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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

  • New England Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell can be sweet when he wants to be. Mitchell has a three-book deal with Scholastic, the children's publisher told The Associated Press on Thursday. The books include a newly illustrated edition of his self-published 'The Magician's Hat,' to come out next May, and two more original works. Mitchell is a literacy advocate who founded the 'Read With Malcolm' program. With New England, Mitchell caught 32 passes last year during the regular season and another six in the Super Bowl, when the Patriots came from behind and defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28.
  • This evening’s meeting of the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Party is set for 6 o’clock at the Library on Baxter Street.  Oconee County Republicans meet tonight. It’s a 6 o’clock session at the headquarters of the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce in Watkinsville. There are three Envision Athens forums scheduled for today: 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock at the Classic Center, and an Envision Athens steering committee meeting at 5:30 at the Snipes Water Resources Building on Barber Street.  The Athens Downtown Development Authority meets this afternoon, 3 o’clock at the Gameday Building on Broad Street. 
  • The District Attorney in Putnam County says a Madison County man will face a death penalty trial: Ricky Dubose and Donny Rowe were in court in Eatonton Wednesday, a brief bond hearing for the inmates who killed two prison guards nine days ago. They were recaptured one week ago after a three-day manhunt that ended in Tennessee. They were returned to Georgia for Wednesday’s court proceedings, in which bond was denied.  From Alexis Stephens at the AJC... The massive manhunt didn’t end quite as spectacularly as first thought. Instead of being held at gunpoint, the two fugitives accused of killing two Georgia prison guards surrendered in middle Tennessee.  So should anyone get the reward money? Ricky Dubose and Donnie Russell Rowe were wanted men, and a $130,000 reward was offered as bounty. Last week, the two were arrested, and on Wednesday they made their first appearance in a Georgia courtroom. But the hefty reward has not yet gone to anyone, the GBI said.  “There have been discussions and we are closer to a decision,” a GBI spokeswoman said in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  The guards, Sgt. Curtis Billue, 58, and Sgt. Christopher Monica, 42, were both shot and killed along Ga. 16 in Putnam County when two prisoners they were transporting escaped, according to police.  If it were up to the GBI director and the Putnam sheriff, there would be no decision to make. It would go to the man credited with holding the two fugitives until officers could arrive to arrest them outside of Murfreesboro. But that man, Patrick Hale, doesn’t believe he’s a hero at all.  Hale believes they surrendered because his car resembles a police-type cruiser.  “I prayed like I had never prayed before,” said the 35-year-old father. Hale’s neighbor, Jeremy Littrell, also walked over and had a gun. But he wasn’t a hero either, he said, and he never pulled out his gun.  Within minutes, at least 40 officers had surrounded the accused killers.  “There were helicopters circling overhead, police everywhere,” Littrell said. “They knew the gig was up.” Friday afternoon, the GBI released a statement on the money.  “The reward will be dispersed at the appropriate time,” Nelly Miles, GBI spokeswoman, said in an email. “As there were several aspects involved in their apprehension, law enforcement will continue to review them and determine how it will be dispersed.” It was not known when a decision on the reward money would be made.
  • An outing at a popular North Georgia swimming spot turned tragic Tuesday when a father and his 6-year-old son drowned, according to police.  Just before 2 p.m., police and firefighters were called to Dicks Creek Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest, Lt. Chris Pfrogner with the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office said. “When the father and son went off the rocks and into the water, they had trouble staying above the water,” Pfrogner told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  The river in the area is fairly small and shallow, Pfrogner said. But it can be deceiving to swimmers because of the current and undertows, he said.  Divers found the bodies of 38-year-old Joshua Kistler and his son, Jaxon, later Tuesday. The two lived in Dahlonega. The Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Forestry investigators assisted Lumpkin deputies, along with the Hall and Forsyth county sheriff’s offices. No foul play is suspected, Pfrogner said.  “It’s just a terrible accident,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ family.” Others witnessed the father and son go under the water, but were not close enough to help, the Sheriff’s Office said.  “It’s going to affect pretty much the whole community,” Cliff Hooker, a family friend, told Channel 2 Action News. “I mean, everybody in that family is heartbroken,” he said.
