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Gov. Brian Kemp has signed a bill allowing voters to decide on whether to create the city of East Cobb. With its final hurdle cleared, the proposed city’s nearly 60,000 residents will now decide whether to incorporate in a May 24 referendum. Cityhood for other cobb communities is waiting to travel a similar path to the governor’s desk for signature.

In a case that was watched closely by gun control advocates, gun rights supporters, and manufacturers because of its potential to provide a road map for victims of other shootings to sue the makers of firearms, the families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have agreed to a $73 million settlement of a lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used to kill 20 first-graders and six educators in 2012. The families and a survivor of the shooting sued Remington in 2015, saying the company never should have sold such a dangerous weapon to the public. They said their focus was on preventing future mass shootings.

Kim Potter, the former suburban Minneapolis police officer who said she confused her handgun for her taser when she fatally shot Daunte Wright, was sentenced Friday to two years in prison, a penalty below state guidelines after the judge found mitigating factors warranted a lesser sentence. Potter was convicted in December of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 killing of Wright, a 20-year-old Black motorist. She was sentenced only on the more serious charge in accordance with state law. Judge Regina Chu said the lesser sentence was warranted because Potter was “in the line of duty and doing her job in attempting to lawfully arrest Daunte Wright” when she said she mistook her gun for her Taser. Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said after the sentencing that Potter “murdered my son,” adding: “Today the justice system murdered him all over again.” 

There will soon be a new contender in the mix in metro area codes. While metro Atlanta residents may be familiar with the numbers 404, 770, 678, and 470, Verizon announced Tuesday that the new 943 area code will be activated in a month. Customers can check out phone numbers available at verizon.com/943overlay. The areas the new 943 area code will apply to include the Atlanta Metropolitan area of Alpharetta, Duluth, Dunwoody, East Point, Forest Park, Gainesville, Griffin, Lawrenceville, Mableton, Marietta, Peachtree City, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Smyrna, and Tucker. The move marks the first new area code since 470, which was added over a decade ago, according to the Georgia Public Service Commission. The 404 area code, the original statewide area code most associated with Atlanta, was established in 1947. In the 1990s, area codes 770 and 678 were introduced.

The world’s largest cruise companies said Friday they will voluntarily follow public health measures meant to reduce the risk of coronavirus outbreaks on ships operating in the United States. Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Group, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings — representing more than a dozen brands between them — told The Washington Post they would participate in the new voluntary program under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cruise Lines International Association, an industry group, recommended its members opt-in. “The updated instructions move closer to recognizing the cruise industry’s leadership in effectively mitigating COVID-19, as well as acknowledging ongoing improvements in the health environment,” the group said in a statement. The CDC confirmed that the three major companies opted in but did not provide an update on any smaller cruise lines. Operators had until Friday to decide. The deadline came just days after the CDC lowered its coronavirus travel.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have hired former Miami Dolphins coach Flores to serve as a senior defensive assistant. Flores will specialize in working with Pittsburgh’s linebackers, a group that includes NFL Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt. His hiring comes less than three weeks after Flores, who is Black, sued the NFL and three teams over alleged racist hiring practices following his dismissal by Miami. Flores led the Dolphins to consecutive winning seasons before he was fired in January.

Though he has returned to coaching in the league, Flores will not abandon the lawsuit. “While coach Flores is now focused on his new position, he will continue with his race discrimination class action so that real change can be made in the NFL,” attorneys Douglas Wigdor and John Elefterakis said in a statement Saturday. “I am excited about Brian Flores joining our coaching staff given his history of developing and teaching defensive players during his time in the NFL,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement. “Brian’s resume speaks for itself, and I look forward to him adding his expertise to help our team.” Tomlin is the NFL’s longest-tenured Black head coach and one of three Black men to lead teams last season.

Meanwhile, the NFL has hired a law firm that includes former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to defend it and several teams in Brian Flores’ race discrimination lawsuit. Lynch will work with Brad Karp, chairman at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison. Karp previously worked for the league in concussion cases. Flores, who is Black, was fired as Miami’s coach last month and named the league and three teams — the Dolphins, Broncos, and Giants — in a class-action lawsuit this month, alleging unfair hiring practices in the NFL.

Marietta’s Parks & Recreation and Keep Marietta Beautiful will hold a shredding event on March 5 from 9 a.m. to noon at Elizabeth Porter Park located at 370 Montgomery Street NE in Marietta. Only paper items will be accepted. Residents with confidential or sensitive documents that need to be safely discarded, can watch their documents, safely from their car, as they are shredded on-site. While the event is free, donations to Keep Cobb Beautiful are greatly appreciated. For more information, contact Maggi Moss at 770-794-5609 or mmoss@mariettaga.gov.

Cobb Collaborative and Cobb Senior Services will host the Senior Mental Health Town Hall Thursday, March 10 for seniors and their caregivers at the Senior Wellness Center located at 1150 Powder Springs Street in Marietta. The event will start at noon with organizations providing mental health resources in Cobb. The second portion will be a panel discussion at 1 p.m. Experts on the panel include:

  • Dr. Jatuun Gibson, director of Cobb Senior Services
  • Laura C. Jalbert, clinical director at Mindful Transitions, LLC
  • Wellstar gerontologist
  • Dawn Reed, founder of Aloha to Aging

U.S. auto safety regulators have launched another investigation of Tesla, this time tied to complaints that its cars stop on roads for no apparent reason. The government says it has had 354 complaints from owners during the past nine months about “phantom braking” in Tesla Models 3 and Y. The probe covers an estimated 416,000 vehicles from the two.

Abbott has issued a voluntary recall for baby formula produced at a plant in Michigan following reports that four infants in three states fell ill with bacterial infections. The company said in a news release it took action after it was notified of four consumer complaints related to Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella Newport in infants who had consumed powder infant formula. According to the Food and Drug Administration, three of the cases, including the death of a newborn, were linked to Cronobacter. The FDA issued an advisory Thursday that warned against the use of packages produced under the Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare labels if the first two digits of the container code are 22 or 37; the code contains K8, SH, or Z2; and has an April 1 expiration date. Packages that don’t meet those conditions are not affected, the agency said. The four cases occurred in Ohio, Minnesota, and Texas.

Move more and sit less may have become a mantra of sorts for healthy behavior, but 25% of U.S. adults do not seem to be following that advice. Rather, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 1 in 4 adults in states and territories are inactive. That means they are not doing enough physical activity outside of work – such as running, walking for exercise, or gardening – to protect and enhance their health. By locale, the CDC found the prevalence of inactivity to be highest in the South (27.5%) and lowest in the West (21%). Better sleep, lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety, and less risk for dementia and several chronic diseases are among the benefits of physical activity. To realize these health benefits, most adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, according to the latest federal Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. In addition, new research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine estimates that about 110,000 deaths a year could be prevented if middle-aged and older adults increased their physical activity by just 10 minutes a day.

YMCA still waiving joining fees for new members this month. In addition, members can bring up to two guests per day for a complimentary visit. Each guest receives one free visit to the Y per year. YMCA membership includes access to 19 metro Atlanta YMCA locations, swimming pools, exercise classes, state-of-the-art equipment, and wellness coaching. Members can also access YMCA360, an on-demand video platform offering group exercise classes, youth sports training, well-being classes, and more. “Now more than ever, we want to encourage the community to prioritize their health and wellness,” said Lauren Koontz, president, and CEO of YMCA of Metro Atlanta. “We created this membership offer and interactive options to provide members with opportunities to learn, grow and thrive. The Y is dedicated to building healthy, confident, secure, and connected communities.” Membership information: www.ymcaatlanta.org/membership/.

Have a great week….


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