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Latest from Abby Jessen

    Beer drinkers noticed that Thor was drinking a familiar Athens beer in the new “Avengers: Endgame” trailer. Creature Comforts confirmed on Twitter that it was indeed their Athena beer.  You can watch the full trailer here. The movie will premiere on Apr. 26.
  • The Athens-Clarke County Police Department arrested Justin M. Robinson, 23, on Mar. 7 for motor vehicle theft and the kidnapping of an 11-month-old infant. Authorities say the incident occurred on Feb. 10, 2019, at a residence off Windy Hill Place in  Athens and that they were able to recover the vehicle with the infant unharmed in a rear car seat that same day.  With help from the public, ACCPD officers say they were able to identify Robinson as the suspect in the kidnapping and car theft after they asked help identifying him for a separate Feb. 28 burglary. Robinson was apprehended on Mar. 7 after a traffic stop when he was pulled over for driving erratically on Dougherty Street near College Avenue. In addition to the two warrants, Robinson was charged with failure to maintain lane, giving false name to LEO, driving without a valid license, possession of methamphetamine and open container.  Robinson was arrested and transported to the Clarke-County Jail. 
  • The Athens-Clarke County Police Department says they’ve arrested the suspect wanted for the December murder of Rodriguez Rucker. Police believe that Philmon Chambers, 30, killed Rucker, 32, on Royal Court in east Athens on the afternoon of Dec. 14, 2018. On Dec. 18, 2018, ACCPD identified a truck they believed to be driven by the murder suspect. The truck was then connected to Chambers and detectives obtained a malice murder warrant for his arrest.  Chambers was located and arrested in Kileen, Texas on Mar. 6, 2019. ACCPD will seek to extradite Chambers to Athens to face the charge. Authorities also arrested Andrea Browner, 24, in connection with Rucker’s murder and will charge her with felony murder. Browner and Chamber are known associates according to police.  From the Athens-Clarke County Police Department: “This is an ongoing investigation and the ACCPD asks anyone with information about the case to contact Det. Sean McCauley at 706-613-3330, ext. 312 or Michael.McCauley@accgov.com.”
  • In his annual State of the University address, University of Georgia President Jere Morehead began by touting successes ranging from an increased graduation rate to the school’s economic impact on the state of Georgia. Morehead said that in addition to expanding major scholarship programs that began last year, the University of Georgia’s big focus for this year will be on innovation. The  UGA President said that plans are moving forward to create an “Innovation District” at the intersection of UGA’s North Campus and Downtown Athens. This district will be supplemented with initiatives that include an Innovation Fellows Program for faculty, a “Startup-Mentor-in-Residence Program” for industry executives and an extended orientation program for new students that has an entrepreneurial focus. Finally, Morehead said that the University is developing a new five-year plan to expand its impact across the world.  The full address can be found here. 
  • The University of North Georgia Oconee Campus says it will close at 4 p.m. on Oct. 10 and will remain closed for Oct. 11. As of now, the scheduled reopening for normal campus hours will be on Friday, Oct. 12. All other campuses are open with normal hours. The UNG administration says it’s monitoring the weather throughout the region.  Sylvia Carson, the Executive Director of Communications for the University of North Georgia, released the following statement:  Inclement weather notifications may be segmented by campus location, as weather conditions may vary widely in the university's five-campus area. As is the case when we experience inclement weather, students, faculty and staff should use their best judgment about weather and travel conditions in their immediate area and should not be penalized for missing work or school assignments if they feel roads are unsafe in their area. In addition to UNG Alert, the university will provide information and updates at www.ung.edu/emergency
  • The Athens-Clarke County Police Department is seeking information about an incident that occurred on Stonehenge Way. They say officers were dispatched to a local hospital on the evening of Oct. 1 to meet a victim with three gunshot wounds that were said to be non-life threatening. Officers say that other individuals heard multiple gunshots on Stonehenge Way but did not see the incident. Officers and the Forensics Unite responded to the scene and gathered evidence. There is an ongoing investigation. Authorities ask that anyone with information contact Detective McCauley at (706) 613-3300 ext. 312 or Michael.McCauley@accgov.com. 
  • The University of Georgia Office of International Education closed 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2 because of a gas leak on S. Lumpkin Street. The Director of UGA Immigration Services says that the International Family Potluck dinner at the Church of Christ nearby is cancelled due to road closures caused by the gas leak. If you have an urgent situation, you can reach Director Robin V. Catmur at (706) 202-2546. The office is set to reopen on Oct. 3.  A little after 4 p.m., a special safety update was sent out by UGA:  “A gas leak has been detected adjacent to South Lumpkin Street near Brittain Avenue, across from the UGA Track. First responders and utility personnel are on scene and actively working to resolve the issue. Until the leak is repaired, the public should avoid the area. Once the leak has been repaired, further notification will be shared.”