  • Just as Maranda Harvey was putting her belongings in her car at an Athens hotel last week after being questioned by police, an officer followed his intuition. He wanted to try to get more out of the mother accused of leaving her child at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport with two strangers, so he caught up with her outside. A clerk at the Graduate Athens Hotel had called 911 after recognizing Harvey’s photo on the news. The mother was staying there and admitted to Officer D. Douglas she was the wanted woman, according to an Athens-Clarke County police report released Wednesday, but a check of her ID showed no warrants.  So Douglas released her, but he wasn’t satisfied. “I told her that things didn’t make sense to me,” Douglas wrote in his report. “I told her Atlanta (police were) looking for her because she abandoned the child at the airport.”  Harvey told Douglas, according to the report, that she’d left the 4-year-old with her nanny, but when she struggled to come up with a name, Douglas grew more suspicious. “I knew by the way she hesitated and looked off to the left she was not telling me the truth,” he said.  Harvey then told the officer she left the child with her 26-year-old daughter, the report states. Harvey is 30. When Douglas confronted Harvey about the lie, she simply said: “That’s the benefit of being a mayflower,” according to the report.  The redacted report doesn’t say what exactly happened after the exchange, but Douglas asked for medical assistance. The report also says that her husband, Tyler Joseph Harvey, who was on active military duty, was granted emergency leave.  Police had been searching for Harvey since 7 a.m. Friday. That’s when they were alerted that she left her child with two people at the airport. Atlanta police Sgt. Warren Pickard said Harvey, who is from Odenton, Maryland, drove to the city with her daughter.  When she got to the airport atrium, Harvey asked sisters Huong Nguyen and Mai Nguyen to watch her child while she went to shop, Channel 2 Action News reported. When she didn’t return, they called police.  “Leaving your child at the airport for like an hour with two strangers, it’s quite something,” Huong Nguyen told Channel 2. Police say Harvey abandoned her car, rented a white Nissan Versa and left town.  Authorities haven’t said why Harvey left her child at the airport or what ties she has to Georgia.  According to the report, her husband told police “she had never done anything like this before,” and didn’t know she had left their home and drove to Georgia. It wasn’t until he got a call from authorities that he knew she had disappeared with their child.  Cousin Amanda Hakimi told Channel 2 that Maranda Harvey was a “wonderful mother” and that the reports took them by surprise. Hakimi said Harvey may still be coping with the recent death of her father.  It is not known if Harvey is out of the hospital, and she has not been charged. Atlanta police said Wednesday that reckless conduct charges could be forthcoming.  “There are a lot of moving parts in this investigation and in no way are we not approaching this investigation with the sensitivity it deserves,” Officer Lisa Bender said in a statement. “But by the letter of the law a crime was committed. We are continuing to investigate towards that end.” 

Bulldog News

  • New England Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell can be sweet when he wants to be. Mitchell has a three-book deal with Scholastic, the children's publisher told The Associated Press on Thursday. The books include a newly illustrated edition of his self-published 'The Magician's Hat,' to come out next May, and two more original works. Mitchell is a literacy advocate who founded the 'Read With Malcolm' program. With New England, Mitchell caught 32 passes last year during the regular season and another six in the Super Bowl, when the Patriots came from behind and defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28.
  • After his shot at the NFL ended, former University of Georgia linebacker Amarlo Herrera is working on his next dream— the WWE. An alum of North Clayton High School in Atlanta, Herrera was one of 40 athletes who participated in a WWE tryout last week at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla., according to the WWE. Herrera, who was named second-team All-SEC during his senior season, was drafted by Indianapolis Colts the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but was released on Aug. 10, 2016 after playing in three games as a rookie. Herrera also has stints with the Tennessee Titans and the Washington Redskins. In his four seasons as a Bulldog, Herrera started 43 games and recorded 334 tackles, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions.
  • Sanford Stadium Utility Work Update - Tate Drive Closing From 6/19 through 6/30, construction crews working on the utilities at the Tate drive will be performing their work at night starting at 7PM and working to 6AM. During this time, the drive to the Tate Parking Deck from Lumpkin will be closed. The entrance to the parking deck will be shifted to the ramp just south of the intersection at Baxter and Lumpkin and traffic will be directed by UGA PD. There will also be a full closure of the drive from 7pm on 6/23 through 10pm on 6/24 as the utilities are installed across the width of the drive. During the day, the drive will be re-opened.
  • From UGA Sports Communications ATHENS, Ga. — Six home games – three each in November and December – and four road challenges anchor the Georgia Bulldogs’ 2017-18 non-conference schedule, which was announced by head coach Mark Fox on Thursday. “The goal every year is to create a non-conference schedule that 1) prepares you for SEC play and 2) gives you the strength of schedule at the end of the year to have a chance to go to postseason play,” Fox said. “I think again we’ve put one together that again should allow us to do both of those things The Bulldogs will open their campaign in the dramatically renovated Stegeman Coliseum on Friday, Nov. 10, by hosting Bryant. This summer, Stegeman is undergoing the final phase of more than $20-million in upgrades over the past several years. The arena’s inner bowl is the focus of the final portion of the project and will feature acenter-hung scoreboard, new seats, significantly upgraded sound and lighting systems and additional LED signage. “The final stage of the Stegeman renovations is finally here, which will be the most drastic stage of the project,” Fox said “Obviously, the installation of the glass and work on the concourse was significant, and the building looks different from the outside. I think the interior will look just as