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Health Headlines

    A British man who was exposed to the deadly nerve agent Novichok said he is struggling with his eyesight and mobility, and fears the poison will kill him within a decade. Charlie Rowley, 45, fell ill in June near Salisbury, England, after coming into contact with the Soviet-developed nerve agent that was used months earlier to attack former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Rowley, Skripal and his daughter survived, but Rowley's partner Dawn Sturgess, who was also exposed, died in the hospital. Rowley told the Sunday Mirror newspaper that he was back in the hospital being treated for meningitis. He said he was going blind and unable to use one arm, and said he was 'terrified about the future' and what long-term effects the military grade poison would have on him. 'I'm still worried the Novichok could kill me if I get any sort of virus again — it's on my mind all the time. I'm dreading getting a cold,' he said. 'I don't think I'll be alive in 10 years. It's been horrendous.' Britain accuses Russia of carrying out the poisoning of the Skripals, a claim Moscow denies. Rowley and Sturgess collapsed after they handled a small bottle containing the nerve agent, believed to have been discarded by the Skripals' attackers. Britain charged two alleged Russian military intelligence agents in absentia for the attack. The pair denied their involvement on Russian television. The Skripals' poisoning ignited a diplomatic confrontation in which hundreds of envoys were expelled by both Russia and Western nations.
  • One of the winners of this year's Nobel Peace Prize says the attention the prize has drawn to sexual violence against women in war zones must be followed by action against the abuses. Dr. Denis Mukwege spoke Sunday at a news conference with Nadia Murad of Iraq, with whom he shared the 9-million Swedish kronor ($1 million) prize. Mukwege was honored for his work helping sexually abused women at the hospital he founded in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Murad, a Yazidi, won for her advocacy for sex abuse victims after being kidnapped by Islamic State militants. 'What we see during armed conflicts is that women's bodies become battlefields and this cannot be acceptable during our time,' Mukwege said, speaking through a translator. 'We cannot only denounce it, we now need to act.' Murad, 25, was one of an estimated 3,000 girls and women from Iraq's Yazidi minority group who were kidnapped in 2014 by IS militants and sold into sexual slavery. She was raped, beaten and tortured before managing to escape three months later. After getting treatment in Germany, she chose to speak to the world about the horrors faced by Yazidi women, despite regardless of the heavy stigma in her culture surrounding rape. She said Sunday it was difficult 'for a girl, a woman, to rise up to say that these atrocities have happened.' Mukwege, a 63-year-old surgeon, founded a hospital in the city of Bukavu and over the past 20 years has treated countless women who were raped amid fighting between armed groups seeking to control of some the central African nation's vast mineral wealth. He expressed concern Sunday that new violence could be coming as Congo holds a general election this month. 'We think the conflict might blow up around this electoral period and women and children are always the first victims of such conflicts,' he said. Along with preventing sexual violence, more effort is needed to attend to victims, Mukwege said. 'We need to realize that any woman who is a victim of sexual violence within her own country — such women should be allowed treatment and it's not only medical treatment, also psychological treatment, judicial treatment,' he said. Murad said the psychological burden of her ordeal and her subsequent work is heavy. 'I don't want to live in fear. For the last four years I have been in Germany, in a safe place, but yet I'm living frightfully,' she said. 'I'm scared that these people will not just attack me or have an impact on me, but with anybody else.' Murad and Mukwege will receive their prize Monday at a ceremony in the Norwegian capital. The winners of Nobel prizes for medicine, physics, chemistry and economics will get their prizes Monday in Stockholm. No Nobel literature winner was named this year due to turmoil in the Swedish Academy, which chooses the literature winners. ___ Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this story
  • Italian police investigating a deadly disco stampede said Sunday they found a pepper spray can and were questioning dozens of witnesses Sunday following accounts by concertgoers that a teenage boy had sprayed an irritating substance, triggering the mad rush by the crowd to flee. It wasn't known if the can found was the one whose spray apparently set off the stampede about 1 a.m. Saturday in a crowd awaiting a rapper's performance in the Lanterna Azzurra (Blue Lantern) disco in Corinaldo, a small town in the Marche region of east-central Italy, the Carabiniere paramilitary police commander of Ancona province, Col. Cristian Carrozza, told reporters. He also declined to confirm Italian media reports that a 16-year-old boy had been identified as the sprayer and would be questioned by juvenile court officials. Five teens, all juveniles, and a woman who had accompanied her 11-year-old daughter to the concert, died in the crush of fleeing concertgoers who toppled over a railing atop a cement ramp outside an exit. The railing gave way, sending young people tumbling over it and landing atop of each other in the area below the ramp, about 1.5 meters (feet) below. On Saturday, prosecutors and Italy's premier and interior minister told reporters that nearly 1,400 tickets had been sold, while the disco could safely hold only 870 people, with the capacity of the room of the concert itself set at about 460. On Sunday, Carrozza said a count of ticket stubs indicated that about 600 tickets were used for entry. It was unclear if others might have gotten in without having tickets checked by disco personnel. One of the DJs, Marco Cecchini, told reporters he was sure that more than just one room of the disco was open, in addition to the one with the 460-person capacity. 'I've done 40-50 evenings in that place, and, sincerely, there weren't so many people. I'd estimate maybe 800-900 people, but all the rooms were open,' the Italian news agency ANSA quoted Cecchini, who is the son of one of the disco's managers, as saying. Several parents whose children had gone to the concert on Saturday brought police cellphones to show videos of the disco's premises in case the visuals could help in the investigation, ANSA said. Many parents and patrons have said the disco was jam-packed. Carrozza said that on Saturday police had taken accounts from more than 80 people, and many more concertgoers were being questioned on Sunday. Seven of the more than 50 people injured in the stampede remained in critical condition Sunday while the remaining patients were either already discharged or about to be discharged after their condition improved, doctors said. After Interior Minister Matteo Salvini insisted that safety codes for public places be rigorously respected, police overnight shut down two discos in the south, near the port city of Salerno, for apparent overcrowding. ___ Frances D'Emilio is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/fdemilio