  • Prosecutor’s Attorney Council of Georgia Executive Director Pete Skandalakis has released the findings in the investigation of an incident with former Athens-Clarke County Police Officer Taylor Saulters. The PAC was asked to investigate if criminal prosecution was warranted regarding use of force while effecting the arrest of a fleeing felon. The original incident happened back in June.  Oglethorpe County Sheriff David Gabriel hired Saulters shortly after the Athens-Clarke County Police Department fired him. Below is his statement after the PAC’s ruling, along with the full findings from the Prosecutor’s Attorney Council. 
  • WR Coile Middle School social studies teacher Donna Sherrer-Gant is the 2018 Clarke County School District Teacher of the Year, and JJ Harris Elementary School paraprofessional Jeffrey Barnett is the Clarke County School District Paraprofessional of the Year for 2018. Both were honored at a Sept. 26 luncheon, along with paraprofessionals and teachers from each of the district schools. Both Sherrer-Gantt and Barnett are 1979 graduates of Clarke Central High School.  The following is from the Clarke County School District:  On Wednesday, September 26, 2018, the Clarke County School District and Georgia United Credit Union hosted a luncheon honoring the Paraprofessionals and Teachers of the year from each of the district schools. At the luncheon the Teacher and Paraprofessional of the Year for the District were also announced.  Donna Sherrer-Gantt, a social studies teacher at WR Coile Middle School and 22 year veteran of the Clarke County School District was named District Teacher of the Year. Ms. Sherrer-Gantt is herself a product of CCSD and knows first-hand the challenges many of her students face. In this excerpt from her application essay, she speaks about why she became an educator: “I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children. I believe that education and access to education could be a great equalizer. I entered the field of education with a desire to make an impact in the lives of children and their families in my community. I saw the cycle of poverty and felt that by entering the education ranks that I could make a difference socially, emotionally, spiritually, educationally, politically, and culturally. Twenty-two years later, I want to think that my work has not been in vain and that I have made a difference in breaking the cycle of poverty in this community.” Jeffrey Barnett of JJ Harris Elementary School was named CCSD Paraprofessional of the Year. Mr. Barnett is also a product of Clarke County Schools and assists with programs at JJ Harris ranging from reading and math to Art. After a career in the Navy followed by time in the home construction field, he felt that his background and life experiences were ideal for carrying out the responsibilities of a paraprofessional. Of his role in the classroom, Mr. Barnett says, “I’ve come to understand and sincerely believe that a paraprofessional’s most important role in a school is to be enduringly empathetic and a determined optimist. What could be more important for a paraprofessional than to have a genuine desire to understand where students are coming from? With so many challenges facing public schools (e.g., classroom size, poverty, family factors, behaviors and bullying to name a few), having empathy is key to understanding all children. Also, to be truly optimistic, every paraprofessional must be resolved to look for the promise, potential, and possibility in “all” of our children.” In addition to the awards received from their schools and the Clarke County School District, Ms. Sherrer Gantt and Mr. Barnett received awards recognizing their achievements from the Foundation for Excellence.
  • Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says that the Athens Career Center is going to be closed temporarily until further notice due to a “facility issue.” Commissioner Butler says that customers can use any other Georgia Department of Labor Career Center for employment-related services and assistance with unemployment benefits. The locations closest to Athens are:  Monroe Satellite: 212 Bryant Road Building 200 Athens Tech Campus Monroe, GA 30655 Gainesville Career Center: 2756 Atlanta Highway Gainesville, GA 30504  Covington Career Center 7249 Industrial Boulevard NE Covington, GA 30014 In addition, customers may apply for jobs and file claims for benefits online at www.dol.georgia.gov. 
  • Abby Jessen

    Abby is the WGAU Program Director. She is a Roswell native and an alumna of the University of Georgia with Broadcast Journalism and Digital Marketing degrees. Abby loves to know what is going on at all times, which is why she loves reporting news in and around Athens. In her free time, you can catch her watching Georgia sports teams, Tweeting way too much, and pretending to be a foodie because she can’t actually cook. 

