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After ordering that several unidentified balloon objects over the United States be shot down, President Joe Biden said the U.S. is developing “sharper rules” to track, monitor and potentially shoot down unknown aerial objects. This follows three weeks of high-stakes drama sparked by the discovery of a suspected Chinese spy balloon transiting much of the country. The U.S. shot down the Chinese balloon, as well as three other objects that Biden said the U.S. now believes are most likely “benign” objects launched by private companies or research institutions. Biden said he hoped the new rules would help “distinguish between those that are likely to pose safety and security risks that necessitate action and those that do not.” “Make no mistake, if any object presents a threat to the safety and security of the American people, I will take it down,” Biden said. 

The U.S. Navy has renamed a building at the Naval Academy to honor former President Jimmy Carter. Maury Hall has been renamed Carter Hall, according to a news release on Friday. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said this followed a vote by Congress to identify and remove names connected to the Confederacy from U.S. military facilities.

President Joe Biden has fired embattled Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton, who oversees the historic building that houses Congress and its expansive grounds, as pressure mounted for his removal following a scathing inspector general report of personal and management lapses. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy joined Biden in saying he’d lost confidence in Blanton’s ability to do the job. This move follows an  inspector general report released last year that found “administrative, ethical and policy violations” by Blanton, a Trump-era appointee. A House hearing last week unearthed new questions and criticisms — including that he was not at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when it came under attack by former President Donald Trump’s supporters.

House Republicans in Washington have launched an investigation into the origins of COVID-19 and are requesting documents and testimony for current and former Biden administration officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

From June 1 to Dec. 15 of 2022,  the Fulton County special purpose grand jury heard from 75 witnesses and weighed evidence from District Attorney Fani Willis  related directly or indirectly to possible attempts to disrupt the lawful administration of the 2020 presidential elections in the State of Georgia. This review included extensive testimony on the subject of alleged election fraud from poll workers, investigators, technical experts, and State of Georgia employees and officials, as well as from persons still claiming that such fraud took place. When they finished, they agreed that there was no vote theft, that Joe Biden won the presidency, and that Donald Trump lost. The Grand Jury voted that they wanted their final report published and the judge allowed snippets from the report to be released, which included the Grand Jury saying, “We find by a unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election.” They went on to say, “A majority of the Grand Jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it.”One of the persons that may be in the cross-hairs is newly elected Lt. Governor Burt Jones. Reports say Willis is determining whether to seek indictments from a regular grand jury on those who are considered to have committed perjury.

Atlanta-based Norfolk Southern found itself having to deal with yet another train derailment, this time in Michigan, in Van Buren Township, about 30 miles west of Detroit. This is the second significant incident this month following a devastating Ohio crash. A notice of potential liability was sent to Norfolk Southern’s deputy general counsel by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Norfolk Southern was placed on notice that it could be held liable for the cleanup of a train derailment in Ohio that caused an environmental calamity when the derailment released chemicals into the air, soil and water and prompted evacuations. The federal notice comes as some nearby residents have sued the railroad and others have raised fears about long-term environmental contamination. In the second derailment, there were no injuries and no hazardous materials were released into surrounding soils or waterways, according to Michigan environmental officials and the railroad. One rail car with liquid chlorine was part of the train, state officials said, but it did not derail.

After spending nearly 10 months imprisoned in Russia, WNBA star Brittney Griner is making her return to basketball in the upcoming season, signing a one-year deal with the Phoenix Mercury, a source with direct knowledge told CNN. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was released in December – after spending nearly 300 days in Russian custody – in a prisoner exchange with Russia. 

The Tubman Museum in Macon opened its newest exhibit that follows the life and legacy of actor, filmmaker, and philanthropist Tyler Perry. The exhibit includes Perry’s childhood home, some costumes from Madea, and a video message from Perry when he opened his Atlanta studio. A special viewing was held over the weekend. The exhibit will be open for two years. Admission is free for members, $10 for adults, and $6 for children.

Clark Atlanta University will hold a press briefing announcing the relaunch and renaming of the Southern Center for Studies in Public Policy to the W.E.B. DuBois Southern Center for Studies in Public Policy on its campus Wednesday, February 22, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. in the Thomas W. Cole Exhibition Hall. 

A nearly 155-year-old historic building on the campus of Morris Brown, in southwest Atlanta, received significant damage. Crews with Atlanta fire responded to a reported structure fire at the former Morris Brown College dormitory in the 600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The building, formerly called Gaines Hall, was designed by architect William Parkins and built in 1869, four years after the Civil War, according to the Atlanta Preservation Center. The brick structure is within the Atlanta University Center Historic District and was Atlanta University’s first building. It later became a dormitory for Morris Brown and was returned to Clark Atlanta University after a 2017 court ruling.

The Cobb County Board of Education voted 4-2-1 to extend Superintendent Chris Ragsdale’s contract through 2026 along party lines. Two Democrats voted against extending the contract for the controversial superintendent, while one Democrat abstained due to her newcomer status on the board.

