Blog Topic: Breaking News

  • In the Loop: Cedar Shoals Principal Derrick Maxwell Resigns


    Cedar Shoals High School principal Derrick Maxwell is resigning effective Oct. 29.

    Maxwell announced his departure in an email to Cedar Shoals parents and staff today. Sources tell Flagpole he is taking a central office position in Barrow County.

    The former Whit Davis Elementary principal was tapped to lead Cedar Shoals through a painful period of dealing with an alleged sexual assault on campus in 2016. But he was passed over for the position when it came time to hire a permanent principal. Last year, the position came open again, and he was hired.

    But Maxwell had reportedly gotten on Superintendent Demond Means' bad side. In April board member John Knox met with Means to tell him that Maxwell is widely liked, and the community would be up in arms if he were fired. The meeting resulted in Means filing a complaint with accreditation agency AdvancEd accusing three board members of micromanagement.

    Maxwell is the latest of about a dozen principals who have left the Clarke County School District in the past two years.

    The Local School Governance Team, made up of teachers, parents and other community members, will choose one to four candidates for principal to send on to Means, who will recommend one to the school board for approval.

    The full text of Maxwell's announcement is below:


  • In the Loop: ACCPD Officer Shoots Suspect for Fifth Time This Year


    Photo Credit: Blake Aued

    Chief Cleveland Spruill briefs reporters on an officer-involved shooting at an Oct. 14 news conference.

    An Athens-Clarke County police officer shot and killed a knife-wielding woman Monday morning on Chalfont Lane, in the Westchester neighborhood off Tallassee Road.

    The officer was responding to a 10 a.m. call about a suspicious woman with a knife and possibly a firearm, Chief Cleveland Spruill told reporters Monday afternoon. 

    The officer retreated, but the 54-year-old white woman ignored his orders to drop the knife, instead "rais[ing] the knife in a threatening manner," Spruill said. The officer fired, striking her in the torso. Other officers rendered first aid, but she died.


  • In the Loop: Cedar Shoals Student Charged With Making Threat

    cop car.jpg

    A Cedar Shoals High School student was charged with making terroristic threats after, police said, she "became distressed" during class and "made a verbal threat referencing a weapon."

    A cellphone video recorded by a student at Cedar Shoals showed the girl saying she would "AR-15" other students, using the name of the assault-style rifle as a verb. The video went viral Wednesday and has been shared on social media hundreds of times, sparking conversations about whether the girl would be disciplined or not because she is white.

    After investigating, police issued the student a juvenile complaint.

    Cedar Shoals Principal Derrick Maxwell sent a note to parents Wednesdays explaining the incident. Athens-Clarke County police also urged families to talk about the dangers of weapons and using threatening language in school.


  • Homedrone: Go Bar to End Late-Night Music, Transition to Restaurant


    Go Bar in 1999.

    After 20 years of drag shows, dance parties and noise-rock freakouts, Prince Avenue institution Go Bar has announced plans to transition from a music and entertainment venue to a restaurant, installing a kitchen, covering the outdoor patio and adding daytime hours.


  • In the Loop: Police Identify Officer Who Shot Domestic Abuse Suspect

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    Athens-Clarke County police and the Georgia Bureau of investigation have identified the officer who shot a domestic abuse suspect on Saturday as Roger Williams. The suspect is Salvador Salazar, a 28-year-old North Carolina resident.

    Williams responded to a call about domestic violence at a Baxter Street apartment shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday. When he arrived, Salazar was holding a machete, according to ACCPD.

    "Shortly after the initial encounter, the man brandished a knife in a threatening manner toward our officer," police said Sunday. "Fearing for his life, our officer discharged his service weapon struck the male in the torso."


  • In the Loop: Clarke County Graduation Rate Tops 80%


    Clarke County's graduation rate ticked up to 81.4% in 2019, just shy of Georgia's as a whole.

    Both of the county's traditional high schools, Clarke Central and Cedar Shoals, beat the state average of 82%, with 83.7% and 83.5%, respectively. At the alternative Classic City High, 24 of 46, or 52%, of students graduated within four years.

    The 82% figure is an all-time high for Georgia. The state graduation rate has increased by 12 points since the federal government changed the way graduation rates are calculated in 2012.


  • In the Loop: Former Athens Judge Blocks Georgia Abortion Law


    Judge Steve Jones.

    Georgia's infamous "heartbeat bill" banning most abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy suffered a legal setback today when a federal judge blocked the law from taking effect while it's challenged in the court system.


  • In the Loop: ACC Announces Plans to Redevelop Bethel



    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    Bethel Midtown Village.

    Athens-Clarke County announced plans late Friday afternoon to spend $39 million redeveloping the affordable housing complex Bethel Midtown Village if voters opt to extend a 1 percent sales tax for construction projects in November.

    The project, in partnership with the Athens Housing Authority and private developers Columbia Residential and Jonathan Rose Companies, would also include surrounding ACC and AHA properties, in addition to the 190-unit complex off College Avenue just north of downtown.

    “This project would truly transform not only this site and the lives of its residents, but it also has the potential to provide reinvestment into the surrounding area, including downtown Athens,” Mayor Kelly Girtz said in a statement. “This partnership presents a great opportunity to expand the number of affordable and workforce homes downtown and create a healthy, sustainable and well-maintained environment for residents.”


  • In the Loop: ACC Police Warn of THC Tainted Vape Cartridges

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    Photo Credit: courtesy of ACCPD

    Athens-Clarke County police issued a warning today about homemade vape cartridges that have been "tainted" with THC and other chemicals.

    Earlier this week, police executed a warrant and seized 2,370 of the homemade cartridges. They were nearly identical to those produced by a company in California—where THC, the compound in marijuana that makes you high—is legal, but several other chemicals that carry health concerns were added, too.

    In addition, THC remains illegal in Georgia, and shipping THC to Georgia from a state where it's legal is against the law, as well.


  • In the Loop: BOE Member John Knox Responds to Superintendent Means' Allegations


    John Knox.

    Tuesday Flagpole published a story about Clarke County School Superintendent Demond Means' response to a complaint filed with accreditation agency AdvancED in which he alleged that three school board members attempted to micromanage and usurp his authority.

    The story did not include the full response from one of those board members, John Knox. He has provided an 11-page account of his interactions with Means, which you can read here. An excerpt:


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