Crematorium distance approved by Senate

An amendment in the General Assembly could speak volumes to the Snellville community, where homeowners fought the opening of a crematorium at a subdivision's entrance.

The amendment, which Sen. Don Balfour added to a House bill relating to the operation of funeral homes and crematoriums, would establish a distance requirement between crematoriums and subdivisions.

"There have been cases where crematories were placed very close to a subdivision," the Republican from Snellville said. "This is horrifying to families around them who can see their activities, and no one should have to experience that. This will help Snellville and the entire state of Georgia in being more appealing to residents."

The original bill deals only with the legalities of owning and operating a crematorium, and Balfour added a distance requirement of 1,000 feet between crematoriums and subdivisions.

"If these businesses get too close to a subdivision, families will be very reluctant to move there," Balfour said. "In our economic recession of widespread house foreclosures, the last thing we need is to repel people from buying homes."

The House agreed to the amendment, so the bill awaits the governor signature.

Handel announces gubernatorial race

For years, people have talked about Karen Handel as a potential for Georgia's first female governor.

Last week, the former Fulton County Chairwoman who is currently Secretary of State made her 2010 race official.

"After prayerful consideration and with the support of my husband Steve, I have decided to run for governor. I am humbled by the level of support I am receiving from all across Georgia and I'm looking forward to the campaign," Handel said in a press release. "Our next governor will face many difficult challenges. I look forward to meeting those challenges with exciting new ideas and a vision that will put us on the path to growth and prosperity."

Free Cooper, a former Georgia Republican Party chairman who has worked on the campaigns of Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, was named Handel's campaign chairman.

Handel joined Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, who lives in Duluth, and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in seeking the GOP nomination.

The only declared Democratic candidate, Gen. David Poythress, is hosting an open house at his Norcross campaign office Tuesday. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the campaign headquarters at 6000 Live Oak Parkway, Suite 107G.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.