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WABE’s Week In Review: Georgia’s Limited Role at the RNC And COVID-19 Causing School Controversy

In this image from video, Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones speaks from Washington, during the first night of the Republican National Convention Monday, Aug. 24, 2020.
In this image from video, Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones speaks from Washington, during the first night of the Republican National Convention Monday, Aug. 24, 2020.
Credit Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee / via AP

Unlike the Democratic Convention a week before, the Republican National Convention did not feature many Georgians in its prime time speaking slots. It’s a move that may seem odd for a red state with two Republican U.S. Senators and a GOP majority at the state Capitol, including governor.

Only two Georgians spoke in prime time at the RNC, former University of Georgia (and NFL) football star Herschel Walker and state Rep. Vernon Jones, who made national news when he bucked his party and endorsed President Donald Trump earlier this year.

Being a Remote Delegate… 

Georgia Gwinnett College Professor Fang Zhou was elected to serve as a delegate at the Republican National Convention this week, representing Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.  Zhou, a Chinese immigrant, is not without some controversy. His stance on undocumented immigration is considered by some as inflammatory and out of touch.

Zhou said he will not let that get in the way of his main goal to recruit Asian donors — who he says are key in the presidential election — for the Trump campaign.

The White House task force report acknowledges improvements in slowing down infections and lowering the number of positive coronavirus tests in Georgia, but it calls those gains “fragile” and says the “progress needs to accelerate.” (Brynn Anderson/Georgia)

COVID-19 Cases Still High… 

The state continues to see a high number of new infections.  That’s as Gov. Brian Kemp continues to resist recommendations by the White House Coronavirus Task Force to do more to slow the spread of the disease. The task force report acknowledges improvements in slowing down infections and lowering the number of positive coronavirus tests, but it calls those gains “fragile” and says the “progress needs to accelerate.”

Controversial School Reopenings … 

On our coronavirus podcast– “Did You Wash Your Hands?” —Martha Dalton, who covers education for WABE, told host and health reporter Sam Whitehead that school districts all over metro Atlanta have faced challenges as they’ve tried to start the year. Some have seen COVID-19 outbreaks that have led to school closures; others have had problems rolling out remote learning.

Atlanta Most Vulnerable Tenants on Edge Over Evictions… 

A federal law that protected tenants from being evicted during the pandemic has expired. A number of Atlantans, like Jasmine Nelson, were among tenants living in properties that were covered by the federal CARES Act. It prevented landlords with government-backed loans from filing evictions for five months.

Nelson is a cosmetologist whose business shut down during the pandemic. Then the Department of Labor denied her unemployment. Her appeal is still pending. (By the way, the Labor Department is behind in processing appeals to denied unemployment claims.) Nelson was sent a 30-day notice of eviction that ran out this week, and she says she doesn’t know how she’ll come up with the money to stay in her home.

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Several metro Atlanta animal shelters are prioritizing more support for low-income pet owners who are struggling during the pandemic. (Pixabay)

Shelters Helping Pet Owners… 

In an effort to help keep pets with their owners, a number of animal welfare groups nationally banded  together in a pilot program called Human Animal Support Services, which helps owners and foster families with the cost of pet supplies and food.

At the beginning of the pandemic, metro Atlanta shelters say adoptions and fosterings at a record pace with some animal shelters nearly empty as so many people were stuck at home and looking for companionship.  The fear from advocates emerged that those animals may be put back in the system as people returned to work. Although that scenario hasn’t happened, the crushing COVID-19 economy has many worried pets will be too expensive for some families.

Karen Hirsch, with Lifeline Animal Project, a nonprofit that manages Fulton and DeKalb County’s animal shelters, breaks down how the national pilot program helps here in Georgia.