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  • The Superior Court Judges of the Western Circuit, in partnership with the University of Georgia School of Law and the Western Circuit Bar Association, announce the third pop-up clinic in the Access to Justice Initiative. The mission of the Access to Justice Initiative is to provide access to legal services and information for individuals in need of legal assistance who live in the community.  Superior Court Judge Regina M. Quick will hold the third of several Access to Justice Pop-Up Clinics from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at the Athens Regional Library Auditorium at 2025 Baxter Street in Athens, along with Magistrate Court Chief Judge Patricia Barron, Magistrate Court Judge Benjamin Makin, and Superior Court Judge Eric Norris. Staff from the Probate Court and Georgia Legal Services and students from the UGA School of Law will also be in attendance. Attorneys provide brief individual consultations on topics including family law such as divorce and child support, adoption law, probate law, employment law, criminal law, and landlord-tenant law at the Pop-Up Clinics. A list of legal service/attorney resources will be provided for individuals who may wish to seek further assistance beyond the Pop-Up Clinic. The Pop-Up Clinics will be held one Saturday a month through June from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at various locations around Athens to be announced. The dates for the remaining clinics are February 24, March 24, April 21, May 12, and June 16. Lawyers, legal educators, and staff attorneys from the local courts have committed to volunteering their time for the Access to Justice Initiative. The initiative is an opportunity to help those in need in the community and help provide access to competent legal representation. For more information about the Access to Justice Pop-up Clinics, contact Judge Quick’s office at 706-310-3606 or the Athens-Clarke County Court Administrator's Office at 706-613-3161.
  • The search for next president and CEO of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce is underway. The Chamber’s Board of Directors will look to replace Doc Eldridge, the former Athens Mayor who is stepping down at the end of the month. From the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce... The leadership of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce has initiated an executive search process to fill the president and chief executive officer’s position. Current president Doc Eldridge announced in December that he will be leaving the Chamber effective March 1, 2018. He has accepted a position with Twin Lakes Recovery Center, which provides treatment services for drug and alcohol abuse.   “The executive search process will be conducted in three phases,” according to Shannon Wilder, current Chair of the Chamber. “The first phase will be focused on listening to our membership, community stakeholders and regional leaders about the type of executive they feel is important for the Chamber. Doc has built a strong foundation for the organization, and our challenge is to determine the best type of professional to build on those successes.”   A recent membership survey of Chamber members will be utilized as the base for the research. Additional local, regional and state leaders will also be contacted for input.   The second phase of the process will include a nationwide search for the new executive. This will begin in early March after the Search Committee approves a weighting scale of skill sets desired of the new leader and an updated position description. The skill sets will be derived from the stakeholder feedback in phase one.   The final phase of the executive search process will be interviews with the most qualified candidates. The search process will take approximately 90 to 120 days.    Under Eldridge’s leadership, the Chamber expanded and improved programming for members; gave its support to the creation of the Athens-Clarke County Office of Economic Development; stabilized its financial position, including the recent sale of the Chamber Building; increased membership; re-established a role as an important contributor to the community and as the leading advocate for business.   Other members of the Search Committee include: Matt Bishop, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development; Doug Brouillard, Eaton Corporation; Tony Ferguson, Georgia Power; Dean Mannheimer, Athens First Bank & Trust; Jean Mullis, Jackson EMC; Michele Pearson, Edward Jones; and Chuck Toney, Jackson Spalding.    The Chason Group, an executive recruitment firm specializing in chambers of commerce, economic development authorities and foundations, is assisting the AACC with the search. 
