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Entertainment Headlines

    A Los Angeles jury recommended the death penalty Friday for a man dubbed 'The Boy Next Door Killer' after he was found guilty of two murders and an attempted murder. The victims of 43-year-old Michael Gargiulo included 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, who was killed on a night in 2001 when she had plans with actor Ashton Kutcher. He testified during the trial that he arrived late for his date with Ellerin, looked into her house when there was no answer at the door, and saw what he thought were wine stains before leaving. Authorities called Gargiulo 'The Boy Next Door Killer' because he lived near all the victims. Gargiulo also was convicted of the 2005 murder of 32-year-old Maria Bruno and the 2008 attempted murder of Michelle Murphy, who testified during the trial's penalty phase that she lived in fear for years after the attack. Murphy fought when she was attacked in bed in her Santa Monica apartment. Authorities said Gargiulo cut himself and left a trail of blood that allowed prosecutors to tie him to the other cases, including a 1997 killing in Illinois for which he is still awaiting trial. Murphy was also a key witness during the first phase of the trial. 'In the days, weeks and months after it happened, I barely even slept,' Murphy testified. 'I feared the nighttime and going to bed. I still slept with the lights on for a long time.' All three women were attacked in their Southern California homes when Gargiulo lived nearby and watched his victims. Ellerin become an acquaintance before the attacks. Ellerin's mother and other victims' family members also testified during the penalty phase. When she learned about the death of her daughter, Cynthia Ellerin said, 'I fell to my knees on the floor and started crawling around the bedroom on my hands and knees like an animal, screaming.' 'I ache for her,' Cynthia Ellerin said. 'I ache to hold her. I ache to hear her voice, to hug her. But that's not going to happen.' Gargiulo's 16-year-old son also took the stand, asking jurors for mercy and telling them he needs a father who is alive. After the jury's decision was read in court, Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler ordered Gargiulo to return for formal sentencing on Feb. 28. California has not executed anyone since 2006, and Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this year halted executions for as long as he is in office. Courts have been proceeding on the assumption that executions may one day resume. ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton.
  • Lady Gaga is recovering after falling off the stage while dancing with a fan at a concert. During her Las Vegas show Thursday night, the pop star invited a fan onstage who picked her up and lost balance. Both plunged to the floor as a result. Moments after the fall, Gaga was back onstage with the fan and told him: 'You promise me you're not gonna be sad about that, right?' He responded: 'I promise.' Several fans posted video of the fall and Gaga's return to the stage on social media. After the show Gaga posted Instagram photos of herself in a bath, writing: 'Post show routine: ice bath for 5-10 min, hot bath for 20, then compression suit packed with ice packs for 20.' A representative for Gaga didn't reply to an email seeking comment. The singer has suffered from fibromyalgia, a condition marked by chronic and widespread musculoskeletal pain, and she has canceled several concerts as a result.
  • Inspired by the climate activism of a Swedish teenager, Jane Fonda said Friday that she is returning to civil disobedience nearly a half-century after she was last arrested at a protest. Fonda, known for her opposition to the Vietnam War, was one of 17 climate protesters arrested Friday at the U.S. Capitol on charges of unlawful demonstration by what she called 'extremely nice and professional' police. Fellow actor Sam Waterston was also in the group, which included many older demonstrators. Now 81, Fonda said she plans to get arrested every Friday to advocate for urgent reduction in the use of fossil fuels. She hopes to encourage other older people to protest as well. Getting arrested in 2019, poses some entirely new challenges, Fonda told The Associated Press in an interview. These days, 'they use white plastic things on your wrists instead of metal handcuffs, and that hurts more,' she said. 'The only problem for me is I'm old,' Fonda said. After her first arrest last week, she had trouble getting into the police vehicle because she was handcuffed behind her back and 'had nothing to hang on to.' On Friday, Fonda emerged from a cluster of officers and stepped smartly into the police wagon, her hands cuffed in front of her. 'Thanks, Jane!' some of the protesters called out. 'What would you tell President Trump?' someone in the crowd yelled to her earlier, as she and other protesters stood on their platform in front of the Capitol. 'I wouldn't waste my breath,' she shouted back, drawing laughter. The rally drew at least a couple of hundred people, young and old. While Fonda has taken part in many climate demonstrations, she said Greta Thunberg's mobilization of international student strikes and other activism, along with the climate writing of author Naomi Klein, prompted her to return to courting arrests for a cause. Fonda cannot remember precisely which cause led to her last arrest in the 1970s. She said her target audience now is people like her who try to cut their plastic use and drive fuel-efficient cars, for instance, but otherwise 'don't know what to do and they feel helpless,' she said. 'We're trying to encourage people to become more active, across the age spectrum.' Especially in the U.S., young people appear to be driving many of the protests and rallies demanding government action on climate change, University of Maryland sociologist Dana Fisher said. Nearly half of the people who turned out for a September climate protest in Washington were college age or younger, and a quarter were 17 or younger, for instance, Fisher said. Most were female. On the other hand, it was older, white females who turned out for earlier protests during the Trump administration, like the women's marches, Fisher noted. 'There's a whole group of very activated, middle-age white women. They woke up after the election, and they haven't gone back to bed,' Fisher said. So far, those people have not been involved in the youth climate movement. Fonda's efforts could 'get them out there,' Fisher said. If her efforts misfire, Fisher added, the older people risk making the movement look uncool. Asked how she would answer any young climate activist who complained of being co-opted, Fonda said, 'I would hug them.' And she did just that with some of the teenagers and other young activists she invited up to the stage to speak. 'It's a good thing that Jane is doing, to try to shift the paradigm so it's not just falling on young people' to rally the public on fossil fuel emissions, said Joe Markus, a 19-year-old Washington-area student attending Friday's protest. Leslie Wharton, 63, from Bethesda, Maryland, sat out the Vietnam War protests that drew out Fonda. She came out Friday as part of a group calling itself Elders Climate Action. Lots of people of all ages are worried about climate change and want to do something, Wharton said, but 'us elders are retired or part-time. We can take the time.
