In the Loop

  • Memorial Service Planned for Tree Surgeon John Conaway


    Photo Credit: Emuel Aldridge

    John Conaway, a skilled and popular local tree service operator, fell to his death Wednesday, Oct. 4 while working on Holman Avenue. A limb to which he had attached his safety rope broke off and carried him down with it.


  • Hobby Lobby Will Move to Epps Bridge

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Oconee County has issued a building permit for Hobby Lobby in Epps Bridge Centre II, signaling that another big box retailer is leaving the Atlanta Highway commercial corridor for Oconee County.

    The permit is for a 54,947-square-foot building and is the first issued by the county for Epps Bridge Centre II, which is across the Oconee Connector from the existing shopping center at the newly opened Plaza Parkway.

    Hobby Lobby now shares a 87,543-square-foot building on Atlanta Highway at Epps Bridge Parkway with 2nd & Charles and Athens Pool Spa.

    Oconee County also has issued a building permit for a second restaurant in Falls of Oconee, the commercial complex on old Macon Highway opposite Athens Ridge, a student housing complex.

    The county has received plans for construction of a branch office of Robins Financial Credit Union on Mars Hill Road opposite the Oconee Primary School and Oconee Elementary School, just west of the Burger King now under construction.

    Initial plans had called for two fast food restaurants on the property, both with drive through operations. The submitted plans show a drive through for the credit union.


  • Police: Pedestrian Hit on Prince Was Not in Crosswalk

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    Photo Credit: Google Streetview

    A pedestrian who was hit by a minivan on Friday was not using a nearby crosswalk, according to Athens-Clarke County police.

    The pedestrian, an approximately 51-year-old man with a Honeysuckle Lane address, was crossing Prince Avenue from south to north near the entrance to Dunkin' Donuts at about 8 a.m. Friday when he was hit by an eastbound Honda Odyssey driven by an approximately 41-year-old Athens man, according to a police report.

    "The pedestrian walked into the path of the Odyssey and was struck by [it]," the report says.


  • Podcast: Trump and Country Music

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    In this week's episode cohosts Baynard Woods and Brandon Soderberg talk about right-wing politics, country music, guns and the terror in Las Vegas.

    This episode was engineered and edited by Brandon Soderberg, with music by Ruby Fulton and the Rhymes with Orchestra, and the Barnyard Sharks.


  • The Eastside Is Finally Getting an Aldi


    This is what an Aldi looks like.

    German discount grocery store chain Aldi is opening a second Athens location, this one in a shopping center on Gaines School Road near the Cedar Shoals Drive intersection.

    The company filed plans with Athens-Clarke County last week to renovate the 21,000 square-foot space, formerly occupied by Omni Club.

    "At this point, we are working through the process of obtaining permits and hope to begin construction in the next couple months," said Aldi Jefferson Division Vice President Thom Behtz.


  • Photo Gallery: Vulture Day at the Landfill


    Dozens of families gathered at the Athens-Clarke County Landfill on Saturday for the Solid Waste Department's fourth annual Vulture Day.

    The day began with a bird tour guided by the Oconee Rivers Audobon Society. Then, at the landfill's outdoor classroom, Bear Hollow experts gave a presentation on birds of prey. Lenetta Root of Watkinsville and other local artists worked on a mural. Children also had the opportunity to make vulture masks, pose for photos with an inflatable vulture and participate in educational activities, such as learning what "nature's recyclers" eat and how they digest their food.

    Flagpole photo intern Jessica Silverman documented the fun:


  • Democrat Jonathan Wallace Launches State House Campaign


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    Photo Credit: Nate Harris

    Wallace speaks to supporters at his campaign kickoff rally Saturday at the courthouse in Watkinsville.

    Jonathan Wallace hosted supporters across the street from the Oconee County Courthouse Saturday morning to kick off his campaign in the special election to fill Chuck Williams’ vacant District 119 seat.

    Wallace, a software developer and member of the board of directors at the tech incubator Four Athens, spoke briefly, outlining some key advocacy points of his campaign, including internet and health care expansion and education reform.

    "The state tried to take over the control of our locals schools," he told the crowd, referring to the controversial charter-schools amendment that was defeated at the ballot box last year. "That is unacceptable. Running for this position, I will fight to protect our public schools for our kids." Wallace called for an end to "high-stakes testing."


  • Dem Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Evans Touts HOPE Reform in Athens

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    Every time she drives along 316 toward Athens, Stacey Evans feels a slight thrill, remembering when she first came to the University of Georgia from Ringgold. She was the first person in her family to attend college, and she couldn’t have done so without the HOPE Scholarship.

    “This is where life started for me,” she told those attending Thursday’s meeting of the Clarke County Democratic Party. At the university, she became involved with the Young Democrats, thinking that doing so would give her a chance to help families like the one she had come from.

    Evans showed a brief video about her background, including her hardscrabble, rural childhood. Viewers learned that her single mother had her as a teenager, held various menial jobs and went through a series of boyfriends, some abusive, before marrying Evans’ stepfather. Evans moved 16 times as a child, one step ahead of bill collectors.


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