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Metro Valdosta’s unemployment rate falls to 7.6 percent in September


ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Metro Valdosta’s unemployment rate for September was 7.6 percent, down eight-tenths of a percentage point from 8.4 percent in August. The rate in September of last year was 7.5 percent.

The rate dropped because there were 483 fewer unemployed people in the Valdosta area in September, according to the federal government’s monthly household survey, and there were fewer new layoffs.

While the rate decreased, jobs in Metro Valdosta were unchanged at 54,100 from August to September. However, there was an over-the-year gain of 100 jobs, or 0.2 percent, from 54,000 in September 2013. The job gains were mostly in trade, transportation and warehousing.

Also, there were 293 new claims for unemployment insurance filed in September, a decrease of 58, or 16.5 percent, from 351 in August. Most of the decrease in claims came in retail trade and manufacturing. Over the year, claims were down 33.3 percent from the 439 filed in September 2013.

Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 5.7 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 9.5 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for September was 7.9 percent, down from 8.1 percent in August. It was 8.0 percent in September 2013.

Local area unemployment data are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at www.gdol.ga.gov

Connect with us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter @GeorgiaDOL, which can be easily accessed via our website at www.gdol.ga.gov.

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Attorney General Sam Olens Urges Congressional Support of Legislation to Prevent Online Sex Trafficking of Youth


Attorney General Olens has sent a letter urging members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to support legislation that would help prevent children from being trafficked on the Internet.

Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, generating about $150 billion each year. Shockingly, there are numerous cases nationally of children being used in prostitution as young as 12. The FBI estimates that nearly 300,000 American youths are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

“As Attorney General, I have made fighting child sex trafficking a top priority,” said Attorney General Olens. “I was proud to work with the Georgia General Assembly to strengthen Georgia’s sex trafficking law so that the punishment fits the crime. Our law is now a national model. I urge Congress to pass this much needed legislation addressing this horrific crime, which robs our children of their dignity and innocence.”

In a letter signed by 53 attorneys general, Attorney General Olens is asking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for their support of the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act (SAVE) Act (S. 2536), which would provide more oversight of websites that facilitate “adult services,” such as Backpage.com.

Attorney General Olens said federal courts have recognized that the Internet has become a favored means for advertising the availability of children for sex. Internet ads can be purchased in multiple locations with the click of a button.

This allows human traffickers to maximize their profit and evade detection by moving victims quickly to lucrative venues where there is significant demand for commercial sex. He said organized crime groups and street gangs use the Internet to sell their victims as well, which is why passage of the SAVE Act is particularly critical.

The use of the “adult services sections” on websites such as Backpage.com has created virtual brothels where children are bought and sold using euphemistic labels such as “escorts.” The SAVE Act would require these websites that are facilitating trafficking through their very business model to take steps to verify the identity of individuals posting advertisements and the age of those who appear in these advertisements.

In just one week this June, law enforcement arrested 281 alleged sex traffickers and took 168 children out of prostitution in a nationwide FBI crackdown where many child victims were offered for sale on “escort” and other “adult services” websites.

Preventing children from being trafficked on the Internet has been a long-term interest of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). NAAG has taken several actions regarding Backpage.com and similar websites, including requesting that these exploitive websites shut down their “adult services” sections which fuel the online trafficking of youth.

The states and territories that signed the letter are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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Radio Hall of Fame honors Quitman’s lost voice

The Voice of Quitman

Martha and Bill Hoopes sit in their home photography studio in this file photo. The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame will induct the late Bill Hoopes next weekend.

Martha and Bill Hoopes sit in their home photography studio in this file photo. The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame will induct the late Bill Hoopes next weekend.

QUITMAN — The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame will induct the late Bill Hoopes into its ranks next weekend.

Hoopes was a legendary South Georgia radio disc jockey and commentator, known primarily for his long-running show on WSFB AM Quitman, said Bob Harrison, president of the Hall of Fame board of directors.

Harrison nominated Hoopes.

“He was my first boss and a strong influence on me as an early broadcaster,” Harrison said.

Hoopes’ family is expected to attend the Atlanta ceremony on Oct. 25, Harrison said.

Hoopes died in February 2012 at the age of 87. Though he will be honored for his contributions to Georgia radio, Hoopes’ life was diverse.

From Chattanooga to Iwo Jima to Quitman, William Franklin Hoopes was a boxer, a pilot, an award-winning photographer, a prize-winning cutting horseman throughout the South and the West, a painter, a radio personality and a business owner.

He witnessed the famed flag-raising at Iwo Jima during World War II.

He earned his black belt in judo at the age of 49.  (click the read more button below more on this story) ……….

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