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Local News

    Those anticipating next month’s solar eclipse have an opportunity to view the rare spectacle at the University of Georgia.  The event, Eclipse Blackout 2017 hosted by the university's geography department, will allow onlookers to view the moment Aug. 21 at Sanford Stadium.  “UGA is in a great position to view a 99.1 percent “blackout” from a total solar eclipse,” organizers wrote on the event page.  MORE: 7 things to know about the total solar eclipse crossing the nation this August MORE: Get your free eclipse glasses at these metro Atlanta libraries The first 5,000 guests will get free, custom UGA viewing glasses and can expect to see other views from around the world on the stadium’s big screen. The eclipse is expected to be over Oregon at 1:15 p.m. EDT and end in South Carolina about an hour and a half later. Peak darkness in Athens is projected to be at 2:38 p.m.  The eclipse is the first in nearly 100 years to cross the country. Due to its rarity, astronomers are calling it the Great American Eclipse.
  • Trouble appears to be brewing in Elbert County, where Bowman Mayor Betty Jo Maxwell has filed harassment complaints with the Sheriff’s Office in Elberton, complaints against Bowman City Councilman Clay Rooker. The Mayor says the Councilman made threats. The Elbert County Sheriff’s Office says its investigation is ongoing. 
  • A Jackson County man is among those charged in a bribery case in Rome: David English is 38 years old, from Hoschton. He’s facing theft, bribery, and RICO allegations, accused of taking bribes as a security contactor for the Floyd County School System. English owns Southeastern Security Professionals; he’s accused of taking more than $60,000 from the school district in Rome over a four-year period that ended in 2014. 
  • Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Kelly Girtz says he will kick off his 2018 campaign for mayor with a rally on September 9. Girtz joins Harry Sims as Commissioners who say they will run to replace a term-limited Athens Mayor Nancy Denson. Also in the race are Antwon Stephens, Richie Knight, and Sam Thomas.  'We can build a strong foundation that will support Athenians of every walk of life, one that will set the stage for great lives for generations ahead,” said Girtz. “A safer, healthier, more prosperous Athens is awaiting, and I can't wait to work with you to build it.”  The election for Athens-Clarke County Mayor will be held on May 22, 2018. 
  • The victim of a Thursday accident at a quarry in Oglethorpe County has been identified. Matthew Kantala was 36 years old, from Elberton. The Oglethorpe County Coroner's office says he was struck by a piece of falling granite at the Blue Sky Quarry on Veribest Road. OSHA is investigating. 
  • A 32 year-old man arrested on Westchester Drive in Athens was wanted on larceny and theft charges in Virginia: Joseph Freeman is in the Clarke County jail, awaiting a return to Gloucester County Virginia.  There are weapons charges for an Athens teenager: 19 year-old Tyrell Gordon was pulled over by Athens-Clarke County Police, allegedly doing 90 miles per hour on the 10 Loop near Prince Avenue. Aside from speeding and reckless driving charges, Gordon faces a count of illegal possession of a firearm by a felon after a handgun was found in his car. He’s also accused of driving without a license. 
  • The funeral for former Oglethorpe County Sheriff Mike Smith is set for 12 o'clock Saturday at Lord and Stephens East on Lexington Road in Athens. Smith, who served three terms as sheriff in Oglethorpe County, died earlier this week at the age of 56. David Gabriel, the former Athens-Clarke County Police Officer who defeated Smith in last November’s election, posted the following on his Facebook page:  “I am saddened by the passage of Retired Oglethorpe County Sheriff Mike Smith. I truly understand the stresses and difficulties of serving the citizens of Oglethorpe County like few others. He has left all of his troubles and burdens behind as he began his journey to his heavenly home. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Please keep his wife Gail, and his family in your prayers..”
  • The University of Georgia State Botanical Garden has hired a designer and a construction manager for the Alice H. Richards Children's Garden and plans to break ground Sept. 1. Koons Environmental Design, of Athens, will lead plans for the garden, to be nestled in an area between the Alice Hand Callaway Visitor Center and the administration building. The construction manager from Allstate Construction, of Perry, will oversee a superintendent based in Athens for the project. 'I am delighted with our choice of design firm and construction manager for the project,' said Jenny Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach. 'It is clear to me that the entire team-garden staff, university architects, UGA leadership, and the designer and construction manager-are all thinking about this project in the same way. We are all excited to create something unique and rooted in the creativity and sense of place in Athens.' Both Koons and Allstate have a history of successful projects at UGA, Cruse-Sanders said.UGA, in partnership with the garden's board of advisors, has raised more than $4.3 million for the $5 million children's garden, which includes an initial $1 million gift from the family of Alice H. Richards, for whom the garden is named. Richards, who was from Carrollton, was a charter member of the State Botanical Garden Board of Advisors and one of the garden's most devoted and beloved supporters until her death in 2007. To help raise funds locally, the garden launched a Georgia Funder crowdfunding page in March, with a goal of raising $10,000 by Sept. 8. The 2.5 acre accessible, fun-filled, educational environment will include a canopy walk in the trees, a tree house, creature habitats, hands-on garden plots, an underground zone, edible landscapes, and a bog garden and pond. One component, an amphitheater in the woods, was completed in 2015. The garden is expected to be open to visitors by early 2019. 'We are looking forward to welcoming a new generation to the garden,' Cruse-Sanders said.To contribute to the Alice H. Richards Children's Garden through Georgia Funder, go to https://t.uga.edu/34z.
  • A fisherman was arrested after hundreds of fish were found to be illegally taken from Lake Oconee in Middle Georgia, according to state officials. The violation was discovered after Sgt. Matt Garthright checked a fisherman’s license, according to a Facebook post Wednesday by the Department of Natural Resources. Garthright found a cast net and 42 fish nearby, according to the post. When he inspected the fish, Garthright found that none of them had hook marks in their mouths. As he investigated further, Garthright found 259 illegally taken fish, according to the post. The poaching suspect, who was not identified, was charged with taking game fish by illegal methods, according to the DNR. Garthright felt the fish, which had been left in a hot vehicle for several hours without being placed on ice, weren’t fit for consumption, so they were disposed of at a landfill.
  • Pop singer Aaron Carter criticized his famous brother this week, shortly after Nick Carter reached out via social media to his flesh and blood. Aaron was recently arrested in Habersham County for driving under the influence and possession of marijuana. After news of his arrested circulated, Aaron’s brother Nick posted about his brother on Twitter. “To my brother: I love u no matter what & if u feel the need to reach for help, I am here and willing to help you get better,” Nick wrote. “Family isn’t always easy, [but] we’re all here for you.” In a recent response, Aaron chided his brother for making such a statement. “If my own blood (Nick) truly cared about my well-being, why wouldn’t he call me directly and have a conversation instead of making this about him through a very public forum?” “That’s not cool at all to use me for his PR and kick me while I am down. I love my family despite it through thick and thin.” Aaron would later clarify to fans that he was not using hardcore drugs.

