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Latest from Allen Tibbetts

    Boy, I didn’t see this one coming.    Hanging up the phone after talking with our niece, my wife turned to me and said, “She wants to know if you’d officiate her wedding.”    Do what?    “She wants me to marry them?” I asked.    Yup. That’s what she wanted.    Heck, yeah, I’ll do that! Several reasons:    #1) I’ve been a part of this child’s life since she showed her sweet face to this world, so I’d probably do just about anything for her.    #2) She and her fiancé share a wonderfully quirky sense of humor. Anything that went wrong at the wedding would just be a funny memory for them. (That’s the way we should live our entire lives, I think.)    #3) - and this is where it gets selfish - I always harbored this notion that when I retired from radio, I’d become a tent revival preacher.    I’d buy a big tent, hire a couple of corn-fed gals with high hair and the voices of angels, and I’d hit the road with my own traveling salvation show.    Look out! The Right Reverend Tibby is coming to your town!    I’d pitch my big tent right next to the local Wal-Mart, set up the folding chairs, and set out my hand-painted plywood sign that says “Gospel Sing & Healing Tonight. 7 p.m.”    The heavenly voices of my gospel girls would rain down on the ears of believers, getting them in the mood to hear some good words from Reverend Tibby, who would take to the stage and whip the flock into a frenzy with a bunch of ‘amen’s and a whole lot of ‘hallelujah’s. Then we’d top off the night by beseeching the sick and afflicted to come forward for a-healing, hoisting them from the quagmire of holy dilapidation.    In my younger years, I’d watched the Rev. Ernest Angley do such work on TV. Cripples would rise up from their wheelchairs. The blind could see. And the deaf would hear.   
  • I know it works. It said so in Reader’s Digest. (Gimme a break. I was at the home of some older relatives, and it was the only thing available for bathroom reading.) The premise is pretty straight-forward: the body metabolizes food differently during daylight hours. To that end, if you eat all of your meals while there’s light in the sky, your tummy will evaporate and your love handles will fall off. That’s not really the end conclusion, but it’s what I was going for. There is some research that supports this notion. One of the subjects of the RD article was a woman that had gained a lot of weight during pregnancy. Following the birth of her child, she had either a new job or new working hours. Regardless, because of that schedule change, she needed to eat supper by 5 each day. Then, it was off to work, arriving back home around 11 p.m. The big change for her was that the 5 o’clock meal was not just her last meal of the day, it was her last food of the day. Upon returning home in the evening, she showered and went to bed. The way I remember the story, she lost over seventy pounds of baby fat with just that one change. No change in her diet, only in the times she ate. A lightbulb went off over my head, however dimly. Could this program help me lose some baby fat? In my case, baby back ribs fat. February was about to begin. That seemed like a good starting point. New month, new plan. My wife was onboard; she thinks we eat too late, anyway. Initially, the hardest part was that it was, in fact, the beginning of February. It gets dark early! In order to have supper consumed by dark, it needed to be completely ready to eat by 5 o’clock. As the month wore on and the days grew longer, having the meal prepared by 6 or even 6:15 still had us finishing before dark. There were a couple of exceptions, as there are bound to be, but I was faithful to the plan. Thinking back to when I announced the new diet on social media, the very first question that came up was, “Does that go for liquid consumption after dark, as well???” It came from this girl I used to work with who is now a fitness queen and is trying to eat all healthy and probably assumes that I enjoy a toddy or two in the evening. Knowing her, she wanted me to fail. I did. It didn’t work. Oh, I lost two pounds, but I was hoping for twenty. Now for my analysis of what might have gone wrong: liquid consumption after dark, probably. I admit, I am a man of many empty calories. Supper may be over, and I may have finished eating before dark, but that wine bottle is still half-full. Or half-empty, depending on your point of view. From my angle, there is still some work to be done, and that article didn’t say anything about wine. To be fair to me, I do try to limit my wine intake to two glasses. But then there’s the splash or two of a good bourbon over ice that soothes the soul and helps one sleep at night. You don’t want me to not sleep well, do you? I do want to point out one HUGE positive to this particular eating arrangement. If you have decreed that all meals must be taken during daylight hours, you have effectively made late-night snacking against the law. That’s a really big deal for those of us that are prone to getting the munchies because that steak and potato and beans and salad and rolls and wine you had two hours ago suddenly is not enough, and you must go thrust your spoon into that jar of peanut butter… twice, maybe three times, or you will die - quite literally, die - of starvation! (A very small half-pound sliver of cheddar cheese will also do the trick.) This plan sets the rule: when dinner’s over, eating is done for the day. I liked that, and I stuck to it. So, I’m going to hang with it for a while. If nothing else, I quit gaining weight. Best case, I’ll hit my target weight in 8 -10 years. My wife has had more success than I have, but then, she has taken a month-long sabbatical from all alcohol. She suggests I do the same. I have found that staring at her blankly, like she’s a martian (which of your 7 eyes should I be looking at?), is an effective response.  