  • Bill Macy, the character actor whose hangdog expression was a perfect match for his role as the long-suffering foil to Bea Arthur's unyielding feminist on the daring 1970s sitcom 'Maude,' has died. He was 97. Macy died Thursday night in Los Angeles, his friend Matt Beckoff said Friday. Further details weren't immediately available from Beckoff or Macy's wife, Samantha Harper Macy. The stint as Walter Findlay on the CBS sitcom that aired from 1972-78 was Macy's highest-profile in a long stage, film and TV career. He made dozens of guest appearances in series including 'Seinfeld,' ''How I Met Your Mother' and 'ER.' 'Maude' was a spinoff to the landmark sitcom 'All in the Family' from producers Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin. Staunch liberal Maude's sharp exchanges with conservative Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) were so entertaining that Lear fashioned a series around her. 'He was a rare and great comic actor,' Lear said in a statement Friday to The Associated Press. 'There was only one Bill Macy.' In a 1998 interview for the TV academy foundation's archive, Lear recalled casting Macy as Maude Findlay's husband based on his work in an off-Broadway play. In it, his character had a prolonged scene of choking to death on a chicken bone. It was an unforgettable 'tour de force' performance, Lear said. Macy was born Wolf Garber on May 18, 1922, to Michael and Mollie Garber in Revere, Massachusetts. He had a long career in the theater and film before 'Maude,' including as an original cast member of the 1969-72 New York stage sensation 'Oh! Calcutta!' that featured fully nude actors. He was in the 1972 movie version of the musical about sexual mores. Among Macy's other movie credits are 2006's 'The Holiday'; 1999's 'Analyze This'; the 1979 Steve Martin comedy 'The Jerk,' and 1982's 'My Favorite Year' starring Peter O'Toole, an affectionate behind-the-scenes look at a 1950s TV variety series. Macy, as head comedy writer for temperamental star King Kaiser (Joseph Bologna), used his gifts to great effect. Among them: his distinctively puffy-eyed, beset-upon expression of suffering, and an ability to slide deftly into explosive frustration. 'Maude' also gave Macy the chance to turn serious. In one story line he descended into alcoholism and struck Maude; in another he offered tender support in a provocative episode when she decided to end an unexpected, late-in-life pregnancy. In real life, strangers would call him 'Mr. Maude' and, presuming that he and Walter really were the same people, console him for having such a difficult wife. 'I used to tell them that people like that really existed,' Macy once explained. ___ Lynn Elber is at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.
