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Entertainment Headlines

    Seeking to appeal to visitors more familiar with the words of 'Game of Thrones' heroine Daenarys Targaryen than the writings of James Wilson, Philadelphia museums and historic sites are thinking differently, using creative art exhibitions and adding online components to their offerings. 'Revolutionary: A Pop-Up Street Art Exhibition,' on display until July 4, features 13 artists who created 13 works that challenge the status quo. On display throughout downtown, the exhibition includes paintings, weavings, photographs — and a knit and crochet installation featuring Targayen quotes like 'I will answer injustice with justice.' Meanwhile, 'American Treasures' at the National Constitution Center showcases drafts of the U.S. Constitution written by lesser-known founding father James Wilson. After seeing an online version of the Constitution garner more than 10 million hits in 18 months, museum leaders decided to also feature the rare drafts online, where visitors will learn how one draft called for the U.S. president to be addressed as 'His Excellency.' 'Letting them see the words themselves has been a way to engage young people,' said the organization's president and CEO Jeffrey Rosen. 'It's a way to bring history and ideas alive.' Colonial history is enjoying a resurgence thanks to the success of Broadway's 'Hamilton.' A group of fourth graders last week ran through the newly unveiled Museum of the American Revolution singing the show's songs and looking for historic highlights they'd learned through music. The 'Revolutionary' exhibition — funded by Visit Philadelphia, the city's tourism arm — was curated by Conrad Benner, founder and editor of streetsdept.com, a website that promotes urban art and exploration. Benner said he looked for artists whose work challenged the status quo. 'All revolutions start with people looking at the world around them and asking, 'What can we do better for ourselves and our neighbors?'' Benner said. 'It's very powerful to have those ideas in public spaces.' The artists in the Revolutionary exhibition approached the subject in different ways. El Salvador-born artist Carlos Lopez Rosa created a portrait of a South American freedom fighter few people would recognize, but the image is powerful because of its canvas: It is painted on a machete, which represents conflict, he said. Well-known yarn-bomber Ishknits was inspired to make a crochet and knit work bearing quotes from 'Game of Thrones' character Daenerys Targaryen, including, 'I will answer injustice with justice.' Yasmine Mustafa, whose family came to the U.S. from Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War, was one of the creative minds behind 'Birth Lottery,' a poster that depicts stork flying over houses. The image is meant to showcase the randomness of where one's life begins, Mustafa said. 'We don't choose our country, our race, our economic class but these are the things that shape our lives.
  • The Latest on the Cannes Film Festival (all times local): 8:15 p.m. The Cannes Film Festival jury has awarded its coveted Palme d'Or award to Ruben Ostlund's 'The Square.' 'Oh my god! OK,' the Swedish filmmaker exclaimed after he bounded onto the stage to collect the prize. He led the crowd in a cheer, too. Ostlund previously won the Jury Prize in the 2014 festival's Un Certain Regard section for 'Force Majeure.' Dominic West, Elisabeth Moss and Claes Bang star in 'The Square.' Bang plays the curator of an art museum, who sets up 'The Square,' an installation inviting passers-by to altruism. But after he reacts foolishly to the theft of his phone, the respected father of two finds himself dragged into shameful situations. ___ 8:05 p.m. Sofia Coppola has won the Cannes Film Festival best director prize for 'The Beguiled,' her remake of Don Siegel's 1971 Civil War drama. The French AIDS drama '120 Beats Per Minute' won the Grand Prize from the jury. The Grand Prize recognizes a strong film that missed out on the top prize, the Palme d'Or. The jury also presented a special prize to celebrate the festival's 70th anniversary, to actress Nicole Kidman. Kidman wasn't at the French Rivera ceremony, but sent a video message from Nashville, saying she was 'absolutely devastated' to miss the show. Jury member Will Smith made the best of the situation, pretending to be Kidman. He fake-cried and said in halting French, 'merci beaucoup madames et monsieurs.' ____ 7:55 p.m. Diane Kruger has been named best actress and Joaquin Phoenix best actor at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival. Kruger was honored for her performance in Fatih Akin's 'In the Fade.' She told the star-studded audience she was 'overcome.' Kruger said. 'Thank you a thousand times.' Phoenix was recognized for his role in Lynne Ramsay's thriller 'You Were Never Really Here.' He played a tormented war veteran trying to save a teenage girl from a sex trafficking ring. Phoenix wore sneakers on stage as he collected the prize. He said his leather shoes had been flown ahead of him. He apologized for his appearance, saying the prize was 'totally unexpected.' ___ 7:50 p.m. The Cannes Film Festival jury has awarded two — not one — screenplay awards this year — for 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer' and 'You Were Never Really Here.' Jury president Pedro Almodovar said as he announced the selection on Sunday night, 'We have our first surprise.' The jury prize went to Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev's 'Loveless.' The Palme d'Or award for short films has gone to the 15-minute-long Chinese movie 'A Gentle Night' by Qiu Yang. ___ 7:20 p.m. The Cannes Film Festival awards show is underway, with Italian actress Monica Bellucci as host. In her opening speech, the Italian actress defended the role of violence in movies, saying they only reflect the violence of the real world. Bellucci said, 'Cinema takes its inspiration from reality.' 'Nothing is more violent than reality,' she added. 'Cinema only plays its role as a mirror.' The festival has handed out its first award: the Golden Camera prize to Leonor Serraille for her French movie 'Young Woman.' The Camera d'Or is awarded to the best first film, with 26 films vying for it this year. Bellucci also spoke out about the representation of women in the world of cinema. Three female filmmakers have movies among the 19 in competition this year for Cannes' highest honor, the Palme d'Or. ___ 7:10 p.m. Among those spotted on the Cannes red carpet ahead of the award ceremony was filmmaker Robin Campillo. His AIDS drama '120 Beats Per Minute' earned some of the best reviews of the festival. Campillo told French broadcaster Canal Plus he had returned to Paris after the screening of his film, but returned after getting a call asking him back for Sunday's award ceremony. Does that suggest a possible Palme d'Or? Time will tell. Campillo's movie centers on the activist group ACT UP in Paris in the 1990s during the AIDS crisis. ___ 7:05 p.m. The red carpet at Cannes is humming with stars ahead of the ceremony that will award the coveted Palme d'Or prize. Two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain, looking fabulous in a white dress with red patterning on the front, said she and other members of the jury led by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar wrestled Sunday with 'a very difficult choice.' The actress told broadcaster Canal Plus, 'We saw beautiful films.' Fellow jury member Will Smith was bubbly as ever, saying: 'I'm ecstatic. This has been a beautiful experience.' Diane Kruger, in a sober black dress, said: 'My heart is beating very, very fast.' ___ 5:51 p.m. The Cannes Film Festival Jury has done its job. But its president isn't letting slip which film it has picked for the coveted Palme d'Or award. Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar told a French BFM television reporter who managed to squeeze a few words out of him that the award deliberations Sunday were 'very fast.' Almodovar said: 'We did our work.' But for the names of the winners: Stay tuned. ___ 4:41 p.m. The Cannes Film Festival is gearing up to award its prestigious Palme d'Or at a glitzy award ceremony. No single movie has emerged as the clear favorite among the 19 in competition for the coveted prize being awarded Sunday evening. Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar presided over the competition jury. Almodovar has made clear that he doesn't want the Palme d'Or, the festival's top prize, to go to a movie that isn't shown on big screens. That could bode ill for Bong Joon-ho's 'Okja' and Noah Baumbach's 'The Meyerowitz Stories,' the first Netflix releases ever selected to be in competition for the Palme d'Or. Regarded as cinema's most prestigious festival, Cannes is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Organizers have declared that next year, streaming-only films will not be accepted for the competition.