  • A 78-year-old man who relies on medical marijuana for back pain finds himself homeless after being evicted from federally subsidized housing in a case complicated by conflicting state and federal marijuana rules. John Flickner was staying at a Niagara Falls shelter Thursday, after an hourslong eviction ordeal Tuesday that ended with him steering his electric wheelchair in freezing temperatures to a center about a half mile away. 'Cold, wet, windy,' Flickner recalled of the trip, which was photographed by The Buffalo News . 'All I wanted to do was get out of the wind,' Flickner told The Associated Press on Thursday inside Community Missions, the facility he transferred to the next day. Niagara Towers, where Flickner lived for two years, is subsidized by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Although New York state has legalized medical marijuana, HUD says it gives landlords discretion on whether to evict residents for using it. Marijuana use remains illegal under federal law. Flickner's problems with his landlord started in June, when inspectors found marijuana in his apartment and called police. Responding officers declined to charge Flickner — who said he got the marijuana from a doctor in Canada — but advised him that he needed a prescription to possess it. Flickner said he had no trouble quickly getting a doctor's prescription and had it long before this week's eviction. 'I didn't know about getting the card. I just knew it was legal,' he said. 'I wasn't hiding anything.' Still, the Tennessee company that owns the complex, LHP Capital, moved forward with ending his lease. 'The basis of the eviction was they have a zero-tolerance (policy) and he had marijuana in his apartment and at that time he did not have medical marijuana,' said Niagara Falls attorney Jason Cafarella, who represented LHP at a November hearing in Niagara Falls City Court. 'It was a lease violation and the tenant had known what the rules of the property were, had known the rules of the lease and violated those rules.' A judge issued a Nov. 29 eviction order. 'What really swayed the judge, the be-all, end-all factor, was a regulation which basically gives management the ability to impose this zero-tolerance rule regardless of medical marijuana or otherwise,' said attorney Kevin Quinn of the Center for Elder Law and Justice, who represented Flickner. 'If it's being used, they have that ability to terminate a lease.' It's not unusual for people to be evicted from federally subsidized housing for medical marijuana use, though few are as old as Flickner, said David Mangone of Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group. 'It's really a clear evidence of discrimination, and medical marijuana should be treated like any other medication when it comes to living in subsidized housing,' said Mangone, the Washington-based group's director of government affairs. HUD responded to a request for comment by forwarding the agency's 2014 guidance giving landlords discretion on whether to evict current residents for the use medical marijuana. The memo said landlords are supposed to deny new applicants for subsidized housing if they use medical marijuana. There was no immediate comment from HUD specifically on Flickner's eviction. LHP did not respond to two telephone messages seeking comment. The company has 55 properties in eight states, according to its website. Flickner on Thursday was waiting for a friend to help him make arrangements for a new place to live. In the meantime, Community Missions spokesman Christian Hoffman said the facility wouldn't stop him from using the odorless, pen-like vaporizer that delivers his medicine. Flickner, a former tool-and-dye worker, said he injured his back in a skydiving mishap 50 years ago. Medical marijuana relaxes his muscles better and more safely, he said, than addictive opioids. 'We're going along with state guidelines,' Hoffman said. Although Flickner is the first client to arrive at the shelter under these circumstances, Hoffman said he wouldn't be surprised if others followed. 'Hopefully, everyone is able to get on the same page, whatever that looks like,' he said. 'But until then, places like ours are going to be picking up some of the pieces.' ___ Associated Press writer Michael Hill contributed from Albany.
  • Hundreds of U.S. states, cities, businesses and churches planted the American flag at the U.N. climate talks Friday in an effort to show that many people in the United States remain committed to curbing global warming despite the stance of their president. The opening of the U.S. Climate Action Center alongside pavilions from Britain, Poland and New Zealand contrasts with the low-key presence of the official U.S. government delegation at the two weeks of talks in Poland. Envoys from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has announced a U.S. withdrawal from the landmark 2015 Paris climate change accord, are holed up in a cubicle away from the main concourse. They currently have one public event planned Monday promoting U.S. technological innovations. The Climate Action Center is backed by a group called We Are Still In that wants to maintain the Paris climate deal's aim of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). California billionaire Tom Steyer, who is considered a possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidate , said the United States has to return to leading the world in tackling climate change. He urged environmental activists not to lose sight of the wider concerns of American voters in the coming years if they want political change. 'The way that we're going to win on climate is not by talking exclusively about climate but by being in coalition with people across the board on justice,' he said. Negotiators from almost 200 countries have little time left to bridge their differences before ministers arrive at the U.N. talks in Katowice next week for a final frantic round of diplomacy. The environmental group Climate Action Network on Friday awarded its tongue-in-cheek Fossil of the Day award to Germany for abandoning its 2020 target on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for failing to support more ambitious European Union-wide targets for 2030. It also noted that Germany is doing little to curb emissions in its transport sector and has yet to set a fixed date for ending its reliance on coal. German officials declined to comment on the award.
