Compiled by Mary Lou Masters

Michael White started up the show with some local news. Early voting opened across the state today for the 2020 election. Here in Clarke County, there will eventually be five places for voters to cast their early ballots. 

As for the first two weeks, only one of the locations will be open: the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections office in downtown Athens. The office will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. this week and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. the following week. Starting the week of Oct. 26, four more locations will open. 

Due to social distancing requirements, there will be no voting at the Tate Student Center this year compared to years past, but Stegeman Coliseum will instead serve as the advanced voting site on campus from Oct. 27 to Oct. 29. 

As always, voters can request an absentee ballot during this time online through the Secretary of State’s website or by mail. If you are using an absentee ballot, ensure that you fill out the form correctly and drop the ballot off at one of the designated drop boxes or mail the form in. We will have more local election news in the run-up to the Nov. 3 election. 

Cason Smith reported on the aftermath of Hurricane Delta in Georgia. A CSX train derailed in Lilburn early Sunday morning following heavy rains from the remnants of Hurricane Delta, according to Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services.

Firefighters responded to the train derailment around 2 a.m. after a “911 caller advised the train had derailed and the train was taking on water,” Gwinnett Fire said in a statement. “Additional reports advised the train was on its side and two CSX employees were attempting to get out of the locomotive.”

The train’s engineer and conductor were later taken to a hospital with minor injuries, according to the statement. Crews found 38 rail cars derailed between Main Street NW and Rockbridge Road NW in Lilburn and several rail cars were engulfed in flames shortly after arrival, the statement said.

The fire subsided about two hours later “but still posed a threat to the surrounding area,” Gwinnett Fire said. “At approximately 5:30 a.m., crews operating on scene determined the fire and hazmat to be under control with good air quality readings in the area. At that time, the evacuation order was lifted and residents were allowed to return to their homes.” 

The cause of the derailment has not been determined at this time.

Michael White also detailed the news concerning a new iPhone announcement. Apple will release their highly anticipated 5G phone tomorrow. Expected to be named iPhone 12, the release will begin Apple’s foray into the 5G market that telecommunication stocks like Verizon and At&T have been building. 

With four expected models, featuring screens ranging from 5.4 inches to 6.7 inches, the models will sell from $649 to $1,099. The anticipated event, titled “Hi, Speed” is leading to Apple’s shares rising during trading today. As of 1:30 p.m., shares were up 6% to just over $124 a share.

In other news, IBM announced that they will be spinning off their main business into a separate publicly traded company with IBM staying to focus on cloud computing and artificial intelligence. This news comes after IBM acquired RedHat, a software company, in Q2. IBM has a history of divesting businesses that no longer fit their core model. On the news, IBM is holding fairly flat, only down .7% on the day. With the divestment, IBM is positioning itself to be a player in the ever-expanding AI market.

Wood Smith had the latest international COVID-19 updates. Countries across Europe are tightening restrictive measures aimed at curbing the coronavirus pandemic amid a surge in cases. Europe surpassed 100,000 daily reported COVID-19 cases for the first time last week, with cases continuing to grow over the weekend. 

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the Czech Republic has Europe’s highest rate of coronavirus infection with 433 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days. 

Meanwhile, Russia reported its highest daily coronavirus cases ever on Sunday at 13,634 cases, prompting Moscow authorities to consider closing bars and nightclubs. Russia currently has the fourth highest case toll in the world behind the US, India and Brazil.

In the United Kingdom, the British government is expected to announce a three-tier system of restrictions to simplify the rules and avoid confusion. The move would follow England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam’s describing the UK as being at a “tipping point” akin to where the country was in March.

Wood Smith also talked about how early voting started today in Georgia, marking the beginning of a three-week period preceding the general election day on Nov. 3. Election officials in some of the largest counties in Georgia are confident that as in-person voting begins, the 2020 general election will not be a repeat of the problem-plagued primary many voters experienced in June of this year.

“All of our workers are trained, all the early voting sites are set up, so we’ll be ready to open on Monday morning and serve the voters,” said Rick Barron, director of elections and registration for Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia and home to most of Atlanta.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office plans to deploy field technicians on Nov. 3 to every polling location across the state who are trained to quickly address the most prevalent problems that occurred in June.

Over 90% of the problems encountered during the June primary were concentrated in the metro Atlanta counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb and DeKalb, according to the Secretary of State’s office, and Fulton alone was the source of 70% of them.

Numerous organizations across the state have partnered with the Secretary of State’s office to recruit poll workers for November. More than 40,000 people have expressed an interest in being poll workers through the state’s effort and those names have been passed down to the counties, which bear the responsibility of signing up and training its poll workers.

Cason reported on national news concerning The Nobel Committee awarding its prize in economics to Americans Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson. In the announcement on Monday, the committee said Wilson’s and Milgrom’s research has “benefitted sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world.” 

The two developed an improved format in 1994 for the Federal Communications Commission’s radio spectrum auctions, which has since been tailored for auctions involving hundreds of billions of dollars, according to the Associated Press.

Work by the two addressed what Wilson called the “snake in the grass strategy,” in which a company withholds its interest in an item up for bid before swooping in at the last second. 

“It’s like sniping an eBay auction,” Wilson told the AP. “We had to design rules that at the time sort of restricted that kind of activity.”

Milgrom told the AP he was informed of the win by Wilson, who lives across the street. Both economists are based at Stanford University. Milgrom added that colleagues frequently suggested the two might win the economics prize.

Wilson and Milgrom are the latest of seven Americans this year to win Nobel honors. Other Americans laureates this year include poet Louise Gluck, the first American literature winner since 2016, and Adrea Ghez, who will share the physics prize with British scientist Roger Penrose and Germany’s Reinhard Genzel.

Mariah Rose ended the show with the Sports Power Minute. Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers took home the franchise’s 17th NBA Championship and the beautiful Larry O’ Brian Trophy in that luxurious Louis Vuitton case in a historic victory. 

Despite living in a bubble without his family for the entirety of this NBA restart, the King took home his fourth title and fourth finals MVP despite only getting 16 regular season MVP votes. The matchup was not a close one against Lebron’s old team the Miami Heat where the Lakers dominated 106-93.

The win made Jeanie Buss the first female owner to win a chip, tied the Lakers with the celtics at 17 championships, and brought a championship back to LA for the first time since the late Kobe Bryant brought home a chip in 2010. 

Anthony Davis told Rachel Nichols after the game, “We didn’t let him down.”

This also brings an end to the historic NBA bubble where the league managed to have zero positive COVID-19 tests for the entire three months. Now all of the players and staff will be able to return home. Congratulations to Lebron James and the whole Lakers organization.

Listen to the recorded show here