ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-day
89°
Partly Cloudy
H 88° L 70°
  • clear-day
    89°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 88° L 70°
  • cloudy-day
    71°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 88° L 70°
  • cloudy-day
    88°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 91° L 71°

Health Headlines

    A Catholic group has protested the governor of Guam's plan to recruit abortion providers to the U.S. territory where no doctors are currently willing to terminate pregnancies. Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's recruitment idea has drawn criticism and support from residents, the Pacific Daily News reported Friday. The Democratic governor told The Associated Press she is concerned women could be forced to seek unsafe and illegal procedures after the last abortion provider retired last year. One resident told the Pacific Daily News that recruiting an abortion doctor will make Guam a better place. 'If the governor makes it happen, it'll truly show that she meant it when she said she'll make Guam a better place,' said 20-year-old Kimmi Yee, who was born and raised on Guam. 'I'd be glad to know that women have the ability to choose and will be able to do it safely.' A Catholic anti-abortion group protested the recruitment idea at the governor's office on Friday. Patricia Perry, co-chair of the group, sent invitations encouraging people to attend a prayer rally. 'If the governor is not convinced, we'll do other measures to further our cause,' Perry said. 'We will not stop until all abortion is outlawed and all anti-life laws will be abolished.' Part of the invitation reads, 'Say no to recruiting doctors who will kill our unborn children! Say yes to recruiting doctors who help us save lives!' Jayne Flores, the director of the Bureau of Women's Affairs, said she is meeting with Public Health officials to talk about a plan to recruit a doctor to provide abortion services. The administration is also working to provide greater access to birth control to reduce unwanted pregnancies. The archdiocese on the heavily Catholic island said in a statement it was appealing to the governor to change her position. 'The fact is that human life begins at conception and the Roman Catholic Church affirms and promotes this truth. There is no other moral or logical place to draw the line,' the Archdiocese of Agana said. Arsha Abellera, who has lived on Guam for the past decade, said the administration's plan to recruit a doctor to provide abortion is long overdue. 'It is the government's job to protect women and their right to choose,' she said. 'A woman's body is her house and whatever she does with it shouldn't be anyone's business.' Government records show about 250 abortions a year were performed on Guam from 2007 to 2017, the Pacific Daily News said. No abortions have been reported in the past 12 months.
  • As the federal government prepares to launch an ambitious initiative to end the HIV epidemic, the director of the Centers for Disease Control on Friday applauded an Alabama HIV clinic's commitment to providing health services to rural communities. Director Robert Redfield met with state public health officials and toured the Medical Advocacy & Outreach clinic in Montgomery to begin laying the groundwork for the decade-long federal campaign. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Alabama is one of seven states the federal government is planning to target with additional expertise, resources and technology for its relatively high rate of new HIV infections among residents in rural areas. The initiative — first announced by President Trump in his State of the Union address in February — aims to reduce new HIV infections by 75% in five years and at least 90% in 10 years. The South accounted for more than half of the nearly 40,000 new HIV diagnoses in 2017, with 23% of new diagnoses occurring in suburban and rural areas, a disproportionately high distribution compared to the rest of the U.S., according to data from the CDC. Redfield said targeting the epidemic in rural areas is particularly difficult because of both the limited access to health services and the increased stigma associated with homosexuality and HIV/AIDS as an illness. 'The true enemy of public health is stigma,' Redfield said after a meeting with state lawmakers, public health officials and physicians. 'In rural America, stigma is an even greater issue.' Redfield said the federal initiative, which has yet to be allocated funding, will focus on improving diagnoses, getting people into treatment, implementing prevention strategies, working with health departments on identifying hot spots and helping local communities develop a workforce to engage individuals living with HIV. Scott Harris, Alabama's state health officer, said the initiative will rely on conversations with local health-care providers to help design the kind of unique programs that will be most effective there. 'We have an opportunity to use people at the local level to help us understand exactly what's going on in these particular communities,' Harris said. Redfield, who began researching the virus more than 30 years ago, got a first-hand look at how Medical Advocacy & Outreach targets rural communities during a walk-through of the facility that included a brief presentation on the clinic's telemedicine program, a video chat setup between a doctor and a patient described by some staff as the 'crown jewel' of the clinic. On a flat-screen TV situated at the front of a small room in the Montgomery clinic, Redfield greeted a nurse located in one of the organization's ten satellite clinics. He then put on a pair of Bluetooth headphones which allows physicians to remotely hear the hearts, lungs or bowels of a patient via a digital stethoscope dozens of miles away. Thomas Stephens, a spokesman for the clinic, said he hoped the visit gave Redfield a 'personal,' ''human' perspective on the kind of on-the-ground programs aimed at stemming HIV/AIDS in rural Alabama. 'We want to suppress viral loads. We don't want to suppress self-esteem,' said Jamil Dawson, MAO's director of support services, to Redfield during his tour. 'I think I'm going to steal that,' Redfield said.
  • A federal appeals court in Washington ruled Friday against a Trump administration policy it described as a 'blanket ban' preventing immigrant teens in government custody from getting abortions, and it kept in place an order blocking the policy. The policy, which dates to 2017, prohibited shelters from facilitating abortions for children held in government shelters after entering the country illegally. The policy has not been in force since March 2018, when a judge blocked it, writing that the government couldn't implement a policy that strips minors of the right to make their own reproductive choices. On Friday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld that judge's ruling. 'We are unanimous in rejecting the government's position that its denial of abortion access can be squared with Supreme Court precedent,' the opinion says. The Supreme Court first announced the right to an abortion in its 1973 Roe v. Wade case, and subsequent rulings have upheld it. The opinion for the panel of judges — Sri Srinivasan, Robert Wilkins and Laurence Silberman — was unsigned. Beyond that agreement, however, Silberman wrote a dissent to explain why he wouldn't have allowed the case to go forward as a class action. And he argued in support of giving officials a limited window to transfer a minor out of government custody to the care of a sponsor, where the child could then obtain an abortion without the government's assistance. Srinivasan and Wilkins were appointed by President Barack Obama and Silberman by President Ronald Reagan. The Trump administration could now ask the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to hear the case. It could also appeal to the Supreme Court. But Justice Brett Kavanaugh likely wouldn't take part in the case. That's because he ruled on the case at an earlier stage as a judge on the D.C. Circuit, where he made the argument Silberman repeated about transferring a minor to a sponsor's care. That would leave eight justices, four liberals and four conservatives, to rule on the case. The case against the administration's policy was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented several pregnant minors who were seeking abortions. In those instances, teens who sought abortions were ultimately able to obtain them. And since the judge's order in 2018 blocking the policy, other minors in government custody who have sought abortions have been able to get them. 'The Trump administration's cruel policy of blocking young immigrant women in federal custody from accessing abortion was a blatant abuse of power,' said Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, in a statement after the ruling. 'We are relieved that today's ruling continues to prevent the policy from taking effect while the case proceeds, and allows the case to proceed as a class action as we continue this fight.' The Department of Justice declined to comment on the ruling. A spokesman for the office within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services that is responsible for sheltering children who illegally enter the country unaccompanied by a parent, said the decision is being reviewed. DHS allows pregnant women in immigration custody to obtain abortions, but the policy had been different for minors. ___ Follow Jessica Gresko on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jessicagresko
  • The Latest on the Ebola outbreak in Congo and Uganda (all times local): 7:30 p.m. The World Health Organization says the Ebola virus outbreak in Congo — which spread to Uganda this week — does not yet merit being declared a global emergency but is 'an extraordinary event' of deep concern. The U.N. health agency convened its expert committee for the third time Friday to assess the outbreak, which has killed more than 1,400 people. Some experts say the outbreak met the criteria to be designated an international emergency long ago. At a press briefing following the meeting, Dr. Preben Aavitsland, the acting chair of the committee, announced that the outbreak is 'a health emergency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo' but that the situation does not yet meet the criteria for being declared a global emergency. The outbreak was announced on Aug.1 in eastern Congo and has become the second-deadliest in history, after the West African outbreak in 2014 that killed more than 11,300 people. ___ 2:30 p.m. The World Health Organization says it has opened its expert meeting to decide whether the Ebola outbreak in Congo — which spilled into Uganda this week — should be declared a global emergency. WHO's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet on Friday the committee will 'review and make recommendations regarding the Ebola outbreak.' An announcement is expected Friday evening. The virus has killed more than 1,400 people. To be declared a global emergency, outbreaks must constitute a risk to other countries and require a coordinated response. The declaration typically triggers more funding and political attention. On Thursday, WHO's emergencies chief acknowledged the agency has been unable to track the origins of nearly half of new Ebola cases in Congo, suggesting it doesn't know where the virus is spreading.
