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Embattled Gwinnett commissioner a no-show at meeting

Protesters show up at Tuesday's Gwinnett County commission meeting but embattled Commissioner Tommy Hunter does not.  

 Commission Chair Charlotte Nash explained Hunter was out of town. 

The Gwinnett Daily Post reports the board, in Hunter's absence, votes unanimously to name Herman Pennamon to the ethics panel hearing a complaint against Hunter.  An Atlanta resident filed the complaint after Hunter referred to Congressman John Lewis as a "racist pig" on Facebook. 

Hunter has apologized but resists calls to resign. 

Three of the five ethics panel members have now been appointed.  Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter chose Terri Duncan as his representative and the Gwinnett Bar Association tapped David Will.  Hunter and the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia must still make their picks. 

County Attorney Bill Linkous advises commissioners Hunter can be censured or reprimanded for his behavior but state law does not grant the Board of Commissioners authority to suspend or remove him. 

Linkous explains citizens have the option to organize a recall effort.  Provisions of state law prevent a recall within 180 days of an elected official's term.  The Gwinnett Daily Post reports a campaign against Hunter could not begin in earnest until summer. 

For the first time this week, protesters also turned up at Hunter's employer in Norcross.

United Consulting distances itself from Hunter's comments and has apologized to Lewis.

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News

  • You may be seeing social media posts promoting #BlackOutDay2020, but what is Black Out Day? Here are five things to know. 1. Blackout Day is persuading Black Americans to not spend money today, to show their economic power. If something needs to be purchased, the movement urges spending money at Black-owned businesses, CNN reported. It’s called a “day of solidarity in America where not one Black person in America spends a dollar,” unless it is spent at a Black-owned business, USA Today reported. Nielsen reports that Black Americans spent more than $1 trillion in 2018, according to CNN. 2. The day was promoted by Calvin Martyr, a social media personality/activist, for about two months. 3. Martyr and those taking part are hoping the day helps to end institutional racism that they have said lead to the deaths of Black Americans, CNN reported. It started after the death of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, but before the death of George Floyd. 4. Martyr likened to the spending boycott to the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott when the Black community refused to ride buses until they were allowed to sit wherever they wanted. 5. My Black Receipt is a related movement that urges for people to upload receipts of money spent at minority-owned businesses, USA Today reported.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department on Monday released loan-level data on each of the more than 4.9 million loans made under the government’s Paycheck Protection Program. The program was established in March by the CARES Act, aimed at shoring up small businesses struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities said the funds were meant to give business owners incentive to keep their employees on payrolls. Data released Monday includes the names of more than 660,000 businesses that received loans of $150,000 or more. A majority of the program’s beneficiaries -- about 80% -- asked for loans under that amount, with most seeking about $100,000, according to officials. >> See the full data released by SBA and the Treasury Department In a statement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the program has helped to support 'more than 51 million jobs and over 80 percent of all small business employees.' Under the program, the government is backing $659 billion in low-interest business loans that will be forgiven if employers use the money on payroll, rent and similar expenses. Companies typically must have fewer than 500 workers to qualify. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Atlanta’s fire chief has opted to self-quarantine pending the results of a COVID-19 test, one day after the city’s mayor announced that she tested positive for the virus.  Randall Slaughter is being tested for the coronavirus “out of an abundance of caution,” Atlanta Fire and Rescue spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford confirmed to AJC.com on Tuesday.  “He will also be in quarantine until his results return and will move forward based on those results,” Stafford said.  Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Monday announced that she tested positive for the virus.  “COVID-19 has literally hit home,” Bottoms wrote. “I have had NO symptoms and have tested positive.” — Please read more on AJC.com for updates.
  • Proms may have been canceled or delayed because of the coronavirus, but that did not stop creative teens from putting together their formal wear all made of duct tape. One gown stands out. Peyton Manker made a coronavirus-themed gown with rolls and rolls of the fix-it tape. She created images of people running from the virus to illustrate how the world tried to avoid it. She also honors those who are on the front lines, including health care workers and police, CNN reported. And what is a gown without accessories? Manker put together a coronavirus-shaped purse and mask that reads “flatten the curve,” CNN reported. Voting is still open in Duck Brand Duct Tape’s “Stuck at Prom” scholarship contest. To vote and to see Manker’s competition, click here. Winners for each category -- dress or tux -- will be awarded $10,000 each. The runners-up will get $500 and a prize pack.
  • Former President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter, the longest-married presidential couple in U.S. history, celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary on Tuesday. Jimmy Carter, 95, met then-Rosalynn Smith, 92, though his younger sister, Ruth, who was childhood friends with Rosalynn. They began dating in 1945 while Jimmy Carter was home from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. After their first date, Jimmy Carter told his mother that Rosalynn was the woman he was going to marry. The couple exchanged vows July 7, 1946, in their hometown of Plains, Georgia. Since then, they've lived in the Georgia Governor's Mansion and the White House. Together they've raised four children. In 1982, the Carters founded the Carter Center, an organization aimed at resolving issues around human rights and democracy. Their work earned the couple a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999. Then-President Bill Clinton said the couple has “done more good things for more people in more places than any other couple on Earth.” On his 75th birthday in 1999, Jimmy Carter said the most important decision he ever made in his life was “Marrying Rosalynn.”
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