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US News Headlines

    It has been rolling through our nation’s capital, but the motorcycle ride called Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom will come to an end after Memorial Day weekend. The final national ride, which is designed to make people remember prisoners of war and those missing in action, is scheduled for Sunday, WTOP reported. According to Rolling Thunder organizers, there are more than 86,000 military men and women still unaccounted for.  That breaks down to: WWI - 4,420 WWII - 72,719 Korea - 7,661 Vietnam - 1,589 Cold War - 126 Iraq/Other - 6 Ride organizers cite costs and logistics for the reason the ride is ending this year, WUSA reported. They also said they’re tired of being harassed.  >> Read more trending news  “A lot of people are fed up with D.C. It’s not only me. We’re tired of the harassment,” Rolling Thunder Inc.’s executive director Sgt. Artie Muller told WTOP. He said the ride is mismanaged every year by Pentagon officials and access was denied to parking lots after organizers paid “exorbitant permit fees,” to be allowed to use the Pentagon property to stage. It cost, according to Muller, $200,000 to hold the ride in 2018, WTOP reported. Pentagon officials deny there were issues other than expected delays into the facility. “During a review after last year’s event, we were unable to identify any instances when groups were denied access to the Pentagon Reservation,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sue Gough told WTOP via a statement. Muller also admits that those riding are getting older and can’t come into D.C. for the ride. But like past years, the ride will start at the Pentagon and ride through the streets of Washington, D.C. to the National Mall, and organizers hope that it is the biggest Rolling Thunder in the 31-year history of the ride, WUSA reported. Rolling Thunder XXXII will include a “Blessing of the Bikes” at the National Cathedral, a candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The ride starts at noon from the Pentagon, with speakers starting at 1:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Memorial.  Local versions of Rolling Thunder are still expected to continue. “We’re tired of the aggravation there. For 2020, our chapters are going to do demonstrations throughout the country, nationwide in their states,” Muller told WTOP.
  • A new Trump administration rule would roll back sex discrimination protection for transgender people in health services. In the proposed rule issued Friday, the Health and Human Services Department says laws banning sex discrimination in health care don't apply to people's 'gender identity.' LGBT groups have long warned such a move could lead to denial of needed medical care. That rule reverses the policy of the Obama administration, which had found that sex discrimination laws do protect transgender people. The rule faces a 60-day comment period and court challenges are expected.
  • The most prominent jailed leader of Catalonia's separatist movement is vowing to take his fight to the European Parliament after being suspended as a lawmaker in Spain while judges consider whether he is guilty of rebellion for attempting to divide the country's territory. The lower chamber of Spain's Parliament on Friday suspended Oriol Junqueras and three colleagues from their recently gained positions as national lawmakers because they are currently in jail during an ongoing trial. The rebellion charges stem from a banned referendum and an independence declaration made by the separatist-controlled Catalan government in late 2017. Junqueras is also running for the European Parliament in elections that take place on Sunday, and polls say that he and his former boss, Carles Puigdemont, who fled the country to avoid arrest, have a high chance of being elected. But the former Catalan leaders face legal challenges to be sworn in as European lawmakers. 'The sole fact that a European lawmaker and a candidate to the presidency of the European Commission is a political prisoner of one of the European Union's member states is a very powerful message in favor of democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms not only in Catalonia but in all Europe,' Junqueras told The Associated Press on Friday. The Spanish government has repeatedly rejected the term 'political prisoner' to refer to the prosecuted Catalan separatists, pointing out that they were jailed by independent courts according to legal provisions in the country. It also often repeats that political parties openly advocating for secession are legal in the country, but the only way to achieve it is by attempting to reform the country's 1978 constitution, which currently prohibits the secession of a region unless all Spaniards vote on it. Junqueras spoke via video conference from a jail on the outskirts of Madrid shortly before the widely expected announcement that he would be suspended as a Spanish lawmaker. Speaker Meritxell Batet announced that the governing body of the Congress of Deputies had ruled for the suspension in line with the country's criminal code, which bans those indicted for rebellion or terrorism-related charges and in preventive custody from holding public office. But the 50-year-old former no. 2 of the Catalan regional government, who was previously a European lawmaker between 2009 and 2012, told AP that the suspension in Spain doesn't affect him because he was planning to give up his seat anyway: Members of the European Parliament can't hold certain public offices in their home countries, including a seat in a national or regional parliament. Junqueras is running in the European elections as the head of Ahora Republicans, a coalition of Catalan and other small regionalist parties in Spain. Polls give it enough votes for the former Catalan leader to claim one of the 751 seats in the bloc's chamber, but his chances to be sworn in are unclear given his legal situation. 'For me, it will be a pleasure to return to the European Parliament,' he said, because that would allow him rejoin former colleagues in the bloc's assembly and 'explain to them firsthand the deep injustice that innocent people are in prison.' Junqueras and three fellow separatists from Puigdemont's conservative JxCat party were elected last month to a new, fragmented Spanish lower house, along with Raül Romeva, the former Catalan regional chief for international affairs, who won a seat in the Spanish Senate. Spain's Supreme Court granted them permission earlier this week to attend — escorted by police — the opening parliamentary sessions of the new legislative term. While Junqueras has made clear that he wants to give up his seat to another member of his left-wing ERC party, all eyes in Spain are on what the three JxCat politicians will do. Deciding to accept the suspension but not giving up their seats and leaving them empty would alter the number of deputies needed to form the next Spanish government. ___ Parra reported from Madrid
  • The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local): 9:35 a.m. Stocks are rising at the open on Wall Street Friday, led by gains in technology companies, as the market tries to rebound from steep losses a day earlier. Intuit gained 4.8% after the maker of TurboTax reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped expectations. The major indexes are still looking at weekly declines. Investors have been worrying about the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China, though things were quiet on the trade front early Friday. The Dow rose 168 points, or 0.7%, to 25,658. The S&P 500 added 18 points, or 0.7%, to 2,840. The Nasdaq gained 62 points, or 0.8%, to 7,690. The yield on the 10 year Treasury rose to 2.33% after slipping to 2.29% Thursday, its lowest level in more than a year.
