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Coronavirus: Hertz files for bankruptcy protection
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Coronavirus: Hertz files for bankruptcy protection

Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know

Coronavirus: Hertz files for bankruptcy protection

More than 5.1 million people worldwide – including nearly 1.6 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here.

Live updates for Friday, May 22, continue below:

Hertz files for bankruptcy protection

Update 10:50 p.m. EDT May 22: Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, unable to withstand the coronavirus pandemic that has crippled global travel and with it, the heavily indebted 102-year-old car rental company’s business.

The Estero, Florida-based company’s lenders were unwilling to grant it another extension on its auto lease debt payments past a Friday deadline, triggering the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

Hertz and its subsidiaries will continue to operate, according to a release from the company. Hertz’s principal international operating regions and franchised locations are not included in the filing, the statement said.

By the end of March, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. had racked up $18.7 billion in debt with only $1 billion of available cash.

Starting in mid-March, the company — whose car-rental bands also include Dollar and Thrifty — lost all revenue when travel shut down due to the novel coronavirus, and it started missing payments in April. Hertz has also been plagued by management upheaval, naming its fourth CEO in six years on May 18.

Judge orders Los Angeles to move thousands of homeless

Update 9:25 p.m. EDT May 22: A federal judge on Friday ordered Los Angeles city and county to move thousands of homeless people living near freeways after an agreement on a plan fell through.

U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter issued a preliminary injunction requiring the relocation, by Sept. 1, of an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 people camping near freeway ramps and overpasses, saying they face a health risk emergency.

Carter ordered a status report on the relocation plan to be ready by June 12, with updates to follow, and warned that he would move up the deadline if he doesn’t see “satisfactory progress.”

The city didn’t immediately release any comment on the ruling.

US warns Los Angeles stay-at-home extension could be illegal

Update 8:45 p.m. EDT May 22: The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday warned the mayor of Los Angeles and the county’s top health officer that an extension of the coronavirus stay-at-home order may be unlawful.

The vague letter sent to Mayor Eric Garcetti and LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer did not spell out any specific violations, but noted concern about statements both had made publicly that restrictions may be prolonged without a vaccine.

“Reports of your recent public statements indicate that you suggested the possibility of long-term lockdown of the residents in the city and county of Los Angeles, regardless of the legal justification for such restrictions,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband wrote. “We remain concerned about what may be an arbitrary and heavy-handed approach to continuing stay-at-home requirements.”

Garcetti received the letter, but his office declined comment, spokesman Alex Comisar said.

The letter came the same day the White House coronavirus response coordinator named the LA region as an area where spread of the virus is a concern. Los Angeles County, with a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents, accounts for nearly half of its COVID-19 cases and about 55% of the state’s more than 3,600 deaths.

Dr. Deborah Birx asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help look into the source of new cases to help prevent future outbreaks.

Patrick Ewing hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus

Update 7:30 p.m. EDT May 22: Georgetown men’s basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing announced in a statement on social media that he has tested positive for coronavirus and is being treated at an area hospital.

"I want to share that I have tested positive for COVID-19. This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Now more than ever, I want to thank the healthcare workers and everyone on the front lines. I’ll be fine and we will all get through this,” Ewing said in the statement.

Michigan Gov. Whitmer extends stay-at-home order

Update 6:50 p.m. EDT May 22: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has extended Michigan’s stay-at-home order by slightly more than two additional weeks, through June 12, while keeping theaters, gyms and other places of public accommodation closed until at least then.

A day after a judge ruled in her favor in a lawsuit filed by the Republican-led Legislature, the Democratic governor also extended her coronavirus emergency declaration through June 19. Both the stay-at-home measure and state of emergency had been set to expire late next Thursday, though Whitmer said extensions were likely.

The state on Friday reported 5,158 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 complications, which is the fourth-most of any state. The daily death toll rose by 29 and the number of new confirmed cases in the state increased by 403, to nearly 54,000 since the pandemic started.

Federal prison system to begin moving nearly 7K inmates

Update 5:40 p.m. EDT May 22: The federal Bureau of Prisons will begin moving about 6,800 inmates who have been waiting in local detention centers across the U.S. to federal prisons to avoid jail overcrowding in the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Friday.

It’s not clear when it would begin. The inmates will be sent to one of three designated quarantine sites — FCC Yazoo City in Mississippi, FCC Victorville in California and FTC Oklahoma City — or to a Bureau of Prisons detention center.

All the inmates who are being moved will be tested for COVID-19 when they arrive at the Bureau of Prisons facility and would be tested again before they are moved to the prison where they would serve their sentence.

The prisoners have already been sentenced to federal crimes but were unable to be moved from local facilities as the coronavirus pandemic struck over concerns the virus would spread rampantly.