  • It was smooth sailing to the top spot at the box office for 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,' but the waters were choppier for the Dwayne Johnson comedy 'Baywatch.' Studio estimates on Sunday say the fifth installment of the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' franchise commandeered $62.2 million in its first three days in theaters. The Johnny Depp-starrer is projected to take in $76.6 million over the four-day holiday weekend. It was the second-lowest domestic opening for the nearly $4 billion franchise, but the latest film, which cost a reported $230 million to produce, has massive international appeal. Its four-day global total is expected to hit $300 million. Having the majority of profits come from international receipts is not worrying Walt Disney Studios. 'This is a trend that we've seen play out over the course of these films,' said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution for Disney. ''Pirates' is a huge spectacle film of the kind that international audiences continue to be drawn toward ... but the domestic response also shows that the audience for this film is clearly there.' The R-rated 'Baywatch,' meanwhile, is sinking like a rock. The critically derided update of the 1990s TV show earned only $18.1 million over the weekend against a nearly $70 million price tag. Including Thursday earnings, the film is projected to collect $26.6 million by the close of Memorial Day. Even 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' did better in its fourth weekend. The space opera added $19.9 million to take second place ahead of 'Baywatch' at the box office. The 'Baywatch' miss could be attributable to a couple of factors. Even with the star power of Johnson, R-rated Hollywood updates to family friendly television shows have a dubious track record, ComScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said. Earlier this year, Dax Shepard's R-rated update of 'CHiPs' tanked, netting only $18.6 million domestically against a $25 million budget. This month's box office has also been tough on nearly every film except 'Guardians of the Galaxy.' ''Baywatch' doesn't stand alone as a casualty in this marketplace,' Dergarabedian said. 'It's joining a cadre of other films that have underperformed.' Even the decently reviewed 'Alien: Covenant' dropped an uncommonly steep 71 percent in its second weekend in theaters to take fourth place with $10.5 million. The teen romance 'Everything, Everything' rounded out the top five with $6.2 million. 'Hollywood needs June to save the box office world,' Dergarabedian said. First up to that challenge: 'Wonder Woman.' Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday. 1.'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,' $62.2 million ($208.4 million international). 2.'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,' $19.9 million ($8.6 million international). 3.'Baywatch,' $18.1 million. 4.'Alien: Covenant,' $10.5 million ($10.8 million international). 5.'Everything, Everything,' $6.2 million. 6.'Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul,' $4.4 million ($2.4 million international). 7.'Snatched,' $3.9 million ($1.4 million international). 8.'King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,' $3.2 million ($10 million international). 9.'The Boss Baby,' $1.7 million ($2.9 million international). 10.'Beauty and the Beast,' $1.6 million ($3.8 million international). ___ Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore: 1. 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,' $208.4 million. 2. 'Alien: Covenant,' $10.8 million. 3. 'Dangal,' $10.6 million. 4. 'King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,' $10 million. 5. 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,' $8.6 million. 6. 'Get Out,' $7.3 million. 7. 'Our President,' $4.3 million. 8. 'God of War,' $4.2 million. 9. 'Beauty and the Beast,' $3.8 million. 10. 'The Fate of the Furious,' $3.3 million. ___ Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr
  • Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart has posted photos of her new baby boy on Instragram. >> Read more trending news The photos feature her husband Matthew Gilmour, daughter Chloe, 2, and newborn son James. “These people are my whole world,” Smart wrote in a caption of a family portrait. “Whenever I look at them I realize how fortunate I am. I hope I never forget what a blessing a safe, healthy, happy family is.” Earlier this month, the proud parents took baby James to get a “special blessing.” “The sunshine made today the perfect day for an adventure with great Granny and Grandpa, and great uncle Neville!” she wrote in a photo caption of the family visiting with Gilmour’s parents in Scotland, where he’s from. Another photo shows Chloe and James snuggling. “Nothing better then seeing my two babies love on each other!” Smart wrote. Smart was kidnapped from her bedroom in her home in Salt Lake City in 2002 when she was 14 by a homeless man, who her father had employed as a handy man, and his wife. She was rescued nine months later by police just 18 miles from the family home.  Suspect, Brian David Mitchell, and his wife, Wanda Ileen Barzee, were eventually convicted in the Smart kidnapping and assault case.     