  • Lawyers suing over the toll of opioids asked a judge Friday to allow a structure for all 25,000 municipal and county governments in the U.S. to be paid — if a settlement can be reached with companies that make and distribute powerful prescription painkillers. The approach, if approved, would create dueling negotiating systems as state governments are also in collective settlement negotiations with the drug industry. The unified approach on behalf of municipalities would also help the manufacturers and distributors by defining a finalized group of entities benefiting from a settlement, said Joseph Rice, a South Carolina-based attorney representing local governments in the complaint. 'If you're a corporation trying to address this problem, you need to get closure, you need to put it behind you,' Rice said in an interview Friday. 'If you're going to put significant resources into the resolution, you've got to know it's behind you. The only way to do that is to get releases from everybody that's got a potential claim.' The action would also help address a problem that is widespread and reaches across city and county lines, Rice said. Providing assistance from a settlement to one county doesn't help the people in a neighboring town, he said. 'These pills have wheels, they move around,' Rice said, citing the documented cases of pain pills obtained in Florida being taken to West Virginia. The motion filed Friday requests the creation of a negotiating class 'for the specific purpose of creating a unified body to enter into further negotiations with defendants,' according to the filing. 'It is neither aimed at being the vehicle for litigation or settlement.' Hundreds of local governments and other entities, such as hospitals, have accused pharmaceutical companies of downplaying the addictive nature of opioids and prescription painkillers largely blamed for one of the deadliest drug crises in U.S. history. Opioids include prescription and illicit drugs. The complaints are being overseen by Cleveland-based U.S. District Judge Dan Polster. He previously ruled that lawsuits filed by the Ohio counties of Cuyahoga, which includes Cleveland, and Summit County, which includes Akron, will be heard first this October. A trial on claims made by West Virginia's Huntington and Cabell counties will be next, followed by Cleveland and Akron's claims. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says opioids are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Opioids were involved in 47,600 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2017, according to the agency. Attorneys general fighting for compensation in separate legal actions are likely to have mixed reactions to the filing, said Paul Nolette, a Marquette University political scientist. With the lone exception of Nebraska, every state has sued, filed administrative charges or promised to sue the companies blamed for the national crisis, which played a role in the deaths of more than 390,000 Americans from 2000 through 2017. On one hand, the move could complicate things for the states, which see themselves as negotiating both on their behalf and communities within the state, said Nolette, who studies attorneys general. On the other, some may welcome the pressure that a giant class of communities puts on drug makers and distributors to settle. Many municipalities felt left out of states' 1998 $200 billion-plus settlement with tobacco companies, Nolette said, especially after some states diverted their share to fill budget holes instead of paying for anti-smoking programs. 'At least in this litigation, the municipalities are saying, 'No, that's not good enough.' We want our own voice,' Nolette said. In Ohio, the state has sued drug makers and distributors in separate court actions. Attorney General David Yost on Friday called communities' request for their own negotiating class 'an extraordinary process and a novel approach.' 'We're examining it very closely to make sure it is fair and appropriate for Ohioans and complies with the law,' Yost said in a statement. ___ Associated Press writer Geoff Mulvihill in New Jersey contributed to this report.
  • Chips, soda and frozen pizzas tend to be full of salt, sugar and fat, but now scientists are trying to understand if there's something else about such processed foods that might be bad for us. Already, the spread of cheap, packaged foods has been linked to rising obesity rates around the world. Yet advice to limit processed foods can seem unhelpful, given how convenient they are and the growing array of products that fall into the category. While three recent studies offer more clues on how our increasingly industrialized food supply may be affecting our health, they also underscore how difficult nutrition science and advice can be. Here's what they say. WHAT DOES 'PROCESSED' MEAN? Whether it's curing, freezing, milling or pasteurization, nearly all foods undergo some type of processing. Even though processing itself doesn't automatically make food unhealthy, 'processed foods' is generally a negative term. To more precisely identify the processed foods of most concern, scientists came up with a system that groups foods into four categories. It's far from perfect, but the system says highly processed foods are made mostly of industrialized ingredients and additives, with little to no intact whole foods. Sodas, packaged cookies, instant noodles and chicken nuggets are some examples of highly processed foods. But also included are products that can seem wholesome, like breakfast cereals, energy bars and some yogurts. WHAT'S WRONG WITH PROCESSED FOODS? Cheap packaged foods are everywhere including checkout lines, gas stations and vending machines, and a very small four-week clinical trial might deepen our understanding of why that's likely fueling obesity rates. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found people ate an average of 500 extra calories a day when fed mostly processed foods, compared with when the same people were fed minimally processed foods. That's even though researchers tried to match the meals for nutrients like fat, fiber and sugar. The 20 participants were allowed to eat as much or as little as they wanted, and were checked into a clinic so their health and behavior could be monitored. That's not all the bad news. In another study based on questionnaires, researchers in France found people who ate more processed foods were more likely to have heart disease. A similar study in Spain found eating more processed foods was linked to a higher risk of death in general. WHAT IS IT ABOUT PROCESSED FOODS? Beyond the fact they taste really good, there might other reasons why it's so hard to stop eating foods like cheese puffs and ice cream. When fed minimally processed foods, people in the clinical trial produced more of a hormone that suppresses appetite, and less of a hormone that causes hunger. The reason for the biological reaction isn't clear. Another finding: People ate processed foods faster. 'Those foods tend to be softer and easier to chew and swallow,' said Kevin Hall, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health who led the study. Hall noted the source of nutrients might make a difference. Fibers from whole fruits and vegetables, for instance, may be better for making people feel full than the types of fiber added to packaged foods such as cookies, yogurt and even soda. For the French study, author Mathilde Touvier also noted the largely unexamined effects of the 'cocktail' of additives used to make the various processed foods we eat. All three studies come with big caveats. The U.S. study was tiny and individual behavior varied widely: Some ate about the same amount of calories on both diets, and others ate far more on the processed diet. Meals in the two diets were rated as being similarly pleasant, but Hall noted it's possible participants were saying what they thought they should. The processed food diet included foods like salted nuts and whole milk, compared with unsalted nuts and lower-fat milk for the unprocessed diet. With the French and Spanish studies, there could be other habits and environmental factors that explain the differences in health risks. The studies also didn't reflect the broader population. In the Spanish study, participants were college graduates and relatively younger. And though processed food was tied to a greater risk of death, the total number of deaths was still relatively small. WHAT SHOULD YOU EAT? Even without the latest studies, advice to limit processed foods probably makes sense to most people. Minimally processed foods tend to be richer in nutrients and more difficult to overeat, since they're not as widely available and convenient. Still, following that advice can be hard, especially if for people with limited time and money to spend on food. 'What frustrates me is when the message is, 'Change the way you eat,' without thinking about why people eat the way they eat,' said Sarah Bowen, a professor who studies food and inequality at North Carolina State University. Another challenge is the broad spectrum of processed foods, and distinguishing which ones might be better or worse as companies continually re-engineer products to make them seem more wholesome. So while the newest studies may give us more reasons to avoid industrialized foods, they also underscore the difficulty of coming up with solutions. ___ 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.