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Local News

  • A 22-year-old University of Georgia student was shot during an armed robbery in Athens, according to police. Athens-Clarke County police say they were called to the shooting on South Milledge Avenue near the 10 Loop just after 7:15 a.m. Monday. Shortly after, they received another call about an armed robbery at the same location. We have a reporter and photographer on the scene where police plan to hold a news conference to release more information within the next hour. WATCH it LIVE on WSBTV.com and stay with Channel 2 Action News for LIVE reports as this story develops. Channel 2 Action News obtained an email to students, faculty and staff Monday morning, in which a school official said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Georgia State Patrol are assisting the Athens Clarke County Police Department in investigating the two armed robberies that happened just off campus. #Breaking Witnesses tell me the UGA student was shot at this off campus bus stop. They told me they heard two gunshots then ran outside and saw the victim. More at noon. — Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) April 22, 2019 TRENDING STORIES: ‘Armed and extremely dangerous': Police search for gunman who ambushed officer Church pays $120K to bail out first-time offenders for Easter ‘You told me to': Video shows Charlotte police officer kill man following orders to drop gun The student was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. 'We are deeply saddened by these tragic and shocking events,' the email said. Police are searching for a black male with dreads or twists driving an early 2000 model white Ford Mustang convertible with a tan roof.
  • There is a traffic heads up for drivers in Athens, a campus construction advisory from the University of Georgia: UGA says the southbound sidewalk and bike lane on the west side of East Campus Road will be closed from the current DEP2, Computer Services, and Museum of Natural History driveway entrance up to approximately mid-block for the temporary construction office entrance concrete pour. The sidewalk on the east side of East Campus Drive will still be accessible for pedestrians.
  • Senator Bill Cowsert and state Representatives Houston Gaines and Marcus Weidower are the scheduled speakers for tonight’s meeting of the Oconee County Republican Party. They’ll recap the legislative session that ended earlier this month in a 6:30 session at the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Watkinsville.  An Athens-Clarke County Commission work session is on tap for today, underway at 4 o’clock this afternoon at City Hall.  A town hall with Winterville Mayor Dodd Ferrelle is set for 7 o’clock tonight. It’ll take place at the Depot in Winterville.  Madison County Commissioners meet tonight: it’s a 6 o’clock this evening at the Madison County Government Complex in Danielsville. Jackson County Commissioners meet at 6 at the courthouse in Jefferson. 
  • A man was killed by an Athens-Clarke County officer after authorities said he brandished a shotgun at police while they were trying to talk to him.  Carlton Steve Brooks, 63, was shot and killed after he answered his door with a shotgun in his hands, authorities said. Athens police called the GBI to investigate the incident. Athens-Clarke police said the fatal police shooting happened about 11:40 p.m. Saturday. Officers were sent to a home on Hull Road on a “peeping Tom” call, the department said in statement. Officers spoke to the victim, who identified a suspect, the department said. The officers went to the suspect’s home, which was also on Hull Road, police said.  According to the GBI, officers knocked on the Brooks’ door and announced themselves. Before answering the door, one of the officers saw a man inside with a weapon, the GBI said. The officers moved back from the door and gave repeated commands to put down the weapon. That’s when Brooks opened the door with the gun in his hands. “Brooks pointed the weapon towards one of the officers, who then fired twice,” the GBI said.  According to the police department, officers administered first aid to the man, and he was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. No officers were harmed in the shooting.  The department said the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave with pay in “accordance with department policy.”  An autopsy will be conducted at the GBI Crime Lab.  This is the 29th officer-involved shooting investigation that the GBI has been requested to investigate in 2019. The last such investigation was opened April 15, when a police chase that started in Alabama ended near Fort Benning.  RELATED: Man shot by deputies after Alabama police chase ends near Fort Benning In other news: 
  • Officials with the National Weather Service have confirmed that an EF-1 tornado touched down early Friday morning.  The tornado formed in Hall County around 5:50 a.m. and was on the ground for an estimated 2.5 miles.  Channel 2's Richard Elliot was in Hall County Friday, where the storm ripped a steeple off Dewberry Baptist Church north of Gainesville and sent a tree crashing through the church's fellowship hall.  No injuries were reported. Storms left damage across north Georgia including downed trees and power lines, flooding and washed out roads.  Reporters from Channel 2 Action News fanned out all across the state to bring you live coverage of the worst-hit areas.  Road collapses in multiple spots, following storms. We’re live in Buckhead: Ch. 2, 6 p.m. pic.twitter.com/5hhEV5u10O — Rikki Klaus (@RikkiKlausWSB) April 20, 2019 RELATED LINKS: Download the FREE Severe Weather Team 2 App! Massive oak tree falls on box truck, trapping driver inside 4 Forsyth County firefighters injured during storm response Flooding leaves at least a dozen vehicles underwater at car dealership PHOTOS: Severe weather knocks down trees, washes out roads in metro Atlanta    

