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Latest from Jamie Dupree

    As a key U.S. Senator said again on Wednesday that the Trump Administration was not being forthcoming about an ambush that killed four U.S. soldiers in the African nation of Niger, the Secretary of Defense told reporters that an investigation is ongoing into the October 4 incident, which military officials believe was linked to a group that is backed by the Islamic State. “We do not have all the accurate information yet,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters at a Pentagon photo op. “We will release it as rapidly as we get it.” Little has been said in public by either defense officials or the White House about the Niger incident, where a small group of U.S. Army soldiers were believed to have been ambushed by fighters who are linked to the Islamic State. “The loss of our troops is under investigation,” Mattis said as he defended the lack of official details in public. “We in the Department of Defense like to know what we are talking about, before we talk.” MOMENTS AGO: Defense Secretary Mattis speaks out on #Niger. pic.twitter.com/nGEXVoJnZl — Fox News (@FoxNews) October 19, 2017 Monday was the first time that President Trump had commented about the attack in Niger; when asked about his silence, Mr. Trump instead talked about how he had written letters and called military families, seemingly raising questions about how his predecessors had handled similar situations. The President did not say anything about the specifics of the attack; instead, the White House has become focused on a fight over what Mr. Trump said to the widow of one of the soldiers, and how it was interpreted by family members, and Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), who is close to the family. On Capitol Hill, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, again said that little information had been given to members of Congress about the attack, making clear his frustration at the lack of details. “It may require a subpoena,” McCain said on Thursday. McCain has already threatened to slow down work some Pentagon nominees to get the attention of military leaders, so they will provide more information about the Niger situation, and he made clear that he has sent that message to the Defense Secretary. McCain said earlier he’s disappointed in how Mattis has handled the Niger situation. “I’ve told him so,” McCain said. — Emma Loop (@LoopEmma) October 19, 2017 Reporter: Is the Trump administration being up front about what happened in Niger? 'No,' McCain said, per @KilloughCNN — Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 18, 2017 This morning, McCain expressed his frustration with the Trump Administration on another front, after the White House did not send a witness to a Senate hearing on defending against cyber attacks. “We’re going to have to demand a better cooperation and better teamwork than we are getting now,” McCain said at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. It wasn’t clear if McCain would hold hearings on the Niger incident, as Democrats started to publicly ask questions as well. The @realDonaldTrump Administration still has not adequately explained what happened in #Niger nor why US troops are in that country. https://t.co/KYhlc8vTDK — Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 19, 2017
  • Repeatedly praising the work of the military and federal emergency officials, President Donald Trump used a Thursday meeting at the White House with the Governor of Puerto Rico to proclaim the disaster relief effort in the wake of Hurricane Maria to be a success, pushing back against critics who say much still needs to be done to restore power and other basic services. “I would give a 10,” the President said, ticking off a list of efforts made by FEMA and the military in Puerto Rico, as he sat with the Governor of the island in the Oval Office. “We have done a really great job,” Mr. Trump added. “Texas – again – really far along, Florida really far along,” as the President said his administration has more than handled the troubles of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate. At one point in the Oval Office, the President stepped in for reporters, and asked the Gov. Ricardo Rossello a question – “Did we do a good job?” President Trump: “Did we do a great job?” Gov. Rosselló: “You responded immediately” https://t.co/AxcGQtoR8v — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 19, 2017 “You responded immediately,” the Governor answered. Much still needs to be done in Puerto Rico – a government website today said that just 21 percent of the island has power, while 71 percent now have running water. “Treat us the same as citizens in Texas, Florida and elsewhere, we will come out of this stronger,” the Governor said. Earlier, the Governor was on Capitol Hill, asking for extra help in a supplemental hurricane relief bill that is expected to come up on the Senate floor next week, urging Senators to include more aid in that package for Puerto Rico. “Puerto Rico doesn’t have another month and a half to address the liquidity issues that it is confronting,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is also asking for billions more in aid for his own state, hit hard by Hurricane Irma. Thank you @marcorubio for your support in collaborating with the recovery of #PuertoRico after Hurricane #Maria. pic.twitter.com/NYyFdVep4O — Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) October 19, 2017 Not only does Puerto Rico want more in that aid bill, but officials from Florida and Texas have also requested additional funding; the plan approved by the House last week totals $36.5 billion, and could go higher. “They’re loading it up,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), “with stuff that has nothing to do with disaster relief.” Shelby, a top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, gave no examples of what extras were being added to the disaster relief bill. The plan could get a first procedural vote on Monday.
