In the Loop

  • ACCPD Officers Shoot, Kill Knife-Wielding Man

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    Police Chief Cleveland Spruill.

    Athens-Clarke County police officers shot and killed a man with a knife earlier today at an apartment complex off Macon Highway.

    Three officers responded to multiple calls at about 12:30 p.m. of a man with a knife who was covered in blood and "acting erratically" on the 1000 block of Macon Highway, according to Police Chief Cleveland Spruill. He added that the blood was the man's own.

    The man disregarded the officers' commands to drop the knife and began to advance on the officers, who retreated, Spruill said. When the man broke into a run, two of the officers fired multiple times, he said.


  • Wayfair Workers Walk Out Over Migrant Camp Sale

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    Photo Credit: Screenshot via WCVB

    Hundreds of workers at Boston-based online retailer Wayfair walked out earlier today to protest the company's sale of $200,000 worth of furniture to a contractor that runs migrant detention facilities for the federal government.

    Wayfair is opening a call center in Athens next year that will employ 500 people, Athens-Clarke County and state officials announced last week.

    Despite the controversy, Mayor Kelly Girtz said he has no regrets about approving up to $60,000 in local incentives for Wayfair to locate in the planned General Time development off Newton Bridge Road.

    "I'm still excited about them coming here, but I'm also happy they have employees who are concerned about human rights violations at the border," Girtz said.


  • Candidate Announces Run for Commission District 8 Seat



    Andrea Farnham.

    Andrea Farnham recently announced her intention to run for the Commission District 8 seat held by Andy Herod since 2007.

    Farnham, a couples and sex therapist who owns the private practice Just Relationships, has lived in Athens since 2012. She is active in the Green Acres/Crestwood neighborhood association, the local Democratic Party chapter, Oconee Street United Methodist Church, Gaines Elementary School and several professional organizations. She said she was motivated to run by entrenched poverty in black communities and social and political disenfranchisement.

    From her news release:


  • Means Addresses Chase Street Principal's Resignation



    Clarke County School Superintendent Demond Means.

    Clarke County School Superintendent Demond Means was “surprised” and “disappointed” that Chase Street Elementary Principal Andrea Neher resigned earlier this month, he said in an email to parents and staff last week. 

    Neher abruptly left her job June 14, saying that, although Chase is one of the highest-performing schools in the district, Means had told her she had “more than fallen short in meeting his expectations.” Just days later, she became principal of Winder Elementary in Barrow County. 

    Here is the full letter:


  • Home Goods Company Bringing 500 Jobs to Athens

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    A rendering of the General Time development by architects McMillan Pazdan Smith.

    Wayfair, an online furniture and home goods retailer, will open an operations center in Athens that will employ more than 500 people.

    The center will occupy about 45,000 square feet out of 250,000 in General Time, a planned mixed-use development at a former clock factory off Newton Bridge Road near the Loop. The Boston-based company plans to invest $7.7 million in the facility, described in documents as a call center, over the next five years.


  • LGBT Lobbyist Praises Gaines' Syringe Bill

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Shannon Clawson.

    Shannon Clawson, lobbyist for Georgia Equality, told Oconee County Democrats recently that her group had a mixed record during the 2019 Georgia legislative session.

    Clawson pointed to passage of a number of bills that she said served the interests of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities of the state.

    She included among the successes passage of a bill sponsored by Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) making it possible for “syringe services” programs to distribute syringes or needles without civil or criminal liability.


  • Assistant Manager Jestin Johnson and Transportation Director Drew Raessler Leave ACC


    Drew Raessler.

    Two more top Athens-Clarke County officials, Assistant Manager Jestin Johnson and Transportation and Public Works Director Drew Raessler, are leaving.

    Raessker will resign June 18 to take a job as deputy director of the Cobb County Department of Transportation. He was a construction engineer for Cobb County before coming to Athens in September 2016.


  • RIP Flagpole Contributor Eugene Wilkes


    Donald E. Wilkes Jr.  (right) with his daughter, Kitty Marquez, and wife,  Elizabeth.

    Donald E. Wilkes Jr. died suddenly yesterday of an apparent heart attack while on vacation with his family. He was retired from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he taught for 40 years. "Eugene," as he was called by friends, contributed over 115 articles to Flagpole. He was an ardent defender of civil liberties and spent his life defending the downtrodden.


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