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Church looks to help family of murdered deputy

Church looks to help family of murdered deputy

A church in Flowery Branch is holding a charity drive for the family of murdered Hall County Sheriff’s deputy Nicolas Dixon: the 28 year-old Dixon, who was shot and killed twelve days ago, leaves behind a wife and two young sons. The Christ Place Church in Flowery Branch is looking to fill a bus with donated goods that will be given to his family. Nine teenagers have been arrested and charged in connection with the deputy’s death. From Facebook…   We want to show our love for the first responders in our community by helping the family of fallen officer, Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon. Christ Place is partnering with Hall County Schools to Fill a Bus with items to help the Dixon family. The bus is located in our church parking lot along Atlanta Hwy for you to drop off your items.

Oconee teen dies after attack, Athens police search for beer thieves

Oconee teen dies after attack, Athens police search for beer thieves

An Oconee County teenager has died at a hospital in Athens: Joseph Jackson was 19 years old. The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office says he was the victim an attack that happened on Whippoorwill Road west of Watkinsville. Investigators are searching for information and witnesses to the incident that happened on Wednesday.    Athens-Clarke County Police say they have identified and were, at last report, still trying to find two suspects accused of stealing a half-dozen cases of beer from the Wal Mart store on Atlanta Highway in Athens.   The Sheriff’s Office in Hartwell reports the arrest of a man accused of wielding a knife and a machete during a domestic dispute. Hart County Sheriff’s Office investigators say Samuel Madden is facing charges that include battery and aggravated assault. The 34 year-old Bowersville man was allegedly arguing with a woman over car keys. She was not injured.   A Gainesville man is in the Hall County jail accused of holding a gun to a woman’s head: there are assault charges and methamphetamine possession charges for 38 year-old Johnny Reynolds. The Sheriff’s Office says the woman was not injured.   A Gwinnett County man convicted of scamming professional athletes and musicians in a phishing scheme gets prison time. Kwamaine Ford of Dacula will serve 3 years in federal lockup after being convicted of hacking into more than 100 Apple accounts and using stolen information to spend more than $300,000.    A Lawrenceville man gets a 35-year prison sentence after his conviction of methamphetamine trafficking charges. 31 year-old Richard Rumbo was arrested in 2016, caught with what Gwinnett County drug agents say was more than 400 grams of meth, cocaine, and heroin. 

UGA fundraising again tops $200 million

UGA fundraising again tops $200 million

The University of Georgia is reporting a third straight year of $200 million-plus in fundraising: the University says donors gave $224 million in Fiscal Year 2019. From UGA Media Relations…   This year’s giving drove the Commit to Georgia Campaign beyond two major goals: raising $1.2 billion and creating 400 Georgia Commitment Scholarships by the campaign’s conclusion on June 30, 2020. It also is the third consecutive year that fundraising has exceeded $200 million.   “I want to offer my thanks and appreciation to each and every donor in the UGA family for helping us achieve these important goals that have advanced the university,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Because of their incredible generosity, we are now reaching exciting, unprecedented heights across our missions of teaching, research and service.”   One of the most significant benchmarks for continued growth is the five-year rolling fundraising average, which averages the prior five years of giving at the end of each fiscal year. That number has risen every year of the campaign, and in FY19, it reached $204 million. Five years ago, that average was just under $115 million.   “Year after year, the alumni and friends of the University of Georgia prove how exceptional they are,” said Kelly Kerner, vice president for development and alumni relations. “With their support, we reached our campaign goal 16 months ahead of schedule. The contributions that got us to that point are already helping students, creating new educational opportunities and enhancing research and scholarship.”   Because of private giving, UGA has made considerable progress in the Commit to Georgia Campaign’s three priorities: increasing scholarship support, enhancing the learning environment, and solving grand challenges through research and service.   In 2016, the university announced its intention to create at least 400 Georgia Commitment Scholarships—endowed scholarships for students with unmet financial need—by the end of the campaign. Currently, 451 scholarships have been established, with 191 created in FY19. The more than 300 contributors to the Georgia Commitment Scholarship program have given nearly $30 million in total, which has been matched dollar-for-dollar by the UGA Foundation.   In addition, this year saw the completion of several significant facilities projects funded, in part, by donors, including M. Douglas Ivester Hall and Sanford and Barbara Orkin Hall in the Business Learning Community, the West End Zone project in Sanford Stadium, the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, the UGA Entrepreneurship Program’s Studio 225 on West Broad Street, and the Charles Schwab Financial Planning Center.   Private giving also created 17 new endowed faculty positions in FY19. These positions strengthen UGA’s ability to recruit and retain the brightest, most innovative educators and researchers. Since the start of the Commit to Georgia Campaign, UGA has added 87 endowed faculty positions.   The giving that has enabled all of these achievements has come from faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of UGA, both near and far. In some cases, very near: 3,615 dedicated current and former UGA employees gave a total of $9.4 million in FY19. Current and former employee giving has accounted for $53.3 million over the course of the campaign.   Over 71,000 donors contributed to UGA in FY19, of which 39,658 were alumni. Thus far, more than 158,000 donors have given to the campaign, which was announced to the public in November 2016.