  • The Cannes Film Festival awarded its coveted Palme d'Or award to Ruben Ostlund's Swedish comedy 'The Square' on Sunday, while Sofia Coppola became only the second woman to win the best director award. 'Oh my god! OK,' the Swedish filmmaker exclaimed after he bounded onto the stage to collect the prestigious Palme, in a rare and somewhat surprising win for a comedy. In 'The Square,' Claes Bang plays a museum director whose manicured life begins to unravel after a series of events that upset his, and the museum's, calm equilibrium. The movie's title comes from an art installation that Bang's character is prepping, which invites anyone who enters a small square to be kind and generous. The film's satire and exploration of moral dilemmas culminated in one of the festival's most eye-catching scenes. A muscled, grunting man pretending to be a gorilla upsets a black-tie dinner for the museum, sniffing attendees and dragging a woman by the hair. The president of the Cannes jury, Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, praised the film for exploring the 'dictatorship' of political correctness and those trapped by it. 'They live in a kind of hell because of that,' Almodovar said. 'It's clever. It's witty. It's funny. It deals with questions so important,' said French actress and filmmaker Agnes Jaoui, a member of the jury that also included Americans Will Smith and Jessica Chastain. Most odds makers didn't have 'The Square' as a favorite to win the prestigious Palme d'Or, the top prize awarded at Cannes. Coppola won best director for 'The Beguiled,' her remake of Don Siegel's 1971 Civil War drama about a Union soldier hiding out in a Southern girls' school. Hailed as Coppola's most feminist work yet, the remade thriller told from a more female point of view stars Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst, with Colin Farrell playing the wounded soldier. Coppola was one of three female filmmakers out of 19 in competition for the Palme this year. The first — and until now, only — female winner of the best director prize was Soviet director Yuliya Ippolitovna Solntseva in 1961. Diane Kruger was named best actress and Joaquin Phoenix best actor as the festival celebrated its 70th anniversary. Kruger was honored for her performance in Fatih Akin's 'In the Fade.' She played a German woman whose son and Turkish husband are killed in a bomb attack. The film alludes to a series of actual killings that shook Germany six years ago, when it came to light that police had spent more time investigating the possible mob connections of migrant victims than the tell-tale signs of the far-right plot eventually uncovered. 'I cannot accept this award without thinking about anyone who has ever been affected by an act of terrorism and who is trying to pick up the pieces and go on living after having lost everything,' the actress said. 'Please know that you are not forgotten.' Phoenix was recognized for his role in Lynne Ramsay's thriller 'You Were Never Really Here,' in which he played a tormented war veteran trying to save a teenage girl from a sex trafficking ring. The actor wore sneakers on stage as he collected the prize. He said his leather shoes had been flown ahead of him. He apologized for his appearance, saying the prize was 'totally unexpected.' The French AIDS drama '120 Beats Per Minute' won the Grand Prize from the jury. The award recognizes a strong film that missed out on the Palme d'Or. Directed by Robin Campillo, the co-screenwriter of the Palme d'Or-winning film 'The Class,' the movie centers on the activist group ACT UP in Paris in the 1990s during the AIDS crisis. The film's docu-drama retelling of that painful period, combined with a burgeoning spirit of unity for the gay community, earned it some of the best reviews of the festival. Vanity Fair called the film 'a vital new gay classic.' Almodovar said: 'I loved the movie.' The jury also presented a special prize to Nicole Kidman to celebrate the festival's 70th anniversary. Kidman wasn't at the French Rivera ceremony, but sent a video message from Nashville, saying she was 'absolutely devastated' to miss the show. Jury member Smith made the best of the situation, pretending to be Kidman. He fake-cried and said in halting French, 'merci beaucoup madames et monsieurs.' There were no prizes for the first Netflix releases selected to be in competition for the Palme d'Or: Bong Joon-ho's 'Okja' and Noah Baumbach's 'The Meyerowitz Stories.' Almodovar had made clear beforehand that he didn't want the Palme to go to a movie that isn't shown on big screens. The Netflix selections prompted protests from French movie distributors and led Cannes to rule out, beginning next year, streaming-only films.
  • Top Brazilian musical performers are lending their talents to the latest protest in the country calling for new presidential elections while pressure mounts on the country's leader to resign amid corruption allegations. The Sunday afternoon concert on Copacabana beach will feature Grammy award-winner Caetano Veloso and other musicians. Thousands of people are expected to attend. Concert organizers demand the resignation of President Michel Temer, who is being investigated by Brazil's high court for alleged obstruction of justice and involvement in corruption. They also want new direct presidential elections if Temer resigns or is forced out. Brazilian law calls in such a case for the lower house speaker to serve as interim president for up to 30 days until Congress decides who will finish the term that runs through 2018.
  • Two are more wonderful than one. Gal Gadot and Lynda Carter met, embraced and posed for photographs at Thursday’s premiere of “Wonder Woman” in Hollywood, ETOnline reported. >> Read more trending news Carter, 65, made the Wonder Woman character famous during its television series run from 1975 to 1979. Gadot is starring in the movie version, which debuts nationally on June 2. The two women reunited at the Pantages Theatre, along with the film’s director, Patty Jenkins. 'I am the bearer of the torch and now I'm passing it forward to Gal and to Patty,' Carter told ET. 'I spoke with Patty early on and I couldn't wait to meet Gal. The three of us share some sisterhood by living and breathing this character.' 'I just love her very much so,' Gadot told ET. 'She is such a special women and a unique person and it's always great to see her, especially tonight where she's going to see the movie for the first time. And my heart is going crazy.' Carter admitted she was nervous before watching the film. 'I can't breathe. I am so excited,' she said. 'I really want you all to embrace this. This is another way to look at her. It doesn't mean to abandon me or abandon the way that I had her, the way that I played her. This is just another way to look at Wonder Woman.”
  • British police made another arrest and stormed another house Sunday as they hunted for suspects in the Manchester bombing, while a government minister said members of attacker Salman Abedi's network may still be at large. Greater Manchester Police said a 25-year-old man was arrested in the city on suspicion of terrorist offenses. Eleven other men between the ages of 18 and 44 also are in custody. Armed officers and police dogs took part in the raid on a house in Moss Side, a working-class area of south Manchester. Most of the searches and arrests since Monday night's bombing have been in multi-ethnic south Manchester, where Abedi — the son of Libyan parents — was born and raised. Police say that 1,000 people are working on the investigation, trying to track down Abedi's accomplices and piece together his movements in the days before he detonated a bomb at an Ariana Grande concert. The explosion killed 22 people — including seven children under 18 — and injured more than 100. Abedi died in the blast. Investigators say they have dismantled a large part of his network, but expect to make more arrests. 'The operation is still at full tilt,' Home Secretary Amber Rudd said, adding that some suspects could remain at large. 'Until the operation is complete, we can't be entirely sure that it is closed,' she said. British police now have 12 suspects in custody — including Abedi's elder brother Ismail — and have searched properties across the northwest England city. Another brother and Abedi's father have been detained in Libya. Police have released surveillance-camera images of Abedi on the night of the attack that show him dressed in sneakers, jeans, a dark jacket and a baseball cap. The straps of a backpack are visible on his shoulders. Authorities are appealing for more information about his final days. They say he returned to Britain from Libya on May 18, and likely completed assembling his bomb at a rented apartment in central Manchester. There were prayers for the victims at church services across Manchester on Sunday. In Rome, Pope Francis led thousands of people in St. Peter's Square in prayer, saying he was 'close to the relatives and all those who are weeping for the dead.' On Saturday, Britain lowered its official terrorism threat level from 'critical' to 'severe' after police said they had dismantled a large part of Abedi's network. But security remained high at major events across Britain on Sunday, including the Great Manchester Run road race, where police armed with submachine guns protected thousands of participants and spectators. Peter Hook, a member of seminal Manchester band New Order, was among the runners and said the tragedy had brought people together. 'I've always had a pride in this city, ever since I was born,' he said. 'They picked the wrong people to mess with this time.' The government is facing criticism after acknowledging that Abedi was on security services' radar, but wasn't a major focus of scrutiny. Rudd said Sunday that intelligence agencies were monitoring 3,000 suspected extremists and had a wider pool of 20,000 people of interest. 'I would not rush to conclusions ... that they have somehow missed something,' Rudd said. The family of one victim, 18-year-old Georgina Callander, said her life had been cut short by 'evil, evil men prepared to ruin lives and destroy families.' 'I wish I could say that Georgina is one of the last to die in this way, but unless our government opens its eyes we know we are only another in a long line of parents on a list that continues to grow,' the family said in a statement released through Greater Manchester Police.
