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Latest from Logan Booker

    Crews are working to repair a partial collapse of a parking deck that is under construction on Thomas Street in Downtown Athens. The collapse occurred Thursday night on the top level of the deck near the Classic Center, causing minor injuries to two construction workers. Roads were temporarily shut down while authorities secured the area.  
  • We are following a developing story of a Clarke County school bus involved in an accident on Lexington Rd near the Clarke County tag office.  Traffic was temporarily shut down in both directions as authorities dealt with the incident.  As of now, there are no reports of any injuries to children. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.  UPDATE 12:46pm: The driver of the school bus did sustain non-life threatening injuries, and was transported for further evaluation. According to a witness on the scene the driver was in “good spirits” while being treated on the scene. There were no injuries to students on the bus.  UPDATE 1:18pm: A power outage is reported at the Athens-Clarke County tag office because of the accident.  UPDATE 1:30pm: Athens-Clarke County Police say Lexington Road has reopened. UPDATE 2:18pm: Power to the tag office has been restored.
  • Athens, GA - The familiar sounds of coach’s whistles and stampeding linemen can be heard around the Butts-Mehre athletic complex in Five Points this afternoon. That’s because football, the lifeblood of the University of Georgia and Athens is back for 2017 Spring Practice.  Year two of head coach Kirby Smart will officially begin today with the first of a series of practices leading up to the April 22nd G-Day game to be held in Sanford Stadium, with no shortage of storylines to watch.  The progression of sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason will likely take the forefront of attention - again - as the heralded signal caller from Washington state will look to show maturity coming on the heels of a successful but otherwise not spectacular freshman season in the Southeastern Conference. And new this year comes legit competition from another five-star quarterback recruit from Houston County, Georgia, Jake Fromm. How the two will complement and push one another through the rigors of practice this spring and into fall will clearly define the success of the 2017 version of the Georgia Bulldogs.  Not to be outdone, plenty of attention will be given to the beloved pair of senior running backs who surprised many by announcing they would indeed spend their senior seasons between the hedges. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both could have declared for the NFL Draft, but instead decided they would rather wash the sour taste of an 8-5 season and a home loss to Georgia Teach in 2016 out their mouths the best way they know how, with the possibility of exacting revenge. Their return not only will cause headaches for opposing defensive coordinators throughout the SEC, but will provide invaluable leadership for a young corps of running backs in line behind them preparing to be the future of a program often tabbed “Running Back U.” Smart’s defense will also be under a microscope as the boys practice under the shadows of bloomed dogwood trees these next few weeks. What was considered the weakness of the program this time last year - an ultra thin and young defensive line - proved to be one of the strongest units in 2016. How they progress and grow together will be examined closely.  And the biggest mystery of them all, the offensive line, will likely not shake out until the leaves start changing this fall, rather than under the fragrance of pollen this spring. What was clearly the most-handicapping aspect of an underwhelming offense last season is now missing a few starters, but also has a lion’s share of top recruits scheduled to arrive on campus this summer. So any observations of struggles in protecting the quarterbacks or opening up holes for the running backs may require an asterisks until we make the same observations five months from now.  It’s a happy time of year for many in this part of the world. It’s often referred to as “stress-free football,” with all the nostalgia of SEC football on the practice field, without the worry of losing to a hated rival on Saturday. And when tens of thousands file into Sanford Stadium for G-Day, there’s a guaranteed Bulldog victory to be seen. And no matter how you view it, or how you want to examine and analyze it, there’s one thing everybody will agree on: football is back. And the Classic City is simply more fun with it. 
  • According to several reports, the Los Angeles Rams are signing former University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. Most notably being reported by Ian Rappaport, a national insider for the NFL Network.  Murray graduated from UGA in 2013 after starting for four seasons, setting nearly every school quarterback record along the way. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he played a backup role until late last season when he was cut, and then signed to the Philadelphia Eagles practice team before becoming a free agent this offseason.  Sure to make every UGA fan smile, Murray will be reunited with former UGA running back Todd Gurley in L.A. Gurley was drafted in the first round by the Rams in the 2015 NFL Draft, and then promptly won league Rookie of the Year. The duo was a huge fan favorite between the hedges, and also beat Florida together in back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013. 
