COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987

Blog Topic: Government

  • In the Loop: Yes, UGA Tailgaters Can Carry Guns on Campus

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    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    Campus-carry protesters at The Arch in May.

    University of Georgia President Jere Morehead forwarded a memo from University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley to faculty, staff and students today laying out how the USG's Office of Legal Affairs interprets the new campus carry law. 

    The law allows concealed-carry permit holders to carry handguns on public college and university campuses, with some exceptions: athletic events, dorms, fraternity and sorority houses, faculty and staff offices, classrooms where high-school students attend class, daycares and rooms where disciplinary hearings are held.

    But the law was written in such a way that it left much ambiguity about where, exactly, on campus guns are allowed, and when. Wrigley and university system lawyers attempted to offer some clarity.

    Journalism professor Barry Hollander was kind enough to post the full email, but here are some highlights.

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  • In the Loop: First Discrimination Complaint Filed Against Downtown Athens Bar

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    A photo of 90d's, presented by lawyer Ken Dious as evidence that the bar did not post its dress code as required by law.

    A Statham African-American man is the first person to file a formal complaint under a new Athens-Clarke County law prohibiting bars from discriminating against patrons on the basis of race.

    Kendrick Bullock and his brother, Broderick Flanigan, a well-known Athens artist and political activist, went downtown the night of Apr. 1 to watch a basketball game. Afterward, they decided to go to 90d's, a Clayton Street bar.

    According to Flanigan, the rest of the group entered the bar but discovered Bullock was not with them. Flanigan went back outside, and found that doormen had denied Bullock entry on the grounds that his saggy pants violated the 90d's dress code.

    As Flanigan points out in a video posted on the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement website, the dress code was not posted outside as required by law. They also disputed whether Bullock's pants were actually sagging.

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  • In the Loop: Commission Temporarily Bans Demolitions in Two Athens Neighborhoods

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    Photo Credit: Austin Steele/file

    The possibility that the house at 398 Milledge Circle would be demolished galvanized neighbors to seek a historic district.

    During a contentious four-hour called meeting Tuesday night, the Athens-Clarke County Commission approved moratoriums on demolitions and some construction on Milledge Circle and Castalia Avenue in Five Points and in the West Hancock neighborhood.

    Both moratoriums apply demolitions and changes to facades and rooflines for one year while neighborhood residents, county planners and commissioners study ways to protect those neighborhoods' historic character. But they allow interior renovations and add-ons to the backs of homes, in an effort to appease opponents who are planning improvement projects.

    On Milledge Circle, residents are fighting to stop homebuyers from tearing down historic residences to build larger suburban-style houses—which they said has happened three times already and could happen again at 398 Milledge Circle.

    "You come to realize Athens has been at the center of a demolition derby, so to speak," Milledge Circle resident and historic preservation professor John Waters said. "You don't know what to expect next door to your property, or what it's going to do to your quality of life."

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  • In the Loop: Will Georgia's Campus Carry Law Let UGA Tailgaters Pack Heat?

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    Photo Credit: Randy Schafer/file

    The campus carry bill Gov. Nathan Deal signed last month explicitly bans guns at Sanford Stadium while allowing them on many other parts of the UGA campus. But officials are still grappling with at least one gray area—what the poorly worded law means for tailgaters.

    The Macon Telegraph reports:

    One scenario has raised an interesting question for Georgia: Given the fact that up to 100,000 fans, if not more, partake in tailgating festivities many hours before kickoff, how will the law be interpreted on its campus for a Saturday football game?

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  • In the Loop: Commission Will Vote Tuesday on Demolition Bans

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    The Varsity's owners plan to demolish this 160-year-old Queen Anne house at 853 Reese Street that was once owned by slaves-turned-dentists James and Charlotte Mack and renowned educator Annie Burney.

    The Athens-Clarke County Commission will vote Tuesday on whether to temporarily ban demolitions and new construction on Milledge Circle and in the Hancock Corridor while protections are being considered for those historic neighborhoods.

    Milledge Circle homeowners have been spurred on by the imminent destruction of 398 Milledge Circle, continuing a recent trend of home-buyers snapping up historic properties only to demolish the houses to make way for much larger structures. A majority petitioned the commission for a historic district earlier this month.

    Across town, the Gordy family, which owns The Varsity, applied for permits to demolish seven structures on the same block as the fast-food landmark, including several historic houses.  The neighborhood along Hanock Avenue west of Milledge—listed on the National Register of Historic Places—is under threat because it's zoned multifamily, which is likely to entice developers looking to tear down older residences for denser and more expensive housing, according to a recent study of the West Broad area. Some residents have called for the neighborhood to be rezoned for small single-family lots.

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  • In the Loop: ACC Police Are Hosting Two Town Hall Meetings

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    Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Scott Freeman is hosting two town halls this week to seek feedback from citizens.

    The first is today is Gaines Elementary School. The second is Thursday at Chase Street Elementary. Both are from 6:30–8 p.m.

    For more information, contact Capt. Mark Sizemore at 706-613-3888 ext. 248 or mark.sizemore@athensclarkecounty.com.

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  • In the Loop: New CCSD Superintendent Demond Means Will Make $209,000 a Year

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    Photo Credit: Austin Steele/file

    The Clarke County Board of Education has agreed to a three-year contract with new superintendent Demond Means that will pay him at least $209,000 annually, plus other benefits.

    In addition to his base salary and the typical retirement and insurance benefits, Means will receive a $700 car allowance in lieu of mileage, and the district will pay $3,000 per year into a tax-deferred retirement plan. 

    The school board can fire Means for cause or buy out the remainder of his contract. If Means resigns before the contract ends, he will owe the district $5,000.

    CCSD will also cover Means' relocation expenses up to $10,000, as well as reimburse him up to $5,000 for his travel to and from Milwaukee between now and July 10, when the contract kicks in, and for "professional growth" such as college classes and conferences.

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  • Grub Notes: Gov. Deal Signs Craft Brewery Bill and More Beer News

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    Beer lovers will soon be able to buy up to a case of beer a day from their favorite brewery after Gov. Nathan Deal signed a law this morning loosening restrictions on breweries, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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  • In the Loop: Deal Signs Campus Carry; Hice Helps Pass Trumpcare

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    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    Campus carry protesters at the Arch.

    In spite of ongoing opposition in Athens, Gov. Nathan Deal has signed HB 280, this year's version of the "campus carry" legislation he vetoed last year.

    Deal's veto statement last year included a full-throated defense of gun-free campuses, citing founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, who banned guns at the University of Virginia, and the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who ruled in District of Columbia vs. Heller that banning guns in schools and on government property is not unconstitutional.

    Deal also cited several specific objections in 2016, and addressing those apparently was enough to convince him to sign HB 280 in spite of his general objections to HB 859.

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  • In the Loop: The Varsity Files for Demolition Permits for Surrounding Properties

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    Photo Credit: Athens-Clarke County Planning Department

    853 Reese Street.

    The owners of The Varsity have applied for permits to demolish a half-dozen structures on the same block, potentially allowing them to raze several historic houses to make way for a mega-development.

    The permits are for 1076, 1086 and 1092 West Broad (the Dairy Queen that closed last year, a mechanic's shop and a house) and 835, 853 and 863 Reese Street.

    The applications were filed Tuesday. Commissioner Melissa Link, who represents the area, said she has already exercised her power under county law to put a hold on those permits for 90 days.

    "I have activated the 90-day delay, and I have every intention of seeking a long-term moratorium," she said.

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