  • With the strong support of President Donald Trump, the U.S. Senate was poised on Thursday to approve a budget framework for 2018 that would authorize an expedited effort in Congress on tax reform, but the President’s public reluctance had seemingly scrapped quick action on a separate bipartisan deal involving a small piece of the Obama health law, a move that experts say will cost the federal government billions more in health spending. On the Senate floor, the emphasis for GOP Senators has not been on their budget outline, which would bring the budget to balance in nine years, but rather on the tax reform, the first real effort to rewrite the Internal Revenue Code since 1986. “Because as we all know, our archaic tax code is a significant roadblock standing in the way of America’s economic future,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Despite some reservations from GOP Senators, McConnell looks to have the votes to push through this budget plan later today. Republicans are going for the big Budget approval today, first step toward massive tax cuts. I think we have the votes, but who knows? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2017 As for the President, he continues to press the case for tax reform, though in recent days he has been mentioning tax cuts much more than reform. “Let’s give our country the biggest Christmas present of all,” the President said in a speech earlier this week. “Massive tax relief.” “It will be the largest tax cut in the history of our country,” Mr. Trump told a bipartisan group of Senators that he called to the White House on Wednesday. The exact details of that tax plan remain under wraps at this point; the emerging plan seems to bee one where the House and Senate will finish work on the budget outline for next year, and then reveal the tax bill – most likely in November – and move quickly to vote on it in the House by Thanksgiving. As for health care, there had been hope earlier this week that the Senate could move swiftly to approve a bipartisan deal to address certain payments to health insurance companies under the Obama health law – but that seems to have run aground, after the President went from supporting the plan, to opposing it, in less than 24 hours. John Thune agrees many Republicans don't actually understand the CSR deal. He notes the payments aren't bailouts and they save money. 'There is a lot of misinformation out there.' — Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) October 18, 2017 One issue seems to be the complexity of the underlying Obama health law – it sounds simple enough to argue that if you cut off the “Cost Sharing Reduction” payments to insurance companies, then that should save money for Uncle Sam. But as I wrote earlier in the week, doing that only means other subsidies kick in, and actually cause the feds to spend billions more. The Congressional Budget Office has projected that the extra cost would be $194 billion over ten years.
  • A day after seemingly endorsing a legislative effort in Congress to formally approve money for insurance companies that would pay for health insurance subsidies for certain consumers, President Donald Trump indicated on Wednesday that while he backed the idea of bipartisan negotiations related to the Obama health law, he did not support a deal on “Cost Sharing Reduction” payments, . “If something can happen that’s fine,” Mr. Trump told reporters at a White House photo op, as he made clear that he wants to stop insurance subsidy payments that go to health insurers. “I won’t do anything to enrich the insurance companies,” the President said. “They’ve been enriched by Obamacare like nothing anyone has ever seen before.” I am supportive of Lamar as a person & also of the process, but I can never support bailing out ins co's who have made a fortune w/ O'Care. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017 Pres. Trump on subsidies deal: 'If something can happen, that's fine. But I won't do anything to enrich the insurance companies.' pic.twitter.com/iNPy5IwgAD — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 18, 2017 The statements left lawmakers on Capitol Hill wondering whether Mr. Trump would help push the plan through the Congress, or if it would galvanize more conservative opponents, as in less than 24 hours, the President had gone from supportive, to mildly unimpressed, to seemingly opposed to the plan. “He called Murray-Alexander deal a very good solution,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. “Now this morning, he says he can’t support it.” “He keeps zigging and zagging,” Schumer complained in a frustrated, and almost exasperated tone on the floor of the Senate, as he urged the President to be consistent when it comes to legislation in Congress. “Our only hope is, maybe tomorrow, he’ll be for this again,” Schumer added. It would *appear* there is a lot of confusion over Trump and the White House's stance on Alexander-Murray bill. — Joseph (@JoePWilliams31) October 18, 2017 As the President pinballed back and forth on the Senate CSR payments deal, it wasn’t clear what the Congress might do on the matter, as conservative groups urged GOP leaders not to accept the plan, saying it only tweaks the Obama health law, and not in a good way. “This is a bailout for health insurance companies,” the group Freedom Works said in a morning news release. Health insurance experts were still debating the Senate plan, unsure of all of its impacts, especially since there was no final bill draft at this point – and no plan for any vote on it, either.
