Category: Top Stories

Gov. Kemp says no new COVID-19 restrictions despite surge warning, talks vaccine distribution

Even as the White House Coronavirus Task Force warned that Georgia is “in the early stages of full resurgence” of the virus, Gov. Brian Kemp said in a Nov. 24 press conference that he has no plans to impose any additional restrictions on the state. “I don’t see any reason to take any additional steps right now,” Kemp said at the State Capitol, noting that Georgia has enough hospital capacity and personal protective equipment. “We’re not seeing a spike in cases here right now, so that’s why we’re urging people to follow the guidelines during the Thanksgiving holiday,” Kemp...

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Atlanta nonprofit offers COVID-19 relief loans for small businesses

The Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative is offering a second round of $10,000, zero-interest loans to help small businesses in certain parts of the city recover from COVID-19 pandemic impacts. The nonprofit gives preference to Black-owned businesses located along the Atlanta BeltLine overlay district and in the city’s Northwest, Southwest and Southeast areas. The loans from the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund can be used for overhead, operating expenses and up to three months of technical assistance. The loans have a six-month grace period, then a 30-month repayment period. Among the basic eligibility requirements are that the business have been...

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GDOT plans to open two new Ga. 400, I-285 ramps Nov. 23

Two new ramps on Ga. 400 and I-285 in the Perimeter Center area are scheduled to open Nov. 23, and officials are asking drivers to be aware of the new traffic flows. On Ga. 400 southbound in Sandy Springs, a new off-ramp to Abernathy Road will open. The ramp will begin just south of the North Springs MARTA Station, requiring drivers to merge about 1 mile away. Also scheduled to open is a new ramp from Ashford-Dunwoody Road in Dunwoody to I-285 westbound. The ramps are part of Transform 285/400, a massive, ongoing project to rebuild the Ga. 400/I-285...

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Fulton County Schools students, staff asked to get COVID-19 test to return to post-Thanksgiving classes

Students and employees of the Fulton County School System have been asked to get a COVID-19 test before returning to classes after the Thanksgiving holiday. Two free testing sites — including one in Sandy Springs — will be available Nov. 29. FCS will switch entirely to universal remote learning on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 to allow time for test results to be delivered, Superintendent Mike Looney told the Fulton Board of Education on Nov. 19. Looney said in the meeting that the school district cannot require testing for all students and employees, but was making the request. FCS...

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Nov. 20 Atlanta/Sandy Springs COVID-19 report: 289 more diagnoses; 14-day trend rises

The cities of Atlanta and Sandy Springs together saw 289 new COVID-19 diagnoses between Nov. 17 and Nov. 20 update reports from the Fulton County Board of Health. The number of cases increased in all of the main local ZIP codes. The 14-day trend rose significantly in both cities and in all of the ZIP codes. As of Nov. 20, the part of Atlanta within Fulton County had 15,556 COVID-19 diagnoses, up from 15,312 on Nov. 17. Sandy Springs had 3,328 diagnoses, up from 3,283. Atlanta remained the number one city in the county for COVID-19 diagnoses at 44.9%...

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Person shot, wounded in Buckhead’s Lenox Square in latest gun violence

A male victim was shot and wounded in Buckhead’s Lenox Square mall on Nov. 20, according to the Atlanta Police Department. The victim, whose age was not known, was shot in the rear around 3 p.m. during a “verbal dispute” with a group of male suspects inside the Apple Store at the mall at 3393 Peachtree Road, according to APD. The victim was “alert, conscious and breathing” when transported to a hospital, according to APD. APD said that one suspect was detained and being questioned, while others left in a vehicle described as a blue Chrysler Pacifica with Georgia...

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Sandy Springs gives nonprofits another $630K to help pandemic-hit residents with rent, education

Three nonprofit agencies that provide services to Sandy Springs residents affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 will get another $630,769 in federal relief funds with the City Council’s approval on Nov. 17. Madalyn Smith, a Community Development planner for the city, told the council that the money supplements a first round of Community Development Block Grant funds received in the spring. The new funding also will be awarded to local nonprofits to assist Sandy Springs citizens who are low- to moderate-income. Funds will go toward continued educational programming, food and rental assistance. The money also will support new...

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Fulton County Schools parents to choose between in-person, remote learning for second semester

Parents of students in the Fulton County School System will get one chance to decide if their children will attend classes face-to-face or through universal remote learning for the second semester. The choice parents make during the second-semester commitment survey will last for nine weeks, Chief Academic Officer Cliff Jones said at a Nov. 19 Fulton Board of Education meeting. The survey is posted on the FCS website and will be available through Dec. 14. If parents don’t complete the survey, their children’s learning will default to how they are enrolled on Dec. 14 for the end of the...

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Withdrawal of Brookhaven’s Dresden Village tax break is welcomed by opponents

The halt to a large tax break for Brookhaven’s controversial Dresden Village development is being welcomed by officials and residents who opposed it. “Right now, I’m just glad the abatement is off the table,” said DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader, who represents part of Brookhaven, of the withdrawal of the deal. Ricardo Kamenetzky, who represented Brookhaven Fields in a combined neighborhood opposition, said that he was encouraged by the withdrawal from the developer. He stressed that it was never the entire plan that had upset neighbors. It was the alteration of local streets and the large tax break. Kamenetzky...

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Light Up Brookhaven holiday celebration to include tree-lighting and yard decoration contest

It may only be virtual, but city officials promise this year’s Light Up Brookhaven holiday celebration is going to be different but fun with a tree lighting and yard decoration contest. “The holidays are for children and we are determined not to let the pandemic Grinch steal that away, especially from them,” said Mayor John Ernst in a press release. “Challenges throughout the year may have tested our resolve, but they have also made all of us look for creative ways to accomplish our goals.” Virtual because of COVID-19 concerns, Light Up Brookhaven has been reshaped into a series...

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Sandy Springs Planning Commission OK’s preschool at former church with 60-student enrollment cap

St. Martin’s Episcopal School’s plan for a private preschool and daycare at a former church on High Point Road won a recommendation of approval by the Sandy Springs Planning Commission on Nov. 18, but only with an enrollment cap that is lower than requested. The only issue commissioners and neighborhood representatives had was a last-minute request to increase the student cap from 60 to 100 students. Commissioners stuck with the city’s Zoning and Planning Department staff recommendation of 60 students. The conditional use permit request for the former Highpoint Episcopal Community Church at 4945 High Point Road moves to...

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Sandy Springs funds $1.2M in small business COVID-19 relief grants

The Sandy Springs City Council has approved a program to offer $1.2 million in grants to businesses with fewer than 100 employees for COVID-19 relief. The funds became available after the city was reimbursed $4.56 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds from Fulton County. Insead of putting the reimbursement back in the General Fund, City Council on Nov. 17 made a budget amendment for the Small Business Relief Grant program. The city set three tiers of support for small businesses, starting with a single employee ($5,000), 2-10 employees ($10,000) and 11-99 employees ($15,000),...

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