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September 13, 2022: Kemp pitches K-12 aid in Oconee County

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Gov. Brian Kemp / Twitter
Governor Brian Kemp speaks at Dove Creek Elementary School in Oconee County on Monday, September 12.

In brief: Kemp calls for grants to cover COVID learning loss — ACCPD investigating weekend shooting — COVID booster should improve state's infection rate — Athens woman sentenced in hit and run — UGA stays in top 20 in US News rankings — Braves fall to Giants

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp says he wants the state to provide grants to school districts to help students catch up on what they didn’t learn because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kemp also wants to expand the number of school counselors, encourage teacher aides to become full-fledged teachers and pass a law requiring school lockdown drills.

Kemp unveiled the set of K-12 education proposals for his second-term reelection effort on Monday at Dove Creek Elementary school in Oconee County. He made a $5,000 pay raise for teachers a centerpiece of his agenda when he was running in 2018. He is not currently proposing a pay raise for his second term.

ACC Police investigating weekend shooting

Athens-Clarke County Police are investigating a shooting that took place in North Athens early Saturday morning.

Authorities say that when officers arrived at a Burkland Drive residence, witnesses told them that multiple gunshots were fired in an apparent domestic dispute. ACCPD later determined that the shooter had left the area. A 27-year-old female in a nearby residence had been shot in the back while lying on a couch.

The victim was taken to a local hospital with a serious injury.

New COVID booster should help state's infection rate

Infectious disease experts with Emory University say Georgia currently leads the nation in COVID-19 infections. But a booster shot, approved by the FDA last week, should help.  

The new booster covers the dominant strains including Omicron and its subvariants, responsible for the 40% increase in COVID cases over the last two weeks.

Dr. Carlos del Rio with Emory University said last year’s booster has been replaced by this one, and it will become an annual vaccine.

"This is a different vaccine," del Rio said. "We don't tell people that you're going to get your flu booster. Every year we say you're going to get your flu vaccine. So we need to get away from this terminology of boosters and we need to talk about getting your COVID vaccination."

Del Rio says getting the shot protects people from serious illness and death, not infection.

Athens women sentenced to seven years in hit and run death of UGA student

An Athens woman will spend seven years in prison after pleading guilty to striking and killing a UGA student with her vehicle.

Judge Eric Norris imposed the sentence on Virkarria Lacole Steward, who admitted driving a Chevrolet Cruise when she struck and killed 21-year-old Knox Davison Whiten of Toccoa while she was walking in the roadway near the Chase Street Intersection with the Athens loop.

Steward left the scene, and her car was later found on fire in Jackson County. She then lied to police, saying someone had stolen her car.

Under the plea, Steward received 15 years with the first seven in confinement and the remainder on probation. She received two consecutive 12-month probationary sentences for the remaining charges.

US News and World Report ranks UGA 16th in nation

The University of Georgia is again the No. 16 best public university in the nation for the seventh year in a row, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 ranking.

Besides keeping its overall top 20 title, UGA ranked highly for several colleges and majors: the Terry College of Business ranked in the top 25 for undergraduate business programs, the insurance program ranked No.1, real estate ranked No. 5, and accounting ranked No. 14. UGA also made the top 25 best colleges for veterans.

UGA’s student academics exceeded last year’s standards, as the class of 2025, upon which this year’s rankings is based, had an average high school GPA above 4.0. Their SAT and ACT scores improved from last year, from 1325 to 1391 for the SAT, and 31 to 32 for the ACT.

Braves fall to Giants in San Francisco

The Atlanta Braves fell to the San Francisco Giants 3 – 2 last night in the city by the bay. The Braves on the wrong side of a three game losing streak; they’ll try to right the ship today at 3:45 against the Giants.

Martin Matheny was promoted to Program Director and Content Strategist on July 1, 2022. He has served as the Executive Producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters', and he covers local government for WUGA News. He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on WUGA at 10pm. 'Night Music' can also be heard statewide on the GPB Classical stream Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm. As part of 'Athens News Matters' Martin works with student interns to help cultivate the next generation of Public Media rock stars! In his spare time Martin is an amateur book binder and freelance musician who frequently performs with Big Band Athens playing bass trombone. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.
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!
Ellen Eldridge is a digital producer for GPB. She has previously worked as a breaking news reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The topics she most often writes about as a freelance reporter are mental health issues, crime and public safety. Ellen graduated Kennesaw State University magna cum laude in 2015 with a degree in communication focused on journalism.
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