  • Adam Lambert, who rose on the music scene as the runner-up on 'America Idol' in 2009, says he's happy to see more mainstream LGBTQ artists find major success. 'I think it's less taboo to be queer in the music industry now because there's so many cases you can point to like, 'Oh, it worked for him. It worked for her.' I think 10 years ago, it was a lot different,' Lambert said in a recent interview. 'Ten years ago, it was kind of like no one really knew. And I met a lot of amazing people in the industry — executives, people, publicists, marketing people — who on a personal level were cool with me and totally open, but didn't understand how this was going to work in mainstream America, or the world for that matter.' 'Now, I think there's been some research and they know better. Now, people aren't as scared. They're not as fearful. There's answers. There's examples,' he continued. One person Lambert points to is 'Old Town Road' rapper Lil Nas X, who announced he was gay while his song was on top of the Billboard charts this year. 'I think I can relate to someone like Lil Nas X who waited until a song went to No. 1 to be like, 'By the way, I'm gay,'' Lambert said. 'It proves a point that you can have success, big success. It is possible. Anybody is welcome to have that kind of success. And maybe it's not about what your sexuality is at the end of the day. Maybe it's about, 'Do you like the (expletive) song or not?'' Lambert, who has been busy over the years touring with legendary rock band Queen, is hoping to move the needle again with his own music. The EP 'Velvet: Side A,' his first new project in four years, was released last month. 'I took a while because I really had to dial into sort of the sound that I wanted it to be, and I needed to get back to sort of why I love making music,' he said. The Grammy-nominated performer calls his new project his 'baby' and said while he has previously released different genres of music, he's brought his latest project to back to his beginning. With the exception of a ballad, most of the EP consists of groove and funk-based tracks. 'I didn't want to just be following some trend of the moment,' he said. 'As an artist, I don't like repeating myself. I like exploring new sounds, new vibes and that was part of it, too. I just needed to find a new inspiration.' Lambert will release the rest of the project at a later date, and while each half will have a different sound, he said the entire project will be cohesive. His main goal is to make listeners dance, have fun, and take their minds away from the madness of the world. 'There's a lyric in 'Superpower,'' he said referring to his current single, ''You kick us down in the dirt, but we ain't going away.' People are pissed off and people are being marginalized all over the place. And I hope that if you're somebody that's feeling that way, you can listen to the song and it gives you like a little boost,' he said. 'It's not super dark, it's not super heavy, but hopefully it gives people a feeling of power.' _____ Follow Associated Press entertainment journalist Gary Gerard Hamilton at twitter.com/GaryGHamilton
  • Netflix has released a movie based on the so-called Panama Papers despite an attempt by two lawyers to stop the streaming premiere. 'The Laundromat,' starring Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas and Meryl Streep, debuted Friday on Netflix after a limited release in theaters. Two Panamanian lawyers, Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca, sued Netflix in federal court in Connecticut this week, saying the movie defamed them and could prejudice criminal cases against them. Netflix called the suit a 'frivolous legal stunt' aimed at censoring free speech. The Panama Papers were more than 11 million documents leaked from the two lawyers' firm that shed light on how the rich hide their money. A judge ruled Thursday that the case shouldn't have been filed in Connecticut and transferred it to the Los Angeles-area federal court district.
  • Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal has donated a year's rent in a new home to an Atlanta woman whose 12-year-old son was paralyzed in a shooting at a football game. O'Neal tells WXIA-TV that Isaiah Payton's family had been living in a one-bedroom apartment that wasn't accessible for people with disabilities. Now they have a home in a good neighborhood. He says he's helping furnish the home and will pay its rent for the next year. Isaiah was shot through the spine in August after a football scrimmage between two high schools. Sixteen-year-old Damean Spear also was wounded and treated for minor injuries. Isaiah's mother, Allison Woods, has said relearning how to care for Isaiah meant she had to leave her job, adding financial stress to her emotional turmoil.
  • Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate wrapped up their five-day visit to Pakistan on Friday, in which they dined with the prime minister and made an emotional tour of a cancer hospital previously visited by William's mother, the late Princess Diana. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are heading home to Britain. The only wrinkle in their trip came Thursday evening, when severe weather caused the Royal Air Force Voyager aircraft had to abort two landing attempts in the capital, Islamabad. They were forced to return to the eastern city of Lahore, calling off their scheduled visit to the Khyber Pass region bordering Afghanistan. Britain's Press Association termed it a 'pretty bad storm.' William and Kate had toured the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre on Thursday. It was started in the early 1990s by the cricket-hero-turned-politician Imran Khan, now Pakistan's prime minister, whose first wife Jemima Goldsmith was a friend of Princess Diana. Earlier that day, the royal couple played cricket with children and members of Pakistan's cricket team at the National Cricket Academy. According to the Press Association, William told reporters that 'the whole week we've been hearing about security in Pakistan and it's really brought home to Catherine and I the importance of the relationship between the UK and Pakistan.' Britain ended its colonial rule over the Indian subcontinent in 1947 and divided it into two nations, India and Pakistan. The royal couple also toured Pakistan's northern mountains and glaciers Wednesday, getting a look at how the South Asian country is addressing problems related to the climate change crisis. They met with members of the non-Muslim Kalash community, who presented them with traditional coats, hats and scarves before enjoying performances of traditional dances and music by local residents. William and Kate are strong advocates of girls' education, and their first engagement was a visit to a school for girls in the capital, followed by a tour of the nearby national park at Margalla Hills.
