COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987

Blog Topic: Breaking News

  • In the Loop: CCSD Announces Staff Shakeup

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    The Clarke County School District has leadership vacancies at six schools to fill after moving several principals to the central office.

    The district announced the moves late Friday, a day after the Board of Education met in closed session to discuss personnel.

    According to Director of Public Relations and Communications Mary Walsh Wickwire:

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  • In the Loop: Jared Bybee Will Resign From the Clarke County School Board

     

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    Photo Credit: Thinc UGA

    Come June, Jared Bybee will no longer be the president of the Clarke County Board of Education. His family and he are moving to southern California, where his wife has accepted a job with the University of California, Irvine.

    Bybee was first elected to the board in 2016. His colleagues voted him president in January 2018.

    “Being on the board has been a ton of work, but very rewarding, and I’ve learned a lot from my colleagues on the board even when we disagreed,” Bybee said. “Even after seeing all the complicated innards of how it all works, I remain steadfast in my optimism for CCSD and the direction we are headed.”

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  • In the Loop: Georgia House Passes Abortion Bill

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    A bill severely restricting abortions in Georgia passed narrowly with a 92-78 vote on the House floor on Friday. It takes 91 votes to pass a bill.

    Now, House Bill 481 heads to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk to be signed into law.

    Kemp is expected to sign the legislation. In his 2018 campaign, he vowed to his supporters to sign “the strictest abortion law in the nation.”

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  • In the Loop: Bill Would Make Confederate Monuments Harder to Move

     

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    Photo Credit: Nicole Adamson/file

    Athens' Confederate monument, erected in 1872, now sits in the Broad Street median downtown after being moved twice before.

    Athens' Confederate monument, and others, will be harder to move if the state legislature passes a bill granting monuments greater protection.

    Reps. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) and Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville) voted in favor of Senate Bill 77. Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) voted against the bill, which passed 100–71.

    SB 77, sponsored Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), increases the punishment against those who damage or destroy a monument. Those found guilty of damaging a monument could be fined up to three times the costs to repair or replace it, according to the bill.

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  • In the Loop: Protest at UGA as Lawmakers Prepare for Abortion Vote

     

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    Photo Credit: Savannah Cole

    About 100 people protested HB 481, the anti-abortion "Heartbeat Bill," on campus Wednesday.

    The Georgia House of Representatives could vote soon on what will be one of the strictest—if not the strictest—abortion laws in the country today.

    On Friday, the Georgia Senate moved forward House Bill 481. The “Heartbeat Bill” bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. That’s when supporters claim a fetal heartbeat can be detected, although doctors dispute that. The current law bans most abortions after 20 weeks.

    Both Athens-area senators, Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) and Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville) voted in favor of the bill. Two Athens representatives, Republicans Houston Gaines and Marcus Wiedower, have stated they will vote to approve the bill as they did the first time around. Democrat Spencer Frye is the only Athens legislator expected to vote against it.

    Senate tweaks to the bill mean the House must approve it again to send it on to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature, but time is running out. Before Day 38 of the 40-day session, HB 481’s sponsor, Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth), said the bill is three votes shy of passage.

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  • In the Loop: Black UGA Students Say They're Frustrated With Racism on Campus

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    Photo Credit: Blake Aued

    More than 200 University of Georgia students gathered at the Miller Learning Center Monday night to talk about a racist video that went viral over the weekend.

    Black students who spoke at the "In Solidarity" event, organized by the Student Government Association and UGA chapter of the NAACP, said they were hurt but not surprised by the Snapchat video, which showed a white UGA fraternity member whipping another white student with a belt, telling him to "pick my cotton," and using a racial slur. They also criticized the university administration's response to the video.

    "There are students of color who don't feel safe, who don't feel comfortable, and that's a failure on the administration's part," one student said.

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  • In the Loop: UGA Frat Suspended Over Racist Video

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    The Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity’s UGA chapter has been suspended and four members expelled from the fraternity after a video surfaced showing them using racist language and mocking slavery.

    “I want to reach out to you to express how profoundly disappointed and appalled I am by the content of a recent video involving four UGA students that has been circulating on social media. I know this matter has caused great pain and anguish within our University community,” UGA president Jere Morehead said in a statement. “This incident does not reflect the culture of unity and inclusion which we support on our campus.”

    Once the video began gaining attention, the University of Georgia, Student Government Association and Tau Kappa Epsilon gave statements via Twitter.

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  • In the Loop: Georgia Senate Passes Strict Anti-Abortion Bill

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    A still from "The Handmaid's Tale." Protesters at the capitol today dressed as characters from the Hulu show, based on a Margaret Atwood novel about a dystopian society where men force women to conceive and bear children.

    The Georgia Senate passed one of the nation's most restrictive abortion bills today.

    The largely party-line vote was 34–18, with both of the Athens area's senators, Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) and Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville) voting in favor of it.

    The bill—dubbed the "Heartbeat Bill" by supporters—bans almost all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The bill criminalizes physicians, according to the Georgia Medical Association , and some critics say it could make women who use a morning-after pill legally culpable as well.

    Kemp is almost certain to sign the bill—he supported it during his campaign—setting up a potential legal battle. The American Civil Liberties Union has already said it will sue if Kemp signs the bill into law.

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  • In the Loop: Police Identify Man They Shot and Officers Involved

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    Athens-Clarke County police identified the man officers shot and killed off Westlake Drive on Friday as Thomas Wayne Swinford, 34.

    Swinford's last known address was in Grovetown, in the Augusta area, police said today, but Chief Cleveland Spruill told Flagpole Friday night that he also had connections to Athens.

    According to police, officers responded at about 6:30 p.m. Friday to call about a man with what is believed to be a firearm. After spending approximately 10–15 minutes telling him to put the gun down, Swinford charged at police, and the officers opened fire.

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  • In the Loop: Athens Police Shoot and Kill Man Near Beechwood

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    Photo Credit: Blake Aued

    The crime scene on Westlake Drive.

    Athens-Clarke County police shot and killed a man they "believed to be armed with a weapon" during a confrontation off Westlake Drive at about 6:30 p.m.

    According to a news release from ACCP issued at 10 p.m.:

    ACCPD officers encountered an adult white male who brandished what is believed to be a firearm in a threatening manner. Officers issued verbal commands for the individual to drop the firearm. The individual disregarded the officers’ command and charged the officers with the firearm in his hand pointed in the officer’s direction. Multiple officers, fearing for their lives and safety, discharged their firearms. After the shooting, officers immediately rendered first aid and the individual was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

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