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Need to Know

Bill for Medicaid for assisted living tabled

After much discussion, analysis, and deliberation, the “Improvements to Assisted Living Communities” bill, HB 582, has been tabled for the time being, according to CO-AGE, the advocacy group for the Georgia Council on Aging. The bill would have deleted the prohibition of assisted living communities enrolling as a Medicaid provider, and also added a section to Georgia law to prohibit the availability of Medicaid funds from being restricted by state requirements that are more stringent than those under federal law or regulation. The advocacy group’s website describes this as a layered issue is going to require further dialogue, research, and work in order to move forward.

Doctors should encourage bivalent boosters.

People are either unaware or simply not interested in the latest booster, according to a recent CDC study. And doctors haven’t been promoting it. A recent CDC study showed that nearly 60% of people surveyed had not received the bivalent booster because it had not been recommended by their health care provider.

The CDC is hoping to change that. The agency is launching a nationwide initiative to talk to physicians about encouraging this latest booster, starting here in Georgia. The CDC stresses the bivalent vaccine is still important even though cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Georgia have been trending down for several weeks. The threat of serious illness remains with the latest figures showing 65 Georgians dying of COVID during a recent week. Georgia is among the lowest five states for being up to date on vaccines.

Good to Know

Don’t Let Simple Mistakes Derail Your VA Claim

If you’re thinking of applying for VA Pension Aid & Attendance benefits for yourself or someone you love, these tips will help you get the best possible results.

  1. Disclose all the necessary information up front. Read the application to find out what information you need to provide. 
  2. Assemble supporting documentation. Be prepared to gather a lot of paperwork, including discharge papers and documents that prove the need for benefits.
  3. Find out in advance whether your veteran or a surviving spouse is eligible. A veteran must meet strict service requirements. Find the eligibility criteria online at
  4. Make sure you’re completing the right forms. Read the directions and fill everything out. Don’t forget to sign the forms.
  5. Don’t assume you don’t qualify. Just because someone you know tried and failed to qualify doesn’t mean the same thing will happen to you. Kimbrough Law

Defensive driving classes

St. Mary’s Health Care System is resuming its popular Defensive Driving classes after a nearly three-year pause caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The class teaches evidence-based ways to reduce your risk of being involved in a traffic collision. The classes are in-person and will be held on the second Saturday of each month, beginning March 11. Classes will meet from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Lobby Conference Room of St. Mary’s Hospital, 1230 Baxter St. The cost is $30 and pre-registration is encouraged. Call 706.389.3911.

Taking a positive approach to dementia

A free, brown bag Lunch-and-Learn on dementia care is scheduled at the Athens Library on April 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The speakers include Dr. Don Scott, associate professor of medicine and director of education in geriatric medicine for the AU/UGA Medical Partnership and Abbie Vogt, certified care manager and Teepa Snow Positive Approach to Care (PAC) consultant. PAC is researched and tested program that teaches family and professional caregivers how to provide effective, practical dementia care.

Parkinson’s support group

For those diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease or other Movement Disorders, there is a Support Group in the Athens area that provides encouragement, support, and useful information for managing the challenges of a movement disorder.  This group is open to those living with Parkinson’s and/or those who serve as Caregivers.  The group meets on the second Friday of each month from 1-2 pm, in the Rotunda area of First Baptist Church, 355 Pulaski St., parking in back.

Fun to Do

Spring Tour of Homes

The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center will be hosting the annual Madison Spring Tour of Homes, April 14-15. The self-guided tour features a selection of Madison’s treasured historic and contemporary homes. Tickets are on sale at

Vet school holds an open house

The UGA College of Veterinary Medicine will host a community open house on April 7 at 501 D.W. Brooks Drive from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This free event is designed for fun and education with hands-on exhibits for all ages, including teddy bear surgery, an exotic animal display, reading to dogs, and more. Donations at various activities will unlock special add-on experiences. Food, drinks, and merchandise will be available for cash purchase.

Congress Week 2023 speaker

Loch K. Johnson, Regents Professor Emeritus of Public and International Affairs will be speaking on “Congress and The Decline of Democracy in the United States,” on Tuesday, April 11 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Special Collections Library, 300 Hull St.

Athens Beer Fest

The Classic Center Cultural Foundation has organized its inaugural Athens Beer Fest scheduled for Sunday, April 16, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the 440 Foundry Pavilion. Two headlining bands will be on the mainstage, one a tribute band to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and the other a celebration of the Allman Brothers Band. Tickets at

OCAF encaustic flower exhibit

The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF) will host visiting artist Leah Macdonald during the weekend of April 14 – April 16. Her exhibition Wax Flowers will feature her floral photo encaustic works and will be on view from April 14 through June 2.

Seed Swap and Plant Giveaway

The Statham Public Library is hosting a Seed Swap on Saturday, April 15, from 12 noon to 2 p.m.  You do not have to bring seeds with you to participate in this event, but if you do want to bring some, please make sure they are non-GMO and marked with the collection date. Herbs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables are all welcome. If you have any old seed catalogs laying around, you’re invited to bring those as well. For more information, call 770-725-4785.

Art and American history

“Object Lessons in American Art,” is now on exhibit at the Georgia Museum of Art through May 14. On loan from Princeton University, the exhibit features four centuries of work that collectively explore American history, culture and society. With a focus on race, gender and the environment, the objects on display aim to afford new insights into the American past and present.

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