In a memo issued to staff earlier this week, Bureau of Prisons officials said the inmates would be held there “until such time that inmates can be moved safely to their final destination.” The BOP says it has suspended most transfers of inmates already in the federal system, but there are still exceptions for forensic studies, medical or mental health treatment, residential reentry and inmates who are wanted by other juristictions.

Nevada’s 28% joblessness is worst in US and in state history

Update 4:50 p.m. EDT May 22: More than one-fourth of Nevada’s workers don’t have jobs after the state’s unemployment rate hit unemployment rate of 28.2% in April — the highest rate in the U.S. and the worst joblessness showing in Nevada history.

The previous record for Nevada unemployment was estimated at 25% during the Great Depression.

“They are all sobering numbers, far in excess of anything we have experienced as a state before now,” said David Schmidt, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

Nevada was hit especially hard by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic because so many of its jobs are tied to the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors, Schmidt said. He said Nevada’s accommodation and food service industry alone lost nearly 41% of its jobs compared with April 2019

Nearly 37,000 coronavirus cases reported in Louisiana

Update 3:50 p.m. EDT May 22: Officials in Louisiana reported 421 new coronavirus infections Friday, raising the state’s total number of infections to 36,925.

Statewide, at least 2,545 people have died of COVID-19 and at least 26,249 people have recovered from the viral infection, officials with the state Department of Health said.

Harley-Davidson to restart production

Update 3:40 p.m. EDT May 22: After suspending production for about two months because of the coronavirus, thunder is about to roll again at the Harley-Davidson manufacturing plant in Milwaukee.

Work is expected to resume after the Memorial Day weekend for about 1,000 employees at the Menomonee Falls engine and drivetrain facility, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. A worker at the plant who tested positive for the coronavirus is expected to recover.

>> Read more

Pence visits Atlanta for restaurant roundtable

Update 3:30 p.m. EDT May 22: Vice President Mike Pence traveled to the Atlanta metropolitan area Friday for a roundtable discussion with restaurant executives who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to WSB-TV.

>> Read more on WSBTV.com

Social distancing ‘very important’ over Memorial Day weekend, Birx says

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT May 22: Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus task force coordinator, stressed the importance of continued social distancing efforts over Memorial Day weekend during a news conference Friday.

“When you go out for this weekend, Memorial Day, and you want to do some kind of social gathering, it’s very important to maintain that six feet distance and very important to have your mask with you in case that six feet distance cannot be maintained,” Birx said.

Officials in all 50 states have begun reopening efforts after swaths of the economy were closed by the threat of the novel coronavirus.

Trump says houses of worship ‘essential,’ urges governors to reopen

Update 2 p.m. EDT May 22: President Donald Trump urged governors to reopen houses of worship and said he has directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to classify them as essential amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Today I am identifying houses of worship -- churches, synagogues and mosques -- as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump said Friday at a news conference.

“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship. It’s not right."

Trump holding news briefing amid questions about antimalarial drug he touted

Update 1:45 p.m. EDT May 22: President Donald Trump is holding a news conference Friday after a study published earlier in the day in the medical journal The Lancet found an increased risk for death in coronavirus patients treated with antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine or a combination of the drugs and an antibiotic.

Voting centers reopen in Washington DC ahead of June 2 primary

Update 1:40 p.m. EDT May 22: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Friday that the area’s primary election is set to go on as scheduled June 2.

Voters will be required to wear masks or face coverings while voting, Bowser said.

Business owners sue Pennsylvania governor over closure orders

Update 12:30 p.m. EDT May 22: Business owners in four counties are suing Pennslyvania Gov. Tom Wolf over his order to close businesses deemed non-essential amid the coronavirus pandemic, WPXI reported.

Tom King, the attorney who filed suit on behalf of the business owners, told WPXI that the case was about Americans’ rights, which he said had been limited by the closures and Wolf’s planned phased reopening.

“The imposition on people’s constitutional rights even in war time, even in a pandemic … this is America, and people have constitutional rights." King said. “That’s the message that we want to send to the governor.”

>> Read more on WPXI.com

1,394 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey

Update 11:55 a.m. EDT May 22: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Friday that 1,394 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 152,719.

Murphy said the number of hospitalizations, patients in intensive care units and ventilators in use “have all fallen dramatically.”

“Each day brings with it more signs that we’re moving closer to being able to enter Phase 2 of our restart,” the governor said in a post on Twitter.

Murphy raised the capacity for outdoor recreational businesses like driving ranges from 10 to 25, though he stressed that social distancing measures would need to continue at the businesses. Indoor gatherings remained limited to no more than 10 people.

Officials said Friday that 146 more people have died of COVID-19 in New Jersey. Statewide, 10,985 people have died of coronavirus.

Summer camps, youth activities allowed to reopen in Florida

Update 11:45 a.m. EDT May 22: Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said Friday that summer camps and youth activities will be allowed to immediately reopen without restrictions, according to WFTV.