  • I'd like to thank the academy' is a phrase many only ever get to say in front of their bathroom mirrors. But 16 student filmmakers actually got to utter those words on stage Thursday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science in Beverly Hills. Not only that: They're all also eligible to compete in the 2020 Academy Awards. That's the power of the Student Academy Awards, an event that is now in its 46th year. It was an emotional night for many, like Kalee McCollaum of Brigham Young University. 'I never thought those words would come out of my mouth,' she said on the stage flanked by two giant Oscar statuettes in the Samuel L. Goldwyn theater. McCollaum won the gold medal for animation for her short, 'Grendel.' Winners are now eligible for the animated short, live action short and documentary short categories at the Oscars. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who co-directed 'The Lego Movie,' presented the animation awards, deadpanning that 'no one ever thanks the presenter.' 'I opened three envelopes, I got two paper cuts,' Miller said. Winners join an esteemed list of past Student Academy Award winners like Pete Docter, Cary Fukunaga, Spike Lee, Patricia Riggen and Robert Zemeckis. 'Queen & Slim' director Melina Matsoukas, who presented the narrative awards, said she had joked earlier about how she was never invited to the awards when she was a film student. 'Now I understand why, that was incredible,' Matsoukas said, following a highlight reel of the projects. Zoel Aeschbacher, of Switzerland, took the gold prize in the international narrative category for his drama, 'Bonobo,' about how a broken elevator affects the residents of a public housing unit. 'I wasn't expecting the gold one,' he said, nervously telling the audience that he bought a special suit for the event. Princess Garrett, of Villanova University, who won for her documentary short, 'Sankofa,' about the loss of African identity in black males, gave a spirited speech alongside her large crew. 'Being complacent is not the answer,' Garrett said. 'If you are not fighting to end the problem, you are the problem.' Some were a little less enthusiastic about the spotlight, however. 'After all those speeches I think I might be too shy for this kind of situation,' said Yifan Sun, of Poland, who won the gold medal in the international documentary category for 'Family,' about a girl adopted by a Belgian family who finds her birth family in China. Presenter Rory Kennedy assured her that she did 'a fantastic job.' And Asher Jelinsky, who is gender nonbinary, won the domestic narrative category for 'Miller & Son,' about a trans woman who works at an auto shop during the day and can be herself at night. Authenticity in casting was of utmost importance to Jelinsky. 'This film would have not been nearly as impactful without your talent,' Jelinsky said to the film's star, Jesse James Keitel. There were 1,615 entries from 360 colleges and universities around the world. Categories recognized include narrative, documentary, animated and alternative/experimental productions by American and international college students. Winners are voted on by members of the film academy. This year a record 752 members participated. The Student Academy Awards is a tradition dating back to 1973 that helps spotlight emerging talent. Tickets to the ceremony are free to the public, who stand in line outside hoping to get a spot in the room. 'You are the future of film: a future that is diverse, international and very bright,' said film academy president David Rubin. 'On behalf of all the members of the academy, we can't wait to see the stories you next tell.' The 2019 Student Academy Award winners: — 'Patron Saint,' Georden West, Emerson College — 'Game Changer,' Aviv Mano, Ringling College of Art and Design — 'Grendel,' Kalee McCollaum, Brigham Young University — 'Two,' Emre Okten, University of Southern California — 'Daughter,' Daria Kashcheeva, Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts, Prague — 'All That Remains,' Eva Rendle, University of California, Berkeley — 'Sankofa,' Princess Garrett, Villanova University — 'Something to Say,' Abby Lieberman and Joshua Lucas, Columbia University — 'Family,' Yifan Sun, The Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School, Lodz — 'Miller & Son,' Asher Jelinsky, American Film Institute — 'The Chef,' Hao Zheng, American Film Institute — 'Tree #3,' Omer Ben-Shachar, American Film Institute — 'Bonobo,' Zoel Aeschbacher, Ecole Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne (ECAL) — 'Dog Eat Dog,' Rikke Gregersen, Westerdals Kristiania University College — 'November 1st,' Charlie Manton, National Film and Television School
  • New Zealand broadcaster MediaWorks on Friday announced it plans to sell its struggling television business, leaving hundreds of workers wondering if they will still have jobs if a buyer can't be found. The move also raises the possibility the country of 5 million people could be left with just a single state-owned broadcaster to report most TV news. The announcement highlights the struggle that traditional TV networks have been facing against the rise in popularity of streaming services such as Netflix. The company said it wants to focus on expanding its radio and billboard advertising businesses. MediaWorks chief executive Michael Anderson told The Associated Press that the small market in New Zealand meant it had been hit particularly hard by the global disruption to traditional media. And he said the government over the years had allowed state-owned Television New Zealand to become the nation's dominant player, which had eroded the ability of rivals like MediaWorks to compete fairly. He said news of the sale plan was 'very unsettling' to its 600 or so employees, but that the company expects to find a buyer. He said he was traveling the country to reassure staff that, for now, it's business as usual. He said the board would reassess its options if a buyer can't be found. Anderson said he thought that from a cultural perspective, it was critical the network continues because of its role in promoting a vibrant democracy through its journalism as well as developing other local talent such as comedians. Former anchor Hilary Barry said she was feeling 'incredibly sad and concerned' about the announcement. 'There are so many talented and genuinely wonderful people there,' she tweeted. 'I just want to give every one of them a giant hug.' Richard Harman, who runs the news website Politik, tweeted that if the network closed, it would return New Zealand television journalism 'to one complacent mediocre state broadcaster.' Kris Faafoi, New Zealand's minister of broadcasting, communications and digital media, said his thoughts were with MediaWorks staff 'in these uncertain times' but that the decision to sell was a commercial one and he didn't want to intrude on that process or comment further. MediaWorks is owned by Los Angeles-based private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management. Anderson said the sale was a board decision and not a directive from Oaktree, and that the company hadn't been forced into selling for a financial reason such as being in danger of breaching bank covenants. In its most recent financial statement, MediaWorks posted a 5.5 million New Zealand dollar ($3.5 million) loss in the year ending December. Overall revenue was up slightly over the previous year to NZ$305 million.