  • In the wake of President Donald Trump's executive order over the weekend banning travel and immigration to the United States from six muslim countries, University of Georgia President Jere Morehead has issued a statement in response as it relates to the univeristy.  The following is an email sent this morning from Morehead to all UGA students and staff:     To:  All University of Georgia Students, Faculty and Staff   From:  Jere W. Morehead, President Pamela Whitten, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Noel Fallows, Associate Provost for International Education   Recent regulatory and policy changes affecting international travel and visa holders will likely result in questions among students, faculty and staff. Specifically, an executive order has been issued that limits nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days, and places additional restrictions on individuals seeking entry pursuant to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.    The U.S. Department of State has issued the following notice at https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html regarding the executive order, and we will continue to closely monitor for any additional updates and guidance from federal officials.   As you know, the safety and well-being of the UGA community is our top priority, and it is important that we remain in close communication as new information and direction from the State Department becomes available in the coming days.   All international students, staff and faculty who might be traveling overseas in the near future are advised to consult with the UGA Office of International Education – at 706-542-2900 or https://international.uga.edu, or you can contact Dr. Fallows directly at nfallows@uga.edu.   It appears that no University of Georgia faculty or students were detained over the weekend as a result of the executive order.    The staff within the Office of International Education is committed to serving our colleagues at UGA. We will continue to assess the impact on our students, staff and faculty, and will provide updated information and assistance.
  • A public forum is set for 6 o’clock this evening at the Classic Center in downtown Athens: it’s the first in a series of sessions organized by Envision Athens, an effort spearheaded by Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Sharyn Dickerson. Dickerson and a steering committee comprised of about three dozen people describe Envision Athens as “a community-wide effort to develop a common vision for the future of the Athens-Clarke County community.”
  • A statue of baseball legend Ty Cobb will have a new home in Royston, GA, the home town of the player nicknamed “The Georgia Peach.” The statue spent the last 20 years outside of Turner Field, but was not in the plans to make the trip to Suntrust Park in Cobb County, where the Braves will call home beginning this spring. 
  • Gwinnett police arrested two teenagers Sunday after a 19-year-old man was found dead after a shooting Saturday. Christopher Tavarez, 18, of Duluth, and Bailey Foney-Ray, 18, were arrested and charged with murder, aggravated assault and conspiracy, according to police Both teens have been booked into the Gwinnett County Jail. J’Kobe Wilkerson, 19, of Duluth, was found dead in a breezeway at the Bridgewater Apartments on Ridge Brook Trail.  
  • A computer glitch grounded hundreds of Atlanta-based Delta Airlines flights worldwide last night for several hours. Delta officials say things are back on track, but more flights are expected to be delayed today as the logistics sort themselves out. 
  • The Illinois-based Caterpillar company, with its big manufacturing facility on Athens’ west side, is reporting bigger than anticipated fourth-quarter losses, dragged down largely by higher-than-expected restructuring costs. Caterpillar is also lowering its 2017 revenue forecast.
  • Logan Booker

    Logan Booker is the producer for Classic City Today on 98.7FM and AM 1340 WGAU from 6am-10am weekdays, and occasionally contributes on-air with Tim Bryant. Logan also covers the midday news on WGAU Monday-Friday. On occasion, he fills as a co-host of The Morning Show on 960 The Ref. 

    Logan has covered UGA sports since 2012, previously with Bulldawg Illustrated. 

    He is a graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, where he earned a degree in magazine journalism in addition to a Grady Sports Media certificate. He was born and raised in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and in addition to his current home in Bethlehem, Georgia, he spends lots of time with his dog and his boat in Lincoln County, Georgia. 

     

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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. 

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.”