cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
Scattered Clouds
H 86° L 67°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 86° L 67°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    Mostly Cloudy. H 86° L 67°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    Partly Cloudy. H 86° L 66°


    Lake Lanier has a deadly reputation, and an examination at the statistics suggests it's warranted. Since 1994, northeast Georgia's favorite manmade lake — which touches parts of Gwinnett, Hall, Forsyth, Dawson and Lumpkin counties — has seen at least 160 people die. That's according to official statistics maintained by the Department of Natural Resources, which include boating-related fatalities and drownings (though drowning statistics were not kept between 1994 and 1998). The numbers also do not include an unofficial tally of this year's incidents, which include at least two deaths. This year's deaths include those of a Buford man who drowned in February and ajet skier from Cumming who drowned after a crash in April. In 2016, Lake Lanier saw 17 deaths, including nine drownings and eight boating-related fatalities. DNR statistics also track drownings, boating fatalities, boating under the influence and other 'boating incidents' that occur at each of the eight key lakes the agency patrols: Allatoona, Blackshear, Clarks Hill, Hartwell, Jackson, Lanier, Oconee and Sinclair. During the five years from 2011 to 2015, Lake Lanier had the lion's share of each category: • Drownings: 32 of 65, or 49.2 percent, occured on Lake Lanier. • Boating fatalities: 20 of 33, 0r 60.6 percent, occurred on Lake Lanier. • BUIs: 265 of 584, or 45.4 percent, occurred on Lake Lanier. • Total boating incidents: 174 of 342, or 50.8 percent, occurred on Lake Lanier. DNR spokesman Mark McKinnon attributed Lake Lanier's incident rate to the sheer number of visitors it draws.  'There are simply more incidents on Lanier due to the volume of visitors,' McKinnon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last year. 'Lanier has many more boaters and swimmers than any other lake in the state, including Allatoona.'  That said, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that Lanier welcomes about 7.5 million visitors each year, while Allatoona, in northwest Georgia, sees around 7 million. That's about a 7 percent difference — but over the decade that ended in 2015, twice as many people have died on Lanier (90) as Allatoona (45).
  • The University of Georgia will sponsor additional research to learn more about the lives of the individuals whose gravesites were discovered during the construction of the Baldwin Hall expansion. The work is two-pronged, consisting of further DNA analysis of the remains and a historical mapping study to learn more about the physical environment in which the individuals likely lived and worked. Following the discovery of the remains in November 2015, the university immediately consulted with the State Archaeologist's Office for guidance. The university then commissioned a team of faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students in the anthropology department to explore ancestry, age, sex and other characteristics of the individuals. About one-third of the 105 gravesites yielded samples suitable for DNA analysis, and the researchers found that the vast majority of these individuals were of maternal African descent. UGA Vice President for Research David Lee solicited further faculty input following the reinterment of the remains earlier this spring. He also consulted with leaders of the local African-American community. 'The university is committed to building upon the preliminary research and learning more about the lives of the men, women and children-who were likely slaves or former slaves, given the time period-whose remains were found adjacent to the Old Athens Cemetery on the Baldwin Hall site,' said Lee. 'These additional research efforts will help us in that pursuit.' The Office of Research will coordinate the next steps as follows: 1. The university will commission further DNA analysis to be conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin who specialize in the analysis of ancient DNA. These researchers already have been engaged with UGA assistant professor Laurie Reitsema in the first phase of research, which provided information only about maternal ancestry. The additional analysis will provide information about paternal ancestry and thus, paint a comprehensive picture of ancestral origin. It also will confirm the sex of the individuals and determine whether any of those buried on the site were related to one another. This detailed analysis should be completed within the coming year. 2. The supplemental DNA information gained through Step 1 could provide the reference materials needed to determine if any living community members are related to the individuals whose remains were found at the Baldwin Hall site. The Office of Research is exploring the means by which to make this option available, as economically as possible, to local citizens wishing to pursue a possible DNA linkage. 3. Professor Marguerite Madden, director of UGA's Center for Geospatial Research, will lead a team to create a dynamic time-series visualization of the cultural and natural landscape surrounding Baldwin Hall from the 1800s to the present. This project will incorporate historic maps, aerial photographs, satellite images and drone video to reveal more about the environment in which the individuals buried on the Baldwin Hall site lived and worked. In addition, the research will document the evolution of the cemetery and campus to present day. Most of this research will be done over the next several months. Madden's efforts will complement those of Southeastern Archaeological Services Inc., which will be conducting archival research and mapping services using ground-penetrating radar to identify, to the extent possible via this technology, the boundaries of the Old Athens Cemetery. Southeastern's mapping data will be included in the final report on the Baldwin Hall site that is required for submittal by the Office of University Architects to the State Archaeologist's Office.
