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UGA dedicates Molecular Center

UGA dedicates Molecular Center

Wednesday was a dedication day at the University of Georgia: UGA cut the ribbon on its new Center for Molecular Medicine. It’s a $25 million facility on Riverbend Road in Athens.    'This world-class facility represents an investment in health care solutions that will improve the lives of millions of individuals around the globe,' said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. 'It also symbolizes the great partnership between the state of Georgia and its flagship university-a partnership that is helping to solve the grand challenges of our time and to fuel economic development in this state.' Since its founding in 2012, the center has focused on biomedical research that enhances quality of life in communities around the globe with Stephen Dalton, GRA Eminent Scholar of Molecular Cell Biology, as its founding director. Researchers in the CMM will focus on developing therapies and diagnostics for diseases that currently have no cures, including neurological diseases, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic diseases such as diabetes. The center's researchers also will concentrate on developing new vaccines. The new facility will promote interdisciplinary collaborations between CMM researchers and investigators from other research centers across campus, including the Center for Drug Discovery, the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, and the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center. 'We're recruiting the very best people in the world that fit with the mission of the center: to try and develop new therapies and cures,' Dalton said. 'We've had incredible support from the president, the provost and the chancellor in realizing this vision. What we have now is a new building that's going to be filled with state-of-the-art equipment and international-class researchers.' The center will mark the opening of the new facility by hosting a two-day symposium featuring world leaders in molecular medicine Oct. 10-11. Topics will include stem cell research, drug discovery, regenerative medicine and more.

Voter registration deadline looming

Voter registration deadline looming

A voter registration deadline is approaching: the Secretary of State’s Office says October 13 is the last day to sign up to cast ballots in elections that will be held on November 7. Voters in Athens have a transportation sales tax referendum and two special legislative elections, and there are municipal elections around the region. Advanced voting begins on October 16.  Republican Houston Gaines and Democrat Deborah Gonzalez are running in House District 117, the race to replace Regina Quick, the former state Rep who left the legislature for a judgeship. Four candidates—Republicans Tom Lord, Steven Strickland, and Marcus Wiedower and Democrat Jonathan Wallace—are campaigning to replace Chuck Williams, the District 119 Representative who was appointed director of the Georgia Forestry Commission. 

Athens jobless rate down in August

Athens jobless rate down in August

The state Labor Department says the Athens unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent in August, down from 5 percent in July.  State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says the August unemployment rate was just 4.7 percent, unemployment claims fell and job growth continued to climb.  “The August numbers show metro Athens’ economy and outlook for employment remains healthy,” said Butler. The August unemployment rate was down from 5 percent in July. A decline of 849 in the labor force contributed to the decline in the monthly rate which can be attributed to school age workers returning to their educational institutions. The August rate compares favorably to last August when the rate was 5.5 percent. From July to August, jobs in metro Athens were up by 100, or 0.1 percent, from 96,100 to 96,200. The increase came in local government, mostly in the public schools.  Since August 2016, metro Athens has gained 1,600 jobs, a 1.7 percent growth rate, with most of the increase in state government.  There were 2,954 more metro Athens residents employed than in August 2016. “Georgia continues to be one of the leaders in job creation and employment,” Butler said. “It's great to see our employers continue to create jobs, and Georgians going back to work.” Unemployment claims were down by 179, or 34.3 percent, to 343 – another good sign for the Athens economy. Claims were down in manufacturing. Compared with last August, claims were down by 18.3 percent.

New GOP health care plan faces questions over how it deals with pre-existing conditions

As Republicans try to push ahead with a new plan to overhaul the Obama health law, one flash point has erupted on how the GOP effort would impact people with pre-existing health conditions, as backers and opponents have come to much different conclusions on that important policy matter.

The issue of how people with pre-existing conditions are treated has been a controversial one throughout this year’s legislative push by the GOP to coalesce behind a plan that would repeal and replace the Obama health law, as supporters of the law argue it’s one of the most popular aspects of the existing [More]