Patrick Swanson / May 24,2020

A Month Into Reopening And Georgia Jobs Have Yet To Return


Two out of five people in Georgia — 40.3 percent of its workforce — have filed for unemployment since the state reopened its economy on April 30, the first to do so. But people are still staying close to home, making it harder for jobs to come back, according to a report in Politico on Thursday (May 21).

Georgia had more filings by percentage of its workforce than any other state, Politico’s review of data indicated. New jobless claims for loans in Georgia have varied since the state reopened, going up 243,000 two weeks ago and dropping to 177,000 last week. The state had commented that the increases in claims were due to jobs lost in retail, social services and health care.

“It’s nothing significant enough to say, ‘Oh, there’s a huge surge,’ — but certainly nothing to signal there’s any return to economic stability or recovery happening right now,” Alex Camardelle, a senior policy analyst with the nonprofit Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, told Politico.

Aside from being the first state to re-open, Georgia was also one of the last states to close its economy and impose stay-home mandates.

More layoffs are coming down the pike in Georgia as the state makes plans to eliminate over 1,000 jobs — educators, counselors, social services, administrators, clerks —  in a move to cut state budgets by 14 percent, according to an AJC report on Sunday (May 24). Revenue decline brought about by the pandemic was cited as the reason.

Further, some state employees not laid off will see their paychecks slashed.

Among the departments laying off or furloughing employees are the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Patrick Swanson / January 27,2020

How Georgia’s Population Relates To The 2020 Census


Georgia’s population of 10.6 million people makes it one of the largest states in the country. The state’s population grew by more than 100,000 from 2018 to 2019, according to the latest Census estimates. The state’s growing population relates to politics and the 2020 Census. However, more than 3% of the Georgia residents get payday loans at least once a year.

The Census counts every person living in the United States. The decennial count determines political representation and how federal money is distributed.

After the 2010 Census, Georgia’s population growth led to an increase of one congressional seat.

“An additional congressional seat means an additional vote in the electoral college, which is really important in helping to pick the President of the United States,” said Andra Gillespie, associate professor of political science at Emory University.

Gillespie also said having more members of Congress means more voices advocating for Georgia. 

“You want as many Georgians on as many committees as possible so that they are advocating for Georgia interests,” she said.

House committees that Georgia representatives serve on include Transportation and Infrastructure, Armed Services, Judiciary as well as Ways and Means. 

Georgia has 14 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. In comparison, Florida has 27 and Alabama and South Carolina each have 7. California has the most seats, with 53.

Patrick Swanson / April 08,2021

Georgia site is fourth in US to pause Johnson & Johnson vaccine


A coronavirus vaccine site in Georgia became the fourth US location this week to pause its administration of the Johnson & Johnson jab after concerns over possible adverse reactions, a report said.
Eight people experienced lightheadedness after getting the shot Wednesday at the Cumming Fairgrounds, though health officials believe that could have simply been caused by the hot weather, WSB-TV reported.
“It was a fainting issue,” Dave Palmer, North Georgia Health District spokesperson, told the outlet.
“We don’t think it’s anything to do with the vaccine. It’s probably more environmental factors,” Palmer said.
Adverse reactions were incurred by less than 2% of the 435 people who received the vaccine at the site, the report said.
“That facility is hard to cool, and we do have fans there, but it was a warmer day,” Palmer told the station. “I think the heat may have had some bearing on it. We’re not sure.”
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was also halted in the past week at sites in Colorado, North Carolina and Iowa.

Patrick Swanson / March 25,2021

Atlanta area gets a 5G incubator courtesy of T-Mobile and Georgia Tech


The Atlanta area is getting a new incubator for startups working with 5G technology courtesy of T-Mobile and Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), the companies announced today.
It’s an expansion of the T-Mobile Accelerator program and part of the big carrier’s efforts to boost 5G innovation.
Located in the Atlanta-adjacent exurb of Peachtree Corners’ technology development park, which is already equipped with T-Mobile’s 5G services, the incubator will help developers build and test 5G use cases including autonomous vehicles, robotics, industrial drone applications, mixed reality training and entertainment, remote medical care and personal health, the company said.
Startups working with the 5G Connected Future program will work directly with folks at T-Mobile’s accelerator, Georgia Tech and Curiosity Lab, an initiative in the Peachtree Corners campus.
“In addition to the normal startup concerns, entrepreneurs in the 5G space face a unique set of challenges such as regulatory issues at the state and local levels, network security, and integration testing,” said ATDC Director John Avery.
Peachtree Corners’ setup may help folks navigate that rollout. As part of its involvement, ATDC will offer programing, recruit and evaluate startups, and hire staff to manage the vertical in Peachtree Corners, the organization said.
“This collaboration is a great opportunity for ATDC and Georgia Tech, the city of Peachtree Corners and Curiosity Lab, and T-Mobile, a Fortune 50 company, to create a unique collection to work with these companies, refine their ideas into scalable companies, and bring these solutions to market more quickly,” Avery said.