DeSantis said local governments and organizations can put restrictions in place on their own but that the state would not preempt them, WFTV reported.

“We trust parents to use common sense,” the governor said.

>> Read more on WFTV.com

109 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in New York

Update 11:20 a.m. EDT May 22: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Friday that 109 more people have died of COVID-19 statewide. The number was slightly more than the 105 new fatal cases reported one day earlier.

Cuomo said the number of fatal cases “has been stubborn on its way down” but he added that other key indicators -- such as the number of new hospitalizations and the number of people admitted to intensive care units -- continued to fall Friday.

Defense secretary confident coronavirus vaccine will be ready by end of 2020

Update 11:15 a.m. EDT May 22: Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday that officials are “completely confident” the U.S. will have a vaccine for the novel coronavirus by the end of the year.

“I’m confident we’ll get it,” Esper said Friday during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show. “(The Department of Defense) has the expertise and the capacity of course, to get the manufacturing done and the logistics and i’m confident that we will deliver.”

Scientists have expressed concern over the fast-paced timeline to a given by federal officials, noting that a vaccine would likely take 12 to 18 months to test and approve. The fastest ever vaccine developed, for mumps in 1967, took four years to make it to the market, according to The Verge.

Esper said Friday that researchers in America “have been working on this vaccine now and therapeutics and diagnostics for a few months.”

“This is the next phase of this battle and we will deliver on time the vaccines,” he said.

105 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC

Update 10:50 a.m. EDT May 22: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Friday that 105 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 7,893.

Bowser also said six more people between the ages of 86 and 95 died of COVID-19. As of Friday, 418 Washington D.C. residents have died of coronavirus, officials said.

Study finds increased risk of death for COVID-19 patients treated with antimalarial drug

Update 10:10 a.m. EDT May 22: Scientists studying the efficacy of treating novel coronavirus patients with an antimalarial drug touted by President Donald Trump found an increased risk of death and heart arrythmias for patients who received the drug.

large study published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet looked at COVID-19 cases from late December to mid-April in which patients were hospitalized. Those included in the study had died or been discharged by April 21.

Using data from 671 hospitals on six continents, researchers reviewed more than 96,000 cases of COVID-19, including nearly 15,000 in which patients were treated with the antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine or a combination of the drugs and an antibiotic.

“We were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine ... on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19,” researchers said in a summary of their findings. “Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for treatment of COVID-19.”

Wall Street opens lower, but still on track for weekly gain

Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 22: Stocks opened mostly lower Friday on Wall Street following a mixed showing in overseas markets. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% in early trading Friday, but it’s still on track for a weekly gain.

Hong Kong’s main index fell 5.6% after China made more moves to limit political opposition in the former British colony. China also abandoned its longstanding practice of setting economic growth targets.

European markets shook off some early weakness and were mostly higher. Oil prices headed lower after six straight gains, which weighed on energy stocks.

Trading was subdued ahead of the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S.

3,287 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK

Update 9:30 a.m. EDT May 22: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 3,287 new coronavirus infections Friday morning, raising the country’s total number of infections to 254,195.

Officials said that as of 9 a.m. local time, 36,393 people had died nationwide of COVID-19.

Global deaths top 333K, total cases soar past 5.1M

Update 7:44 a.m. EDT May 22: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 333,382 early Friday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 5,125,612 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 12 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s 84,081. 

The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows:

• The United States has reported 1,577,758 cases, resulting in 94,729 deaths.

• Russia has confirmed 326,448 cases, resulting in 3,249 deaths.

• Brazil has recorded 310,087 cases, resulting in 20,047 deaths.

• The United Kingdom has reported 252,246 cases, resulting in 36,124 deaths.

• Spain has confirmed 233,037 cases, resulting in 27,940 deaths.

• Italy has reported 228,006 cases, resulting in 32,486 deaths.

• France has confirmed 181,951 cases, resulting in 28,218 deaths.

• Germany has reported 179,021 cases, resulting in 8,212 deaths.

• Turkey has recorded 153,548 cases, resulting in 4,249 deaths

• Iran has recorded 131,652 cases, resulting in 7,300 deaths.

Trump orders flags lowered on federal buildings for 3 days in memory of coronavirus victims

Update 6:02 a.m. EDT May 22: President Donald Trump announced via Twitter Thursday he has ordered all flags on federal buildings to be lowered to half-staff for three days in memory of Americans lost to the novel coronavirus.

As is customary, the flags will also fly at half-staff on Memorial Day to honor military veterans who lost their lives in combat.

Young adults also contracting coronavirus-linked inflammatory syndrome, doctors say

Update 5:25 a.m. EDT May 22: The mysterious coronavirus-linked inflammatory disease affecting children and adolescents has now been confirmed in a small number of young adults, The Washington Post reported.

