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Flash flood watch for Athens, NE Ga

Flash flood watch for Athens, NE Ga

The flash flood watch that is in effect for Athens and northeast Georgia continues into the weekend: forecasters say there is the ongoing chance of rain for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The flood watch is in place through at least noon Saturday. From Zachery Hansen, AJC… The rainy, muggy holiday weekend is fast approaching, but Atlanta should mostly avoid heavy amounts of rain Friday. The morning commute should be pretty dry, with only a few scattered sprinkles around the metro area, Channel 2 Action News Chief meteorologist Glenn Burns said. The afternoon and evening should also only see scattered showers around Atlanta, but the same can’t be said for eastern Georgia. Athens and Gainesville should get drenched most of the day starting at lunchtime, Burns said.  “(Friday) evening, we’re looking at heavy rains in eastern Georgia,” Burns said. “That’s the primary area that we’re going to focus on for flooding potential.” There’s a lot of water already soaked up in the ground in North and Middle Georgia from the past few days of storms. A flash flood watch is in effect for dozens of North and Middle Georgia counties through Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service. “Additional rounds of very heavy rainfall are likely as a trough of low pressure to the west feeds very high amounts of moisture into the area,” the Weather Service said. “Total rainfall amounts through Friday night could range from 2 to 4 inches with isolated amounts up to 8 inches.” The flash flood watch includes most metro Atlanta counties.

UGA athletic board meets, discusses facilities

UGA athletic board meets, discusses facilities

The Board of the University of Georgia Athletic Association continues its meeting this morning at the Georgia Center. Thursday’s session included reports from UGA president Jere Morehead and athletic director Greg McGarity and an update on ongoing and future facilities projects. UGA has raised more than $70 million for work on Sanford Stadium and other athletic facilities at the University of Georgia. From Chip Towers, AJC DawgNation… Georgia brought back much more from Notre Dame than a 1-point football victory last fall. Josh Brooks, the Bulldogs’ deputy athletic director for operations, gave the UGA Athletic Association a slide-show presentation of additional improvements beyond the multi-million dollar West End enhancements coming to Sanford Stadium this fall. And Brooks credited Georgia’s experience playing the Fighting Irish in South Bend for several of the concepts being implemented.  One has been the advent of the Silver Dawgs, a group UGA-associated retirees who will serve as home-game weekend hosts this fall. Based on Notre Dame’s “Usher Corps” that demonstrated tremendous hospitality for visiting Bulldogs fans last fall, the group had a “very successful” trial run at the G-Day Game in April. The latest idea, though, will manifest itself in aesthetic improvements at the Sanford Stadium this season. In an effort celebrate Georgia’s rich history in football, the Bulldogs will utilize new paint and cutting-edge graphics to bring life to areas of the stadium previously adorned only in “drab battleship gray.” “We witnessed a lot of things at Notre Dame last fall about how they celebrate their history,” Brooks told the board. “That got us to thinking about how we could celebrate our history and also warm up the stadium at the same time. So we’re going to try to dress up some of those concrete, gray areas we have.” Brooks showed a huge graphic of Herschel Walker running the football with an inscription of Larry Munson’s famous words “My God He’s a Freshman.” That artwork will be placed on one wall on the corner of the South side concourse. There also will be painted likenesses of players in full uniforms representative of their respective decades on support posts in the Gate 6 entrance area off East Campus Road. The covers of team programs for the corresponding year of every Georgia team in history will be painted on support columns on Reed Plaza. That’s just one small project among numerous substantial projects on which Brooks updated the board. Another was the $63 million construction project at Sanford Stadium, which will add a new locker room and recruiting lounge behind the West End grandstands. Another is a proposed $23 million renovation and construction project that would add six indoor courts to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. There also are recently completed expansion projects for the Boyd Center for men’s and women’s golf, the equestrian center and Stegeman Coliseum. UGA President Jere Morehead and athletic director Greg McGarity lauded the Georgia people for stepping up with donations to fund these projects. McGarity said the Bulldogs already have received $71 million in pledges — mostly coming from members of the relatively new Magill Society — toward the $93 million in football projects. “There’s a strong commitment by our supporters of the football program, but winning helps,” Morehead said after the first of two days of meetings with the board. “… But keep in mind, we’ve still got to collect on all of those pledges. We need people to pay up.” Of all the projects discussed Thursday, none included the expansion of Georgia’s weight room for football. In meetings all over the South since the end of Georgia’s SEC Championship football season, coach Kirby Smart has been telling donors of the Bulldogs’ facility improvement needs in that area. McGarity acknowledged that it was on Smart’s wish list, but said UGA is taking a prioritized approach to projects. “We have to finish the West End first,” McGarity said. “We feel good about what we’re doing. These things take time. We want to plan it the right way.” Added Morehead: “I think it’s important to keep things in context. Look where we were just five years ago. We’re in an extraordinarily competitive position at this point. I think our No. 1-ranked recruiting class demonstrates that it’s working.” Another improvement that UGA fans will notice at Sanford Stadium this fall will be the addition of 12 suites on field level of the East End. That’s where the Bulldogs used to enter the field from their game-day locker room underneath the grandstands. The marble statue of the Uga mascot will be moved to the northwest corner of the stadium to accommodate the change. All and all, there will be a brighter, more colorful and historic feel to Sanford Stadium in the fall. “You’re always trying to learn from what others do, and I think we learned a lot from Notre Dame,” Morehead said. “We took a victory away and I think that really propelled last year’s season of success. But we appreciated their warm hospitality before the game and during the game and after the game.”

