What We’re Reading: Tuesday, July 1st

Welcome to What We’re Reading, a weekly rundown of the articles that caught our eye related to investing in our community or the things that make Athens great.  Here is what we are reading as we wonder where in the world the month of June went…

Dr. Jack Crowley issued another report in his Flagpole series on the Downtown Master Plan.  Here, Crowley discusses what the possibilities are for the Costa building off Washington Street.  He notes, “The basement is renovated (reconnected by stair to Washington Street with a new west entry to the parking lot) and is made available to lower-rent-paying nonprofits or technology startup initiatives such as those working with Four Athens. This would be a niche opportunity to encourage the creative class to thrive here in our downtown, where they’d like to be.”

ABH reports that four new insurers have filed with the Georgia Department of Insurance to offer health insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplaces next year.  The four new insurers join the five companies continuing to offer plans from last year.  The increased competition may prevent a significant increase in premiums.  We reported two weeks ago that analysis from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed each additional insurer in a rating area was associated with a 4% lower premium for the benchmark plan.  The state will now review the filings, and the plans will appear on the Marketplace for 2014-2015 open enrollment beginning in November.

ABH reports that early voting for the July 22nd primary runoffs began yesterday and runs through June 18th. You can find out information on your precinct and other voting details from the Secretary of State’s Office here, a full rundown of state and federal runoffs here, and a preview on the Link-Watkins runoff in ACC District 3 here.

ABH reports that the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia will provide free meals daily to children at The Awesome Clubhouse at Garnett Ridge (160 Elkview Drive) from 12:00pm-1:00pm.  The Food Research and Action Center explains the importance of summer food programs here.

The AJC’s Bill Torpy writes an admittedly difficult-to-read piece on the embattled position of the Director of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS).  We’re following the Governor’s Child Welfare Reform Council throughout the summer and will have more reporting on this to come.

The United States Supreme Court laid down two rulings yesterday as they continue their summer session. You can see the opinions from the justices (Burwell vs. Hobby LobbyHarris vs. Quinn) and full analysis on the various rulings from SCOTUSBlog.

Got anything else we should be reading?  Let us know!

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