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Stetson Bennett began G-Day with the Black Team on Saturday, but he ended it with the Red Team. In his mind, that meant he was going to have steak and lobster for dinner rather than the Beanie Weanies that go to the losing team. “I’m getting steak,” Bennett said after the 22-17 Red Team win this past Saturday. “I get to choose what I want. I made that rule; nobody has told me that for sure yet. But I’m definitely planning on having steak tonight.” J.J. Holloman turned this reception of a pass from Stetson Bennett into a 43-yard game-winning touchdown for the Red Team in the fourth quarter of the G-Day Game on Saturday. (Lauren Tolbert/UGA Athletics) Bennett could certainly make a good argument for eating with the victorious Red squad. After all, it was his 43-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Holloman with 8:09 remaining in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game-winner. The scoring play, which came on a post route by Holloman against starting cornerback Eric Stokes on second-and-8, gave the Red a 19-17 lead that would hold up the rest of the way. It came at the end of what was a pretty good day for Bennett, who exited spring practice as the Bulldogs’ No. 2 quarterback behind junior Jake Fromm. For the day, he went 12-of-23 passing for 210 yards and a touchdown while playing for both teams. That broke down as 4-of-9 for 82 yards with no TDs or interceptions with the Black squad and 8-of-14 for 128 yards and a score with the Red team. Bennett was charged with one sack for minus-5 yards with the Black as well. “It was pretty special,” said Bennett, who transferred back to Georgia after spending last season at Jones County (Miss.) Junior College. “I’ll probably look back over the summer and appreciate it more. This was my second game in Sanford Stadium and it was a little bit better than the first one. It was pretty cool.” It represented a much better day under much better circumstances than Bennett experienced during the 2018 G-Day Game. Bennett also played for both squads that day but left feeling like he wasn’t given a fair shake to compete with Justin Fields for backup duties behind Fromm. Fields has, of course, since transferred to Ohio State. Now Bennett is competing with true freshman D’Wan Mathis for the backup spot. “I felt more like a quarterback today than just piece like I did last year,” said bennett, who was a combined 5-of-9 for 73 yards for both squads in the 2018 G-Day Game. “I felt good coming out here and playing with my buddies and playing well, having them make plays. It was pretty cool I enjoyed it.” Mathis had a decent Saturday as well. Operating with a pared-down offensive package, the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Mathis was 15-of-28 for 113 yards throwing the ball and had a 20-yard run off a scramble. But he was also sacked five times and threw an interception. Fromm was disappointed with a day that saw him complete only 14-of-29 passes for 116 yards and throw a pick-6 on the Red Team’s first offensive possession. He threw got one 13-yard touchdown on a check-down throw to running back Brian Herrien in the third quarter. Overall, it was only a so-so day for quarterbacks and the Georgia offense. But nobody is expecting the outcome to affect the depth chart going forward. The Bulldogs will enter fall camp with the same pecking order it started spring camp. That is, with a depth chart the sets up as Fromm, Bennett and Mathis, in that order. “Both those guys did a nice job of managing it,” coach Kirby Smart said of Bennett and Mathis. “A lot of throwing situations, not a lot of (elaborate) defenses. … We scaled back a lot of the offense. A lot of the new things we’re doing weren’t in that package today. But I was pleased with the way Stetson and D’Wan managed the game and that’s important for their growth. They’re only going to get better through practicing and repping and playing in that kind of environment.” Bennett certainly came away feeling a lot more positive about his situation than he did this time a year ago. He said he knows he’s not about to unseat Fromm as the starter and that there is no guarantee that he’ll even be the primary backup ahead of Mathis by the time the season starts on Aug. 31. “I don’t really know,” he said of his role this season. “My goal is for us to win a national championship, win the SEC, win the East, beat Vandy up there in Nashville in the first game of the season. Just to win, play really well and play Georgia football, play for these fans who came out here today, 52,000 of them in not great weather. That’s really my goal for the season, just be the best I can be.” Bennett’s situation could be entirely different. After his season in junior college, he received multiple offers from non-Power 5 schools who offered him the opportunity to become a first-year starter. But playing football at Georgia always has been priority one for Bennett, who grew up in Blackshear as the son of a alumni parents. “Somebody asked me, ‘why’d you come back if you’re going to have all these 5-stars ahead of you?’ I’ll answer it the same way: I don’t really worry about who else is coming in,” Bennett said. “I don’t really worry about who’s here. If I can just do my part for the team and get better every single day, then I’m fine with it. So, you know, I’m just going to compete every day with myself and try to make the best throws at practice and we’ll see how it works out.” But no matter how you slice it up, it’s a better situation than Bennett had when he decided to transfer to junior college last summer. “I’m not going to transfer this summer; I’m not going to show up in the portal, so that’s different,” Bennett said with a laugh. “It was better. I got more reps this spring, played better, my team won, because I flip-flopped and was on the Red Team at the end.” The post WATCH: Role on team still undefined, QB Stetson Bennett in it for long haul Bulldogs appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Football is a game that’s amazing when shown live, and sometimes even more fascinating on replay. The cuts, catches and collisions that “wow” us in the moment are most often just as impressive — if not more so — in slow motion. The so-called “broken” plays can’t be explained in the moment, but film review tells all as Kirby Smart and his coaching staff could attest. The @UGAAthletics Twitter account put out a highlight reel from the G-Day Game that will excite Georgia fans who saw those plays for the first time — and inform those who were with family or on business and couldn’t watch the game. It’s worth the click, as several new faces and numbers appear on the verge of starring roles with the Bulldogs’ national championship contending 2019 team. It’s an impressive collection of Eric Stokes’ Pick-6, D’Andre Swift’s electric cut on soggy turf, Brian Herrien’s bulldozer run past J.R. Reed and the surprisingly effective passes from backup quarterbacks Stetson Bennett and D’Wan Mathis.   Couldn’t make it to #GDay? We’ve got you covered with the highlights. #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/hRCrxsekpP — Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) April 22, 2019   Georgia football DawgNation G-Day Game Kirby comments on freshmen phenom linebackers Nakobe Dean, Nolan Smith WATCH: Brian Herrien looks strong in G-Day Game WATCH: Matt Landers discusses his G-Day performance WATCH: Georgia G-Day Game beat writers breakdown RELATED: Eric Stokes experiences good and bad at cornerback WATCH: Kirby Smart shares thoughts on G-Day Game Georgia football lands major commitment on G-Day Demetris Robertson illness revealed by Kirby Smart Stock report from Georgia G-Day Game Instant analysis of Georgia football G-Day Game Georgia G-Day Game football report card   The post WATCH: ‘Wow’ plays abound in Georgia athletics G-Day Game highlight video appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia hasn’t wasted any time testing freshmen early enrollee linebackers Nakobe Dean and Nolan Smith. The trend continued on Saturday in the G-Day Game, with Dean and Smith getting repetitions with the Black Team, which featured the first-team defense.. Coach Kirby Smart said it had to do with how repetitions were distributed. But it also provided the coaching staff with a look at how Dean and Smith would fare in reps against the first string offense of the Red Team. Dean proved active, making five tackles with a pass break-up against the first-team offense. Dean is an instinctive inside linebacker with great acceleration to the football, and he appeared surprisingly comfortable and agile in pass coverage. Senior Tae Crowder and junior Monty Rice exit spring drills with the upper hand at inside linebackers, both tested veterans. But Smart left the door open for Dean to continue to compete for a starting position. “His role could be as much as a starting linebacker, or his role could be as much a special teams player this year, he could be at third down guy,” Smart said when asked by DawgNation about Dean’s role moving forward. “It’s going to be determined by the other players and himself, and how much he grows and gets better.” Smith’s day was considerably quieter. The No. 1-ranked recruit in the 2019 signing class was often matched with Outland Trophy candidate Andrew Thomas. Still, it was worth noting how Smart and other UGA players praised Smith throughout much of spring drills. The UGA coaching staff talked Smith up to the SEC Network commentators during the G-Day Game broadcast prep. “Nolan Smith is a highly touted recruit, a guy who came up in a lot in our conversions with coaches,” former UGA lineman and College Football Hall of Fame 2018 inductee Matt Stinchcomb said. “He’s a guy who can bend the edge, but his work ethic was what really impressed.” Smart said both Dean and Smith have had a great “progression” this spring. “They are both very bright, they are both very sharp, intelligent, mature freshmen,” Smart said. “But they have not been through a college football fall, they have not been through a college football game. “They haven’t played in an SEC game, and they both have a lot of growing to do. But I’m pleased with where they are.” Georgia football DawgNation G-Day Game WATCH: Brian Herrien looks strong in G-Day Game WATCH: Matt Landers discusses his G-Day performance WATCH: Georgia G-Day Game beat writers breakdown RELATED: Eric Stokes experiences good and bad at cornerback WATCH: Kirby Smart shares thoughts on G-Day Game Georgia football lands major commitment on G-Day Demetris Robertson illness revealed by Kirby Smart Stock report from Georgia G-Day Game Instant analysis of Georgia football G-Day Game Georgia G-Day Game football report card   The post Georgia G-Day Game: Nakobe Dean active inside, Nolan Smith bottled up outside appeared first on DawgNation.