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FEATURE: Critical Worker Pass information outlined Glynn County Emergency Management Agency

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report

Sept. 4, 2017 – With the latest information on the possible track of Hurricane Irma, it’s important to start following alerts by the Glynn County Emergency Management Agency, and address obtaining a ‘Critical Worker Pass’ if a company will need early re-entry to the county in case of a mandatory evacuation. 

As conditions allow following a major disaster which caused the Glynn County Command Policy Group to order the mandatory evacuation of the County, a controlled and restricted 2-Phase re-entry into the affected area (back home) will begin.

The affected area may be limited in size, may include all of Glynn County, or possibly extend to multiple counties in the region. Re-entry into this designated area during Phase I is very restricted. There will be local and state law enforcement officers and other security personnel posted on all roads and highways checking the identification and justification of those attempting to return.

It is the responsibility of the Requesting Authority to make sure the permits issued to your agency/company/organization or facility are used only by those individuals authorized to be in the affected area during Phase I.

Individuals not authorized access will be delayed at the controlled entry points mentioned above. Therefore, transportation arrangements for returning responders during Phase I must be independent of those persons not authorized to re-enter prior to Phase II.

This includes the authorized responder’s family members and friends. Individuals not authorized in the area during Phase I may be subject to prosecution.

LIFE-SAFETY issues are conditions that if not addressed by properly trained and equipped personnel would pose a continuing or additional risk to the public’s health and welfare. Examples of LIFE-SAFETY issues are (but not limited to): blocked roadways, damaged bridges, downed (energized) power lines, natural gas leaks, releases of other gas or solid hazardous materials, uncontrolled fires, unstable buildings, flooding, etc.

When conditions allow, The Glynn County Command Policy Group will announce the beginning of Re-Entry Phase II which is the return of the general population. In an attempt to mitigate possible traffic congestion problems, Phase II may be announced and conducted by geographical area or by municipality.

However, even after LIFE-SAFETY issues have been dealt with, conditions in Glynn County will still be far from back to normal. There is a very real possibility it will take weeks to restore basic utilities such as electricity, water, and sewer services. Living conditions throughout the County may be difficult at best. Prepare now, they state.

A Re-Entry Permit Application can be mailed or dropped off at 1725 Reynolds Street, Suite 224, Brunswick, GA 31520 or scan completed application and email.

For more information contact the EMA office at 912-554-7734 or Call: 912-554-7734.

FEATURE: Georgia Southern Univ. Study Confirms Spaceport Camden as Economic Boon for Coastal Georgia

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report

Sept. 1, 2017 - The Camden County Board of Commissioners and the Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development (BBRED) at Georgia Southern University released an economic assessment of Spaceport Camden this past week showing more than $22 million in annual economic activity to be generated by Spaceport Camden in Camden County.

The annual economic activity is in addition to the more than $9 million in economic activity that will be generated from construction activities at the spaceport in the first 15 months of operations.  Most importantly, these estimates are based on Camden County’s employment figures in the Environmental Impact Statement currently under review and do not include the effect of employment and direct investment space companies may make in Camden.

“When we started the process, we knew we had something special,” said County Administrator Steve Howard.  “Even the most conservative estimates of Spaceport Camden’s potential shows tens of millions of dollars in economic activity and more than 100 new jobs,” added Howard.

While the report only studied the economic activity generated by Spaceport Camden’s filings with the FAA, significantly more revenue is possible as more space companies call Coastal Georgia home.  In addition, BBRED’s economic analysis also foreshadows a massive uptick in tourism, one of Camden County’s largest economic sectors.  According to the study, Camden’s tourism industry supported $90.32 million in economic activities and 777 jobs in 2015.  Launches at other spaceports around the country see an influx of 10,000 to 15,000 visitors that stay for an average of 2-3 days for orbital and suborbital launches.

“Across the United States rocket launches have become another opportunity to showcase the host community and are a good way to attract new visitors,” said Benjamin McKay Research Specialist with BBRED. “This analysis illustrates that by adding a Spaceport in Camden County, existing industries also stand to benefit from these investments,” added McKay.

The full summary is available on the Spaceport Camden website at

The Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development (BBRED) is a member of the Business Innovation Group (BIG) at Georgia Southern University. BIG is the business outreach arm for the College of Business and Georgia Southern University. BBRED has performed numerous studies for local governments and private businesses across Georgia. These studies focus on economic impact analysis, market analysis, project feasibility or program evaluation. For more information, visit:

The County’s vision “is to develop a successful world class spaceport through a public-private partnership that establishes Camden County as the Commercial Space Center of the United States,” according to their public relations firm.