  • Independent experts looking into allegations of sexual harassment at the U.N. agency that fights AIDS say it is plagued by 'defective leadership,' a culture of impunity, and a toxic working environment that cannot be changed unless its top official is replaced. In a damning new report released Friday, the four experts cited a 'vacuum of accountability' and said UNAIDS leaders had failed to prevent or properly respond to allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power. The panel was created earlier this year following allegations of sexual harassment by staffers and calls from critics for executive director Michel Sidibe of Mali to resign. Sidibe has denied claims that he tried to force an employee to drop allegations that she was sexually assaulted by his former deputy. And despite the scathing report, Sidibe said in a statement that he is the right man to turn around the organization. That is not what the investigators believe. 'The panel has no confidence that the current leadership can deliver cultural change when that leadership has been largely responsible for the current malaise,' the report said. Its authors interviewed or received written submissions from more than 100 staffers and conducted a survey of about 60 percent of the agency's staff. Just as the report was made public, UNAIDS issued a statement promising an 'agenda for change' led by the 66-year-old Sidibe to build upon the recommendations of the panel. 'I have taken on board the criticisms made by the panel,' Sidibe said, 'In proposing this agenda, I am confident that we can focus on moving forward.' He said he would spend a year making UNAIDS a workplace 'where everyone feels safe and included.' Despite its searing critique, the panel noted Sidibe's 'outstanding contribution' to UNAIDS' work and called him a 'passionate and effective advocate' for the world's most vulnerable people. It said he had 'spoken bravely' about the risks of HIV/AIDS among adolescent girls and women. The UNAIDS chief is appointed by the U.N. secretary-general, who has the power to replace him. The independent panel's report will be presented to the UNAIDS board next week. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Sidibe would 'continue to create a model working environment for all staff,' ensuring safety and inclusivity. He deferred to the UNAIDS board for any action that might be taken. 'We await their deliberations,' he said. UNAIDS spokeswoman Sophie Barton-Knotts said Sidibe 'is fully aware that there is a lot of work to do — across all levels of the organization — and he is determined to lead that transformation.' The panel, however, disagreed. It found solutions proposed by Sidibe to be 'superficial and insufficient.' It also slammed Sidibe for failing to take responsibility for the organization he has led for the past eight years, saying his proposed changes 'demonstrate a lack of insight into the magnitude of the problems.' According to the survey conducted by the panel, nearly 4 percent of staffers reported having experienced some form of sexual harassment in the past year and more than 40 percent reported having suffered some abuse of authority. Numerous staffers complained the agency was run like a patriarchy, with little oversight and retaliation against staffers who spoke out. One staffer described a meeting where Sidibe 'boasted' he had personally ensured the appointment and promotion of his African 'brothers.' 'UNAIDS is like a predators' prey ground,' wrote another interviewee. 'You can use promises of jobs, contracts and all sorts of opportunities and abuse your power to get whatever you want ... I have seen senior white male colleagues dating local young interns or using UNAIDS resources to access sex workers.' Such problems began spilling into the public spotlight after UNAIDS staffer Martina Brostrom went public earlier this year with allegations originally laid out in a sexual harassment and assault complaint in 2016. In it, she alleged that Luiz Loures, once the agency's deputy director for programs, had forcibly kissed and grabbed her in a Bangkok hotel elevator in May 2015 — claims Loures denied. He left UNAIDS earlier this year. The World Health Organization office that investigated the case concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support Brostrom's claims. Brostrom told The Associated Press she was still going over the experts' 73-page report, but added she was 'pleased that the truth ... is finally out.' The Associated Press does not identify typically victims of sexual assault. However, Brostrom spoke to the news media this year after a WHO panel accepted the investigators' recommendation to close the case. ___ Cheng reported from London. Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.
  • The second-largest Ebola outbreak in history has spread to a major city in eastern Congo, as health experts worry whether the stock of an experimental vaccine will stand up to the demands of an epidemic with no end in sight. Butembo, with more than 1 million residents, is now reporting cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. That complicates Ebola containment work already challenged by rebel attacks elsewhere that have made tracking the virus almost impossible in some isolated villages. 'We are very concerned by the epidemiological situation in the Butembo area,' said John Johnson, project coordinator with Medecins Sans Frontieres in the city. New cases are increasing quickly in the eastern suburbs and outlying, isolated districts, the medical charity said. The outbreak declared on Aug. 1 is now second only to the devastating West Africa outbreak that killed more than 11,300 people a few years ago. There are currently 471 Ebola cases, of which 423 are confirmed, including 225 confirmed deaths, Congo's health ministry said late Thursday. Without the teams that have vaccinated more than 41,000 people so far, this outbreak could have already seen more than 10,000 Ebola cases, the health ministry said . This is by far the largest deployment of the promising but still experimental Ebola vaccine , which is owned by Merck. The company keeps a stockpile of 300,000 doses, and preparing them takes months. 'We are extremely concerned about the size of the vaccine stockpile,' WHO's emergencies director, Dr. Peter Salama, told the STAT media outlet in an interview this week, saying 300,000 doses is not sufficient as urban Ebola outbreaks become more common. Health workers, contacts of Ebola victims and their contacts have received the vaccine in a 'ring vaccination' approach, but in some cases all residents of hard-to-reach communities have been offered it. The prospect of a mass vaccination in a major city like Butembo has raised concerns. Salama called the approach 'extremely impractical.' A WHO spokesman said shipments of doses arrive almost every week to ensure a sufficient supply for the ring vaccination. 'No interruptions of vaccine supply have occurred to date,' Tarik Jasarevic said in an email to The Associated Press. 'Merck is actively working to ensure sufficient number of doses continue to be available to meet the potential demand.' This Ebola outbreak is like no other, with deadly attacks by rebel groups forcing containment work to pause for days at a time. Some wary locals have resisted vaccinations or safe burials of Ebola victims as health workers battle misinformation in a region that has never encountered the virus before. A 'fringe population' has regularly destroyed medical equipment and attacked workers, Health Minister Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga told reporters on Wednesday. The Ebola virus is spread via bodily fluids of those infected, including the dead. The outbreak 'remains serious and unpredictable,' the World Health Organization said in an assessment released Wednesday. Nine health zones have reported new cases in the last week, and some have been unrelated to known victims, meaning that gaps in tracking remain in a region with a dense, highly mobile population. Thousands of people have been organized by Red Cross societies and others to go house-to-house dispelling rumors and checking on possible contacts of victims. Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, Africa regional director for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, joined one awareness campaign in the outbreak's epicenter, Beni, this week. The head of one family thanked her for the face-to-face contact, saying he didn't even have a radio and didn't understand what was happening. 'Ignorance is the enemy,' another resident said. Given the years of conflict in eastern Congo, it's essential that households trust why the health workers are there, Nafo-Traore told the AP. While she called the insecurity 'very worrying,' she said that with new tools at hand, including vaccines, 'there is great hope.' ___ Anna reported from Johannesburg. ___ Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa
