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In the Loop

  • Oconee County Democrats and Republicans Managed to Have a Civil Discussion

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    Twenty-eight people turned out at the Oconee County Library in Watkinsville on a rainy afternoon Jan. 28 to exchange nonpartisan conversation with the goals of getting to know each other and of building community.

    The sponsors, the Oconee Progressives and Oconee Democrats, had reached out across party lines with their invitations, and they were successful.

    Oconee County Commissioner Chuck Horton, a Republican, attended, as did Kate McDaniel, secretary of the Oconee County Republican Party, and Marcus Wiedower, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican in the special election for House District 117 representative last November.

    The event started at 3 p.m. and lasted just an hour, but several people were around a half hour later, continuing the conversations started during the structured part of the session.

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  • RIP Peter Appel, Barry Hollander and Rich Rusk

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    Athens recently lost three prominent members of the community in activist Rick Rusk and University of Georgia professors Barry Hollander and Peter Appel.

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  • Deborah Gonzalez Endorses Kelly Girtz for Mayor

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    Photo Credit: Chris Scredon

    State Rep. Deborah Gonzalez (D-Athens) has endorsed Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Kelly Girtz in the race for mayor of Athens.

    “Deborah has spent her career working toward a fair, supportive environment, particularly for women and creative professionals, and with that background, we are fortunate to have her representation in the General Assembly,” Girtz said in a news release. “She shares a commitment to ensuring that all people are provided with real opportunity, and I'm grateful for her endorsement in my run for Mayor of Athens-Clarke County. I'm looking forward to continuing our collaborative efforts for the good of Athens and the region.”

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  • Oconee County Could Vote on T-SPLOST Next Year

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Oconee County Commission Chairman John Daniell.

    Oconee County probably will consider whether to pursue a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax after it completes an ongoing transportation study and might ask voters to approve such a tax next year, Board of Commissioners Chairman John Daniell said Tuesday night.

    Daniell made his comment in response to a question posed at the first quarterly Board of Commissioners town hall meeting for 2018, held at the Community Center in Oconee Veterans Park.

    Jeanne Barsanti of 1170 Oliver Bridge Road, in the south of the county, asked “what your feelings as commissioners are” about doing a local Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, now that Clarke County has passed its own T-SPLOST.

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  • Bill Overend Announces Commission Candidacy

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    Athens lawyer Bill Overend announced today that he's running for the Athens-Clarke County Commission District 7 seat, representing part of Five Points and Macon Highway.

    Overend—a former Flagpole staffer who ran for ACC Solicitor General in 2006 and has served as chairman of the ACC Democratic Committee and on the Athens Downtown Development Authority board—said that he believes the local government doesn't do enough to anticipate challenges or act to solve them, rather than endlessly studying the issue.

    The full text of his announcement is below:

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  • Athens State Reps, Local Churches Condemn Sheriff's Policy of Detaining Undocumented Immigrants

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    Photo Credit: House Photo Office

    Gonzalez (center) and Wallace (right) at their swearing-in ceremony in November.

    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:

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  • Photo Gallery: Snow in Athens

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    ICYMI, it snowed in Athens on Wednesday, and Flagpole photographer Nicole Adamson took the opportunity provided by a UGA snow day to wander around Five Points and capture the scene. Here are some of her photos:

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  • Clarke, Oconee Schools Closed Again Thursday; UGA Delayed

    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:

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