  • President Donald Trump urged conservative activists on Tuesday night to help lobby Senators in favor of a GOP tax reform package, as despite some infighting, Republicans seemed like they would be able to approve a budget outline this week in the Senate, a plan which would allow for future legislative action on a tax bill – without the threat of a Senate filibuster. “Let’s give our country the best Christmas present of all – massive tax relief,” the President said in a speech at the Heritage Foundation, where his vow of big tax cuts drew large cheers from the audience. “This is our once-in-a-generation opportunity to revive our economy,” Mr. Trump added, though he acknowledged that he doesn’t expect much support from Democrats in the Congress. Pres. Trump says tax plan will simplify tax code so 'vast majority of families will be able to file their taxes on a single sheet of paper.' pic.twitter.com/tpFGtRfgfS — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 17, 2017 Before any tax bill can be brought up on the floor of the House and Senate, both chambers must approve a budget outline for 2018, which authorizes the use of the ‘budget reconciliation’ process for tax reform – helping the GOP to avoid a Senate filibuster. That was the same legislative tool used in a failed bid to overhaul the Obama health law. In an important sign for the White House, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) – who had been absent for weeks with an illness, returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday – and then, GOP leaders won the support of another key Republican Senator, who has tangled repeatedly with the President. “I support the Senate budget resolution because it provides a path forward on tax reform,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who still wants GOP leaders to add more money to the budget outline for military needs. Still not ready to commit to the budget or tax plans was Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who lobbed a series of pointed jabs at both McCain, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), accusing them of trying to use budget gimmicks to funnel more money to the Pentagon, instead of finding ways to restrain spending. Rand Paul: “Lindsey graham wouldn’t know a conservative if he met one…” — Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) October 17, 2017 In a first test vote, the Senate voted 50-47 in favor of beginning debate on the budget framework for 2018, which would balance the budget by 2026. A House budget outline would achieve that a year later. No Democrats joined with Republicans to begin the Senate debate, as right now, the White House faces a difficult task in getting any Democratic lawmakers to endorse the President’s budget or tax plans. “It’s going to be hard to get the Democrats, because they’re obstructionists, and they vote in blocks,” the President said in his Tuesday night speech. If no Democrats cross party lines on taxes, that makes it all the more important for the GOP to stick together in the Senate, or the GOP could face the same outcome as on health care reform. No legislative language for a tax reform plan has been released as yet by the GOP. Lawmakers don’t expect to see all the details until next month.
  • Key Senators say they have reached a deal – backed by the President – which would fund payments to health insurance companies for two years, while also giving states more flexibility in how they deal with the underlying requirements of the Obama health law. “Yes, we have been involved,” President Donald Trump told reporters when asked about the negotiations. “This is a short-term deal,” as the President again said he hopes to get Congress to approve a set of longer-term reforms which revolve around block grants to the states. The plan, worked out by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), was discussed by Senators at their Tuesday lunch meetings in the U.S. Capitol; no legislative text was immediately available. President Trump says he supports a bipartisan health deal reached by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray https://t.co/HN7HzOHqcx — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 17, 2017 The deal would reverse a decision made last Thursday night by President Trump, who moved to stop payments to insurance companies known as “Cost Sharing Reduction” payments. Republicans have claimed for several years – and federal courts have backed them up – that the payments were never directly approved by the Congress, and thus should never have been made by the federal government. Mr. Trump authorized the payments from the start of his administration in January, but regularly threatened to end them – following through on that late last week.
