COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987

In the Loop

  • Assistant Manager Jestin Johnson and Transportation Director Drew Raessler Leave ACC

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    Drew Raessler.

    Two more top Athens-Clarke County officials, Assistant Manager Jestin Johnson and Transportation and Public Works Director Drew Raessler, are leaving.

    Raessker will resign June 18 to take a job as deputy director of the Cobb County Department of Transportation. He was a construction engineer for Cobb County before coming to Athens in September 2016.

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  • RIP Flagpole Contributor Eugene Wilkes

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    Donald E. Wilkes Jr.  (right) with his daughter, Kitty Marquez, and wife,  Elizabeth.

    Donald E. Wilkes Jr. died suddenly yesterday of an apparent heart attack while on vacation with his family. He was retired from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he taught for 40 years. "Eugene," as he was called by friends, contributed over 115 articles to Flagpole. He was an ardent defender of civil liberties and spent his life defending the downtrodden.

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  • Senate Candidate Teresa Tomlinson Says Trump Should Be Impeached

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    Democratic Senate candidate Teresa Tomlinson.

    Democratic Senate candidate Teresa Tomlinson believes House Democrats have a "duty" to begin impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump, regardless of whether it's politically advantageous.

    "The fact of the matter is, you're not up there to get re-elected," she told a group of Athens Democrats over breakfast Saturday morning. "You're up there to lead."

    While most Democrats believe Trump committed crimes and abused his power while in office, they are split on whether to move forward with impeachment. Some, remembering the GOP's unpopular impeachment of President Bill Clinton, think impeaching Trump might boost his chances of re-election.

    Even if the Democrat-controlled House did vote to impeach, it would likely be a futile gesture, as 67 votes in the Senate are required to convict, and Republican senators have shown no signs of abandoning Trump.

    "We have to go through the process," Tomlinson said. "If the Senate votes to acquit, they vote to acquit."

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  • Athens Moms (and Others) Rally to End Gun Violence

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    Photo Credit: Whitley Carpenter

    ACCPD Chief Cleveland Spruill and Mayor Kelly Girtz.

    About 30 people wearing orange to symbolize their opposition to gun violence braved a looming thunderstorm Friday night for a rally featuring Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz and Police Chief Cleveland Spruill.

    "We wear orange to say we will be seen, we will be heard, we will show up—even when it's raining—and we will work to end gun violence," said Emma Jones of Moms Demand Action, which organized the rally.

    The group also tried to light up City Hall orange, though as they acknowledged, the coloring wasn't really visible in the dim light.

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  • Mayor Girtz Names New Athens-Clarke County Attorney

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    Judd Drake, not to be confused with Judge Dredd.

    Mayor Kelly Girtz has named Macon-Bibb County Attorney Judd Drake the sole finalist to replace Bill Berryman, who is retiring, as Athens-Clarke County attorney.

    Drake has served as the attorney for Macon-Bibb County since it unified in 2014. He also served as Macon's senior assistant city attorney and interim city attorney, and interim manager for Macon-Bibb.

    Prior to moving to Macon in 2011, the Metter native had a practice in his hometown for 11 years, focusing on local government, education and real estate law. During that time, he also served as the attorney for Candler County and the Candler County Board of Education, and as chief magistrate judge and state court judge in Candler County.

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  • You Can Drink at UGA Football Games This Fall—if You're Rich

    The SEC has lifted its ban on selling alcoholic beverages at sporting events, but the average Dawg still won't be able to throw back a cold one in the stands at Sanford Stadium.

    The new policy, approved Friday, requires conference members that wish to sell alcohol to set aside designated areas for consumption and prohibits drinking in seating areas.

    "Our policy governing alcohol sales has been a source of considerable discussion and respectful debate among our member universities in recent years," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. "As a conference, we have been observant of trends in the sale and consumption of alcohol at collegiate sporting events and have drawn upon the experiences and insights of our member schools which have responsibly established limited alcohol sales within controlled spaces and premium seating areas."

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  • CCSD Budget Funds Police and Counselors; Cuts Grants for Schools

     

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    Superintendent Demond Means.

    The Clarke County School District’s proposed 2020 budget includes funding for an assistant police chief and new positions focused on student behavior—partially funded by cuts to grants that individual schools can spend however they please.

    Thanks to rising property values and increased state funding, the $164 million budget is $14 million bigger than the current fiscal year, but much of that money will be eaten up by health care and pension expenses. Still, the budget does include about a dozen new positions:

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  • UGA Administrators Dispute Faculty Report on Baldwin Hall

     

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    Photo Credit: Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA

    A memorial erected last year at Baldwin Hall honoring the people whose remains were found underneath it during construction.

    The UGA administration released a point-by-point response last week to a scathing Faculty Senate report on the Baldwin Hall debacle.

    Administrators admitted that they should have done more to ascertain whether there were graves underneath Baldwin before digging, such as using ground-based radar. Under Gwynne Darden, the head of the Office of University Architects, new procedures are in place, such as retaining an independent archaeologist to advise on construction projects. They dismissed the charge that faculty should have been consulted, noting that no one spoke up until the remains were discovered in 2015. Although they did not hold a town hall meeting, administrators wrote that they met with members of the Athens community individually and in small groups, and that painting those individuals as “sycophants” is insulting.

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