  • I am friends with the anti-Christ of Valentine’s Day. Every year, he plasters his office door with cute little signs proclaiming, “St. Valentine Was Beheaded” and “Valentine’s Day is a creation of the floral industry.” When he was a single guy, I thought it was a brilliant move. Hey, ladies, you can have this guy, but you’d best know, upfront, he ain’t spending a dime come February 14th. You’ve been warned. There’s a politically correct version of Valentine’s Day now. Some use the date to celebrate S*A*D. Single Awareness Day. That’s right, celebrate your singleness. Who needs a soulmate when you have six feline friends and a house that smells like cat pee? If you don’t live alone, though, Valentine’s Day might come with some guilt. “What? You say you love your wife, yet you won’t spring for a few flowers or a handful of chocolates?” On the other hand, couldn’t you – shouldn’t you - use that day as the one day out of the year you actually brought her some flowers? There’s some conflict there. I don’t feel an obligation, but this year I bought flowers. In fairness, it was only because we were out of ketchup. (We need ketchup, and the grocery store also sells flowers, so while I’m here…) I also bought beer, but the beer/wine aisle is right beside the floral department. That may not be just coincidence. I used to think buying Valentine’s Day flowers from the grocery store instead of the local florist was a complete cop-out, a version of running down to the drug store at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve to do your Christmas shopping because it was the only place left open. And what woman wouldn’t appreciate a bag of red and green candy corn and some toenail clippers? Anymore, though, the grocery store is the local florist. In my neighborhood, it’s the only place left to buy flowers. Some yellow roses caught my eye, and my wife, herself a yellow rose of Texas, prefers them to red roses, so I was in business. In my defense, I could point out that Valentine’s Day is not the only day of the year I buy flowers, and that would be true. But it’s also true that I was buying them on that day because it was in fact Valentine’s Day, and the flowers would be the extent of any sort of recognition of the occasion. What’s happened? What brought us to this? Used to be that Valentine’s Day was a day a guy might ‘get lucky,’ so any effort was worth it. Nowadays, getting lucky is finding a quarter in the parking lot. It’s not that time just wears us down, nor that we don’t love our mates. Those are not problems in our house, anyway. Sure, we both suffer from a lack of creative ideas, but mostly, it’s that we don’t need anything. The whole digital shopping thing hasn’t helped. It’s hard to compete with a computer and a credit card. Anything that pops into my brain as necessary or amusing, I buy it. A couple of months ago, I got the bright idea that we needed a new knife sharpener. Hello, Amazon! You needn’t think I’ve used it. I don’t even know where it is. It’s good that my wife thinks the same way. I’d have never thought to buy her a lovely jar of deep tissue moisturizing cream designed especially for the neck no more than she would have thought to buy me some cacao nibs for making a steak rub. So, there I was, waiting in the checkout line with this odd assortment of items that probably would have attracted some attention, anyway. But being Valentine’s Day, I could just feel other people gawking at my basket and thinking, ‘At least I’m not that guy.’ Or perhaps, ‘At least I’m not married to that guy.’ I have considered that Valentine’s Day occurs too close to Christmas. In our house, we really don’t do much for Christmas anymore, either. Other than eat like starving baby pigs. Maybe I was buying the flowers out of guilt. Guilt that manifests itself as a loud booming voice screaming at me to DO SOMETHING! JUST TRY, FOR CRYIN’ OUT LOUD! So, I formulated a Valentine’s Day poem. Roses are red,So are your lips.Didn’t get you no chocolate,It’d go straight to your hips. Fortunately, I didn’t have to use it. Hard to beat roses, ketchup and beer.  
  • Dear panhandlers: I’m done. It’s over. Don’t ask. Yeah, yeah, I know. No big loss for you. I don’t usually give you money, anyway. I want you to know that it’s not that I don’t want to help. If I could know for certain you genuinely needed help, I’d buy you a burger, take you shopping, even make your house payment. But I don’t know for certain, and frankly, I don’t believe your stories. The carboard sign that you ‘dream of a cheeseburger, or that you’re ‘homeless with 3 children,’ just doesn’t resonate as sincere. Adding “GOD BLESS” to the bottom of your sign doesn’t make your plea more plausible, either. I have my reasons for doubting you. I’ve seen you guys and gals take each other’s place and pass off the same cardboard sign. I’ve seen you bum a couple of bucks and walk straight into a package store. Hey, I’m all for you enjoying a cold one, just don’t ask me to pay for it. It’s how you’ve decided to make a living. Got it. Just doesn’t seem like you’ll ever get promoted to something better at that job. I’ve had quite a run with some of you recently. Back in September, passing through Memphis, I encountered a middle-aged, rather small black man as my group walked down the street.  Yes, that he was black and I am white comes into play in this particular episode. As we walked toward the street he was ‘working,’ we could see his game. He would direct cars looking for a parking place to an open spot. That of course is something they could find on their own, but if he could run ahead of them and point it out, might there be a ‘tip’ for his help? That appeared to be his pitch. As we walked past him, he joined us. He was energetic and friendly, asking how we were, how we were enjoying Memphis and where we were from. The jovial banter continued for several minutes until we were clearly getting out of his territory. “Can you give me money for a sandwich?” he asked My standard answer: “Sorry, man, I don’t carry money.” That’s usually the truth. I almost never have dollar bills on me. I’m a plastic man. Credit cards. Whether it was true or not on this day made no difference. I wasn’t giving him money. I had seen him a block away and knew that if he came up to us, there would be a motive other than serving as the city’s official welcoming committee. He responded to being turned down by immediately veering away from our group and saying, “That’s because white is always right and black is always wrong.” I’m used to some sort of comeback when a beggar is turned down, but that one caught me off-guard. All of that friendly chit-chat suddenly became a racial divide when I didn’t give him money. As we continued to walk away, he continued to yell, eventually hollering that if I came back to where he was, he would put me in the hospital. He said that twice. I wondered what he was expecting by threatening me. Seriously. Did he think I’d stop, turn around, apologize for every historical wrong that had happened to the black man and give him a twenty? Did he think I’d suddenly sympathize with him and say, “Hey, dude, I’m not like you think. Please take my money.” Next stop, West Coast. Passing an older, worn out-looking gentleman on a pier in wharf district of San Francisco, I could feel it coming. “Can you people help me get some food?” I probably would have been better off just handing him a couple of bucks, but I gave him my standard line and kept walking. That set him off. “Go on back to your rich-people hotel, ya f****t!” I’m not going to lie to you. Having a homophobic slur hurled at me in the middle of San Francisco has some entertainment value. Even my gay friends have found that story amusing. Finally, Nashville, Tennessee. It’s a city we love visiting. In fact, we have two more visits on the agenda this year. My wife and I had taken my mother to a Christmas show at the historic Ryman Auditorium. Vince Gill and Amy Grant. It was fabulous! As we sat in the hotel lobby the next morning eating breakfast, a young woman approached, wanting to know if she could ask us a question. My radar lit up. More often than not, when someone is trying to put the touch on you, it starts with, ‘can I ask you something?’ or ‘hey, mind if I ask you a question?’ She started her pitch. She and her kids didn’t have enough money to pay their hotel bill. She said she needed $26. That’s pretty specific. People doing what she was doing will usually take anything you offer. My wife, the softest touch on earth responded, “I’d love to help.” She grabbed her pocketbook and offered to accompany the young woman to the front desk to pay her bill. Wait for it…wait for it… “Well, we’re not staying at this hotel,” the woman said. “We’re at a hotel down the street.” That’s when I jumped in and, as politely as I can speak, told her, “I’m sorry, we’re not going to be able to help you.” She stared at us for a few seconds as though we might change our minds, then moved on. My wife excused herself from the table and went back to the room. She was aggravated, mostly with me. It’s not that she didn’t know the woman was begging, nor that she didn’t understand why I sent the woman away. She just wanted to help. She wants to help them all. I had interfered. Mom got weepy. Now, Mom lives in Atlanta. She’s very familiar with the hustlers. As we talked about the incident, she even allowed how most panhandlers involve their children in their stories. She was 100% on board that the woman was out bumming, but the story made Mom really sad. She was also sad that my wife had been so willing to help only to find out it was an obvious ruse. So, to everyone out on the street with your hands out, I hope you have a nice day. Mostly, I hope you find the motivation to make your life better. But you made my mama cry. We’re done.
  • It’s January down south. Even down here January is cold. Supposed to be, anyway. January is in fact our coldest month, historically. This morning, I can’t even find the cool side of my pillow. In a one week period, we’ve gone from freezing temperatures to planning our gardens. That's planning, not planting. It is warm, but we're not there yet. Even if it doesn't last, welcome to our January summer. While I’ve enjoyed playing golf in shorts for the last 3 days, I want the other January. The cold one. At least, the cold mornings. I want the January where you wake up in the morning, slip into somebody’s hip pocket and go back to sleep. (That’s not dirty, y’all. It’s my own terminology for ‘spooning.’) This time of year, if there’s another person in my bed, let’s get personal. If there’s a dog beside me, come a little closer. If there’s a cat on my feet, I’m surely blessed. It’s January, it’s cold. Let’s be friends. But it’s not cold. And a boy in his undies has just kicked off the covers. Hey… maybe he has a motive. Maybe if he can create a cool enough climate, maybe he can slip into someone’s hip pocket. It is January, after all. Let’s test the waters. Let’s have him throw an arm over that lumpy thing beside him and see if there’s any reaction. There’s a reaction, all right. In a king-sized bed, someone who is already three feet away can make it four with a simple roll-over. Lumpy thing has just indicated she will be driving in her own lane – alone. So, thanks, January. Men of a certain age have enough trouble generating interest in snuggling to begin with. The least you could do is let it be cold enough that her very survival depends on her dancing cheek-to-cheek with me. Not happening. She just got up to turn on the ceiling fan. Good. I’m hot, too.
  • Fidel Castro is dead. One down, one to go.  That is, one Castro down, one more to go.  That is the clear message I got from visiting Cuba four years ago.  I consider myself a lucky man. I went to Cuba before the United States offered an olive branch to that little island. So, I got to see ‘old’ Cuba. The Cuba in ruins. The Cuba in need.  But it was a Cuba with hope. Hope that one day America would show them some love, and hope that one day, they could participate in their governance. That would mean life without the Castros.  For clarity on my visit, it was part of a larger tour that was visiting for the purpose of seeing agriculture in that county.  It was weird from the get-go. First of all, flying to Cuba from Miami, we didn’t do normal customs. Best I recall, we went to a terminal where things were handled differently. Bags weren’t inspected, and aside from previously filled-out paperwork, questions weren’t asked.  What I didn’t know is that Cubans with relatives in the States can fly back and forth pretty easily, if they can afford to. And leaving the U.S., Cubans could take things, like TVs or toasters, back to Cuba on those flights.  In fact, knowing Cuba was the land of rum – and I am not a rum man – I packed two ‘handles’ of bourbon in my bag. That’s two 1.5 liter bottles.  Arriving in Cuba, there are occasional random inspections. Had I been picked out, it would be interesting to see if they cared that I carried basically a gallon of bourbon.  In the Havana airport, I immediately encountered what would become a bit of a Cuban signature: begging. At the entrance to the restroom in the airport were two lovely, young ladies, clearly waiting for a ‘tip.’  Not knowing how to handle the situation, I gave one of them a dollar. The other smiled, and said, “Nothing for me?”  I obliged.  And on that note, I want to introduce you to the people of Cuba that I encountered.  There is so much to say about how, 50 years ago, Cuba’s leadership ‘sided’ with Russia and adopted communism, and how Russia later left them hanging when Russia itself was undergoing massive changes.  But that’s a whole lot of history lessons I didn’t learn.  So, this is about the Cuban people I saw and met, filtered, of course, through my own lenses.  Cubans so badly want to be friends with you. You, Americans. They want a relationship with us. They want the life we have. They want to be happy. They’ve smuggled their families to our shores for the last 50 years to get away from the nothingness they’ve had under the Castros.  