COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987

In the Loop

  • Cowsert on Short List for Georgia Supreme Court Vacancy

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    State Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) is one of eight contenders for two open seats on the state Supreme Court, according to the AJC.

    The Judicial Nominating Committee—made up of six trial lawyers, two state legislators and a representative from the state attorney general's office—recommended nine names to Gov. Nathan Deal to fill vacancies left when Britt Grant was named a federal appeals court judge and Harris Hines retired.

    Among them were Cowsert and Jason Deal, Nathan Deal's son, who is a superior court judge in Hall and Dawson counties. But Jason Deal took his name out of the running so his father wouldn't have to decide whether to appoint him.

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  • Athens Native Kemp Wins GOP Nomination for Governor in Landslide

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    Photo Credit: Savannah Cole

    Brian Kemp gives his victory speech at the downtown Athens Holiday Inn after winning the Republican nomination for governor Tuesday.

    Secretary of State Brian Kemp completed a stunning comeback Tuesday to win the Republican nomination for governor in a runoff against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

    Although Cagle began the race as the heavy favorite because of his three successful statewide races and a big fundraising advantage, Kemp parlayed a secret recording that damaged Cagle, an endorsement from President Donald Trump and a rally Saturday with Vice President Mike Pence into what Kemp called a "clear and convincing victory."

    In a race that revolved around big trucks, shotguns, chainsaws and who could take a more over-the-top stance against illegal immigration, that may have been the only understatement. Kemp trailed Cagle 39-26 in a five-man primary May 22, but won 69 percent of the vote to Cagle's 31 percent tonight, with 92 percent of precincts reporting. Kemp won 83 percent of the vote in Clarke County.

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  • Georgia Lawmaker Makes an Ass Out of Himself—Literally

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    Photo Credit: Screencap via Showtime.

    In the middle of a summer chock-full of political hilarity, with Georgia taking center stage nationally with its candidates and their guns and pickup trucks, another Georgian sets a new low for the state.  

    On Sunday’s episode of Sacha Baron Cohen’s new project “Who Is America?” the intrepid host—who says he is “in Mossad, not in Moussad”—persuades naïve Georgia Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) to appear on the show ostensibly to learn how to identify and intimidate terrorists. Spencer failed to catch Cohen’s clues that he is not what he says and proceeded to follow the most ridiculous instructions.  

    Cohen probably zeroed in on the controversial Spencer thanks to his public threat against a black former state representative who was calling for the removal of Confederate statues and his proposed 2016 bill banning burkas.  

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  • National EMS Sold to Knoxville Ambulance Company

     

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    Photo Credit: Priority Ambulance

    National EMS—the company local hospitals contract with to provide ambulance service in Clarke and Oconee counties—has been sold to Knoxville, TN-based Priority Ambulance, the companies announced last week.

    Priority is much larger than Conyers-based National, with 2,600 employees, and consolidation is the name of the game in health care as all the players seek greater resources and leverage. Insurance companies keep merging. Smaller hospital chains seek refuge with bigger ones.

    The sale comes at a time, though, when National EMS is under fire for what former EMTs and the activist group Athens for Everyone say are unacceptably slow response times. They’ve called for an independent audit and for National EMS to release its raw data. St. Mary’s and Piedmont Athens Regional, though, recently released a joint statement expressing satisfaction with National EMS.

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  • ACC Police Restrain 'Distraught' Boy After Dad Arrested

    Two Athens-Clarke County police officers are under investigation after they restrained a young boy on the ground who was upset that his father had been arrested on domestic violence charges.

    Police went to a Sartain Drive home at about 6:30 p.m. Friday to arrest a man after his ex-girlfriend complained that he had choked her when she tried to leave his house earlier that day.

    While the father was being arrested, a boy police identified as his son became what ACCPD spokesman Epifanio Rodriguez described as "extremely emotionally distraught."

    On Sunday, a woman who said she is the boy's cousin posted a video on Facebook of two officers holding the boy—described as 10 by police and 7 or 9 by relatives—on the ground with his hands behind his back. The video quickly went viral, with 32,000 shares and nearly 1 million views as of tonight.

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  • High Turnout for Runoff in Oconee County

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    More Oconee County voters cast Republican ballots in early voting for the runoff elections than cast Republican ballots during early voting for the party primaries in May.

    That was true even though there was one fewer days of early voting in the runoff because of the July 4 holiday and no Saturday voting.

    In the 14 days of early voting that ended Friday, 2,103 voters cast Republican Party ballots, compared with the 1,967 voters who cast Republican ballots in the 16 days of early voting before the May 22 primary.

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  • Trump Endorses Kemp for Georgia Governor

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    Brian Kemp.

    I guess we can declare a winner in the War of Who's Trumpiest.

    The orange one himself, President Donald Trump, weighed in on the Republican primary runoff for Georgia governor this afternoon, using his preferred mode of communication to express his preference for Secretary of State Brian Kemp over Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

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  • Deal Endorses Cagle for Governor in GOP Runoff

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    Gov. Nathan Deal endorsed Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the Republican runoff for governor today over Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

    The endorsement could help stop Kemp's momentum in the weeks leading up to the July 24 runoff. Cagle finished first out of five candidates with 39 percent of the vote on May 22, with Kemp trailing at 26 percent. Since then, though, Kemp has surged. A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll gave Kemp a slight lead, 44 percent to 41 percent.

    As his second term winds down, Deal remains popular, with an 85 percent approval rating among Republican voters—even higher than President Donald Trump.

    The endorsement comes as little surprise, given that Deal and Cagle are both from Gainesville and have worked closely together over the past eight years to pass Deal's agenda in the state Senate.

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