  • The U.S. school lunch program is making room on menus again for noodles, biscuits, tortillas and other foods made mostly of refined grains. The Trump administration is scaling back contested school lunch standards implemented under the Obama administration including one that required only whole grains be served. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday only half the grains served will need to be whole grains, a change it said will do away with the current bureaucracy of requiring schools to obtain special waivers to serve select refined grains foods. Low-fat chocolate milk will also be allowed again. Previously, only fat-free milk could be flavored, although that rule had also been temporarily waived. A final goal for limiting sodium will be scrapped as well, but schools will still be required to meet reduced sodium targets. The School Nutrition Association, which represents local cafeteria operators and companies like Domino's Pizza, Kellogg and PepsiCo, had called for relaxing the whole grain-only requirement, saying it was too difficult for some districts to meet. Diane Pratt-Heavner, a spokeswoman for the association, said whole-grain bread and buns generally aren't a problem. But she said students complained about other items, in many cases because of cultural or regional preferences. Finding whole-grain biscuits and grits that students like are a challenge in the U.S. South, she said, while tortillas are a challenge in the Southwest. Not everyone welcomed the relaxed rules. The American Heart Association encouraged schools to 'stay the course' and commit to meeting the stricter standards that started going into effect in 2012. The Center for Science in the Public Interest also said the decision to roll back the whole-grain requirement makes no sense because most schools were already in compliance. Those still struggling to meet the standard would have eventually been able to comply as well, said Colin Schwartz, the center's deputy director of legislative affairs. For the current school year, the USDA said 20 percent of schools were applying for exemptions to the whole-grain rule. Pasta, tortillas, biscuits and grits were the most commonly requested items for exemption, it said. The USDA school lunch program provides low-cost or free lunches in public schools and other institutions. Last year, it served an estimated 30 million children. Brandon Lipps, deputy undersecretary for the USDA's food and nutrition division, said that at some schools that only serve whole grain foods, some is wasted if students won't eat it. In those cases, schools might now consider other options, Lipps said. The USDA defines whole grain-rich foods as at least 50 percent whole grains. __ Follow Candice Choi at www.twitter.com/candicechoi ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • In a story Dec. 6 about a new alternative to EpiPen, The Associated Press reported erroneously that emergency allergy injector Auvi-Q was among products that had shortages because of an EpiPen shortage. Auvi-Q did not have shortages. A corrected version of the story is below: Generic drugmaker to sell alternative to EpiPen injectors Generic drugmaker Sandoz to sell prefilled syringe alternative to EpiPen emergency allergy medication By LINDA A. JOHNSON AP Medical Writer Generic drugmaker Sandoz announced plans Thursday to start selling an alternative to the EpiPen in the U.S. early next year. The EpiPen injector is used to halt life-threatening allergic reactions to insect bites, nuts and other foods. Brand-name EpiPen, which dominates the market, has been in short supply since spring because of production problems. Sandoz will sell prefilled syringes with the same medicine, the hormone epinephrine, under the name Symjepi. The price will be $250 for two, without insurance. Two generic versions of EpiPen are sold in the U.S. for $300 a pair, including one from EpiPen seller Mylan. The company started selling its own generic after it was blasted for repeated hikes that pushed up its list price from $94 to $608 for a pair of brand-name EpiPens. What people pay varies, though, depending on insurance, discounts and the pharmacy. Mylan's injectors are made by a subsidiary of Pfizer, which is upgrading factories to fix quality problems. That resulted in production slowdowns. Pfizer said Thursday it's shipping some injectors and expects to ship more in the coming months. The shortages triggered temporary shortages of alternative products. As a result, U.S. regulators let some manufacturers extend expiration dates. Sandoz, part of Novartis AG, will sell syringes with an adult dose made by Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp. A children's version will follow. Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries began selling limited quantities of its new generic EpiPen in the U.S. last week. ___ Follow Linda A. Johnson on Twitter: @LindaJ_onPharma ___ The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • A pair of advocacy groups in Utah sued Thursday to block a compromise agreement legalizing medical marijuana, accusing the Mormon church of unconstitutional domination and interference in a process that led to the gutting of a measure approved by voters. The lawsuit alleges the revised initiative creates overwhelming obstacles for suffering patients who want to obtain the drug. It also asks a judge to set aside the revision passed by lawmakers and keep the original version that won with 53 percent of the vote in November. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints didn't immediately comment. Mormons have long frowned upon marijuana use because of a key church health code called the 'Word of Wisdom,' which prohibits the use of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs. However, it previously stood behind the work it did to help craft the compromise before the election that it considers a safer medical marijuana program. The changes signed into law on Monday ban many marijuana edibles; prevent people from growing their own marijuana if they live far from a dispensary; and narrow the list of eligible medical conditions for which the drug can be obtained. Smoking marijuana wasn't allowed in the original ballot measure and won't be permitted under the new version. The legal challenge isn't a surprise. The plaintiffs — an organization called Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education, or TRUCE, and the Epilepsy Association of Utah — had warned they would sue if the ballot measure was altered. They were upset that the primary organization backing medical pot in the state agreed to the compromise before the election. Utah law gives state legislators the authority to change the language of laws passed by voters. Supporters of the compromise, including some advocates of medical marijuana, say it was a key to guaranteeing quick legalization and convincing conservative lawmakers not to repeal the law. The Utah Patients Coalition, the main medical marijuana group that backed the ballot measure, has said it agreed to the compromise so it could prevent radical changes to the measure after the election and to gain widespread community acceptance. It acknowledged that the Mormon church has a powerful voice in Utah politics. About two-thirds of the state's residents belong to the religion and nearly nine in 10 members of the Legislature are Mormon along with the governor, the lawsuit states. It says Mormons are taught to follow and trust the direction of their leaders, who opposed the ballot proposal over fears it could lead to broader use of marijuana. As the proposal seemed to gain support, the church agreed to the pre-election deal to allow access for people with serious medical needs. The lawsuit notes that church lobbyist Marty Stephens told a gathering of local church leaders two days before the Nov. 6 election to 'follow the prophet' and vote against the ballot proposition. The Utah Constitution bars any church from dominating or interfering with state functions, the lawsuit says. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed the revised compromise law Monday after he called a special legislative session. He didn't comment on the lawsuit itself Thursday, but said the compromise restricting access has broad support in Utah. 'The concern we had was this is too loose, which leads to recreational marijuana,' he said. Patients can now use medical marijuana legally in Utah but likely won't be able to buy it legally in-state until at least 2020, officials said. The state will need time to build a database to start issuing patients medical-cannabis cards, and to grant licenses for dispensaries.