  • A unit of wheat is called a bushel, and a standard weight of potatoes is called a century. But hemp as a fully legal U.S. agricultural commodity is so new that a unit of hemp seed doesn't yet have a universal name or an agreed-upon quantity. That's one example of the startling lack of uniformity — and accountability — in an industry that's sprung up almost overnight since the U.S. late last year removed hemp from the controlled substances list. A global hemp research lab announced Thursday in Oregon, coupled with a nascent national review board for hemp varieties and a handful of seed certification programs nationwide, are the first stabs at addressing those concerns — and at creating accountability by standardizing U.S. hemp for a global market. 'If you look at a lot of financial markets, they're all saying, 'People are investing in this, and we have no idea what to divide it by,' said Jay Noller, head of Oregon State University's new Global Hemp Innovation Center. 'We have hemp fiber. What is it? What's the standard length?' Oregon State's research hub will be the United States' largest and will offer a certification for hemp seed that guarantees farmers the seed they're buying is legitimate and legal. That's a critical need when individual hemp seeds are selling for $1.20 to $1.40 each — and an acre of crop takes up to 2,000 seeds, Noller said. Licensed hemp acreage in Oregon, which has an ideal climate for growing the crop, has increased six-fold since last year, earning Oregon the No. 3 spot for hemp cultivation after Montana and Colorado, according to Vote Hemp, which advocates for and tracks the industry in the U.S. Four other states — North Dakota, Colorado, Tennessee and North Carolina — also have hemp seed certification programs. Other U.S. universities, such as Cornell in Ithaca, New York, have hemp research programs, but Oregon State's will be the largest, built on years of hemp research done in test fields in China, Bosnia and Serbia and now at 10 research stations sprinkled across the state. On Thursday, Oregon State researchers began to sow their third crop in a field in Aurora. The new center dovetails with a greater movement to create a national infrastructure around hemp as the market explodes. Globally, the supply of hemp is less than 10% of the demand, and that's driving states like Oregon to rush to stake a claim in the international marketplace, Noller said. Across the U.S., the number of licensed acres of hemp jumped 204% from 2017 to 2018, according to Vote Hemp. And the market for a hemp-derived extract called cannabidiol, or CBD, is expected to grow from $618 million in 2018 to $22 billion in 2022 as its popularity as a health aide skyrockets. The U.S. National Review Board for Hemp Varieties will start taking applications in the fall from growers who want to claim credit for specific genetic varieties of hemp. Once growers have secured a unique designation from the board, they can apply for a plant patent with the U.S. government so no other grower can produce that type of hemp. A meeting in Harbin, China, in early July will bring together members of the global hemp industry to start to hash out critical details such as what to call a unit of hemp seed or the standard length of hemp fiber, Noller said. Other countries, such as China, have been growing hemp for years, but the industry lacks a universal standard countries can apply to trade, he said. 'This is the first time in U.S. history where we have a new crop that's suddenly gone from prohibited to no longer prohibited,' Noller said. 'We have never had something like this.' Hemp growers like Trey Willison applauded the move toward greater transparency in a booming market. Some novice farmers are falling prey to seed sellers who secretly, or even unwittingly, market seed that grows into 'hot' cannabis plants, with THC levels too high to market legally as hemp, he said. Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants but have different THC levels. Marijuana, illegal under federal law, refers to plants with more than a trace of THC. Hemp has almost no THC — 0.3% or less under U.S. government standards. States with hemp programs test for THC in the crops, but do so after the plants are grown and close to harvest. Crops that test over the THC limit for hemp must be destroyed — and farmers with bad seed might not know until it's too late, Willison said. In one case last year, an Oregon seed seller marketed seeds on Craigslist as having a 3-to-1 CBD to THC ratio — but unbeknownst to farmers, the THC levels were still too high to be legal, he said. Several farms in Wisconsin, where agricultural hemp was just getting underway, bought the seeds and then went under when the resulting plants tested 'hot,' Willison said. The seeds 'look identical, and you can't tell them apart until four months into the year, when you know something's wrong,' he said. 'A bunch of farms failed, and it originated in Oregon.' Other sellers are marking up the cost of what he called 'garbage seed' as much as 1,000 times, said Willison, who started Unique Botanicals in Springfield, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Portland, after leaving his marijuana-growing business due to a glut of weed in the Oregon market. 'A lot of people say, 'Is your seed certified?' and there's no such thing as certified seed right now. There's no test, there's no oversight. ... There's no proof of where the seed is coming from,' he said. 'They're trying. It's at the very beginning, for sure, but they are trying to do something about this mess.' ___ Flaccus is a member of AP's marijuana beat team. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gflaccus . Follow AP's complete marijuana coverage: https://apnews.com/Marijuana
  • A German court has fined two gynecologists for violating a ban on advertising abortions, the first such case to be tried since the rules were loosened earlier this year. The Berlin district court on Friday fined the two women 2,000 euros ($2,250) each because their practice's website offered 'medicinal, anesthetic-free' abortion 'in a protected atmosphere.' In January, Germany's governing coalition agreed to let doctors and hospitals state that they perform abortions but did not allow them to advertise further information. Chancellor Angela Merkel's junior governing partners, the center-left Social Democrats, had wanted to remove the ban — which can carry a sentence of up to two years in prison — from Germany's criminal code. But Merkel's center-right party insisted it should stay.
  • The World Health Organization on Friday said the Ebola outbreak in Congo — which spilled into Uganda this week — is an 'extraordinary event' of deep concern but does not yet merit being declared a global emergency. The U.N. health agency convened its expert committee for the third time to assess the outbreak, which some experts say met the criteria to be designated an international emergency long ago. This outbreak, the second-deadliest in history, has killed more than 1,400 people since it was declared in August. Three members of the family who brought the virus into Uganda have died after attending the burial of an infected relative, a popular pastor, in Congo. Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Dr. Preben Aavitsland, the acting chair of the committee, announced that the outbreak is 'a health emergency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo' but that the situation should not be declared a global one. For such a declaration, an outbreak must constitute a risk to other countries and require a coordinated response. The declaration typically triggers more funding, resources and political attention. Aavitsland said the committee was 'deeply disappointed' that WHO and the affected countries have not received the funding needed to stop the outbreak and delivered a blunt message to donors: 'Step up.' WHO said $54 million is needed. Aavitsland added that declaring an emergency could have 'unintended consequences' such as airlines stopping flights or governments closing borders. 'It was the view of the committee that there is really nothing to gain by declaring a (global emergency) but there is potentially a lot to lose,' he said. The outbreak, occurring close to the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan, has been like no other. Mistrust has been high in a region that had never faced Ebola before and attacks by rebel groups have undermined aid efforts. Several health workers have been killed. On Thursday, WHO's emergencies chief acknowledged the agency has been unable to track the origins of nearly half of new Ebola cases in Congo amid the challenges, suggesting it doesn't know where the virus is spreading. Friday's announcement quickly drew criticism from some experts. 'I respect the advice of the emergency committee but do believe a public health emergency of international concern would have been justified,' said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome, one of Britain's biggest donors and a funder of Ebola vaccine research. 'The epidemic is in a frightening phase and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon,' he said in a statement. Congo's health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga, told The Associated Press that WHO's decision to not declare the outbreak a global emergency was a testament to the country's response efforts, which he called 'effective.' In Uganda, authorities said the country now had just one suspected Ebola case, who had no contact with the infected family and remained in isolation. They did not give more details. Ninety-eight contacts with infected people have been identified. The health minister on Friday asked Ugandans not to shake hands or otherwise touch each other 'until we are Ebola-free.' Alexandra Phelan, a global health expert at Georgetown University, said the legal criteria for declaring Ebola a global emergency have long been met, even before the virus reached Uganda. 'Given that we are still seeing daily numbers of cases in the double digits and we do not have adequate surveillance, this indicates the outbreak is a persistent regional risk,' she said. Phelan said she was concerned WHO might have been swayed by political considerations. As the far deadlier 2014-16 Ebola outbreak raged in West Africa, WHO was heavily criticized for not declaring a global emergency until nearly 1,000 people had died and the virus had spread to at least three countries. Internal WHO documents later showed the agency feared the declaration would have economic and social implications for Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Dr. Axelle Ronsse, emergency coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres, was unsure whether a declaration would help. She said outbreak responders, including WHO, should reevaluate their strategies to contain the spiraling outbreak. 'It's quite clear that it's not under control,' she said. 'Now may be the time to reset and see what should be changed at this point.' ___ Cheng reported from London. Saleh Mwanamilongo in Kinshasa, Congo contributed.