  • Even as President Donald Trump urged Senators on Monday to find a bipartisan deal on short-term fixes to the Obama health law, the consensus among health insurance experts is that Mr. Trump’s decision last week to no longer make payments to insurance companies to cover the health-related costs of some Americans might actually cost the federal government billions more in the years ahead. At issue is the “Cost Sharing Reduction” payments that had been made by the Obama and Trump Administrations – that money helps subsidize insurance costs of some consumers in the Obamacare exchanges. Those payments were never expressly approved by the Congress, leading many Republicans to charge that the spending had been illegal, and spurring the President to block the payments. And that’s where the subject gets a bit complicated. “The Congressional Budget Office estimated that not funding CSR would lead to a net increase of $194 billion in more spending over the next decade,” said health care researcher David Anderson of Duke University. Repealing CSR could increase federal deficit. No CSR = Higher Premiums = Higher APTC = increased federal deficit. https://t.co/NPWFjAKGUw — Thomas Tsai (@Thomasctsai) October 13, 2017 But wait – how would halting an expected $10 billion in payments in 2018, a move that would save Uncle Sam money – how would that lead to such a big cost for the feds over the next decade? “While the federal government would save money by not making CSR payments, it would face increased costs for tax credits that subsidize premiums for marketplace enrollees with incomes 100-400% of the poverty level,” wrote officials of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which focuses on health care policy matters. In other words, different subsidies doled out under the Obama health law would go up as insurance companies raise premiums to deal with the loss of the CSR federal payments – those are known as “Advance Premium Tax Credits,” which can go to families of four with a yearly income of up to $97,000. Who Bears the Brunt With the End of ACA Cost-Sharing Subsidy Payments? https://t.co/pMhUQwvpeC by @larry_levitt — Kaiser Family Found (@KaiserFamFound) October 16, 2017 “The biggest effect from the termination of cost-sharing subsidy payments is that premiums are going up to offset the loss,” said Larry Levitt of Kaiser, who labeled the impact of the Trump CSR decision, “confusing and complicated.” One example of that started to appear on Monday in in Pennsylvania, as state officials said health coverage “rates will increase by an average 30.6 percent in the individual market ,” instead of by 7.6 percent. One recent story from the Miami Herald found that the Trump move on CSR payments would mean a big increase for Florida in the amount of federal dollars spent to subsidize those who get their health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges in that state. Some experts argue that Mr. Trump’s decision will have the biggest negative impact on insurance rates in states that are normally in the Republican column – especially if those states did not move to expand the Medicaid program during the Obama Administration. In recent months, a bipartisan group of Senators had been working to figure out a way to tinker with the Obama health law, and make sure the CSR payments were made by Congress, led by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who told reporters on Monday evening that he had already spoken with the President about his CSR decision. Alexander on his call with TRUMP: 'He said 'I don't want people to suffer.' Those are his words.' — Peter Sullivan (@PeterSullivan4) October 16, 2017 Some GOP Senators have grumbled in recent weeks about the talks between Alexander and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), worried that it will contain little in the way of concessions by Democrats on the operations of the Obama health law. That’s a concern for Republicans in the House as well, and could lead to a stalemate in Congress on any short-term effort to deal with the Obama health law. “At this time, in my opinion, doing nothing is an acceptable outcome for liberal policy preferences while doing nothing moves policy further away from stated conservative policy preferences,” said Anderson of Duke University. “I want to get healthcare that’s much more affordable and much better healthcare, and that’s what we’re doing,” the President said on Monday when asked about the CSR payments decision. What that exactly means for the President is still not clear.
  • With a lot of work still needed in Congress on key items of President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda, Mr. Trump met for lunch on Monday with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, giving off no signs of any ill will despite some sparring in the past, as both men vowed to push ahead on plans for major tax cuts and reform, emphasizing the need to get that done by the end of 2017. “We’re fighting for the same thing – we’re fight for lower taxes, big tax cuts – the biggest tax cuts in the history of our nation,” the President said at a hastily assembled meeting with reporters in the White House Rose Garden. “I want to underscore what the President said – we have the same agenda,” McConnell said, standing next to the President the entire time, as reporters verbally jostled to get his attention during a somewhat raucous Q&A that had not been on the original schedule for Mr. Trump. “My relationship with this gentleman is outstanding,” Mr. Trump said of McConnell, not mentioning some of his tough statements and tough tweets about the Senate GOP leader in the past. Here is the full Trump news conference, with McConnell:
  • President Donald Trump on Monday declared Obamacare dead, as he urged Republicans in Congress to lead the way on solutions to overhaul the Obama health law, and to find a way to deliver a major tax reform package as well, making clear that he should not be blamed for any of the legislative miscues by GOP leaders in the House and Senate. “I’m not going to blame myself – I’ll be honest,” the President told reporters, as he pointed the finger of blame directly at the Congress. “They are not getting the job done.” “I’m not happy about it,” Mr. Trump said, reminding Republicans of what hasn’t been done in the Congress this year. “We need tax cuts, we need health care,” the President said. Trump on Congress: 'We're not getting the job done. And I'm not going to blame myself, I'll be honest. They are not getting the job done.' pic.twitter.com/DbdQRyhJTm — NBC News (@NBCNews) October 16, 2017 At the start of a Cabinet meeting at the White House, Mr. Trump said he thought his moves last week on health care would force Democrats to the bargaining table to come up with some kind of short-term deal on health care. “I think the Democrats will be blamed for the mess,” the President said. “This is an Obamacare mess.” Mr. Trump also optimistcally said he thought there would be an agreement early next year on a GOP bill to overhaul the Obama health law, something that has so far eluded Republicans in the Congress. “Obamacare is finished, it’s dead, it’s gone,” the President declared. “There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore. President Trump: “Obamacare is finished. It's dead. It’s gone …. There is no such thing as Obamacare any more” https://t.co/CLbWiYUkSp — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 16, 2017
  • As the U.S. Senate returns to work in Washington, D.C. from a ten day break, President Donald Trump is ready to press for action this week on a sweeping package of tax cuts, meeting on Monday to talk strategy with the top Republican in the Senate, and then sitting down on Wednesday with members of the Senate committee which will write a tax reform bill in coming weeks. “I really think that we’ve gotta do the most we can,” on tax reform, said Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who played golf with Mr. Trump on Sunday at the President’s golf course in Virginia. “We really, you know, need to do it,” Paul said – though the Kentucky Republican is one of several GOP Senators who have raised questions about the details of the plan, which still have not been released by the White House and GOP Congress. “The people of this country want tax cuts, they want lower taxes,” the President told reporters last week. Pres. Trump says he hopes Congress will pass 'massive tax cuts for the American people' as a Christmas gift to hard working families. pic.twitter.com/xnkYHZ0qsv — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 13, 2017 But while the President and GOP leaders talk a lot in public about approving a tax reform package, no vote can be taken on that until the Congress first passes a budget outline for 2018, that also authorizes a tax cutting plan under the expedited rules of ‘budget reconciliation,’ which prevents a filibuster in the Senate. “This country must not miss this opportunity,” McConnell said last week about tax reform – but this week, he must take the first step on the ‘budget resolution,’ which sets an outline for spending in 2018. The plan approved earlier this month by the Senate Budget Committee would balance the budget within ten years – but, it would also allow the tax plan to create $1.5 trillion in new debt, meaning there would not be a balanced budget during that time. That has left some Republicans voicing their concerns – and as we saw with health care, it doesn’t take too many GOP Senators going against the President to derail any Trump plan. Interesting: Senator Todd Young (R-IN) says he’s not willing to “blow a hole in the budget” to pass a tax bill. https://t.co/gGmbJhC8jG — Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 12, 2017 It’s also the first time that Senators have been back at the Capitol since the Twitter spat between the President and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who has decided not to run for re-election in 2018. Corker has also said while he backs tax reform, he doesn’t want to see any tax plan create even a penny of new debt. Meanwhile, we wait for the details of the GOP tax reform plan – not expected until November. On Capitol Hill, the search for elusive details of the Republican tax reform bill https://t.co/xaiiIcTefq pic.twitter.com/Jzlntw9jWm — Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) October 14, 2017
  • Jamie Dupree

    Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog.

    A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989. Politics and the Congress are in Jamie’s family, as both of his parents were staffers for members of Congress. He was also a page and intern in the House of Representatives. Jamie has covered 11 national political conventions, with his first being the 1988 Democratic Convention in Atlanta. His political travels have had him on the presidential campaign trail every four years since 1992, chasing candidates throughout the primary calendar.

    He is heard on Cox Radio stations around the country: WSB-AM Atlanta, WDBO-AM Orlando; WOKV-AM/FM Jacksonville; WHIO-AM/FM Dayton, Ohio; and KRMG-AM Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    Jamie and his wife Emily live just outside the Beltway with their three children. Some may know Jamie from his other on-air hobby, as he is a licensed amateur radio operator. When not at work or playing with his kids, you can often find him with a golf club in his hands.

