Photo Credit: Savannah Cole/file
Local political groups have organized a forum this evening on the future of policing in Athens in the wake of Chief Scott Freeman's forced resignation last month.
The forum is from 5–7 p.m. at Hendershot's Coffee and Bar. It will begin with a happy hour and music from William Freeman Leverett and Foreign, followed at 5:50 p.m. by a panel discussion featuring interim police chief Mike Hunsinger, Commissioner Mariah Parker, Commissioner-elect Tim Denson, former mayor Gwen O'Looney and UGA law professor Russell Gabriel, moderated by yours truly. An audience Q&A will follow the panel discussion.
The forum is sponsored by the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, Athens for Everyone and the Athens Immigrants' Rights Coalition. Those groups are calling for the formation of a police citizens' advisory committee and public input on the choice of a new chief.
Milledge Avenue Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church of Athens are sponsoring two workshops—one for the public and one for faith leaders—on suicide prevention next week.
The churches are bringing in Soul Shop, a faith-based suicide prevention program, to raise awareness of suicide as a public health problem and how to reduce the risk of suicide.
First Presbyterian's parish nurse, Madeline Van Dyck, attended a Soul Shop conference in Atlanta.
"The workshop boldy took on the mystery of suicidal depression and the heartache that surrounds it," Van Dyck said. "The presenter and the materials were able to frame for me a new understanding of the hold suicide has on a soul, and a crucial new step we all need to take to address desperation's call."
Photo Credit: Savannah Cole
The Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement will host a town hall meeting on community policing and race relations at the Athens-Clarke County library from 5:30–7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Co-founder Mokah-Jasmine Johnson said that residents and community leaders are concerned that ACC police aren't doing enough to build trust and ensure safety in the wake of two recent incidents—an officer who hit a fleeing suspect with his car in June, and another officer who tackled a 10-year-old boy in July.
Athens mayor-elect Kelly Girtz and others got their groove on Saturday at Groovy Nights.
The 17th annual '70s- and '80s-themed lip-syncing contest, held at The Foundry this year, raised funds for Project Safe, a local nonprofit that works to prevent domestic violence and offers assistance to survivors and their children.
Girtz—who played coy about his song selection last week—went with Madonna's "Express Yourself."
The county commissioner wasn't the only elected official on stage, either. Watkinsville Mayor Dave Shearon also got into the act.
Both may be skilled at winning elections, but neither could take home the prize at Groovy Nights. That went to the MAMAs for their rendition of Prince's "1999."
Flagpole photographer Savannah Cole captured the event.
Photo Credit: Savannah Cole
Athens joined dozens of cities around the country in holding a "Families Belong Together" rally Saturday morning to urge the Trump Administration to reunite families separated at the border.
More than 2,000 children were separated from their parents in June as the Trump Administration instituted a "zero tolerance" immigration policy. Trump has since ordered families to be detained together, but many of the families initially separated are still apart.
Several hundred people participated in the Athens rally, which included a wire crate lined with dolls to represent children kept in cages at federal facilities.
Local restaurants competed Saturday for the chance to have a dish added to the Clarke County School District's 2018–2019 menu, with Dondero's Kitchen coming out on top.
Dondero's won the annual School Lunch Challenge with its chicken fajitas and roasted sweet potatoes. The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia's turkey, cheese and veggie panini with steamed broccoli and lemon zest finished second in the student vote, while Taziki's Mediterranean Café's entry, a "pizzadilla" with chopped salad won the silver medal among adults. The Last Resort Grill also competed.
Photo Credit: Formulanone
The Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and other local groups and individuals will hold a "community response forum in support of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School" in Parkland, FL, where a gunman killed 17 people earlier this month.
The forum is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tonight in the auditorium at the Athens-Clarke County Library. It will open with a moment of silence, then Clarke County School Superintendent Demond Means and state Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) will speak.
The AADM is seeking volunteers to "perform simple tasks for this event." Volunteers should call Knowa Johnson or Michael Smith at 706-380-5256.
It's the Year of the Dog—or Dawg, if you prefer—and the State Botanical Garden helped usher in the lunar new year with a celebration Saturday featuring crafts, food, storytelling, music and more.
Flagpole photographer Jessica Silverman captured the festivities, but if you missed them, don't worry: more are on the way, thanks to a Big Read project sponsored by the University of Georgia Department of Language and Literacy Education and the National Endowment for the Arts. This year's Big Read is based around To Live by Yu Hua and the work of the young-adult novelist Grace Lin.
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