Local News

  • On Friday afternoon a train collided with a tractor-trailer in Winder at the May Street and Broad Street intersection. The Winder Police Department is asking that motorists avoid the area as they work to clear the roadway.
  • A Hartwell man faces vehicular homicide charges after slamming head-on into a car driven by a University of Georgia student and then leaving the scene, Athens police said. The student, identified as 20-year-old junior Drury Anderson Shierling, was killed about 6 a.m. Wednesday on Timothy Road when the other driver took a curve too fast and crossed into his lane, according to a crash report. The driver who caused the wreck, identified by police as 51-year-old Edward Lee Stowers, was traveling north from the Inner Loop to Timothy Road when his rented 2018 Ford Fusion crossed the raised median and entered the southbound lanes, authorities said. After striking the UGA student, Stowers allegedly got out of his vehicle, flagged down another driver and asked for a ride to a nearby gas station, according to the report. He was arrested after the witness called 911 and told police where he was. Shierling, who was from Leesburg, studied business and real estate, a university spokeswoman said.  Another passenger in the students car was injured in the wreck and taken to a hospital, the Athens Banner-Herald reported.  Stowers is charged with vehicular homicide, hit-and-run resulting in death, traveling too fast for conditions, failure to maintain lane and driving with a suspended license. He remains held without bond at the Athens-Clarke County jail, records show.  In other news: 
  • The Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee is proud to announce Dinner & Conversation with the U.S. Senate Candidates to be held on Veteran’s Day, Monday, November 11, at the Cotton Press in Athens, Georgia. On the cusp of one of the most important election-cycles in Georgia history, attendees will get the unique opportunity to hear from Sarah Riggs Amico, Jon Ossoff, Mayor Ted Terry, and Mayor Teresa Tomlinson about their vision for Georgia and the United States.   Dinner & Conversation with the U.S. Senate Candidates will begin at 6:15pm (doors at 5:45pm) on Monday, November 11 at the Cotton Press. Attendees will be treated to a delicious family-style dinner as they hear conversations between candidates and our special guests. After hearing from all 4 candidates and finishing apple pie for dessert, attendees will be invited to mingle with the candidates and continue the conversations in a less formal way at our meet-and-greet.   “This is the first, and possibly only, time that Athenians and the people of northeast Georgia will be able to see all of the Senatorial candidates in one location,'' says Denise Ricks, Chair of the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee. “It is an opportunity to witness a one on one, in depth conversation with each candidate and have them answer submitted questions. We know voters want to hear where the candidates stand on healthcare, foreign policy, education, and the environment. This is your chance to hear about those issues and to get answers to your questions!”   The 2020 elections will decide the Presidency, not one but both U.S. Senate seats for Georgia, along with every Georgia Congressional, State House, and State Senate seat.    'Make no mistake, the stakes of the 2020 elections are enormous” says Georgia State Representative and Democratic Caucus Leader Bob Trammell. “ Elections have consequences, and the election before redistricting has consequences for the next decade. We can not afford for anyone to sit out democracy in 2020. All hands on deck.' 