    Follow Jamie on Google+

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Local News

  • The University of Georgia will celebrate its myriad offerings in the visual, literary and performing arts this November during the sixth annual Spotlight on the Arts festival, which features nearly 100 events and exhibitions over 12 days. The festival begins Nov. 1 with 'Kaleidoscope: Spotlight on the Arts Opening Celebration,' an hourlong showcase of student performances in dance, music, theater and creative writing at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center. Spotlight on the Arts, which continues through Nov. 12, includes art exhibitions and demonstrations, book talks and readings, film screenings and theater, and music and dance performances, many of which are free and open to the public or discounted for students. 'Spotlight on the Arts exemplifies how creative expression and scholarship in the arts enrich the learning environment at the University of Georgia,' said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten. 'Over a 12-day period, it provides an extraordinary sampling of the kind of world-class exhibitions and performances this institution offers year-round.' Now in its sixth year, Spotlight on the Arts highlights the quality and breadth of the arts offerings at UGA. This year's festival includes performances of 'Cabaret' presented by University Theatre, as well concerts from seven student and faculty groups from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, exhibitions at the Lamar Dodd School of Art and Georgia Museum of Art, and performances from the department of dance's Young Choreographers Series. A special daylong Student Spotlight event Nov. 2 will feature student performances from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Tate Plaza. On Nov. 11, the second annual Spotlight on the Arts Family Day will include performances, activities, demonstrations and workshops in art, dance, theater, music and writing designed for children and families to enjoy. Both events are free of charge. Other highlights of the 2017 Spotlight on the Arts festival include an induction ceremony for the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame; a discussion with artist manager Michael Lehman, who represented Gregg Allman and other high-profile clients; lectures from internationally renowned artists, writers and scholars such as photographer Sean Dunn, author Kristen Iskandrian, painter Philip Juras, art historian Martha Lucy and interdisciplinary artist Clark Lunberry; as well as guest performances from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the music group The Bumper Jacksons. 'Spotlight on the Arts is one of the premier ways the Arts Council achieves its mission, and we are thrilled by the lineup of events and exhibits this year,' said Russ Mumper, vice provost for academic affairs and chair of the UGA Arts Council, which coordinates the festival. Members of the UGA Arts Council include representatives from the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, the creative writing program, the department of dance, the department of theatre and film studies, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the Georgia Museum of Art, The Georgia Review, the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, the Lamar Dodd School of Art, the Performing Arts Center, the UGA Press, the special collections libraries and the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts. Also contributing to the 2017 Spotlight on the Arts festival are the College of Education, College of Environment and Design, Ideas for Creative Exploration, Odum School of Ecology and the School of Public and International Affairs.
  • A Commerce woman faces criminal charges in the death of her mother. 74 year-old Linda Cowart died in a hospital in Athens; Commerce Police say her death was the result of neglect on the part of her daughter, who was serving as her mother’s caretaker. Charges against 50 year-old Tina Booth include murder and elder neglect. The GBI is in on the ongoing investigation.  There is a guilty plea from the man charged in the death of a woman whose body was found in a hotel in Gainesville: 44 year-old Andre Hollingsworth pleaded guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge and also to charges of cocaine possession. The body of 33 year-old Randi Higgins was found in a Hall County hotel back in March. An autopsy later determined she died of blunt force trauma. Hollingsworth will serve a 25-year prison sentence.  A Gainesville man is facing child molestation charges: 53 year-old Russell Lowery was booked into the Hall County jail, accused of molesting a child for a two-year period beginning in 2014.  Police in Oakwood arrest a Gainesville man on a kidnapping charge: Luis Contreras is 26 years old. The arrest comes after a traffic stop in Oakwood. Police say he fled the scene of the stop on foot and was arrested a short time later. They say a teenaged boy who was with him at the time was being held against his will. Contreras is also facing theft charges.  A Buford woman will be sentenced next month after her conviction on a murder charge: 34 year-old Olivia Smith had claimed self-defense in the shooting death of her husband. 34 year-old Cory Smith was shot and killed at the couple’s home in Buford in April of 2015, a shooting that happened while the Smith’s were in the midst of divorce proceedings. She was convicted in a trial that was held in Gwinnett County Superior Court. 
