Photo Credit: House Photo Office
Newly elected state Reps. Deborah Gonzalez (D-Athens) and Jonathan Wallace (D-Watkinsville) issued a joint statement today condemning Clarke County Sheriff Ira Edward's policy of detaining inmates so they can be deported.
It came to light in December that the sheriff's office had quietly changed its policy in July and begun, at Immigration and Custom Enforcement's request, detaining inmates that ICE says are undocumented immigrants for up to 48 hours past the point when they'd otherwise be released so ICE can pick them up and deport them.
The policy change met with harsh criticism from progressive and immigrants' rights groups, to which Wallace and Gonzalez have added their voices:
Photo Credit: Athens-Clarke County Police Department
Public schools in Clarke and Oconee counties will be closed again Thursday, as any snow that melted and did not evaporate today will refreeze overnight, making roads treacherous.
Both the Georgia Department of Transportation and Athens-Clarke County government said crews have been working day and night to clear the roads, but warned people to stay home.
The ACC Police Department said officers had worked 84 wrecks today as of 3:45 p.m.
The Oconee County Sheriff's Office posted a similar, if more humorous, warning on Facebook:
Both the Clarke and Oconee county school districts announced Tuesday night that schools will be closed Wednesday in anticipation of possible snow early this morning. The University of Georgia delayed opening before calling off classes entirely.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for central Georgia (including Athens) until 10 a.m. Wednesday. There is a 70 percent chance of precipitation, with a predicted low of 23 degrees. One to two inches of snow is possible.
"Plan on difficult travel conditions, including during the morning commute on Wednesday," the advisory says.
Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency in 83 counties, including Clarke. Non-essential state employees are not expected to report to work on Wednesday.
After a day of service and other Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities, thousands of Athens residents gathered downtown for the second annual MLK Day parade, organized by the Athens Anti-Discrimination Coalition. Hundreds marched while a diverse group of thousands more watched, and the parade was followed by a festival with kids' activities, a market for black-owned businesses, food trucks and live music at the Hot Corner, historically Athens' center of African-American life.
Flagpole photographer Nicole Adamson documented the scene:
Photo Credit: Tre Brown
Monday morning, volunteers poured into the parking lot of Holy Cross Lutheran Church to help with the restoration efforts of Brooklyn Cemetery, one of the first African-American cemetery in Athens. Over the years, time and nature have taken claim to the resting places of the hundreds buried on its grounds.
Gathering on the annual MLK Day of Service, the Friends of Brooklyn Cemetery, led by trustee Linda Davis, worked with clearing paths and revealing unseen tombstones. All of their efforts led to the dedication of their new signage to the cemetery.
What seems like a small part of this ongoing project is actually an important step to the maintenance and preservation of the area. When Davis, whose grandparents are buried in the cemetery, took on this project in 2006, it was unclear to the community who actually had ownership of the property. Over 10 years later, the group brings over 600 volunteers from the Athens area each year to help with its efforts.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
Early Thursday afternoon, it seemed as if the Senate was steamrolling into a victory bipartisan effort to end the uncertainty for DACA recipients—immigrants brought to the U.S. as children by undocumented parents who were protected from deportation under the Obama Administration. A team lead by Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) seemed to have settle on an agreement to prevent the deportation of almost 700,000 DREAMers that the bill covers.
However, later that same afternoon, when President Trump was brief on the details of the plan by senators, he was frustrated with the idea of allowing the legal immigration of residents from Africa, Haiti and El Salvador, questioning, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” adding, “We should be taking more people from Norway.”
Deborah Gonzalez, newly elected to represent Georgia House District 117, began 2018 with $11,466 in her campaign account; and Jonathan Wallace, newly elected to represent Georgia House District 119, began the year with $11,639 in unspent campaign funds.
Gonzalez and Wallace are Democrats. Both the 117th and 119th House Districts are split between Oconee and Clarke counties.
Republican Houston Gaines, who lost to Gonzalez in the special election in November of 2017, had $96,863 in unspent campaign funds at the end of 2017.
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