  • With the help of two physical therapists and training equipment, Devon Gales, who suffered a significant neck injury while playing for Southern University against Georgia in the fall of 2015, walked on Thursday.   Gales was injured on a kickoff return collision with former Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan. Since then, Gales has been taken in by the Bulldogs as one of their own, initially led by former coach Mark Richt and continued by Bryant Gantt and the current staff.   Gales has appeared at Georgia football and basketball games during the last year and a half since his injury and had a long stay at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta before being able to return home to Baton Rouge.   He has occasionally posted videos of his progress on Twitter, always keeping a positive attitude and maintaining his goal of walking on his own one day. And in February, the University of Georgia announced a fundraising initiative to help the Gales family build a new house.
  • The Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department says the summer swim season begins tomorrow. Leisure Services operates five public pools in Athens: Bishop Park, Lay Park, Memorial Park, Rocksprings Park, and the East Athens Community Center. They’ll be open through August 6.  Pool Locations The Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department operates five outdoor pools. The pools are open during the summer months, only.  Bishop Park, 705 Sunset Drive, 706-613-3589 (open weekends, only) Memorial Park, 293 Gran Ellen Drive, 706-613-3580 East Athens Community Center, 400 McKinley Drive, 706-613-3593 Lay Park, 297 Hoyt Street, 706-613-3596 Rocksprings Park, 291 Henderson Ext, 706-613-3603
  • A longtime Athens Boy Scout leader, whose alleged predatory behavior was detailed in the organization’s so-called “perversion files,” is being sued by two men alleging years of sexual abuse.  The suit against Ernest Boland, who died in 2013, was filed with a little more than a month remaining on a special provision that extended the statute of limitations in Georgia for childhood victims of sexual abuse seeking damages.  The plaintiffs, whose names are being withheld by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution because they were victims of sexual assault, allege the Boy Scouts of America and its Northeast Georgia Council knew of the accusations against Boland dating back to 1961 — several years before they were abused — but did nothing to stop him.    Two Athens churches named as co-defendants — Green Acres Baptist and Beech Haven Baptist — were also aware of the accusations, the suit alleges, but undertook no actions to protect minor Scouts from Boland’s abuse. 
  • A former Georgia Bulldog basketball coach is in line to be the next General Manager of the Atlanta Hawks: Travis Schlenk was an assistant under Ron Jirsa in the late 1990s. Schlenk is now the assistant GM for the Golden State Warriors.  From the AJC... The Hawks are set to hire Travis Schlenk, once on Ron Jirsa’s staff at Georgia and lately the assistant general manager with Golden State, as GM. This would mean Schlenk is moving from the NBA West, which the Warriors have ruled for three seasons, to the East. If you’re a GM based in the NBA East, here are your starting points: 1. LeBron James’ team is about to win the East for a seventh consecutive season. 2. LeBron James is 32. If you’re an Eastern Conference team, you’re playing for second place. Nobody in the East has beaten LeBron since 2010. Nobody is beating him today. But today eventually becomes tomorrow, and how many tomorrows are there, even for the indestructible LeBron? If you’re an Eastern team approaching this offseason, wouldn’t gearing up for next year be yet another in the series of fool’s errands? Shouldn’t your sights be set on, say, the 2020-21 season? Schlenk surely knows about retrenching, having been with the Warriors for 12 years. From 1995 through 2012, Golden State made the playoffs once. Only after Bob Myers came aboard in 2011 did the front office begin to figure things out, drafting Klay Thompson that year and Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in 2012. (Schlenk was regarded as one of the organization’s best talent evaluators.) Over the past three regular seasons, the Warriors have lost 39 games. The Hawks lost 39 games in the season just completed. To be fair, the Hawks did finish ahead of LeBron — in the 2014-15 regular season. Everything since has been tepid. In 23 months, they’ve plunged from 60 wins and the conference finals to 43 and a Round 1 exit. They’ve shed four of the starters who won those 60 games. The lone remaining regular mightn’t remain much longer: Paul Millsap has opted out of his contract and is a free agent. It could cost upwards of $200 million over five seasons to keep Millsap, who is — key point here — 42 days younger than LeBron. If the Hawks throw $200 million at Millsap, they’re paying maximum money to a player of a similar age who cannot lift a team above LeBron’s. If they don’t spend that money, they won’t be as good next season. But if they’d been all that hot to begin with, why did they need a new GM? Here it is again: In the grand scheme, re-signing Millsap will do more harm than good. Add $200 million to the $54 million