Diamond Dogs eliminated from SEC tournament

Diamond Dogs eliminated from SEC tournament

The Georgia Bulldog baseball team awaits its post-season fate: the Diamond Dogs were eliminated from the SEC tournament in Hoover Alabama with Thursday’s loss to Ole Miss. The Dogs will learn over the weekend who and where they play in an NCAA Regional. From UGA Sports Communications… Fourth-ranked Ole Miss eliminated eighth-ranked Georgia 5-4 in 10 innings at the SEC Tournament Thursday at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.   Sophomore Grae Kessinger led off the bottom of the first with his seventh home run to give the Rebels a 1-0 advantage. In the fourth inning, an RBI-single by Chase Cockrell scored Will Golsan who was on after a leadoff double. Bulldog senior right-hander Chase Adkins started and provided five innings and allowing two runs on seven hits with two strikeouts.   Heading to the seventh, Georgia had just three baserunners on the day, a single by Adam Sasser in the second, a two-out double by L.J. Talley in the fifth and a one-out walk to C.J. Smith in the sixth. Then, senior Keegan McGovern smashed a leadoff double, his 14th of the year. After Michael Curry moved him to third with a groundout, Sasser followed with a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 2-1. The run snapped a stretch of 33 scoreless innings by the Bulldogs at the SEC Tournament.    With Cam Shepherd at the plate in the seventh, the game was halted for one hour and 54 minutes due to rain and lightning. When play resumed, Ole Miss closer Parker Caracci took the mound and finished the frame. Georgia turned to freshman Ryan Webb. Kessinger struck again in the seventh with a leadoff double and later scored on a fielder’s choice by Thomas Dillard for a 3-1 lead.   In the eighth with two Bulldogs in scoring position and two outs, Aaron Schunk hit a chopper back to Caracci who opted to throw it home and it was wide of the catcher and went to the backstop, allowing two runs to score and tie the contest. Talley had led off the inning with a double and pinch-hitter Tucker Bradley followed with a single. Pinch-runner Ivan Johnson stole second before Caracci came back to strike out pinch-hitter Mason Meadows and C.J. Smith to bring up Schunk who ended up at third on the bizarre play. Schunk, who also serves as the closer, came in to pitch in the bottom of the inning.   In the 10th, Talley blasted his sixth home run of the year to put Georgia in front 4-3. However in the bottom of the inning, the Rebels (43-15) answered with a pair of runs capped by an RBI-single by Tim Rowe for the walk-off victory to end a contest that lasted 3:10. Caracci improved to 4-2 while Schunk dropped to 2-2.    “It was a tough way to lose after a back-and-forth game, and we tied it in crazy fashion and then took a lead, and baseball can be a cruel game,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “It’s a disappointing way to end the game, and you have to credit Ole Miss for coming back too. They’re a very good team, a top five team, and I think what we’ve done over the course of the season, we’ll be a national seed. I think the SEC will have four national seeds and we’ll get back home and get some rest and get ready for an NCAA Regional. “   The Bulldogs (37-19) now wait until Sunday evening when the 16 NCAA Regional hosts are announced, and then on Monday at noon on ESPNU, the field of 64 including the top 16 seeds for the NCAA Baseball Championship will be revealed.

Senate approves new reforms on Capitol Hill harassment

Under growing pressure from the House to change how lawmakers deal with workplace harassment claims and damage awards, the Senate on Thursday approved a package of reforms that would not allow members to use taxpayer funds to pay any legal settlements, and change the process for Congressional employees to bring complaints against lawmakers.

“This is an incredibly important moment,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who joined with Senators in both parties to forge a compromise that was approved on a voice vote.

“We are completely overhauling the sexual harassment policies of the Congress,” Klobuchar said on the Senate floor.

“These reforms [More]