By Beau Evans
Capitol Beat News Service
A mandatory masking order is in effect in the city of Atlanta, requiring everyone inside Georgia’s capital city to wear masks in public and in businesses open to the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The order, which took effect late Wednesday, pits Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms against Gov. Brian Kemp, who opposes issuing a statewide mask mandate amid a recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Georgia.
The governor has not signaled whether he may take legal steps to overturn Atlanta’s mask order, given his own executive orders on COVID-19 require local governments to adopt the state’s health and safety rules, which do not so far include any guidelines on mandatory masking.
By Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA - Deciding whether to rename buildings or academic colleges on the 26 University System of Georgia campuses will be a complicated process fraught with emotion, system Chancellor Steve Wrigley warned Thursday.
“You will face some complex choices,” Wrigley told the five members of an advisory group formed last month to review those names and recommend any changes. “Be deliberate and thoughtful. Those are not words we hear a lot today. We want you to be persuaded only by the facts.”
The advisory group, which held its first meeting Thursday, was created amid a backdrop of protests across the country over centuries of racial injustice in America that have been marked by the removal of statues of Confederate leaders and public calls for renaming buildings honoring historic figures connected with the South’s history of slavery and racial discrimination and violence.
“These conversations need to happen … where these names come from, whether they’re appropriate and whether they need to change,” said Marion Ross Fedrick, president of Albany State University and the group’s chairman. “It is critical that we purposefully look at the naming of our buildings, colleges and schools.”
The group’s work promises to be time-consuming. More than 3,000 buildings dot the university system’s campuses, although not all have names.
Fedrick said she already has received more than 1,000 pages of information on the histories of those buildings. She said she would like the group to meet at least twice a month through December and decide at that time whether the process needs to continue into next year.
The group may develop an onsite platform to allow for public feedback.
Fedrick urged group members to give equal weight to the various sources of that public input.
“A lot of this will be emotional and personal,” she said. “What we don’t want to do is listen to one and not another.”
Besides Fedrick, the advisory group includes:
TIME TO MONKEY AROUND - Kids happily testing out the new playground equipment at Jasper City Park Monday, July 6th. Mom Whitney Poag brought out her three children, (L – R) Hattie, Brinlee, and Jensen, “to see what it was all about.” The family even brought along their new puppy to join in the fun. That afternoon, the Poags and other children seemed to enjoy the new play set, complete with swings, a climbing wall, slides, and other features.
Jasper Mayor Steve Lawrence said ‘phase II’ improvements, which will replace the other playground equipment near the tennis courts, should be complete in 60-90 days.
The temporary fencing around the larger playground will be replaced with permanent fencing after phase II is complete.
Angela Reinhardt / Photo
Artist Eino’s marble sculpture - including the large rock with the hole in the center - is no more. The city has cleared the area in an effort to beautify Main Street.
Motorists driving by Peace Park in Jasper this week have likely noticed extensive demolition work at the site, which many residents have complained is an “eyesore.” The park featured a large marble rock sculpture and was outfitted as a water fountain with a small pool at the far north corner. The park/art project was initially designed and installed by renowned marble sculptor Eino but has been modified by city crews as the artist departed before it was ever completed. At some point after the original sculpture was installed, the city added a faux well and other features for decoration.
Developer David Shouse said the 30-foot by 38-foot flag isn’t the biggest available, but was the biggest they could engineer a flagpole for at the East Church Street VA Clinic. Above, the local Marine Corps League with developer David Shouse raise the flag during a July 4th ceremony.
An enthusiastic crowd decked out in red, white, blue - and quite a few masks - gathered at the forthcoming VA clinic on East Church Street to watch a giant American flag rise on the morning of July 4th in a brief patriotic program organized by the building’s owner/developer.
It was announced during the program that the VA clinic, a project that the public was made aware of in August 2017, will begin seeing patients next month.
Developer and landlord David Shouse welcomed the crowd and thanked the many veterans at the program. Shouse said people thank him for bringing this clinic here, but the real praise should go to all the men and women of the armed services who have kept the country free for the past 244 years.
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