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Friday, July 12, 2013

First Slice 7/12/13: Giant downtown Ferris wheel set to open next week

1. That giant Ferris wheel that cropped up in downtown Atlanta at lightning speed is now set to open for the public on July 16.

2. According to recent Department of Education data, Georgia's students improved in some areas of study over the past year, but algebra wasn't one of them. Around the state, 63 percent of students who were tested in the spring failed to meet state benchmarks for performance. In some metro Atlanta district the failure rate was as high as 78 percent.

3. Atlanta's City Council is working on a resolution that would require Invest Atlanta, the city's economic development arm, to submit monthly accountability reports about incentives offered to businesses. According to Saporta Report:
Part of the issue appears to be a sum of more than $2 million in incentives the city offered to businesses and was presented to the council at its June 17 meeting. That was the day the council was swamped with its final approval of the 2014 budget. The sum - somewhere between $2.3 million and $2.5 million - was promised to businesses without any consultation with council and without any funding source authorized, according to Moore and at least one other councilperson.

4. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and it's partner-in-crime WSB-TV are asking a federal judge to unseal files and the video-taped disposition that landed Paula Deen in hot water after it surfaced she admitted to using racial slurs in the past. Also, Deen just fired all her lawyers.

5. Instead of trashing a bunch of left over fish used in a research study, the University of Georgia is donating 1,900 pounds of sturgeon meat to the Atlanta Community Food Bank -- and handing over three live ones for the Tennessee Aquarium's River Giants exhibit.

6. Is it time to do away with DeKalb Couny's slightly unusual CEO-style of government? It's the only county in the state employing a CEO structure, and a group of county commissioners say it isn't working.

7. Georgia has boasted rank in CNBC's annual list of top states for business. The Peach State ranked eighth best in the country this year, up from number nine last year. The report, which looks at 51 different measures of competitiveness, found South Dakota to be best for businesses while Hawaii is the worst.

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