Photo Credit: ACC Fire Department
A car caught fire at the College Avenue parking deck this morning, but damage was minor and the deck is expected to reopen on Wednesday.
Athens-Clarke County firefighters responded to reports of smoke billowing from the deck at about 10 a.m. The smoke came from a car accident—a driver hit a wall on the fourth level, according to Battalion Chief Jeff Reno.
"It's still under investigation, but we think that's what happened," he said.
Piedmont Athens Regional CEO Charles Peck is stepping down this spring, Piedmont Healthcare announced last week.
Peck will return Mar. 1 to Navigant Consulting, where he previously served as managing director. But he will stay on as Piedmont Athens Regional’s interim CEO until May 31.
Photo Credit: Clarke County School District
Vernon Payne has stepped down from the Clarke County school board for health reasons after 40 years of service.
Payne submitted his resignation to Superintendent Demond Means and Gov. Nathan Deal in a letter dated Dec. 28, but it was not made public until last Friday.
Payne has not attended a meeting since March, according to meeting minutes. The school district had no procedure to replace him unless he resigned, causing some concern among his District 2 constituents that they would go unrepresented until his term expires at the end of 2020.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Athens-Clarke County
Athens-Clarke County Manager Blaine Williams has appointed a North Carolina police chief to take over the ACC police department effective Feb. 4.
Cleveland Lee Spruill Sr. has been the police chief in Huntersville, NC, since May 2014. The Huntersville police department has 102 sworn officers, 111 total employees and a $12.8 million annual budget.
Although Huntersville, population 60,000, is half the size of Athens, Spruill has experience running a larger department. Prior to becoming the police chief in Huntersville, Spruill was the executive chief deputy in Alexandria, VA, which had 320 sworn officers, 105 civilian employees, a $57 million budget and served a population of 150,000.
Williams said in a news release that Spruill stood out among many qualified applicants as the best person to uphold ACC's philosophy of community-oriented policing and serve as an ambassador to the community.
Photo Credit: Office of the Governor
Gov. Nathan Deal, whose second term ends on Monday, will soon be teaching at the University of Georgia.
The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted today to appoint Deal as a Regents Professor. His appointment will be effective for at least three years beginning March 1.
Deal plans to occasionally lecture undergraduates with interests in political science and law at UGA and other institutions in the University System of Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitutionreported. He's also starting a consulting firm with his longtime chief of staff, Chris Riley.
Photo Credit: Blake Aued/file
The East Clayton Street bar 9d's will be closed today and Saturday while its alcohol license is suspended after agreeing to a consent order with the Athens-Clarke County attorney's office on an April 2017 discrimination complaint.
Kendrick Bullock alleged that 9d's denied him entry for a dress-code violation in April 2017 in spite of the bar not having a dress code publicly posted as required by a local anti-discrimination ordinance passed in 2016 in response to numerous complaints that student bars downtown were unfairly using dress codes to keep out black customers.
In addition to closing for two days, 9d's agreed to go on probation for 12 months, pay a $350 fine and:
Photo Credit: Savannah Cole
After a divisive campaign, Gov.-elect Brian Kemp called for unity Tuesday in his first major speech since winning a close and hard-fought election. Taking a different tone than what voters heard on the campaign trail, he appealed to state legislators to “put politics behind us.”
The speech at the University of Georgia’s Biennial Institute, a three-day training session for state legislators, came months after Kemp emerged from a bruising Republican primary in July and just weeks after he repeatedly called Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams a radical extremist.
“It’s time to shed the labels and work together as Georgians. It’s time to stand up for our communities, our families and our Georgia values,” Kemp said. “It’s time to protect the vulnerable. It’s time to do the right thing—even when no one is looking.”
Democrat John Barrow lost his bid to become Georgia's secretary of state Tuesday to Republican Brad Raffensperger, and Republican incumbent Chuck Eaton kept his seat on the Public Service Commission, defeating Democrat Lindy Miller.
Barrow's loss means that a Republican will be running Georgia's elections in 2020—when President Donald Trump and one of his staunchest supporters, GOP Sen. David Perdue, are on the ballot—and 2024, when Gov.-elect Brian Kemp will be up for re-election.
It also comes amid widespread accusations among Democrats that voter suppression efforts under Kemp, the former secretary of state, cost Democrat Stacey Abrams the gubernatorial election.
Photo Credit: Blake Aued
"Whoever wants it more wins," Athens Democrat John Barrow told a small group of supporters during a last-minute campaign stop on Monday night, just hours before polls opened for a runoff election for secretary of state. "We need all the hay in the barn we can get."
Barrow is running to be Georgia's top election official, and Stacey Abrams supporters need no reminder of how important that position can be after her narrow loss to Republican Brian Kemp last month amidst widespread accusations of voter suppression and irregularities at the polls.
"Y'all know the stakes," Barrow said. "I'm running for an office nobody knew anything about. Now the whole country has gotten a crash course."
Photo Credit: Bailey Brautigan/Pexels
This Sunday, Athens restaurants can start pouring mimosas and bloody marys for early risers—and by early, I mean 10-ish.
At a called voting meeting prior to their agenda-setting meeting Tuesday night, the Athens-Clarke County Commission unanimously approved an ordinance pushing up the time when restaurants can start serving alcohol on Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 11 a.m.
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