  • A red 1962 Lockheed Jetstar private jet once owned by Elvis Presley sold for $430,000 at a California auction featuring celebrity memorabilia on Saturday. >> Read more trending news The plane had been sitting on a New Mexico tarmac for 35 years before it was consigned for sale, GWS Auctions said. It was owned by Presley and his father, Vernon, according to Liveauctioneers.com. The buyer was not disclosed, and auctioneer Brigitte Kruse told The Associated Press that she could not immediately release information about the buyer or the buyer’s plans for the plane. GWS Auctions said Presley designed the interior of the plane, which sports gold-tone woodwork, red velvet seats, and red shag carpet. The jet no longer has an engine and its cockpit needs repair. Privately owned for the past 35 years, the jet has been sitting on a tarmac in Roswell, N.M., the auction house said. 
  • As Greg Allman neared the end of his life, he tried to maintain some privacy about what was coming. 'He kept it very private because he wanted to continue to play music until he couldn't,' said Michael Lehman, the rock star's manager. Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel The Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died Saturday at his home near Savannah, Georgia, at age 69, Lehman said. Allman died peacefully and surrounded by loved ones Lehman, told The Associated Press. He blamed liver cancer for Allman's death. He announced on Aug. 5 that he was 'under his doctor's care at the Mayo Clinic' due to 'serious health issues,' and canceled his shows later that year. In March, he canceled performances for the rest of 2017. Funeral arrangements had not been finalized Saturday. But Lehman said Allman would be buried alongside his late brother, founding Allman Brothers guitarist Duane Allman, at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, where the band got its start nearly five decades ago. 'That's in his wishes,' Lehman said. Tributes to Allman poured out Saturday. Southern rock and country musician Charlie Daniels said via Twitter, 'Gregg Allman had a feeling for the blues very few ever have hard to believe that magnificent voice is stilled forever.' Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Allman was raised in Florida by a single mother. Allman idolized his older brother, Duane, eventually joining a series of bands with him. Together they formed the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band. The original band featured extended jams, tight guitar harmonies by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, rhythms from a pair of drummers and the smoky, blues-inflected voice of Gregg Allman. Songs such as 'Whipping Post,' ''Ramblin' Man' and 'Midnight Rider' helped define what came to be known as Southern rock and opened the doors for such stars as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band. In his 2012 memoir, 'My Cross to Bear,' Allman described how Duane was a central figure in his life in the years after their father was murdered by a man he met in a bar. Although Gregg was the first to pick up a guitar, it was Duane who excelled at it. So Gregg later switched to the organ. They failed to crack success until they formed The Allman Brothers Band in 1969. Based in Macon, the group featured Betts, drummers Jai Johanny 'Jaimoe' Johanson and Butch Trucks and bassist Berry Oakley. Their self-titled debut album came out in 1969, but it was their live album 'At Fillmore East' in 1971 that catapulted the band to stardom. Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident in October 1971, just months after recording the Fillmore shows. Another motorcycle accident the following year claimed Oakley's life. In a 2012 interview with The Associated Press, Gregg Allman said Duane remained on his mind every day. Once in a while, he could even feel his presence. 'I can tell when he's there, man,' Allman said. 'I'm not going to get all cosmic on you. But listen, he's there.' The 1970s brought more turmoil: Allman was compelled to testify in a drug case against a former road manager for the band and his marriage to the actress and singer Cher was short-lived even by show business standards. In 1975, Cher and Allman married three days after she divorced her husband and singing partner, Sonny Bono. Cher requested a divorce just nine days after their Las Vegas wedding, although she dismissed the suit a month later. Together they released a widely panned duets album under the name 'Allman and Woman.' They had one child together, Elijah Blue, and Cher filed for legal separation in 1977. Cher said via Twitter on Saturday, 'IVE TRIED.WORDS ARE IMPOSSIBLE.' The Allman Brothers Band split up in the 1980s and then re-formed several times over the years. Starting in 1990, the reunited band began releasing new music and found a new audience. In 1995 the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and won a Grammy Award for best rock instrumental performance for 'Jessica' the following year. In 2000, Betts was ousted from the band via fax for alleged substance abuse and poor performance. Butch Trucks died in January 2017. Authorities said he shot himself in front of his wife at their Florida home. Lehman said Allman had recently finished what would be his final album, titled Southern Blood and scheduled for release in September. 'He actually just listened to a few tracks of it last night and was really passionate and excited for that record to be complete,' Lehman said. In his memoir, Allman said he spent years overindulging in women, drugs and alcohol before getting sober in the mid-1990s. He said that after getting sober, he felt 'brand new' at the age of 50. However, he ended up with hepatitis C which severely damaged his liver. He underwent a liver transplant in 2010. The statement on Allman's website says that as he faced health problems, 'Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.' After the surgery, he turned music to help him recover and released his first solo album in 14 years 'Low Country Blues' in 2011. 'I think it's because you're doing something you love,' Allman said in a 2011 interview with The Associated Press. 'I think it just creates a diversion from the pain itself. You've been swallowed up by something you love, you know, and you're just totally engulfed.' The band was honored with a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2012. ___ Hall reported from Nashville, Tennessee.

