Photo Credit: Mack Male/Wikimedia Commons
When student newspaper The Red & Black published "Is the grill hot? Inside a UGA freshman's grilled cheese empire" on Dec. 6, my first thought, like many people, was, "How long will it take the university to shut this down?"
The answer was five hours.
After all, 18-year-old Charlie Williams—who delivered $3 grilled cheese sandwiches and other tasty snacks to fellow residents of Oglethorpe House, aka O-House—was clearly operating an illegal business. I didn't go to UGA, but I'm pretty sure we weren't allowed to have hot plates at Ole Miss, and I'm very sure the health department would say that running what basically amounts to a Papa John's (minus the tomato sauce, garlic butter and racism) out of your home is not kosher.
Sure enough, the follow-up came Saturday: "Too hot to handle: UGA housing shuts down grilled cheese business."
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures
Clarke County public schools will open two hours late due to the threat of icy roads early Tuesday morning.
Elementary school classes will start at 9:40 a.m., middle schools at 10:25 a.m. and high schools at 10:45 a.m., the Clarke County School District announced. School doors will open a half-hour before classes start. Buses will run on a two-hour delay, and breakfast will not be served.
Earlier today, Gov. Nathan Deal announced that state government offices will not open until 10 a.m. Tuesday. His office listed Clarke as one of the counties that could be affected by black ice on roads.
The National Weather service says black ice and icy spots can be expected in parts of North Georgia tonight and Tuesday morning as temperatures could drop below freezing.
Photo Credit: Blake Aued
"Whoever wants it more wins," Athens Democrat John Barrow told a small group of supporters during a last-minute campaign stop on Monday night, just hours before polls opened for a runoff election for secretary of state. "We need all the hay in the barn we can get."
Barrow is running to be Georgia's top election official, and Stacey Abrams supporters need no reminder of how important that position can be after her narrow loss to Republican Brian Kemp last month amidst widespread accusations of voter suppression and irregularities at the polls.
"Y'all know the stakes," Barrow said. "I'm running for an office nobody knew anything about. Now the whole country has gotten a crash course."
The Watkinsville City Council has hired Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Sharyn Dickerson as its first-ever city administrator, according to the Oconee Enterprise.
“I’m super, super excited about the vision this mayor and council have,” Dickerson told the Enterprise. “I’m so grateful for the meaningful, thoughtful, deliberative process that the mayor and council have gone through to bring someone in. It’s a dream job; it’s my dream job, and I look forward to serving the community.”
Republican Brad Raffensperger was a no-show for an Atlanta Press Club debate with Democrat John Barrow for the runoff for secretary of state.
The debate aired Tuesday on Georgia Public Broadcasting. Raffensperger claimed he had a scheduling conflict, but the press club said it had been trying to negotiate a date and time for almost three weeks.
His absence allowed Barrow—a former congressman and Harvard Law graduate—to run roughshod over an empty podium as he contrasted himself with both Raffensperger and Gov.-elect Brian Kemp, who was widely criticized for voter suppression as secretary of state while overseeing his own election.
Photo Credit: Bailey Brautigan/Pexels
This Sunday, Athens restaurants can start pouring mimosas and bloody marys for early risers—and by early, I mean 10-ish.
At a called voting meeting prior to their agenda-setting meeting Tuesday night, the Athens-Clarke County Commission unanimously approved an ordinance pushing up the time when restaurants can start serving alcohol on Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 11 a.m.
Photo Credit: Davis Property Group
A Piggly Wiggly is seeking to open in the development slated for the former St. Joseph Catholic Church property at the corner of Prince Avenue and Pulaski Street, according to Athens Downtown Development Authority co-director Linda Ford.
The Piggly Wiggly will be a "small, urban" store, similar to grocery stores in Atlanta, with a "retro design" and will fulfill downtown and nearby residents' long-standing desire for a grocery store, Ford said at the ADDA meeting this afternoon.
