Blog Topic: Breaking News

  • In the Loop: Police Look for Man Who Attacked Students Downtown

    cop car.jpg

    Athens-Clarke County Police are looking for a suspect involved in attacking two University of Georgia students downtown early Friday morning.

    Two male students were walking home on the 300 block of East Washington Street after eating  when an unknown man who was walking behind them began murmuring words that the students could not understand, according to a police report.

    The man began murmuring louder, then began punching the victims, pushing them to the pavement.


  • In the Loop: Athens Economic Development Director Leaves


    Ryan Moore.

    Athens-Clarke County's first and only director of economic development is leaving for a job in Brunswick effective Sept. 1.

    Ryan Moore was hired to helm the newly created department in 2013, when it replaced the independent Economic Development Foundation.

    The Savannah native was named sole finalist for president of the Glynn County Development Authority in June, according to The Brunswick News

    Michelle Nguyen will be the department's interim director while a national search is conducted, according to ACC Manager Blaine Williams.


  • In the Loop: ACCPD: Officer Who Restrained Boy Was Justified

    An Athens-Clarke County police officer who restrained a distraught 10-year-old boy was justified in his use of force, according to internal affairs documents Flagpole obtained through an open records request.

    An investigation by Lt. Richard Odum, head of the Office of Professional Standards, found that "no policy violations occured and the force used was reasonable."

    The investigation started after the boy's cousin posted a video to Facebook of officers holding down the boy. The video went viral, and many viewers complained that the officers were being too rough.

    The officers went to the Sartain Drive home on July 20 to look into an allegation that a man there had choked his ex-girlfriend. They arrested the man, which led to his son becoming extremely upset. 


  • In the Loop: Athens Native Kemp Wins GOP Nomination for Governor in Landslide


    Photo Credit: Savannah Cole

    Brian Kemp gives his victory speech at the downtown Athens Holiday Inn after winning the Republican nomination for governor Tuesday.

    Secretary of State Brian Kemp completed a stunning comeback Tuesday to win the Republican nomination for governor in a runoff against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

    Although Cagle began the race as the heavy favorite because of his three successful statewide races and a big fundraising advantage, Kemp parlayed a secret recording that damaged Cagle, an endorsement from President Donald Trump and a rally Saturday with Vice President Mike Pence into what Kemp called a "clear and convincing victory."

    In a race that revolved around big trucks, shotguns, chainsaws and who could take a more over-the-top stance against illegal immigration, that may have been the only understatement. Kemp trailed Cagle 39-26 in a five-man primary May 22, but won 69 percent of the vote to Cagle's 31 percent tonight, with 92 percent of precincts reporting. Kemp won 83 percent of the vote in Clarke County.


  • In the Loop: National EMS Sold to Knoxville Ambulance Company



    Photo Credit: Priority Ambulance

    National EMS—the company local hospitals contract with to provide ambulance service in Clarke and Oconee counties—has been sold to Knoxville, TN-based Priority Ambulance, the companies announced last week.

    Priority is much larger than Conyers-based National, with 2,600 employees, and consolidation is the name of the game in health care as all the players seek greater resources and leverage. Insurance companies keep merging. Smaller hospital chains seek refuge with bigger ones.

    The sale comes at a time, though, when National EMS is under fire for what former EMTs and the activist group Athens for Everyone say are unacceptably slow response times. They’ve called for an independent audit and for National EMS to release its raw data. St. Mary’s and Piedmont Athens Regional, though, recently released a joint statement expressing satisfaction with National EMS.


  • In the Loop: ACC Police Restrain 'Distraught' Boy After Dad Arrested

    Two Athens-Clarke County police officers are under investigation after they restrained a young boy on the ground who was upset that his father had been arrested on domestic violence charges.

    Police went to a Sartain Drive home at about 6:30 p.m. Friday to arrest a man after his ex-girlfriend complained that he had choked her when she tried to leave his house earlier that day.

    While the father was being arrested, a boy police identified as his son became what ACCPD spokesman Epifanio Rodriguez described as "extremely emotionally distraught."

    On Sunday, a woman who said she is the boy's cousin posted a video on Facebook of two officers holding the boy—described as 10 by police and 7 or 9 by relatives—on the ground with his hands behind his back. The video quickly went viral, with 32,000 shares and nearly 1 million views as of tonight.


  • In the Loop: Trump Endorses Kemp for Georgia Governor


    Brian Kemp.

    I guess we can declare a winner in the War of Who's Trumpiest.

    The orange one himself, President Donald Trump, weighed in on the Republican primary runoff for Georgia governor this afternoon, using his preferred mode of communication to express his preference for Secretary of State Brian Kemp over Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.


  • In the Loop: Deal Endorses Cagle for Governor in GOP Runoff

    Casey Cagle web.jpg

    Gov. Nathan Deal endorsed Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the Republican runoff for governor today over Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

    The endorsement could help stop Kemp's momentum in the weeks leading up to the July 24 runoff. Cagle finished first out of five candidates with 39 percent of the vote on May 22, with Kemp trailing at 26 percent. Since then, though, Kemp has surged. A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll gave Kemp a slight lead, 44 percent to 41 percent.

    As his second term winds down, Deal remains popular, with an 85 percent approval rating among Republican voters—even higher than President Donald Trump.

    The endorsement comes as little surprise, given that Deal and Cagle are both from Gainesville and have worked closely together over the past eight years to pass Deal's agenda in the state Senate.


  • In the Loop: Nine Athens Transit Bus Routes Have Changed


    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    Changes to nine Athens Transit routes—5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 22, 25, 26 and 27—took effect on Sunday.

    The changes mainly affect service to the Eastside, the Westside and the University of Georgia campus. Buses that run along Sanford Drive have been rerouted during construction, service has been added to Whitehead Road, and several Eastside bus routes have been revamped to create a circulator between Walmart and campus:


  • In the Loop: New Law: Put Down Your Phone While Driving


    Georgia’s new “hands-free law” took effect July 1. No, that doesn’t mean it’s legal to drive with your knees while you eat a cheeseburger and watch YouTube. In fact, it’s the opposite: The law cracks down on distracted driving by making it illegal to use your cellphone while driving. That means not only texting—which was already illegal but difficult to enforce—but making or answering phone calls, browsing the internet, using social media or watching or recording videos as well.

    The law prohibits drivers from having a phone or other electronic device in their hand or supported by any part of their body while driving—including at stop signs and traffic lights. Calls can still be made by speakerphone, earpiece, wireless headset or smart watch, or by connecting your phone to the car and dialing by voice. Voice-to-text remains legal as well, as does using a continually recording dash-mounted camera.


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