Local News

  • 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
  • From UGA Sports Communications ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. ----- A $4.451 million increase in the fiscal year 2018 budget, athletic director’s overview of the athletic program, and a detailed review and explanation of the reserve funds highlighted the annual spring meeting of the University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors Thursday. The total Athletic Association budget for 2018 was approved at $127,590,041. J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity’s report included an assessment of the overall athletic program. (full transcript of his report is included below). ‘’The responsibility to enhance our strengths and address our weaknesses lands on my desk’’ said McGarity. ‘’I know our program is not reaching its full potential. Our staff spends every day committed to moving our program forward, both collectively and sport by sport, and when we fall short of expectations, we are there to provide support, and when we win, we celebrate alongside each sport.’’ McGarity said the Athletic Association’s goal is for every one of the Bulldog sports to compete in its national championship.   ‘’This year, 16 of our 21 sports did just that,’’ he said. ‘’As with every year, some teams met or exceeded their expectations while some experienced uncharacteristic results. We still have teams competing in their NCAA Championships, so we still have work to do. Eight of our 21 teams have finished among the nation’s Top 10, with men’s and women’s outdoor track and field to be held in Oregon in early June. Both of our teams are projected to finish in the Top 10. I feel confident that we will see marked improvement in numerous sports in the near, if not immediate, future.’’ The 2018 budget marked the first portion of a lengthy report by treasurer Ryan Nesbit, UGA Vice President for Finance and Administration. Nesbit also detailed the Athletic Association reserve funds and outlined spending restrictions. He said the total operating reserve funds amounted to $68.1 million; however, only $36.9 million of that amount are available to support credit ratings, future projects, and maintain a standard operating reserve to provide funding for unforeseen events. (A condensed summation of Nesbit’s report follows below and accompanies the attached slides.) Among the highlights of the many reports came from Faculty Athletics Representative David Shipley, who announced that UGA’s 511 student-athletes posted a best-ever 3.13 grade point average in the recently completed Spring Semester.   Other highlights of the Athletics Board meeting included the following: • A presentation by Executive Associate AD Josh Brooks on the following current facilities construction projects: Phase 2 of Stegeman Coliseum upgrades that include all new seating, center court-hung scoreboard, as well as lighting and sound systems; the resurfacing of Spec Towns Track, scheduled for an Aug. 1 completion; reconstruction of the soccer stadium grandstand at the Jack Turner Soccer/Softball Complex; expansion and renovation of the Boyd Golf Center; upgrading of the restrooms on the 100, 200 and 300 levels at Sanford Stadium; beginning of the West End Zone project at Sanford Stadium. • A presentation by Executive Associate AD Matt Borman on his observations since beginning his position in Development in January of this year, and also on the progress of athletic fundraising efforts over the short and long terms. • A presentation from Shipley, representing the Student Wellness Committee, on the development of UGA’s Career Development program. Less than a year old, this program strives to counsel student-athletes on all aspects of career building and enhancement. • The announcement of the two student-athletes who will serve the 2017-18 year as representatives on the Board: distance runner Jonathan Pelham, a redshirt freshman from LaGrange, and soccer player Summer Burnett, a senior from Makakilo, Hawaii. • The introduction of Dr. Timothy Gray of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as the newest member of the Athletics Board. Gray replaces Dr. Jennifer Samp as an elected faculty member of the Board. • The announcement of Kessel Stelling, 1978 UGA alumnus and Chairman/CEO of Synovus, will join the Athletics Board in 2017-18, replacing new emeritus member Don Leebern III. • A glowing academic report from Shipley, the text of which follows: Spring semester Grade Point Average (GPA) for all 511 Student-Athletes (SAs) is a best ever at 3.13. It surpassed the previous high of 3.06, representing a significant increase. Over 65 percent of our student-athletes were at B or above; 29.4% were between 3.50 and 3.99; and 24 (4.7% of the total) were at 4.00. This was the eighth consecutive semester and 10th in the last 12 in which the overall student-athlete GPA was above 3.00. Cross Country recorded the highest GPA among the men's teams with 3.43, while the top women’s team was Tennis with a 3.49. All UGA women’s teams had GPA’s above 3.00. The NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) for all UGA our teams was solid with Women’s Cross Country, Volleyball and Men’s Tennis having perfect scores of 1000. The APR provides a real-time look at a team’s academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility and retention and provides a measure of each team’s academic performance. 97 student-athletes graduated on May 5. Their graduation speaker was Ernie Johnson, our own 2016 Hartman Award recipient and a former baseball student-athlete at UGA. Full Text from J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity: May 24, P.M. AD Report Narrative Thank you President Morehead Good morning. This is the seventh annual report I have had the privilege to deliver to members of our Athletic Board. I want to thank each of you, current and past board members, for the time you devote to our athletic program --- whether it’s spreading the word about UGA athletics, serving on a committee, being a sounding board, or lending an ear. People ask me frequently, how can I help? My response --- be “there”, be “present” and tell me what you really think. So I thank all of you for your offers of help and assistance. In my role as Athletic Director, I get to see the outstanding work our staff does on a daily basis to serve our student-athletes and the entire Bulldog Nation. Many positions in our department are very visible. However, the bulk of our work goes on beneath the surface and out of the limelight within departments such as compliance, maintenance, communications, marketing, promotions, student services and business operations. I want to express my appreciation to our entire staff and the scores of others who work hard every day on and off our campus for the betterment of our athletic association. We are truly blessed to have people who really care about the University of Georgia in our department. I have asked two of our senior staff members to make presentations today. Josh Brooks will talk about our facilities and Matt Borman will brief everyone on our Bulldog Club efforts. I’m confident you will find refreshing their insight as new staff members, who have joined, or in Josh’s case rejoined, our program after serving other institutions over the years. We look forward to these presentations. I would like to take a few moments and talk about the overall status of our program as it stands now, and as we look forward.  Much has been written about the status of our program from a competitive standpoint. Our stated goal is the extremely ambitious task of having every one of our sports competing in their national championship. This year, 16 of our 21 sports did just that. As with every year, some teams met or exceeded their expectations, some experienced uncharacteristic results. We still have teams competing in their NCAA Championship, so we still have work to do. Eight of our 21 teams have finished among the nation’s Top 10, with men’s and women’s outdoor track and field to be held in Oregon in early June. Both of our teams are projected to finish in the Top 10. I feel confident that we will see marked improvement in numerous sports in the near, if not immediate, future. Administratively, we continue to be committed to providing the resources necessary to make it happen. And the FY18 budget will reflect those commitments. The responsibility to enhance our strengths and address our weaknesses lands on my desk. I know our program is not reaching its full potential. Our staff spends every day committed to moving our program forward, both collectively and sport by sport, and when we fall short of expectations, we are there to provide support, and when we win, we celebrate alongside each sport. Regardless of the outcome, we remain loyal and dedicated to fully supporting our student-athletes and our coaches.  On the facility front, we have, or will have, invested over $95 million in our facilities over the past seven years. That total includes seven-figure projects at Sanford Stadium, Stegeman Coliseum, Foley Field, the Spec Towns Track, the Jack Turner Soccer Complex and the David Boyd Golf Center—and it doesn’t count the west end zone improvements in Sanford Stadium. That’s a million-dollar – and in most cases multi-million-dollar – investment in the competition facilities for 15 programs. Our board members have approved every one of these expenditures and each of you should feel a great deal of satisfaction about your efforts to make our physical plant exceptional. Believe me when I say that we have more than adequately invested in our TOTAL athletic program. That investment should be applauded.  