  • Hall County state Senator Butch Miller says he is looking at legislation that would protect students from sexual assaults at the hands of teachers. The Republican from Gainesville is pitching a bill he says would clarify existing law on cases in which students are victimized by teachers, coaches, and principals at schools in Georgia.  The next session of the Georgia Legislature begins in January.    From the Ga Senate press office… Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller (R – Gainesville) recently announced legislation aimed at further protecting students from sexual assault by those entrusted with their care. “When legislation we pass doesn’t go far enough to protect our most vulnerable citizens like students in our schools, we must address necessary changes as soon as possible,” said Sen. Miller. “This legislation will fix an oversight in our existing law and will add necessary protections for victims of sexual assault by ensuring their perpetrators can be brought to justice. I hope we can get this legislation passed and to the Governor’s desk as soon as possible during the 2020 Legislative Session.”  Under the current Georgia Code definition for improper sexual contact by employee or agent, sexual assault of a student occurs when the victim is “enrolled as a student at the school.” This specific language was used by the Northeastern Judicial Circuit to send back a case to the state court regarding a coach who was charged with felony sexual assault. According to the decision by the circuit, the felony sexual assault charge did not apply since the accused coach “was not a teacher at the school where the student attended.”  The legislation announced by Sen. Miller will address this issue by revising Georgia code and adding “within the school district” to the existing “enrolled as a student at the school” language. School district will be defined as “any area, county, independent, or local school district.” 
  • The annual Oconee County Fall Festival is scheduled for Saturday. It’s set to take place at Rocket Field in Watkinsville, starting at 9am and lasting through 4pm. From Facebook… The Oconee Chamber Fall Festival started in 1974 and today is known as a premiere Arts & Crafts festival. It is held annually on the 3rd Saturday in October in Historic Downtown Watkinsville. With over 200 booth spaces and 20,000+/- visitors in attendance, this one day outdoor festival is the largest arts & crafts venue in the area.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is keeping one eye on the weather report and another on Kentucky game film with Saturday night's Homecoming Game fast approaching. The No. 10-ranked Bulldogs (5-1, 2-1 SEC) play host to the Wildcats (3-3, 1-3) at 6 p.m. on Saturday (TV: ESPN) looking to shake off a historic upset loss to South Carolina last week. RELATED: Georgia QB legend Eric Zeier shares fixes for offense 'Every player was sick about the performance, just like the coaches,' Smart said Thursday night on his radio show. 'I've always said sometimes the worst thing you can do is play bad and win, because you don't learn the things you need to learn.' No doubt, Georgia's offense sputtered against Power 5 competition the first half of the season, even as the Bulldogs were building a 5-0 record and rising to No. 3 in the ranks. The Bulldogs' offensive objectives and fixes have been well-documented this week as concerns about a wet-weather game have risen. Smart, known for his detailed-oriented nature, typically likes for Georgia to get wet weather work in practices whenever possible. 'I'm concerned about the weather conditions, because you never know what they will be, it's not a variable you can control,' Smart said. 'I like going in the rain once every two or three weeks, but if it's lighting, I can't. 'But we have wet ball drill and we do it once every two weeks, it's on a rolling schedule, so even if you've gone two or three weeks without a wet practice,' he said. 'We spray the ball down, and make the quarterbacks and receivers catch it, throw it, exchange it, (and) kickers, holders, snappers everybody has to. We were doing it (Thursday), spraying it down, making it as hard as possible' The current forecast for Saturday's kickoff (as of Friday) reflected a 100-percent chance of rain in Athens at 6 p.m., with the likelihood of precipitation not tapering off until 9 p.m. Georgia-Kentucky Game Week 7 Georgia players to watch under center 3 keys for a happy homecoming vs. Kentucky Promising Nolan Smith grows, expands role Receivers must step up, beat press coverage Closer look: How Georgia's offense adds up Cover 4: How do Bulldogs get back on track D'Andre Swift says We know how good we can be' Big Ben Cleveland says challenge to go out and prove something' The post Georgia coach Kirby Smart concerned about the weather conditions' appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The Atlanta Braves star first baseman, Freddie Freeman underwent arthroscopic right elbow surgery. Freeman had three fragmented loose bodies cleaned out of his elbow joint, as well as multiple bone spur formations that had developed in his elbow. After putting together an MVP-caliber regular season, Freeman looked like a different player in the playoffs and now it all makes sense. During the NLDS, Freeman was asked about his elbow and told reporters that his elbow was not bothering him. However, fans knew something was not right with the all-star first baseman, who arguably played his worst five-game stretch of his career in the NLDS. Freeman’s -0.46 win probability added (WPA), was the lowest mark for a Braves batter during the NLDS. Freeman’s NLDS stats .200/.273/.400 .673 ops 1 run 4 hit 1 double 1 home run 1 rbi 1 bb 6 strikeouts
