In the Loop

  • 500 Gather in Greensboro to Tell Off Trump to GOP Congressional Staffers



    Photo Credit: John Buckley

    GREENSBORO — A large crowd of energized and vocal opponents of the new administration’s policies attended Friday’s constituent service meeting in Greensboro, hosted by representatives of Rep. Jody Hice, a Republican who represents Athens, and the state’s two senators, Johnny Isakson and David Perdue. 

    Some were wearing the pink “pussy hats” worn during the recent wave of demonstrations in Washington and in cities across the country, and many held up hand-lettered signs. The room was packed, and most of the crowd—estimated by Greene County Sheriff Donnie Harrison at more than 500—was standing in the back and along the sides of the room.   

    After the staff members introduced themselves to the crowd, Josh Findlay, a Hice staffer, said that it was “the largest crowd we’ve ever had” at this kind of meeting. He then announced that due to the crowd size, meetings would be held individually in nearby private rooms. At this point people, in the crowd began booing loudly and howling that they wanted to be heard by the legislators’ surrogates, and sustained chants of “Hear our voice!” “Cowards!” and “This is what democracy looks like!” rang out.


  • Athens for Everyone Expects 'Hundreds' at Greensboro Protest


    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    Protesters march through downtown Athens on Inauguration Day Jan. 20.

    "Hundreds of concerned citizens" will travel to Greensboro Friday morning to "voice their opinions on current national issues and seek answers to questions surrounding the same issues," according to the local activist group Athens for Everyone.

    They'll meet with staff members for Rep. Jody Hice (R-Monroe) and Republican Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson from 10 a.m.–noon at the Greene County Government Office, 1034 Silver Drive.


  • No Plans to Redevelop Varsity Property, Commissioners Say

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    In spite of rumors that have swirled for months and recently intensified, Athens-Clarke County commissioners say they've been assured that the owners of iconic fast-food restaurant The Varsity have no imminent plans to redevelop the property.

    The Gordy family, which owns the chain of seven restaurants, has assembled nearly the entirely block bordered by Milledge Avenue and Broad, Chase and Reese streets, including purchasing the Dairy Queen that closed last year and several homes.

    Most of the rumors involve the property becoming a mixed-use development featuring a Publix grocery story, with The Varsity either becoming part of the new development or moving to Epps Bridge Parkway. Others have speculated that the Gordys merely want more parking for car shows and game days, or that the property will become student housing—which seems unlikely, given that its commercial zoning would only allow about 30 apartments.

    ACC Commissioner Jerry NeSmith addressed the rumors at last night's commission meeting, saying that an agent for The Varsity and Publix called him Monday to assure him nothing is currently in the works.


  • Commission Approves Ban on New Downtown Bars and Apartments


    Photo Credit: Blake Aued/file

    As expected, the Athens-Clarke County Commission approved a temporary ban on most new downtown bars and apartment buildings Tuesday night over concerns about overcrowding and the downtown drinking culture.

    The ban covers bars with a capacity greater than 49 people, unless they open in a space that housed a bar within the past year, and apartments with more than three units. It will last for up to one year while a consultant conducts a study on downtown health and safety, and commissioners consider potential new regulations.

    Mayor Nancy Denson said she placed the moratorium on the commission's agenda Monday afternoon to give officials a chance to get a handle on "crowding" and related challenges delivering services like garbage pickup, as well as "excessive drinking."


  • ACC Officials Propose Ban on New Bars and Apartments Downtown


    Photo Credit: Randy Schafer/file

    The Standard is one of several luxury student apartment complexes to open downtown in the past few years.

    Athens-Clarke County commissioners will vote on a one-year moratorium on most new bars and apartment buildings downtown at its meeting Tuesday night.

    The moratorium was added to the commission agenda late this afternoon. It would cover new bars—except those that open in spaces where another bar has closed in the past 12 months—with capacities larger than 49 people. New apartments of more than three units would be temporarily banned as well.


  • Athens Mosque Hosts Open House Saturday



    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    Imam Adel Amer (center) at Al-Huda Islamic Center's open house in 2016.

    The Al-Huda Islamic Center will host an open house this Saturday from 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

    “The timing is so crucial to give people a window to know about Islam,” said imam Adel Amer. “Actually the problem is with ignorance, we have to fight ignorance, and you won’t be able to form or crystalize an opinion about someone without reading about him, so instead of hearingabout us you’re going to hear from us. Because when you hear about us... the whole portrait will be the same color, or throw all the Muslims in the same basket, and that is not necessarily true. We have bad people, we have crazy people, like everybody else. But this is not the norm.”

    An open house last January drew about 600 people, and Amer is expecting a drastic upswing in attendance this year.


  • Oconee County Moves to Slow Growth, Revokes Sewer Permits for Unbuilt Subdivisions

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Wayne Hanie speaks to, from left, commissioners John Daniell, Mark Thomas, Chuck Horton, Bubber Wilkes and Mark Saxon.

    Oconee County Commissioners voted Tuesday night to refund sewer capacity for four undeveloped subdivisions in the county, significantly reducing the need for increased sewage treatment capacity in the county.

    The decision will make those four housing projects—including the massive Parkside and Westland subdivisions—unbuildable as zoned, since they require sewage capacity for the intensive development proposed.

    The decision provides some relief to the county school system, which has raised concerns about the increased residential growth on the county schools.


  • UGA African Studies Institute Vandalized


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    Photo Credit: Tifara Brown/Facebook

    University of Georgia police were contacted Sunday afternoon after visitors on UGA’s North Campus noticed that an exterior glass door had been shattered at the African Studies Institute in the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building, named for the two black students who integrated the university in 1961.

    According to a statement released by UGA police, “the door was found to have damage to the lower half, consistent with being kicked.” The reporting officer contacted UGA Facilities Management Department to secure the door and clean up the glass. There was no other damage to the building.


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