Pendergrass said one of the most important issues the community faces is the vote on allowing a light rail system to be built in South Cobb. Coakley is urging people of all faiths to get out of their church, synagogue, or mosque boxes and improve their communities.

“We’re so caught up with daily survival, but we must remember that folks need to look at us differently, that we are not going to be ignored. Don't get bamboozled,” Coakley said. He urged the group that “now is not the time to be apathetically spiritless.”

Bruce Redd, an IBM retiree and Vietnam era veteran, agreed with Coakley. “This light rail issue is important because it will generate good paying jobs. The trades will be up for grabs...if we’re not careful, we will be left out.”

Thomas R. Carter, the first African American to run for a Commissioner’s seat in Cobb County, was adamant and impassioned. “We must understand that it is imperative that we get the transportation referendum passed. And after that’s done, if we don’t have qualified, trained people to accept those jobs, they will bring people in from the outside, so we must let the masses know what is at stake,” Carter said.

“This is an underarm biggie we're getting ready to mess with here,” Carter concluded.

Another major issue discussed was South Cobb school redistricting which will affect 1500-1600 students, 60% of which will be transients who will need supplemental services.

"The quality of education that is being delivered must improve," said one attendee. "This is the message the new superintendent, who is on his maiden voyage in Cobb, must hear," he said. "We have a right to know how principals are being evaluated, and we need to voice our opinions about those evaluations."

The group has a laundry list of activities and projects planned as well as questions they will be asking elected officials.

1. Although crime is a major issue in the area, why was the local police precinct closed?

2. Pedestrian safety is a concern, and when will a much needed hawk lighting system be installed at Six Flags Crossing?

3. A trades training program needs to be established to increase the number of qualified electricians, railroad engineers, and carpenters. How can ACT partner with other organizations, namely CobbWorks, Cobb County Commission, Century 21, Partnership for Southern Equity, etc.?

4. To combat health care disparities, a health fair in cooperation with Good Samaritan Hospital needs to be planned to address the high incidence of stroke, obesity, and improper dieting.

5. A community survey needs to be disseminated to get a pulse of citizen’s needs and how they can help their community.

6. A “register to vote” campaign needs to be established to educate and get voters to the polls, especially during primary elections. This will be a main priority when the new transportation bill/referendum is on the ballot. This will involve light rail and bus systems which could bring hundreds of jobs to the area.

It was noted that ACT is a non-partisan organization that refrains from supporting any political candidates or parties.

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas window shopping for luxury cars

SPSU student and model Ilea Johnson is looking at buying a car after graduation when she launches her career as a CPA.

It's the holiday season, and why not go to your local luxury car dealer to do a little wishing and see what discounts they may have on cars.

Ferrari Maserati of Atlanta in Alpharetta had an open house Saturday and invited their club members as well as interested parties to look at their used cars.

Refreshments were served. The dealer was very discriminating about who he allowed to sit in cars.

New cars have to be ordered from the factory. Ferraris in the showroom ranged from $100,000 used to $1 million for a custom model.

Also on sale were all types of accessories which were discounted 10%, including stockings, kiddie cars, designer tins, and watches.

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Eddie Long's wife calls it quits, then retracts, then says marriage is over...Will Gloria Cain be next?

Infidelity in marriage often leads to divorce, but when you're a high profile person, it's all over the front page.

Then, Mrs. Long released the following statement through the Franklin Media Group on New Birth stationary: "Upon prayerful reflection, I have reconsidered and plan to withdraw my petition for divorce from my husband, Bishop Eddie L. Long. I love my husband. I believe in him and admire his strength, and courage. My filing followed years of attacks in the media that frustrated and overwhelmed me. I love my family and church family, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Therefore, my husband and I have mutually agreed to find healing from these attacks. We ask that you respect our privacy during this time.
Elder Vanessa Long"

Later this evening, however, an Atlanta television station reported that the divorce is still on:

Many folks are speculating that members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga. will divorce themselves from the congregation, especially since the church has had to dole out millions to fight lawsuits raised by four young men who accused Long of sexual impropriety.

According to Cathy Meyer, certified divorce coach and marriage counselor, "Infidelity leads to divorce and is probably the single most damaging thing that can happen to a marriage. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most common problems a married couple will face."

It was previously reported that Vanessa Long had moved out of the house during the summer.

Will Gloria Cain be the next high profile wife to call it quits? The only thing separating Long from Cain is that one was accused of having homosexual affairs outside of marriage.

After Herman meets with Gloria today, we will see what will go down...

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Macallan hosts private tasting event in Atlanta

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Model Chavis Aaron of Ngenious Empire Management poses with blogger Tomi Johnson at "Raise the Macallan" event.

Although I have been a Chivas Regal (marble bag) drinker since college and have acquired a love for Merlo wine since I visited vineyards in Sonoma Valley, Calif., I must admit I enjoyed the robust favor of The Macallan at its "Raise the Macallan" tasting event held last night in Atlanta.

Macallan Distillers Ltd., makers of 43% alcohol scotch whisky, hosted the first of three nights of tasting at the Biltmore Hotel on West Peachtree Street. Macallan is affliated with Remy Cointreau USA, Inc., New York, N.Y. The event was by invitation only, and about 250 people were in attendance.

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The Macallan is not an every-man's scotch, but it is for connoisseurs. "If you see a Macallan bottle on someone's bar, you know they are a high-class whiskey owner," said one attendee. It has been distilled in Speyside, Scotland since 1824.

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Cost of a bottle of The Macallan ranges from $40 for a 12 year 750ML bottle to $180 for The Macallan 21 year old fine oak single malt. The Macallan 18 sells from $80-$150 per pint/quart. One rare bottle of Macallan was auctioned off recently at a charity event for $460,000.

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A "how to nose and taste" demonstration was given by the company's brand manager. He informed the crowd that Macallan prizes its copper pot stills, exceptional oak casks, and $20 million spent annually on oak barrels made in Spain. Attendees were able to taste five different offerings.

"This is the most expensive whiskey in the world to make," he said. The Macallan prides itself on its rich, robust, viscus.

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Macallan Man of Year
Steven Long, the Macallan "Man of the Year," is a student at the University of Georgia.

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After the event, former Good Day Atlanta commentator Suchita Vadlamanimet(l) chatted with friends and other guests. Although she said the drinking was good, the presentation and remarks could have been "more compelling and visually appealing," she said.

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©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.