  • ATHENS Georgia legend Eric Zeier has played and seen a lot of football as the SEC's former all-time leading passer and current Bulldogs radio color analyst. Zeier is as measured with his opinions as he once was his passes, so his thoughts on fixing the Bulldogs are sure to resonate in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. The No. 10-ranked Georgia football program plays host to Kentucky at 6 p.m. on Saturday (TV: ESPN) looking to get back on track after a shocking 20-17 upset at the hands of unranked South Carolina last week. 'I think we'll get back to who we want to be and who we are this week,' Zeier said on Kirby Smart's coach's show on Thursday night. 'We want to be a big, bruising team that plays great defense, that's able to control the ball on offense. In the critical moments of games we are typically balanced last week we got out of that a little bit.' Zeier suggests versatile and explosive playmaker James Cook could be part of the solution, and he's surprised the Bulldogs didn't look more to him last Saturday. 'South Carolina has been able to get after quarterbacks, we've seen that, (so) I thought we were going to try to get the football out of Jake's hands, utilize the quick game,' Zeier said. 'I was a little surprised we didn't get James Cook more involved in the football game.' Zeier said 'the blueprint is out right now, on how to attack us on the offensive side of the football,' and that 'you've got defenses that are selling all out against the run.' Indeed, Jake Fromm attempted a career-high 51 passes in the loss to the Gamecocks with a career-high three interceptions. Fromm who had not been intercepted in the first five games, also was sacked three times and fumbled away a center exchange. It was not all on Fromm, but Zeier did not give his fellow quarterback a pass. 'It was probably the one time I've seen Jake Fromm miss reads, where we had guys running open, and all of the sudden if you hit that, if the correct read is made and you complete the pass on the seam or going outside, now all he sudden, you look like a genius when you're calling plays,' said Zeier, who finished his career between the hedges in 1994 with 67 UGA records and 18 SEC marks. 'When you miss a couple of reads, make a couple of bad throws, you drop a couple of passes, all those things add up to a bad game all the way around.' Zeier said Fromm had his challenges on account of the Georgia receivers not creating separation. 'We are not creating space, so the windows that we're having to throw the football into, in many cases it looks like an NFL game, where you've got elite defensive backs where your window is extremely small,' Zeier said. 'How do you help receivers get off the jam? Get them in motion, get them moving, so you don't allow a defensive back to come up and get in your face where that first step you've got a problem,' Zeier said. 'You can also utilize slot receivers to get down the seam in quick fashion, get mismatches, get James Cook on the outside as opposed to having a receiver, force defenses into different looks than they are accustomed to, create mismatches with your alignment, and then get movements going and motions going to try to loosen up what defenses are trying to do.' Zeier indicated the forecast for rain at Saturday night's game against Kentucky should not concern Georgia fans, nor should they be worried the South Carolina loss was the start of a new trend. 'Rainy weather, with the way we can go play football, shouldn't be a problem,' Zeier stated. 'I have not one doubt in my mind; that (loss) will galvanize us as a football team and drive us to the level of excellence we have played under Kirby Smart since he's been here.' Georgia-Kentucky Game Week 7 Georgia players to watch under center 3 keys for a happy homecoming vs. Kentucky Promising Nolan Smith grows, expands role Receivers must step up, beat press coverage Closer look: How Georgia's offense adds up Cover 4: How do Bulldogs get back on track D'Andre Swift says We know how good we can be' Big Ben Cleveland says challenge to go out and prove something' The post Georgia legend Eric Zeier shares fixes for offense, key player to get involved appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football coach Kirby Smart used the phrase 'step up' quite a bit this week. The 20-17 overtime loss to South Carolina certainly wasn't acceptable, and nothing less than a convincing win over Kentucky at 6 p.m. on Saturday (TV: ESPN) will satisfy. RELATED: 5 questions with Kentucky football columnist Here are seven players to watch that all into the 'Step Up' category if the Bulldogs are to evolve into the championship contender they were projected to be: QB Jake Fromm It starts with the quarterback. Fromm is under pressure to bounce back from the worst outing of his career, a performance that brought his talent into question. Heavy rain is forecasted, so it's not likely Fromm will get a chance to prove he can win a game when he throws more than 30 passes (UGA is 0-5 in such games). Fromm will, however, get a chance to show he can pull a teetering offense back together. The junior captain needs tothrow his tight ends and receivers open after an uncharacteristically spotty performance last Saturday. Fromm missed a handful of reads and was not as accurate as he had been the first five games of the season. Center Trey Hill Hill was the weakest link last Saturday on the rotating front line once known as the 'Great Wall.' The mere mention of the nickname draws snickers from opposing fanbases and makes even the most loyal Georgia fans wince. The fact is, UGA's projected starting line played just one game together, at Vanderbilt, before injuries led to bodies shifting in and out and a breakdown in continuity. Hill has remained a constant in the lineup. The sophomore was exposed by South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, and his low, slow shotgun snaps appeared to throw off Fromm's timing. RB D'Andre