Most of them only know communism as a failed ideology. They hate it.  They want the dream.  Under communism, they are paid wages set by ‘the state,’ and they know there’s something better. They know that in America, there’s the possibility of being paid for what you know and how you perform.  They know that in America, food is not rationed. It is in Cuba. I didn’t know that.  Begging is rampant in Cuba. But I quickly learned that begging pays better. If an average Cuban can get one dollar from a visitor, that’s a better day’s wages than they would be paid by the state.  So why would you not beg?  Our guide was an attorney that hadn’t practiced law in six years, because tips from being a tour guide paid better. Doctors act as taxi drivers on their days off because of the money they could make on tips.  Why would you not beg?  Some Cubans try to be creative in their panhandling. They dress up in old plantation-style costumes and hope you’ll want a picture with them. A tip is expected.  In need of a restroom on day, I approached a group of young men and asked where I might find one. They eagerly showed me the way, then asked for money for helping me. One even when down on his knees, begging.  I recall a gentleman following our group for a few moments, singing songs and playing a guitar. He cursed us when we didn’t tip him. It’s not that we didn’t like him or his singing, but when there are so many palms out, you learn that you can’t grease them all.  Beggars were like flies around tour buses. Some looked very pitiful and were hard to ignore, but once you saw them there every day, you understood the routine.  Havana was romantic. You’re in Havana, Cuba, for heaven’s sake! The land of mobsters and Frank Sinatra. Redundant, I know.  Much of the city was in tatters. Scaffolding everywhere and not a lot of work was being done.  “They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work.” It’s an old, familiar joke Cubans like to tell. Except it’s not really a joke. They get paid the same wage for working on a job or standing around doing nothing. Best I could tell, they generally chose to do the latter.  What struck me was how easily they spoke of communism, of their government, of their distaste for the Castros, Fidel and Raul. But mostly, of how they looked forward to a Cuba without them.  The Cuba I saw was the old Cuba. The one that got stuck in time when Fidel Castro thumbed his nose at the U.S. He had climbed into bed the Russians, and it turns out they didn’t pay for sex.  The Cuba I saw was pretty much the same as it was 50 years ago. In our ‘nice’ hotel, bare wires dangled from sockets, and the bed linens were straight out of your great-grandmothers closet.  You see pictures of the old ‘50s and ‘60s cars in Cuba. That because there’s not much else. And they keep those cars in such pristine condition because you will pay cash to have them shuttle you around in them.  There’s a whole lot of bondo and rubber bands holding those things together. They have precious little access to parts.  Arriving back in the States, we actually did go through security.  “Do you have any tobacco?”  “No,” I answered.  “Any alcohol?”  “No.”  Of course, I had both. Almost everyone had Cuban cigars and rum.  Turns out, this particular ‘American’ border agent was a native Cuban. Rather than concern himself about cigars and rum, he used our time together to lecture me on how relations between our countries “must” normalize. “Cubans,” he said, “want to be included.”  I knew what he meant.  When President Obama opened the freezer door and started thawing out relations with Cuba, I watched with interest the reactions here at home. Many old-timers, including Cuban ex-patriots and others with direct ties to Cuba wanted us to have nothing to do with Cuba until the Castros are gone.  They are other voices, of course, that want normalized relations. I am among them.  I am among them, because I met a lot of Cuban people that had nothing to do with the politics of their country. They are our neighbors. They want to be our friends. I hope that happens one day.  Maybe with Fidel Castro’s passing, we got a little closer to that.
  • Over breakfast, my wife accused me of being unable to eat scrambled eggs without cheese. Rather than starting a nasty spat, I played the bigger man and conceded this one. For starters, cheese is the perfect food. That aside, however, I don’t do simply scrambled eggs and cheese, I do ‘cheggs.’ Cheese with some egg in it. On the morning in question, however, there were more than just eggs with cheese. I was also serving grits with cheese and toast with cream cheese. Cheese on everything? Hardly. The bacon was naked. There’s an art to cooking with cheese. If you simply throw cheddar on every dish, you are going to be considered an unsophisticated rube. Ignore the haters. While this is elementary ‘cooking with cheese,’ you’re on the right track and should be proud of yourself. You can never go wrong with cheddar on about anything. In fact, my rule of thumb is, if that dish is going into the oven, it can handle some cheddar. Including, but not limited to, apple pie! I want you to get to know your cheeses and experiment some, so let’s cover the basic categories: -String Cheese. What you serve your kids to make them shut up. And to start them on their way to coronary disease later in life. -Easy Cheesy. These are easy-eating, everyday cheeses: mozzarella, Monterey Jack, etc. (Fresh moz should have its own category: cheese with no flavor, but there’s not enough time here to cover everything.)  Easy cheesy is cheese that don’t stink. -Stanky Cheese. Cheese that do stink. This includes your blue – or bleu – cheese, gorgonzola, and others, like limburger, which you may never be exposed to. Stanky cheese is my favorite category. Hard Cheese: Parmesan Melty Cheese. Think fondue cheeses, like Gruyere, queso, Velveeta and chocolate. Some will say because Velveeta is ‘cheese food,’ it’s not real cheese. Cheese isfood, so hush up, and let’s move on. I do recognize that chocolate is not technically cheese, but given that milk is the number one ingredient in both cheese and chocolate, and both make outstanding fondue, I thought it deserved inclusion. Notice how cheddar is not in any category. That’s because, depending on the age of it, cheddar can fit into almost all categories. And that’s why everything’s bettah with cheddah. Unless you use mild cheddar, in which case you’re just being a sissy. Now, go cut some cheese.
  • Allen  Tibbetts