  • The latest on the Ebola outbreak in Congo and Uganda (all times local): 10:15 p.m. The Congolese Health Ministry says another child has died of Ebola, bringing the death toll to three within the same family that had recently traveled from Congo to Uganda. The 3-year-old boy died as he was being brought to Congo for medical treatment. His 5-year-old brother and their grandmother already had died from the disease. The children's mother and father along with an infant sibling are still battling the disease, which has left more than 1,400 people dead since August. The victims contracted Ebola from the children's grandfather, a pastor who died in late May. ___ 7:45 p.m. The World Health Organization says there's no evidence Ebola is spreading within Uganda after the deadly virus crossed the border from Congo this week. Dr. Michael Ryan tells The Associated Press he believes authorities 'have contained the virus' to one family. He says 27 people who may have been exposed are being followed. Uganda says it has three suspected Ebola cases not related to the family. Two family members have died and the rest have been transferred to Congo for monitoring and treatment. Ryan says that 'I think the chances of this spreading further are low but they're not insignificant.' He says one challenge in stopping the outbreak in Congo is reaching areas controlled by rebel groups, some of whom have reportedly demanded money for access. Ryan says that 'we don't engage in any payment for access.' He says they have paid for incentives and logistic support for police and others, often at the request of Congo's government. The outbreak response has been undermined by attacks on health centers and by people suspicious of foreign aid workers. - Jamey Keaten in Geneva ___ 7:05 p.m. The World Health Organization's emergencies chief says the Congolese man who is thought to have infected Uganda's cluster of Ebola cases wasn't on any list of potential contacts. That underlines the agency's problems in tracking the deadly virus' spread. Dr. Michael Ryan tells The Associated Press he does not believe the man, a pastor, was on a list of high-risk Ebola contacts in Congo. Ryan says that 'it's an unfortunate occurrence that a pastor who's taking care of people and providing care to people is himself infected in the line of his own work and then ultimately goes on to infect others.' The pastor spread the virus to at least three family members. His 5-year-old grandson was the first Ebola case in Uganda and the first death. The boy's grandmother also died. Ryan says about 55% of new Ebola cases in Congo last week were previously identified as potential contacts, suggesting significant problems in health workers' ability to monitor where the virus is spreading. Ryan says that 'we still have too many people that are not coming from this (list) and we still have too many community deaths.' - Jamey Keaten in Geneva ___ 5:45 p.m. Health officials in eastern Congo are vaccinating some pregnant women and infants against Ebola for the first time since the outbreak was declared in August. More than 1,400 people have now died from Ebola, and an experimental vaccine produced by Merck has provided a high degree of protection. More than 130,000 people have received the vaccine in Congo and Uganda, which reported its first Ebola cases this week. Two were children. On Thursday, health workers in Congo's town of Beni began vaccinating pregnant women who have passed the first trimester and are considered contacts of an Ebola case. Breastfeeding babies are also being given the vaccine if they have been exposed to the virus. Doctors had been concerned about the potential harm because the vaccine has not been tested in those groups. That guidance has been reevaluated in light of the worsening outbreak and the high rate of fatalities among pregnant women and children. ___ 10:30 a.m. Uganda's health ministry says a second person infected with the Ebola virus has died after a family exposed to the disease quietly crossed the border from Congo. The first cross-border cases in this Ebola outbreak have prompted a World Health Organization expert committee to meet on Friday to discuss whether to declare a global health emergency. Health ministry spokesman Emmanuel Ainebyoona on Thursday confirmed the death of the 50-year-old woman overnight. Her 5-year-old grandson was the first confirmed death from Ebola in Uganda. The boy's 3-year-old brother also is infected. Congo's health ministry says all members of the Congolese-Ugandan family have agreed to be repatriated to Congo for experimental treatments as part of clinical trials. The outbreak declared in eastern Congo in August has killed more than 1,400 people.

Local News

  • The annual conference of North Georgia United Methodists wraps up today in Athens: the conference began Tuesday at the Classic Center. From the Methodist Conference website…   Friday, June 148 a.m. | Session 72 p.m. | Session 8, Closing Worship4 p.m. | Adjournment   Comprised of more than 800 churches, more than 1,300 clergy members, and approximately 350,000 lay members, The North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church seeks to develop principled Christian leaders, to engage in ministry with the poor, improve global health, advocate for justice, respond to disasters, and fulfill the mission of the denomination: “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Currently, it is the largest United Methodist Conference in the United States. 
  • Troopers with the Georgia State Patrol and agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said they made a marijuana bust Tuesday afternoon worth more than $200,000. The GBI sent Channel 2 Action News a photo of the 70 pounds of marijuana officials said agents discovered during a traffic stop in Gwinnett County near the Hamilton Mill Road exit on Interstate 85 northbound. Three men from Charlotte, North Carolina, were arrested and charged with trafficking marijuana: Phetprasong Souriyo, 34, Brandy Souriyo, 28, and Somphone Thongkhamdy, 30. The GBI said their arrests are part of an ongoing investigation into marijuana trafficking via the I-85 corridor from metro Atlanta north to neighboring states.
  • Minicamp ended for the Falcons on Thursday, and players, coaches and staff have about a month away from the facility in Flowery Branch before training camp begins.  Though he didn’t practice all three days, wide receiver Julio Jones said he will be ready for the season and is happy with his place on the team. Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that he and the Falcons are continuing to work on a long-term contract. Jones, who’s also nursing a foot injury, is scheduled to be the 13th highest paid receiver in the league in 2019, according to NFL stats. Tampa Bay’s Michael Evans ($20 million) is set to be highest paid, while Jones is at $13.4 million. The six-time Pro Bowler took more of a leadership role this minicamp, acting as a coach on the field and mentoring younger receivers during and after drills. Former Georgia Tech and Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was in attendance for practice today, as coach Dan Quinn invited him in hopes of providing inspiration for the team’s younger players.  Even if his production has slipped, Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley said he doesn’t feel intimidated heading into an important season — both financially and on the field. The 2015 first-round pick skipped all team offseason programs after the Falcons picked up the $12.8 million fifth-year option on his contract instead of offering a longer-term deal. Beasley, who compiled 15.5 sacks in 2016, has had only 10 sacks in the previous two seasons combined. Quinn said his project over the season is to help Beasley develop more moves off the line of scrimmage, so Beasley has different ways to get to the passer. After skipping OTAs, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett reported for minicamp, but wore a hat instead of a helmet for all three days. Jarrett, too, skipped OTAs while he and the Falcons work out a long-term deal. The Falcons placed the franchise tag on the former Clemson Tiger in March and will pay him $15.2 million this season. On Tuesday, Jarrett deflected all questions from the media regarding his contract to the media. Heading into training camp, it’s possible Grady may continue not to participate if a long-term deal isn’t reached.   Matt Ryan has a problem every player in the league would dream of: How do you get better when you are already one of the best? The Falcons quarterback said he will continue to work on his strength and flexibility this season, and has enlisted professional help to do so. He also plans to organize a players-only camp to help the team create bonds together without coaches present.
