GA Today: The pandemic is not over
You've arrived at the online edition of the Sept. 13 Georgia Today newsletter, a twice-weekly publication featuring original stories from GPB News reporters and the latest headlines from around the state.
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Now, the news:
Georgia COVID-19 cases decrease as variant-specific booster becomes available
A new COVID-19 booster shot, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week, could help stem a fall or winter wave of illness, GPB’s Ellen Eldridge reports.
The omicron-specific booster is available now that the FDA has authorized the first redesign of the coronavirus vaccines since they became available in late 2020.
Dr. Jodie Guest is an infectious disease epidemiologist, professor and senior vice chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University who hosts Emory's series of videos about the pandemic.
- "The goal is for the redesign to help elevate antibody levels in a way that restores the protection conferred by the initial vaccines against symptomatic infection in many people," Guest said.
- Listen now: Vice President Kamala Harris' husband, second gentleman Douglas Emhoff, spoke to GPB's Orlando Montoya about the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine booster push.
Kemp defends strict abortion law on campaign trail with Nikki Haley
On Friday, Gov. Brian Kemp praised the Supreme Court's June ruling that returned the decision on abortion care back to the states, reports GPB's Riley Bunch.
- “I think they got the ruling right from a strict textualist view of the Constitution,” Kemp said. “As you all know, we passed a bill, our heartbeat legislation in 2019 that Georgians have known about for over three years now.”
According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll, more than half of Georgia voters oppose the state’s law, which bans most abortions around six weeks of pregnancy and includes controversial language that gives an embryo and fetus legal rights. But it is unclear what impact that will have on the ballot box.
- Abrams 'One Georgia' tour uses health care reform to connect with rural voters
- Political Rewind: Health care top campaign issue; 9/11 tributes; Pine Lake decriminalizes abortion
After JSTARS, what will sustain Robins Air Force Base in the future?
With nearly 24,000 workers, Robins Air Force Base is a big part of the engine that drives the Middle Georgia economy.
But the Department of Defense is phasing out JSTARS, the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System, which means changes in mission are coming and local leaders recognize the workforce must adapt.
Keeping Middle Georgia’s largest employer in business and poised for growth is the role of the 21st Century Partnership.
The organization’s CEO, retired Brig. Gen. John Kubinec, who served a commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, told the Middle Georgia Regional Commission at its Thursday evening meeting that JSTARS’ retirement is a good thing.
- “The way to deliver that mission is dated and certainly not relevant,” Kubinec told the commission.
Federal funds spark new hope for Georgia’s electric car buyers
President Joe Biden recently signed the Inflation Reduction Act, creating federal tax credits for qualifying electric vehicle purchases. GPB’s Amanda Andrews takes us to the Clean Energy Roadshow to hear what the future may hold for Georgia consumers.
The roadshow provides a hands-on experience for consumers like Bettina Johnson in Lafayette. She’s in her 20s and wants her next car to be an electric one to save money.
- “I think it would be an improvement in my budget not having to worry about, gasoline and purchasing that,” Johnson said. “I know the price of gas has gone up, so that affects my personal budget."
Carnivorous plant’s grisly last meal found during Georgia elementary class dissection
The dissection of a carnivorous pitcher plant surprised a group of elementary school students by revealing its last meal — a lizard — was still in the process of being digested.
It is suspected the hungry lizard was chasing a bug on the plant when it slipped into the pitcher and became “this plant’s feast.”
- “During a routine presentation on native plants with a group of elementary students, our biologists learned a valuable lesson: check the plant before you dissect,” the Georgia Department of Natural Resources wrote in a Sept. 11 Facebook post. “In the shaft of the plant, downward-pointing hairs make escape impossible. In the lowest part of the pitcher, there is a pool of liquid that drowns and digests the prey, leaving the exoskeletons to pile up inside.”
The Savannah Philharmonic leaves the hall to 'Phil' the city with live music
Change is in the air at the Savannah Philharmonic. Heading into its 2022-2023 season, which kicks off with the Phil the Neighborhoods series Sept. 16 followed by a reimagined Phil the Park bash in Forsyth Park Oct. 8, music director Keitaro Harada and executive director Amy Williams have been rethinking everything the orchestra does, with an eye toward community and relevance.
- "We got rid of any kind of categorization of genre, like not calling things 'classical' or 'pops,'" Harada said. "We did a concert at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. There are lots of airplanes, and underneath the wings we set up this ensemble where we performed the Dvorak Serenade and on the second half, because it has a Glenn Miller collection at the museum, we performed music of Glenn Miller. And people loved it, because you have the best of both worlds."