The condition is similar to Kawasaki disease, a rare illness that causes inflamed blood vessels. 

According to the Post, a 20-year-old is being treated for the condition in San Diego; a 25-year-old has been diagnosed at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center; and several patients in their early 20s are being treated for the syndrome at NYU Langone in New York City.

Doctors told the Post that because Kawasaki disease is typically diagnosed in young children only, they fear the COVID-19-related inflammatory syndrome - dubbed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C – is being overlooked as a possible diagnosis in young adults by non-pediatric physicians.

Jennifer Lighter, a pediatric infectious diseases doctor at NYU Langone, told the Post that teens and young adults have more of an “overwhelming” response to MIS-C involving multiple organs, especially the heart.

“The older ones have had a more severe course,” Lighter said.

Catholics, Lutherans in Minnesota set May 26 reopening of churches as coronavirus lingers

Update 3:48 a.m. EDT May 22: Two of Minnesota’s largest faith denominations announced plans Thursday to resume indoor worship services May 26, bucking the governor’s stay-at-home order enacted to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

According to a Johns Hopkins University tallyMinnesota has reported a total of 18,200 COVID-19 infections caused by the virus to date, resulting in 818 deaths.

In a news conference conducted by phone, Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Catholic leader for the state, and the Rev. Lucas Woodford, president of the Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, said the time for loosening restrictions on houses of worship has arrived, The Washington Post reported.

Specifically, the faith leaders called it “extreme and prejudicial” for Gov. Tim Walz’ order to impose stricter restrictions on houses of worship than on retail stores, the Post reported.

“Our community members are suffering from financial and social and emotional strain,” Hebda said on the call.

“It’s our sacred duty to meet the spiritual needs of the suffering,” he added.

Drug smugglers concealed meth shipments in hand sanitizer bottles

Published 2:28 a.m. EDT May 22Australian authorities discovered nearly 4.5 pounds of smuggled methamphetamine hidden in shipments of hand sanitizer and face masks sent in early May to help the nation combat the novel coronavirus.

“We know criminals will go to any length to smuggle drugs into the country, so it’s no surprise they’re trying to use in-demand items such as masks and hand sanitizer to hide them in,” John Fleming, superintendent of the Australian Border Force, said in a news release.

The drugs were detected as officers inspected shipments at the Sydney Gateway Facility, CNN reported.

According to the news release, officers inspecting the packages, shipped from Canada, found bottles of hand sanitizer wrapped in bubble wrap. Further investigation revealed the bottles had false bottoms, creating secret compartments in which a crystal-like substance later confirmed to be methamphetamine was discovered.

US coronavirus cases approach 1.6M, deaths near 95K

Update 12:38 a.m. EDT May 22: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.5 million early Friday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,577,287 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 94,702 deaths. 

The hardest-hit states remain New York with 356,458 cases and 28,743 deaths and New Jersey with 151,586 cases and 10,846 deaths. Massachusetts, with 90,084 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,148, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 102,688. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each.

Seven other states have now confirmed at least 42,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:

• California: 88,031 cases, resulting in 3,583 deaths

• Pennsylvania: 69,252 cases, resulting in 4,869 deaths

• Michigan: 53,510 cases, resulting in 5,129 deaths

• Texas: 53,053 cases, resulting in 1,460 deaths

• Florida: 48,675 cases, resulting in 2,144 deaths

• Maryland: 43,531 cases, resulting in 2,159 deaths

• Georgia: 40,663 cases, resulting in 1,775 deaths

Meanwhile, Connecticut, Louisiana, Virginia and Ohio each has confirmed at least 30,000 cases; Indiana, Colorado and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed by Washington with 19,117; Tennessee and Minnesota each has confirmed at least 18,000 cases, followed by Iowa with 16,170 and Arizona with 15,348; Wisconsin, Rhode Island and Alabama each has confirmed at least 13,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 12,222; Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 11,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 9,381; Kansas, Delaware and Kentucky each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 6,472; Oklahoma and Arkansas each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases.

Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read More

Local News

  • Former Georgia Bulldog quarterback Jake Fromm apologized on Thursday for racially insensitive texts that surfaced on Twitter.   A Twitter account labeled @Ashleymp20 published two screen grabs of a series of texts apparently between her and Fromm in 2019.   The texts appear to be a discussion of gun control with a woman named Ashley in which Fromm says “But no guns are good. They need to let me get suppressors. Just make them very expensive so only elite white people can get them haha.” A second series of screen grabs show texts from a second person, apparently Ashley’s sister, asking the poster to take down her tweets. “I mean I don’t want to see him go down or anything but I know part of helping the cause on my end is to call out things like that and if anything I don’t think he’d get fired. I think he just might have to make a statement which would be good.” Jake responded in a tweet that said “I am extremely sorry that i chose to use the words “elite white people” in a text message conversation. Although I never meant to imply that I am an “elite white person,” as stated later in the conversation, there’s no excuse for that word choice and sentiment.' “I promise to commit myself to being a part of the solution in this country. I addressed my teammates and coaches in a team meeting today and I hope they see this incident is not representative of the person I am,' Fromm added. The Buffalo Bills released a statement that said “We don’t condone what he said. Jake was honest and forthcoming to us about the text exchange. He asked for an opportunity to address and apologize to his teammates and coaches today in a team meeting, which he did. We will continue to work with Jake on the responsibilities of being a Buffalo Bill on and off the field.'   In a video conference call, Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said Fromm seemed sincere when he addressed teammates.   “All of us make mistakes. He’s acknowledged that. There are a number of us that can say the same thing, especially in our youth,' Frazier said.
  • Forecasters say there is the chance for thunderstorms this afternoon in Athens and northeast Georgia. It’s also getting hotter, with temperatures near 90 again today and through the weekend. From WSB TV…  We’re entering the summer-time pattern where showers and storms could pop up in the afternoons and evenings. Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Katie Walls says areas in north Georgia and metro Atlanta could see heavy rain, lightning and strong wind gusts as the afternoon heats up. What you need to know:  Heavy rain already moving through parts of Georgia this morning  Storms expected to pop up later this afternoon  Cristobal weakens to a tropical depression but will still bring heavy rain to areas
  • The Georgia Department of Public Health says Athens has added a 15th coronavirus death. There are have been 299 confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Clarke County. The statewide coronavirus case count climbs to 49,847, with 1,872 deaths.  The University of Georgia says, the coronavirus campus closure notwithstanding, the University has seen record enrollment for its summer semester classes, with students taking their classes on-line: UGA is aiming to have its students back on campus when fall semester starts in August.  A survey conducted for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution by pollsters at the University of Georgia shows increasing support for Governor Brian Kemp’s moves to reopen the state after the coronavirus closures of earlier this spring. Atlanta-based Delta Airlines says it is requiring all its employees to be tested for coronavirus. Ten Delta workers have died with COVID 19.  A milestone in the battle against COVID 19 in one of Georgia's biggest coronavirus hot spots: for the first time since the pandemic began in March, there are no COVID patients at Phoebe Health System's main hospital in Albany. There are still more than three dozen coronavirus patients at another hospital in Dougherty County. 
  • The Athens-Clarke County Police Department is working to identify remains and determine the cause of death for a body, believed to be that of a male, that was found by workers this week on Athens’ east side: the badly decomposed body was discovered by a construction crews off Athena Drive. The body has been taken to the GBI Crime Lab in Decatur.  A 33 year-old man from Flowery Branch faces smash and grab burglary charges: the Hall County Sheriff’s Office says Hai Quoc Bennett used an axe to shatter the front glass of a convenience store and tried to steal cash from an ATM. Sheriff’s Office investigators used store surveillance video to track him down; Bennett was booked into the Hall County jail. There are child molestation allegations for a teenager in White County: the White County Sheriff’s Office says 18 year-old Carlos Martinez is charged with molesting a 7 year-old victim.
  • Three weeks of early voting come to a close today in Athens and around the state: voters in Clarke and in Oconee Counties have been casting ballots in County Commission and School Board races; both counties have contested Sheriff’s primaries. The early voting in Oconee County takes place at the Elections Office on Court Street in Watkinsville.  There are four locations in Athens: the Elections Office on Washington Street downtown, the Library on Baxter Street, the Miriam Moore Community Center on McKinley Drive, and the Extension Service office on Cleveland Road in Bogart.  Election Day is Tuesday of next week. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Before talk turned to hundreds of millions of dollars associated with the University of Georgia athletic budget, tens of thousands of pounds of steel going into a new football facility, and ramifications of a global pandemic, Greg McGarity had a more important issue to table. Racial awareness. 'We must come to grips with the social issues that are present, and commit to doing all within our power to be part of the solution that direly needs our focus and attention,' McGarity said in his opening statement at the UGA board of directors meeting on Thursday. 