Blog Topic: Breaking News

  • In the Loop: More Details on the Westclox Mixed-Use Development

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    Photo Credit: Studio BNA Architects

    A view of the proposed development facing east from above Newton Bridge Road. The amphitheater faces Dairy Pak Road to the south.

    The 35-acre General Time development on the long-vacant Westclox clock factory property off Newton Bridge Road would primarily serve permanent Athens residents as well as draw visitors from around the region, according to promotional materials released Monday.

    "This type of adaptive reuse model works so well in countless scenarios in metro Atlanta and around the Southeast," said Michael Dinerman, who is developing the project along with Jennifer Davidson. "We saw the old Westclox property as an opportunity to help pull together many needs of the Athens community in one strategically located district."

    Plans and renderings—available on the Athens-Clarke County website—show a brewery with a rooftop "tasting terrace," a "cycle cafe" along a stormwater detention pond and a "provisions market."


  • In the Loop: Brian Kemp Blasts Athens Sheriff for ICE Reversal


    Brian Kemp.

    This morning, the AJC's Political Insider picked up on Flagpole's Friday report that Clarke County Sheriff's Office will no longer detain undocumented inmates past their release points to give Immigrations and Customs Enforcement time to deport them.

    The news came as a relief to many in Athens, but the Insiders wondered when Secretary of State Brian Kemp would weigh in.

    Sure enough, this tweet came soon after:


  • In the Loop: Sheriff Reverses Policy on ICE Detainers


    The Clarke County Sheriff's Office will no longer detain undocumented immigrants for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport unless requests are accompanied by a judicial warrant, the sheriff's department announced late this afternoon.

    Sheriff Ira Edwards instituted a new policy in July, complying with ICE requests to hold undocumented inmates—many of whom had not been convicted of a crime—for up to 48 hours beyond when they would have otherwise been released so that ICE could pick them up and deport them. The policy change met with widespread criticism from activists, churches and other elected officials once it became public in December.

    In January, Edwards convened an advisory committee that could not come to a concensus on the issue and recommended that he seek legal counsel from the Athens-Clarke County attorney's office, which told him "there is case law that has identified gaps in the current system that do not allow the Sheriff's Office to hold individuals solely on a detainer from ICE," according to a news release. "As such, the Sheriff wishes to avoid the potential risk to the county of civil litigation relating to ICE detainers."


  • In the Loop: Big Mixed-Use Development Planned for Former Athens Clock Factory

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    Photo Credit: Matt Clayton/Google

    A "super cool" 35-acre mixed-use development including a 3,000-seat music venue is planned for the the old Westclox plant off Newton Bridge Road, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reportedThursday.

    The project's developers, UGA graduate Michael Dinerman and Jennifer Davidson, have been eyeing the property for more than two years. Dinerman, an Atlanta real estate developer, said he has seen similar adaptive reuse projects in Atlanta and noticed that Athens lacks a large music venue.

    In addition to the music venue, they want to build about 100 apartments, "maker space" for craftspeople, retail space and three or four restaurants. Terrapin Brewery has also signed a long-term lease for warehouse space at the development, according to the Business Chronicle.


  • In the Loop: AADM Co-Founder Knowa Johnson Joins Sims Campaign


    Knowa Johnson web.jpeg

    Knowa Johnson.

    Knowa Johnson, co-founder of the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, has joined former Athens-Clarke County commissioner Harry Sims' mayoral campaign.

    This comes as a bit of a surprise, given that Sims has been skeptical of the civil rights committee AADM has proposed creating, while fellow candidates Kelly Girtz and Richie Knight have been vocal supporters. ButJohnson could help Sims shore up his support among young people, which appears to be his weakest demographic.

    From the Sims campaign's announcement today:


  • In the Loop: Driver Kills UGA Professor and Cyclist Karen Tinsley

    Karen Tinsley, a faculty member in the University of Georgia's College of Family and Consumer Sciences, died Tuesday after being hit by a truck while riding her bike in Oconee County.

    An F-150 struck and killed Tinsley, an avid cyclist, on Astondale Road near Bishop Tuesday night, according to the Oconee Enterprise.

    Tinsley, 45, is a native of Augusta who moved to Athens in 2002 and earned her master's degree and doctorate from UGA. The Watkinsville resident was recently promoted to senior public service associate at FACS.


  • In the Loop: Deal Intervenes in Piedmont-BCBS Dispute

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    Just a few hours after this post went live, Gov. Nathan Deal waded into the reimbursement dispute between Piedmont Healthcare, which owns Piedmont Athens Regional and several other Georgia hospitals, and Blue Cross Blue Shield that has thrown thousands of Athens workers and their families out of network.

    Deal ordered both sides back to the negotiating table late Tuesday afternoon to hammer out a new contract setting reimbursement rates for Piedmont doctors and procedures. The last one expired at midnight Saturday, affecting almost 600,000 state employees on BCBS plans.

    If an equitable solution is not reached, I’ve directed the Department of Community Health and the State Health Benefit Plan to explore all possible solutions to ensure our members have access to care," Deal said in a news release. "The university system stands ready to take similar action on behalf of its employees. "


  • In the Loop: Deadline Passes Without Piedmont-Blue Cross Blue Shield Deal



    "We checked your bank account, and no, I'm sorry, we can't remove your brain tumor."

    A deadline for Piedmont Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield’s parent company, Anthem, to reach a deal on a new contract came and went at midnight Mar. 31. While all hope isn’t lost, for now, thousands of UGA, ACC and Clarke County School District employees, among others, will have to either pay higher out-of-pocket costs or find new doctors.

    While the contract has expired, emergency room visits at Piedmont Athens Regional will still be considered in-network for BCBS customers.

    Piedmont Healthcare, which owns Piedmont Athens Regional, sued Blue Cross Blue Shield in February after the insurance company decided it would no longer pay for MRIs and CT scans performed in hospitals, only at less expensive outpatient clinics. The two companies are also locked in a dispute over how much BCBS should reimburse Piedmont doctors.


  • In the Loop: RIP HOPE Scholarship Founder Zell Miller


    Zell Miller, the cantankerous former Georgia governor and senator who had a more profound effect on the University of Georgia than any governor since perhaps Eugene Talmadge, died today at the age of 86.


  • In the Loop: Pedestrian Killed on Commerce Road

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    A driver killed a woman around 10 p.m. Tuesday while she was crossing Commerce Road near the Bulldog Inn, according to Athens-Clarke County police.

    Kimberly Pierce, 52, was killed by a '90s-model green Honda with tinted windows. The driver  and car left the scene after hitting Pierce. The car likely sustained front-end damage.

    Investigators are working to obtain surveillance footage from nearby businesses and believe there were witnesses to the hit-and-run. Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Butt 706-208-1718, extension 226.


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