In the Loop

  • Arena Makes Final SPLOST List; BOE Extends Means' Contract


    Classic Center Executive Director Paul Cramer.

    A controversial proposal for an arena at the Classic Center will be on the ballot this November after the Athens-Clarke County Commission included it on the final SPLOST list Thursday night.

    Commissioner Tim Denson joined commissioners Mariah Parker and Melissa Link's proposal to set aside the $34 million earmarked for the arena into a more general downtown development pot. But the other seven commissioners voted against Parker and Link's plan.

    Supporters say the 5,500-seat arena, which will be partially funded by the Classic Center and the private sector, will create 600 jobs and generate millions of dollars in sales taxes. A senior living facility, office building and hotel are also included in the project.


  • Climate Change Is Going to Make Athens Hot as Hell


    It was 97 degrees in Athens yesterday. You think that's bad? Just wait.

    Greenhouse gas emissions are projected to cause an 8-degree jump in global temperatures over pre-industrial levels, and a group called the  Union of Concerned scientists calculated what that would mean for individual counties..

    Clarke County averages 61 days a year with a heat index above 90. (Sort of like wind chill, the heat index combines the temperature and humidity level into a number that expresses how hot it feels.) Nine days a year on average, it rises above 100 degrees, and twice, it hits 105.

    If nothing is done about climate change, the heat index will hit 90 110 times a year by mid-century, and it'll hit 100 six times as often as it does now. For nearly a month out of the year—29 days—the heat index will be 105 or above.


  • School Board Seeks Applicants for District 4

    Jared Bybee.jpg

    Former District 4 BOE member Jared Bybee.

    The Clarke County Board of Education is now accepting applications for the vacant District 4 position on the board.

    The remaining eight members of the school board will select someone to replace former president Jared Bybee at their Aug. 8 meeting. Bybee resigned in May.

    The board chose District 7 representative LaKeisha Gantt to replace Bybee in his role as president last month, but the District 4 seat remains vacant.


  • Deborah Gonzalez Is Running for District Attorney

    Deborah Gonzalez web.jpg

    Former state Rep. Deborah Gonzalez is running for Western Circuit district attorney, she announced Thursday.

    “All of us want to keep our communities strong and protected, but we know that the old tough-on-crime way of administering justice has been too tough on our communities,” Gonzalez said in a video posted online. “It’s left us all less safe, less whole and with less opportunity. It’s time for a new approach to justice and crime. It’s time for new leadership.”

    Gonzalez is a media and entertainment lawyer with no experience as a prosecutor, but in the House she served on the committee that handles bills related to criminal justice, and she also served on a criminal justice task force for the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. 


  • Mail Delivery Resumes at Bethel Homes


    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    The U.S. Postal Service resumed delivering mail to Bethel Midtown Village today after a meeting with Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Cleveland Spruill.

    Spruill met with Atlanta District Post Office Operations Manager Anne Berger to "clear up confusion and misinformation regarding crime in the community," according to an ACCPD news release. Berger agreed to temporarily resume mail delivery at Bethel, and a meeting on permanently restoring mail delivery is scheduled for next week.

    Commissioner Ovita Thornton said at the July 2 commission meeting that Bethel residents had not received their mail for over a week.


  • Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry Is Running for Senate


    Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry is joining what is shaping up to be a crowded Democratic field for U.S. Senate.

    The Atlanta suburb, a city of about 13,000, is home to many refugees and often referred to as the most diverse square mile in America. 

    In his campaign announcement, the 36-year-old touted his record as the "millennial mayor," including decriminalizing marijuana, enacting a $15 minimum wage for city employees and making Election Day a holiday.


  • Portrait Unveiled of Miriam Moore, First Black Woman Elected to Local Office

    p3 Miriam Moore.jpg

    Photo Credit: Blake Aued

    A portrait of former Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Miriam Moore hangs in the community room of the East Athens Development Corp., a nonprofit she helped start, in a former elementary school that's now named after her.

    Community leaders unveiled the portrait at a ceremony Saturday attended by about 100 people who knew or were influenced by Moore. Known as Mimi, Moore fought to bring social services and quality affordable housing to East Athens before, during and after her four years on the Athens City Council and ACC Commission. She was the first African-American woman elected to both bodies in 1988 and 1990, respectively.

    Along with the late Jessie Barnett and Evelyn Neely, Moore helped revitalize Triangle Plaza and create the Classic Center, EADC, Athens Neighborhood Health Center and East Athens Park. The Miriam Moore Community Service Center on McKinley Drive was named for her in 1999. She died in 2006 at the age of 80.


  • Video Shows Man With Knife Attacking ACCPD Officers Before They Shot Him

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    A still from Officer Charles Bidinger's body camera shows Officer David Harrison wrangling with Aaron Hong.

    The man who two Athens-Clarke County police officers shot and killed at an apartment complex off Macon Highway on Monday attacked one of the officers and tried to take his gun, body camera video released by ACCPD today shows.

    Police Chief Cleveland Spruill walked reporters through the footage at an 11:30 a.m. news conference.

    It shows the two officers, David Harrison and Charles Bidinger, responding to a call at the River Club apartments about a knife-wielding man covered in blood. They encountered the man—identified as Aaron Hong, 23—in the parking lot. (The blood is believed to be Hong's own.) 

    Bidinger and Harrison immediately drew their guns and repeatedly told Hong to drop the knife, alternating between orders and pleas. "We can help you," Harrison said. Hong walked toward the officers with the knife as they retreated back down the long driveway to Macon Highway, shouting at them to "do it!"


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