  • Abortion providers asked a federal judge Friday to block an Alabama law that would ban most abortions in the state. The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood filed the lawsuit on behalf of abortion providers seeking to overturn the nation's most stringent abortion law. The Alabama law would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison for the abortion provider. The only exception would be when the woman's health is at serious risk. The law is set to take effect in November unless blocked by a judge. The lawsuit says the Alabama law to criminalize abortion is clearly unconstitutional and would harm women by forcing them to continue pregnancies against their will. 'For over 46 years — since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade — U.S. law has recognized the fundamental constitutional right to make the profoundly important and personal decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy,' the lawsuit reads. The plaintiffs in the case are the three Alabama clinics that perform abortions, Planned Parenthood and Dr. Yashica Robinson, an obstetrician who also provides abortions at a Huntsville clinic. Emboldened by new conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court, Alabama is part of a wave of conservative states seeking to mount new legal challenges to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Governors in Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as the sixth week of pregnancy. None of the laws has taken effect and all are expected to be blocked by the courts as the legal challenges play out with an ultimate eye on the Supreme Court. Supporters of the Alabama law have said they expected a lawsuit and expected to initially lose in court, but they hope the appeal could eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court. 'My goal with this bill, and I think all of our goals, is to have Roe versus Wade turned over and that decision ability sent back to the states,' Republican Rep. Terri Collins, the bill's sponsor said when it passed last week.
  • The man who admitted to killing a Wisconsin couple last year before holding their 13-year-old daughter captive for three months is set to face a judge Friday for sentencing in the case. >> Read more trending news Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, is set to appear before a Barron County judge at 1:30 p.m. local time for sentencing in the killing of James and Denise Closs and the kidnapping of their daughter, Jayme, according to the Duluth News Tribune. He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of intentional homicide for gunning down James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, in the early morning hours of Oct. 15. He also pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping for abducting Jayme. >> Man pleads guilty to kidnapping Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs, killing her parents Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said members of Jayme’s family are expected to give statements at Friday’s hearing, MPR News reported. The court proceeding is expected to last several hours, according to CNN. Under Wisconsin law, Patterson will face a mandatory life sentence for each of the homicide convictions, the News Tribune reported. The main question for Friday will be whether Patterson will eventually be eligible for parole, according to the newspaper. >> Who is Jake Thomas Patterson? Suspect in Jayme Closs kidnapping identified Authorities said Patterson admitted to targeting Jayme after seeing her get on a school bus while he was driving home from work one day. He told investigators he did not know the Closses before the attack. Jayme told authorities she woke early on the morning of Oct. 15 when the family dog started barking. She woke her parents and then hid with her mother in a bathroom. Investigators said Patterson shot and killed James Closs before he found Jayme and Denise Closs in the bathroom. >> Jayme Closs kidnapping: Suspect charged in Closs murders, bail set at $5 million Jayme said Patterson killed her mother before dragging her to his car and driving her to what would turn out to be his home in Douglas County. He was arrested after Jayme escaped Jan. 10 from his home and flagged down a woman walking her dog. >> Jayme Closs to be given $25K reward after she saved herself from accused kidnapper Jayme told investigators Patterson made her hide under the bed in his bedroom for as many as 12 hours at a time without food, water or bathroom breaks. She escaped after Patterson left her alone in the home 88 days after he first abducted her. Jayme is living with her aunt and uncle, the Stevens Point Journal reported.
