Another forum on plans for the Firefly Trail bridge over Trail Creek, the second this week, is set for 6 o’clock at the Government Building on Dougherty Street: the Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department is hosting the open house public information session. From the Athens-Clarke Co Leisure Services Dept… Athens-Clarke County will be hosting open houses to inform the public about the final concept for the Firefly Bridge over Trail Creek. A remnant of a wooden railroad trestle currently exists in Dudley Park; this trestle is commonly referred to as the Trestle or the Murmur Trestle. The project team conducted a technical analysis of the Trestle to understand its viability as part of the Firefly Trail system and engaged with the community to receive design feedback through a robust, outreach process that included March Listening Sessions, May Public Meetings, and local community events. A preferred concept has been identified for the Firefly Bridge and is being refined for preliminary plans that are anticipated to be adopted by the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Board of Commissioners in October 2019. Athens-Clarke County Commissioners meet this afternoon, 5:30 at the Snipes Water Resources Building on Barber Street. There is an afternoon meeting of the Clarke County School Board’s policy committee: it’s a 4:30 session at the HT Edwards Building on Dearing Extension in Athens. The Elbert County School Board has signed off on a property tax rate: it’s a rollback of last year’s millage rate that is expected to generate $8.5 million for Elbert County schools.
The Oconee County School District graduation rate increases to almost 98 percent, the highest in Oconee County history: North Oconee High School had a 97.4 percent graduation rate for the class of 2019; the figure was an even 98 percent at Oconee High. The state rate was 82 percent. From the Oconee County School District… Oconee County Schools has increased its graduation rate to 97.7%, the highest in OCS history. District and school four-year graduation rates for 2019 were released today by the Georgia Department of Education, with the state’s graduation rate at 82.0%. “The Class of 2019 has demonstrated unprecedented levels of excellence in Oconee County Schools,” said Superintendent Jason L. Branch. “Our graduates were incredibly blessed to learn from world-class educators in their educational journeys and to be supported by engaged and caring parents as well.” The four-year cohort data since the inception of the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) is below: 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Oconee County Schools 91.9% 93.6% 95.6% 96.0% 94.4% 97.7% North Oconee High School 92.5% 93.0% 95.1% 96.0% 97.0% 97.4% Oconee County High School 91.8% 94.4% 95.7% 96.0% 91.9% 98.0% State of Georgia 72.6% 79.0% 79.4% 80.6% 81.6% 82.0% Four-year cohort graduation rate by subgroup is below as well: Subgroup 2019 Asian/Pacific Islander 100.0% Black 100.0% Hispanic 94.7% Multiracial 100.0% White 97.5% Economically Disadvantaged 93.2% Students With Disabilities 84.2% In addition, OCS has the highest graduation rate in the state for systems having 275 or more graduates, as well as the highest rate in Northeast Georgia.
The Sheriff’s Office in Hall County says it is investigating after the arrest of a man in Gilmer County: 26 year-old William Blandburg is facing a human trafficking charge—the woman in the car with him described herself to police in Ellijay as “his property.” Investigators in Hall and Clayton counties are looking into similar activities from Blandburg in their counties.From Shaddi Abusaid, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution What began as a traffic stop in Ellijay early Friday led to Gilmer County’s first human trafficking arrest, authorities said. Cordarrel William Blandburg, 26, of Gainesville, was stopped at Old Highway 5 and Bobcat Trail about 1 a.m for failing to dim his headlights and driving without a tag light, Ellijay police Chief Edward Lacey told AJC.com. When Officer Brandon Heath got to the window of the Toyota Prius, he noticed a 30-year-old woman in the passenger seat. Blandburg told the officer the woman was his fiancee and that he was rushing her to the hospital because she’d suffered a seizure, Lacey said. Suspicious of their relationship, Heath followed the couple to the hospital, where he eventually separated them and started asking questions. It was there the woman told him that Blandburg was “her owner and enforcer,” police said. “(Blandburg) originally claimed the passenger was his fiancee, but it ended up being that he was actually holding her as his property,” Lacey said Wednesday. “She absolutely denied being his fiancee and gave us information which led us to believe that she was being held against her will for the purposes of sex trafficking.” Heath also discovered Blandburg was driving without a license and that he was wanted in Clayton County on aggravated assault and obstruction charges, police said. Blandburg was arrested and charged with human trafficking for sexual purposes, driving without a valid license and driving without a tag light, jail records show. He remains held at the Gilmer County jail and will be extradited to Clayton County to face charges there, authorities said. Blandburg is being investigated for similar activities in Hall and Clayton counties, police said, and may have been trying to set up a trafficking operation in Gilmer County, where he was allegedly “in the process of getting established” out of a hotel room. Lacey praised Heath for recognizing the signs of sex trafficking and making the arrest, saying he was “definitely looking past the traffic stop.”