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    The 4th annual Rural Healthcare Symposium is underway today at UGA, getting started at 9 o’clock this morning at the University’s Dean Rusk Hall. Stacey Abrams, last year’s Democratic nominee for Governor, is the featured speaker.  The University of Georgia plays host to an international conference: the 6th International Conference on Africa and its Diaspora is underway at 7 o’clock tonight at the University’s Tate Student Center.  The University of Georgia sets February 25 as the date for the ceremony that renames UGA’s College of Education in honor of Mary Frances Early, the first black student to graduate from the state’s flagship university. Albany State University President Marion Ross Fedrick will deliver the 20th annual Mary Frances Early lecture on the day of the naming ceremony, UGA President Jere W. Morehead said. Fedrick earned two degrees from the University of Georgia: a bachelor’s degree in adult education with a concentration in organizational development, and a master’s degree in public administration.
  • Here are things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Week 12: GAME OF THE WEEK Wake Forest at No. 3 Clemson. Both teams might be better off if the Tigers (10-0, 7-0, No. 3 CFP) beat the Demon Deacons (7-2, 3-2). A Wake Forest win would almost certainly knock Clemson out of the playoff picture and put the Atlantic Division-champion Tigers on track for the Orange Bowl if they win the league title game. Wake Forest’s only shot at the Orange Bowl is for Clemson to make the playoff, leaving the Demon Deacons as league’s second-highest-ranked team. Wake Forest was eliminated from the division race with its loss last week at Virginia Tech. BEST MATCHUP Georgia Tech offense vs. Virginia Tech defense. Slowly but steadily, the rebuilding Yellow Jackets have shown improvement with the ball, gaining at last 345 total yards in three of their last four games after barely topping 300 in their first five. That progress will be tested by a resurgent Virginia Tech team that has won four of five to vault into Coastal Division contention and held powerful Wake Forest to a season-low — by far — 301 total yards last week. INSIDE THE NUMBERS There’s still no clarity in the Coastal Division race, which is led by Virginia (7-3, 5-2) with Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh also at the two-loss mark and three others — Miami, North Carolina and Duke — each having three league losses. Ten league games involving at least one Coastal team remain, and according to the league, there remain 1,024 possible permutations for the seven teams in the final standings. LONG SHOT Could Syracuse keep it closer than the 10-point spread at Duke? The Orange (3-6, 0-5) are the only ACC team winless in league play and this week’s visit to Durham, North Carolina, might give them their best shot at a conference victory. They’ll have to find a way to keep the Blue Devils’ blitzers away from QB Tommy DeVito. Syracuse ranks last in the Bowl Subdivision, allowing 5 sacks per game. IMPACT PLAYER Look for Florida State WR Tamorrion Terry to make some big plays and put up some big numbers this week against Alabama State of the FCS. Terry had career bests with seven catches for 156 yards in a victory over Boston College, and his 74-yard touchdown was his school-record fourth of at least 70 yards in his two-year career. He also has six grabs that have covered at least 60 yards apiece. ___ More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25
  • Here are some things to watch during the 12th week of the Southeastern Conference football season. GAME OF THE WEEK No. 5 Georgia (8-1, 5-1 SEC, No. 4 College Football Playoff) at No. 13 Auburn (7-2, 4-2, No. 12 CFP): Georgia probably must win this game to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Bulldogs have won three straight and have shut out two of their last three opponents. They’ve given up a total of 17 points during their three-game winning streak. Georgia has won 14 of its last 18 matchups with Auburn. Although Auburn has the home-field advantage, that generally doesn’t mean much in this series. Georgia owns a 16-12-2 record at Auburn, while Auburn has gone 18-15 in Athens (this game also has been played in Atlanta and Columbus, Georgia). MATCHUP OF THE WEEK Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill vs. Alabama run defense: Hill is the SEC’s leading rusher and had run for 1,027 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Mississippi State’s had two weeks to prepare for this game after rushing for 460 yards in a 54-24 blowout of Arkansas. Hill rushed for 234 yards in that game. Hill faces a much tougher test Saturday as No. 4 Alabama (No. 5 CFP) looks to make a statement and keep its playoff hopes afloat after a 46-41 loss to No. 1 LSU. Alabama is giving up 3.7 yards per carry. INSIDE THE NUMBERS The SEC has a 34-13 nonconference record. The league is on pace for its worst nonconference regular-season winning percentage (.723) since 2004 (.694) and already has its highest number of regular-season nonconference losses since 2003. ... Georgia still hasn’t allowed a touchdown run. The only SEC teams to go an entire season without allowing