"This is something downtown has wanted for a very long time," she said.
Photo Credit: Blake Aued
In any other year it would have been a mere formality. But an Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections meeting on Monday to certify the county's vote ended with a vote to recount eight precincts on an extremely tight deadline before sending the results on to the state.
Newly appointed board member Jesse Evans submitted petitions to conduct a "recanvassing" in eight out of 24 precincts: Howard B. Stroud, Clarke Central, Lay Park, the multimodal center, Whitehead Road (which includes both 5A and 5B), Chase Street and Cedar Shoals.
Under state law, three voters in a precinct can submit a notarized request to trigger a "recanvassing"—essentially a recount, followed by testing of voting machines—if they believe there is a discrepancy. Commissioners Melissa Link and Mariah Parker and Commissioner-elect Tim Denson worked with voters in their districts to submit the petitions, according to Link.
That triggered a three-hour discussion among board members and attorneys—as well as, at times, some of the 20 or so activists who attended the meeting and interjected or were given permission to speak—about whether such a recanvassing could even be accomplished.
The law requires a quorum of the Board of Elections and the poll manager for each precinct to be present, as well as giving notice to all of the candidates on the ballot and political parties so they can attend or send a representative. And the recanvassing has to be accomplished by mid-afternoon today, or ACC will be in violation of another state law requiring counties to certify their vote totals by 5 p.m.
"This is all news to me," ACC Attorney Bill Berryman said when he learned about the petitions. He asked for and received an hour-long recess to research this issue.
With issues like Medicaid expansion on the table, health care has been a major factor in the governor's race. Graduate students at the University of Georgia College of Public Health created this handy-dandy graphic to help voters understand the candidates' stances.
"We felt there was a need for concise information without any political rhetoric," student Megan Bramlett said. "These issues are complicated and layered, and our goal was to provide a clear and objective visual to assist Georgia voters as they get ready to head to the polls."
Students divided into two teams, one for Democrat Stacey Abrams and one for Republican Brian Kemp. They were led by Bramlett and Seth Riggle, under the watch of professor Grace Bagwell Adams.
The Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation has hired Tommy Valentine as its new executive director.
Valentine replaces Amy Kissane, who left in March after 16 years leading the historic preservation nonprofit. David Bryant had been serving as interim director.
“We are excited to have Tommy join our team as the Heritage Foundation enters a new era,” ACHF board President Kim Klonowski said in a news release. “Tommy knows this county, he knows nonprofits and he has put forth a vision for our organization that is firmly in line with where the board believes we should go.”
Photo Credit: Savannah Cole
The Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections will be open for early voting from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday, and three other early voting locations will open next week.
Voting machines will be set up at the Athens-Clarke County Library from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and until 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday; at the Tate Center on campus from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; and in the basement of City Hall from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
That's in addition to early voting at the Board of Elections office, 155 E. Washington St., from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 2.
As the gubernatorial campaign enters its last stretch, both candidates—Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams—will be campaigning in the Athens area in the coming days.
Both candidates are currently on bus tours around th state.
After a press conference on Medicaid expansion in Atlanta and a tour of a Hoschton clinic on today, Abrams will stop at the Morton Theatre at 3 p.m. with Sarah Riggs Amico, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. If you missed her packed-out appearance at Hendershot's, this may be your last chance to catch her before Nov. 6. RSVP here.
Kemp will be at Oconee Veteran's Park off Hog Mountain Road in Watkinsville from 10–11 a.m. on Monday.
Photo Credit: Oconee County Sheriff's Office via Facebook
No one was injured when the Benson's bakery off Atlanta Highway in Bogart caught fire Monday afternoon.
The fire apparently started in one of the main factory rooms shortly before 3 p.m. Workers were evacuated and Oconee Fire Rescue called to battle the blaze.
“They were cutting a hole for a fan, and the fire started in the insulation,” Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry told The Oconee Enterprise.