  • Police in Toccoa say two suspects have been arrested in connection with a January shooting: one man was wounded in what looks to have been a drug-related shooting on January 19. Suspects are identified as Isaiah Wall and Shawn Mayfield, both from Toccoa.  A Hart County man says he was attacked and robbed by two men he stopped to help after one of them flagged him down on Friendship Road in Hart County. The victim, who was treated at a hospital in Lavonia, was beaten by the men. He tells Hart County Sheriff’s Office investigators he lost cash in the robbery.  A Murrayville man was booked into the Hall County jail after allegedly breaking into a drug store: 25 year-old Michael Free is accused of taking prescription pain medication from a pharmacy in Murrayville.  A former teacher is among three people indicted on drug charges in Hall County: Karla Alvarez, Monica Brito, and Ricardo Brito are accused of trafficking cocaine. Alvarez was a teacher and coach at a middle school in Chestatee. She and the Monica Brito were arrested last March, caught with what Hall County drug agents said was more than $6 million worth of cocaine. Ricardo Brito remains at large
  • The Superintendent of Schools in Hart County says a student was removed from a classroom after making threats: it happened at Hart County High School. Superintendent Jay Floyd in Hartwell says no students were in danger. There is a similar story out of Dawsonville, where a student has been arrested after allegedly making threats at Dawson County High School.  And in Hall County, Superintendent Will Schofield issued a statement about a reported threat at Flowery Branch High School. “The rumor was started through a social media texts chain,” he said, “but events reported in the text have no basis of fact.”  From the AJC... Two metro Atlanta schools were the targets of overnight threats, adding to the growing list of institutions in North Georgia that have received threats this week. Someone claimed on Snapchat they would make Covenant Christian Academy near Loganville “Number 19,” Gwinnett County police told Channel 2 Action News. The number is a reference to a statistic claiming there had been 18 school shootings this year. A nonprofit gun control group tweeted that number the day of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. However, the Washington Post found the statistic was misleading. The threat against Covenant Christian, which also targeted minorities, was traced to a child who told police his account was hacked and he knew nothing of the situation. Police don’t consider the threat credible at this time.  Patrols in the area were increased as a precaution, police said. The private school doesn’t have its own police resource officers. In Forsyth County, authorities arrested a 16-year-old boy who allegedly threatened to shoot up West Forsyth High School. A concerned parent saw a social media post from the student that showed a firearm and a “potential threat of violence,” sheriff’s Cpl. Doug Rainwater said. The parent contacted the sheriff’s office Wednesday night. “The sheriff’s office, in collaboration with the Forsyth County School System, immediately began an investigation into the report,” Rainwater said. “After numerous interviews with the students and parents, lasting well into the morning hours, the suspect was able to be identified and located.” The student was taken into custody and charged with one count of terroristic threats and acts. He has been turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice, authorities said. In other incidents: · At Dunwoody High, a student had knives in his car on school grounds, Principal Priscilla Cole said in an email to parents. School officials found the knives. “No one was threatened,” she said. · A 16-year-old student was taken into custody and admitted to detectives he made threats against Gordon Central High School in Calhoun, the sheriff said. · In Chattooga County, a 16-year-old was charged with disruption of public schools after a threat was found written on a bathroom wall at Chattooga High School, officials said. At least six schools or districts reported threats of some kind Wednesday. It was the second threat for one of the schools.