  • A neighborhood gave its beloved mailman an unforgettable sendoff on his last route. Floyd Martin put the brakes on his 35-year career Thursday in Marietta. Martin graduated from Marietta High School in 1975 and took the postal service test a few years later. By the time they got in touch, he already had a job at a bank, but the U.S. Postal Service offered to double his pay. 'I was like, 'OK, when you do want me to start?'' he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jennifer Brett. He didn’t have the “postal pace” at first, and thought about quitting at times. It was his mom’s suggestion that he apply, and her encouragement kept him on the route. He was sad she’s no longer here, but said she would have been so touched at the hundreds of people who showed up to wish him well. “Thank you for caring about me. We’ve gone through good times and bad times together,” he said. “You were there when I needed you, even if you didn’t know it.” When Martin pulled up to deliver mail in the neighborhood Thursday, messages of love and well wishes were scattered throughout. There were mailboxes decorated with balloons, people wrote messages on the sidewalk and posters were hung in front of homes. [PHOTOS: Neighborhood says goodbye to mailman after 35 years] Lorraine Wascher was waiting for him Thursday. She's been a stop on his route for more than 20 years. 'He always had a smile, always had a wave,' she said. He's had such an impact on the neighborhood, a young girl dressed up like him for her school's career day. 'I was so flattered,' he said. 'It touched my heart.' Martin doesn't have children, just the 500 homes worth of kids he spends more than six hours with every day. 'My people are so good to me,' he said. 'I'm going to miss them.' Floyd lives in Atlanta with his dog, Gigi. He told Brett it'll be a little weird to just receive mail and not deliver it anymore. 'I'm just going to smile,' he said. As for his plans post-retirement? He hopes to go to Hawaii one day. He graduated from Marietta High School in 1975 and took the postal service test a few years later. By the time they got in touch he already had a job at a bank, but the USPS offered to double his pay. 'I was like, OK when you do want me to start?' pic.twitter.com/P304AP4tAs — Jennifer Brett (@Jennifer__Brett) May 22, 2019 Lots of the 'mail' Floyd picked up today was hand-delivered. 'My people are so good to me,' he said. 'I'm going to miss them.' pic.twitter.com/e6Mi8WctZl — Jennifer Brett (@Jennifer__Brett) May 22, 2019 Floyd is a tall, slender, very fit 61. His job involves lots of walking, which keeps him in great shape. But he is done with the heat. In summertime, the mail truck is basically a rolling oven. Last summer, Floyd decided, would be his last. pic.twitter.com/8v7HtKlCcV — Jennifer Brett (@Jennifer__Brett) May 22, 2019 Floyd is the youngest of 4. It was his mom's idea for him to join the USPS. He's sad she's not here to see this send-off. Joyce Hardin's mother is on Floyd's route and said he totes her newspaper to the porch. 'Thank you for taking care of mama, after daddy passed,' she said. pic.twitter.com/8hdnKf22Xt — Jennifer Brett (@Jennifer__Brett) May 22, 2019 Floyd lives in Atlanta with his dog Gigi. It'll be a little weird to just receive mail and not deliver it anymore. 'I'm just going to smile,' he said. He doesn't have children, just the 500 houses worth of kids he spends 6+ hours with every day. He hopes to go to Hawaii one day. pic.twitter.com/W0RHdRvzgj — Jennifer Brett (@Jennifer__Brett) May 22, 2019 Update! People on Floyd's route decorated their mailboxes to surprise him on his last day pic.twitter.com/7vo8Gepv2s — Jennifer Brett (@Jennifer__Brett) May 24, 2019 Once his very last shift was finally over, the neighborhood had another surprise for Mr. Floyd. 300+ people came to a covered dish block party in his honor. pic.twitter.com/8UvAclP6CA — Jennifer Brett (@Jennifer__Brett) May 24, 2019 People stood in line all night for hugs and photos. Floyd's known these guys since they were babies. 'Now you guys are as tall as I am!' pic.twitter.com/yb6UwiyJtz — Jennifer Brett (@Jennifer__Brett) May 24, 2019 There was a huge buffet set up with covered dishes people brought but I don't know if Floyd got a bite to eat or not .. he posed for a zillion photos! pic.twitter.com/C64KJ7Ax0d — Jennifer Brett (@Jennifer__Brett) May 24, 2019 Floyd has seen his people through many of life’s changes. Some good, some bad. They’ve done the same for him. “You were there when I needed you, even if you didn’t know it.” pic.twitter.com/CAPx1nDY2H — Jennifer Brett (@Jennifer__Brett) May 24, 2019 Another update! Neighbors have launched an official Go Fund Me to help Mr. Floyd realize his dream of visiting Hawaii one day. https://t.co/SPlhOXf8bW — Jennifer Brett (@Jennifer__Brett) May 24, 2019
