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Morning headlines: Local unemployment rises

While Georgia celebrates a statewide unemployment rate of 2.9%, the rate in Athens is rising for the second month in a row.

In June, Athens recorded an unemployment rate of 3.1%, a 0.6% increase from last month. The county’s unemployment rate has steadily increased since April, climbing to 2.5% in May from April’s record low of 2%.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said that the local unemployment rate rose because these rates are not seasonally adjusted for fluctuations like weather and school schedules.

“The increase in local rates is typical for summer and Georgia is still leading the Southern Region and third in the nation in percentage increases in employment," Butler said in a media release.

Unemployment claims increased by 47% in June -- a 128% increase since last year.

As of June, Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service, lists 3,984 active job postings in Athens.

Abrams makes stop in Athens as campaign heats up

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams made a campaign stop in Athens, holding a local fundraiser, where tickets ranged from $50 to $2,500, and guests included Mayor Kelly Girtz, Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens), and Commissioners Patrick Davenport, Tim Denson, Russell Edwards and Jesse Houle.

Wednesday’s “Evening With Stacey Abrams” was followed by a stop Thursday at Athens’ coffee shop Bitty and Beau’s in Five points to talk with workers in recognition of Disability Pride Month.

Recent polling shows Abrams lagging behind incumbent Governor Brian Kemp.

State congressional delegation follows party lines in sci-tech package vote

Georgia’s Congressional delegation in the U.S. House voted along party lines in passing a $52 billion dollar science and innovation package that proponents say will boost domestic computer chip production.

GOP lawmakers opposed the measure in protest of a separate bill Democrats negotiated alone that will address health care costs and climate change.

Republicans, including all eight from Georgia, said they were concerned that the two measures together created excessive spending that could worsen inflation.

Voters move to challenge Greene's candidacy in state Supreme Court

A group of voters on Thursday took their quest to get U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green removed from the ballot to Georgia’s highest court.

The five voters from Greene’s district say she played a significant role in the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol. They argue that was a violation of a rarely invoked provision in the 14th Amendment against insurrection or rebellion. The group of voters is represented by Free Speech for People, a national election and campaign finance reform group.

The voters initially filed a complaint with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in March. An administrative law judge then ruled against the voters, a ruling which was affirmed by Raffensperger. The group then appeared in Fulton County Superior Court where they were again rejected. They now are appealing to the Georgia Supreme Court.

South Georgia county sues landowner over spaceport deal

A Georgia county has filed a lawsuit seeking to force a company to sell land on which the county has long planned to build a launchpad for commercial rockets.

Commissioners in coastal Camden County say that Union Carbide Co.’s refusal to sell the 4,000 acre property, if allowed to stand, “will cause the County the loss of the Spaceport Project as well as an enormous financial loss in excess of $11 million.”

While a referendum in the county found a majority of voters opposed to the land deal, commissioners opted to disregard the vote, which they contend violated Georgia’s constitution. Union Carbide balked at the county’s efforts to move forward with closing on the property.

The company said last week that the deal was off because it had been “repudiated” by voters.

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!
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