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St. Ambrose Church/Facebook

A Roman Catholic priest in the Detroit area has taken aim at his parishioners in a bid to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, using a squirt gun to shoot holy water.

Courtesy of I Run With Maud

The last 35 seconds of Ahmaud Arbery’s life have been viewed, studied, dissected and discussed all over the world. That’s because of a video that went viral, showing his final moments before he was shot on a shady street in Satilla Shores, Georgia on February 23.

And while his death has made international headlines, the people of his community remember Arbery for how he lived.

 


Towns County High School/Facebook

When Shelby Turner left Towns County High School in March, she thought Georgia’s school shutdown wouldn’t last too long. However, as the school year progressed, it became clear that the coronavirus pandemic would upend the entirety of her senior year.

“I went to my last day of high school and didn’t even know,” Turner said. “That was just so scary. I didn’t even tell my teachers bye. I just left like it was a normal day — I just wish I could’ve gone back at least one more week.” 

Georgia Public Broadcasting’s new series What You Need To Know: Coronavirus provides succinct, fact-based information to help you get through the coronavirus pandemic with your health and sanity intact.

Across the country, high school seniors are missing out on their final year of school, and not graduating the way they envisioned. A Facebook group called “Love on a High School Senior 2020” gives people the chance to “adopt” these students by agreeing to send them gifts for college and be their mentor. GPB talked to page founder April Ford, high school senior Tony Gregg Jr, and Crystal Toombs, who adopted Tony.

 


Gov. Brian Kemp/Twitter

Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Georgia, where he had lunch with Gov. Brian Kemp at a cafe that reopened despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Georgia was one of the first states to allow businesses to start up again during the pandemic. Kemp allowed salons, restaurants, gyms and other businesses in Georgia to reopen with restrictions in April.

ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/ INVISION/AP

Tyler Perry is looking to reopen his 330-acre Atlanta-based mega studio soon, but other studios in Georgia are anxiously waiting for Hollywood's green light to return back to work.

Perry plans on restarting production at the Tyler Perry Studios complex in July, making it one of the first studios to domestically reopen after production was halted a few months ago to combat the spread of the coronavirus. 

Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Memorial Day weekend will mean an opportunity for many Georgians to go out and have some fun despite the current risks from the COVID-19 pandemic. This weekend will also be a big time for people to spend time around lakes, rivers, beaches and state parks.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

There’s one grocery store in Hancock County, in downtown Sparta. On a recent Wednesday, business was steady there. Among the shoppers was Cedric Harris.  

 

Harris is a traveling Certified Nursing Assistant who cares for two clients in the county. Like most people shopping here, he wears a mask.  

 

"Well, they say it’s a hotspot here," Harris said, paper mask over his face. "Yeah, but I guess everybody learning to keep their social distancing now."

 

While many in Georgia think coronavirus is in the rear view mirror, and are shopping in Atlanta malls and swimming at Georgia’s beaches, rural communities like Hancock County are still in the thick of it. And, as rural communities struggle, information about how to access one of the tools for slowing the spread of COVID-19, getting tested for the disease, may not be reaching people.

 

City of Atlanta

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced on Thursday a five-phase plan for opening the city. The announcement comes about a month after the mayor created an advisory council to help her plan the city’s eventual reopening.

John Bazemore / AP

Friday on Political Rewind, President Donald Trump is threatening to deny federal funds to the state of Michigan because of the promotion of absentee ballots in 2020’s elections.

The president, as well as many Republicans in the state of Georgia, say voting by mail is too vulnerable to fraud.


Glynn County Sheriff's Office

Investigations into the death of Ahmaud Arbery and the handling of that case could be complete soon, Georgia Bureau of Investigation director Vic Reynolds said Friday morning.

Reynolds spoke following the arrest of a third man in the shooting, William "Roddie" Bryan Jr.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: GBI Arrests Man Who Filmed Ahmaud Arbery Shooting

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

While about 61,000 voters cast their ballots on the state's new $104 million voting system so far this week, at least two county elections offices were stricken by the virus and another had to add more hours and machines to mitigate long lines.

Only a fraction of the state's than 570,000 votes cast in the June 9 primary so far have been in person, but the new reality of elections in the time of coronavirus means that even a relatively small number of voters at the polls comes with the potential for problems.


