Sunday Solutions – Dec. 18, 2022
We know you’re busy getting ready for family time, cold weather and-or some travel. News didn’t stop this week, and here’s a quick. roundup so you can take a break and catch up.
Savannah man faces charges in Jan. 6 violence
Dominic Box, who’s familiar to some for his live video feeds during the Jan. 6, 2021 mob march to the U.S. Capitol, was arrested last week on charges of trespassing, violence and disorderly conduct for his behavior that day. According to documents, most of the charges stem from visual surveillance, his own videos, and his interview for an HBO special on the riot. The Current’s Margaret Coker reports on the charges and the FBI’s fact-finding.
The case for Taylor Square
Liberty County native Susie King Taylor was born in slavery, moved to Savannah as a child and later became a nurse for Union troops and educator. In an interview with GPB’s Benjamin Payne, Savannahian Rozz Rouse says Taylor is the perfect person for whom to name the former Calhoun Square. If it happens, it would be the first of the city’s famous squares to be named after a woman or a person of color.
Your Georgia Power bill is going up
On Tuesday, the Georgia Public Service Commission will vote on a deal with Georgia Power to raise rates for the utility’s customers, reports Stanley Dunlap of Georgia Recorder. If the agreement holds, your bills will rise incrementally over the next 3 years, starting with an average of $43 in 2023. Georgia Power had requested a larger rate hike. This increase will not include any of the $2 billion in fuel and expenses the utility will likely ask the PSC to charge customers stemming from the long-delayed Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion. In a wide-ranging negotiation addressing other energy topics such as rooftop solar, electric vehicles and infrastructure, the PSC attorney called it a way to offer customers “relief” knowing that substantial rate increases will occur over the next few years.
Considerable: State of things
After the holidays, a new gathering begins: the Georgia General Assembly. The action has already begun as various legislative committees have been doing their homework in the “off season” to address some nagging issues. Other officials were looking ahead, too.
- Bipartisan committee recommends better planning around the state’s 10 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. A group of legislators says HBCU Innovation and Economic Prosperity Planning Districts would help the institutions deal with housing, digital infrastructure, small business and workforce development and facility upgrades as well as contribute to their communities. As enrollment drops at universities like Savannah State, off 12% this year, the community engagement could help draw more students and opportunities to them.
- Group recommends state raise funding for disability support: More than 7,000 Georgians with disabilities are on waiting lists for state services that would help them live at home and integrate into communities. The bipartisan Senate study group wants to ease the bureaucratic processes and grow the workforce to help citizens in need.
- TikTok, other social media platforms banned from state devices: If you’re a state employee, you’ll have to take that choreographed office Christmas dance to another video platform. Governor Brian Kemp ordered state workers to dump the popular social media platform after concerns that the user information could be accessible to the Chinese government. One Georgia senator also says he’ll file a bill to ban the platforms outright in the state. More than a dozen states area also taking action, and the U.S. Senate passed a bill Wednesday to ban TikTok on work phones used by federal employees.
- What no runoffs? Georgia Secretary of State has called on the legislature to do away with quick-turnaround runoff elections. He cited the toll it takes on county staffs before holidays among other things.
- Georgia workers sue to end ban on transgender health care benefits: Three men have filed suit after the Georgia State Health Benefit Plan denied coverage of transgender-related health care, saying the same treatments such as breast surgery and hormone replacement are available to others but not to people who seek them as part of transgender-related health care. In 3 other suits of this type, the state has had to settle.
What’s your carbon footprint?
You may feel confident about your small contribution to CO2 in the atmosphere, but don’t get cocky. The New York Times has a massive new data visualization that shows your neighborhood, mapped for its climate impact. You may think that just because you have a bunch of trees, you’re living clean and clear. Not so much. Commuting and consumption of good and services can negate the work of those live oaks pretty quickly. Check it out here.
Here’s a plug: Road tripping with an EV
Few of us haven’t been tempted to take a look at electric vehicles now that Coastal Georgia will be a manufacturing hub for them. The cars have been arriving for years at the Brunswick port. The Current’s environment reporter Mary Landers has had an EV for several years, and she’s just bought a new one. If you aren’t buying because your are worried about running out of juice on a road trip, you’ll want to read Mary’s story about her recent trek from Memphis to Savannah.
Your second cup: New energy
Last week the U.S. Department of Energy announced a stunning breakthrough: Scientists were able to get more energy out of a nuclear fusion process than they put in. “Fusion ignition” could be the key to inexpensive, abundant clean energy. So how important is this? Pretty darn important. Now that we all know it’s possible, it may take a while to develop, but it’s a new, clearer track to a sustainable future thanks to research investments by the federal government. A nuclear physicist explains.
What will you do to see Santa?
You’d think living in the Arctic Circle and so close to the North Pole that it would be easier to see Santa. The 191 children in the northern Alaska Inupiac community of Nuiqsut endured temperatures of 25 degrees below Zero just after Thanksgiving to see Santa. Operation Santa Claus, which began in 1956, involves Santa riding on an Alaska Air National Guard cargo plane to Nuiqsut to deliver gifts, backpacks, books, supplies and, sometimes, Christmas itself to a few rural communities near the Arctic Circle. You can watch Santa’s visit here.
Happy holidays from Sunday Solutions! We’ll take a break and see you in the new year.
Enjoy and stay safe.
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