Local News

  • Those anticipating next month’s solar eclipse have an opportunity to view the rare spectacle at the University of Georgia.  The event, Eclipse Blackout 2017 hosted by the university's geography department, will allow onlookers to view the moment Aug. 21 at Sanford Stadium.  “UGA is in a great position to view a 99.1 percent “blackout” from a total solar eclipse,” organizers wrote on the event page.  MORE: 7 things to know about the total solar eclipse crossing the nation this August MORE: Get your free eclipse glasses at these metro Atlanta libraries The first 5,000 guests will get free, custom UGA viewing glasses and can expect to see other views from around the world on the stadium’s big screen. The eclipse is expected to be over Oregon at 1:15 p.m. EDT and end in South Carolina about an hour and a half later. Peak darkness in Athens is projected to be at 2:38 p.m.  The eclipse is the first in nearly 100 years to cross the country. Due to its rarity, astronomers are calling it the Great American Eclipse.
  • Trouble appears to be brewing in Elbert County, where Bowman Mayor Betty Jo Maxwell has filed harassment complaints with the Sheriff’s Office in Elberton, complaints against Bowman City Councilman Clay Rooker. The Mayor says the Councilman made threats. The Elbert County Sheriff’s Office says its investigation is ongoing. 
  • A Jackson County man is among those charged in a bribery case in Rome: David English is 38 years old, from Hoschton. He’s facing theft, bribery, and RICO allegations, accused of taking bribes as a security contactor for the Floyd County School System. English owns Southeastern Security Professionals; he’s accused of taking more than $60,000 from the school district in Rome over a four-year period that ended in 2014. 
  • Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Kelly Girtz says he will kick off his 2018 campaign for mayor with a rally on September 9. Girtz joins Harry Sims as Commissioners who say they will run to replace a term-limited Athens Mayor Nancy Denson. Also in the race are Antwon Stephens, Richie Knight, and Sam Thomas.  'We can build a strong foundation that will support Athenians of every walk of life, one that will set the stage for great lives for generations ahead,” said Girtz. “A safer, healthier, more prosperous Athens is awaiting, and I can't wait to work with you to build it.”  The election for Athens-Clarke County Mayor will be held on May 22, 2018. 
  • The victim of a Thursday accident at a quarry in Oglethorpe County has been identified. Matthew Kantala was 36 years old, from Elberton. The Oglethorpe County Coroner's office says he was struck by a piece of falling granite at the Blue Sky Quarry on Veribest Road. OSHA is investigating. 