'Racism, hatred and bigotry have no place anywhere, and it continues to be our responsibility to foster an environment of trust, inclusion, understanding and action.' McGarity, whose contract as athletic director was extended another year by school president Jere Morehead on Thursday, explained that racial awareness is the top priority. RELATED: Details emerge on Greg McGarity contract, why it's not more than one year 'That was my first order of business because it's an important issue, and it commands that level of attention,' McGarity told DawgNation on Thursday night. 'We want to make sure it was first and foremost in our thoughts, and it was more important than anything else we were going to say.' COVID-19 concerns came to the forefront once again with players at SEC schools returning for the league's June 8 voluntary workout start date. Several Alabama players reportedly tested positive. McGarity said he was unsure if or how UGA would release information on positive tests, referring the matter to director of medicine Ron Courson. Coach Kirby Smart explained last week the protocol if a player tests positive, in terms of the player's options and how UGA will handle it from a medical standpoint. RELATED: Kirby Smart reveals how 'new normal' will look at UGA workouts McGarity tackled other issues following the board of directors meeting held Thursday via Zoom. Do you anticipate a full football season? Greg McGarity: ' If we have a successful June, I think it sets us up well for July. That's why I think these next four weeks are going to be critical to see how each campus is handling the spread of the virus. 'You know, we can only have our arms around these young men while they're here for voluntary workouts. hat they do when they leave our building I mean, we're very confident they'll adhere to all the protocols that are in place, because that's just as important as them coming in our building. 'But it's going to be important what happens when they're not under our guidance. I just feel really good about it because these young men really want to play the season and they're going to do everything that can to do their part.' Will there be a quarantine period when coaches begin to supervise football activity? Greg McGarity: 'I think the way things stack up right now, you'll have this voluntary period now up until you start countable, athletic-related activity. So much of the testing will be done now. If we continue with that population, what we've got to gear up for is every other sport. 'Our largest student-athlete population will be back in the fall, or in July, for practice. We also have soccer and volleyball, basketball and cross country. So this is an important time for us to see how we do. 'It's kind of a test for us on our effectiveness and our efficiency, because we're, what, 125 young men all total with walk-ons and what-not, but we've got over 525 student-athletes there's a lot of heavy lifting to do. The important work starts right now.' A $149.4 million budget was approved, is there a Plan B if games are canceled? Will ticket money and donations be refunded ? Greg McGarity: (On the alternative budget issues) i t's all dependent on the definition of mass gatherings, if it's 50 percent occupancy (at the stadium), or 25 percent, or everybody can come. We just don't know. We'll know more at the end of this month and we'll know a lot more by August 1st, and at some point in time we know we have to be very clear in communicating what our plan will be. But that's not important today, that will come to play in the next couple of months. We don't really need to go in that direction right now because our first home game is not until September. '(On the ticket refund question), yeah, I think it'll be consistent with baseball as far as that, though we were into the season. We would honor those requests in the event we had to go in that direction. That's included in our projections and everything, the what-ifs and what might happen, so we can at least have an idea what to look for when and if that happens.' Greg McGarity opens up on UGA DawgNation College Football Offseason RELATED: 5 keys, NCAA vote on Wednesday includes pivotal provisions College football return takes turn out West NCAA president Mark Emmert discusses issues with return to campus Les Miles says college football set for return, expert says no fans in stands Return of college football critical to fans' psyche, pocketbooks UGA president Jere Morehead employs 9 research groups for optimal return NCAA advances ball on name, image, likeness player compensation States opening equates to flickering light for college football return Greg Sankey hasn't ruled out a CFB season without all conferences Three keys amid college football return process, from Greg Sankey NCAA board of governors unanimously approves NIL compensation The post Georgia AD Greg McGarity tackles racial awareness issue, COVID-19 fallout appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS The University of Georgia extended the contact of athletic director Greg McGarity for one year at its Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors meeting on Thursday. 'I believe that continuity is particularly important during this time of uncertainty,' UGA president Jere Morehead said on a Zoom teleconference. 'Greg has expressed his willingness and desire to continue serving. He has been a great leader of our athletic programs.' McGarity, 65, was hired as the Bulldogs' athletic director on Aug. 13, 2010. He currently ranks as the second-longest tenured AD in the SEC. McGarity, whose contract expired at the end of this month, had been working off a one-year extension. Georgia had the sixth-largest athletic budget in the nation in the 2017-18 fiscal year, per USA Today data, at $176,699,893. McGarity, who has become known for his transparent management approach, opened the books to DawgNation in March at the front end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Georgia proved to be in better shape economically that programs with a $105 million reserve fund. RELATED: How Georgia built up a large reserve fund, what it means The Bulldogs' strong status is due in large part s relatively conservative fiscal strategy, which pre-dated Vince Dooley, along with the contributions of the Magill Society. Morehead also congratulated McGarity on Thursday for UGA student-athletes recording a cumulative 3.34 GPA in the spring term. Twenty of the 21 scholarship sports recored over a 3.0 team GPA, including football, which had a record 3.03 GPA. Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity The post Georgia AD Greg McGarity gets 1-year contract extension from athletic board appeared first on DawgNation.
