From the Ingles Studio this is The Northwest Georgia News Podcast from the Rome News Tribune, Calhoun Times, Catoosa Walker News, and Polk County Standard
Today is Saturday, May 20th, and happy 77th birthday to Cher
I’m Brian Giffin and here the top stories Northwest Georgia is talking about presented by Drake Realty
UPDATE: Georgia churches have right to vote on leaving Methodists, Cobb judge rules
GBI investigating officer involved shooting in Catoosa County
We Care Vets Fair draws crowds to Civic Center
And More doctors leave Harbin for AdventHealth Redmond prior to Atrium deal
Plus Leah McGrath of Ingles Markets joins our own Bruce Jenkins to discuss high grocery prices and a little later we’ll hear from Gary Crawford of the US dept. of Agriculture on that same topic
These stories and more are coming up in today’s edition of the Northwest Georgia News podcast
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STORY 1: Church
A Cobb County judge has ruled that 185 Georgia churches within the United Methodist Church (UMC) must be allowed to vote on leaving the denomination. The decision follows a lawsuit filed by the churches against the North Georgia Conference of the UMC, which had issued a pause in the disaffiliation process. The dispute arises from differences over social issues, such as same-sex marriage and LGBTQ ordination. The judge's ruling grants an injunction to lift the pause and enable the local churches to vote on disaffiliation. The annual meeting of the North Georgia Conference, where churches' decisions must be ratified, is scheduled for June. The plaintiffs argue that the defendants are intentionally delaying the process. Disaffiliation requires a two-thirds majority vote by individual churches, and the alternative would be paying fair market value to retain their property.
STORY 2: GBI
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is conducting an investigation into an incident where a woman in Ringgold was shot by deputies after allegedly threatening her family with a pistol. Jennifer Yates, 40, remains in critical but stable condition. The Catoosa County Sheriff's Office requested the GBI's involvement. Preliminary information suggests that deputies responded to a 911 call reporting Yates' possession of a handgun and her threats to harm her family. When deputies arrived, Yates pointed the handgun at her family in a threatening manner. Despite verbal commands to drop the weapon, Yates refused and advanced towards the deputies, resulting in them firing multiple shots. Yates received medical assistance and was taken to the hospital. The GBI's investigation will be reviewed by the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office upon completion.
STORY 3: We Care
The We Care Veterans Fair held at the Rome Civic Center was a successful event that brought together hundreds of veterans and their families with vendors and representatives from veterans' service agencies. Organized by United Military Care, the fair aimed to ensure that veterans receive the care and support they need to live their best lives. Many vendors were actively seeking to employ veterans, highlighting the booming business environment in Georgia. WorkSource Vets, a partner organization, helps veterans transition into the civilian workforce. The event was attended by Cave Spring Mayor Rob Ware, a Navy veteran, who emphasized the importance of holding the fair annually and finding a larger venue due to the overwhelming turnout.
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STORY 4: Doctors
A growing divide within Harbin Clinic has been revealed as two more doctors have left the group to join AdventHealth, adding to the list of physicians making the switch. While cardiology doctors are among those making the move, no definite details were provided about other specialties. AdventHealth announced the opening of Advent Medical Group Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology in July, with its location yet to be confirmed. Harbin Clinic is currently in the process of merging with Atrium Health Floyd. An inconclusive meeting was held to discuss noncompetition agreements and the proposed partnership, while the contract deadline for Harbin employees has been extended. It remains uncertain whether the Federal Trade Commission will investigate the merger, raising questions about the impact on staff and patients.
STORY 6: Partnership
A partnership between Atrium Health Floyd and Georgia Highlands College aims to expand nursing student positions and increase the number of nurses in Northwest Georgia. The collaboration builds on a long history of cooperation, providing clinical training, scholarships, and career pathways for GHC graduates. The partnership will create a pipeline of highly trained nurses for Atrium Health Floyd and offer more residents the opportunity to pursue nursing careers. Over 85% of GHC graduates start careers in the region, highlighting the impact of the program. The agreement will result in expanded programs, scholarships, faculty positions, and simulation equipment to enhance training opportunities. It aims to address the nursing workforce shortage and benefit the community in the long term.
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Story 7: Jobs
In April, Floyd County's workforce grew by 5.7% compared to the same month last year, reaching 44,300 employed individuals. However, there were no changes from the previous month. While Floyd County's job growth outpaced the state's average for the year, the county also experienced higher numbers of first-time jobless claims compared to statewide averages. Several counties, including Floyd, Bartow, Gordon, Polk, and Chattooga, reported significant increases in jobless claims compared to March and April 2022. Despite the job market offering opportunities, with 102 openings listed on the Rome-Floyd Chamber site, some challenges remain. The statewide snapshot shows Georgia's April unemployment rate remained at 3.1%, with an increase in jobs and the labor force. Initial jobless claims saw a rise both monthly and yearly.
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