Local News

  • The players bounced up and down on a hastily erected stage in the middle of the field, confetti falling all around as they hoisted the championship trophy. It's a familiar scene at the end of any season. Only this time, a team from Atlanta was doing the honors . The title drought in over in the A-T-L. Josef Martinez and Franco Escobar scored goals, Brad Guzan came up with a couple of clutch saves and Atlanta United gave the city its first championship since 1995 with a 2-0 victory over the Portland Timbers in the MLS Cup final Saturday night. Cheered on by the largest crowd in franchise history, United captured the crown in just its second season to set off a huge celebration in a city that has known so much sporting heartbreak. Owner Arthur Blank lifted a trophy and got soaked with champagne — less than two years after his other team, the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, squandered a 25-point lead in an epic Super Bowl collapse. 'My first night in my new house in Atlanta, I went to bed at halftime of the Super Bowl,' defender Jeff Larentowicz said. 'I woke up and I read the headlines and I couldn't believe what I saw.' Now, United had written a new headline. Champs . 'Hopefully, we can transcend that past,' Larentowicz said, 'and move on to a new future for the city.' Martinez, capping the greatest goal-scoring season in MLS history, put United ahead in 39th minute. Escobar added an insurance goal in the 54th, turning the final minutes into a raucous, flag-waving celebration and sending coach Tata Martino out with a title in his final game as coach. He's reportedly headed to Mexico to take over as that country's national coach. 'If I had to choose the way to leave somewhere, this is the best way,' Martino said. 'This is the way I wanted it to happen.' Atlanta reveled in its first title since the Braves won the 1995 World Series — a gap of 8,442 days, for those counting. 'Most of us aren't from here, so we don't know the pain that they've been through,' said United captain Michael Parkhurst, who finally broke his own drought after playing on four runner-up teams. 'I'm just happy that we could come through for them tonight. I know there were a lot of anxious and stressed-out fans.' After a surprising run in the playoffs, the Timbers were denied their second MLS championship after winning the cup in 2015. They prevailed on the road at Dallas, Seattle and Kansas City before coming up short in Atlanta. 'I'm extremely proud of the work we've had the entire season,' coach Giovanni Savaarese said. 'To be able to get to the MLS Cup, we played a lot of difficult teams.' Since major league sports came to Atlanta in 1966, the only other team to win a championship in one of the five major sports also came on the soccer pitch. The Atlanta Chiefs claimed the title in the North American Soccer League's inaugural season in 1968. While that team laid the groundwork, Atlanta United carried the sport to unprecedented levels in North America. The team shattered the MLS attendance record a year ago in its first season, and then took the mark even higher by averaging more than 53,000 per game this year — a level of support that would fit right in with the Premier League or La Liga. The crowd of 73,019 on Saturday easily eclipsed the previous record for an MLS Cup — 61,316 at New England's Gillette Stadium in 2002. Almost as soon as the final whistle blew, a victory parade through the streets of Atlanta was announced for Monday. Queen's 'We Are The Champions' blared throughout Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 'The first goal is always going to be massive one way or the other,' Guzan said. 'The second one really broke their backs.' United kept the ball in Portland's end of the field much of the first half. It seemed only a matter of time before Atlanta broke through. Appropriately enough, it was Martinez. Portland tried to clear the ball, but a sliding tackle by Parkhurst sent the ball rocketing back toward the Timbers net. Martinez managed to win possession from Jeremy Ebobisse at the top of the area, leaving the most prolific goal scorer in league history all alone against goalkeeper Jeff Attinella. It was no contest. Martinez, the league's MVP and Golden Boot winner after scoring 31 goals during the regular season, cut to his right to escape the sprawling keeper, easily sliding the ball into an open net to send the packed house into an uproar. 'I was feeling a lot of pressure before the game,' said Martinez, who added four more goals in the playoffs. 'My neighbors were putting flags all around my house and pushing notes under my door.' The Timbers finally created a scoring chance in the 42nd minute. Looking to atone for his mistake, Ebobisse slipped in behind the defense and was all alone in front for a cross. His header was right on the mark, but Guzan dove to his right to punch it away with both hands. It was Portland's only shot of the opening half. The Timbers created far more opportunities over the final 45 minutes, but couldn't get it past Guzan. Escobar was the one who finished off the Timbers . MVP finalist Miguel Almiron sent a free kick into the box, where Martinez managed to get a head on it. His attempt was heading wide of the net, but Escobar slipped free at the far post to deliver a sliding goal. The defender's second score of the playoffs doubled his goal output for the entire regular season. 'It's not every day you get to win a title,' Guzan said, speaking for an entire city. 'To be a part of this is truly special.' ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry ___ For more AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Robert Barbiarz of Winder is arrested and booked into the Hall County jail, accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry. From the Hall County Sheriff’s Office...  On December 5, 2018, Investigators with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office arrested Robert Rian Babiarz, 17, of Winder, during the course of a theft investigation.   Between early and mid-November 2018, Robert Babiarz worked for a company that was doing remodeling at the home of the victim in this case which is located in the 2100 block of Elysian Circle.   On November 15, 2018, the homeowner (victim) discovered she had jewelry missing. She called 911. The approximate value of the jewelry which was stolen was estimated to be worth $ 196,000.00.   The contractor who employed Babiarz was cooperative with Investigators who quickly identified Robert Rian Babiarz as a suspect in the theft.   Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Mr. Babiarz for Theft by Taking (F) on November 16, 2018.   Mr. Babiarz was arrested without incident and booked in at the Hall County Jail. Bond has not been set at this time.    Investigators have recovered the majority of the stolen jewelry and returned items to the victim in this case.   This incident remains under investigation by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
  • The trial of one of the men accused of murdering two correctional officers is one step closer. On Thursday, a judge heard evidence of what could be included in Donnie Rowe's case.  Rowe sat at the table with his defense team, wearing a white jumpsuit and orange Crocs. Prosecutors say he and Ricky Dubose killed Sgts. Chris Monica and Curtis Billue in June of 2017. At times during Thursday's hearing, Channel 2's Lauren Pozen saw Rowe take notes, especially when prosecutors played his interview with FBI agents after he and Rowe were captured in Tennessee. The judge wouldn't allow us to play the video for you, but we were able to use a screenshot of it.  The FBI agent who questioned Rowe told the court he was very forthcoming. At one point in the interview we watched, Rowe breaks down in tears. He told the special agent he had met Dubose six months prior to the attack on the prison bus whilethey were being transferred. Rowe says multiple rounds were fired, striking one of the officers directly in the head.  We also heard testimony from the sheriff of Putnam County, who arrived on the scene moments after the attack. He described it as chaotic. He spoke with many inmates, who told him what they saw.  'I obviously was looking for the most information I could get to apprehend these people as quickly as I could. It was clear to me who they were, it was clear to me the crimes that occurred and that was my focus,' says Sheriff Howard Sills.  The judge did not rule on Thursday what will and will not be allowed into evidence. That will be decided at another hearing date next month. The families of the victims were also in court, at times holding back tears. Pozen spoke with Denise Billue, whose brother was Curtis Billue. She said it is very difficult for her to be here, but she shows up for her brother.  'Our faith is sustaining us. It keeps us strong. In the end, everything is going to work out. We believe in the judicial system, but we also believe in the process,' she said.    

