Compiled by Laura Lenz

Laura Lenz reported that Georgia’s film industry is bouncing back from the initial lockdowns in March 2020 that stalled film and TV productions, according to NPR.

For months, production was halted as film studios navigated social distancing protocols. Film studios learned to work with protocols, quarantining cast and crew, using rigorous COVID-19 testing protocols, wearing masks and filming in “bubbles.” The film industry isn’t the only sector that is bouncing back from COVID-19 lockdowns.  Restaurants and hotels, which have struggled with travel restrictions, have benefited from productions, as hotels rent out their rooms cast and crew.  State lawmakers aren’t planning to change Georgia’s film tax credits which have increased film and television production. 

The Georgia FIlm Academy, a network of classes and internships across the state, has seen a spike in their enrollment. Partnerships across Georgia, including the Georgia Film Academy, labor unions, University Systems of Georgia and others, have built the booming industry in the state. 

Thomas Ehlers reported that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced on March 10 that the state will expand coronavirus vaccine eligibility. Kemp revealed plans that allow individuals as young as 55 to get the vaccine. He also noted those with other medical conditions with risks would be on the list as well. Individuals with serious health conditions including diabetes, cancer and obesity. This update will grant nearly 3.3 million more Georgians eligibility. Kemp also announced he hopes to give all Georgia adults the ability to get the vaccine by next month.

Lenz reported that more than 1,400 Clarke County School District staff were vaccinated for COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. 

Currently, Georgia ranks 50th on the “Safest States during COVID” list, according to a study by financial website Wallet Hub. Georgia’s low ranking is due to the state’s high hospitalization rate, high death rate, high positive test rate and second-lowest vaccination rate in the country compared to current data from all 50 states. 

Michael White reported that popular video game platform Roblox IPO’d yesterday, at a price of $45 per share, closing at $69.50 a share on March 10. Instead of going through the traditional IPO process, Roblox went public through what is known as a direct listing, which is similar to an IPO but does not feature any backing from an underwriter. After receiving a venture investment of $520 million in January, Roblox could take the risk of not having an underwriter and instead list currently owned shares for resale. Roblox was one of the most anticipated IPOs of 2021, and closed Wednesday with a market cap of $37.17 million.

Investor Cathie Wood, founder of the innovative ARK ETFs, announced today that the ARK Next Generation Internet ETF had bought over 500,000 shares of Roblox, worth roughly $36 million, and represents 0.47% of the fund.

Ehlers reported that Derek Chauvin, the officer indicted in the killing of George Floyd, faces second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder charges.

Chauvin originally faced a third-degree murder charge, but Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill dismissed the charge last year. The prosecution asked for reinstatement, and after deliberation, the judge allowed it. 

Ehlers explained that the judge’s decision to reinstate the charge came from an appellate court’s decision in a case where an officer shot a woman who had called in an assault in progress. The officer faced similar charges, and while not found guilty of murder in the second degree, he was found guilty of second degree manslaughter and third degree murder.

White gave the sports update. He reported that the UGA Men’s basketball team starts play in the SEC tournament March 11 taking on the Missouri Tigers. UGA has had an up and down season, but have picked it up in recent weeks. The spread is currently 6.5 with Missouri expected to win, but with postseason basketball anything is possible. 

The Atlanta Hawks also tipoff Thursday after taking the week off due to All Star week. Bogdan Bogdanovich is expected back in the lineup after missing time since Jan. 9 due to a knee injury. However, Cam Reddish is now out due to an achilles injury that has required a PRP injection. The Hawks take on a depleted Toronto Raptors team before taking on the Kings and Cavaliers over the weekend. The Hawks badly need to win as many games as possible before they face a streak of eight away games later this month. 

The NFL draft is slowly inching closer, and rumors seem to be centered around the Atlanta Falcons drafting former UGA and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields with the number four pick. As for the Dawgs, edge rusher Azeez Ojulari is likely to be a first round pick, while cornerbacks Eric Stocks and Tyson Campbell will likely be day two draft picks.

Listen to the recorded show here