    I’m a Georgia boy, born and bred.

    Born in Rome, my family didn’t live there long enough to ever know it as home. I spent my grade school years in Aragon, Georgia, before we moved to Tifton in South Georgia, the city I call my home town. A lot of my family still lives there.

    I started working radio as a junior in high school in Tifton at a little AM station, WTIF 1340. It was a weekend job in the beginning, but I somehow managed to parlay that gig into a 41-year career in radio, mostly as a morning show host - or co-host, as I almost always had a partner clowning around with me on the air.

    After almost 20 years of working radio in Tifton, I started dating the woman that is now my wife. We had gone to school together in Tifton, but she was living in Athens as we reconnected.

    Ah, Athens… home of the University of Georgia and the Georgia Bulldogs. Shouldn’t I live there, too?

    I sent an application to the only station I knew in Athens, 960 WRFC, and was hired as the morning show host in 1990. As the radio market evolved and stations in Athens merged, I was moved to the morning show at Magic 102.1/WGMG, an adult contemporary station.

    Best I can figure, I spent about 18 very happy years on that station before I turned off the mic.

    My wife, Beverly, was an entomologist who finished her professional career serving in administration at the university. When she decided to retire, I figured it was time to quit leaving her in bed alone at 4 a.m. every morning, and I retired, too.

    We still live in Athens, at least part-time, with no kids, no cats, no dogs, and no obligations other than to family and friends. We tend to wander around a lot.

    What are Tales from Tibby?? 

    During my 41-year career doing morning show radio, what I found most rewarding was taking the slices of life I observed and making them into fun, funny or satirical stories that, hopefully, the audience would enjoy. That usually involved altering, embellishing or flat-out lying about an actual incident, but I got pretty good at it. When the time came to back away from the microphone, I realized that I still tend to see life as a morning show host. My brain still processes everything as a possible story to tell on the air. So this blog is a written extension of my radio show, a series of true or semi-true stories could just as easily be called, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO ALLEN. Born and raised and still living in Georgia, my stories often have a Southern slant. I offer no apologies for that. I know how to properly prepare grits and cannot imagine life without them. I can also fry up a rabbit. While I cannot avoid a little commentary now and then, the aim is to entertain, and I hope you enjoy reading these Tales From Tibby.

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Local News

  • Former Gainesville Red Elephant football and Clemson Tiger quarterback Deshaun Watson had his name called on the biggest of football stages last night in Philadelphia. With the 12th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans selected the once local high school legend and College Football Playoff champion. Watson was an AJC Super 11 selection in 2013 and left the Red Elephants as the Georgia record-holder for career passing yards in high school. In three seasons at Clemson, Watson  led the Tigers to two College Football Playoff appearances, winning a National Championship in 2017 when he beat the Alabama Crimson Tide,  and has twice been named a Heisman Trophy finalist. Earlier this year, the road that runs by the Gainesville High football stadium was named ‘Deshaun Watson Way’ in his honor. 
  • The widening and reconstruction of Mars Hill Road continues in Oconee County. On Friday, Crooked Creek Road will close to traffic for 45 days. Traffic will be detoured through Carriage Hill Road to Hodges Mill Road, then to back onto Mars Hill Road. This closure and detour will allow the contractor to complete construction on Crooked Creek Road.
  • David R. Sweat, Chief Judge of the Superior Courts of the Western Judicial Circuit of the State of Georgia, will retire from active service effective July 31, 2017. Governor Nathan Deal will appoint an individual to serve for the remainder of the term, which expires on December 31, 2018.  Judge Sweat was elected in 2002 to the open seat on the Superior Court bench in Athens-Clarke County and Oconee County that was created when the late Judge Joseph J. Gaines retired. Before taking the bench, Judge Sweat practiced law in Athens for 23 years. Judge Sweat won re-election three times. 
  • Another dip in the unemployment rate in the local Athens area, with an increase in jobs in the metro Athens area.  Below is the full press release from the Georgia Department of Labor: ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced today that Metro Athens’ unemployment rate in March was 4.5 percent, down three-tenths of a percentage point from 4.8 percent in February. In March 2016, the rate was also 4.8 percent. The rate declined because more people became employed as the labor force continued to grow, and employers continued to add jobs. The number of employed residents increased by 705 to 94,402, as the labor force grew by 454 to 98,890. The labor force consists of employed residents and those who are unemployed, but actively looking for jobs. The number of jobs increased by 500, or 0.5 percent, to 95,500. Most of the job growth came in services, including leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and trade, transportation and warehousing. Over the year, 2,600 jobs were added, a 2.8 percent growth rate, up from 92,900 in March 2016. Most of the job growth came in state government and the service industries such as trade, transportation and warehousing, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality. The goods-producing sector, which includes manufacturing and construction, added 200 jobs. The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, rose by 32, or 10.5 percent, to 337. Most of the increase came in manufacturing and retail trade. Over the year, claims were down by 45, or 11.8 percent, from 382 in March 2016. Metro Gainesville had the lowest area jobless rate at 4 percent, while the River Valley region had the highest at 6.1 percent. Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for March was 5.1 percent, down from 5.3 percent in February. It was 5.5 percent in March 2016. Job seekers and employers are encouraged to use GDOL’s online job listing service employgeorgia.com to search for jobs or recruit new employees. In March, 1,617 new job openings in Athens were posted on Employ Georgia. Throughout the state, 85,055 new job openings were posted. Local area unemployment data are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at dol.georgia.gov Visit dol.georgia.gov to learn more about career opportunities, Employ Georgia and other GDOL services for job seekers and employers and to connect with us on social media.
  • Press Release from ACC Police:  On May 24th officers with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, Clarke, Oglethorpe and Madison County Sheriff’s Office’s, along with the FBI, conducted a warrant roundup of wanted gang members and gang associates. Eleven individuals were arrested for felony warrants. Two additional subjects were arrested for hindering the apprehension of a fugitive. Warrants were served in Athens-Clarke, Oglethorpe and Madison Counties.   One subject arrested, Johntavius Hull, was wanted on 17 warrants including multiple counts of Aggravated Assault, Armed Robbery, and violation of Georgia’s street gang terrorism act. The others arrested in the sweep are listed below;  Tedarius Darden  Mandrell Hull  Tyvon Jones  Brianna Wimpy  Dwayne Fitzgerald Maddox  Carlos Demetrius Long Jr.  Trevonte Lewis  Santarius Larhen Jackson  Marquavious Bradford  Chasity Lane 