Swift Swift isn't a big talker, but he made sure to get the message out for everyone to hear that he's not going to accept results like last Saturday's against South Carolina. Smart said Swift had developed into more of a vocal leader, and that was obvious by the fact he came out and publicly took accountability on behalf of the entire offense. A straight shooter, Swift has been honest about his intent to turn pro after this season. It's clear he doesn't plan on the Bulldogs going out with a whimper his final season in Athens. Swift bowed up last Saturday and showed he could handle short-yardage situations. RB James Cook Will Georgia get this exciting playmaker involved this week? Or will Cook go back to being a decoy and/or end around specialist? It's baffling OC James Coley hasn't gotten Cook more touches, but game flow has apparently dictated the ball go to other perimeter threats. Cook would be an easy quick throw into the slot, his ability to make yardage in space superior to any of the receivers. Smart said opponents have schemed to prevent Cook from touching the ball. Good plan; part of the reason the Bulldogs are lacking explosive plays is because explosive players like Cook aren't touching the ball enough. Safety J.R. Reed The Bulldogs need playmakers in the secondary, and Reed's production does not yet match his preseason All-American accolades. Reed is second on the team with 31 tackles behind linebacker Monty Rice, but he has just one interception and three pass break-ups through six games. The senior's talent and savvy is unquestionable. But Reed has yet to show he can play with the level of enthusiasm necessary to ignite teammates and raise the level of play around him. Punter Jake Camarda Can this sophomore punter put two solid games back-to-back? Can Camarda handle a slick ball and snaps in inclement weather? Camarda has been shaky in big moments this season, but he's apparently the best option Georgia has on the roster. The Kentucky game will give him an opportunity to win back some trust and gain much-needed confidence and momentum heading into a pivotal November stretch. Receivers Impossible to name just one with what has happened. Who will step up? Kearis Jackson, Matt Landers? Tyler Simmons? Demetris Robertson? George Pickens? Dominick Blaylock? Maybe all of the above, but whoever lines up at that receiver position needs to show reliable hands and an ability to make yards after the catch. Georgia receivers haven't helped Fromm out much in that capacity, unable to get much separation from coverage, they are often tackled immediately and don't break tackles. Smart said on his coaches show the receivers group has shown the most improvement since the start of this season. But he also said they had the furthest to go. Georgia-Kentucky Game Week 3 keys for a happy homecoming vs. Kentucky Promising Nolan Smith grows, expands role Receivers must step up, beat press coverage Kirby Smart breaks down Georgia offense, keeps it simple Closer look: How Georgia's offense adds up Cover 4: How do Bulldogs get back on track D'Andre Swift says We know how good we can be' Big Ben Cleveland says challenge to go out and prove something' The post 7 Georgia football players to watch against Kentucky, starts under center appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Tom Crean is like any other basketball coach when it comes to stressing fundamentals and going back to basics. But this year's Georgia team is taking it to another level. These Bulldogs, lacking height but filled with athleticism, are aiming to be interchangeable to the extent that UGA doesn't list positions. 'B' for basketball player is the descriptive for each. Crean's message is that he plans to have interchangeable parts from the opening tip this season. The Georgia men's team, predicted to finish ninth in the SEC at the league's media days earlier this week, opens at 7 p.m. on Friday at Stegeman Coliseum against Division ll Valdosta State. Admission is free. RELATED: Anthony Antman' Edwards already making history Crean anticipates a high scoring contest, though he's concerned it could get sloppy. 'We've worked hard on our ball handling and driving, but I'm hugely afraid that with a team like this in Valdosta State, that was fifth in the country in Division II last year in points efficiency, that it could be a track meet,' Crean said on Thursday. 'We just don't want it to be turnover fest.' Georgia returns five players from last season, but 10 of the players are new, including nine freshmen. Freshman Anthony 'Antman' Edwards is the most notable newcomer. He's a projected lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and was widely considered the top prospect in the 2019 signing class. Edwards told media following the Stegmania fan event last Friday that he was working at point guard duties, among many other things. Anthony Edwards Crean explained how the Bulldogs are working to have a versatile team that can change positions on the floor without breaking stride. 'We try to put them in different situations, we have what we call our leopard offense,' Crean said. ' We're a spot team, we're not, You're the 5 man, you're the 2 man,' It's You're in the 2 spot, you're in the 5 spot.' 'The point guard is a little different, but other than that it's spot oriented. We're trying to teach guys a lot of different places to be.' So long as the Bulldogs end up on the right side of the scoreboard, the momentum figures to grow. Georgia set attendance records last season despite a 10-21 mark. UGA has already sold out its season-ticket allotment (5,750) with another 2,000 designated for students unavailable to the general public in the 10.523-seat arena. Georgia coach Tom Crean The post WATCH: Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean ready for track meet' exhibition game appeared first on DawgNation.