  • What makes a great teacher? Aspiring English teachers from the University of Georgia saw one in action this year at Classic City High School in Athens, according to their professor Peter Smagorinsky. Smagorinsky is a Distinguished Research Professor of English Education in UGA’s Department of Language and Literacy Education (English Education). Smagorinsky has profiled many amazing teachers for his Great Georgia Teacher series here on the blog over the years. This time, he lets his UGA education students do most of the talking about what makes teacher Stephanie Johns so effective and so inspiring.   By Peter Smagorinsky   At the University of Georgia, I teach the educational foundations course for undergraduates who hope to become English teachers. The course, Service-Learning in Teacher Education, involves three main components. On campus, they lead one another in discussions of books they choose to broaden their understanding of students, families, and communities. At Classic City High School, the non-traditional school in Athens, they tutor and mentor to learn about school from students on the margins. Finally, they make sense of their experiences in a paper in which they reflect on their learning during the semester.  When I completed my reading of my students’ course papers, I was struck by how many of them talked about what they learned from observing Classic City High School English teacher Stephanie Johns. She’s a great Georgia teacher in a setting where students need her support and love to succeed.  I’ll let my UGA students do most of the talking from here on out. Without being prompted to talk about her, they did quite a bit, and I can only excerpt a small amount of what they wrote:  Love, Encouragement, Respect, and Support “Mrs. Johns . . . really cares about her students and wants them to succeed. She talked to her students as people rather than as a superior to an inferior, which I really appreciated seeing because I’ve definitely seen teachers who come across as condescending or patronizing. Mrs. Johns seemed to really know her students and what they struggled with and tried to provide as much help as she could. She was also understanding of students who might not be having the best day, which was really great to see.”  “I was able see the unconditional love that a teacher has for her students. . . . She recognizes potential in students and pushes them to do their best.”  Going Above and Beyond “All of the extra stuff she was doing for her students was all just extra work and more grading that she was going to have to do, but she was always willing to do that and go above and beyond for her students, which I just found to be very inspirational for my future career as an English teacher.”  Attentive to Students’ Heritages, Needs, and Interests “Mrs. Johns’ class made me realize how important it is to have a variety of diverse materials for the students. I noticed the change in the atmosphere when she brought out information about Hispanic and African American individuals. The atmosphere changed simply because they had something to relate to. I really enjoyed how Mrs. Johns asked the kids what types of poems interested them to keep them focused. When she asked them what they wanted to read, they perked up and were more engaged. . . . I respect Mrs. Johns for recognizing how unmotivated these kids are and have been in previous times. Yet, she still goes out of her way in order to keep them focused and learning.”  Compassion, Energy, Patience, and Positive Outlook “Ms. Johns has a great level of student awareness. . . . I’m particularly inspired by her level of compassion and patience with her students. I can tell that she enjoys her job, which is so important.”  “She approached every lesson and activity with enthusiasm, even when the students were not responding or refused to do work. . . I found the lack of effort from certain students to be frustrating and distracting, but Mrs. Johns only continued to try harder, taking the extra time to reach out individually to those students, until she was able to break the barriers they had put up.”  “Students within institutions such as Classic City High School need teachers like her, who bring a positive attitude and outlook on life into the classroom. . . It’s important for these students to realize that people do truly care and that if school isn’t necessarily working out, there are other pathways that lead to success and happiness.”  Calm Demeanor for Stressful Times “I feel lucky to have been able to witness her in action the week before what some might say is the most stressful time of the year: standardized testing. Mrs. Johns brought a sort of calm to her students that isn’t really describable. It is almost as if there is a tone shift as soon as they walk in the door.”  “It is apparent to the students that she trusts them and that she really cares about them and their families. With all of the stress of graduation and testing coming up, she had meaningful conversations with multiple students about what else is going on in their lives. I feel lucky to watch Mrs. Johns mentor and teach during such a busy time of the school year, and it really gave me perspective on how to navigate preparing your students for big changes. Just because it is an important and stressful time, doesn’t mean you need to escalate or apply more pressure that is already there. There is a way to get people to take things seriously without completely stressing them out. I feel like ultimately, the confidence she was instilling in them will have the biggest impact on their performance.”  Flexibility and Respect for Individuals “She instructs in a way that the students feel comfortable opening up to her and asking questions. . . . It is apparent that she values each student as an individual and their opinions. . . . She is constantly reminding them that they are more than capable and gives them flexibility to work on whatever is at the top of their priority list.”  “I can tell she truly cares about her students and their success. She is not a pushover teacher, but she is very flexible which I think is a great attribute she possesses when dealing with students. . . Her personality is very approachable and she allowed her classroom to be a safe space for students to air out anything that was bothering them; it didn't matter if it had to do with their course work or not. Ms. Johns explained to me if they can’t have a place to comfortably express their issues, then they will not be completely focused on their course work.”  An Inspiring Model “She reminded me of my 12th-grade English teacher who inspired me to become an English teacher. My mentorship allowed me to meet another amazing English teacher who can get through to any student, even the hard ones.”  “I learned a lot from Mrs. Johns, as she was a perfect model of what a teacher should be. I found her attitude and outlook for these students to be inspiring and I hope to one day carry myself like her. I think that without teachers like her in these schools, the success of the students would suffer. She was a true testament to what it means to care and engage your students, no matter the response they give you. One piece of advice she gave me was to remember that as a teacher, you cannot hold a grudge against a student, not even for a minute because when that student is ready and needs you, you have to be ready. I truly believe this was the most important takeaway for me, because I found myself often getting frustrated for her when students failed to complete assignments or participate in class.”  “Mrs. Johns seemed to really care about her students and knew how to motivate them to do their work. When I am a teacher one day, I hope to have the same understanding and ability to connect with my students.”  “I also was able to learn hands-on beside Mrs. Johns, who I know will be an inspiration to me throughout my teaching career. If one day I’m half as amazing of a teacher as she is, I’ll be in pretty good shape. Because of having the opportunity to work one-on-one with these students, I am more understanding, patient, and supportive, all of which will be wonderful things for me to carry into my classroom and the rest of my life.” My Brief Conclusion My UGA students found much to admire in working with Ms. Johns. The qualities they talk about are largely interpersonal. They speak to her care, flexibility, love, respect, compassion, patience, positive outlook, and other non-technical aspects of teaching. Her students in turn tend to work for her, because she makes the effort to connect with and reach out to them. The academics follow from the relationships she cultivates.  That’s the most important trait my students observed again and again, and it rarely makes an impression on policy. But it should. 
