COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987

Blog Topic: Breaking News

  • In the Loop: Commission Considers Deal to Sell Parking Lot to Hotel Indigo

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    The Athens-Clarke County Commission will vote tonight on a deal to sell Strong Street and a city-owned parking lot between Strong and Dougherty Street to Hotel Indigo for a development that will include hotel rooms and office space.

    The deal calls for ACC to sell the property to Athens Hospitality Holdings LLC, the company that owns Hotel Indigo, for $3 million. Athens Hospitality Holdings would then build a new five-story development on the property that would include 45 hotel rooms; office space for the ACC Economic Development Department; 8,000 square feet of meeting and event space; 7,000 square feet of coworking space where entrepreneurs and startups could rent desks, offices and conference rooms; a street-level restaurant; a rooftop bar and 60 underground parking spots. Strong Street would be closed and converted into a courtyard.

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  • In the Loop: UPDATE: Democrats Score Stunning Wins in Athens State House Elections; T-SPLOST Approved

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    Photo Credit: Nicole Adamson

    Jonathan Wallace supporters celebrate after learning he won the state House District 119 race.

    Democrats won shocking victories in two special elections for Athens-area state House seats on Tuesday, winning the conservative-leaning seats in spite of well-funded opposition from Republicans.

    In District 117, Deborah Gonzalez overcame Republican opponent Houston Gaines' $200,000 war chest and much-publicized support from Democratic Athens-Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson. 

    As of 9 p.m., Gonzalez led Gaines 53 percent to 47 percent, with some Clarke County precincts left to be counted, but all the votes in staunchly Republican Oconee, Jackson and Barrow counties have been counted, leaving Gaines no chance to catch up.

    Likewise, with all Oconee precincts reporting, Jonathan Wallace avoided a runoff by winning 56percent of the vote in District 119, which historically leans even further to the right than 117. (Both districts were specifically drawn to elect Republicans.)

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  • Grub Notes: Peter Dale Is Opening a New Restaurant on Chase Street

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    Peter Dale

    Love The National but don't go there anymore because, as Yogi Berra is alleged to have said, it's too crowded? Well, you're in luck. Local cheftrepreneur-made-good Peter Dale is opening a new restaurant, Maepole, on Chase Street in early 2018.

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  • In the Loop: House Candidate Houston Gaines Raises $200,000

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    I'm rich!

    Republican Houston Gaines had raised nearly $200,000 as of last week for his Athens-area House District 117 race, outpacing Democratic opponent Deborah Gonzalez nearly four-to-one.

    In documents filed Monday with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, Gaines reported raising $196, 251 and had $140,436 on hand as of Oct. 23, 15 days before Election Day, Nov. 7.

    It's a common strategy for candidates with such overwhelming fundraising advantages to keep some of their powder dry to ward off future challengers.

    Gaines' list of contributors is a Who's Who of powerful, connected Republican politicians and business interests in Athens and Atlanta.

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  • In the Loop: Race and Gender Are Issues Now in Athens House Race

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    As you can tell, Houston Gaines is white, male and young. Which of these things makes him unique, we have no idea.

    In Monday's Federation of Neighborhoods candidate forum, Republican Houston Gaines kept referring to the "unique perspective" he'd bring to the state House of Representatives.

    One would think that Gaines, who just graduated from the University of Georgia in May, was referring to his youth. When Flagpole intern Nate Harris asked him what made him unique, though, Gaines' answer was anything but clear.

    After much hemming and hawing, Gaines at one point said, "It's obvious just by looking at us that we have a different perspective."

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  • In the Loop: 8,000-Seat Amphitheater Proposed in Athens

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    A local developer has filed plans for an 8,000 amphitheater off Commerce Road just north of the Loop.

    The plans call for "a large front plaza, terraced turf seating, box seating, covered pavilion seating, concessions, stage, sky suites, office, lodging for performers and service area for performers and vendors," as well as 1,803 parking spaces, according to the Athens-Clarke County Planning Department.

    It will host "mid-range bands" that are too big to play the Classic Center but too small for an Atlanta stadium, said James Warnes, the zoning lawyer for the project.

    The developer is Clint Larkin, a former University of Georgia football player who lives in nearby Carlton and is also involved in the Hyatt Regency under construction next door to the Classic Center, Warnes said.

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  • In the Loop: Republican Candidate Houston Gaines Won't Say Whether He'd Vote for Trump

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    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    Donald Trump played a role in the candidate forum for the Nov. 7 special elections for House Districts 117 and 119 held Tuesday night at the Oconee County campus of the University of North Georgia, as he did in a forum last week.

    In response to a question about Trump’s behavior as President, the three Republican candidates in the race for House District 119 strongly endorsed Trump, though Steven Strickland did say he had problems with 5 percent of what Trump does.

    When Houston Gaines, running as the sole Republican in House District 117, was asked, if the 2016 election were tomorrow, would he vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton, he did not answer.

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  • In the Loop: Athens Man Shoots Woman, Shot At by Officer, Shoots Himself During Domestic Dispute

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    Photo Credit: Blake Aued

    Police Chief Scott Freeman (right) shows reporters video from an officer's body camera.

    A man shot and killed a woman during a domestic dispute off Hawthorne Avenue this afternoon, then turned the gun on himself.

    An Athens-Clarke County police officer responded to a call at about 4 p.m. about a domestic dispute involving a handgun at the Columbia Brookside apartment complex.

    The shooting started "immediately, as soon [the officer] as arrived and got out of his car," ACCPD Chief Scott Freeman told reporters at a news conference tonight. "The officer witnessed this shooting, and he returned fire in an effort to stop the threat."

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  • In the Loop: 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.

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  • In the Loop: UGA Provost Pamela Whitten in the Running for Iowa Job

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    The University of Georgia's second-highest ranking administrator is a finalist to become president of Iowa State University.

    UGA Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Pamela Whitten is one of four finalists for the position. She will visit Ames, IA on Tuesday, according to the Des Moines Register.

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