In the Loop

  • GDOT Proposes Truck Bypass Around Bishop

    The Georgia Department of Transportation has developed an alternate plan for improvements to U.S. 441 that involves a close-in truck bypass on the east side of the City of Bishop.

    Truck Bypass Bishop.jpg

    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Officials from GDOT presented the broad outlines of the plan to the city council of Bishop on Monday night, where it got at least some support.

    The officials said they would present the plan in fuller detail to its citizen advisory committee in a meeting from 5–6:30 p.m. on Mar. 19 at the community center in Oconee Veterans Park.

    The truck bypass would take some land from the University of Georgia Equestrian Complex and pass very close to two houses on Old Bishop Road, possibly necessitating the purchase of those two properties, the officials said.

    The truck bypass—which could be one or two lanes wide in each direction—would connect to a four-laned U.S. 441 at Astondale Road and High Shoals Road with roundabouts.


  • AADM Hosts Mayoral Forum Tonight; Two More Scheduled

    City Hall dome.jpg

    The Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement will host a forum featuring mayoral candidates Kelly Girtz, Richie Knight and Harry Sims from 6–7:30 p.m. today at the Athens-Clarke County Library.

    The forum will "center around their action plans to address poverty in Athens, quality of life, diversity and community inclusion," according to the AADM.

    Originally the forum was set to be held at Ciné, but it has been moved to the library.


  • Who's Running for Which Office in Athens?


    Photo Credit: Nicole Adamson

    The five-day qualifying period when candidates officially sign up to run for local, state and federal offices in Georgia ended at noon today. Here's who will be on the ballot:


  • Avid Pulls Out of Athens Academy Book Fair After Being Told to Remove Book With Gay Characters


    Avid Bookshop shut down the annual book fair it holds at Athens Academy today after an administrator told booksellers to hide a book that features gay characters, according to owner Janet Geddis.

    The director of the Oconee County private school's "lower" (or elementary) school told Avid staff to remove The Best Man by Newbery Medalist Richard Peck from display after a parent complained on Wednesday, Geddis said. The Best Man "tells the story of small-town life, gay marriage and everyday heroes," according to Avid's website


  • Republican Says GOP Will Stay in Power

    Oconee GOP 2 22 12 01.jpg

    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Rick Jeffares.

    Rick Jeffares, running for Georgia lieutenant governor, told Oconee County Republicans that he doesn’t expect the Republicans to lose any state offices in November and that the party is likely to control state politics for at least eight to 12 more years.

    Jeffares, from Henry County, said he expects fewer people to vote in the May 22 Republican primary than voted in the primary four years ago.

    “When things are good,” Jeffares said. “When the stock market is good and people have got jobs, I hate to say it, they don’t care about politics at that point in time.”

    Jeffares used the Feb. 22 meeting of the Oconee County Republican Party to state his positions on a variety of issues.

    He said he wants to reduce regulations that restrict businesses, increase technical offerings in high schools, improve rural broadband service, invest more in roads and infrastructure, and reduce tuition at state universities.


  • Athens Groups Organize School Shooting Forum Today


    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.


  • Democrat John Barrow Is Proud of GOP Endorsements

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    John Barrow.

    John Barrow, running as a Democrat for Georgia Secretary of State, told Oconee County Democrats last week that he was proud of his endorsements from Republicans, including from Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry and from former Oconee County Commission Chair Melvin Davis.

    “Believe me, to have someone like Scott and Melvin on there is an eye opener for folks who know the score,” Barrow said of his list of endorsements.

    The more general point, Barrow said, is that it is important for political leaders to listen to people who have views different from their own.

    “I think that is just as true for Democrats as it is for Republicans,” Barrow said.

    Barrow was the featured speaker at the Oconee County Democratic Committee meeting on Tuesday night, where he followed Lisa Lott, a candidate running in the nonpartisan election on May 22 for judge of the Superior Court for the Western Judicial Circuit, made up of Clarke and Oconee counties.

    Lott said she was challenging Regina Quick, appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to the judgship in August of last year, because she felt voters, not elected officials, should pick the Superior Court judge.


  • Mariah 'Linqua Franqa' Parker Is Running for ACC Commission

    Activist, hip-hop artist and Flagpole cover girl Mariah Parker is running for Athens-Clarke County Commission in District 2, she announced this weekend.

    Parker—a doctoral student in linguistics at UGA who's also known by her stage name, Linqua Franqa—had been Tommy Valentine's Commission District 9 campaign manager, but is now striking out on her own.

    She'll face Taylor Pass in the race to replace Commissioner Harry Sims, who resigned to run for mayor, and represent East Athens. Another announced candidate, teacher Mark Martin, has dropped out.  It's possible other candidates could jump in during the official qualifying period Mar. 5–9.

    Parker said she's running because the commission needs a full slate of progressives to enact policy. From her announcement:


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