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State, county, and city health leaders will resume testing and vaccinating people against COVID-19 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The home of the Falcons and Atlanta United will again begin welcoming people for testing/vaccinations, according to a news release. The Georgia Department of Public Health along with the Fulton County Government, the Fulton County Board of Health, the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency-Management Agency, and Viral Solutions will run the site from The Home Depot Backyard at 1 Backyard Way.

Two U.S. senators have introduced legislation to protect the Chattahoochee River. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff introduced a bill that would authorize $90 million for projects to improve water quality in the Chattahoochee, protect essential public works and restore ecosystems along the river. Individual projects would be allocated for up to $15 million. The legislation would give the secretary of the Army up to two years to work with other federal agencies — including the Interior Department — to develop a comprehensive restoration plan for the Chattahoochee River Basin.

Chief Justice David Nahmias announced Friday that he’s stepping down from Georgia’s Supreme Court this summer. According to a release, Nahmias will resign on July 17, which is the last day of the court’s next term. In a resignation letter to Gov. Brian Kemp, Nahmias wrote, “After almost 15 years of service to my country as a federal prosecutor, I have had the great privilege of serving for more than 12 years as a Justice on my home state’s highest court, including three years as Presiding Justice and the past seven months as Chief Justice.”   

The Georgia primary could be moved back, possibly until June or July, if U.S. District Judge Steve Jones finds that the maps the General Assembly produced in November weaken the representation of the state’s African American voters. Jones has been considering court challenges to the maps that are seeking more majority-Black districts after the state’s African American population grew by 16%, or nearly 500,000 people, over the past decade. The white population fell 1% over that same period. The lawsuits contend that redistricting did not reflect that growth in Black voters. The Supreme Court has upheld redistricting for partisan purposes.

After the hectic 2020 Georgia primary, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made a bombshell allegation from the steps of Liberty Plaza outside the Georgia Capitol that 1,000 people potentially voted twice. A year and a half later, an investigation by his own office found less double voting than he had suspected and that most of Raffensperger’s allegations couldn’t be proved.

Former Democrat Vernon Jones is now also a former candidate for governor who is running as a Republican for the U.S. House in northeast Georgia’s 10th Congressional District. In this race, Jones is getting something he couldn’t get when he was running for the Governor’s Mansion, an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. On his way out of the governor’s race, Jones endorsed former U.S. Sen. David Perdue — Trump’s pick in the GOP primary to pursue his goal of unseating Gov. Brian Kemp for not doing more to illegally overturn the former president’s defeat in Georgia in the 2020 election.

Former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is joining the ranks of CNN as a political commentator, she announced Monday. Bottoms, who was a guest on CNN and other cable news shows throughout the pandemic and 2020 election cycle, said she applied to work at the Atlanta-based network when she was a student at Florida A&M University. The former mayor, who didn’t run for a second term last year, studied broadcast journalism at FAMU. “To now join the team nearly 30 (years) later is a reminder that a dream deferred is never a dream denied,” Bottoms tweeted.

About 300,000 state, university, and K-12 employees are a step closer to receiving raises and bonuses after the Georgia House on Friday riding the wave of a 17.9% increase in state tax revenue. Gov. Brian Kemp is planning to give state employees and teachers substantial raises and bonuses this year. Kemp — who is up for reelection this year — was able to request big increases in salaries, education, and health care because tax collections are running 17.9% ahead of last year for the first seven months of fiscal 2022.

A group of civil rights leaders called for replacing the Rooney Rule in a meeting Monday with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Seeking specific recruiting and hiring procedures for NFL executive and coaching positions, they also sought “meaningful consequences for teams that do not abide by the rules.” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial, National Action Network Founder and President Rev. Al Sharpton, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation President and CEO Melanie Campbell, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, and National African American Clergy Network co-convener Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner requested the meeting after former Miami coach Brian Flores accused the NFL and three teams — the Giants, Broncos, and Dolphins — of racial discrimination in a proposed class-action lawsuit last week. The Rooney Rule, implemented in 2003, requires teams to interview candidates of color for head coaching and senior operation positions.

Speaking of Super Bowl, Tremayne Anchrum Jr., a 315-pound, 6-foot-2 offensive lineman from Cobb County, will be on the sidelines Sunday when his Los Angeles Rams face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday in the Super Bowl. Anchrum is the oldest son of McEachern boys basketball coach Tremayne Anchrum Sr. He graduated from McEachern in 2016 and went on to play football at Clemson, where he was part of two national championship teams in 2016 and ’18. After college, Anchrum was selected by the Rams as the 250th overall pick in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL draft.

Do you know a dancer or cheerleader who dreams of performing on the field and giving back to the community? The Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders are looking for their 2022 squad. Registration is open until April 4 at 11:59 p.m. Auditions will be held April through May. To register, visit atlantafalcons.com/cheerleader

Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines announced Monday they will merge, joining together two ultra-low-cost U.S. carriers. Known for their budget model, the two airlines said combining would allow them to “compete even more aggressively, especially against the dominant ‘Big Four’ airlines, among others.” The Big Four airlines they refer to are American, Delta, Southwest, and United.

With high demand for February wedding ceremonies, Cobb County Magistrate Court is offering more wedding ceremony appointments. Chief Magistrate Judge Brendan F. Murphy has increased the availability of free wedding ceremony appointments and made it easier to book them. On Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, and on Feb. 22, judges will conduct group ceremonies throughout the day. All ceremonies are by appointment only. Couples can make an appointment online at www.cobbcounty.org/magistrate or by calling the Warrant Division at 770-528-8900. At the ceremony, each couple must present a valid Marriage License issued by any Probate Court in the state of Georgia. Couples may invite up to four guests.

Hyundai and Kia are telling owners of nearly 485,000 vehicles in the U.S. to park them outdoors because they can catch fire even if the engines have been turned off. The recalls from the two Korean automakers are another in a long string of fire and engine failure problems that have dogged the companies for the past six years. This time the problem is contamination in the antilock brake control module that can cause an electrical short. This increases the risk of fire while the vehicles are being driven or are parked. Affected are certain Kia Sportage SUVs from 2014 through 2016, and the 2016 through 2018 K900 sedan. Recalled Hyundais include certain 2016 through 2018 Santa Fe SUVs, 2017 and 2018 Santa Fe Sports, the 2019 Santa Fe XL, and 2014 and 2015 Tucson SUVs. The automakers say they have 11 reports of fires in the U.S. but no injuries. U.S. safety regulators say owners should park the vehicles outside and away from structures until repairs are made.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so enjoy the special day with family, friends, and loved ones. 

Have a great week…


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