Quotes of note
“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” –Peter Marshall
“Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.” –Harper Lee
“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so his place will be proud of him.” –Abraham Lincoln
Hit the gas: Gas prices vary widely throughout the nation, with the lowest prices found in rural areas of the Southeast and Midwest, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A major factor is the cost of delivering the gas to the retailers, with proximity to the refineries in the Gulf Coast and a vast network of pipelines in the east helping to keep prices lower. State gas taxes add to the cost, ranging from $0.58/gallon to $0.09/gallon. Georgia has temporarily suspended its state tax. State and local clean energy regulations drive up the price as well, which is especially evident in California and in the metro Phoenix area.
Boston in Johns Creek: Boston Scientific, a leading manufacturer of medical devices used in interventional medical specialties, will construct a new manufacturing and supply chain facility in Johns Creek, according to Yahoo News. The $62.5 million investment is expected to bring roughly 340 new jobs to Fulton County over the next seven years.
Tourism: Tourism in Georgia continued to increase, even during the pandemic, according to the Center Square. While neither the final numbers for 2021 nor the data for the first half of 2022 are available yet, forecasts from the U.S. Travel Association indicate some segments of the industry should return to 2019 levels by 2023-2025. Georgia’s results are expected to follow the same trajectory, but preliminary data suggests the state is “at the head of the pack in some regards” according to Mark Jaronski at the Georgia Department of Economic Development/Explore Georgia.
Class action: The Georgia Department of Labor has asked a judge to allow it to pull out of a preliminary agreement to settle a class action lawsuit over the DOL’s handling of unemployment claims during the pandemic, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The lawsuit alleges that the agency took too long to handle claims and that it was too difficult for claimants to reach staffers with questions. A unilateral press release by attorneys for the plaintiffs and the Southern Poverty Law Center violated the terms of the agreement, according to the DOL’s filing late Friday.
Shortages: Georgia nursing homes have not recovered from pandemic staffing shortages, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Almost one third of Georgia nursing homes report a nursing staff shortage, and the number is probably higher since they are self-reporting, says Melanie McNeil, Georgia’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Georgia ranks 46th out of 51 in the number of hours of nursing care that patients receive.
Energy and Environment
Rising costs: Georgia Power wants a 12 percent rate hike for customers to fund distribution improvements, according to the Center Square. The company asked the Georgia Public Service Commission to approve an increase in customer rates by nearly 12 percent over the next three years. The company argues that the increase is lower than the current projected inflation rate.
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