  • Celebrity chef Mario Batali, whose career crumbled amid several sexual misconduct accusations, pleaded not guilty Friday to a charge that he forcibly kissed and groped a woman at a Boston restaurant in 2017. Batali, 58, wearing his signature red ponytail and a blazer, did not speak during the brief hearing but nodded as the judge ordered him to stay away from the woman. The court entered a not guilty plea on his behalf to a charge of indecent assault and battery. Batali was released on his own recognizance. He will not have to appear at the next hearing, scheduled for July 12. It's the first criminal charge levied against Batali following sexual harassment and assault allegations that first surfaced in 2017. The woman says Batali noticed her taking a photo of him at the restaurant and invited her to take a selfie with him. She says Batali then groped and kissed her repeatedly without her consent. The woman filed a civil lawsuit against Batali in August, seeking unspecified damages for 'severe emotional distress.' Batali did not comment as he walked through a slew of reporters to leave the courthouse. His lawyer said earlier this week that the charge is 'without merit.' 'He intends to fight the allegations vigorously and we expect the outcome to fully vindicate Mr. Batali,' attorney Anthony Fuller said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. The woman's attorneys applauded the Suffolk District Attorney's Office for bringing the case. 'Mr. Batali must be held accountable criminally and civilly for his despicable acts,' lawyers Eric Baum and Matthew Fogelman said in an email to media. Batali could face up to 2½ years in jail, if convicted. He would also have to register as a sex offender. Batali's food empire included such high-end eateries as Babbo in Del Posto in New York City as well as restaurants in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Singapore. He became a household name through appearances Food Network such as 'Iron Chef America.' He stepped down from operations of his restaurants and was kicked off the ABC show 'The Chew' in 2017 after four women accused him of inappropriate touching. Batali said at the time about those allegations that 'much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted.' He also came under fire for sending a newsletter to subscribers that included both an apology for 'many mistakes' and a recipe for a 'holiday-inspired breakfast.' Batali announced in March that his longtime partner, Joe Bastianich, and others had bought out his share in his restaurants. The New York Police Department said last year that it was investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against the chef after a woman told '60 Minutes' that Batali drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2005. Batali denied assaulting the woman. ___ Follow Alanna Durkin Richer at http://www.twitter.com/aedurkinricher
  • A Russian court on Friday extended the arrest for a former U.S. Marine charged with espionage, who complained in court about abuse in custody. Paul Whelan was arrested at the end of December in a hotel room in the Russian capital of Moscow where he was attending a wedding. He was charged with espionage, which carries up to 20 years in prison in Russia. Whelan denies the charges of spying for the U.S. that his lawyers said stem from a sting operation. Whelan's lawyer has said his client was handed a flash drive that had classified information on it that he didn't know about. The court ruled Friday to keep the Michigan resident, who also holds British, Irish and Canadian citizenship, behind bars for three more months. Whelan told reporters in court that he has been threatened and subjected to 'abuses and harassment' in prison. 'I haven't had a shower in two weeks. I can't use a barber, I have to cut my own hair,' a visibly agitated Whelan said from the defendant's dock. 'This is typical prisoner of war isolation technique. They're trying to run me down so that I will talk to them.' Andrea Kalan, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, said Friday that they are disappointed with the ruling, arguing there is 'no evidence of any wrongdoing.' 'The mature, civilized course would be to let Paul go home to his elderly parents, who are wondering if they'll see their son alive again,' Kalan said. Rights activist Eva Merkachova, who is authorized to visit Moscow prisons, told the RIA Novosti news agency on Friday that the prison administration at the Lefortovo detention center where Whelan is being kept did not let her speak to the American because they were speaking English. She said she and another activist were told by a prison guard that they can only speak Russian on the premises and that Lefortovo refused to let in a certified translator. Mikhail Fedotov, chairman of the Russian presidential council for human rights, told Russian news agencies that members of his council will look into Whelan's complaints.