Terrapin will release its aways eagerly awaited wet-hopped So Fresh and So Green, Green IPA at its annual Hop Harvest Festival this Saturday.
This year, the Athens-based brewery went with a hop called Glacier, which balances SFASGG's malt sweetness and brings citrus notes and an herbal, woody aroma to the beer. And, for the first time, the hops are sourced from Michigan—a market Terrapin recently expanded into, and which has a, um, budding hop-growing industry. (American hops typically flourish in the Pacific Northwest.)
This will be a busy weekend for beer lovers. Also Saturday, Akademia Brewpub celebrates its first anniversary with the release of Paraskevidekatriaphobia, a 13% ABV stout referencing the fear of Friday the 13th, the day Akademia opened last year.
Gov. Nathan Deal endorsed Republican Houston Gaines for state House District 117 today, saying "Gaines is the only candidate in the race who can deliver results for northeast Georgia and maintain our strong business climate."
Gaines is running against state Rep. Deborah Gonzalez (D-Athens), who beat him in a special election last year. The seat had previously been held by Republicans since it was redrawn in 2012 but is now a swing district.
From the Gaines campaign:
Photo Credit: Savannah Cole
Democrat Stacey Abrams accused her Republican opponent, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, of trying to suppress minority turnout to win the governor’s race during a recent appearance in Athens.
Abrams spoke at two local bars, Hendershot’s and Wayward Lounge, on Thursday, Oct. 11, the day after the Associated Press reported that Kemp’s office had not processed 53,000 voter registration applications because of minor discrepancies, such as accents in names, between the applications and other documents. Seventy percent of those would-be voters are black.
Abrams, the former House minority leader who’s been running voter registration drives for Democrats for years, is no stranger to sparring with Kemp. Her organization, the New Georgia Project, previously filed a lawsuit against the secretary of state’s office over a similar issue.
“I know what his tricks are,” Abrams said. “He’s a one-trick pony when it comes to voter suppression. It’s not going to work this time.”
Athens-Clarke County has asked about 300 voters to fill out new absentee ballots after an error was discovered in the ones they'd already they'd already been sent.
According to ACC, those 300 voters received ballots that included a candidate for state Senate District 46 who should not have been included.
The ballot listed Republican incumbent Bill Cowsert, Democrat Marisue Hilliard and independent John Fortuin. However, Fortuin did not qualify as an independent candidate. He is a write-in candidate, and write-in candidates' names do not appear on the ballot.
Photo Credit: University of Georgia
Two days after Donald Trump Jr. took the stage with Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp at the Classic Center, Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams is campaigning with another politician who's well-known locally—though probably not quite as famous nationwide.
Abrams and Athens-Clarke County Mayor-elect Kelly Girtz are hosting a meet-and-greet from 6–8 p.m. today at Hendershot's Coffee and Bar.
The event is aimed particularly at young voters. They will discuss "the importance of voting for Democrats across the state," according to the Abrams campaign.
Photo Credit: National Weather Service
Clarke County public schools will be closed Thursday and the University of Georgia will delay opening, officials announced as Hurricane Michael rampaged through the state Wednesday night.
UGA will open at 10 a.m., with the first classes starting at 11 a.m.
Gov. Nathan Deal extended a state of emergency to Clarke County on Wednesday afternoon. Forecasts call for 3–5 inches of rain and winds up to 30–40 miles per hour in Athens later tonight and Thursday morning, possibly downing trees and causing power outages.
Photo Credit: courtesy of Creature Comforts
Athens brewery Creature Comforts released its long-awaited lawnmower beer, Classic City Lager, on Monday.
The 4.2% ABV pale lager is meant to be an introduction to craft beer, as well as a simple, cold beverage to keep stocked in the fridge, according to head brewer David Stein.
It's been available on draft for a while now, but at its most recent Service Industry Night, Creature Comforts rolled out six- and 12-packs of cans. They'll show up in stores in Athens soon, if they haven't already.
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