  • The 19th annual North Georgia Folk Potters Festival is set for Saturday in Homer: the festival, organized by the Banks County Recreation Department, starts at 9 and lasts til 2 on Thompson Street in Homer. Following is a list of potters expected to take part…   Steve Turpin Abby Turpin David Meaders Wayne Hewell Dwayne Crocker Sid Luck Shelby West Stanley Ferguson Mary Ferguson Jami Ferguson Kris London Marvin Bailey Roger Corn Rex Hogan Carolyn Simmons Rob Withrow Walter Aberson Rodney Leftwich Kim Leftwich Joyce Branch Mike Ledford (Joes Lake Pottery) Mike Craven Bo Thompson Mike Williamson Lynn Thrurmond Michael Ball Michel Bayne Joe Craven Dal Burtchael Stanley and Kathy Irvin Brian Wilson Bobby Gaither · Mike Hanning

Bulldog News

  • Georgia junior defensive end Malik Herring is one of the players Kirby Smart is counting on to step up on the football field this season. But on Saturday, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound Herring took time to give back to his home community, taking part in a “Kids Fun Day” in Forsyth. Kickball, face painting and water slides were all part of the good times Herring shared with family, friend and youngsters at the Monroe County Rec Department. Macon’s WMAZ-13 was on hand to interview Herring, who explained his motivation for the event. “I saw kids like outside on the porch just bored, and it was just like I called my mom, and was like ‘hey mom we gotta do something for the kids, they don’t have nothing to do,” Herring said in the WMAZ-13 interview. “I just wanted to have something  for the kids to give back, and give them something we’d never had growing up.” UGA defensive lineman and former @MPHSFootball player @HerringMalik came back to his hometown and held a Kids Fun Day. He just wanted kids in his neighborhood to have fun and do something in the summer. At the end you’ll see how he dominated in kickball. He didn’t go easy on them pic.twitter.com/ruzpFMNPXY — Jonathan Perez WMAZ (@_JonathanMPerez) June 15, 2019 Herring, a 6-foot-3, 280-pounder, is one of the more pivotal pieces on a Georgia football team that’s greatest weakness is considered by many to be the defensive line. Smart knows all about Herring’s talent and ability. Herring was part of Smart’s first recruiting class, which this season makes up the nucleus of what’s expected to be a national championship contender. “ Malik can be a good player, (but) he’s gotta hone in and do the little things right and he’s gotta be a little more mature and serious about things to be the player we want him to be,” Smart said in the midst of spring drills. “He’s talented, though and he’s played well. He’s just gotta mature some.” Smart, it should be noted, typically saves his public challenges for the most talented players on his team. It’s an indication the head coach has high hopes set for Herring this season. Herring has made 30 tackles in the 29 games he has played the past two seasons, with 1.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. “Everything I do, I feel like I wouldn’t have gotten here if it wasn’t for this community, they all supported me throughout it all, with my ups and downs,” Herring said. “I just want to give back and show them that I really appreciate what they have done for me.”   TODAY IS THE DAY‼️‼️‼️ we’re here ready to have a great time‼️‼️ come out and have some fun ‼️‼️‼️ #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/MVlAYILbLP — Malik Herring (@HerringMalik) June 15, 2019 The post Georgia football DE Malik Herring makes time for ‘Kids Fun Day’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • SUNDAY READER ATHENS — The general thought on the Georgia Bulldogs heading into the 2019 season is they’re going to be better offensively than defensively. There’s data beyond tackles and touchdowns that backs that up. The Bulldogs already have been established as a consensus Top 4 team and one of the favorites to contend for the College Football Playoff spot this coming season. Obviously, that means coach Kirby Smart has put together a talented football team for the third year in a row. Georgia’s 2020 recruiting is going the way of the Kirby Smart’s last three classes. That is, among the top in the country including the likes of No. 1 running back Kendall Milton (second from left). (Charles Felder/Special to DawgNation) But DawgNation has taken a closer look and broken down the projected starting lineup for the Bulldogs’ season opener on the road at Vanderbilt (Aug. 31, 6:30 p.m., SEC Network) to examine exactly what is the recruiting profile and makeup of what’s expected to be perhaps Smart’s best team so far. Some of the revelations are surprising, some not so much. For instance, we all know that Smart and his staff have been all-star recruiters since they arrived in town. His first four classes at Georgia have carried an average national recruiting ranking of No. 3 (6, 3, 1, 2, respectively). The one currently being assembled for 2020 is ranked No. 4 at the moment. So it follows that Georgia is should be fielding good teams. Accordingly, the majority of the projected starting lineup for this year’s opener comes from the last three classes. While some from the 2016 class might be considered holdovers from the previous regime, Smart gets full credit for the last three and, by extension, the majority of this year’s squad. That will be reflected in the projected lineup against the Commodores. Only six of the starting 22 came from the 2016 class or before. Linebacker Tae Crowder holds the distinction as the sole Mark Richt recruit in the starting lineup. Then again, there just aren’t that many redshirt seniors on the team period. A few other observations from the accumulated data: Fifteen of the 22 projected offensive and defensive starters (68.2%) are from the state of Georgia. That includes guys from places like IMG Academy in Florida. That’s where they attended high school briefly, not their residence. The other starters are from Florida (2), Alabama (1), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Pennsylvania (1) and Texas (1). The average star-rating for Georgia’s offensive players versus its defensive players is 4.09 to 3.82. That’s based on the industry-accepted composite ranking of 247Sports, which takes into account the rankings of all services. Therefore, to be considered a 5-star, one must be a consensus 5-star and not just garner the rating from one service. It’s a moving target by the Bulldogs at one time had the most 5-star recruits on its roster. Six are expected to be in the starting lineup versus Vandy, three on offense and three on defense. Stars aren’t the best measure for one’s recruiting pedigree, however. There are high-4-stars and low-4-stars are everything in between. Fortunately, the 247 composite goes deep in their assessment and gives each individual prospect a national prospect. And that’s where the makeup of Georgia’s lineup gets really interesting. On offense, the average national ranking of each individual player is 181. That includes a high of No. 1 for receiver Demetris Robertson and a low of 1,051 for left guard Solomon Kindley. The average national position ranking on that side of the ball is 21.09, though not every player plays the same position now at which he was projected as a prospect. The defense is notably lower-rated on all counts. The average national prospect ranking is a fluffy 555.4. The average national position ranking is 50.18, though many of the players aren’t playing those projected positions. The lowest, or worse, ranking on defense belongs to Tae Crowder, who was rated the 1,863rd prospect in the Class of 2015. But that was as a wide receiver. Crowder actually was signed by the Bulldogs as a running back and now he’s a middle linebacker. So do with that what you wish. Senior J.R. Reed was actually rated just seven spots higher than Crowder at 1,856. He was considered a cornerback then. Now he’s an All-America candidate at free safety. The highest ranking on the defensive side of the ball belongs to cornerback Tyson Campbell. He’s was rated 12th overall and No. 2 at his position when he signed with the Bulldogs out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Of course, he lost his starting position last year to Eric Stokes, ranked 668th and 63rd at cornerback out of Covington’s Eastside High. What’s it all mean? Really, only that good players come from everywhere in all shapes and sizes and with widely varying prospect profiles. That’s why scouting and development are so important, and the Bulldogs seem to be scoring well on both counts. Also, we can quibble all summer and into the fall about who will actually be in the starting lineup. There’s not a lot of argument to be made about quarterback Jake Fromm or running back D’Andre Swift. But, otherwise, Georgia has a bunch of other unresolved position battles heading into preseason camp, and Smart likes to mix-and-match situationally, especially on defense. So that’s moot exercise. For the sake of transparency, though, we went with Demetris Robertson in the slot. He may not end up actually being in the starting lineup and his No. 1 ranking might’ve inflated the overall offensive rating. But if he’s not, his playing time might default to either of two 5-star signees Dominick Blaylock or George Pickens, or