COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987

Blog Topic: Government

  • In the Loop: Athens Economic Development Director Leaves

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    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.

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  • In the Loop: Secretary of State's Office Doesn't Know How Many People Voted in the Primaries

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    Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office told a reporter it would cost over $1,000 and take 30 days to say how many people voted in the May 22 and July 24 elections.

    The Georgia Secretary of State's office, which is responsible for elections in the state, does not know how many people voted in either the May 22 primary elections or the July 24 runoffs.

    The 159 counties in the state filed that information with the Secretary of State's office shortly after each of the two elections as part of the certification process for elections.

    Fran Davis, director of the Oconee County Office of Elections and Registration, for example, told the Secretary of State’s Elections Division that 7,815 ballots were cast in the county in the May primary and 5,973 were cast in the July runoff.

    Robin Herron, an executive assistant in the Secretary of State's office, said it would take about 38 hours for staff to gather and review those records for the 159 counties and that the work would have to be spread across 30 business days.

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  • In the Loop: Cowsert on Short List for Georgia Supreme Court Vacancy

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    State Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) is one of eight contenders for two open seats on the state Supreme Court, according to the AJC.

    The Judicial Nominating Committee—made up of six trial lawyers, two state legislators and a representative from the state attorney general's office—recommended nine names to Gov. Nathan Deal to fill vacancies left when Britt Grant was named a federal appeals court judge and Harris Hines retired.

    Among them were Cowsert and Jason Deal, Nathan Deal's son, who is a superior court judge in Hall and Dawson counties. But Jason Deal took his name out of the running so his father wouldn't have to decide whether to appoint him.

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  • In the Loop: Georgia Lawmaker Makes an Ass Out of Himself—Literally

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    Photo Credit: Screencap via Showtime.

    In the middle of a summer chock-full of political hilarity, with Georgia taking center stage nationally with its candidates and their guns and pickup trucks, another Georgian sets a new low for the state.  

    On Sunday’s episode of Sacha Baron Cohen’s new project “Who Is America?” the intrepid host—who says he is “in Mossad, not in Moussad”—persuades naïve Georgia Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) to appear on the show ostensibly to learn how to identify and intimidate terrorists. Spencer failed to catch Cohen’s clues that he is not what he says and proceeded to follow the most ridiculous instructions.  

    Cohen probably zeroed in on the controversial Spencer thanks to his public threat against a black former state representative who was calling for the removal of Confederate statues and his proposed 2016 bill banning burkas.  

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  • 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.

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  • In the Loop: Rep. Jonathan Wallace Announces Office Hours

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    Photo Credit: House Photo Office

    State Rep. Jonathan Wallace (D-Watkinsville).

    Have a concern or question about state politics? Rep. Jonathan Wallace (D-Watkinsville) is ready to talk to you about it. And the best part is, you can have a beer while you meet with him, or alternatively, you don't even have to put pants on.

    Wallace—who represents parts of Clarke and Oconee counties—recently announced a schedule of summer "office hours" that don't take place in an office.

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

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    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:

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  • 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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  • In the Loop: Oconee IDA Approves Bonds for Senior Living Center

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    Last month the Oconee County Industrial Development Authority approved unanimously the spending of up to $375,115 on a contract to beautify Mars Hill Road and preliminarily approved up to $115 million in bond funding to Presbyterian Homes for construction of its Oconee campus.

    Jerry Peterson, representing Presybyterian Homes, told the IDA he was asking for preliminary approval for the Authority to issue up to $115 million in revenue bonds for Presbyterian Village Athens, to be located on U.S. 441 at Hog Mountain Road.

    He said the bonds would be repaid through funds potential tenants pay as entrance fees, through a U.S. Department of Agricultural loan for heath centers, and bonds sold to institutional investors and banks.

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