This just in - a salute to my broadcasting mentor People often talk in life about someone who helped guide them along early in their careers, offering support and encouragement. I just want to take some time to use my blog to acknowledge the help of my most influential college professor, Dr. Charles Burke, who died on Tuesday in St. Augustine, Florida, after a battle with cancer. I met Dr. Burke when I started my junior year at the University of Florida in 1983; he was teaching the introductory radio news class in the Broadcasting department, and would leave a lasting impact on my career. A former TV reporter for ABC, Burke had spent some time in Vietnam working for the network, and getting bounced around in local TV news in Philadelphia, before deciding on an academic route. We hit it off quick.  Neither of us particularly liked where television news was heading, both of us were innately suspicious of people in authority, we loved the immediacy of radio, and thoroughly enjoyed the news business. 'If they ask for your ID, tell them you don't have to show any,' he said as he dispatched me to the county office that held health records on local restaurants, and suggested that I go to the courthouse each week to look through the docket. In college, he also encouraged me to string for stations and networks during my spare time, in order to make a few extra bucks. 'That's where you make your beer money,' he would say with a big smile, as he celebrated my first freelance check from a Chicago radio station in 1984. In class, Dr. Burke would stand at the lectern and grab our attention by pretending to be a news anchor who was just handed a piece of paper from the side, saying, 'This just in.' That phrase is something I often use on Twitter today. In my senior year at college, Dr. Burke encouraged me to try to go back to Washington to find work in radio news, instead of pursuing a more normal course of starting out in a small market and working my way up. To help me out, Dr. Burke wrote a letter to one of his former students at the University of Missouri, who was doing radio news in D.C. for RKO Radio, asking him to meet with me on my Christmas break in 1984. “John is a fine guy and I know he’ll be helpful,” Burke wrote in a December 1984 note about meeting RKO's John Bisney.  “I told him you’re our best and that you’re ready for D.C., given your skills and background,” Burke added. With that letter of introduction - hand written on a yellow legal pad of paper - I called up John Bisney and met him for lunch, launching what would become a lifelong friendship, as just a few years later I was on Capitol Hill, working alongside Bisney in the press gallery. 'What a guy,' Bisney said to me on Friday. Several times over the years, Dr. Burke visited me in Washington - I remember taking him along for an interview with Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA), as the two college professors chatted each other up after I finished my questions with the future Speaker. At one point around 2000, the two of us had lost touch, but we caught up after I tracked down his daughter Hilary, who was working as a reporter for Reuters in South America. Able to listen to me on WOKV radio in Jacksonville, Dr. Burke kept tabs on my career, and became a regular attendee at some of my radio station events in Florida over the years, a welcome face in crowd. 'Pleased to see that you still love the game and retain your 'optimism' despite the cynicism of many other journalists and politicos themselves,' he wrote me in a 2012 email after one station event with our listeners. Back in January of this year, I took my kids down to see my father in Florida, and met up with Dr. Burke and his wife Janet for lunch. His cancer was in remission, he told me, with a laugh that would be familiar to all of his past students and friends. But that didn't last long. 'I'm reasonably well, although my 'remission' period was disappointingly brief,' he wrote me in late April, as his cancer had returned. Not even three months later, his wife brought the sad news - that the cancer had won. This just in - Charles Burke had a heck of a life.  And I am the better man for it.