due Kent Bazemore, who didn’t even start in the playoffs, and the $47.3 owed Dwight Howard, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter of an elimination game, and you’ve rendered your team what it was before Danny Ferry got hold of it — not good enough to win anything of consequence and too contractually bloated to get much better. Back to Point No. 2: LeBron’s age. Having entered the NBA at 18, how much longer is he apt to play? Kobe Bryant, another teenage pro, retired at 37, and Kobe at the end wasn’t nearly what he’d been. (He tore his Achilles at 34.) Kobe won five NBA titles; LeBron is working on No. 4. Let’s say LeBron starts to decline enough for it to matter at 35. (Being LeBron, he might never decline. But let’s assume he will.) If you’re an Eastern Conference team, there’s your target date. As Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid said last week: “We’re gearing up at the right time. When we start getting good, that’s when Cleveland and LeBron will start going down.” Maybe that sounds odd, given that the 76ers are 75-253 over the past four seasons. But losing by design yielded Embiid and Dario Saric, two of the NBA’s best rookies this season, and Ben Simmons, who would have been the best rookie had he not gotten hurt. Philly has the third pick in the June draft, which means it could add point guard De’Aaron Fox or shooter Malik Monk or wing Josh Jackson to this burgeoning mix. The Sixers mightn’t be a playoff team next season, but think how they’ll look in October 2020. Think also of this. Milwaukee has Giannis Antetokounmpo, who’s 22 and already one of the NBA’s 10 best players, and Jabari Parker, the No. 2 pick in 2014 who’s coming off another knee injury. Boston, which finished first in the East over the regular season, made Jaylen Brown of Wheeler last year’s No. 3 pick and will soon make Markelle Fultz the first player drafted. Orlando has a nucleus of young players — Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon — plus the draft’s No. 6 pick and a new president in Jeff Weltman, who left Toronto, and a new GM in John Hammond, who left Milwaukee. Yes, the landscape can change over four seasons. (Four summers ago, the aforementioned Ferry was the toast of Atlanta.) But if you’re the Hawks, do you see your future as brighter than any of the four Eastern teams listed above? Do you believe that retaining a 32-year-old who didn’t make even third-team All-NBA will stamp you as a challenger for the Eastern throne when finally LeBron is unseated or abdicates? If Schlenk’s first major move is to splurge on Millsap, that’d be an inauspicious start. If I’m the Hawks, I don’t want any GM who says, “Here’s my plan to beat LeBron next year.” Because nobody’s beating LeBron next year. The only way to plan is for that day when LeBron is no longer LeBron. If you’re an Eastern Conference team, now’s the time to retrench.
  • Democrats are meeting this evening: the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee holds its monthly session, 6 o’clock at the Library on Baxter Street. They’ll hear from Athens state Representative Spencer Frye. Oglethorpe County Democrats will meet at 7 o’clock at the courthouse in Lexington. 
  • The state Labor Department says the Athens unemployment rate remains unchanged from March to April, checking in at 4.5 percent for both months. Labor Commissioner says Athens did see job growth in April, with another 600 people becoming unemployed in Athens-Clarke, Oconee, Madison, and Oglethorpe counties.  From the state Dept of Labor... The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced today that Metro Athens’ unemployment rate in April was 4.5 percent, unchanged from March. In April 2016, the rate was 4.7 percent. While the rate was unchanged, more people became employed, the labor force grew and employers created more jobs and reduced the number of new layoffs. There were 110 more Metro Athens residents employed in April than in March, pushing the total number to 94,260. There were 2,061 more people employed in April than in April 2016. The labor force, which consists of employed residents and those who are unemployed and actively looking for jobs, grew by 50 to 98,668. That total represents an increase of 1,964 over the past 12 months. The number of jobs in Athens increased by 600, or 0.6 percent, to 95,900. The job growth came in leisure and hospitality, retail trade and professional and business services, along with state government. Over-the-year, a total of 1,500 jobs were added, a 1.6 percent growth rate, up from 94,400, in April 2016. The job growth came in state government, retail trade, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services, along with the goods-producing sector, which includes manufacturing and construction.  The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, declined by 88, or 26.1 percent, to 249. Most of the decrease came in manufacturing and retail trade. Over the year, claims were down by 62, or 19.9 percent, from 311 in April 2016. Metro Gainesville had the lowest area jobless rate at 3.9 percent, while the Heart of Georgia and River Valley regions had the highest at 5.9 percent. Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for April was 5 percent, down from 5.1 percent in March. It was 5.4 percent in April 2016.
