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National security officials across the continent remain on edge after another unidentified object was shot down over northern Canada on Saturday. This marks the third time in a week that US fighter jets have taken down objects in North American airspace. On Friday afternoon US officials announced that an unidentified object was shot down 10 miles off the frozen coast of Alaska because it posed a “reasonable threat to civilian air traffic” as it was flying at 40,000 feet. The first object was shot down off the coast of South Carolina a week prior to yesterday’s shootdown. Details about the objects are scarce and the Pentagon has been cautious in describing what the objects actually are. Recovery teams are collecting the debris from the objects. The first of the three objects was thought to be a Chinese spy balloon.

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team recently turned over more materials with classified markings and a laptop belonging to a federal prosecutors aide. Special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation, which is pursuing possible criminal charges related to Trump’s handling of national security records and obstruction of justice, had subpoenaed Trump last May for all classified records in his possession.

Former Vice President Mike Pence joins former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden in having their homes scoured by FBI agents for classified records. The FBI announced that it discovered an additional document with classified markings at Pence’s Indiana home during a search on Friday. The willingness of Pence and Biden to permit the FBI to search their homes, and to present themselves as fully cooperative, reflects a desire by both to avoid the drama that enveloped Trump last year and resulted in the Justice Department having to get a warrant to inspect his Florida property.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added COVID-19 vaccinations to a list of suggested routine immunizations, but the agency says it is not mandating the vaccines. Released on Thursday, the CDC’s vaccine schedule does not set requirements for vaccines in schools or in the workplace. For children, state and local jurisdictions decide which immunizations are required for schools and daycares. Medical and religious exemptions to vaccines are also allowed in many states, including Georgia.

One of the former Memphis police officers accused in the beating death of Tyre Nichols is accused of taking and sharing photos of a bloodied Nichols as he lay against a car after the fatal assault. According to documents released by the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission, former police officer Demetrius Haley stood over Nichols and took photographs, which Haley sent to other officers and a female acquaintance. Haley is among the five former officers — Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Tadarrius Bean, Justin Smith, and Emmitt Martin III — who have all been fired and charged with second-degree murder.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh is reportedly leaving the Biden administration. Walsh has been offered the job as executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, which represents professional hockey players. Walsh is the first member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet to step down.

Charles Silverstein, a psychologist who helped achieve one of the most significant victories of the gay rights movement by persuading the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness, died on Jan. 30 in New York City. He was 87. Silverstein spent decades — as an activist, psychologist, and author — advancing the cause of gay rights.

Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and Senate President Pro Tem John Kennedy called for an investigation into how taxpayers wound up paying for a European trip for their predecessors – then-Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller – two months before they left office. Just before their terms ended, the two led a 14-person delegation to Germany and England. Duncan didn’t run for reelection and Miller lost in the Republican lieutenant governor’s primary to Jones. By the time the mid-November trip took place, voters had already selected their replacements. Legislative lawyers rejected requests from the media to disclose how much state money was spent on the trip, citing the fact that the General Assembly exempted itself from the Open Records Act that other government officials must follow. The group made the trip from Nov. 12 to 19 to the German cities of Munich and Stuttgart and then London as part of a Senate Study Committee on Economic Development and International Relations. 

Legislators who live outside Atlanta sponsored a bill this week at the capitol to renew the push for the wealthy neighborhood of Buckhead to secede from the city of Atlanta. The bill is virtually identical to legislation introduced last year but includes a new provision: The mayor of the proposed city would make an annual salary of $225,000 — more than Gov. Brian Kemp. Part-time “Buckhead City” council members would make $72,000. The bill has no support from senior Republican leaders and stiff opposition from many of the region’s most prominent officials. If approved by the Legislature, Buckhead residents within the proposed boundaries would make the decision through a ballot referendum in November 2024.

State Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, R-Marietta, introduced a bill that would ban county superior court clerks and probate judges across the state of Georgia from pocketing passport application fees as personal income. If approved, the bill would require that the fees be split between the county’s general fund and the clerk’s office, to offset expenses. Counties would have the option to adjust the split through an agreement. The bill has to be approved by both chambers before becoming law.

State Sen. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth, filed legislation this week aimed at Cobb’s purported home rule powers to redraw their own district lines. Senate Bill 124 would explicitly prohibit Georgia counties from drawing their own district lines. Republicans opposed to the county’s home-rule resolution have argued the effort is unconstitutional, and Setzler’s legislation would prohibit any attempt to “alter, amend, reapportion, redistrict, or revise the election districts from which its members are elected,” the bill reads.

Georgia GOP Chair David Shafer has informed his fellow Republicans that he will not seek a third term when the party votes this summer amid backlash over the party’s performance during the past two election cycles and scrutiny from prosecutors for his role in promoting Donald Trump’s lies claiming election fraud.

AMC, the nation’s largest movie chain, announced that it will be charging more for better seats in its movie theaters in a few cities and will soon roll out the policy nationwide by the end of the year. Dubbed Sightline, the program will give a discount for those willing to crane their necks in the front row, while seats in the “preferred” section in the middle will pay $1 or $2 more. This policy will affect only film showings after 4 p.m. Those who belong to AMC’s monthly subscription program won’t have to pay the extra charge. Headquartered in suburban Kansas City, Missouri, AMC has 18 locations in metro Atlanta. At NGC theaters in metro Atlanta, the chain charges $2.50 extra for its recliner “VIP” seats vs. regular seats.