The City of Powder Springs is requesting citizen input on key issues via an online survey. The survey will take about one minute and will help make improvements in the city. Email, text and voice options are available. To sign up for the free survey, visit flashvote.com/PowderSprings. 

Starting Feb. 21, the Marietta Police Department is offering 12-hour Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) classes for women, and on April 17 they will offer classes for high school female seniors. R.A.D. is a simple yet effective self-defense course for only women of all fitness levels to help them successfully learn options to escape attacks. The location will be the Marietta Police Department, 240 Lemon St. The program will be delivered during four three-hour classes. Email Lt. Gretchen Ingram at gingram@mariettaga.gov for information. 

Electric car giant Tesla is recalling nearly 363,000 vehicles with its “Full Self Driving” system to fix problems with the way it behaves around intersections and following posted speed limits.

For the first time, Tesla will make at least 7,500 of its charging stations available to non-Tesla U.S. electric vehicles by the end of next year. a new plan announced Wednesday by the White House says at least 7,500 chargers from Tesla’s Supercharger and Destination Charger network will be available to non-Tesla EVs by the end of 2024. The plan to open the nation’s largest and most reliable charging network to all drivers is a potential game-changer in promoting EV use, a key component of President Joe Biden’s pledge to fight climate change. 

Delta Air Lines employees are happy as the company announced that it is paying out bonuses to employees amounting to about 5.6% of their annual pay, marking a return to the company’s profit-sharing payouts that drew envy from workers at other companies in prior to the COVID pandemic. The profit-sharing, which Delta traditionally distributes to its employees on Valentine’s Day, amounts to a total payout by the company of $563 million. The last big profit-sharing bonus Delta distributed was a $1.6 billion payout in February 2020 — equivalent to nearly two months of pay for each employee. 

Metro Atlanta cybersecurity giant Secureworks said Feb. 7 it would cut nearly one-tenth of its global workforce, citing the need to reduce spending and shift the focus of its business. Headquartered in Sandy Springs, the company CEO Wendy Thomas said in a note to employees announcing the layoffs, “Our business is evolving with our partners and customers in support of their security needs.” Secureworks has been a fixture of metro Atlanta’s cybersecurity sector since the 1990s. 

Roswell is accepting applications for more than 150 summer positions with its Recreation, Parks, Historic and Cultural Affairs Department. Available to applicants ages 15 and up, the jobs include camp counselors, lifeguards and aquatics coaches, athletics and arts instructors and sprayground attendants. The jobs are open to High school and college students, teachers and retirees wanting to make extra cash. For more information, go to: roswellgov.com/summerjobs or contact Merrie Greenfield at 770-641- 3794 or mgreenfield@roswellgov.com.

Customers in a metro Atlanta community called out grocery store Kroger for its display selling Snoop Dogg’s wine in honor of Black History Month. Customers said the display meant to celebrate Black History Month is offensive and stereotypical. The Kroger on Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree City had a display that featured a life-size cutout of rapper Snoop Dogg and his wine brand, 19 Crimes. A former president of the local NAACP, Johnnie Jones, said selling wine has nothing to do with celebrating Black history. “I just felt that it was offensive.”  The display showed a replica of Snoop Dog with his brand 19 Crimes on it., along with bottles of Black Girl Magic wine in front of the cut-out. A blackboard next to it had “Celebrating Black History Month” written on it, with a clenched fist that had “Dream Like Martin” and other phrases on it. The board also read, “Say it loud, ‘I’m Black and I’m proud.” “Proud of drinking wine? “No. We’re proud of the Tuskegee Airmen whose shoulders I stand on,” said Jones, a former commercial and military pilot.The mascots of 13 Historically Black Colleges and Universities have official bobbleheads. The schools included in the first series are: Alabama A&M University Bulldogs, Alabama Rattlers, Fayetteville State University Broncos, Grambling State University Tigers, Howard University Bison, Jackson State University Tigers, Morgan State University Bears, North Carolina A&T State University Aggies, North Carolina Central University Eagles, Norfolk State University Spartans and Tuskegee University Golden Tigers.

These bobbleheads are available only through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s online store. “We’re excited to release this long-overdue collection of HBCU bobbleheads,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said in a press release. “We know these bobbleheads, which celebrate the rich history of these 13 amazing institutions, will be very popular with the alumni, students, faculty, staff, fans and communities.”

Tesla is voluntarily recalling 362,758 vehicles and warns that its experimental driver-assistance software, marketed as Full Self-Driving Beta, may cause crashes. The recall notice was posted on the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday. Tesla will deliver an over-the-air software update to cars to address the issues, the recall notice said.

 Over 25,000 cases of bottled Starbucks drinks are being recalled nationwide because they may contain glass, federal officials said. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, PepsiCo, which distributes the coffee giant’s bottled drinks, issued a voluntary recall for 25,200 cases of 13.7 fluid-ounce bottles of Starbucks Frappuccino Vanilla Chilled Coffee Drink. The drinks are 13.7-ounce, with UPC number 0 12000-81331 3, and expiration dates of March 8, May 29, June 4 and 10, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. 

Have a great week.


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