In the Loop

  • Rep. Jody Hice Town Hall Draws 100 People and a Chicken, but No Hice



    Photo Credit: Stacey-Marie Piotrowski

    ACC Commissioner Melissa Link with our congressman's feathered avatar.

    On one of the busiest spring Saturdays in Athens, 100 people attended a town hall for District 10 congressman Jody Hice. The one notable absence was Hice himself.

    Michael Goltzer of Athens was one of several people who addressed a photo of Rep. Hice (R-Social Circle) propped up in a chair on the stage of the Athens Regional Library on Apr. 22. He pointed out that the town hall was the most basic form of democratic conversation and lamented Hice’s refusal to engage with his constituents.

    “Just tell us what we have to do to get you to meet with us,” he said.


  • Oconee Can't Provide Sewer to New Car Dealership

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Mercedes-Benz of Athens representative Jason Stough of On Site Civil.

    Oconee County told Mercedes-Benz of Athens on Friday that the county will not be able to provide sewer service for the planned new auto dealership on Highway 316 at Virgil Langford Road for another 12–18 months.

    The announcement coincided with the release of a memorandum stating that those requesting letters of availability of sewer service be advised of limited capacity in parts of the county’s service area and the complete lack of availability in others, including where the Mercedes-Benz facility is planned.

    The county released the announcement on sewer capacity in a meeting of the county’s Development Review Committee, which was considering the preliminary site plan and site development plans for the new auto dealership.

    The DRC approved the Preliminary Site Plan, but Sandy Weinel, assistant director of the Planning and Code Enforcement Department, told a representative of Mercedes-Benz the firm will have to build a private septic system if it wants to move forward before sewer capacity is available.


  • G-Day Isn't Just for Football—It's for Politics, Too


    Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

    Yeah, yeah, G-Day is tomorrow, but plenty is going on in Athens for those who are more interested in #resisting Trump than who's gonna be the Dawgs' third-string middle linebacker this fall.

    Kick off the day with the Athens-Clarke County Democrats' monthly breakfast at 10 a.m. at First AME Church at the corner of Hull and Dougherty. UGA professor Richard Winfield will discuss universal basic income and publicly guaranteed employment. 

    Next, if you're still hungry, head to the Athens Economic Justice Coalition's cookoff in support of a living wage from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. at Memorial Park.


  • Downtown Hotel Construction Accident Injures Three


    Photo Credit: Tim Denson

    A parking deck at the Hyatt Place hotel under construction on Thomas Street partially collapsed earlier tonight, injuring three construction workers.

    The accident happened around 7:30 p.m., as people were leaving the Envision Athens town hall meeting at the Classic Center next door. 

    Classic Center Executive Director Paul Cramer said he was not sure exactly what happened, but it appears that either a section of the deck collapsed, or a crane may have dropped a piece of pre-cast concrete onto the deck. Part of the deck was damaged, and a piece of concrete lay shattered on the ground nearby.


  • Podcast: Freddie Gray and the War on Drugs

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    On this week’s episode, hosts Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner talk with D. Watkins, educator, editor at large at,and the author of The Cook Up and The Beast Side, about the drug war and Freddie Gray, who died after being arrested in Baltimore two years ago this week. And composer Ruby Fulton puts one of Trump's tweets to music.

    Democracy in Crisis is a weekly podcast hosted by Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner, produced and engineered by Mark Gunnery for The Center for Emerging Media. Theme music by Ruby Fulton and the Rhymes with Orchestra.


  • ACC Is Making Crosswalks Safer All Over Athens


    Photo Credit: Austin Steele

    Workers install a pedestrian refuge island on Prince Avenue at Piedmont College Tuesday morning.

    Athens-Clarke County workers are installing two pedestrian refuge islands on Prince Avenue this week, and similar improvements will be coming to other parts of the city within the next couple of months.

    The Transportation and Public Works Department is installing the islands at mid-block crosswalks at Pope Street and Piedmont College. They give pedestrians a place to pause safely after crossing two lanes of traffic before crossing the other two.

    "They're small, but they do provide some protection for the pedestrian," TPW Traffic Engineer Steve Decker said.


  • Trump Advisor Roger Stone Thinks the Deep State Is Trying to Kill Him

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    Photo Credit: Screencap via Infowars

    Carter Page—the seemingly hapless, dead-eyed and bald-headed former-Trump advisor who is at the white-hot center of the controversy surrounding Trump campaign-collusion with Russia—looks like he tried to learn to smile like Putin but can’t pull it off. Yet he continues to accept offers to botch television interviews.

    Last week, he refused to say who brought him into the Trump campaign as a foreign policy advisor on skittery appearances with Jake Tapper and George Stephanopoulos.

    Speculation about Page grows, reaching a fever pitch in former British MP and rom-com novelist Louise Mensch's explosive, and seemingly unfounded, claim that Page delivered a video of Trump making policy promises to the Russians in exchange for hacking the election.

    In conversation, long-time Trump advisor and Republican dirty-trickster Roger Stone—who, like Page is expected to testify before the House intelligence committee, and, also like Page suspects that he was the subject of a FISA warrant—told me that he also thinks that former campaign head Corey Lewandowski is responsible for Page’s presence on a list of Trump advisors—but added that Page had previously worked for Ben Carson’s campaign.


  • Environmental Nonprofit Brings Tiny House to Athens Tech Monday

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    You’ve seen the tiny house shows, you’ve thought about how cool it would be to pack up and live light, but if you’ve never actually gotten to experience a tiny home, the Creative Animal Foundation will be at Athens Technical College on Monday showing the possibilities of 200-square-foot living and the value of living sustainably.

    Classroom talks will start at 9 a.m., and from noon–5 p.m. the tiny house will be open to the public for viewing. You’ll also get the chance to talk sustainability with tour hosts Stephanie Arne, co-founder and board president of CAF, and Tim Davison, co-founder and board vice-president.


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