In the Loop

  • Watkinsville Republican Turns Mayor's Race Partisan

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Bob Smith demonstrates how close the race could be.

    Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ran unsuccessfully for governor a year ago, is watching the outcome of the mayoral race in Watkinsville, Bob Smith, one of the two candidates in that contest, told Oconee County Republicans last month.

    The race is nonpartisan, but Smith made it clear he is running as a Republican and told those gathered they needed to make sure he wins to send a message back to Abrams.

    Abrams “has these billionaire socialists pumping money” into her nonprofit voting rights organizations, Jason Thompson, Republican National Committeeman from Georgia, told the same gathering. He told them to take action to thwart her.


  • ACC Police Release Video of Shooting

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    Athens-Clarke County police released body camera footage Thursday of an officer shooting a domestic abuse suspect at a Baxter Street apartment complex on Oct. 6.

    The graphic video shows the officer approach the suspect—later identified as Salvador Salazar, 28, of North Carolina—and tell him to take his hand out of his pocket. Salazar refuses and walks away. The officer follows him with his gun drawn. Suddenly, Salazar turns around and slashes at the officer with a machete. The officer fires three times.


  • Cedar Shoals Principal Derrick Maxwell Resigns


    Cedar Shoals High School principal Derrick Maxwell is resigning effective Oct. 29.

    Maxwell announced his departure in an email to Cedar Shoals parents and staff today. Sources tell Flagpole he is taking a central office position in Barrow County.

    The former Whit Davis Elementary principal was tapped to lead Cedar Shoals through a painful period of dealing with an alleged sexual assault on campus in 2016. But he was passed over for the position when it came time to hire a permanent principal. Last year, the position came open again, and he was hired.

    But Maxwell had reportedly gotten on Superintendent Demond Means' bad side. In April board member John Knox met with Means to tell him that Maxwell is widely liked, and the community would be up in arms if he were fired. The meeting resulted in Means filing a complaint with accreditation agency AdvancEd accusing three board members of micromanagement.

    Maxwell is the latest of about a dozen principals who have left the Clarke County School District in the past two years.

    The Local School Governance Team, made up of teachers, parents and other community members, will choose one to four candidates for principal to send on to Means, who will recommend one to the school board for approval.

    The full text of Maxwell's announcement is below:


  • ACCPD Officer Shoots Suspect for Fifth Time This Year


    Photo Credit: Blake Aued

    Chief Cleveland Spruill briefs reporters on an officer-involved shooting at an Oct. 14 news conference.

    An Athens-Clarke County police officer shot and killed a knife-wielding woman Monday morning on Chalfont Lane, in the Westchester neighborhood off Tallassee Road.

    The officer was responding to a 10 a.m. call about a suspicious woman with a knife and possibly a firearm, Chief Cleveland Spruill told reporters Monday afternoon. 

    The officer retreated, but the 54-year-old white woman ignored his orders to drop the knife, instead "rais[ing] the knife in a threatening manner," Spruill said. The officer fired, striking her in the torso. Other officers rendered first aid, but she died.


  • VIDEO: What's in SPLOST 2020?

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    On Nov. 5, Athens-Clarke County voters will decide whether to extend a 1 percent tax for special projects called SPLOST, and early voting at the ACC Board of Elections at 155 E. Washington St. started today.

    The Athens Politics Nerd breaks down what the tax will pay for, including projects like an arena at the Classic Center, energy efficiency, a new recycling center and more.


  • Cedar Shoals Student Charged With Making Threat

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    A Cedar Shoals High School student was charged with making terroristic threats after, police said, she "became distressed" during class and "made a verbal threat referencing a weapon."

    A cellphone video recorded by a student at Cedar Shoals showed the girl saying she would "AR-15" other students, using the name of the assault-style rifle as a verb. The video went viral Wednesday and has been shared on social media hundreds of times, sparking conversations about whether the girl would be disciplined or not because she is white.

    After investigating, police issued the student a juvenile complaint.

    Cedar Shoals Principal Derrick Maxwell sent a note to parents Wednesdays explaining the incident. Athens-Clarke County police also urged families to talk about the dangers of weapons and using threatening language in school.


  • Police Identify Officer Who Shot Domestic Abuse Suspect

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    Athens-Clarke County police and the Georgia Bureau of investigation have identified the officer who shot a domestic abuse suspect on Saturday as Roger Williams. The suspect is Salvador Salazar, a 28-year-old North Carolina resident.

    Williams responded to a call about domestic violence at a Baxter Street apartment shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday. When he arrived, Salazar was holding a machete, according to ACCPD.

    "Shortly after the initial encounter, the man brandished a knife in a threatening manner toward our officer," police said Sunday. "Fearing for his life, our officer discharged his service weapon struck the male in the torso."


  • Athens-Clarke County Reorganizes Animal Control

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    The organizational chart for the new Animal Services Department.

    Athens-Clarke County Manager Blaine Williams has appointed an interim director to lead the newly created Animal Services Department.

    Selah Gardiner was the volunteer coordinator in what used to be the Animal Control Division. She previously worked at the Humane Society for Greater Savannah, where she assisted with fundraising, shelter operations, staff training, relationship building within the community and the opening of a new spay/neuter clinic, according to an ACC news release.


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