  • The latest season of Georgia Bulldog baseball comes to a close: the Diamond Dogs lost 3-0 to Mississippi State in Wednesday’s rain-delayed opening round game of the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament in Hoover Alabama.  Sophomore Konnor Pilkinton carried a shutout to the ninth to lead 19th-ranked Mississippi State to the win over Georgia at the SEC Tournament Wednesday at the Hoover Met. MSU junior first baseman Brent Rooker, the SEC Player of the Year, provided a 2-0 lead when he smashed his league-leading 21st home run in the first inning off junior Chase Adkins. In the third, State loaded the bases with one out and only managed a sacrifice fly from Hunter Vansau to make it 3-0. State improves to 35-22 while Pilkington is now 7-5.   Georgia missed out on a scoring opportunity in the second inning, putting runners at the corners with nobody out after Mitchell Webb reached with a leadoff walk and LJ Talley lined a single to right field. However, Pilkington retired the next three Bulldogs to maintain their edge. Going to the ninth, Georgia had hits from Talley, freshman shortstop Cam Shepherd in the first inning and freshman catcher Austin Biggar in the eighth frame. Adkins saw his record drop to 6-7, allowing three runs on seven hits. Georgia’s bullpen of Drew Moody, Kevin Smith and Zac Kristofak combined to provide 4.1 innings of scoreless relief.   In the ninth, Georgia looked to rally as Shepherd collected his second hit to give him his team-best 21st multiple-hit game of the year and then Curry followed with a single. State turned to left-hander Riley Self. He got McGovern to bounce into a double play and then retired Webb to preserve the shutout for his fifth save.   Two weeks ago in Athens, Georgia claimed the regular season series over then sixth-ranked MSU two games to one. In that series, Pilkington and MSU won the opener 9-3 as he tossed eight scoreless innings, allowing just four hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.   The Bulldogs end the season with a record of 25-32.   Dawg Tracks *Nine Bulldogs played in the SEC Tournament for the first time in their career including four freshmen starting position players. *Freshman Cam Shepherd registered his team-leading 73rd hit with a single in the first, and it extended his hitting streak to five games. Also, he played flawless defense with four putouts and four assists. *Junior Will Campbell saw his first action in more than a month (23 games) as he pinch-hit in the fifth inning and played right field for the remainder of the game. *Georgia is now 28-43 all-time in SEC Tournament games after making its 23rd appearance. The Bulldogs are 4-9 against MSU at the SEC Tournament.   Coach’s Corner: Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin “Konnor Pilkington was the difference in this game, that’s twice in the past two weeks that he’s shut us out for eight innings. We had our chance early in the game with two on and nobody out and he pitched out of trouble. I thought we pitched out of trouble a few times too. Still, we kept fighting and had a chance in the ninth with the tying run at the plate. I thought our kids battled down the stretch to get us to the SEC Tournament. It’s tough in this league and we won our last three SEC series against three really good teams.” 