Bulldog News

  • Former Gainesville Red Elephant football and Clemson Tiger quarterback Deshaun Watson had his name called on the biggest of football stages last night in Philadelphia. With the 12th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans selected the once local high school legend and College Football Playoff champion. Watson was an AJC Super 11 selection in 2013 and left the Red Elephants as the Georgia record-holder for career passing yards in high school. In three seasons at Clemson, Watson  led the Tigers to two College Football Playoff appearances, winning a National Championship in 2017 when he beat the Alabama Crimson Tide,  and has twice been named a Heisman Trophy finalist. Earlier this year, the road that runs by the Gainesville High football stadium was named ‘Deshaun Watson Way’ in his honor. 
  • From UGA Sports Communications ATHENS-----Georgia plays host to No. 8 Florida starting Friday at Foley Field at 7 p.m. with the entire league series available on SEC Network+ and the Bulldog Sports Network from IMG. With four SEC series remaining, the Bulldogs (17-25, 5-13 SEC) are tied for 12th with Tennessee for the final spot in the 12-team SEC Tournament field. Georgia and the Vols own identical 5-13 SEC records. The Bulldogs do hold the tiebreaker over UT after winning the series in Knoxville 2-1 earlier this season. Alabama is in last place overall with a 2-16 SEC record. Missouri holds the 11th spot with an 8-10 league mark. The Gators (27-13, 10-8 SEC) are in second place in the Eastern Division, two games behind seventh-ranked Kentucky (28-13, 12-6 SEC). Georgia travels to Kentucky next (May 5-7). Georgia is coming off a 7-5 road win over Georgia Tech to clinch the season series in its only midweek action while Florida last played on Sunday, winning a home series over No. 18 South Carolina. Entering this series, the Bulldogs are batting .259 with an ERA of 5.08 and a fielding percentage of .956. The Gators are batting .252 with a 3.09 ERA and a .978 fielding percentage. Florida leads the series with Georgia 173-80-2. The Bulldogs last won a series over the Gators in 2013, going 2-1 in Athens. Florida has won the last three series, posting a sweep in Gainesville in 2014 and winning 2-1 in Athens in 2015 and 2-1 in Gainesville in 2016.   On Saturday at 2 p.m., Georgia will hold its annual Lettermen’s Day with a special focus on the 30-year anniversary of the 1987 team that was the first Bulldog squad in school history to advance to the College World Series. Also, two annual lettermen awards will be presented before the game. Lettermen from as far back as the 1940s will be in attendance.   Pitching Matchups For The UF Series Friday at 7 p.m.: Andrew Gist (2-3, 3.99), LHP, Sr. vs. Alex Faedo (6-1, 2.47) RHP, Jr. Saturday at 2 p.m.: Chase Adkins (5-4, 3.43), RHP, Jr. vs. Brady Singer (4-3, 1.94), RHP, So. Sunday at 1 p.m.: Kevin Smith (2-4, 6.35), LHP, So. vs. Jackson Kowar (6-0, 3.90), RHP, So.    Hitters To Watch Georgia’s top two hitters and All-Star candidates are sophomore C/DH Michael Curry (.344-9-42) and freshman SS Cam Shepherd (.320-5-22). They have started all 42 games and rank 1-2 on the squad in batting average, home runs and RBI. Curry ranks in the top 10 in the SEC in batting, home runs and RBI. In SEC action, Shepherd is batting a team-best .359 followed by Curry at .338. The Gators are led by sophomore OF Nelson Maldonado (.311-3-13) and junior 1B/C JJ Schwarz (.243-5-30). Also, Florida is 52-for-68 in stolen base attempts with junior SS Dalton Guthrie (.250-3-13) and sophomore 2B Deacon Liput (225-1-12) with 10 stolen bases apiece.   Banged-Up Bulldogs  Georgia’s infield depth has taken a hit this month after two more Bulldogs were lost to season-ending injuries. Freshman Aaron Schunk (.290-1-18), who had started 37 games at third base, broke his left thumb against Clemson on April 19th while junior utility infielder Trey Logan (.190-0-6) broke his left collarbone against Vanderbilt April 22nd. Georgia has been without projected starting first baseman sophomore Patrick Sullivan all year due to an illness. Also, junior outfielder Will Campbell (.237-3-13), who has made 29 starts, has missed the last nine games due to a sore back.    2017 Georgia Baseball Stat Link: http://www.georgiadogs.com/sports/m-basebl/stats/2016-2017/teamcume.html   Television/Radio TV: SEC Network+ Friday-Sunday (Matt Stewart & Jason Jacobs); Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network from IMG College (Jeff Dantzler & David Johnston) Stations: 960 AM-WRFC and selected affiliates (check your local listings), also via the Georgia Bulldogs app and TuneIn app. Live Stats: www.georgiadogs.com, go to the Schedule Page, find the game, click on GameTracker Link Additional Coverage on Twitter: @BaseballUGA   Foley Field Ticket Information *Ticket Booth and Gates open two hours before first pitch. *Reserved Seat Tickets: $8; General Admission Tickets: $5; Order online or by calling 1-877-542-1231 *UGA Student Tickets: Free Admission with valid UGA Student ID Card *UGA Student Gate is located off Rutherford Street Special Promotions for the UF Series *Friday: First 750 fans receive Utz Potato Chips *Saturday: Lettermen Day honoring Georgia’s 1987 College World Series Team; First 750 fans receive a 1987 replica jersey *Sunday: First 200 fans receive an oatmeal cookie to celebrate National Oatmeal Cookie Day: Pregame: Anthem Buddies: Stand on the field next to your favorite Bulldog for the National Anthem Postgame: Kids can run the bases and play catch in the outfield for a brief time