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — SEC legend Tim Tebow has been right about Georgia football most of the season, and that’s why his concerns about the Bulldogs having an Alabama hangover in the Sugar Bowl are alarming. After all, Tebow predicted Georgia QB Jake Fromm would bounce back after the LSU loss, and T ebow said freshman Justin Fields could ultimately be an answer for the Bulldogs in short-yardage situations. And now Tebow says Georgia coach Kirby Smart will be challenged to get his No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) motivated to play No. 15-ranked Texas (9-4) in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 in New Orleans. Tebow said allowing the SEC Championship Game to ‘slip through their fingers’ in the 35-28 loss could damage morale. “Now for the time leading up to the game, where’s your motivation? Where is your edge? Where is that fire?” Tebow said in a 247Sports story. “That is something that the leaders of Georgia really have to lock in and say, ‘Hey you know what? We’re playing for pride. We’re playing a big program in Texas.’ “But a lot of these guys are going to say, ‘Listen, we don’t care about Texas. We care about Bama. We let that one get away. Now we’re going to play the 15th-ranked team in the country?’ “ Tebow said. “It’s like the motivation isn’t there, so I’m a little bit nervous about this game. And Kirby Smart has to do a really good job of disciplining his players, locking in, focusing.” Smart has been in a similar situation before and seen championship caliber teams at Alabama fall flat in the postseason, most notably, in the Tide’s 2009 Sugar Bowl loss to Utah. Smart, however, said he doesn’t feel this Georgia team is apt to allow the disappointment of losing to Alabama to break its will to play up to the program’s standard. “This is a much younger team than any of those Bama teams,” Smart said. “A lot of those kids, this will be their first or second time in a big-time bowl environment, which we’re still getting accustomed to that. “ Indeed, 68 percent of Georgia’s roster is freshmen and sophomore. “So these guys aren’t quite as experienced at that kind of bowl environment as maybe those Alabama teams that didn’t play as well as we probably should have,” Smart said. Tebow also added his list to the many who believed Georgia should have been granted a spot in the four-team College Football Playoffs. “ I thought Georgia was one of the top few best teams in the country,” Tebow said, ”should have been in the College Football Playoff.” Smart said lessons will be learned and the Bulldogs will be ready to step into the future. “There’s also the opportunity to move forward with really a young team,” Smart said. “and a chance to go on a national stage where our fans, I know, follow us to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game.” DawgNation Georgia football Sugar Bowl Kirby Smart and Tom Herman clash again in Sugar Bowl, now as head coaches Georgia football coach Kirby Smart believes Bulldogs will bounceback Some interesting Sugar Bowl numbers via Brandon Adams Georgia football double-digit favorite over Texas in Sugar Bowl Texas named Georgia football opponent in 2019 Sugar Bowl CFP Chairman explains why Georgia football was left out of CFB Playoffs 3 Georgia football players get Senior Bowl invites Mel Tucker will be hard to replace, when or if he leaves Georgia football     The post Tim Tebow: Georgia football challenged to find motivation for Texas appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The players bounced up and down on a hastily erected stage in the middle of the field, confetti falling all around as they hoisted the championship trophy. It's a familiar scene at the end of any season. Only this time, a team from Atlanta was doing the honors . The title drought in over in the A-T-L. Josef Martinez and Franco Escobar scored goals, Brad Guzan came up with a couple of clutch saves and Atlanta United gave the city its first championship since 1995 with a 2-0 victory over the Portland Timbers in the MLS Cup final Saturday night. Cheered on by the largest crowd in franchise history, United captured the crown in just its second season to set off a huge celebration in a city that has known so much sporting heartbreak. Owner Arthur Blank lifted a trophy and got soaked with champagne — less than two years after his other team, the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, squandered a 25-point lead in an epic Super Bowl collapse. 'My first night in my new house in Atlanta, I went to bed at halftime of the Super Bowl,' defender Jeff Larentowicz said. 'I woke up and I read the headlines and I couldn't believe what I saw.' Now, United had written a new headline. Champs . 'Hopefully, we can transcend that past,' Larentowicz said, 'and move on to a new future for the city.' Martinez, capping the greatest goal-scoring season in MLS history, put United ahead in 39th minute. Escobar added an insurance goal in the 54th, turning the final minutes into a raucous, flag-waving celebration and sending coach Tata Martino out with a title in his final game as coach. He's reportedly headed to Mexico to take over as that country's national coach. 'If I had to choose the way to leave somewhere, this is the best way,' Martino said. 'This is the way I wanted it to happen.' Atlanta reveled in its first title since the Braves won the 1995 World Series — a gap of 8,442 days, for those counting. 'Most of us aren't from here, so we don't know the pain that they've been through,' said United captain Michael Parkhurst, who finally broke his own drought after playing on four runner-up teams. 'I'm just happy that we could come through for them tonight. I know there were a lot of anxious and stressed-out fans.' After a surprising run in the playoffs, the Timbers were denied their second MLS championship after winning the cup in 2015. They prevailed on the road at Dallas, Seattle and Kansas City before coming up short in Atlanta. 'I'm extremely proud of the work we've had the entire season,' coach Giovanni Savaarese said. 'To be able to get to the MLS Cup, we played a lot of difficult teams.' Since major league sports came to Atlanta in 1966, the only other team to win a championship in one of the five major sports also came on the soccer pitch. The Atlanta Chiefs claimed the title in the North American Soccer League's inaugural season in 1968. While that team laid the groundwork, Atlanta United carried the sport to unprecedented levels in North America. The team shattered the MLS attendance record a year ago in its first season, and then took the mark even higher by averaging more than 53,000 per game this year — a level of support that would fit right in with the Premier League or La Liga. The crowd of 73,019 on Saturday easily eclipsed the previous record for an MLS Cup — 61,316 at New England's Gillette Stadium in 2002. Almost as soon as the final whistle blew, a victory parade through the streets of Atlanta was announced for Monday. Queen's 'We Are The Champions' blared throughout Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 'The first goal is always going to be massive one way or the other,' Guzan said. 