President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Federal Aviation Administration, Phil Washington, withdrew his nomination on Saturday evening, following nine months in limbo and amid concerns from senators in both parties over his background and relative lack of aviation experience. DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted late Saturday that Washington, the CEO of Denver International Airport, has decided to take himself out of the running. “The FAA needs a confirmed Administrator, and Phil Washington’s transportation & military experience made him an excellent nominee,” Buttigieg tweeted. “The partisan attacks and procedural obstruction he has faced are undeserved, but I respect his decision to withdraw and am grateful for his service.” Washington faced a steady drumbeat of criticism, mostly from Republicans, because his only experience in aviation is the now nearly two-year stint leading the Denver airport. Washington had a prior background in leading transit agencies following a career in the Army.
According to a report released Thursday by the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Jewish hatred spiked last year in Georgia and the United States to the highest level recorded. The annual report showed a 36% increase nationally in antisemitic incidents and a 63% increase in the state. Senate Resolution 334 will prohibit the lieutenant governor and state senators from taking out-of-state trips on the taxpayers’ dime if they are nearing the end of their terms in office. The resolution passed the chamber on a vote of 54-0 to ban such trips. The measure does not require House approval. The new policy comes following an internal probe that was launched after Tit was reported in February that outgoing Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and then-Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller led a tour of Europe focusing on economic development only weeks before they left office. They two headed a 14-member delegation that included senators, other government officials, and members of Duncan’s security detail on the trip to Germany and the United Kingdom. A report from the internal investigation said the trip had “the appearance of nothing more than a taxpayer-funded vacation” for Duncan and Miller.
Four of five former Memphis police officers charged with murder in the beating death of Tyre Nichols can no longer work as law enforcement officers in Tennessee. Nichols was handcuffed and brutally beaten by police officers on Jan. 7 and died from his injuries on Jan. 10. The Peace Officer Standards & Training Commission voted to decertify Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin, Justin Smith, and Desmond Mills on Friday.
Under a bill the Georgia House passed last week, workers would be entitled to time off to cast a ballot during early voting or on Election Day Approved on a 161-9 vote, the legislation aims to expand on a state law that already allows two hours off on Election Day. Under Senate Bill 129, workers could take unpaid time to vote either on election days or during three weeks of early voting.
In an amended disclosure, the failed campaign of former Republican Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate still has more than $5.1 million in cash on hand. The campaign also reported spending roughly $1.3 million since Walker’s loss in the December runoff against Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock. Among the bigger expenditures was $127,000 for “logistics consulting” to Michelle Beagle, a close friend of Walker’s wife, Julie Blanchard.
Delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, superstar Gladys Knight was recently celebrated at the White House and finally received her 2021 National Medal of Arts. At the same event, former Spelman College President Johnnetta Betsch Cole was honored as a winner of the 2021 National Humanities Medal which she was also not able to receive due to the pandemic.
The Cobb County School District plans to spend $50 million to build a new multi-use facility to host graduation ceremonies. At the request of Superintendent Chris Ragsdale, the school board approved the preliminary idea on Thursday. The board will have to vote at a later date to approve the purchase of land for the project and to hire an architect. Ragsdale said he didn’t know where the facility would be when it would be completed or all of its uses. But he emphasized the district’s need for a much larger place to host graduations so students’ entire families can attend.
Hyundai and Kia are recalling over 570,000 vehicles due to a fire risk and advising owners to park them outside until repairs are completed. The recall is similar to one already performed on other Kia vehicles last year and relates to the OEM tow hitch harness. The vehicles included in the recall are the 2019-2023 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2021-2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid, 2022-2023 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV, and 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz. The only Kia affected is the Carnival minivan from 2022 and 2023. Hyundai says the chance of fire is present whether you’re driving the vehicle or it’s parked with the ignition off.
Berner Foods Inc. of Dakota, IL, is recalling nearly 3 million cans of Costco’s Kirkland Signature Colombian Cold Brew Coffee because of foreign material, specifically metal in the product. The recalled product was distributed in Georgia, New Jersey, California, Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, Washington, Arizona, Utah, Florida, Colorado, Texas, and Minnesota. According to the recall posted online by the Food and Drug Administration, the recall was initiated on Feb. 17 and is ongoing. Best-by dates range through Oct. 2023. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Remember to schedule your screening.
Have a wonderful week…