Patrick Swanson / March 24,2021

Hurricane Outbreak Alabama, Georgia; At least 5 dead | Alabama news


By Kevin McGill, associated Press

Tornado Tornado Sirens and Howling Winds Roar in Parts of Western Georgia There was a severe thunderstorm in the southern states early Friday, which included Alabama Where at least five people died, which are scattered in houses, scattered trees and uprooted businesses.

Meteorologists said a large, dangerous tornado swept through Metro Atlanta’s Couta County around midnight Friday, sparking a tornado emergency for Newnan City and surrounding communities. Several reported trees and power lines were downed.

Newnan police asked residents to “take to the streets” in a Facebook post, stating that emergency officials were surveying the area. Newton Utilities said the storm overcame their phone and Internet services, but they were “fully aware of the down line, gas leaks and numerous inaccessible roads.”

Couta County said its public schools would remain closed on Friday due to extensive damage.

Newnan Mayor Keith Brady said no fatal incidents were immediately reported.

Officials said the storm followed a series of bursts in Alabama on Thursday, which an official said traveled about 100 miles (160 kilometers) across the state.

In eastern Alabama, Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade said a twister killed five people who cut a diagonal route across the county, mostly striking rural areas – something that likely outnumbered those who died. Prevents this from happening.

At an evening briefing, Wade said, “Our hearts, our thoughts, and our prayers go out to the families, and we’re going to do our best to love them.”

John D. Block, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham, said a “super sale” of storms led to several twisters.

Patrick Swanson / March 20,2021

Eating My Way Through Savannah, Georgia

Eating My Way Through Savannah, Georgia

Eating My Way Through Savannah, Georgia
One of the great foodie cities of the country, I knew finding some delicious bites wouldn’t be the problem on my recent visit to Savannah, but how to narrow it down for what was really a brief visit. Centuries of multiculturalism have come together to create a truly unique cuisine but one that somehow also instantly feels familiar and even homey. There’s a lot to love about the Savannah, Georgia food scene but these were my own favorite and even unexpected culinary moments.
Savannah Food Tour
My favorite way to first experience any new city is on a food tour, whether I’m in Bologna, Helsinki or Savannah. Not only are food tours inherently fun, they’re informative. When one learns about a local cuisine along with it comes a crash course into the history and culture of a destination since food is an integral aspect of both. Savannah Taste Experience is the only tour company in the city solely focused on food and culinary heritage and they offer a variety of different tour options. Since it was my first time though I went with their classic tour through the city, the First Squares Food Tour.
Eating My Way Through Savannah, Georgia

Patrick Swanson / March 13,2021

Georgia Garden Danger: Poisonous Snakes


Any of Georgia’s many venomous snakes could be slithering in the weeds as you’re clearing out your garden. Learning how to recognize dangerous snakes is essential to the safety of your family and pets. Just as important is knowing the do’s and don’ts when you identify that a snake has nested on your property and that includes having a trusted wildlife control and removal expert on call.

We can’t give snakes a completely bad rep, not even those with poisonous, lethal bits. Why not, you ask?

  • Snakes are an important component of the Georgia ecosystem because of their crucial role as both predator and prey.
  • Snakes are environmentally beneficial because they eat all kinds of rodents such as rats, mice, and other animals deemed to be pests.
  • Some varieties of snakes serve as bioindicators of levels of pollutants in land and aquatic ecosystems.

Believe it or not, there are laws protecting snakes. Even so, you don’t want snakes going after your small pets, slinking around your property or sneaking into your house. These factors make snake identification and control and removal of snakes a responsibility for all homeowners to share.

Common Venomous Snakes in Georgia

The primary group of venomous snakes in Georgia are the Pit Vipers, which have a heat-sensing pit between the eyes and nostril. Pit Vipers have fangs that fold against the roof of the mouth. Most, but not all, pit vipers have triangular-shaped heads (as do a small variety of non-venomous water snakes). The pupil of the eye is vertical.

Patrick Swanson / March 03,2021

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Patrick Swanson / February 28,2021

Republicans in Georgia House pass new restrictions in backward step for voting rights


They say that no good deed goes unpunished.
So it’s not surprising that the citizens of Georgia, having had unprecedented access to the ballot box in the last election due to the expansion of mail-in votings options set up deal with the dangers of the COVID pandemic (and resulting in a record turnout), are now being penalized for delivering a massive defeat to the party that controls their state government.
Of course, that state government — currently controlled across the board by GOP officials — was elected under much more stringent voting regulations that previously had purged voter roles and restricted polling places to intentionally suppress voting by minorities, as many critics of Georgia’s Republican politicians have alleged.
Now those GOP lawmakers are facing a future where they will lose the levers of power due to the newly emboldened Democratic-leaning voters who turned the state blue in both the presidential and U.S. senatorial races.
And, rather than change their policies and adjust their platforms to appeal to a wider range of the state’s voters, Georgia Republicans have decided that the easiest way to keep their jobs is to change the rules for elections to make it harder for those who don’t share their political views to vote.