significantly different as the outside. I also think you’re going to see the game experience change greatly because of the center-hung scoreboard and video boards and all the other things that can be done with that will be a big upgrade for our game atmosphere and our fans.” The matchup with Bryant is the first of three home games to open the season. Georgia also will host USC-Upstate on Tuesday, Nov. 14 and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sunday, Nov. 19. The Bulldogs will then play three games as part of the Wooden Legacy in California over the Thanksgiving break. Georgia is among the eight-team field which also includes Cal State Fullerton, DePaul, Harvard, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Mary’s, San Diego State and Washington State. Games will be played on Thursday, Nov. 23; Friday, Nov. 24; and Sunday, Nov. 26. Georgia will then face Marquette in Milwaukee on Saturday, Dec. 2 before returning to Stegeman to host Winthrop on Tuesday, Dec. 5. The Bulldogs will venture to UMass on Saturday, Dec. 16, before wrapping up their pre-SEC slate with dates against Georgia Tech on Tuesday, Dec., 19 and Temple on Friday, Dec. 22. Georgia’s remaining non-conference outing will be at Kansas State on Saturday, Jan. 27 as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Last week, the SEC announced the league’s home and away matchups for this upcoming season. Georgia will face Auburn, Florida, LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee on a home-and-home basis. The Bulldogs also will host Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M, while traveling to Kentucky, Mississippi State, Missouri and Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs will return 10 letterwinners, including five with double-digit starts, from a year ago. Consensus All-SEC forward Yante Maten headlines that list. Maten is the SEC’s leading returning scorer after averaging 18.2 ppg a year ago. Junior Derek Ogbeide is the second-leading returning rebounder in the league. He averaged 7.6 rpg last season. In addition, Georgia will welcome four freshmen to the Bulldogs’ roster. “We have a significant number of returning players – nine of our top-10 are back and we’re adding probably one of the better recruiting classes that we’ve had,” Fox said. “But obviously, experience, there’s no substitute for. Everyone is going to be a little bit different role this year because we lost a great leader (J.J. Frazier). We have a lot of guys who we understand what their abilities are and what they’re capable of and I think our chemistry remains very strong. The new guys have the advantage of learning from that experience. We’re working like a team that is very hungry and driven. Right now, we’re excited about their approach.” Stegeman Coliseum Renovation Information Stegeman Coliseum is undergoing major renovations this summer. Work began recently on Phase II of the approximately $8-million project to the Coliseum’s interior. Prior to last season, Phase I included the addition of an HD scoreboard and a dramatic mural covering the distinctive end wall of the arena’s east end. This summer, renovations include a center-hung scoreboard, new seats, significantly upgraded sound and lighting systems and additional LED signage. The current projects follow a $13-million renovation in 2010 that transformed Stegeman’s concourses, upgrading the graphics, enhancing spectator access to concessions and restrooms and adding 5,000-square feet of concourse space on each side of the arena. Those efforts won awards from both the American Institute of Architects and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. Basketball Enhancement Fund Information Donations to the UGA Athletic Association's Basketball Enhancement Fund (BEF) will be accepted beginning this Thursday (June 1) through August 1. Current BEF contributors should expect renewal notices to arrive via email on June 5. BEF contributions are utilized for determining renewable season tickets and various other benefits available to Georgia Basketball supporters. The BEF has established records for both amount contributed and number of contributors in each of the past two years. The Georgia Bulldog Club is hoping for another record-setting effort and is challenging donors to contribute 110 percent of their previous donation. The minimum donation to purchase renewable season tickets is $150 per seat. A gift of $150 also will be recognized with a car decal and an invitation to a designated preseason practice of the Bulldogs. Varying levels of BEF donations are used to determine ability to purchase premium courtside seating, as well as tickets to the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. Additional potential benefits associated with contribution levels include reserved parking at Stegeman Coliseum, invitations to the team's preseason and postseason banquets and pre- and in-game hospitality.
  •  From UGA Sports Communications ATHENS------Georgia senior pitcher Andrew Gist was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the ninth round of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft Tuesday.   Gist, a 5-10, 196-pound native of Cumming, Ga., served as Georgia’s SEC Friday night starter this past season, posting a 3-4 record and a team-best 3.80 ERA. He appeared in 17 games with 11 starts for a total of 73.1 innings as the team went 25-32 and advanced to the SEC Tournament. He clinched Georgia’ spot in the postseason when he provided a career-high eight innings in a 6-3 road win over No. 30 South Carolina. Also, he struck out a career-high 10 in six innings as part of a combined 3-0 shutout of Missouri this past April.   Gist enjoyed a two-year career with the Bulldogs after spending his first two seasons at Walters State in Tennessee. As a Bulldog, Gist went 6-6 with one save and a 4.35 ERA in 32 appearances including 17 starts. He tallied 116 strikeouts and 33 walks in 122 innings.   Georgia has a string of 44 straight seasons with at least one player signing a professional contract. In 2016, six Bulldogs were drafted and began their professional career.   The MLB draft began Monday with the first two rounds while Tuesday’s slate featured rounds three-10. On Tuesday, the Atlanta Braves in the second round selected Bulldog signee Drew Waters, an ALL-USA First Team outfielder out of Etowah High School. The draft concludes Wednesday with rounds 11-40. The MLB signing deadline for underclassmen and high school seniors selected in this year’s draft is July 15.   Bulldogs In The 2017 MLB Draft *Drew Waters, OF, 2nd Round (41st overall), Atlanta Braves Andrew Gist, LHP, 9th Round (259th overall), Tampa Bay Rays *2017 Georgia signee