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Leading Water Protection Coalition Announces Clean Water Celebration to Honor Water Heroes

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report

March 8, 2018 -  Clean water heroes from across the state ranging from multi-national corporations to small sustainable farmers were recognized today for their work to protect Georgia’s water during the Georgia Water Coalition’s Inaugural Clean 13 Celebration. The event, featuring dinner and an awards ceremony was held in Atlanta.

The Celebration honored the City of Atlanta, Cox Enterprises, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Institute of Technology, Ladybug Farms, Macon Water Authority, Mark Masters, Chairman John Meadows, Scott Bridge Company, Solar Crowdsource, South Fork Conservancy, Storm Water Systems and United Parcel Service.

The full report can be found at

Stephanie Stuckey, Chief Resilience Officer with the City of Atlanta, served as chairperson of the event.

“Around the state, businesses and communities are making a difference for clean water,” said Ms. Stuckey “These may seem like small projects, affecting just an isolated area, but collectively they add up to big improvements for our water and communities. This event will highlight this work and inspire others to emulate our honorees.”

In northwest Georgia, fish and fishermen are coming back to Raccoon Creek in Paulding County thanks to a multi-year, multi-million dollar project of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and private partners.  While other creeks spill loads of mud and dirt into the Etowah River, Raccoon Creek regularly runs clear, and rare fish like Etowah and Cherokee darters are thriving as portions of the creek are restored.


In urban Atlanta, years of rapid growth has resulted in pollution of the Chattahoochee and other rivers, harming downstream communities, but now, multiple businesses, governments and community groups are cleaning up urban creeks to prevent this pollution.

The City of Atlanta recently adopted one of the most far-reaching stormwater ordinances in the country. Since then, more than 3,500 projects have been approved using rain gardens, porous pavement, rainwater cisterns and other pollution controls.  These green infrastructure projects help to slow down and keep polluted rainwater from entering streams.

The Georgia Institute of Technology has built multiple projects that collect rainwater and keep pollution out of nearby Tanyard Creek. Tanyard feeds Peachtree Creek where the non-profit South Fork Conservancy is building trails and restoring the banks of Peachtree and its feeder streams. These projects along streams feeding the Chattahoochee help improve the river’s health.

In southwest Atlanta, the Chattahoochee gets another boost at the Cox Enterprises-owned Manheim vehicle remarketing facility. The company details some 68,000 vehicles every year and recycles 60 percent of the water it uses, helping keep water flowing in the river.  

Elsewhere around the state, entities big and small are making a difference. In the far northeast corner of the state, Ladybug Farms, a small sustainable farm in Rabun County, uses a massive rainwater catchment system to irrigate its crops, and now promotes similar systems to other farmers and gardeners.

Down south in Waycross, the Cleveland-Georgia based Storm Water Systems helped Waycross officials solve a river litter problem. The company installed an in-stream trash trap for the city that captures thousands of pounds of trash annually.  The trash is cleaned out and sent to a landfill, keeping the Satilla River and Georgia’s coast cleaner.

On the Altamaha River near Baxley, the Scott Bridge Company used thoughtful bridge design and construction to protect endangered fish and mussels.

In Columbus, as well as other location around the state, the shipping giant United Parcel Service has gone above and beyond state stormwater control requirements to protect tiny streams like Roaring Branch at its distribution hubs.

In the heart of the state, the Macon Water Authority used innovative pipe repair to help protect the Ocmulgee River.

Meanwhile, a little company in Decatur called Solar Crowdsource helped small businesses and homeowners invest in solar power projects.  These clean energy installations reduce our dependence on electricity from fossil fuel plants that threaten multiple Georgia rivers.

Individuals are doing their part as well. At the state capital, Rep. John Meadows, the powerful chairman of the House Rules Committee, led the effort to update state policy on oil and gas drilling.  Chairman Meadows’ legislation will ultimately help protect the state’s drinking water from risks associated with fracking. And, in southwest Georgia, Mark Masters of the Georgia Water Planning & Policy Center provides data and facts to shape state water policy.

Together, the efforts of these “Clean 13” are adding up to cleaner rivers, stronger communities and a more sustainable future for Georgia.

Read the full report at Together, the efforts of these “Clean 13” are adding up to cleaner rivers, stronger communities and a more sustainable future for Georgia.

Clean 13 Event Sponsors included the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, The Sapelo Foundation, Anonymous, Barge Design Solutions, Cox Enterprises, Meredith Leapley, Newfields, The Erosion Company, Georgia Aquarium, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, American Rivers, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority, Flint Riverkeeper, Insituform Technologies LLC, Reverend Sam & Helen Rogers, Southern Environmental Law Center, Stephanie Stuckey, Stripling, Inc., Altamaha Riverkeeper, Coosa River Basin Initiative, Environment Georgia, The Garden Club of Georgia Inc., Georgia River Network, Georgia Wildlife Federation, Greenlaw, J. Galt & Associates, Kelly Jordan, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, One Hundred Miles, Paulding Chamber of Commerce, Satilla Riverkeeper, Savannah Riverkeeper, John Sibley, Sierra Club, Solar Crowdsource, Tally Sweat.

