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Morning headlines: Abrams introduces economic agenda

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams laid out her economic agenda in a speech on August 9.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams says she wants to use the state’s budget surplus to focus on residents.

Abrams unveiled her economic plan Tuesday evening. She says her priority is putting money back into Georgians’ pockets. The plan includes expanding the skilled workforce, restoring free technical college, funding need-based aid for college and raises for some state employees.

"As governor, I will pay our teachers $50,000 a year in starting salaries, will raise wages by an average of $11,000 for educators, and offer increases for others in our schools," Abrams said in a speech on Tuesday.

"Doing so will attract teachers and help us respond to the shortage of teachers and other paraprofessionals from counselors to bus drivers to teaching assistants."

Abrams said she would fund her plan from the state's historic budget surplus and by calling for a constitutional amendment to allow sports gaming and casinos in Georgia.

Abrams also said she would increase wages for law enforcement officers, but she would also increase accountability for police misconduct and violence.

Regents approve $68.5 million stadium expansion

The Regents of the University System of Georgia have voted to make a series of improvements to the south side of Sanford Stadium.

The project, valued at $68.5 million, will be built in two phases over the 2022 and 2023 football seasons. At the end of this coming season, a new connection will be created to Sanford Drive at Gillis Bridge with an adjacent space. The 100 Level Concourse will be widened and restrooms will get upgrades.

Following next year’s season, a new press box, six premium suites and additional restrooms on the 300 Level will be added. The current press box will be converted into additional premium seats.

The project is being financed by the UGA Athletic Association through a combination of private donations and bonds.

One candidate qualifies in Winterville special election

A special election will be held in Winterville this November to fill a vacant city council seat, but only one candidate has qualified.

City Councilman Gary Snow recently resigned, and Timothy Pierce-Tomlin was the only candidate who qualified by August 1st.

Snow's term is set to expire on December 31, 2025, with Snow having served on the city council since 2011.

In Winterville, council members are elected for four-year terms. The special election will be the same day as the November general election, on November 8.

Georgia nurse sentenced to seven years in Medicare scam

A Georgia nurse practitioner has been sentenced to prison and ordered to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution for her role in a massive telemedicine fraud scheme.

Justice Department prosecutors say Sherley Beaufils of Conyers facilitated orders for more than 3,000 orthotic braces, billing more than $3 million in charges to Medicare for patients who were never treated.

The orders included a knee brace for a leg amputee and a back brace for a patient who was dead. Beaufils then sold the orders to companies to generate reimbursement from Medicare.

She was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison.

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!