Patrick Swanson / February 26,2021

4 children and 2 adults were rescued from a sinking boat off the Georgia coast


Two adults and four children were rescued Friday by the US Coast Guard off the Georgia coast after their boat struck an object and started sinking.

The 17-foot boat was near the entrance to the St. Marys River on the Florida-Georgia border when it hit something and started taking on water, the Nassau County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

The US Coast Guard cutter Sea Dragon was returning from offshore and launched a small boat crew to rescue the six people from the boat, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

A marine unit from the sheriff’s office used a pump to remove the water from the boat before towing it to the Amelia Island boat ramp in Florida.

The marine unit then returned to the Sea Dragon to pick up the six people and ferried the group to the town of St. Marys in Georgia, the sheriff’s office said.

No injuries were reported.

The Georgia Department of Natural Res is investigating the boat accident, according to the sheriff’s office.

“In the Florida/southeast Georgia area, we remind boaters that during this time of year, the possibility of hypothermia still exists,” said Boatswain’s Mate Kristian Sova, the Sea Dragon’s commanding officer. “If you can, remain with your boat and try to remain together as a group, this greatly increases the likelihood of first responders finding you if you’re ever in the need of assistance; this was a very fortunate outcome, special thanks to those involved in this rescue.”

Patrick Swanson / February 25,2021

Vanderbilt falls to Georgia State in first loss of the season


In a low-scoring affair in which pitchers on both sides shined and the Commodore bats were mostly silenced, Vanderbilt was defeated 4-2.
“They did a nice job of holding us down,” Coach Tim Corbin said after the game. “We couldn’t get anything going with our bats and couldn’t get anything going with our legs obviously. Just a tougher night offensively. I thought we pitched well enough and defensively we played a pretty good game too.”
Sophomore Thomas Schultz made just his second career start for Vanderbilt and was solid with 4.1 innings pitched, four strikeouts and two earned runs in 75 total pitches.
On the other side, Georgia State’s starting pitcher, Paul Watson, dazzled as he pitched five full innings and only surrendered one run while striking out seven.
The Panthers struck first in the top of the second as Elian Merejo led off with a bloop-single before advancing to second on a wild pitch. A sacrifice bunt pushed Merejo to third and a Dalton Pearson sacrifice fly eventually scored him.
Facing their first deficit of the early season, the Commodores quickly responded in the bottom of the second. Tate Kolwyck drew a one-out walk and Dominic Keegan advanced him to third with a two-out single. Enrique Bradfield Jr. then stepped up to the plate and laced a single under the second baseman’s glove to score Kolwyck and tie the game at one.
Georgia State pulled ahead again in the fifth inning as the Panthers turned Dalton Pearson’s leadoff single and steal into a run thanks to a Tanner Gallman double off the wall in deep left field. Schultz walked the next batter and that was the end of his night as Corbin opted to bring in Nick Maldonado in relief.

Patrick Swanson / February 24,2021

Georgia Student Health Insurance Options | Health Care Coverage and Plans


What Are Health Insurance Options for Georgia Students?

Georgia college students aren’t required by state law to have insurance. But if you’re attending school as an undergraduate or graduate student, your school may have requirements. You can stay on your parent’s plan until the age of 26.
It may seem like a no-brainer to stay on it for students who have health insurance through their parents. But there are reasons why you may want to get your policy. Or perhaps you don’t have healthcare coverage through your parents and want to know your options. If you need coverage, for whatever reason, we can help you find a student health plan in the Peach State. 

What You Need To KnowGeorgia students who need health insurance have a variety of options.If you’re staying on your parent’s plan, it’s important to make sure you’ll have the coverage you need.You can get an affordable plan by going through the ACA or your school-sponsored healthcare plan.

Why Georgia Students Need Health Insurance
The first reason to shop for an insurance policy is simple: your college may require it. For example, healthcare coverage is mandatory for some students in the University System of Georgia1. Even if it’s not required, think twice about skipping it. You may head off to school without a health problem in sight, but it just takes one surprise illness to run up a huge medical bill. By having health insurance, you’ll be covered for the medical care you need.

A Word of AdviceChoosing a plan with a low monthly premium usually means you’ll have higher out-of-pocket costs if you need care.