Bulldog News

  • Georgia Bulldog running back Elijah Holyfield will go through a pre-trial diversion program after his marijuana arrest of earlier this year. The son of former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield was arrested May 1. He’s a sophomore on the Bulldog team that opens the 2017 season in 47 days. Holyfield is expected to be suspended for the September 2 home game against Appalachian State.  The sportswriters who attended last week’s SEC Media Days in Hoover Alabama voted the Georgia Bulldogs as preseason favorites to win the SEC East in coach Kirby Smart’s second season in Athens.
  • Kirby Smart said earlier this week that the Georgia football team should embrace the expectations. Well, here they are.   Georgia is officially the favorite to win the SEC East, albeit a slight one, as the Bulldogs were selected first in the division in the annual preseason media poll. Florida, the two-time defending champion, came in a close second. Georgia received 1,572 points, including 138 first-place votes, edging out Florida (1,526 points and 96 first-place votes.) The two were followed by Tennessee (998 points and three first-place votes), South Carolina (897 and five first-place votes), Kentucky (869), Vanderbilt (554) and Missouri (388). This is the fourth time in the last six years that Georgia has been picked to win the division. It met those expectations in 2012, then came short in 2013 and 2015. Last year, for Smart’s first season as Georgia’s head coach, the media picked Georgia to finish third. The Bulldogs ended up in a three-way tie for second. “When you come to the University of Georgia, the expectation is to win championships. That’s what we expect to do at the University of Georgia, and that’s the standard we’ll be held to,” Smart said from the podium during his turn at SEC media days. Georgia also received six votes to win the entire SEC championship, third-most behind prohibitive favorite Alabama (217) and Auburn (11).  Auburn and Mississippi State, the two West division teams that Georgia faces, were picked second and sixth in their division, respectively.  
  • Georgia Bulldog running back Nick Chubb was named Georgia Collegiate Athlete of the Year at last night’s Atlanta Sports Awards show. Chubb and his Bulldog teammates are today 50 days away from the season opener against the Appalachian State Mountaineers, a September 2 contest in Sanford Stadium.   Chubb, a native of Cedartown, Ga., was chosen from an all Bulldog group of finalists including track and field’s Keturah Orji and swimming and diving’s Olivia Smoliga, who were both 2016 U.S. Olympians.   This marks the second year in a row that a University of Georgia student-athlete has won the Collegiate Athlete of the Year honor after golfer Lee McCoy enjoyed the honor in 2016. The first accolade of this sort was given in 2006 and since football’s D.J. Shockley won the inaugural honor, there have been nine Bulldogs to garner the award. Five of those Georgia team members selected have been football players, including Jarvis Jones going back to back in 2011-12.   Chubb finished his third season as Georgia’s No. 2 all-time leading rusher with 3,424 yards, trailing only Herschel Walker (5,259). Named one of the team’s overall captains following the 2016 season, Chubb went for 1,130 yards and eight rushing touchdowns last year. This marked the second 1,000-yard season of his career after Chubb tallied 1,547 yards and 15 scores as a freshman in 2014. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American following his first year.   Chubb returned in 2016 following a season-ending knee injury that he sustained in game six of his sophomore year in 2015. In his season debut last year, Chubb exploded for 222 yards on 32 carries (6.9 average) and two touchdowns in the win over #20 North Carolina during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. He completed his third year with a 147-yard performance during the victory over TCU in the Liberty Bowl.
  • Georgia will be getting a key player back at full speed in time for fall camp.   Speaking at SEC Media Days on Tuesday, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart Bulldogs defensive tackle Trenton Thompson will be ready to go after an offseason that including rehabbing a shoulder injury and withdrawing from spring classes in February to deal with an unspecified medical issue. Thompson will be a big part of a Bulldogs defense that returns ten starters from last season. In 2106, Georgia finished No. 16 in the nation in total defense, allowing only 327.5 yards per game while allowing 24 points per game, good for 35th overall. A sophomore last season, Thompson recorded 56 total tackles, including 9.5 for a loss and five sacks.  
  • HOOVER, Ala. — Georgia football signees Robert Beal and Devonte Wyatt have yet to qualify to enroll at UGA, but coach Kirby Smart remains hopeful it will happen soon.  “They’re not ready yet to come in yet,” Smart said on Tuesday at SEC Media Days. “We think we could get them in any day, any minute. And that’s the hope.” Beal is a linebacker who finished his high school career at Suwanee’s Peachtree Ridge High School, after also spending time at IMG Academy and Norcross High School. He was rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports, Rivals and Scout, and a 5-star by ESPN. At one time, he was committed to Notre Dame. Wyatt is a defensive lineman from Decatur’s Towers High School. He was rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports and Scout, and a 3-star by Rivals and ESPN. Neither player was expected to contend immediately for playing time, given the team’s veteran depth at their positions. But coaches were clearly high on the potential of both. “We talk to them a lot about staying in shape, because they’re not there with our guys working out,” Smart said. “So those guys get a program, they’re encouraged to do it, it’s hard to oversee it. So you want those guys to work out and stay in shape so that when they do qualify they’re able to come in and help.”