Local News

  • From the Athens-Clarke County Government website... The Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Department will suspend garbage, recycling, and leaf & limb collections on Monday, May 27, 2019 in recognition of the Memorial Day Holiday. If you have residential service & commercial service with us outside of downtown and your pickup day falls on Monday, May 27, 2019, your collection will be delayed by one day. For example, Monday will be serviced on Tuesday and Friday serviced on Saturday. We will resume our normal pickup schedule on Monday, June 3, 2019. Please make sure your trash and recycling roll-carts are out on the curb by 7:00 a.m. on your altered service pick up day. If you have commercial or residential service with us and are located within the Downtown District your service will be picked up on the regular schedule. Annually, the Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Department will alter collection service for the following holidays - New Year's Day, MLK Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Chris
  • The University of Georgia Press created an endowment to fund a publishing apprenticeship program for students from UGA’s graduate history program. The Peggy Heard Galis History Ph.D. Apprenticeship will allow history Ph.D. candidates to gain insight into and experience in the scholarly publishing process. A giving campaign organized by the UGA Press funded the endowment. UGA Press Advisory Council member Charley Tarver made the lead gift and served as the fundraising chairperson, while Lucy Allen served as the fundraising co-chair and helped connect local and out-of-state contributors with the endowment. Because of Tarver and Allen’s efforts, the campaign received nationwide donations now totaling over $100,000. The endowment honors Galis for her many years of service to the press, the history department and UGA. A resident of Athens, Galis and her husband, Denny Galis, are both graduates of UGA. She is a founding member and current vice chair of the UGA Press Advisory Council. She has long been actively involved in community, cultural and educational organizations, including the Clarke County School District, the Georgia Museum of Art, the Athens Clarke Heritage Foundation, the Southern Historical Association and the Southern Foodways Alliance. “Peggy Galis is a human super-connector. We are thrilled to announce this teaching and learning program that honors her intellectual curiosity, her love of history and books, embodied in her deep commitment to UGA students and the UGA Press,” said UGA Press Director Lisa Bayer. The Peggy Heard Galis apprentices will be Ph.D. students in the UGA history department. The apprentices will receive an in-depth introduction to university-press publishing and participate in the process by which scholarly books are acquired, peer reviewed, developed, edited and approved for publication. In addition, they will learn how to communicate professionally with various parties in the industry, juggle multiple tasks at once and manage a project’s status long term. “Peggy Galis is the history graduate program’s secret weapon. She fundraises, hosts and promotes events, and asks astute questions of every speaker who darkens our door. Peggy is a PR department, development office, and Ph.D. dissertation committee rolled into one,” said Cindy Hahamovitch, B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor of History at UGA. “How perfect is it that an apprenticeship designed to teach history graduate students how publishing works will be named in Peggy’s honor?” Apprenticeships like these enhance the UGA learning environment, a primary goal of the Commit to Georgia Campaign. With over $1.2 billion raised, the campaign has already transformed UGA by way of new scholarships, learning opportunities, facilities and more.
  • Today is a mid-term day at UGA: it is the midpoint of the University of Georgia’s May session classes. This is also the last day to withdraw from the University of Georgia’s May classes. The Board of the University of Georgia Athletic Association is holding its annual spring meeting on St. Simons Island.  From Tim Hix, UGA Sports Communications... Reports by University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead, J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity, and an update on current and future facilities projects highlighted the first day of the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors annual spring meeting here Thursday. Also on the first-day agenda was a special presentation, led by Deputy Director for Athletics Darrice Griffin, which described in detail the key objectives in the areas of student-athlete experience, compliance, community and academic success. Also presenting were Executive Associate AD Will Lawler (Compliance) and Deputy AD Magdi El Shahawy (Academics and Student Development). In his report, McGarity called attention to a number of athletic successes in the past year, some of which remain ongoing in post-season competition. In particular: • The baseball team, under head coach Scott Stricklin, is headed toward its second straight NCAA Tournament berth. • Other teams whose seasons are still in progress include the men’s golf, and track & field squads. • Also praised by McGarity for their successes were the Gymnastics, Equestrian, Football, Women’s Tennis and Softball teams, as well as the Men’s Basketball program, whose highly-rated recruiting class has generated much excitement in advance of the 2019-20 season. Deputy Director for Operations Josh Brooks updated the Board on three facility projects including: • The UGA Equestrian complex in Bishop, Ga., which will include meeting, sports medicine and locker rooms, as well as coaches’ offices, is projected for a September 2019 completion. • Construction of the new grandstand at the Magill Tennis Complex has begun. Completion of this project is scheduled for February of 2020. • UGA is currently in the midst of the schematic and conceptual design phase of the Butts-Mehre expansion and renovation project. Retired UGA professor Bill Barstow gave a presentation on the ‘’SilverDawgs,’’ a year-old hospitality group that he helped organized and still directs. The group is comprised mostly from UGA’s chapter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), and provides assistance to visitors at various on-campus events, including home football games, UGA commencement and other athletic contests. Barstow said the group — the idea of which was borne from a similar group that received visitors at the 2017 UGA football game at Notre Dame — had grown from its initial membership of 30 to the current total of 100 for the 2019 football season. In other first-day Board activity, Faculty Athletics Representative David Shipley presented the academic report. His remarks included the following highlights: • The men’s cross country squad compiled a 3.44 GPA for Spring semester, the highest among all Bulldog athletic teams. • The Georgia Volleyball and Men’s Basketball programs received public recognition for having Academic Progress Rates (APR) that placed them among the top 10 percent nationally for their sports. • Ninety-seven student-athletes received their degrees at Spring commencement on May 10. Day two of the annual meeting on Friday will include reports from the Student Wellness Committee, the board’s student representatives and a review of the fiscal year 2020 budget, as well as a fundraising update from Deputy AD Matt Borman.