“The mission is to create the premier spaceport strategically positioned to provide economic diversity with a competitive advantage for the space sector, Camden County, the State of Georgia and the United States of America,” according to County officials. 

Jan. 7 - Latest Unemployment data for Brunswick area: U.S. holds at 4.7 percent

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report

January 7, 2017 – The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7 percent.  The most recent data on the Savannah MSA shows an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent as of November, down from 5.2 percent in June, but up from a year ago, slightly.  

In the most recent available detailed labor information for the the Brunswick MSA, there were 51,400 people in the labor force working as of November 2016, down from 52,400 in June 2016.  The Unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, down from 5.6 percent in June.

The U.S. average weekly wage in October was $1,043.00.

As of November, Georgia’s unemployment rate was 5.3 percent, down from 5.5 percent in June.

The National Labor Force and Unemployment Data

Job growth occurred in health care and social assistance across the U.S.

For the U.S., the unemployment rate, at 4.7 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 7.5 million, changed little in December. However, both measures edged down in the fourth quarter, after showing little net change earlier in the year.  Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.4 percent), adult women (4.3 percent), teenagers (14.7 percent), Whites (4.3 percent), Blacks (7.8 percent), Asians (2.6 percent), and Hispanics (5.9 percent) showed little change in December, as well. 

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.8 million in December and accounted for 24.2 percent of the unemployed. In 2016, the number of long-term unemployed declined by 263,000.

And, the U.S. labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, changed little in December and was unchanged over the year.  Also, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (also referred to as involuntary part-time workers), was at 5.6 million, also essentially unchanged in December but was down by 459,000 over the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In December, 1.7 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 426,000 discouraged workers in December, down by 237,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available to them. The remaining 1.3 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in December had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Job growth totaled 2.2 million in 2016, compared to an increase of 2.7 million people who found work in 2015.  Employment in health care rose by 43,000 in December, with most of the increase occurring in ambulatory health care services (+30,000) and hospitals (+11,000). Health care added an average of 35,000 jobs per month in 2016, roughly in line with the average monthly gain of 39,000 in 2015.

Social assistance added 20,000 jobs in December, reflecting job growth in individual and family services (+21,000). In 2016, social assistance added 92,000 jobs, down from an increase of 162,000 in 2015.

Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in December (+30,000). This industry added 247,000 jobs in 2016, fewer than the 359,000 jobs gained in 2015.

Employment also continued to trend up in transportation and warehousing in December (+15,000). Within the industry, employment expanded by 12,000 in couriers and messengers.

In 2016, transportation and warehousing added 62,000 jobs, down from a gain of 110,000 jobs in 2015.

Employment in financial activities continued on an upward trend in December (+13,000). This is in line with the average monthly gains for the industry over the past 2 years.

In December, employment edged up in manufacturing (+17,000), with a gain of 15,000 in the durable goods component. However, since reaching a recent peak in January, manufacturing employment has declined by 63,000.

Employment in professional and business services was little changed in December (+15,000), following an increase of 65,000 in November. The industry added 522,000 jobs in 2016.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, and government, changed little in December.

What’s the Latest ‘Average Workweek’ and Wages?

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.3 hours in December. In manufacturing, the workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.7 hours, and overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained at 33.6 hours. In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 10 cents to $26.00, after edging down by 2 cents in November. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.9 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $21.80.

Apr. 4 - COMMENTARY: Hatchett’s Effort for Public Input at School Boards Deserves Praise and Support

By Lou Phelps, Publisher

April 4, 2017 – You have to have been there last week, to really understand the level of confusion, stress, hallway last-ditch-efforts by lobbyists, negotiations, conference committees and just plain arm-twisting that could be observed during the final two days of the Georgia General Assembly - March 28 and 30. 

A long list of bills were ultimately passed by the House and moved up to the Senate – the higher body – and will now move to Governor Deal’s desk for his consideration.   More than 75 bills were passed on Tuesday and Thursday by the Senate along, as the session wound to a close, not finishing until almost 1:00 a.m. Friday morning. Add to that a LONG list of Amendments to the Amendments ... you get this picture. 

But, it’s important to take a moment to look at a bill that didn’t make it - to understand, praise and support the effort by Dublin’s State Rep. Matt Hatchett (R) - who worked on a bill that died in committee on the final day.

HB 625 never got to the floor for a vote by either the House or the Senate, sent on the final day to the House Education Committee.

We hope it will live another day, next year.

Rep. Hatchett’s bill would require local boards of education to have a public comment period at every meeting. And, the citizen would not have to tell the school board in advance what they wanted to talk about. 