Today in the morning headlines, a new arrest in the murder case of Ahmaud Arbery. And Gov. Brian Kemp urges patience with the Department of Public Health's online data dashboard.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Georgia’s coronavirus dashboard has seen a number of data reporting issues in recent weeks, but Gov. Brian Kemp is asking Georgians to be patient with the health officials tasked with running it.

“They are taking massive amounts of data from countless sources, putting them into accessible format under a global spotlight all at breakneck speed,” he said. “Please afford them some patience and please steer clear of personal attacks.”

GHSA Approves June Restart For Football Activities

May 21, 2020
GHSA/Twitter

The Georgia High School Association has taken its first major step toward resuming athletics in the state.

The GHSA Board of Trustees voted late Thursday afternoon that football-related activities can restart June 8.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

The Appling County Board of Elections office, which serves as the county's sole early voting location, will be closed Friday for cleaning after a voter tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the secretary of state's office, the southeast Georgia elections board office will reopen on Tuesday. 

The man who filmed video of the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in February has been arrested, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Thursday.

 

He is charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

The state only has a handful of scientists on the payroll who keep track of Georgia’s 16 different bat species. But there are, of course, untold numbers of bats across the state.

So if you are looking for something to do at night, Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources has a job for you.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Former Alabama state representative April Weaver has been appointed as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Regional Director for Region IV.

Region IV includes Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi, Kentucky, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Weaver served as a representative in the Alabama House of Representatives for 10 years, including five years as the chair of the House Health Committee. She is also a registered nurse with 23 years of experience in hospitals.


City of Adrian

A Middle Georgia city is devising a community response team for the elderly and other vulnerable populations in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The city of Adrian—160 miles southwest from Atlanta—has a large vulnerable population, and Mayor Wynola Smith and her office made a plan to get them the help they need.

 

“We were concerned about the elderly people, people who may be handicapped or people that just really need someone to reach out and check on them from time to time,” Smith said.

Imgur

Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk sent a special shoutout and a new skateboard to a metro Atlanta boy thanks to assistance from a FedEx driver.

The driver, who posted a video of the story on his Imgur account under his username mcoulter876, was on his delivery route in Suwannee when he saw an 8- or 9-year old boy running after his truck.

“He’s like, ‘Excuse me! Excuse me!’ so I pull over, and I’m like, ‘Hey man, what’s up?’ And he’s like, ‘Can you mail something for me?’” the driver said.

Gilead Sciences | via REUTERS

A second shipment of the antiviral drug remdesivir is heading to 29 Navicent, Northside, Piedmont and WellStar hospitals, the state health department said Thursday.

While the first round of 30 cases allotted from the federal government could treat about 110 patients, depending on how long each patient needs treatment, this shipment will treat more than 300 patients, the Georgia Department of Public Health said in a statement.

Some college athletes will be able to return to campus next month.

According to Yahoo Sports, the NCAA council voted on Wednesday to allow football players and men's and women's basketball players to train at school facilities, beginning June 1.

School presidents in the Southeastern Conference are expected to approve the decision in a teleconference on Friday.

UGA Today (photo submitted by Kim Wolf)

Kim Wolf cannot see her grandmother in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic. After canceling a trip to Maryland to see her, Wolf sought another way to spend time with her.

Wolf is pursuing master’s degrees in social work and public health at the University of Georgia. She has spent more than 15 years working with older adults and their caregivers, and an idea to visit her grandma came from a Zoom meeting with one of her patients.

While she was in the middle of her virtual meeting, Wolf’s pit bull, Rosalynn Carter, hopped on her lap for some attention.

Ross Terrell / GPB News

A lawsuit has been filed by employees of a distribution center in Lithia Springs and a medical sterilization plant in Cobb County.

Sam Bermas-Dawes / GPB News

Thursday on Political Rewind, how do we grieve a loved one in the isolation brought on by the pandemic? 

Today, a personal story of dealing with loss in these times.


Georgia Department of Public Health

Georgia's COVID-19 data dashboard is an important tool to understand how the virus has spread, but several high-profile errors and choices about how information is presented has raised questions over its usefulness.
 


David Goldman/AP

The number of initial unemployment claims has reached another all-time high, with April’s total surpassing the number of claims reached in the past four years combined, officials said Thursday.

Last month’s increase for the unemployment rate was the largest on record, Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said.

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