I agree facilities are a vital part of an athletic program, and our plan of action over the years, and over the coming years, will provide the environment to thrive and compete at the highest levels in each sport. It has become commonplace to refer to facilities from school to school as an “arms race.” The game of comparing one school to another will always be a popular exercise for many. We will do what we think is best on a sport-by-sport basis for our teams in order to achieve all of our objectives on the field, in the classroom and in the community.  At this time, I would like to ask Josh Brooks to come forward and talk about his return to UGA, and his view of our facilities, both presently and in the future. Moving to the world of development, I’m proud to report the Georgia Bulldog Club – which has been the backbone of our fundraising efforts since it was founded decades ago – has set records once again. All of the credit for reaching these remarkable heights is a result of the leadership of our development staff, both past and present, along with 16,000 donors who provide support to our program.  The Magill Society initiative, launched in the Fall of 2015, is a remarkable story in itself. But it is not just the Magill Society alone --- it’s also scholarship endowments, sports-specific educational funds, naming opportunities --- it’s been a great year! And Ryan’s presentation demonstrated how our financial resources are essential to our annual operation. I would like to ask Matt Borman to come on up, and talk about the accomplishments of the Bulldog Club staff and share his thoughts with you at this time. I would like to thank Professor Shipley for earlier reviewing the academic report of our student-athletes for the past semester, and the past year. Ted White and his staff at the Rankin Smith Center are the very best in college athletics and the work they do every day to enrich the lives of our student-athletes is a wonderful story. Those efforts are validated often, most often at the end of each semester and none more so than on May 5th, during our graduation reception in Sanford Stadium prior to Commencement.  This special time is when the life of a student-athlete comes full circle. We saw these youngsters enter our program as wide-eyed teenagers. During orientation, we educate them on what’s ahead, what to look out for, how to prepare. We also let them know we are here to help, to help create an environment that allows them to excel in the classroom, in athletics and in life.  To have parents approach you to on that special day, to hear their appreciation for our staff helping their child in their journey to earn a degree, and to single out a staff member for good deeds done --- well, that’s priceless! In closing, I want to thank the President’s Office --- we are encircled by the persistent support we receive from President Morehead’s staff --- we appreciate your help . We are constantly amazed and appreciative of the depth, passion and concern our President affords the University of Georgia community on a daily basis. You are laser-focused on making UGA better every day, and that rubs off on all of us. Thanks for leading our school into the future --- we are in good hands. Our institution is the very birthplace of public higher education in our country. We have a legacy unlike any other. We have a college town unlike any other. So many have “committed to the G” --- and we are now asking everyone who believes in all of the “good” the University of Georgia does not only throughout our state, but around the country – to “commit to GEORGIA”. Let us not be distracted by those who attempt to divide us --- we must be united and stronger than ever before to help move our athletic program forward in the future. That concludes my report. Summary of Treasurer Ryan Nesbit’s Presentation In addition to the operating reserves summary that is customarily reviewed with the Board, additional information about these reserves, as well as endowed funds held and managed by the UGA Foundation for the benefit of the Athletic Association was presented. This presentation covered the endowments that are in place to provide scholarship funds for our student-athletes, endowed funds that provide general support for athletics, and the operating reserve funds. SLIDE 1 - In terms of the major objectives of maintaining adequate operating reserves, first and foremost, an adequate operating reserve is absolutely essential to sound financial planning and fiscal management. In addition, adequate reserves are a very important component of enabling the Athletic Association to stay in compliance with bond-related covenants as well as enabling it to achieve and maintain a Aa3 credit rating from Moody's Investors Service. SLIDE 2 - The most recent balances for the scholarship endowments, the general fund endowment and the operating reserve total just over $140 million. But more importantly, of that $140 million, only about $36.9 million of the operating reserve funds are unrestricted or uncommitted. Best practices suggest that nonprofits should maintain an operating reserve equal to 3 to 6 months of an organizations average recurring expenses with 3 months being the minimum amount of an operating reserve. With about $110 million of operating expenses and recurring interest expense included in the Athletic Association’s FY 2017 budget, this uncommitted balance should be somewhere between $27.5 million and $55 million. While we do believe that we are maintaining a healthy operating reserve, these figures underscore why it is very important for the Athletic Association to remain committed to identifying opportunities for additional revenue growth and capital fundraising because without additional revenue or fundraising, the Athletic Association’s capacity to invest in additional capital projects is limited. This statement is supported by the Credit Opinion that Moody’s issued in September 2016 which described the Athletic Association’s unrestricted liquidity as healthy and a strength that is counterbalancing its relatively high financial leverage.  SLIDE 3 - The first black slice of this summary chart represents the scholarship endowments and shows that this $37.7 million is restricted, by donor intent, to be used for scholarships and provides about $1.2 million a year for scholarships for our student-athletes. The red slice represents the general fund endowment and shows that this fund, which by Board policy is being managed as an endowment, will provide about $1.4 million annually to support the Athletic Association’s annual budget. The larger gray slice represents the $21.2 million that is committed from the current reserve balance to current capital projects. This figure does not include the $56.4 million of reserve and operating funds allocated for facilities projects over the past 10 years. The smaller gray slice represents $10 million from the operating reserve committed to the West End Zone project; this does not include an additional $4.5 million in estimated financing costs associated with the line of credit for this project that will be funded from the operating budget. Because a line of credit is being utilized for the West End Zone project, the amount of the reserve funds currently invested in the UGA Foundation’s long-term investment portfolio will not be reduced to help fund this project.  The final green slice represents the $36.9 million of unrestricted or uncommitted funds that remain available to enable the Athletic Association to: 1. stay compliant with bond-related covenants,  2. maintain a Aa3 credit rating,  3. maintain a standard operating reserve to provide the financial capacity to respond to unforeseen events that may go beyond the $1.7 million of contingency funds included in the FY 2018 budget, and 4. provide support for future capital projects.

Bulldog News

  • 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.