  • Former Georgia governor and U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, will be retiring from public life as he battles Parkinson’s disease. Miller’s family made the announcement Wednesday morning, asking for prayers.  The former governor will retire in the north Georgia mountains, where he was born.  His friends told Channel 2’s Richard Elliot that Miller has left a legacy the state won’t soon forget. Miller was a college professor, a U.S. Marine and for 40 years one of the most influential politicians in Georgia history -- rising from a mayor to a state lawmaker to lieutenant governor to governor to U.S. senator. TRENDING STORIES: Boy, 1, dies after getting struck by SUV; Family retaliates against driver Warrant: Mother accused of 'knowingly and intentionally' killing children Sleeping man killed over his marijuana-infused edibles, police say 'He was a political hero of mine. He and I come from the same kind of tradition up here in the mountains,” current Georgia House Speaker David Ralston told Elliot.  Ralston believes the HOPE Scholarship is Miller’s greatest achievement - one that still impacts the state. “HOPE mattered in the lives of so many Georgia families. It still matters in their lives. And so touching that many lives is, I don’t know what could be greater than that,” Ralston said.  Former Gov. Miller's grandson: 'I think Georgians can be comforted by the fact that if anyone can deal with Parkinson's...it's Zell Miller.' pic.twitter.com/rbJMxkYmvr — Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) October 18, 2017 Elliot also spoke will Miller’s grandson, Bryan, who said he and his family created the Miller Institute Foundation an organization to preserve the former governor’s legacy and to help mold future Georgia leaders. “If anybody can handle Parkinson’s, it’s Zell Miller,” Bryan Miller told Elliot. “I don’t think we’re going to see to many people like Zell Miller in the future, and so what I want to do his preserve his legacy, the accomplishments, the record, but also to promote and educate the public about the man.” Bryan Miller also told Elliot that the HOPE Scholarship helped move the state forward as well.  “I think it’s one of the reasons so many Fortune 500s are relocating and opening up offices in Georgia. It’s something that we in family are very proud of,” Bryan Miller said.  [Learn more about Saturday's annual fundraiser walk for the Parkinson's Foundation here] “Zell’s tough.  He has had a fantastic career, and I think Georgians can be comforted by the fact that if there’s anybody who can deal with Parkinson’s and address it head on, it’s Zell Miller,” Bryan Miller said. Gov. Nathan Deal said in a statement:  “Zell’s public service record and accomplishments are countless. He is a statesman, a humble servant, a proud Georgian, an honorable man and my good friend. His legacy is one of which we are all proud.” “Know the early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease and how to spot them in yourself or in someone you love.  Early diagnosis and expert care can improve quality of life for someone living with the disease. The Parkinson’s Foundation is here to help. Call 1-800-4PD-INFO or visit www.parkinson.org to learn more,' the foundation said.
  • The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office says a deputy was hit by a car while working Tuesday afternoon at Oconee Veterans Park.  From the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page ...  A deputy was just struck by a vehicle while directing traffic in front of OVP. The deputy is conscious, alert, and talking. The driver did stop. We are happy to report that Lt. George Roberts has been released from the hospital. All test and X-rays came back fine. He's going to be a bit sore for a few days.
  • We are today twenty days away from the November 7 election day, with early voting continuing in Athens and Oconee County: special legislative elections in House Districts 117 and 119 highlight a ballot that will also include municipal elections—mayor’s races in Jefferson and Elberton—and a transportation sales tax referendum in Athens. The early voting that began Monday continues through Friday November 3.  Republican candidates in the House races met in a candidates forum last night on the Oconee County campus of the University of North Georgia. Houston Gaines is opposed by Democrat Deborah Gonzalez in the race to fill the unexpired term of former state Rep Regina Quick, who left the legislature to become a Superior Court judge. Tom Lord, Steve Strickland, and Marcus Wiedower are running for the post vacated by Chuck Williams, who gave up his House seat to become the director of the Georgia Forestry Commission. Democrat Jonathan Wallace did not attend last night’s Oconee County forum.

Bulldog News

  • And now…#3. The Georgia Bulldogs move up one spot in the latest AP poll just released on Sunday. It comes after the Dawgs’ 53-28 win over Missouri this weekend. The Bulldogs were poised for a step-up, given a chaotic weekend of college football results, with four of the top 10 teams going down to defeat.  This now marks the first time Georgia has reached third in the nation, since just before the 2012 SEC Championship game.  The new AP rankings still have Alabama in the top spot, followed by Penn State now into the #2 position.  The Bulldogs are off this coming weekend, followed by their annual battle with Florida on October 28th. 