at least high 4-star Kearis Jackson. Conversely, though, the low-rated offensive line prospect Kindley could be supplanted in the starting lineup by anyone of several 5-stars, which would take the overall ranking higher. Defensively, there’s still a lot to be sorted out, too. We went with 5-star signee Brenton Cox at the jack outside linebacker, but that could easily have gone to fellow 5-stars Adam Anderson or Robert Beal. Should freshman Nolan Smith end up winning the position, it’d inflate the ranking even more as he was considered the No. 1 overall prospect in America. Same with Nakobe Dean at inside linebacker. There are many other conclusions to draw from this data. And, of course, Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State could make many of the same claims. But breaking it down this way and debating who’s going to be where is a fun exercise during the dog days of summer. Please check out the breakdown below and share your own observations in the comments section. ANATOMY OF THE LINEUP — OFFENSE — QB Jake Fromm As a prospect: 4-star ranking, 44th nationally, 3rd at position As a player: Played in all 29 games in his first two seasons, including 28 starts. Georgia is 24-5 in those games. Fromm has completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 5,364 yards and 54 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. Realistic candidate for all national awards, including Heisman Trophy and All-American. RB D’Andre Swift As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 23 national ranking and No. 4 at position As a player: Swift rushed for 618 yards and 3 touchdowns as an understudy to Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. He overcame early injury issues last year to lead the Bulldogs with 1,049 yards and 10 TDs and added another 32 catches and 3 scores as a receiver. If he can stay healthy and be Georgia’s featured back all year as expected, he’ll be a Heisman Trophy contender. WR J.J. Holloman As a prospect: 4-star ranking, 125th nationally, 18th at position As a player: Played in 19 of 29 games, including five starts and all 14 games as a sophomore. Was team’s fifth-leading receiver last year (24-418-5 TDs) but enters his junior season considered Georgia’s top wideout. TE Charlie Woerner As a prospect: Signed as a wide receiver.  4-star rating, 138th nationally, No. 25 at position As a player: Switched to tight end as a freshman. Played in 32 of 39 games in first three seasons with five starts. Nine catches each of last two seasons with 23 for 271 for his career. Yet to score. Sidelined with broken leg at end of 2017 season. With early departure of Isaac Nauta for NFL, only experienced tight end LT Andrew Thomas As a prospect:  4-star rating, ranking 45th nationally, No. 9 at position As a player: Started every game he’s played in his career, all 15 at right tackle as a freshman and all 13 at left tackle as a sophomore. Missed one game last year due to ankle injury from previous contest. Consensus all-conference and All-American. LG Solomon Kindley As a prospect: Signed as offensive tackle. 3-star rating, ranked 1,051st nationally, 89th at his position. As a player: After a redshirt year in 2016, Kindley has played in every game the last two seasons, with 21 starts, including every game last season. Played 75 percent of the snaps in SEC play last season. C Trey Hill As a prospect: 4-star rating, ranked No. 63 nationally and third at his position. Signed as guard. As a player: Played in all 14 games as a freshman, starting the last four at right guard as injuries sidelined Ben Cleveland and Cade Mays. Also filled in for starting center Lamont Gaillard. Won the center position in spring camp. RG Ben Cleveland As a prospect: 4-star rating, ranked No. 90 nationally and 10th at position. Signed as tackle. As a player: After redshirting his first year, Cleveland beat out Kindley for the starting job at right guard for the last four games of the 2017 season, which included an SEC championship and run through the CFB Playoffs. Started the first four games of last season before a broken leg against Missouri sidelined him for the season as an offensive lineman. Won back the starting job over Cade Mays and Jamaree Salyer in spring practice. RT Isaiah Wilson As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 16 nationally, fifth at position As a player: Conditioning and heat acclimation led to first-year redshirt for the Brooklyn native. Earned freshman All-America honors last year after starting every game at right tackle WR Tyler Simmons As a prospect: 3-star rating, ranked 383rd nationally and No. 65 at his position. As a player: Simmons earned his place as a special teams player and blocking specialist on offense. He didn’t get his first of six starts as a receiver until his junior season. Now a senior, Simmons has 14 catches for 183 yards and two TDs in his career. But he’s one of the team’s fastest players and the thought is he has more to offer as a receiving target. WR Demetris Robertson As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 13 nationally, No. 1 at position As a player: Robertson earned freshman All-America honors when caught 50 passes for 767 yards and 7 touchdowns at Cal. But he hasn’t been able to replicate that production since transferring to UGA before last season. He played in only nine games as a sophomore and, remarkably, did not record a catch. However, his blazing speed resulted in 109 yards rushing on four carries, including a 72-yard TD in the season opener. Continued improvement on the playbook, sight-adjustments and blocking must be demonstrated to earn more playing time as a junior. — DEFENSE — CB Eric Stokes As a prospect: 3-star rating, 668th nationally, 63rd at position As a player: A track star in high school, Stokes redshirted as a freshman, was pressed into duty due to an injury to Tyson Campbell, then edged Campbell in the battle for playing time opposite of star corner Deandre Baker. One of the fastest players on the team, his DB skills have started to catch up with his speed. CB Tyson Campbell As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 12 nationally, No. 2 at position As a player: Campbell lived up to his lofty billing by starting the first 10 games of his freshman season. But as Baker’s star rose, Campbell found himself increasingly targeted on his side of the field. Loss of confidence and fundamental breakdowns led to Stokes getting three of the last four starts at corner and one for Tyrique McGhee. FS J.R. Reed As a prospect: 3-star rating; 1,856th nationally, No. 157 as cornerback As a player: Went to University of Tulsa out of Frisco, Texas, and only played sparingly before transferring to UGA and sitting out per NCAA rules. Quickly blossomed under the tutelage of former DBs coach/coordinator Mel Tucker and has started all 29 games he’s played at Georgia. Now serves as brains and brawn of the secondary. SS Richard LeCounte As a prospect: 5-star rating, 25th nationally, No. 2 at position As a player: Arrived somewhat raw in defensive fundamentals but with off-the-charts athleticism. Spent his freshman season as backup to Dominick Sanders, but moved into a starting role last season and started 13 of the 14 games. LB Monty Rice As a prospect: 4-star rating, 334th nationally, 18th at position As a player: Rice’s tremendous potential first became evident when he got his first start as a freshman filling in for an injured Roquan Smith. Rice had four tackles against Missouri that day and has been impressing ever since. He started five of nine games last year but has been dogged by injuries, which kept him out of the last four games. Could be a star with a full, healthy season. LB Tae Crowder As a prospect: 3-star rating, ranked 1,868th nationally and 221st at his position (actually wide receiver) As a player: Crowder became a prospect at Harris County High as a wide receiver, switched to running back during his senior season and signed with the Bulldogs as a back. However, he never recorded an in-game carry and, after a redshirt season in 2015, was moved to inside linebacker in the middle of the 2016 season. After playing in only one game that season, he has played in 28 of 29 the last two, including five starts last year. Slated to start this year at middle linebacker. OLB Walter Grant As a prospect: 4-star rating, 202nd nationally, No. 11 at position As a player: Grant has played in every game for Georgia since he arrived from Cairo High. His work came mainly on special teams as a freshman, but he started 8 games at Sam (strongside) linebacker last year. Unfortunately, Grant mans a position that is proving increasingly obsolete against today’s spread offenses. Got some looks at running back and tight end this spring. OLB Brenton Cox As a prospect: 5-star rating, No. 23 nationally, third at position As a player: This is an unresolved competition that just as easily could end up being Adam Anderson, Robert Beal, Azeez Ojulari or Nolan Smith. The interesting aspect is they all share similar recruiting profiles as top-rated, elite prospects. Cox did not distinguish himself when forced into action for an injured D’Andre Walker in the SEC Championship Game. But he has played more and been more productive than others in the competition for playing time. DE David