'The second one really broke their backs.' United kept the ball in Portland's end of the field much of the first half. It seemed only a matter of time before Atlanta broke through. Appropriately enough, it was Martinez. Portland tried to clear the ball, but a sliding tackle by Parkhurst sent the ball rocketing back toward the Timbers net. Martinez managed to win possession from Jeremy Ebobisse at the top of the area, leaving the most prolific goal scorer in league history all alone against goalkeeper Jeff Attinella. It was no contest. Martinez, the league's MVP and Golden Boot winner after scoring 31 goals during the regular season, cut to his right to escape the sprawling keeper, easily sliding the ball into an open net to send the packed house into an uproar. 'I was feeling a lot of pressure before the game,' said Martinez, who added four more goals in the playoffs. 'My neighbors were putting flags all around my house and pushing notes under my door.' The Timbers finally created a scoring chance in the 42nd minute. Looking to atone for his mistake, Ebobisse slipped in behind the defense and was all alone in front for a cross. His header was right on the mark, but Guzan dove to his right to punch it away with both hands. It was Portland's only shot of the opening half. The Timbers created far more opportunities over the final 45 minutes, but couldn't get it past Guzan. Escobar was the one who finished off the Timbers . MVP finalist Miguel Almiron sent a free kick into the box, where Martinez managed to get a head on it. His attempt was heading wide of the net, but Escobar slipped free at the far post to deliver a sliding goal. The defender's second score of the playoffs doubled his goal output for the entire regular season. 'It's not every day you get to win a title,' Guzan said, speaking for an entire city. 'To be a part of this is truly special.' ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry ___ For more AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • ATHENS — Georgia basketball doesn’t take the court for another game until next Saturday, but when the Bulldogs do, you can bet junior Tyree Crump will be a focal point. Crump, a junior from Bainbridge, had a breakout game in Georgia’s 92-75 win over Texas Southern on Monday night, and more figures to be ahead for the Bulldogs’ long-distance sharpshooter. Georgia coach Tom Crean indicated Crump is precisely the sort of open floor player needed to make his uptempo game work. It didn’t take long for Crean to notice him. “I think early on when I got here you could tell there was a lot to his game that could improve,” Crean said. “There’s a lot of room for upside with him.” Crump might not have been the best fit for previous Coach Mark Fox’s deliberate style. But as much as Crean recognized Crump’s talents and abilities, Crump was immediately charged up by his new basketball coach. “He came in and he said ‘We want to play fast and we want to shoot three,’   and my eyes got big and my ears got big and I thought this is the perfect offense for me,” Crump said. “So we tried to listen to everything he said, and it’s carrying over into the season.” The Bulldogs will bring a 5-3 record into next Saturday’s 6 p.m. home game against No. 20 Arizona State in Stegeman Coliseum. The Sun Devils already have beaten one SEC team, winning at Mississippi State on Nov. 19 by a 72-67 count. Arizona State will put its perfect 7-0 record on the line on Saturday when it plays No. 6-ranked Nevada at noon. Crean indicated he’ll keep looking to get Crump free for more shots in the offense. “We want to move him, get him off screens, get him lost in the defense,” Crean said. “There becomes a comfort level that you have in a game like tonight, and he did a good job of playing through fatigue.” Crump is shooting 46.2 percent beyond the 3-point arc (18-of-39), significantly better than the next best player who has at least 10 attempts, Rayshaun Hmmonds (6-of-15). For all that Crean is trying to instill in Georgia basketball, it ultimately comes down to the time players are spending in the gym on their own to perfect their shot. It’s clear Crump is doing his work, and therefor he’ll be getting more opportunities moving forward. Here’s a look at others 3-point shooting percentage who have attempted 10 or more 3-point shots and how many minutes they average: Tyree Crump, 19.9 minutes, 18-of-39, 46.2 percent Rayshaun Hammonds, 24.5 minutes, 6-of-15, 40.0 percent Teshaun Hightower, 17.5 minutes, 7-of-25, 28.0 percent Nicolas Claxton, 27.5 minutes, 4-of-15, 26.7 percent William Jackson, 17.9 minutes, 4-of-17, 23.5 percent Georgia basketball’s Tyree Crump & Derek Ogbeide   DawgNation Georgia basketball Bulldogs get hot-shooting night from Tyree Crump, rip Texas Southern Guards play well off bench in Georgia basketball win over Kennesaw State Tom Crean says Georgia basketball has ‘long ways to go’ after Cayman Classic Georgia basketball sloppy in loss to Georgia State  Clemson too much for Georgia basketball in Cayman Classic Georgia basketball dominant in win over Illinois State Georgia gets fun-filled win over Sam Houston State The post Georgia basketball guard Tyree Crump 3-point output leads Bulldogs appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart isn’t expected to move too fast on filling the Bulldogs’ vacancy for a defensive coordinator, and with good reason. This is Smart’s first time having to replace a coordinator hire since taking over as Georgia’s head coach before the 2016 season, and it presents a different sort of challenge that few heads coaches have proven they can handle with consistent success. Coaching staff continuity is most often one of the most important factors to a program’s sustained success. Former Georgia defensive coordinator and secondary coach Mel Tucker, who was hired as Colorado’s head coach on Wednesday, will indeed be very difficult to replace. Smart and Tucker d eveloped former 3-star prospect Deandre Baker into a Thorpe Award winner and built a secondary that slowed a historically successful Alabama pass attack last Saturday. Tide coach Nick Saban provided some insight into how he has been so successful maintaining success even while having to replace coordinators almost annually. “ I think that you love continuity on your staff, but I always look at this as a challenge and an opportunity to add new energy, new enthusiasm, new ideas to your staff,” Saban said Wednesday night in Atlanta. “We don’t change our program. We don’t hire people to come in and be independent contractors and do what they want to do. They sort of have to buy into what we do, but the new ideas, the new energy and enthusiasm that they bring is always very helpful to improving our program.” Smart had a front row to that sort of philosophy while coaching at Saban’s side for 11 