  • The Corps of Engineers says the West Bank Day Use Park and the Sawnee Campground on Lake Lanier will remain closed through the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The Corps is still working to repair damage from flooding earlier this spring.    The Sawnee Campground at Buford Dam is scheduled to reopen next month. Lake Lanier is expected to be extra busy through the Memorial Day weekend.
  • UGA opened Legion Pool Thursday: the Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department says its pools open for the summer swim season tomorrow. The pools will be open through the first weekend of August.  From the Athens-Clarke County Government website… All ACC Leisure Services pools open Saturday, May 25 for the season. Memorial Day pool hours are 1:00 – 5:30 p.m. Pools close for the season Sunday, August 3. During the aquatics season, pools are open Tuesday-Friday and Sundays, 1:00 – 5:30 p.m. Pool hours are noon – 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays. The Bishop Park pool is open to the public on weekends, only. All pools are closed on Mondays for maintenance.Pool admission is $1 per person (cash only). Individual pool passes are available for $20 and a Family Pass (for up to four) costs $40. Passes may be purchased, cash only, at any department pool.ACC Leisure Services operates five public pools including Bishop Park, 705 Sunset Drive; East Athens Community Center, 400 McKinley Drive; Lay Park, 297 Hoyt Street; Memorial Park, 293 Gran Ellen Drive; and Rocksprings Park, 291 Henderson Extension. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Georgia freshman quarterback D’Wan Mathis underwent emergency surgery at Piedmont Hospital in Athens on Thursday to remove a cyst that was on his brain. Mathis, an early enrollee from Romulus, Mich, had experienced severe sinus pain brought on by the change in climate, according to his father, Terence Mathis. The sinus issue factored into the cyst. “I want everyone to know my son is OK and will be back better than ever because of Coach (Kirby) Smart and the University of Georgia medical staff and coaching staff,” Terence Mathis told DawgNation on Thursday night. “The procedure today was a success, and I want to thank Coach Smart and Georgia for the way they treated my son and my family through all of this. Coach (James) Coley is at the hospital with my son right now, in fact.” D’Wan Mathis was in ICU on Thursday night as a precaution, Terence Mathis said. There will be a follow-up procedure, but Terence Mathis’ understanding is that it’s more routine in nature. “D’Wan’s mother, aunt and stepmom is down in Georgia at his side,” Terence Mathis said. “Please help us pray for a speedy recovery. It’s not about football right now, it’s about the DawgNation Family we have in Athens.” Mathis, who attended Oak Park (Mi.) High School, was a former Ohio State commit who signed with Georgia in December. Mathis learned in the days leading up to signing day that the Buckeyes were recruiting UGA backup Justin Fields through former QB Dwayne Haskins. Social media tips off D’Wan Mathis that Ohio State recruiting Justin Fields Mathis completed 15 of his 28 attempts for 113 yards in the UGA spring G-Day Game. He also provided one of the biggest highlights of the spring for the Bulldogs when he caught a double-reverse pass for a 39-yard touchdown from fellow receiver Matt Landers. RELATED: D’Wan Mathis turns heads at G-Day The former 4-star prospect rated as the nation’s No. 11 pro-style prospect on the previous cycle for the 247Sports Composite ratings. That made him the nation’s No. 311 overall recruit. Mathis’ status for fall drills in uncertain. The Bulldogs’ other scholarship quarterbacks are junior college transfer Stetson Bennett IV and All-American candidate Jake Fromm.   The post Georgia freshman QB D’Wan Mathis in ICU, recovering from brain cyst surgery appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ST. SIMONS ISLAND — Georgia football is way ahead of the game when it comes to bringing in money for 2019. The Bulldogs already had collected $33 million in ticket revenue as of April this year as compared to $21.4 million by the same time last year, according to the 2019 treasurer’s report. That report was given to the Georgia Athletic Association’s board of directors at the annual end-of-year retreat, which is being held this year here at the King & Prince Resort. That increase is attributed to having a seventh home game this season as well as last year’s ticket price increases, according to board treasurer Ryan Nesbit. Georgia reports $29.6 million in actual ticket contributions, which exceeded the budgeted amount of $28.5 million. Expenses will also be up slightly to $5.3 because of the extra game and an ever-expanding support base. “When you have home games with Notre Dame and Texas A&M, that helps,” UGA President Jere Morehead said. “Our athletic fundraising has been exceptional this year, so I want to commend Greg McGarity and (director of development) Matt Borman and everybody involved,” President Jere Morehead said told the board during his report to open the meeting. Georgia did not reveal its budget for the coming fiscal year, but it is expected to set another record. That has been the case in each year since the advent of the SEC Network bolstered the league’s revenue distribution program. League members received an average of $43.1 million from the SEC in the revenue distribution, which divides profits equally between the 14 members plus the conference headquarters in Birmingham. Last year, the board raised Georgia’s average