July 26, 2017

Chuck Searcy Returns, Chess Team Wins, AthFest, Too

Pub Notes

The triumphant Classic City Knights pose with their newfound Ethiopian friends.

Knights Triumph

Lemuel “Life” LaRoche hit upon the idea several years ago to use chess as a way to teach young people how to think before they act, and since then his Chess and Community program has involved a lot of kids in the game. They won a big chess tournament in Washington DC., and now they have scored an international triumph.

The Classic City Knights chess team recently traveled to Ethiopia, where, in the midst of much sightseeing, food enjoyment and getting to know the people, vanquished a team representing Kutaber, Ethiopia.

Chess and Community is a great local program sponsored by local people, and it deserves our support. Life has developed an effective and innovative approach, and he says the Ethiopian trip is just the beginning of more international travel to supplement all the hard work his teams put in here at home.

AthFest Profits

In spite of the rain and the heat, the AthFest Music and Arts Festival “exceeded our financial goal,” i.e. made a profit last month and thus has some more money to contribute through AthFest Educates to area educators this school year. While we’re all out there in the streets and the clubs enjoying the music and the other arts, we sometimes forget that AthFest raises money for music education in our schools, but the organizers never forget that. They work year-round, trying to make the festival a success both artistically and financially. This year they did both.

Searcy Visits


Attention friends and fans of Chuck Searcy: He is back in Athens for his annual visit, which really amounts to only a few days. If you want to be sure to visit with Chuck, the Project Renew fundraising yard party at 190 Milledge Circle this Saturday, July 29 from 5–10 p.m. is probably the best bet.

Chuck has been an activist all his life. He helped elect a progressive student government while he was at UGA, following his Army intelligence service in Saigon. He was active in Vietnam Veterans Against the War, founded the famous Athens Observer local newspaper and Observer Television. He went on to Washington, where he served in the Carter Administration, helped get liberal Senator Wyche Fowler elected in Georgia and went back to Washington as Fowler’s press secretary. After a stint in Atlanta as Executive Director of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Chuck went back to Vietnam in 1995 and has been there ever since. He now heads Project Renew, which cleans up unexploded military ordnance in Quang Tri Province (the old “Demilitarized Zone,” where America did saturation bombing) and provides medical assistance, rehabilitation and income to victims. Project Renew also supports Agent Orange victim families.

Chuck’s old friend and compatriot from McDuffie County, Dennis Waters, who styles himself “Property Manager” of Chuck’s home at 190 Milledge Circle, has been throwing this Project Renew yard party and fund-raiser for the last five years and has outdone himself this time. He has assured that Kate Morrissey is a regular performer at these bashes, and this year he has also secured Five Eight, just when they are riding high on the crest of their long-awaited new album release.

It will be hot as hell, as usual, so bring something cool to drink and a lot of cool cash to buy Vietnamese children’s art and otherwise contribute to the work of Project Renew. Neighbor Will Wilson is graciously providing a low-country boil for the occasion.