In the Loop

  • Work Starts on Retirement Homes as Oconee County Waits on Documents


    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Oconee County officials are still waiting on Presbyterian Homes to indicate how much money it wants the county to borrow through bond sales to help finance construction of its Presbyterian Village Athens on U.S. 441 at Hog Mountain Road.

    In the last two weeks the company began land clearance and construction of a chain-link fence along U.S. Highway 441 for its complex. The county issued a land disturbance permit for the 79-acre property nearly a year ago.

    The fence is covered with signage promoting the continuing care retirement community, but county code enforcement officials say those signs will have to be removed because they are in violation of county code.


  • Police Look for Man Who Attacked Students Downtown

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    Athens-Clarke County Police are looking for a suspect involved in attacking two University of Georgia students downtown early Friday morning.

    Two male students were walking home on the 300 block of East Washington Street after eating  when an unknown man who was walking behind them began murmuring words that the students could not understand, according to a police report.

    The man began murmuring louder, then began punching the victims, pushing them to the pavement.


  • Bishop Mayor Opposes 441 Bypass Plan

    Colquitt County Roundabout.jpg

    GDOT used this roundabout in Colquitt County as an example of what a roundabout on 441 near Bishop could look like.

    Bishop Mayor Johnny Pritchett has written to the Georgia Transportation Board criticizing the proposed close-in U.S. Highway 441 truck bypass of Bishop and saying the state should resurrect the 2007 plan that called for a bypass further east of the city.

    Pritchett told state Transportation Board Chairman Jamie Boswell that the current plan, which the state revealed in March, does not address his concerns about traffic inside Bishop reaching the bypass, the use of roundabouts on each side of the city and the safety of the road south of Bishop.

    In the letter, Pritchett also said he is concerned that the proposed route might lead the University of Georgia to move its equestrian facility from its current location near the proposed highway, and that such a loss would adversely affect the economy and reputation of Bishop.


  • Athens Economic Development Director Leaves


    Ryan Moore.

    Athens-Clarke County's first and only director of economic development is leaving for a job in Brunswick effective Sept. 1.

    Ryan Moore was hired to helm the newly created department in 2013, when it replaced the independent Economic Development Foundation.

    The Savannah native was named sole finalist for president of the Glynn County Development Authority in June, according to The Brunswick News

    Michelle Nguyen will be the department's interim director while a national search is conducted, according to ACC Manager Blaine Williams.


  • ACCPD: Officer Who Restrained Boy Was Justified

    An Athens-Clarke County police officer who restrained a distraught 10-year-old boy was justified in his use of force, according to internal affairs documents Flagpole obtained through an open records request.

    An investigation by Lt. Richard Odum, head of the Office of Professional Standards, found that "no policy violations occured and the force used was reasonable."

    The investigation started after the boy's cousin posted a video to Facebook of officers holding down the boy. The video went viral, and many viewers complained that the officers were being too rough.

    The officers went to the Sartain Drive home on July 20 to look into an allegation that a man there had choked his ex-girlfriend. They arrested the man, which led to his son becoming extremely upset. 


  • Secretary of State's Office Doesn't Know How Many People Voted in the Primaries


    Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office told a reporter it would cost over $1,000 and take 30 days to say how many people voted in the May 22 and July 24 elections.

    The Georgia Secretary of State's office, which is responsible for elections in the state, does not know how many people voted in either the May 22 primary elections or the July 24 runoffs.

    The 159 counties in the state filed that information with the Secretary of State's office shortly after each of the two elections as part of the certification process for elections.

    Fran Davis, director of the Oconee County Office of Elections and Registration, for example, told the Secretary of State’s Elections Division that 7,815 ballots were cast in the county in the May primary and 5,973 were cast in the July runoff.

    Robin Herron, an executive assistant in the Secretary of State's office, said it would take about 38 hours for staff to gather and review those records for the 159 counties and that the work would have to be spread across 30 business days.


  • 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.


  • Athens Native Kemp Wins GOP Nomination for Governor in Landslide


    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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