football ticket price from $50 to an average of $66.42 per game, on a two-tiered system. Games against Tier 1 opponents such as SEC and Power 5 opponents cost $75 per game. Games against Tier 2 opponents are $55 per game. That does not include the required donation for the right to purchase those tickets. Georgia’s budget was more than $143 million last year. It’s expected to approach $150 million this year when it is presented to the board for approval during Friday’s meeting. The Bulldogs approved the architects for its football facility expansion but provided few details beyond it will be started as soon as possible. Morehead used a portion of his opening marks to congratulate McGarity, Georgia’s athletic director, and his administration “for a fantastic year whether it be fundraising or on the competitive field of play.” “We’re continuing to see a great deal of success and accomplishment on and off the field,” Morehead said. The board responded with applause, which is unusual for these proceedings. Seventeen out of UGA’s 21 sports competed in NCAA postseason play this year. That includes baseball, men’s golf and track and field, which are currently active in postseason play. McGarity received a $25,000 raise last year to a salary of $700,000. He has chosen to work on year-to-year contracts going forward. Fifty-six percent of 511 student-athletes recorded a GPA of 3.0 or better in spring semester, according to faculty athletics rep Craig Shipley. That’s below the athletic department’s stated goal of 65 percent but above the national average. Twenty-seven athletes recorded a perfect 4.0 GPA. Men’s cross country led all sports with a 3.44 GPA. Georgia Athletic Association’s is called to order moments before conducting its final meeting of the 2019 Academic Year in the Retreat Room at the King & Prince Resort on St. Simons Island. (Chip Towers/DawgNation)   The post Georgia football is raking in revenue at record rate for 2019 season appeared first on DawgNation.
  • MACON — As the marquee outside the Hargray Capitol Theatre boldly stated to passers by on Second Street, it was the Kirby Smart and Tom Crean Show here on Monday. The Georgia Bulldogs Club’s annual Coaches Caravan made its first stop here in Central Georgia Monday night and it was a quick one. Smart spoke for 7½ minutes and Crean for about twice that before a gathering of a couple or few hundred fans. There was no question-and-answer opportunity for the fans, which typically produces the most entertaining exchanges. No salvos were sent back Florida’s way. Before the program, the coaches did give the local press and team beat writers about 10 minutes for a Q&A backstage. After that, the coaches and an entourage of officers from UGA’s development office led by director Matt Borman adjourned for a private dinner with donors. The group will repeat the process Tuesday night in Augusta. Then that will be it for a while. There was very little in the way of hard news that came out of the session. The most pertinent was that all Bulldogs, current and incoming, are expected to meet academic eligibility requirements. That’s particularly refreshing considering Georgia had “a number of guys” who were sweating out spring semester grades, according to Smart. Other nuggets to come out of the 90-minute affair: Smart said no players other than linebacker Jaden Hunter are currently in the transfer portal. “None that I can think of,” Smart said. Smart congratulated Vince Dooley and praised the university for naming the field after him. “Who better to do it for than for a man who gave his life to the university and did a great job,” Smart said. We’re probably not going to see a lot more of outside linebacker Walter Grant at running back. “A lot of it will depend on the freshmen coming in, Kenny (McIntosh), and other guys at the position and how we feel, and outside ‘backer depth, too,” Smart said. “It was an insurance policy at best. It was kind of a research project to see what he can do.” Crean said he remains in constant contact with sophomore Nicolas Claxton as he works out for NBA scouts and he attended all his events at the NBA combine last week. He interjected that Claxton “could be a lottery pick” if he returned. Crean also said that he expects to sign another player before next season. Headlines from Coaches Caravan QB Jake Fromm will have more ‘offensive input’ in 2019 Kirby Smart expects all players, incoming and otherwise, to be eligible RB Zamir White on pace to be cleared for preseason camp Georgia fans flock to Macon landmark to hear from Kirby Smart           The post VIDEO: Kirby Smart, Tom Crean update fans on Georgia Bulldogs during ‘Coaches Caravan’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Incoming Miami grad-transfer receiver Lawrence Cager had the unique experience of getting to know both Kirby Smart and Mark Richt as head coaches the past few years. Smart has elevated Georgia football into an annual national championship contender in his three years leading the program. RELATED: Kirby Smart ‘proud’ to have worked for Mark Richt The Bulldogs played in the College Football Playoff Championship Game after he 2017 season, and narrowly missed making the CFP last season in controversial fashion. Smart coached a season under Richt at Georgia in 2005 and inherited a program on solid footing in 2016. WATCH: Mark Richt praised by rivals Saban, Spurrier, Fulmer Richt was was 145-51 over his 15 seasons at Georgia, his .740 winning percentage second only to Smart’s .762 (32-10). The differences in the disposition of Richt and Smart, Cager indicted, are