  • From UGA Sports Communications ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. ----- A $4.451 million increase in the fiscal year 2018 budget, athletic director’s overview of the athletic program, and a detailed review and explanation of the reserve funds highlighted the annual spring meeting of the University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors Thursday. The total Athletic Association budget for 2018 was approved at $127,590,041. J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity’s report included an assessment of the overall athletic program. (full transcript of his report is included below). ‘’The responsibility to enhance our strengths and address our weaknesses lands on my desk’’ said McGarity. ‘’I know our program is not reaching its full potential. Our staff spends every day committed to moving our program forward, both collectively and sport by sport, and when we fall short of expectations, we are there to provide support, and when we win, we celebrate alongside each sport.’’ McGarity said the Athletic Association’s goal is for every one of the Bulldog sports to compete in its national championship.   ‘’This year, 16 of our 21 sports did just that,’’ he said. ‘’As with every year, some teams met or exceeded their expectations while some experienced uncharacteristic results. We still have teams competing in their NCAA Championships, so we still have work to do. Eight of our 21 teams have finished among the nation’s Top 10, with men’s and women’s outdoor track and field to be held in Oregon in early June. Both of our teams are projected to finish in the Top 10. I feel confident that we will see marked improvement in numerous sports in the near, if not immediate, future.’’ The 2018 budget marked the first portion of a lengthy report by treasurer Ryan Nesbit, UGA Vice President for Finance and Administration. Nesbit also detailed the Athletic Association reserve funds and outlined spending restrictions. He said the total operating reserve funds amounted to $68.1 million; however, only $36.9 million of that amount are available to support credit ratings, future projects, and maintain a standard operating reserve to provide funding for unforeseen events. (A condensed summation of Nesbit’s report follows below and accompanies the attached slides.) Among the highlights of the many reports came from Faculty Athletics Representative David Shipley, who announced that UGA’s 511 student-athletes posted a best-ever 3.13 grade point average in the recently completed Spring Semester.   Other highlights of the Athletics Board meeting included the following: • A presentation by Executive Associate AD Josh Brooks on the following current facilities construction projects: Phase 2 of Stegeman Coliseum upgrades that include all new seating, center court-hung scoreboard, as well as lighting and sound systems; the resurfacing of Spec Towns Track, scheduled for an Aug. 1 completion; reconstruction of the soccer stadium grandstand at the Jack Turner Soccer/Softball Complex; expansion and renovation of the Boyd Golf Center; upgrading of the restrooms on the 100, 200 and 300 levels at Sanford Stadium; beginning of the West End Zone project at Sanford Stadium. • A presentation by Executive Associate AD Matt Borman on his observations since beginning his position in Development in January of this year, and also on the progress of athletic fundraising efforts over the short and long terms. • A presentation from Shipley, representing the Student Wellness Committee, on the development of UGA’s Career Development program. Less than a year old, this program strives to counsel student-athletes on all aspects of career building and enhancement. • The announcement of the two student-athletes who will serve the 2017-18 year as representatives on the Board: distance runner Jonathan Pelham, a redshirt freshman from LaGrange, and soccer player Summer Burnett, a senior from Makakilo, Hawaii. • The introduction of Dr. Timothy Gray of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as the newest member of the Athletics Board. Gray replaces Dr. Jennifer Samp as an elected faculty member of the Board. • The announcement of Kessel Stelling, 1978 UGA alumnus and Chairman/CEO of Synovus, will join the Athletics Board in 2017-18, replacing new emeritus member Don Leebern III. • A glowing academic report from Shipley, the text of which follows: Spring semester Grade Point Average (GPA) for all 511 Student-Athletes (SAs) is a best ever at 3.13. It surpassed the previous high of 3.06, representing a significant increase. Over 65 percent of our student-athletes were at B or above; 29.4% were between 3.50 and 3.99; and 24 (4.7% of the total) were at 4.00. This was the eighth consecutive semester and 10th in the last 12 in which the overall student-athlete GPA was above 3.00. Cross Country recorded the highest GPA among the men's teams with 3.43, while the top women’s team was Tennis with a 3.49. All UGA women’s teams had GPA’s above 3.00. The NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) for all UGA our teams was solid with Women’s Cross Country, Volleyball and Men’s Tennis having perfect scores of 1000. The APR provides a real-time look at a team’s academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility and retention and provides a measure of each team’s academic performance. 97 student-athletes graduated on May 5. Their graduation speaker was Ernie Johnson, our own 2016 Hartman Award recipient and a former baseball student-athlete at UGA. Full Text from J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity: May 24, P.M. AD Report Narrative Thank you President Morehead Good morning. This is the seventh annual report I have had the privilege to deliver to members of our Athletic Board. I want to thank each of you, current and past board members, for the time you devote to our athletic program --- whether it’s spreading the word about UGA athletics, serving on a committee, being a sounding board, or lending an ear. People ask me frequently, how can I help? My response --- be “there”, be “present” and tell me what you really think. So I thank all of you for your offers of help and assistance. In my role as Athletic Director, I get to see the outstanding work our staff does on a daily basis to serve our student-athletes and the entire Bulldog Nation. Many positions in our department are very visible. However, the bulk of our work goes on beneath the surface and out of the limelight within departments such as compliance, maintenance, communications, marketing, promotions, student services and business operations. I want to express my appreciation to our entire staff and the scores of others who work hard every day on and off our campus for the betterment of our athletic association. We are truly blessed to have people who really care about the University of Georgia in our department. I have asked two of our senior staff members to make presentations today. Josh Brooks will talk about our facilities and Matt Borman will brief everyone on our Bulldog Club efforts. I’m confident you will find refreshing their insight as new staff members, who have joined, or in Josh’s case rejoined, our program after serving other institutions over the years. We look forward to these presentations. I would like to take a few moments and talk about the overall status of our program as it stands now, and as we look forward.  Much has been written about the status of our program from a competitive standpoint. Our stated goal is the extremely ambitious task of having every one of our sports competing in their national championship. This year, 16 of our 21 sports did just that. As with every year, some teams met or exceeded their expectations, some experienced uncharacteristic results. We still have teams competing in their NCAA Championship, so we still have work to do. Eight of our 21 teams have finished among the nation’s Top 10, with men’s and women’s outdoor track and field to be held in Oregon in early June. Both of our teams are projected to finish in the Top 10. I feel confident that we will see marked improvement in numerous sports in the near, if not immediate, future. Administratively, we continue to be committed to providing the resources necessary to make it happen. And the FY18 budget will reflect those commitments. The responsibility to enhance our strengths and address our weaknesses lands on my desk. I know our program is not reaching its full potential. Our staff spends every day committed to moving our program forward, both collectively and sport by sport, and when we fall short of expectations, we are there to provide support, and when we win, we celebrate alongside each sport. Regardless of the outcome, we remain loyal and dedicated to fully supporting our student-athletes and our coaches.  On the facility front, we have, or will have, invested over $95 million in our facilities over the past seven years. That total includes seven-figure projects at Sanford Stadium, Stegeman Coliseum, Foley Field, the Spec Towns Track, the Jack Turner Soccer Complex and the David Boyd Golf Center—and it doesn’t count the west end zone improvements in Sanford Stadium. That’s a million-dollar – and in most cases multi-million-dollar – investment in the competition facilities for 15 programs. Our board members have approved every one of these expenditures and each of you should feel a great deal of satisfaction about your efforts to make our physical plant exceptional. Believe me when I say that we have more than adequately invested in our TOTAL athletic program. That investment should be applauded.  I agree facilities are a vital part of an athletic program, and our plan of action over the years, and over the coming years, will provide the environment to thrive and compete at the highest levels in each sport. It has become commonplace to refer to facilities from school to school as an “arms race.” The game of comparing one school to another will always be a popular exercise for many. We will do what we think is best on a sport-by-sport basis for our teams in order to achieve all of our objectives on the field, in the classroom and in the community.  At this time, I would like to ask Josh Brooks to come forward and talk about his return to UGA, and his view of our facilities, both presently and in the future. Moving to the world of development, I’m proud to report the Georgia Bulldog Club – which has been the backbone of our fundraising efforts since it was founded decades ago – has set records once again. All of the credit for reaching these remarkable heights is a result of the leadership of our development staff, both past and present, along with 16,000 donors who provide support to our program.  