a rushing touchdown are Tennessee in 1939 and Mississippi in 1963. ... Alabama heads into Mississippi State trying to avoid its first two-game losing streak since 2013. The Crimson Tide closed the 2013 season by losing to Auburn and to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. ... Florida’s Kyle Trask threw for 363 yards in a 56-0 rout of Vanderbilt last week, which marked the highest total for a Gator since Tim Tebow closed the 2009 season and capped his college career by passing for 482 yards against Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl. ... Arkansas went 2-4 against Group of Five programs during the brief coaching tenure of Chad Morris, who was fired Sunday. That included losses to Colorado State, North Texas, San Jose State and Western Kentucky. ... Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden Jr. is the only Football Bowl Subdivision player leading his team in both yards rushing (712) and yards receiving (348). UPSET WATCH There doesn’t seem to be an obvious upset pick on the SEC schedule this week, but Missouri’s success on its home field this year could give No. 11 Florida (8-2, 5-2, No. 11 CFP) some cause for concern. Missouri (5-4, 2-3) has lost three straight games but is unbeaten at home this year. Florida heads into Columbia as a seven-point favorite. An unranked Missouri team beat a 13th-ranked Florida team 38-17 in Gainesville last year. While Missouri’s recent struggles make a second straight upset in this series seem unlikely, perhaps the Tigers’ home-field advantage will make a difference. IMPACT PERFORMER LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has established himself as the clear Heisman Trophy favorite, but running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire also has played a vital role in keeping the Tigers unbeaten. Edwards-Helaire rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns against Alabama last week. In three of LSU’s last four games, Edwards-Helaire has run for over 100 yards against a Top 25 opponent. He ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-28 victory over Florida. He rushed for 136 yards and one touchdown in a 23-20 triumph over Auburn. ___ More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 ___ Follow Steve Megargee at https://twitter.com/stevemegargee
  • Atlanta Hawks (4-6, eighth in the Eastern Conference) vs. Phoenix Suns (6-4, eighth in the Western Conference) Phoenix; Thursday, 9 p.m. EST Atlanta visits the Phoenix Suns after Trae Young scored 42 points in the Hawks' 125-121 win over the Nuggets. Phoenix finished 19-63 overall a season ago while going 12-29 at home. The Suns averaged 107.5 points per game while shooting 45.9% from the field and 32.9% from 3-point range last season. Atlanta finished 16-36 in Eastern Conference games and 12-29 on the road a season ago. The Hawks shot 45.1% from the field and 35.2% from 3-point range last season. The matchup Thursday is the first meeting this season between the two teams. Suns Injuries: Ty Jerome: out (ankle). Hawks Injuries: Evan Turner: out (achilles), Chandler Parsons: day to day (knee), Kevin Huerter: out (shoulder), Vince Carter: out (personal reasons). ___ The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar.
  • The billionaire owner of the Atlanta Falcons is making his first major drive into international philanthropy. The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation is expected to announce Thursday that it’s donating $6.8 million to the aid group CARE. The money will fund efforts to avert humanitarian crises abroad and support a village savings program in Africa. The foundation has helped numerous charities in Atlanta and elsewhere in the U.S. since its founding in 1995. The CARE grant is its first large-scale international project. Blank — a co-founder of Home Depot Inc. — bought the Falcons football team in 2002 and also owns the Atlanta United soccer team. His family and foundation have donated more than $400 million to charities, according to the foundation’s website. Blank said in an email that the CARE grant is a “natural extension” of the foundation’s work. “The challenges being addressed by our Family Foundation — poverty, human rights, climate change — are global,” he said. Blank’s gift will allow CARE, which is also based in Atlanta, to expand its village savings and loan program in Tanzania and Malawi and launch a savings and loan program in Nigeria, CARE CEO Michelle Nunn said in a telephone interview. Villagers pool their savings to provide interest-bearing loans to members to start small businesses and pay for health care and education. CARE provides training in governance, group dynamics and money management. The programs serve nearly 7.6 million people in 51 countries, most of them women, according to CARE. Nunn said Blank’s donation will allow CARE to serve more than 1 million additional women. The savings and loan programs are “very resonant with Arthur’s sense of entrepreneurship” and his support for women’s empowerment, Nunn said. She said she’s known Blank for decades. “He’s always had a global mindset,” Nunn said. Blank will also serve as co-chairman of a new CARE committee in Atlanta that will help the organization plan for the future.