like fire and ice. “Kirby was an All-SEC performer, so he can relate to you and he’s a player’s coach, he’s a guy you want to play under,” Cager said. “He gets fired up, just like coach (James) Coley.” Coley is the offensive coordinator at Georgia under Smart. But on the front end of Cager’s career, he recruited against his current boss, back when Smart was the defensive coordinator at Alabama. Cager began his career at Miami in 2015 with Coley calling the plays under then-Hurricanes’ head coach Al Golden. But then Golden was fired midway through the season, and Richt took over the Miami after being let go from Georgia following he 2015 season and returned to his alma mater to coach the Hurricanes from 2016-2018. Cager said Richt was much more reserved than what he’s seen from Smart. “With Coach Richt it was like, ‘We’re here to do this and that and handle business,’ ” Cager said. “It wasn’t like, ‘Let’s turn it up!’ Kirby will say ‘Let’s turn it up on them!’ “Coach Richt was more like, ‘Look, we are coming here, it’s Florida State, we know what we have to do, we need to line up and beat them.” Cager said the 43-year-old Smart is personable and comes across as being more invested emotionally than the 59-year-old Richt, who delivered messages in businesslike, matter-of-fact tone. Miami hired Richt to replace Golden after Cager’s freshman season. Cager said most of the players on the Miami football team had a pretty good idea Richt would be the Hurricanes next head coach. “Once Georgia let go of Coach Richt, this is his alma mater and his name kept coming up so we all thought we will hire him,” Cager said. “Once we heard it was us or Virginia, we knew for sure.” Richt changed the culture immediately, Cager said. “Golden came in here from Temple, he was more laid back,” Cager said. “Richt changed everything. We used to wear anything we wanted to practice, but then Coach Richt came in and wanted everyone uniform. It was old school, everyone would look the same, no earrings, the little stuff. “It helped a lot of people in the end. He’s a great guy. We were focused on winning championships, but his mentality was we are here to bring the swag back and it’s all about business.” Now it’s Cager who is all about business. The 6-foot-5, 218-pound receiver is expected to challenge for a starting spot immediately in the Bulldogs’ young receiving corps. DawgNation in South Florida Kenny McIntosh draws comparisons to Sony Michel, Jordan Scarlett Lawrence Cager eager for Georgia touch down ’The Blueprint,’ championship plans for South Florida star The post Fire and ice: Incoming Miami transfer compares Kirby Smart to Mark Richt appeared first on DawgNation.
  • MACON — Jake Fromm grew up and played high school ball 19 miles from the famous Hargray Capitol Theatre in downtown Macon where Kirby Smart was Monday. Fromm’s mother, Lee, works as a nurse in the Coliseum Medical Center, just a mile away across the Ocmulgee River. The Fromm’s family hunting lease is just 19 miles the other side of the hospital over in Plum Creek. So Jake Fromm is a big deal around. Then again, Fromm is pretty much a big deal everywhere these days. So Smart, here to speak at a small gathering of Georgia fans and Georgia Bulldogs Club members, dutifully acknowledged his quarterback and the many other Central Georgia players who dot the Bulldogs’ roster. “We’ve gotten a lot good players from here,” Smart said at the opening of his brief remarks before a crowd of a few hundred. “The guy who takes a snap from center and the guy who snaps it.” Fromm, obviously, is the player who takes the snaps. Trey Hill, who was Fromm’s teammate at Houston County High in Warner Robins, is the center snapping the ball to him. Hill played left tackle most of the time in high school, but did have occasion to snap to Fromm every once in a while. But now he’s the one replacement on Georgia’s heralded offensive line. He must replace graduated senior and NFL draft pick Lamont Gaillard. About that, there’s some question. About Fromm, there is none. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior is considered a All-America candidate and Heisman Trophy as the Bulldogs head into their fourth season under Smart, once again as a Top 5 team. Fromm does so having played in every game, starting all but one and in position to set the school’s all-time record for completion percentage. This year, Fromm will be operating under a new offensive coordinator. James Coley succeeded Jim Chaney in the role after taking over as quarterbacks coach last year. Smart thinks that is a good thing. “I think we’ve got some more quarterback guys around him with Coley working with him and he’s excited about that,” Smart said. “For him, it’s been a transition through the coordinator position where he’s kind of a sponge, he’s got more of an opinion now. He understands what we’re trying to do offensively.” Fromm has completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 5,364 yards with 54 touchdowns and 13 interceptions at this point. The thought is the Bulldogs will throw the ball more under Coley, who did that as coordinator at Miami and Florida State. Smart believes Fromm can handle whatever Coley can dish out, and will also have a say-so on what the Bulldogs do as well. “Any time you’ve got a three-year starter,he can give you input on things he likes about the offense, things he dislikes and things he thinks he can be successful,” Smart said. “That input is helpful, it’s always helpful.” The post Kirby Smart expects QB Jake Fromm to have more ‘offensive input’ in 2019 appeared first on DawgNation.