It seems a shame for it to be necessary to pass a State law to require school boards to do the right thing - to listen to the parents of the children that they are responsible for educating. But, we see this in multiple counties covered by Coastal Empire News in Middle and Coastal Georgia.  Parents have concerns, questions, and opinions.  Too often, it is either cumbersome to ‘get on the Agenda,’ or there is no public comment period allowed at all.  

If a School Board is not willing to listen to its constituents, local voters need to take a hard look at who is arrogantly representing them.

Rep. Hatchett’s bill had additional elements, such as “it shall be the duty of each local board of education to hold a regular meeting during each calendar month for the transaction of business pertaining to the public schools.”  Again, sort of sad that a State law may be necessary.

“The local board shall annually determine the date of its meeting and shall publish it either in the official county organ or, at the option of the local board of education, in a newspaper having a general circulation in said county at least equal to that of the official county organ for two consecutive weeks following the setting of the date,” the bill also provides.  Some of this is covered by the Georgia Open Meeting laws, but unfortunately, those laws are not always followed … and there is little to no action against public bodies that fail to comply by the Attorney General’s Office.

“A local board of education shall not require notice by an individual prior to the date of the meeting as a condition of addressing the local board during such public comment period. The chairperson of the local board of education shall have the discretion to limit the length of time for individual comments and the number of individuals speaking for or against a specific issue,” is also language of the bill.

Play it again next year, Matt. 

Leadership Southeast Georgia class graduates, including business execs from 10 coastal counties

PHOTO:  Front Row: Marjorie Young, Dionne Hoskins, Jan Bass; Second Row: Brynn Grant, Sam McCachern, John Young, Marcus Lotson, Tan Adams, Tom Allmon, Paul Brooksher, Bryan Ferris, Tom Alexander; Back Row: Jeff Notrica, Jeff Grant, Jason McMillan, Patton Dugas, Lawrence Crosby, Jon Seagraves, Freddy Howell, Ashley Bowersox, Jared Downs, Erica Backus. Not Pictured: Dina McKain

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report

June 1, 2015 - After five months of training, Leadership Southeast Georgia announces the 2015 graduating class. Leadership Southeast Georgia is a regional program to equip and empower community leaders to effectively work promoting positive growth while improving the quality of life in the Southeast Georgia Coastal Region.

This year, 23 participants spent one weekend a month in surrounding counties learning about topics that effect local counties such as healthcare, education, economic development and transportation.

All of the participants live and work within Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Screven counties, which together are known as Georgia’s Coastal Region.

The Leadership Southeast Georgia program focuses on improving competencies most important to regional leadership. Those competencies include: emotional intelligence or “mastery of self;” integrity and trust; ethics and values; building and sustaining collaboration; conflict resolution and mediation through different interests; effective communications with individuals and large and geographically dispersed audiences; and systematical thinking and long-range decision making.

Beginning in January 1999, leaders representing the business, local government, and education communities set about the difficult task of creating a regional strategic plan for community and economic development. A regional leadership program brought together citizens from each of the 10 counties in the coastal region was envisioned as a means to reinforce the regional capacity to address challenges and capitalize on common opportunities. The program content focused on the assets of the area, as well as potential threats to those assets.   Since 2000, LSEGA has produced ten graduating classes and approximately 175 graduates.

There were 23 participants this year.  Graduates of the 2015 class included:

Tan Adams, Georgia Power;

Tom Alexander, Liberty College & Career Academy;

Thomas Allmon, Ft. Stewart;

Erica Backus, Savannah Chamber of Commerce;

Jan Bass, Goodwill of the Coastal Empire;

Ashley Bowersox, ThincSavannah;

Paul Brooksher, Bryan County Schools;

Lawrence Crosby, Vista Outdoor Advertising;

Jared Downs, Senator Johnny Isakson;

Patton Dugas, Ameris Bank;

Bryan Ferris, Rives Worrell;

Jeff Grant, City of Statesboro;

Brynn Grant, SEDA;

John Henry, Effingham Development Authority;

Dionne L. Hoskins, Savannah State University/Savannah Chatham School Board Member;

Freddy L. Howell, Bryan County Emergency Services;

Marcus K. Lotson, Chatham MPC;

Sam G. McCachern, Thomas and Hutton;

Dina McKain, Ft. Stewart;

Jason McMillan, BB&T;

Jeff Notrica, Dresser Palmer House;

Jon Seagraves, South State Bank;

Marjorie Young, Carriage Trade Public Relations, Inc.



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