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WSB-TV

Authorities in Georgia say two people have died and a third person has been critically injured in a structure fire. A Barrow County Emergency Services spokesman says crews responded to a call in Auburn before 11 a.m. Friday and found a structure engulfed in flames with people trapped inside. 

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“It’s no secret that here in Georgia, we’re seeing increases in our COVID data all across, really all the key metrics.”

That was Governor Brian Kemp speaking during a hospital roundtable earlier this week.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, there are more than 438,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state with 8,922 confirmed deaths and another 803 probable deaths linked to the disease.

There was a recurring concern among the healthcare facilities gathered.

Visit UGA

Despite the substantial financial losses caused by the COVID-19 shutdown, the Athens economy is in good shape and is expected to recover by the end of 2021. That’s according to the latest economic forecast from UGA’s Terry College of Business.

“The outlook for Athens is quite good for 2021. The COVID-19 recession is over, UGA is open, recent economic development projects are going to boost the local economy, and the housing market is very strong. Plus the leisure and hospitality industry, although not fully recovered, is poised for additional recovery.”

Jackson Alliance

Jackson EMC is giving millions back to its members. The electric cooperative is mailing checks this month, totaling $13 million in margin refunds. The margins are refunded for a combination of years, so long-time, newer, and former members can benefit.  

April Sorrow is Vice President of Communication.

The Red and Black

This week, voters in Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties selected Deborah Gonzalez as their next District Attorney. Next month they’ll join the rest of the state in heading back to the polls to vote for Georgia’s Senators.

Advanced voting for the January 5th General Election Runoff starts December 14th.

In Athens, voters can vote early in-person at the Lyndon House Arts center and the Miriam Moore Community Center from the 14th through the 18th.

Additional locations open the following week, including the Athens Library, ACC Extension and ACC Tennis center.

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WUGA NEWSLETTER

Athens News Matters

This week on Athens News Matters:

Athens News Matters: Hotel/Motel Excise Tax Increase

9 hours ago

The Athens Clarke County Commissioners have been discussing a one-percent increase in the city's tax on hotel rooms for over 14 years, but local hoteliers have a history of objecting to this proposal. This year, they recommended it. We talk with Mayor Kelly Girtz and District 3 Commissioner Melissa Link to find out why this year's conversation looks different from years past.

Athens News Matters: Deborah Gonzalez

9 hours ago

Earlier this week, Democrat Deborah Gonzalez was elected the new District Attorney of the Western Judicial Circuit after winning the runoff election against her opponent James Chafin. Once again, we caught up with her to reflect on her campaign and discuss her plans as District Attorney.

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NPR News

It was almost two years ago that Shahid Shafi, a surgeon in Southlake, Texas, was targeted by members of his own political party for his Muslim faith.

A few Republican precinct chairs lobbied to remove him from his post as vice chair of the Tarrant County Republican Party. But they lost in a vote of 139-49.

A federal judge has reversed the Trump administration's latest round of rules placing further limits on the Obama-era program that shields undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children from deportation.

Under the order filed Friday, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of U.S. District Court in Brooklyn instructed the Department of Homeland Security to begin accepting new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as soon as Monday.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Friday that pandemic relief for about 41 million federal student loan borrowers will continue until Jan. 31.

China's lunar probe Chang'e-5 is on its way back to Earth after a brief visit to the moon Thursday. The craft collected soil and rock samples over the course of about 19 hours and then left the lunar surface.

The samples are expected to land on Earth around the middle of the month.

Before it left, the spacecraft planted a flag there — making China only the second country to leave its national banner on the moon. China hadn't deployed one in two previous landings.

More News from NPR