  • The winning numbers in Wednesday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'Cash 3 Night' game were: 0-3-2 (zero, three, two)
  • The winning numbers in Wednesday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'Cash 4 Night' game were: 9-1-3-1 (nine, one, three, one)
  • The winning numbers in Wednesday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'Fantasy 5' game were: 07-16-20-27-39 (seven, sixteen, twenty, twenty-seven, thirty-nine) Estimated jackpot: $125,000
  • The winning numbers in Wednesday evening's drawing of the 'Powerball' game were: 23-26-27-28-66, Powerball: 11, Power Play: 2 (twenty-three, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, sixty-six; Powerball: eleven; Power Play: two) Estimated jackpot: $60 million ¶ ___ ¶ Online: ¶ Multi-State Lottery Association: http://www.powerball.com/
  • Across the U.S., a mysterious disease is killing deer, slowly. It eats holes in their brains and the animal wastes away. The process can take months, even years. But once the animal dies the disease lives on.  Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, isn’t new but the threat to Georgia is. New research suggests the mad cow disease-like malady could impact monkeys. The threat to humans is unknown.  Channel 2 anchor Sophia Choi went with Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources to learn how they’re testing local deer to make sure the disease has not crept in from neighboring states.    “It’s a slow and cryptic disease and we don’t really know the long-term effects of it on the deer population,” said Georgia DNR’s deer biologist, Charlie Killmaster.  Killmaster explained there is no blood test for CWD because it attacks the nervous system. They test for it by taking the lymph nodes from the neck of a dead deer. The DNR spot-checks deer killed by hunters and brought to processing facilities across the state. Killmaster said the unknown impacts of the disease mean wildlife managers are on guard.  “We’ve never had it jump from a deer to a human to date, but we don’t know that it can’t, either,” Killmaster said.  MORE 2 INVESTIGATES: HIV Hot Spots: The areas in metro Atlanta the disease has taken a grip Inside the smugglers' trail: How cartels overtook metro Atlanta streets Woman says insurance was billed nearly $11K for DNA test she never signed off on CWD spreads easily through urine, saliva, and the nervous system of an infected animal, dead or alive. If a hunter harvests a deer in one location and discards the bone and brain tissue in another, that can spread the disease. But CWD is tough to diagnose because it could take more than a year for symptoms to show.   “Overtime it’s going to lead to a degeneration of that nervous tissue, that brain tissue and once that happens you can see a whole suite of abnormal behavior,” explained Mark Ruder, with the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine.  Ruder said CWD appears to have a strong species barrier, and the disease has not been found in humans or domestic animals. But Canadian researchers found evidence the disease impacted monkeys that ate CWD infected deer meat over a period of time.  “It shows that there’s potential and we should be vigilant,” Ruder said.   The disease has not been spotted in Georgia. Killmaster said hunters need to be aware of the areas testing positive for CWD.  “It’s still safe to consume venison but you have to be aware of these potential risk factors in an area that has chronic wasting disease,” Killmaster said.  Warning from our northern neighbor Tennessee wildlife managers found the state’s first positive case of CWD nearly a year ago. Since then, 193 deer tested positive. Tennessee’s Wildlife Resources Agency said this hunting season that number will rise.  “Since December when we found CWD in our midst it has become a new normal for hunters unfortunately,” said TWRA spokesperson Jennifer Wisniewski. “If you look at pockets of CWD that has sprung up across the country they’re not contiguous, so a lot of it has been due to the transport of deer by people.”  Tennessee law enforcement agencies now post officers on bridges and near interstates to watch for hunters transporting potentially infected deer across state lines. Tracking and testing for the disease cost valuable resources and time.  Hunters may have unknowingly help spread the disease, but wildlife experts said they can also help stop it by hunting down deer in known infected areas. They’re encouraging hunters to harvest more deer in CWD positive zones, and have it tested by TWRA to make sure it’s safe.  “The higher the population the greater the chance the disease will spread,” explained TWRA biologist Chuck Yoest. “I would just recommend to other states that they go out of their way to detect it as early as possible.” Georgia’s DNR said citizens are one of their greatest tools in detecting the disease.  “Notify us if you see a deer that is acting strangely or appears to be sick the public is our best resource for locating the clinical animals,” Killmaster said.