  • From UGA Sports Communications ATHENS, Ga. --- Georgia sophomore Denzel Comenentia has been named the Southeastern Conference Men’s Field Athlete of the Week while redshirt freshman Kate Hall has earned the Women’s Freshman of the Week honor following the Bulldogs’ weekend at the Virginia Challenge.   Comenentia was named the SEC Freshman of the Week once last year indoors and once outdoors in 2016. This marks Hall’s first weekly league honor.   The Bulldogs have now had five SEC weekly award winners outdoors. Freshman Beatrice Llano became Georgia’s first winner following the Texas Relays and senior siblings Devon and Kendell Williams garnered conference honors after sweeping the Bulldog Decathlon/Heptathlon in Athens.   Comenentia, a native of Amsterdam, Netherlands, lifted his fourth attempt in the shot put Invite a personal-best distance of 66 feet, 8 ½ inches to take second in Charlottesville, Va. This effort ranks fourth on the national list, is the top SEC mark and sits third in the school record books, pushing 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Reese Hoffa to fourth. Comenentia started his weekend by winning the hammer with a throw of 227-3.   Hall, a native of Casco, Maine, and Iowa State transfer, cruised to a victory in the 100-meter dash by .20 seconds, marking the first time she had run the distance at the collegiate level. She finished with a personal record of 11.36, which is the second-best time for a freshman in the country this year. Hall’s time ranks fourth in the UGA record books and is the best since 2004. She remains fifth on this year’s national long jump list as well.   The Bulldogs will train through this weekend as they prepare for the inaugural Torrin Lawrence Memorial at the Spec Towns Track in Athens on Saturday, May 6. This will be the teams’ final meet before the SEC Championships arrive in Columbia, S.C., on May 11-13.   Updates from Georgia’s track and field and cross country teams can always be found on Twitter/Instagram (UGATrack) and Snapchat (ugatrack)
  • From UGA Sports Communications ATLANTA-----Georgia cruised to a 7-5 win over Georgia Tech Tuesday to clinch the season series in front of a Russ Chandler Stadium crowd of 2,373.    Georgia (17-25) used a two-out rally in the fourth to score four runs on three hits to break open a scoreless contest. With two on and two outs, sophomore designated LJ Talley got the scoring started with an RBI-single. After a walk to freshman second baseman Will Proctor, freshman centerfielder Tucker Maxwell delivered a two-run single. Freshman right fielder Tucker Bradley capped the scoring with an infield single that marked his first career RBI and a 4-0 advantage. Tech responded with single runs in the fourth and fifth frames to make it 4-2. In the seventh, sophomore catcher Michael Curry blasted a two-out, two-run shot for a 6-2 lead. It was his ninth of the year and gave him 41 RBI, both team-highs. Tech centerfielder Ryan Peurifoy closed the gap to 6-3 with a leadoff home run in the seventh. Curry added an RBI-single in the ninth. The Bulldogs scored all seven of their runs with two outs, going 5-for-14.   Sophomore Kevin Smith (2-4) started for the Bulldogs on a staff night and provided four solid innings for the win, allowing one run on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts. In the fifth, Georgia turned to freshman Zac Kristofak and he went four innings, scattering four runs on six hits before leaving with the bases loaded and nobody out in the ninth. Redshirt junior Drew Moody picked up his first save of the year and fourth of his career to preserve the victory. Tech fell to 20-20 and right-hander Ben Schniederjans dropped to 2-4, surrendering four runs on two hits in 3.2 innings.   Earlier this month in Athens, Georgia defeated Tech 5-1. The teams will meet one more time in Atlanta at SunTrust Park on May 9th in a game to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). It will be the 15th time they have played for CHOA with the previous 14 games held at Turner Field, the former home of the Atlanta Braves. Georgia went 9-5 in those contests.   Georgia returns to Foley Field Friday for the start of an SEC series with No. 8 Florida (27-13, 10-8 SEC). First pitch will be at 7:02 p.m. EDT and be available on SEC Network+ and the Bulldog Sports Network from IMG.   