  • The controversial campus carry bill that passed in this year’s legislative session is, after receiving the signature of Governor Nathan Deal, set to become law later this year. The measure, which would allow permitted students over the age of 21 to carry firearms on college campuses in Georgia, was opposed by University presidents around the state, UGA’s Jere Morehead among them. Now Steve Wrigley, a former University of Georgia administrator who is now the Chancellor of the University System of Georgia, is issuing what he calls “guidelines regarding the implementation of House Bill 280.” Among them is the admonishment that “each institution will need to review its campus conduct and weapons policies to ensure that they comply with these changes to the law.” Following is text of a message from University System Chancellor Steve Wrigley... TO: The University System of Georgia Community FROM: Chancellor Steve Wrigley DATE: May 24, 2017 RE: House Bill 280   House Bill 280, commonly known as the “campus carry” legislation, will take effect on July 1. I understand that many of you have strong feelings about this bill. Yet, whether you opposed or supported the legislation, it will soon be state law, and I respectfully ask everyone to exercise patience, understanding and respect as we implement it. We all share the same goal of ensuring a safe campus environment. We should work together to implement the law as written and thoughtfully address any complications that may arise.   Below are guidelines developed by the Office of Legal Affairs for the implementation of House Bill 280 that must be followed on all University System campuses beginning on July 1.   While current law already allows license-holders to keep weapons secured in motor vehicles, beginning on July 1, House Bill 280 will allow anyone who is properly licensed in the State of Georgia to carry a handgun in a concealed manner on property owned or leased by public colleges and universities, with some exceptions as explained below. It will not allow any other type of gun to be carried around campus; nor will it allow handguns to be carried openly. (House Bill 280 does not apply, however, to institution-sponsored events or excursions away from campus on property not owned or leased by a University System institution.)   The statute defines concealed as “carried in such a fashion that does not actively solicit the attention of others and is not prominently, openly, and intentionally displayed except for purposes of defense of self or others.” A license-holder therefore may carry a handgun while it is substantially (“but not necessarily completely”) covered by an article of clothing he or she is wearing, or contained within a bag (“of a nondescript nature”) he or she is carrying, or in another similar manner that generally keeps it out of the view of others.   There are a number of exceptions to the new law that limit the places on campus where handguns may be carried. Even license-holders may not carry a handgun into the following locations on college/university-owned or leased property:   Buildings and property used for athletic sporting events. This exception includes stadiums, gymnasiums and similar facilities in which intercollegiate games are staged (but does not extend to so-called “tailgating” areas where fans may congregate outside the gates of the sports facility). It does not extend to student recreation centers and similar facilities that are not used for intercollegiate games.   Student housing facilities including residence halls and similar buildings where students live such as fraternity and sorority houses. (Note that any housing that is not on property owned or leased by a University System institution is not covered by House Bill 280.)   Spaces – including any room, continuous collection of rooms or outdoor facility – that are used for preschool or childcare. In order to qualify, preschool and childcare spaces must have controlled access (meaning access via personnel stationed at the door or an electronic mechanism) limited to authorized people.   Rooms and other spaces during the times when they are being used for classes in which high school students are enrolled, whether through dual enrollment and programs such as Move On When Ready or through college and career academies or other specialized programs such as Early College. License-holders who want to carry handguns to class will need to visit the institution’s registrar or other designated employee, who after verifying their enrollment status will tell them which of their classes, if any, have high school students enrolled. Institutions shall not, however, keep any listing of those who inquire. (Note also that the names of enrolled high school students may not be revealed in accordance with applicable privacy laws.) It is the responsibility of license-holders to seek out this information and make themselves aware of which classrooms fall within this exception.   Faculty, staff and administrative offices. This exception includes offices and office suites occupied by faculty, staff and administrators but does not include more general public common spaces outside of those areas.   Rooms during the times when they are being used for disciplinary proceedings of any kind, including those regarding students, faculty or staff. These would include any meetings or hearings that are part of the University System’s or the institution’s sexual misconduct, student conduct, dispute resolution, grievance, appeals or similar processes.   Under the new law, it is a misdemeanor crime for a license-holder to carry a handgun “in a manner or in a building, property, room, or space in violation of” these provisions. Doing so also may be a violation of the institution’s student code of conduct and personnel rules. It will be the responsibility of those license- holders who choose to carry handguns on campus to know the law and to understand where they can go while carrying. Institutions will not provide gun storage facilities or erect signs outside restricted areas.   Each institution will need to review its campus conduct and weapons policies to ensure that they comply with these changes to the law. While House Bill 280 provides for specific exceptions where handguns may not go, it does not give individual institutions discretion to bar or further limit handguns on their campuses. Institutions therefore may not place additional restrictions or prohibitions on the carrying of handguns beyond those contained in the law. Neither should anyone else attempt to interfere with the ability of license-holders to carry concealed handguns on campus.   It is incumbent upon each of us to follow the law. Students, faculty and staff should not attempt themselves to monitor or to enforce compliance with the statute by those who do carry handguns. Only law enforcement personnel, including the University System’s more than 800 POST-certified officers, will be responsible for enforcing the law. If others have concerns or questions, they should contact their campus law enforcement departments. In the coming weeks, the University System Office of Safety and Security will be providing training to campus law enforcement officers.   Our mission remains unchanged before and after July 1. Thank you for all that you do for the University System of Georgia.