  • ATHENS ---- Former Georgia All-America defensive back/wide receiver/kick returner Roland ‘’Champ’’ Bailey was among those selected for the 2017 Southeastern Conference Football Legends class, announced Tuesday by the SEC office. The class will be honored at the 2017 SEC Football “Weekend of Champions” Dec. 1-2 in Atlanta, Ga. The annual SEC Legends Dinner presented by AT&T will be held Friday, Dec. 1 at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta and the group will also be recognized prior to the SEC Football Championship Game, which will be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 2. Considered the most versatile player at Georgia since the inception of two-platoon football, Bailey was an All-American performer on offense, defense and special teams for the Bulldogs. He played more than 1,000 plays during his junior season in 1998, including more than 100 plays in seven different games. The All-Southeastern Conference selection was named winner of the 1998 Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defensive player and was a consensus All-American selection that year. In the ’98 season Bailey caught 47 passes for 744 yards and five TDs on offense, and on defense he totaled 52 tackles with three interceptions. Bailey was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the 1999 NFL draft and was a 12-time Pro Bowl (3-time 1st-team All-Pro) selection from 2000-2013 as a member of the Redskins and the Denver Broncos. He was named a member of the Football Writers Association of America 75th Anniversary All-America first team in 2015. He finished his pro career with 52 interceptions, four of which he returned for touchdowns. Other members of the 2017 class include Gene Stallings (Alabama), Dan Hampton (Arkansas), Carlos Rogers (Auburn), Danny Wuerffel (Florida), Nate Worthington (Kentucky), Glenn Dorsey (LSU), Terrence Metcalf (Ole Miss), Floyd Womack (Mississippi State), Brad Smith (Missouri), John Abraham (South Carolina), Chad Clifton (Tennessee), Dave Elmendorf (Texas A&M) and Don Orr (Vanderbilt). The SEC Legends program was started in the 1994 season and the following former Bulldogs have been chosen to participate: Charley Tripp (1994), Fran Tarkenton (1995), Bill Stanfill (1996), Terry Hoage (1997), John Rauch (1998), Herschel Walker (1999), Kevin Butler (2000), Tommy Lyons (2001), George Patton (2002), Scott Woerner (2003), Mike Wilson (2004), Zeke Bratkowski (2005), Garrison Hearst (2006), Rex Robinson (2007), Eric Zeier (2008), Matt Stinchcomb (2009), Ben Zambiasi (2010), Boss Bailey (2011), David Greene (2012), Tim Worley (2013), John Little (2014), Richard Seymour (2015) and Jon Stinchcomb (2016).
  • Georgia Bulldog senior left tackle Isaiah Wynn has been named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week following his performance in the victory at Vanderbilt, according to a league announcement.    This is the Bulldogs’ fourth SEC weekly honor of the season and first Offensive Lineman of the Week honor in 2017. Senior outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter was named the Defensive Player of the Week after the win at #24 Notre Dame and freshman quarterback Jake Fromm garnered Freshman of the Week honors in the victory over #17 Mississippi State. Last week, senior tailback Nick Chubb was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week.   The last time Georgia had an Offensive Lineman of the Week award was when Chris Burnette garnered the honor following the win at Tennessee in 2013.   Wynn, a native of St. Petersburg, Fla., graded out at 92 percent and allowed no quarterback hurries, hits or sacks during the 45-14 rout of the Commodores. Wynn posted eight “knockdown” blocks while the Bulldogs rolled up 423 yards rushing, which is the sixth most in school history and the most since 1987 when Georgia had 454 yards versus Vanderbilt.   The #4 Bulldogs (6-0, 3-0 SEC) return home to face Missouri (1-4, 0-3 SEC) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The SEC Network will televise the matchup at Sanford Stadium.
  • Today begins Homecoming Week at the University of Georgia. Activities that begin with this morning’s Bulldog Bash at the Tate Student Center will culminate with Saturday night’s Homecoming football game against Missouri. The game kicks off at 7:30 in Sanford Stadium.    The Georgia Bulldogs climb from 5th to 4th in the latest Associated Press college football rankings: this, after this weekend’s win at Vanderbilt. Up next: this Saturday night’s Homecoming game against the Missouri Tigers.