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Brrrrr, Monday

January 3 — Good morning, 2022! Chad, Collin, and Amy are back at the copy desk, and ready to tackle the New Year before it freezes us out. 

🥶 Yes, it's that cold and that windy this morning. And yes, that's a dusting of snow for Draft readers west and north of Atlanta. Strong winds blew in a cold front last night, and the high today will only reach 42°. It'll drop below 30° this evening. Don't forget to let the faucet drip.

🏈 On Friday night, UGA got their groove back and stomped Michigan 34-11 at the Orange Bowl. Next up: a rematch with Alabama one week from tonight for the National Championship. 

🚒 Last week, devastating wildfires swept through Boulder County, CO, destroying almost 1,000 structures, and leaving some 35,000 people homeless. The American Red Cross is spearheading relief efforts. Text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to donate.

👵🏻 Thank you for being a friend! Beloved actress Betty White, best known as the lovably naive Rose Nylund on television's "The Golden Girls," died on New Year's Eve. She was just weeks away from turning 100. Watch her 2010 SNL monologue here, and read about the People Magazine that's sure to become a collector's item here.

🏆 Closer to home, the first coach to take the Atlanta Falcons to a Super Bowl, Dan Reeves, died at his home on Saturday. Reeves was 77 and is one of only nine NFL coaches with 200 or more career wins.

🗝️ Mayor-Elect Andre Dickens' inauguration ceremony is set to begin today at 1 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Georgia Tech's campus. Atlanta's City Council will also be sworn in at the event. Register to attend or stream at this site.

🕖 Today's Rough Draft is  stories ➼

• COVID and local schools
• Commentary: a bumpy year ahead for local politics

• Local leaders' predictions for 2022
• Look & Listen: podcasts we like

See you Wednesday. And, yes, it's OK to not say "Happy New Year" in every email you write at work today! 🤣🤣🤣
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1. APS, Fulton, and DeKalb go virtual as Covid-19 surges

⚕️With Covid-19 cases increasing 714% in the last 14-days, Georgia is currently reporting the eighth-most cases in the U.S., according to The New York Times Coronavirus tracker. The glimmer of hope remains a low hospitalization rate, although that ticked up, too.

🍎 After zigging and zagging a bit on Friday, Atlanta Public Schools announced Saturday that students will begin the semester virtually tomorrow. The plan is to resume in-person learning on Mon., Jan. 10

Employees are to report in person today for a development workday and mandatory COVID testing. Students can pick up virtual learning devices at their schools today and tomorrow.

APS will host drive-up COVID-19 vaccination events at Sutton Middle School, Long Middle School, Maynard Jackson High School, and Mays High School on Sat., Jan. 8

Fulton County begins the semester on Jan. 4 and currently plans to resume in-person learning on Jan. 10.

DeKalb County will begin the semester virtually on Jan. 5 and resume in-person learning on Jan. 10.

Decaturish reports that City Schools of Decatur will return to in-person learning tomorrow.


🏆 Despite the litany of hurdles that COVID-19 has presented over the last year, many metro-area students have risen above the challenges to give back to the community. Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown recently released their annual list of 20 under 20 for the class of 2022.
2. The year ahead in Georgia politics

🤔 In his January Editor's Note, Collin takes stock of what he calls the absurdity of Georgia politics.

"If you’re like me and sick of politics, the next ten months will surely make you want to reach for the Pepto. 

The 2022 Georgia gubernatorial race is shaping up to be a nasty, bruising affair with former GOP U.S. Sen. David Perdue and former Georgia representative Vernon Jones primarying Brian Kemp to see who will face resurgent Democrat Stacey Abrams.

And then there’s Buckhead City ...

Without getting into the carpetbagging, racism, fearmongering, conspiracy theory-laden politics of it all, as a concept, Buckhead City is seriously flawed. The comparisons to Sandy Springs and Brookhaven don’t hold water; both were unincorporated towns inside Fulton and DeKalb counties, not neighborhoods inside existing City of Atlanta limits.

Judging by comments on various social media platforms and statements from the new-to-Atlanta chairman of the cityhood movement (not to mention retweeting known white supremacist organizations), it seems the proponents of Buckhead City don’t quite understand just what they would be getting.

To paraphrase Bette Davis: Fasten your seatbelts; 2022 is going to be a bumpy ride."

Read Collin's entire editorial here, and send him your thoughts via email.   


🛑 Twitter permanently suspended GA Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's personal account for "repeated violations of the company's COVID-19 misinformation policy."
3. Local leaders' predictions for 2022

🧐 We surveyed local leaders to hear what they think will be the biggest issues in the next 12 months. Everything from public safety and construction in Dunwoody, to Sandy Springs' pursuit of water reliability, to pandemic-related health concerns will punctuate the coming year.

Follow the links below to read 2022 predictions.

 Alan Goodman, Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce
 Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch
 Denise Starling, Livable Buckhead
 Malaika Rivers, Chamblee Doraville CID
 Stephanie Freeman, Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber
 Ann Hanlon, Perimeter CID
 Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst
 Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul
 Robb Pitts, Fulton County Board of Commissioners
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4. Look & Listen: Atlanta stories

🍑 The Guardian's Jonathan Freedland talks with Oliver Laughland about Stacey Abrams and why Georgia is the state to watch for the 2022 midterm elections. 

🧒🏽Georgia's Department of Early Care and Learning produces DECAL, a weekly podcast that's hosted by Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs and Chief Communications Officer Reg Griffin. Guests include Governor Brian Kemp, Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey, and consumer advocate Clark Howard.

🎧 GPB's Georgia Today's year-end edition looks back at some of their most memorable episodes from throughout the year.

🎛️ DJ Scream (above), Bank, and the rest of the Big Facts podcast crew bid a fond farewell to 2021, while debating over album of the year.
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