years at LSU, with the Miami Dolphins and at Alabama from 2007-15. Smart helped the Tide coaching legend develop the program through a time of several coaching and staff hires. The Bulldogs’ program has its own unique personality in several respects, but there are aspects of the framework that are similar to what Smart helped Saban build at Alabama. Georgia appears on the verge of creating its own dynasty with 68 percent of its roster freshmen and sophomores this past season. Smart and his program beat two of the four current CFB Playoff teams head-to-head last season (Oklahoma and Notre Dame) and led or were tied with defending national champ and current No. 1-ranked Alabama for 281 of the 290 plays in the past two games with the Tide in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Indeed, the Bulldogs narrowly missed the CFB Playoff despite having to replace several key pieces from last season’s CFB Championship Game runner-up squad. RELATED: Kirk Herbstreit says CFP Committee let politics keep Georgia out So the defensive coordinator/secondary coach hire is as big of a decision as Smart has faced. “You know, I always say there’s a lot of books written about how to be successful,” Saban said. “There’s not many written on how to stay successful.” Smart has indicated that he might be inclined to promote from within if not hire a coach he’s already familiar with, though he’ll likely conduct a national search before deciding anything. “I think continuity is critical to recruiting success, (and) I know that the recruiting success that I’ve had as an assistant coach was because I was able to have the same area for a long time, you build relationships, you know people, you get to know them,” Smart said last November. “When you jump around from job to job, sometime’s that’s hard to do. I think our university and our support structure here has done a great job of helping us keep our coaches who are really good assets. “I mean, let’s be honest, we recruit well because of the assistant coaches we have. When you recruit well and get good young men in here, you can have a successful program. I think continuity is important, but I do think change is inevitable. It’ll happen. It’s happened to us every year.” Georgia football coordinator search Early list of names to consider for Georgia football DC opening Colorado announces Mel Tucker as new head coach Towers Take: Mel Tucker did excellent work for Bulldogs Mel Tucker expected to finalize Colorado deal very soon Whenever Mel Tucker leaves, he’ll be tough to replace The post Georgia’s Kirby Smart has insight to handle pivotal coordinator coaching search appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Nick Saban is standing behind his words that Georgia is one of the four best teams in the nation, even after he voted the Bulldogs’ No. 5 in the final Coaches’ Poll. Saban, whose Tide overcame two turnovers and a two-touchdown deficit to beat the Bulldogs 35-28 last Saturday, was asked at the CFB Playoff press conference in Atlanta Wednesday night about his final ballot. “ Well, I do think they’re one of the top four teams in the country but I didn’t think they were going to get in the playoff with two losses,” Saban said. “So I voted the teams that I thought had the best chance to get in, but I do think after playing Georgia they were one of the best four teams in the country.” There were plenty of people who agreed, including ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who went so far as to say the CFP Committee allowed politics to keep the Bulldogs out of the playoffs even though they knew Georgia was one of the four best. Indeed, the Bulldogs have led or been tied with No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Alabama 118 minutes and 54 seconds of 120 minutes and 281 of 290 plays of the past two meetings in the national championship game and SEC title game. Saban, who said after last Saturday’s game, “I sure as hell don’t want to play them again,” suggested the CFP Committee   saw last Saturday’s game as a loser-out game. “What this basically indicates is the SEC Championship game was a playoff game,” Saban said. “You know, the 1 and 4 team in the country played, and it was a heck of a game, and they played a great game, and they have a great team, and I think they’re one of the best four teams in the country, and that’s no disrespect to any of the people that are here, but I didn’t think they had a chance to get in with two losses.” CFP Committee chairman Rob Mullens said the two losses — compared to Oklahoma’s one loss — is not what kept Georgia out of the College Football Playoffs. “ Our job is to pick the four best teams, so it really wasn’t about number of losses,” said Mullens, who prior to getting his current job as the athletic director at the University of Oregon was the deputy director of athletics at Kentucky. “Obviously when you’re looking at the resume, you can see that they’ve got two and others have one, but again, their two losses are against highly ranked teams. It’s really about trying to get the four best teams.” Mullens is one of five current athletic directors on the 13-person committee, along with Ohio State’s Gene Smith and new members Todd Stansbury (Georgia Tech), Scott Stricklin (Florida) and Joe Castiglione (Oklahoma). While Saban suggested the committee wasn’t going to take a conference championship game loser, Mullen indicated that had nothing to do with the decision. “ The conference piece is out of it, that’s really not a part of it,” Mullens said. “We’re looking at — there were some people who felt they were the fourth best team, and even some that felt they were unequivocally felt they were the fourth best team. But after all the dialogue, the debate, the intensity, you put it to a vote, and the vote didn’t have them as unequivocally the fourth best team. In fact, it had them ranked No. 5.” Saban, when asked if his vote suggested the four best teams didn’t make the playoffs, made it clear he voted in the four teams he thought would make the playoff. “When we played Georgia I thought they were one of the best four teams in the country,” Saban said. “That doesn’t mean that they’re any better than the teams that are here, and I voted for the four teams that are here.” Georgia football’s great CFB Playoff debate Kirby Smart on CFP Playoff: ‘Every year it’s going to be different’ criteria ESPN analyst goes on epic rant after Georgia football left out of playoffs Nick Saban states Georgia one of top four teams in the nation after SEC title game CFP Chairman defends leaving Georgia football out Kirby Smart lobbying for CFB Playoff spot after loss Chip Towers: Committee got it right by leaving Georgia out of playoffs Closer look at Georgia football vs. Oklahoma statistically Georgia football one of best teams, and it doesn’t matter ‘Protocol’ cited as reason Georgia left out of College Football Playoff The post Nick Saban’s revealing explanation of why he voted Georgia football No. 5 appeared first on DawgNation.