Marshall As a prospect: 3-star rating, 433rd nationally and No. 19 as defensive end As a player: The senior Marshall has a lot of experience and playing time, but it has typically been in a specialized role as a run-stopper while sharing time with Jonathan Ledbetter. So his production of 58 tackles in 32 games and just seven starts doesn’t jump off the stat sheet. But Marshall’s absence was evident last season when he missed the last eight games with a broken foot. He was extremely limited in spring practice as well. Again, he’ll be sharing playing time with Malik Herring and Julian Rochester, at the least. DT Tyler Clark As a prospect: 4-star rating, 264th nationally and No. 27 at his position. As a player: Everybody is still waiting for the same Clark to emerge who dominated the second half against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl in 2017. He hasn’t been bad and actually has been the best of the Bulldogs’ tackles, but he hasn’t made enough of the impactful “havoc plays” coach Kirby Smart so desires from his defensive front. Clark has played in all but one game since arriving from Americus in 2016 and that includes 22 starts. But several young prospects will be trying to steal playing time, and Clark needs a big year to attract NFL attention. NG Jordan Davis As a prospect: 3-star rating, 424th nationally, No. 29 at position As a player: Davis is one of those great stories where he proved much better than his recruiting profile. The 6-foot-6, 330-pounder over game weight and conditioning issues to earn a starting job midway through his freshman season and, after recording 25 tackles and 1.5 sacks, was named a freshman All-American. He will need to continue to demonstrate that sharp rate of progress for the Bulldogs to take another step toward becoming an elite defense. The post Anatomy of a lineup: The makeup of the highly-touted 2019 Georgia Bulldogs might surprise you appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS-----University of Georgia All-American Aaron Schunk has been named the 2019 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year, the College Baseball Foundation announced Thursday.   “In the end, we felt that Aaron’s impact on the mound, where he factored in the decision in 15 of his 17 appearances, his steady bat and his outstanding play at third base put him just a tick above the others,” said George Watson, chairman of the Olerud Award selection committee. “Plus his ability to positively affect the lives of others off the field makes him the perfect example of what the Olerud Award is all about. We are excited to see what the future holds for him.”   A second-round draft pick by the Colorado Rockies in last week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Schunk helped lead the Bulldogs to a No. 4 National Seed in the NCAA Tournament and a final record of 46-17. He became the first Bulldog in nine years to capture the “Triple Crown,” leading the team with a .339 average, 15 home runs and 58 RBI. On the mound, he tallied 12 saves to go with a 1-2 record and a 2.49 ERA in 17 appearances. Earlier this week, Schunk was named a first team All-American as a utility player by Baseball America along with other multiple All-America and All-Region squads by various outlets. Additionally, Schunk is a Dean’s List student and a three-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. He earned a spot on the 2019 SEC Community Service Team. Schunk signed a professional contract with the Rockies earlier this week.   “We are honored that Aaron has been selected as this year's John Olerud Award winner,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “It's a tremendous accomplishment for him and well-deserved. He's been an outstanding representative of the Georgia baseball program on and off the field throughout his career.”    The John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s and who was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The College Baseball Foundation (CBF) will present Schunk the 2019 award later this year. The other finalists this year were Will Mattiessen (Stanford), Alec Burleson (East Carolina), Tristin English (Ga. Tech) and Davis Sharpe (Clemson).   Schunk is the first Bulldog to win the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award. Previous winners of the award include Mike McGee (2010-FSU); Danny Hultzen (2011-Virginia), Brian Johnson (2012-Florida), Marco Gonzales (2013-Gonzaga), A.J. Reed (2014-Kentucky), Brendan McKay (2015-17-Louisville) and Brooks Wilson (2018-Stetson). For more information on the CBF’s John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.
  • ATHENS — The Georgia football offense is loaded for 2019, from its experienced and vaunted front line, to a third-year starting quarterback in Jake Fromm and returning 1,000-yard rusher in D’Andre Swift. Sports illustrated is the latest to take note, listing Fromm and Swift among the Heisman Trophy favorites entering the 2019 season. Fromm was listed among four “Elite Quarterbacks on Elite Teams” along with Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. Swift, meanwhile, was in the “Workhouse Running Backs” group with 20 other backs. WATCH: Kirby Smart plans heavy usage for D’Andre Swift Fromm and Swift have been among the Heisman Trophy favorites throughout the offseason, with BetOnline.Ag installing them at 12-to-1 back in January. Fromm, Swift among early Heisman Trophy online betting favorites BetOnline.com kept Fromm and Swift’s Heisman Trophy odds at 12-to-1 in February, too. It appears spring drills did nothing to remove Fromm and Swift from the frontrunners for the award. Georgia coach Kirby Smart sounds ready to give new offensive coordinator James Coley some latitude to open up the offense this season. “People think balance means 50-50, (and) balance is not 50-50,” Smart said this spring. “Balance is being able to run the ball when you have to run the ball and being able to throw the ball when you have to throw the ball. So can you do both? Yes, you can be successful at both. “That might be 70-30 one game and then 30-70 the other way the next game.” The good news for Swift — and Fromm — is that Coley’s offense is expected to include plenty of throws to the backs. RELATED: James Coley expected to put his spin on Georgia offense Swift has proven an effective receiver as well as runner. Swift caught four passes or more in five games last season. In the last two games, Swift had more than four catches two TD reception. That bodes well for Fromm, as well. UGA lost four of its top five pass catchers from last season to the NFL draft. Fromm finished fifth in the nation in passing efficiency lat season, with Tagovailoa the only returning QB who was ranked higher. RELATED: Kirk Herbstreit says Georgia offense starts with Jake Fromm Fromm ranked only 42nd in the nation in passing yardage (2,749), but that was with Smart looking to play former Georgia QB Justin Fields as much as possible in relief. That’s not as likely to be the case in 2019, meaning the Bulldogs could put up single-season record offensive numbers, and place Fromm and Swift squarely in the Heisman Trophy race.   The post Why Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift are legit Heisman Trophy favorites appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Rankings are subjective, even so, it’s always interesting to ascertain how coaches and programs are judged from the outside. Take Georgia football coach Kirby Smart, for example. Smart, only 43 years old and entering this fourth year as the Bulldogs’ head coach, is already considered to be in rarified air by The Sporting News. Six-time national champion Nick Saban was ranked No. 1 among college coaches, while two-time national champ Dabo Swinney is at No. 2. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher comes in at No. 3, and then there’s Smart at No. 4 with Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley No. 5. The rest of the top 10 includes Washington’s Chris Petersen at No. 6, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly at No. 7, Florida’s Dan Mullen at No. 8, Texas coach Tom Herman at No. 9 and Jim Harbaugh at No. 10. Smart will go head-to-head with Fisher for the first time this season when Texas A&M plays at Sanford Stadium on Nov. 23. Here’s the Top 10-ranked coaches by Sporting News analyst Bill Bender, and how they compare in age and record at current school: 1. Nick Saban (67), 141-20 (.881) 2. Dabo Swinney (49), 116-30 (.795) 3. Jimbo Fisher (53), 9-4 (.692) 4. Kirby Smart (43), 32-10 (.762) 5. Lincoln Riley (35), 24-4 (.857) 6. Chris Petersen (54), 47-21 (.691) 7. Brian Kelly (57), 60-34 (.638) 8. Dan Mullen (47), 10-3 (.769) 9. Tom Herman (44), 17-10 (.630) 10. Jim Harbaugh (55), 38-14 (.731) Other SEC Coaches, and where they are ranked: No. 15 Ed Orgeron (57), 25-9 (.735) No. 19 Gus Malzahn (53), 53-27 (.663) No. 33 Mark Stoops (51), 36-39 (.480) No. 36 Will Muschamp (47), 22-17 (.564) No. 37 Joe Moorhead (45), 8-5 (.615) No. 40 Barry Odom (42), 19-19 (.500) No. 53 Derek Mason (49), 24-38 (.387) No. 54 Jeremy Pruitt (45), 5-7 (.417) No. 62 Matt Luke (42), 11-13 (.458) No. 65 Chad Morris (50), 2-10   (.167)   The post Georgia’s Kirby Smart chasing two SEC coaches in Sporting News rankings appeared first on DawgNation.