Dawg Tracks   *Sophomore DH LJ Talley got the four-run outburst in the fourth started with a two-out RBI single as Keegan McGovern scored on a play at the plate. *Freshman RF Tucker Bradley notched his first career RBI, and it came in his 89th at bat of the year, a two-out, RBI-single in the fourth to make it 4-0. He had his first career four-hit game too. He became the sixth different Bulldog with a four-hit game this year. *Sophomore Michael Curry hit his team-leading ninth home run in the seventh, a two-run blast. He finished 2-for-5 with three RBI for a team-best 42 RBI this year. *Redshirt junior Drew Moody notched his first save of the season and fourth of his career, inheriting a bases-loaded, nobody out jam in the ninth with a 7-3 lead.   Coach's Corner: Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin “We won the series against our biggest rival, and that’s a big deal. I thought we played really clean, our pitchers did a great job and we got some clutch two-out hits to score all our runs. Tucker Bradley had four hits and his first RBI and LJ Talley got the big inning going for us with a two-out RBI. Kevin Smith gave us a solid start and then Zac Kristofak pitched really well, and when you’re pitching with a lead, it’s okay to give up a solo home run. Zac was throwing strikes, and that’s the key and why we stuck with him. We had Drew Moody ready, and it was tough to bring him in with the bases loaded in the ninth, and he got the job done.”
  • ATHENS, GA. --- Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey has named 78 University of Georgia student-athletes to the winter SEC Academic Honor Roll, announced this week. The honor roll includes the sports of basketball, equestrian, gymnastics and swimming & diving. It is based on grades from the 2016 spring, summer and fall terms. To be eligible for nomination, the student-athlete must have completed a minimum of 24 semester hours and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.   Georgia’s 78 student-athletes was the second highest in the conference, behind Auburn’s 96. South Carolina also posted 78 to the honor roll, followed by Kentucky’s 70.   The following UGA student-athletes were named to the 2016-2017 Winter SEC Academic Honor Roll:   Men’s Basketball: Houston Kessler (Management); Connor O’Neill (Finance); Juwan Parker (Kinesiology); Brandon Young (Management)   Women’s Basketball: Haley Clark (Finance); Mackenzie Engram (Journalism)   Equestrian: Bailey Anderson (Biochemical Engineering); Payton Anderson (Finance); Madison Anger (Biology); Madison Beasley (Journalism); Sydney Beasley (Exercise and Sport Science); Taylor Carman (Communication Studies and Criminal Justice); Lindsey Cheek (Management Information Systems); Addyson Cord (Chemistry); Carissa Duvall (Biology); Liza Finsness (Biology); Chaney Getchell (Accounting); Vanessa Gillette (Marketing); Liza Goodlett (Journalism); Allie Harbert (Psychology and Biology); Kyndall Harper (Human Development and Family Science); Grace Howard (Fashion Merchandising; Housing Management and Policy); Caroline Johnson (Biology); Samantha Johnson (Risk Management and Insurance); Ashlin Liedberg (Early Childhood Education); Emma Mandarino (Accounting); Eva Marcelis (Arabic and International Affairs); Vanessa McCarthy (Consumer Economics); Alexis Mougalian (Business); Madison Newman (Risk Management and Insurance); Ashlyn Perry (Communication Science and Disorders); Grace Porter (Biology and Genetics); Caroline Robinson (Psychology); Emma Schauder (English); Kelly Skoglund (Management Information Systems); Claudia Spreng (International Business and Finance); Agne Stoskute (Animal Science); Catherine Sullivan (Journalism and International Affairs); Jane Sutcliff (Psychology); Charley Thiel (Furnishings and Interiors); Danielle Walawender (Animal Science)   Gymnastics: Jasmine Arnold (Criminal Justice and Psychology); Vivi Babalis (Sport Management); Grace Cherrey (Marketing); Lauren Johnson (Human Development and Family Science); Gigi Marino (Early Childhood Education); Morgan Reynolds (Consumer Journalism); Beth Roberts (Management Information Systems); Hayley Sanders (Dietetics and Consumer Foods); Rachel Schick (Biological Science)   Men’s Swimming and Diving: Blake Atmore (Legal Studies; International Business & Finance); Alex Bemiller (Marketing); Gunnar Bentz (Management); Powell Brooks (Finance); Aidan Burns (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology); Pace Clark (Management); Taylor Dale (Management); Ian Forlini (Marketing); James Guest (Finance); Patrick Humphreys (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology); Joshua Kenway (Political Science and Economics); Jay Litherland (Management); John Mattern (Risk Management and Insurance); Basil Orr (Finance); Christopher Powell (Real Estate); Walker Wheeler (Management)   Women’s Swimming and Diving: Emily Cameron (International Affairs and Political Science); Caitlin Casazza (Exercise and Sport Science); Madison Duvall (Human Development and Family Science); Allison Greene (Sport Management); Kimberlee John-Williams (International Affairs and Political Science); Megan Kingsley (Marketing); Ashley Mallon (International Affairs); Anna McKenzie (Spanish); Meaghan Raab (Journalism); Kelly Thatcher (Exercise and Sport Science); Chantal Van Landeghem (Psychology); Rachel Zilinskas (Statistics and Risk Management and Insurance)