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The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure spending bill Tuesday that would steer more than $11 billion toward highways, transit, airports and electric vehicle charging stations in Georgia. The $1 trillion legislation, which cleared the Senate 69-30 and now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives, includes $8.9 billion for highway projects in the Peach State, $1.3 billion for transit expansion, $225 million to repair bridges, $619 million for airport improvements and $135 million to build EV charging stations. It also contains at least $100 million to expand broadband connectivity in Georgia.

A federal judge on Friday refused landlords’ request to put the Biden administration’s new eviction moratorium on hold, though she ruled that the freeze is illegal. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich said her “hands are tied” by an appellate decision from the last time

At least 304 people were killed and hundreds were injured and missing after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Saturday, and Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he was rushing aid to areas where towns were destroyed and hospitals overwhelmed with incoming patients. The epicenter of the quake was about 78 miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince.

Twenty-seven people aboard a Carnival cruise tested positive for COVID-19 just before the ship made a stop in Belize City this week, according to the Belize Tourism Board. The positive cases were among 26 crew members and one passenger on the Carnival Vista, which is carrying more than 1,400 crew and nearly 3,000 passengers, the board said in a statement. The ship arrived Wednesday in Belize City. All 27 were vaccinated, had mild or no symptoms, and were in isolation, according to the statement. The tourism board said 99.98% of the ship’s crew was vaccinated, as well as 96.5% of its passengers. The ship left from Galveston, Texas.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in the Cobb County School District nearly tripled in a week, with the bulk of new cases concentrated in its elementary schools. The district documented 551 overall school-based cases, up from 185 reported on Aug. 6. Broken down, the district on Friday reported 319 active cases in elementary, 91 in middle and 141 in high schools.

Beginning Oct. 1, Wellstar Health System officials say all staff will need to be fully vaccinated. That requirement includes all remote workers, physicians, medical residents, fellows, trainees, contractors, medical staff, students, temporary workers and volunteers, according to Wellstar. All new hires will also have to provide proof of full vaccination before their start date. Including Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta and Wellstar Cobb Hospital in Austell, the health system operates 11 hospitals, hundreds of medical offices and 17 urgent care locations, as well as rehab and hospice facilities in the state.

Dobbins Air Reserve Base joins Wellstar Health System facilities to be the first in Cobb to require vaccinations for their personnel. Dobbins Air Reserve Base officials say they’ll follow guidance from the Department of Defense, after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said this week the COVID-19 vaccine would be added to the list of required vaccinations for military service members. Implementation plans are still in development, according to a statement from the base. The policy does not affect Lockheed Martin, which shares a runway with Dobbins.

There is constant squabbling over the virtues of various diets, but a new report published in Cardiovascular Research makes one thing clear: The best way to avoid heart disease is to eat whole and plant-based foods. This is important because people are eating themselves to death: According to the 2017 Global Burden of Disease study, poor food choices account for almost 50% of all cardiovascular disease fatalities. Unfortunately, the typical American diet is filled with ultra-processed foods, which are cheap, tasty, convenient — and detrimental to heart health. And, anecdotally at least, some of us may be relying on such foods even more during the coronavirus pandemic. Eating this way opens the door for heart disease. 

Former Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox is the sole finalist to become president of Georgia College & State University. Cox currently serves as dean of the Mercer University School of Law. Located in Milledgeville, Georgia College is the University System’s main liberal arts institution.

Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, is recalling more than 266,000 pickup trucks mainly in North America because the side air bags can explode without warning and hurl shrapnel into the cabin. It is the second major recall of pickup trucks in the past two months for the same problem. Stellantis said the recall covers certain Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickups from the 2015 through 2020 model years. Also included are some previous generation Ram 1500 pickups known as the Classic, from 2015 through 2020. The latest version of the Ram 1500 is not affected. The company says it will notify customers when they can schedule service. Owners with fears or questions can call (800)-853-1403. Last month General Motors recalled more than 400,000 pickups in the U.S. for the same problem.

Hyundai, Kia recall 600K vehicles to fix trunk latch problem Hyundai and Kia are recalling more than 600,000 vehicles in the U.S. because damage to the trunk latches can stop them from being opened from the inside. The recall covers certain 2016 through 2018 Kia Forte and 2018 and 2019 Kia Rio small cars. Also included are certain Hyundai Sonatas from 2017 and 2018, 2016 through 2018 Sonata Hybrids, 2018 through 2020 Hyundai Accents, and 2016 and 2017 Hyundai Azera cars.

The U.S. Department of Treasury says the second monthly child tax credit payment has begun to be disbursed. More than $15 billion will be paid out to families of about 61 million children. Eligible families receive up to $300 a month per child under 6 and up to $250 per month for children ages 6 to 17. The Treasury Department said due to a technical problem that should be solved by September, about 15% of families that received direct deposit payments in July will receive their check by mail in August. Families can visit the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to check on their payment status.

August is National Dog Month, so take time to celebrate our loveable canine pals. Fun facts – Dogs are the #1 most commonly owned pets on the planet. Scientific studies prove our pawsome companions make us happier, less stressed, and more optimistic. The list of benefits to spending time with a dog goes on and on. Whether your dog burrows under the blankets with you at night, plays in the sprinkler, or alerts you to a health need, we know they are constantly improving our lives and making them more fun. Not only that, but the companionship and affection we share with them make their lives better, too. Dog lovers know a life without dogs is a life missing something special, and that’s a fact worth celebrating.

Have a safe and productive week…


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