Blog Topic: Breaking News

  • In the Loop: Avid Pulls Out of Athens Academy Book Fair After Being Told to Remove Book With Gay Characters


    Avid Bookshop shut down the annual book fair it holds at Athens Academy today after an administrator told booksellers to hide a book that features gay characters, according to owner Janet Geddis.

    The director of the Oconee County private school's "lower" (or elementary) school told Avid staff to remove The Best Man by Newbery Medalist Richard Peck from display after a parent complained on Wednesday, Geddis said. The Best Man "tells the story of small-town life, gay marriage and everyday heroes," according to Avid's website


  • In the Loop: Who's Running for Which Office in Athens?


    Photo Credit: Nicole Adamson

    The five-day qualifying period when candidates officially sign up to run for local, state and federal offices in Georgia ended at noon today. Here's who will be on the ballot:


  • In the Loop: Mariah 'Linqua Franqa' Parker Is Running for ACC Commission

    Activist, hip-hop artist and Flagpole cover girl Mariah Parker is running for Athens-Clarke County Commission in District 2, she announced this weekend.

    Parker—a doctoral student in linguistics at UGA who's also known by her stage name, Linqua Franqa—had been Tommy Valentine's Commission District 9 campaign manager, but is now striking out on her own.

    She'll face Taylor Pass in the race to replace Commissioner Harry Sims, who resigned to run for mayor, and represent East Athens. Another announced candidate, teacher Mark Martin, has dropped out.  It's possible other candidates could jump in during the official qualifying period Mar. 5–9.

    Parker said she's running because the commission needs a full slate of progressives to enact policy. From her announcement:


  • In the Loop: Houston Gaines Announces State House Rematch With Deborah Gonzalez

    houston gaines web new.jpeg

    Houston Gaines—the young Republican who lost a state House of Representatives special election to Democrat Deborah Gonzalez last year—announced this morning that he will try for the District 117 seat again in November.

    “This district wants and deserves conservative leadership at the state Capitol—and that’s not what it’s getting now,” Gaines said in a news release. "I’m going to provide our district a conservative alternative to the out-of-touch representation we have today.

    “I have lived in this district my entire life and had the privilege of graduating from the university in my hometown. My family’s roots run deep here. Just as my grandfather [Joseph Gaines] served this community as a judge, I want to work on behalf of my neighbors in this district to bring high-paying jobs to this region, invest in education to bolster our workforce and prepare students for the careers of tomorrow and protect the high quality of life we enjoy here."

    Since taking office, Gonzalez has not shied away from staking out liberal positions on issues like health care and immigration. She co-sponsored a bill to expand Medicaid in Georgia and criticized Clarke County Sheriff Ira Edwards for holding undocumented jail inmates for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport.


  • In the Loop: Another Sewage Spill in Oconee County


    Oconee County late Tuesday reported its second major spill in less than a month from its Calls Creek wastewater treatment plant outside Watkinsville.

    According to the county, an estimated 72,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater was released on Monday and Tuesday into Calls Creek from the plant, which is located at 1100 Durhams Mill Way, on the north side of Watkisville.

    The wastewater release exceeded permit limits for total suspended solids.

    The county said it notified the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, which classified the discharge as a major spill, and the Oconee County Environmental Health Department.

    On Jan. 9, the county reported a major spill of an estimated 24,000 gallons of wastewater that exceeded permit limits for total suspended solids from the Calls Creek plant.


  • In the Loop: Bill Overend Announces Commission Candidacy

    City Hall dome.jpg

    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:


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


    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:


  • In the Loop: 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:


  • In the Loop: Clarke and Oconee Schools, UGA Are Closed Wednesday


    Everybody stay warm.

    Both the Clarke and Oconee county school districts announced Tuesday night that schools will be closed Wednesday in anticipation of possible snow early this morning. The University of Georgia delayed opening before calling off classes entirely.

    The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for central Georgia (including Athens) until 10 a.m. Wednesday. There is a 70 percent chance of precipitation, with a predicted low of 23 degrees. One to two inches of snow is possible.

    "Plan on difficult travel conditions, including during the morning commute on Wednesday," the advisory says.

    Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency in 83 counties, including Clarke. Non-essential state employees are not expected to report to work on Wednesday.


  • In the Loop: Junkman's Daughter's Brother Is Closing Again



    Photo Credit: Jessica Silverman

    Lovers of funky tapestries and eclectic novelties will be saddened to hear Junkman’s Daughter’s Brother, located on West Broad Street, is officially closing as soon as the last of the merchandise sells.

    However, it’s not a retirement or sudden urge to relocate that’s shutting down the shop—it’s that rent is going by 56 percent. Owner Mark Gavron said no one approached him with an opportunity to re-sign his lease. One day, he said, a man came in and casually asked if Gavron was moving locations, since he’d seen the building was available on Craigslist. Gavron said this was the first he had heard of the news.  

    “It’s OK, it just puts me a year ahead of my planned retirement,” he said.


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