The Magill Society initiative, launched in the Fall of 2015, is a remarkable story in itself. But it is not just the Magill Society alone --- it’s also scholarship endowments, sports-specific educational funds, naming opportunities --- it’s been a great year! And Ryan’s presentation demonstrated how our financial resources are essential to our annual operation. I would like to ask Matt Borman to come on up, and talk about the accomplishments of the Bulldog Club staff and share his thoughts with you at this time. I would like to thank Professor Shipley for earlier reviewing the academic report of our student-athletes for the past semester, and the past year. Ted White and his staff at the Rankin Smith Center are the very best in college athletics and the work they do every day to enrich the lives of our student-athletes is a wonderful story. Those efforts are validated often, most often at the end of each semester and none more so than on May 5th, during our graduation reception in Sanford Stadium prior to Commencement.  This special time is when the life of a student-athlete comes full circle. We saw these youngsters enter our program as wide-eyed teenagers. During orientation, we educate them on what’s ahead, what to look out for, how to prepare. We also let them know we are here to help, to help create an environment that allows them to excel in the classroom, in athletics and in life.  To have parents approach you to on that special day, to hear their appreciation for our staff helping their child in their journey to earn a degree, and to single out a staff member for good deeds done --- well, that’s priceless! In closing, I want to thank the President’s Office --- we are encircled by the persistent support we receive from President Morehead’s staff --- we appreciate your help . We are constantly amazed and appreciative of the depth, passion and concern our President affords the University of Georgia community on a daily basis. You are laser-focused on making UGA better every day, and that rubs off on all of us. Thanks for leading our school into the future --- we are in good hands. Our institution is the very birthplace of public higher education in our country. We have a legacy unlike any other. We have a college town unlike any other. So many have “committed to the G” --- and we are now asking everyone who believes in all of the “good” the University of Georgia does not only throughout our state, but around the country – to “commit to GEORGIA”. Let us not be distracted by those who attempt to divide us --- we must be united and stronger than ever before to help move our athletic program forward in the future. That concludes my report. Summary of Treasurer Ryan Nesbit’s Presentation In addition to the operating reserves summary that is customarily reviewed with the Board, additional information about these reserves, as well as endowed funds held and managed by the UGA Foundation for the benefit of the Athletic Association was presented. This presentation covered the endowments that are in place to provide scholarship funds for our student-athletes, endowed funds that provide general support for athletics, and the operating reserve funds. SLIDE 1 - In terms of the major objectives of maintaining adequate operating reserves, first and foremost, an adequate operating reserve is absolutely essential to sound financial planning and fiscal management. In addition, adequate reserves are a very important component of enabling the Athletic Association to stay in compliance with bond-related covenants as well as enabling it to achieve and maintain a Aa3 credit rating from Moody's Investors Service. SLIDE 2 - The most recent balances for the scholarship endowments, the general fund endowment and the operating reserve total just over $140 million. But more importantly, of that $140 million, only about $36.9 million of the operating reserve funds are unrestricted or uncommitted. Best practices suggest that nonprofits should maintain an operating reserve equal to 3 to 6 months of an organizations average recurring expenses with 3 months being the minimum amount of an operating reserve. With about $110 million of operating expenses and recurring interest expense included in the Athletic Association’s FY 2017 budget, this uncommitted balance should be somewhere between $27.5 million and $55 million. While we do believe that we are maintaining a healthy operating reserve, these figures underscore why it is very important for the Athletic Association to remain committed to identifying opportunities for additional revenue growth and capital fundraising because without additional revenue or fundraising, the Athletic Association’s capacity to invest in additional capital projects is limited. This statement is supported by the Credit Opinion that Moody’s issued in September 2016 which described the Athletic Association’s unrestricted liquidity as healthy and a strength that is counterbalancing its relatively high financial leverage.  SLIDE 3 - The first black slice of this summary chart represents the scholarship endowments and shows that this $37.7 million is restricted, by donor intent, to be used for scholarships and provides about $1.2 million a year for scholarships for our student-athletes. The red slice represents the general fund endowment and shows that this fund, which by Board policy is being managed as an endowment, will provide about $1.4 million annually to support the Athletic Association’s annual budget. The larger gray slice represents the $21.2 million that is committed from the current reserve balance to current capital projects. This figure does not include the $56.4 million of reserve and operating funds allocated for facilities projects over the past 10 years. The smaller gray slice represents $10 million from the operating reserve committed to the West End Zone project; this does not include an additional $4.5 million in estimated financing costs associated with the line of credit for this project that will be funded from the operating budget. Because a line of credit is being utilized for the West End Zone project, the amount of the reserve funds currently invested in the UGA Foundation’s long-term investment portfolio will not be reduced to help fund this project.  The final green slice represents the $36.9 million of unrestricted or uncommitted funds that remain available to enable the Athletic Association to: 1. stay compliant with bond-related covenants,  2. maintain a Aa3 credit rating,  3. maintain a standard operating reserve to provide the financial capacity to respond to unforeseen events that may go beyond the $1.7 million of contingency funds included in the FY 2018 budget, and 4. provide support for future capital projects.
  • Athens, GA – While kickoff is still 100 days away, you no longer have to wait to find out what time UGA and Appalachian State will kick off in Sanford Stadium to start the 2017 college football season in Athens on September 2nd.    6:15 p.m., meaning the game will begin under the sun, but should be completely under the lights by the start of the second half. The time is a bit of a change from the usual, and almost expected noon kickoff the Bulldogs are used to being assigned for early-season home games against non-power five opponents.    The game will be aired on ESPN.    Georgia has played Appalachian State one time in its history, beating the Mountaineers 45-6 on Homecoming in 2013. Week two sees the Bulldogs traveling to Notre Dame, also a night game, kicking off at 7:30 p.m. on NBC.     
  • 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.” 
  • ATHENS — All along, even after Yante Maten declared for the NBA draft last month, the expectation has been that the UGA basketball star would ultimately be back for his senior season. Now it’s official: Maten will do just that. Maten announced that he is withdrawing his name from the draft, two days before the NCAA deadline to do so. While Maten tested the waters, and participated in workouts with at least two NBA teams, he retained his college eligibility by not signing with an agent. This is obviously still great news for Georgia, which will thus return one of the SEC’s top players last season. Maten, a 6-foot-8 forward from Pontiac, Mich., was first team All-SEC by the coaches last season and second-team All-SEC by the AP. He averaged 18.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, while missing four games and almost all of a loss to Kentucky with a sprained knee. Georgia, which was a disappointing 19-14 last season, now projects to return nine of its top 10 scorers. The exception is a rather major one: J.J. Frazier, the consensus first-team All-SEC point guard. But with Maten back, and highly-rated recruit Rayshaun Hammonds, a wing player, the Bulldogs have a potentially strong nucleus. Sophomore Tyree Crump and junior Turtle Jackson are expected to divide up Frazier’s minutes at point guard. Hammonds should compete for a starting spot at small forward, with Maten’s return meaning he and junior Derek Ogbeide man the two post spots. (Although Maten could see more time on the wing himself.) The backcourt and small forward positions will be interesting to watch, with Hammonds joining senior Juwan Parker, who started most of last year, as well as sophomore Jordan Harris, Crump, Jackson, junior E’Torrion Wilridge. Two other incoming freshmen, guard Teshaun Hightower and forward Nicolas Claxton, should also compete for minutes on the perimeter. And incoming freshman Isaac Kante joins junior Mike Edwards as depth in the post. It was set to be a deep and balanced team, with or without Mante. But now Mante’s return gives it some returning star power.