Blog Topic: Breaking News

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

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    The qualifying period to run for local, state and federal offices ended today. Here's a list of who's running in Athens. (D) and (R) indicate party affiliation; most local races are nonpartisan. Asterisks indicate incumbents.

    Athens-Clarke County Commission

    District 2: Mariah Parker*

    District 4: Michael Stapor, Allison Wright*

    District 6: Jesse Houle, Jerry NeSmith*

    District 8: Andrea Farnham, Kamau Hull, Andrea Farnham

    District 10: Mike Hamby*, Knowa Johnson


  • In the Loop: Tony Derricotte Named Cedar Shoals Principal

    Antonio (Tony) Derricotte.jpg

    Antonio Derricotte will be the principal of the Athens high school where he graduated.

    Derricotte, one of two acting co-principals at Cedar Shoals High School, has been named principal at Cedar Shoals High School by interim superintendent Xernona Thomas. The Clarke County Board of Education approved the move at its Thursday meeting.

    "Mr. Derricotte is student-focused and values collaboration," Thomas said in a news release. "I am confident he and the Cedar Shoals team will work very well together to set high expectations and provide strong academic instruction and support for students."


  • Culture Briefs: Congrats to the 2020 Flagpole Athens Favorites!


    Thousands of readers to infinity and beyond voted in this 10th year of the Flagpole Athens Favorites contest. Congratulations to all of the Athens businesses who won or were chosen runner-up in over 100 categories!

    Thanks to the out of this world Flagpole staff who made this issue possible. The cosmic theme, layout and designs were created by Larry Tenner and his crew, Chris McNeal and Cody Robinson. Anita Aubrey and Jessica Mangum are the hard-working ground control of the Flagpole advertising department. The intergalactic photos of our space model, Mark Weathersby, were taken by Jason Thrasher. A special thanks to our E.T. model, Scarlett Alston, for her fierce poses. Photos of our celestial winners were captured by Flagpole photographer Whitley Carpenter.

    A big thanks to the terrestrial photo locations: Hotel Indigo, Half-Shepherd Market and Cheese Shop, Marti’s at Midday, The Law Office of Sam Thomas, Creature Comforts and Cine.

    And finally, congratulations to all the winners! A full list is below.


  • In the Loop: Commissioner Allison Wright Will Run for Re-election, Draws Opposition

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    Allison Wright will run for a third term on the Athens-Clarke County Commission, she announced today.

    Wright, a medical illustrator, has represented District 4, the Five Points area, since 2013.

    In her announcement, she took partial credit for a number of initiatives during those seven-plus years, including fare-free transit for children, seniors and the disabled; affordable housing; police body cameras; and addressing discrimination at downtown bars.

    She said she wants to continue to expand transit, provide training on discrimination and sexual assault to bar employees, and address poverty and the aging population.


  • In the Loop: Athens Gets Grant to Help Lure Airline

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    Athens-Clarke County has received a $750,000 U.S. Department of Transportation grant to help bring commercial air service to Athens Ben Epps Airport.

    An airline hasn't flown out of Ben Epps since 2014, when Congress cut the Essential Air Service subsidy for small airports.

    County officials are currently negotiating with American Airlines to fly 50-passenger jets twice a day between Athens and Charlotte, according to Commissioner Jerry NeSmith, who serves on the Airport Authority. ACC is also offering other incentives, such as no landing fees for the first year.

    "I'm confident we can convince them to do this," NeSmith said.


  • In the Loop: Interim Principal Appointed at Chase Street

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    Whitehead Road Elementary assistant principal Laura Kraus will serve as interim principal at Chase Street Elementary through the end of the school year, Clarke County School District interim superintendent Xernona Thomas announced today.

    Kraus will replace Nikki Hittle, who abruptly resigned Monday.

    "As a strong instructional leader who understands the importance of building a collaborative culture, Mrs. Kraus enjoys and values making connections with students and families," Thomas said in a news release and note to parents. "I am confident in her ability to lead the Chase Street Elementary community until a permanent replacement is selected."


  • In the Loop: More Departures at CCSD as Chase Street Principal, Clarke Middle Band Director Resign


    Photo Credit: Chase Street PTO

    Chase Street Elementary School.

    A tumultuous year for the Clarke County School District continues as the new principal at Chase Street Elementary School and the popular band director at Clarke Middle School both resigned within the past week.

    Nikki Hittle, whom former superintendent Demond Means hired to lead Chase in August, resigned today effective immediately. Interim Superintendent Xernona Thomas did not give a reason in a news release.

    As with all principal hirings, Chase's Local School Governance Team—made up of teachers, parents and community members—will provide input into the new principal. In the meantime, Executive Director of Leadership Development Rachel Williams will support assistant principal Allison Niedzwieki, Thomas said.

    "I am confident our teachers and staff at Chase Street Elementary will continue to serve our students and maintain a focus on instruction," Thomas said.


  • In the Loop: Gonzalez: Kemp Should Call Special Election for District Attorney

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    Deborah Gonzalez.

    Western Circuit District Attorney Ken Mauldin announced earlier this week that he's resigning. No big deal, right? He wasn't going to run for re-election anyway. So Gov. Brian Kemp appoints someone who gets beaten by the favorite in the Democratic primary, Deborah Gonzalez, in November.

    Well, not so fast. An obscure law passed in 2018 means that there will be a special election in November for district attorney, not a regular one. That means no Democratic primary in May and a nonpartisan "jungle primary" where every candidate is on the November ballot together. Which means a likely runoff in January if a Republican gets in the race—and Democrats don't turn out for runoffs.

    Still, to Gonzalez, it's better than the alternative: If Kemp waits until after May 3 to appoint someone, the election gets pushed to 2022.


  • In the Loop: New Hampshire Students Press Candidates to Remember Poor People in Climate Change Policies



    Photo Credit:  Derek Kouyoumjian

    Deval Patrick speaks at the NH Youth Climate and Clean Energy Town Hall.

    NEW HAMPSHIRE—Students at a youth climate town hall extracted promises from several presidential candidates that their climate-change policies will benefit low-income people, not hurt them. 

    “Equity has to be at the heart of climate policy,” said Pete Buttigieg, who appeared at the NH Youth Climate and Clean Energy Town Hall Wednesday morning, hours after partial returns showed him in first place in Iowa’s Democratic caucuses. The former mayor of South Bend, IN was responding to Dartmouth College MBA student Melina Sanchez Montanes, who asked what he would do to make sure low-income households “don’t bear the brunt of the transition” to cleaner energy. 


  • In the Loop: District Attorney Ken Mauldin Is Resigning


    Ken Mauldin, the district attorney for Clarke and Oconee counties, is resigning effective Feb. 29, he announced today.

    Mauldin had already said he would not run for re-election this year, but had planned to serve out the end of his term. However, he said in a news release that he's had a change of heart.


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