  • As far as workouts go, it was a telling scene for Georgia commitment Chaz Chambliss. The moment involved the 6-foot-3 and 240-pound senior to be from Carrollton High School. He already had placed himself through a three-hour workout that morning back home in his makeshift garage which serves as his fitness center. He can bench press 365 pounds. Squat another 525. The power clean is still a robust 335 or so pounds. Global coronavirus or not. His strength levels have contained to surge. Those gains have not stopped Chambliss from driving from Carrollton to Atlanta for the last two months to work..out..withdefensive backs. That was after a leg day, too. The future OLB that everything thinks will be an ILB or a DE was working out with DBs. There are five minutes of video of Chambliss in the featured video slot above and below the space in this blog. And he was looking pretty sporty doing it. Save for what might have been two dropped balls out of 12. His hands, his Carrollton High coaches will tell you, might be the weakest strength in his player toolbox. He's working them, though. 'I try to build my game around Luke Keuchley and guys like that,' Chambliss said. 'Guys who aren't necessarily the fastest guys or the most athletic but the guys who then take full advantage of what God can't give them.' There's also a soundtrack of a recent DawgNation Conversation with Chambliss on that workout clip, too. Kevin Pope, the defensive coordinator of a recent state champion Hapeville Charter Academy program, was leading those drills. There were a couple of college guys mixed in, but it there was Chambliss working on a grassy park field with high school players. The 4-star Bulldog commit had an average of two or three inches and at least 40 pounds on everyone there. He was working with DBs, after all. That's just part of the reason why Pope bubbled with enthusiasm about what he had seen from Chambliss among his GRIND Atlanta training group for the last several weeks. 'Defensive end?' Pope blurted out at almost the tone of a yell. It was more like a mocking rhetorical question. 'Defensive end?' Pope continued on. 'My whistle.' Pope may or may not have said whistle. Or perhaps it was another appendage. But the DawgNation reader will certainly get the gist of what he was trying to say. Pope has trained at least two current Georgia Bulldogs on a daily basis during their high school careers. What he has to say on that positional topic with Chambliss is certainly worth listening to here. 'There's nothing stopping you, man,' Pope said to all while working Chambliss in a drill. 'You ain't just a plugger. You're a linebacker.' 'Talking about a defensive end?' he said. 'You crazy. This guy is a linebacker. Outside or inside. Watch this. These people are tripping. I see it, man.' RELATED: The Carrollton HS coaching staff shares their view of a big upside for Chaz Chambliss What Kevin Pope sees for the football future of Chaz Chambliss Chambliss as a future defensive end? There's a lot of meat on the bone there for Pope to pick at. 'What runs counter to that is he's able to cover in space,' Pope said. 'As you can see since you were out here, you can see how he moves along. If Georgia is running a Tampa 2, he can run with the back. He can run with the middle receiver. He's definitely getting into his thirds of the field. He can get into his drops and the flats and the curl areas and then he has tremendous explosion so he can transition from one space on the field to the next.' Pope has read in some spots that Chambliss projects to bulk up. He's going to get bigger. That's not what he is saying Georgia is going to do. Chambliss told DawgNation that defensive coordinator Dan Lanning has recruited him to be an OLB. He'll be part of that 'Wolfpack' Room like the Azeez Ojularis and the Nolan Smiths in the program now. 'Anybody that wants to bulk him up to be a defensive end is making a mistake,' Pope said. 'The kid can clearly be a good outside linebacker. I know he's big and he is going to get bigger but with constant working on his agility the sky is the limit for what he can do.' Chambliss came to Pope at the referral of former NFL player Derrick Witherspoon. 'He's been a pro,' Pope said. 'So he knows. He thought it would be a good idea for Chaz to start working more on his agility and there's no better way to work on your agility than working with defensive backs.' Pope has been working out Chambliss for approximately a month now. He's seen the gains. 'From the first time to now, it is like light years of gain,' Pope said. 'But it is not like that he wasn't able to do those things, he just hasn't had the ability to do that yet. When he gets out here and gets moving, he can move with the best of them. That's' because he's athletic.' Chambliss is an absolute punisher on his high school film. He pummels the ball carrier as much as tackles. He already has 69 tackles for losses and 38.5 sacks in three seasons of varsity ball. He's forced eight fumbles. What happens if he can add 75 percent of a defensive back's skills to his toolbox? 'Then you are looking at a pro,' Pope said. 'That's the goal. That's what I told him. You'd have a pro then. You'd have an all-around linebacker with the versatility of the Brian Urlachers and the Derrick Brooks we have seen. The physical on top of physical hitters, but they can cover in space. You can use them for three or four downs. He wouldn't be coming in for certain packages anymore. Then this kid would be an every-down linebacker then. That's our goal. We are going to get him ready for that.' Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com 'Before the Hedges' program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download. DAWGNATION RECRUITING (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) There's a big potential development in the recruiting scope of 5-star CB Tony Grimes Kirby Smart's comments of the 2021 recruiting cycle thus far laced with empathy and uncertainty Nation's No. 1 CB prospect Tony Grimes places UGA among his top four schools BREAKING: All-American OL Dylan Fairchild has made his college decision Brock Vandagriff: How does that family feel about the JT Daniels transfer? The JT Daniels to Georgia buzz seems very real BREAKING: Elite 2022 DB Marquis Groves-Killebrew commits to UGA Who is Chaz Chambliss? Carrollton staff shares the goods on the new Bulldog commit BREAKING: Chaz Chambliss commits to Georgia football Taking a deep dive at how well Georgia has been recruiting Metro Atlanta of late Elite 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin already has a 'family' feel at UGA Brock Bowers: Nation's No. 3 TE knows what he needs to do before his college decision De'Jahn Warren: The 'nugget' for the nation's No. 1 JUCO prospect with UGA Decrypting that recent tweet from 5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. Prince Kollie: The ILB target who had 1,085 yards as a receiver in 2019 Lovasea Carroll: DawgNation goes one-on-one with the 2021 RB commit The post WATCH: Georgia commit Chaz Chambliss shows he has a bright future at LB appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football players are arriving back on campus in waves, medical screening underway, with next Monday's training start date within sight. Kirby Smart, however, won't be present when the team works out. Further, NCAA rules prevent him from monitoring the players' workout results. Smart and his staff will, however, have the ability to maintain 8 hours per week of contact via virtual meetings leading into the undetermined start of football drills. The takeaway? 'Experience is probably magnified in this season, this setting, more so than ever before,' Smart said when he met with media last week on a Zoom call. 'We have obviously been shortened in terms of spring practice, in terms of meetings, in terms of summer conditioning we are already being shortened,' he said. 'So a lot of those things have shortened us, and we will have to be wise in the decisions we make.' The offense figures to be significantly more limited particularly at the onset of the season than the defense. This is because the defense returns nine of 11 starters from the Sugar Bowl starting lineup and 80 percent of the production from a 2019 unit that led the country in scoring defense and rushing defense. The offense, meanwhile, is in complete reload mode. Two-time 1,000-yard rusher D'Andre Swift has moved on along with go-to receiver Lawrence Cager and a pair of tight ends headed for NFL camps. Further, three players were drafted off the offensive line, and of course three-year starting quarterback Jake Fromm is no longer the voice in the huddle Todd Monken is the new offensive coordinator, and Matt Luke is the new offensive line coach and has heavy influence in the game-planning. Smart prefers execution over complexity. Once supervised practices take place, it will quickly become a matter of Smart and his assistants figuring out how much his players can handle. 'You can have too much offense, and too much defense, and too much special teams, and then you can have not enough,' Smart said. 'Our jobs as coaches is to try to determine what that volume is.' That's complicated by the fact that four more freshmen receivers are arriving, along with a potential freshman impact player and graduate transfer tight end. Of course, Georgia also recently added USC transfer QB JT Daniels, who's expected to appeal for immediate eligibility. Smart, with good reason, will go into fall drills with an open mind as to what the Bulldogs' offense could look like and the level of sophistication. 'To try to say have we said ok, are we only going to put 50 percent in, we are only going to put 70 percent in, we are only going to put 90 percent in,' I can't say that,' Smart said. 'That's not where we are because we don't even know the threshold or the capacity of some of our players.' Especially when it hasn't been determined who all the players are that will be on the field. 'We did not get to go through spring ball with necessarily some of the positions, especially on offense, of guys to see what they can handle,' Smart said. 'We will find out what the NCAA and the SEC are going to allow us to do leading up to the season, because right now we do not know that. 'The more they give us time wise, the more we will be able to do. The less they give us the less we will probably be able to do, but that is not something we have decided right now.' The post Why Georgia coach Kirby Smart is vague on offensive capacity, personality appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia basketball sophomore Mike Peake has entered the NCAA transfer portal, according to multiple sources. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Peake was a late addition to last year's class, signing in August out of Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kans. Peake played in 24 of 32 games last season, including the final 12 contests, averaging 9 minutes per outing with 2.3 points and 2 rebounds. Peake scored a career-high 8 points in the season-opening game against Delaware State and pulled down a season-high 6 rebounds in a season high 23 minutes against South Carolina on Feb. 26. Peake's departure brings the Bulldogs' roster down to 13 scholarship players. RELATED: Georgia adds big V-Tech center, over scholarship limit Georgia added Virginia Tech graduate transfer center P.J. Horne last week. Horne, a 6-6, 225-pounder, averaged 7.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season. UGA Coach Tom Crean DawgNation Georgia basketball WATCH: Tom Crean opens up, tells all on UGA basketball Bulldogs upset Ole Miss in SEC tourney opener Anthony Edwards takes over final minute, UGA topples Arkansas WATCH: Georgia celebrates like crazy after Vandy win Bulldogs score resounding win over No. 13 Auburn UGA snaps four-game losing streak with Texas A&M win Perplexing loss for Georgia basketball at Missouri Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss The post Georgia basketball sophomore enters transfer portal appeared first on DawgNation.