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Aflac mansion, Duane Allman’s guitar, Stacey Abrams and other Columbus news

Did you know there’s a penthouse ‘hidden’ atop Aflac’s parking garage?

In its heyday,"Joshelte II" was a sprawling mansion looking out to a pool and impeccable views of the Chattahoochee Valley. No one currently lives in the multi-million dollar penthouse, built atop Aflac's parking garage. Here's a peek inside.
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In its heyday,"Joshelte II" was a sprawling mansion looking out to a pool and impeccable views of the Chattahoochee Valley. No one currently lives in the multi-million dollar penthouse, built atop Aflac's parking garage. Here's a peek inside.

Missed any big stories last week? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Did you know about the Aflac penthouse?

There’s a penthouse on top of a parking garage in Columbus, Georgia.

John Amos, Aflac’s founder, built the home for he and his wife, Elena, in the late 1980s on top of the company’s parking garage. But no one has lived in it since Elena’s death in 2000.

The penthouse was called the “Joshelte II,” named after members of the family: John, Elena, Shelby and Teresa Amos. The first phonetic syllable of each of their names in Spanish were joined to form the home’s name.

The home, which had 10,000 square feet of living space, was built by Ignacio Carrera-Justiz, best known for his work on the Bacardi International Headquarters building in Miami. The Amos’ moved in on Nov. 19, 1987.

What was inside the home then, and what is it used for now? Read here.

Allman’s guitar auctions for $1.25 million

An old guitar of Duane Allman sold for a record-breaking $1.25 million at an auction.

The gold-topped, 1957 Les Paul guitar was used by Allman during his performance on the Eric Clapton-led Derek and the Dominos’ song “Layla.”

Until recently, the guitar was on display at the Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House. The buyer, an out-of-town anonymous collector, agreed to share the instrument with the museum every other six months.

The guitar will return to the museum in late November.

Read more here.

Stacey Abrams launches Fair Fight 2020

Stacey Abrams launched the Georgia arm of her nationwide voter protection initiative, Fair Fight 2020, Saturday in Gwinnett County.

Abrams announced the new venture last week and removed herself from 2020 presidential considerations.

The organization will work with state democratic parties and local allies to fund operations in 17 states ahead of 2020 General Elections.

We interviewed Abrams where she talked more in-depth about the state of Georgia politics. Read more here.

Georgia may have to use paper ballots in March 2020 primary

If Georgia’s new voting machines aren’t ready for presidential primaries in March 2020, the state will have to use paper ballots, a federal judge ruled last week.

The Associated Press reports U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg did not force the state to immediately switch to paper ballots but she noted problems with the state’s current machines.

“Georgia’s current voting equipment, software, election and voter databases, are antiquated, seriously flawed, and vulnerable to failure, breach, contamination, and attack,” she wrote.

Plaintiffs in that lawsuit claim the new voting machines have many of the same issues as the old ones. The new election system prints a human-readable summary of a voter’s selection and a machine-readable bar code to count the votes.

Read more here.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly described Georgia’s new voting machines. The new election system prints a human-readable summary of a voter’s selection and a machine-readable bar code to count the votes.

Nick Wooten is the Southern Trends and Culture reporter for McClatchy’s South region. He is based in Columbus, Georgia at the Ledger-Enquirer but his work also appears in The (Macon) Telegraph and The Sun Herald in Biloxi.Before joining McClatchy, he worked for The (Shreveport La.) Times covering city government and investigations. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.
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