The Walt Disney Co., which owns Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar, announced Wednesday that it will cut about 7,000 jobs as part of an ambitious company-wide cost savings plan and “strategic reorganization”. The job cuts amount to about 3% of the entertainment giant’s global workforce and was unveiled after Disney reported quarterly results that topped Wall Street’s forecasts. The company said the job reductions are part of a targeted $5.5 billion cost savings across the company. As of Oct. 1, Disney employed 220,000 people, of which about 166,000 worked in the U.S. and 54,000 internationally.

Zoom, the videoconferencing giant that grew rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Tuesday it is laying off 15% of its workforce, or about 1,300 employees. Like other companies that flourished during the pandemic only to stumble as lockdowns eased, Zoom has struggled to maintain growth.

Dell Technologies is eliminating about 6,650 roles as it faces plummeting demand for personal computers, becoming the latest technology company to announce thousands of job cuts. The reduction amounts to about 5% of Dell’s global workforce, the company said in a regulatory filing. After a pandemic-era PC boom, Dell and other hardware makers have experienced cratering demand.

Chick-fil-A’s newest sandwich, “Chick-fil-A Cauliflower Sandwich”, ditches chicken for cauliflower. The new sandwich is being tested in three cities beginning next week, marking the chicken chain’s first-ever plant-based sandwich. Imitating the chain’s signature fried chicken sandwiches, the new offering uses a “tender filet cut” of cauliflower that’s marinated and breaded in the chain’s seasoning, then pressure cooked and served on a buttery bun with pickles. The new sandwich goes on sale Monday for a limited time in three cities: Denver; Charleston, South Carolina; and the Greensboro-Triad region in North Carolina. The starting price is $6.59 but may vary by market.

The developer of a mixed-use project announced that they are bringing a brewery to downtown Austell later this year. Frog Rock Brewing Company has signed a lease in the new development, dubbed “Cincinnati Junction,” and will open in late spring or early summer. The brewery will join Austell CoWork, already open at the development. Two other businesses,  a photo studio, and a clothing boutique have also signed leases, according to the developer.

Lebron James is now the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. James scored one of the most historic baskets in league history on Tuesday, breaking the hallowed record of 38,387 career points long held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was sitting courtside. James entered the game needing 36 points to set the mark and reached it on a step-back fadeaway with 10.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder at Crypto.com Arena.

NFL quarterback legend, Brett Favre, has filed lawsuits Thursday in Mississippi, accusing the state auditor and two national sportscasters of defaming him in public discussions about the misspending of welfare money that was supposed to help some of the poorest people in one of the poorest states in the nation. The lawsuit was filed against Auditor Shad White and former NFL player Shannon Sharpe. Favre said Sharpe made “egregiously false” statements about him on the Fox Sports talk show “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed,” including that Favre “stole money from people that really needed money.”

Early voting for the Mayor and Council Members for the new city of Mableton begins on February 21 for the March 21 election. Make plans to vote before or on March 21 for Mableton’s new city government.

The City of Smyrna has launched Smyrna 311, an app that allows users to report non-emergency issues and service requests for issues such as potholes, streetlight outages, or requests for code enforcement. Once submitted, progress may be tracked on the app. Help keep the community working smoothly by downloading the app on your Apple or Android device today and using it to report issues. 

Purina has voluntarily recalled some of its prescription dog food because of potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D. Pet owners should immediately stop feeding their dogs this food. If they suspect their pet has Vitamin D toxicity, they should contact their vet. The recall includes the Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EL elemental prescription dry dog food. While Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for dogs, if they ingest too much it can cause vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, and kidney dysfunction.

After the asphyxiation death of a 14-month-old whose neck became trapped between the canopy tube and the armrest of a Baby Trend Sit N’ Stand double stroller, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warned consumers about a head or neck entrapment risk on the Sit N’ Stand Double and Ultra strollers (model numbers beginning with “SS76” or “SS66”). CPSC and Baby Trend reiterated its warning about the hazards of some popular Baby Trend-brand strollers and sharply criticized the stroller manufacturer for issuing “a clearly inaccurate statement” about the safety of its products and the agency’s position on them. On Thursday, they issued a statement that said a life-threatening injury could happen between the pivoting front canopy and the armrest or seat back.

Colgate-Palmolive is recalling 4.9 million bottles of Fabuloso all-purpose cleaner because of possible bacterial contamination. The cleaners were sold at Dollar General, Family Dollar, The Home Depot, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and other major retailers, as well as online at Amazon.com elsewhere, between December 2022 and January 2023. The cleaners could be contaminated with Pseudomonas bacteria, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the manufacturer. Pseudomonas, which are present in soil and water, pose a threat to people with weakened immune systems, and lung conditions, or who use external medical devices.

Fresh Ideation Food Group LLC, based in Baltimore, issued a recall for over 400 ready-to-eat products because of possible Listeria concerns. The products were recalled after samples of Listeria monocytogenes were found in the processing facility. The products that were recalled have a sell-by date from January 31st-February 6th and include deli sandwiches, sliced fruit, wraps, croissants, snack trays, pizza, and yogurt. They are sold under a variety of brand names but are marked with the “Fresh Creative Cuisine” label, signifying that they come from the Baltimore facility. The FDA has a complete list of the recalled products on the FDA website. The recalled products were sold in vending machines and retail stores across the east coast of the United States as well as on Amtrak’s Northeast Regional trains.

Happy Valentine’s Day to All.” “A very Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. Let us celebrate this day and every day by wishing everyone around us a life full of love.” “The smallest thing that we can do for someone is to make them feel loved.

Have a wonderful week…

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