The Georgia Water Coalition is a consortium of more than 240 conservation and environmental organizations, hunting and fishing groups, businesses, and faith-based organizations that have been working to protect Georgia’s water since 2002. Collectively, these organizations represent thousands of Georgia

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report

April 15, 2016 -  Tarantino Properties Inc., of Houston, Texas, has been awarded the management of Brookstone Apartments, an 30 unit multifamily property in Valdosta, GA.

Brookstone Apartments is part of an 8000 unit takeover by Tarantino Properties Inc. The property management firm announced earlier this week an expansion that covers 12 states with 38 new management properties in the multifamily division, including senior living.

In addition to Brookstone, Tarantino has successfully operated hundreds of thousands apartment units throughout the U.S in states such as Arizona, Texas, Alabama and Florida too name a few. The company continues to grow each year expanding their business throughout the national market. “We are ecstatic about our growth as it is a reflection of our great commitment to our clients. Our success can be attributed to our dedicated and long-term staff, many of whom have been with us for 20-30 years.” said Anthony Tarantino, President and sole owner.

Tarantino is expected to take these newly acquired properties to the next level, with their hands on management approach focused on delivering maximum value to the multiple clients within this portfolio.

Tarantino Properties, based in Houston, TX is a full-service real estate company specializing in income-producing real estate, and currently manages over $2 Billion in assets throughout the United States.


By Lou Phelps, Coastal Empire News

April 6, 2016 -  There are now an estimated 457,000 women-owned firms in Georgia, employing 273,300 and attributing to roughly $53,224,000 according to the sixth annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express OPEN.

The comprehensive report was released today, analyzing data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners and factoring in relative changes in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

It shows a 22.5% growth rate in women-owned businesses since 2012, and a 62% growth rate since American Express began its report back in 2002.

The unique analysis, reported by industry, revenue and employment size at the national and state levels, shares a new and nuanced investigation into the growth trends among the 11.3 million women-owned enterprises since the recession. 

Nationally, the number of women-owned firms (between 2007 and 2016) increased by 45%, compared to just a 9% increase among all businesses, with Georgia far outpacing growth rates in other states. 

Therefore, over the past nine years, the number of women-owned firms has grown at a rate fully five times faster than the national average, according to the report.

And, Georgia is ranked second (62%) in growth of number of firms over the past nine years and 25th (30%) in growth of firm revenue Special Report

Executives with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. say they plan to move production of some shoes from overseas to a manufacturing plant in south Georgia, which they say will create 250 jobs in the state.

A spokesman for the retailer told the Associated Press on Thursday that the Bentonville Ark., company has plans for the facility in Hazelhurst, a Jeff Davis County town about 100 miles west of Savannah.

Walmart said its longtime supplier Elan-Polo Inc. will start production of injection-molded footwear in March 2014 in Hazelhurst as part of a joint venture with McPherson Manufacturing.

Officials say the facility will produce 20,000 pairs of shoes per day once it is at full capacity. Previously, the shoes were manufactured overseas.

This is the second announcement this week of companies bringing formerly overseas clothing production to Georgia soil.

On Wednesday, Gov. Nathan Deal has announced that Shrivallabh Pittie Group, a leading textile manufacturer in India, will build its first U.S.-based manufacturing facility near Sylvania, creating 250 jobs and investing $70 million.

July 30 – A statewide network of compressed natural gas fueling stations has kicked off with the opening of a station in Valdosta.

Georgia Public Service Commission member Doug Everett of Brunswick said this program has spurred other companies to enter the CNG fueling station market in Georgia with plans to construct stations along the state's Interstate corridors.

“With the opening of the first of five planned stations, this is one more step in making CNG a viable alternative fuel option,” Everett said. “With the abundance of domestic natural gas supplies this type of service can be a major factor in moving our country away from dependence on foreign energy sources.”

Operation  of the first commercial CNG fueling station was initiated under the Commission-approved Atlanta Gas Light Company CNG Program. Langdale Fuel will operate the station in Valdosta and will offer public access to CNG vehicles by adding two fueling islands at the existing station at 1628 James P. Rogers Drive.

In June 2009, Commissioner Everett called on Atlanta Gas Light to develop a proposal to stimulate CNG Station development in Georgia, and to bring the national focus on the emerging natural gas vehicle market to the state. Everett’s call was to solve the “chicken or the egg” problem that challenges first movers in any new market —that is, to find a way to have investment decisions by fleet owners, station owners and vehicle manufacturers to occur simultaneously based on market certainty.

The proposal approved by the Commission in October 2011 relies heavily on private investment in new vehicles and in new fueling station infrastructure. Atlanta Gas Light’s residential and commercial customers will not be asked to underwrite the initial investment or operational costs. Atlanta Gas Light will award up to $11.57 million from the Universal Service Fund (USF) to qualified station owners that meet minimum financial and contractual obligations; including having approximately 20 percent of the station’s CNG fueling capacity under contract to one or more fleet customers for a five year period.

Atlanta Gas Light will install, own and maintain CNG equipment used to compress and store natural gas for quick-fill fueling applications, and will charge a regulated rate to the station owners for this service. Station owners will not be regulated by the Commission, and prices paid by consumers will be set by market forces. Georgia currently offers a $2,500 per vehicle income tax credit to individuals and companies that invest in alternative fuel vehicles.

Commissioner Everett is currently in his second six-year term on the Commission. He was the first Republican from southwest Georgia elected to the Commission in November 2002. He also served in the State Legislature and in Albany, GA, city government.


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