  • Athens will remember the long-time and legendary high school football coach Billy Henderson in a Sunday service at the Classic Center. Henderson, who died earlier this month at the age of 89, was laid to rest after last weekend’s funeral in Macon. Henderson guided the Clarke Central Gladiators to three state championships during his tenure in Athens, which stretched from 1973 through 1995. Sunday’s memorial service is set for 2 o’clock at the Classic Center. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS – Perhaps you’ve heard more than you care for about Sony Michel the last couple of days. I haven’t, and I’m going to give you a little more today. There are a lot of people and players that I will always be fond of in the wake of Georgia’s 2017 football season. Michel is at the top of that list. Before I get in too deep on Michel, don’t you think that’s one of the main reasons everybody had so much fun rooting for the Bulldogs last season? Yeah, sure, winning all those games was fun and exciting. And the way they won a lot of them was pretty cool, too. But one must admit, the players and personalities on Georgia’s last team were pretty easy to get behind. I was talking to Janet Frick the other day. She’s a psychology professor at UGA and a faculty-appointed member on the school’s athletic board. The purpose of our talk was to discuss grief and depression and the other tangible psychological effects of the sudden, disappointing ending to the Bulldogs’ season. Part of the reason it hurt fans so much, she said, was because Georgia fans had come to care deeply for these players. “So much happiness had been associated with those experiences, so much positivity, so much goodwill,” Frick said of the 2017 season. “You had Lorenzo Carter, you had Sony and Nick [Chubb]. You had all these upstanding young men who were such good representatives of Georgia. So, for [the season] to end for them the way it did, the fans experienced real feelings of grief and loss.” As Frick alluded, Michel was one those players you couldn’t help but root for. Then he goes out this week and pens a letter to the Dawg Nation. Published at theplayerstribune.com — that cool website founded by Derek Jeter to provide a first-person creative outlet for athletes — Michel used that forum basically to tell Georgia fans how much he appreciated them and loved his time in Athens. Like most everything I’ve heard come from Michel’s mouth, his thoughts were deliberate and well expressed. Keep in mind, they don’t just publish anything at The Players’ Tribune. It has to be meaningful and well done. I talked to Jake Silver, Michel’s player rep at CAA, and he said Michel immediately expressed an interest in publishing that letter and worked hard on it for weeks. It made me think about my impressions of Michel when he first arrived at Georgia. He was very quiet then, along the lines of Chubb, the kid who would become his best buddy at UGA. But, slowly, he came out of his shell, socially and athletically. We soon learned he liked to rap. We found out that, while he was backup, he really was no backup. Later, we’d learn he had exceptional leadership capabilities. Michel’s Georgia career peaked during the Rose Bowl, where all those traits came together. He delivered a simple, four-word motivational speech at halftime — directed at Georgia’s overwhelmed defense — and that turned the tide against Oklahoma. “I got your back,” he shouted. And boy did he. Michel ran for 181 yards and 3 touchdowns and he caught 4 passes for 41 yards and another score. Chubb had 145 yards and scored twice as the Bulldogs delivered a come-from-behind victory for the ages, 54-48 in overtime. Fortunately, most people barely remember that Michel had a fumble late in that game that Oklahoma used to scoop and score on a play that looked like it was going to decide the Rose Bowl in the Sooners’ favor. Alas, Michel’s teammates had his back. They rallied and gave him the opportunity to record the winning score, which he did. I’ll forever remember the poignant moment when Michel, after being mobbed by his teammates, came to the Bulldogs sideline and exhaustedly fell into the arms of former Georgia running back Garrison Hearst. With his face hidden from view during an extended embrace, Michel let loose tears of joy and relief. As if he hadn’t given enough, Michel basically apologized in his letter Wednesday for not being able to deliver Georgia the national championship its fan base so desperately craves. “I really hope everyone out there understands how badly we wanted to bring that championship home for Dawg Nation,” he said. “I know it still stings, for all of us, but I hope that we gave you all enough amazing memories throughout the season that you can forgive us for not getting it done on that night in Atlanta.” Yeah, Sony, I think they probably can give y’all a pass on that one. Hopefully, he has received a few thank-you letters himself. I’d say he deserves them. The post At every turn, Georgia’s Sony Michel keeps distinguishing himself as special appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Welcome to the Question of the Day, where our writers answer (or try to answer) the best questions submitted by Georgia fans. If you’d like to submit a question, please email us at  ugaquestionoftheday@gmail.com. Or you can tweet us here and  here. Look for the Question of the Day every Monday through Friday. I am all for traditions. Having said that, I think the tradition of Georgia versus Florida in Jacksonville (the only reason our home slate of games is below average every other year) is stale. If we are not going to go to a home and home with Florida then we need to consider going Jacksonville-Atlanta every other year. I have always been frustrated by the amount of travel involved in that game for Georgia (fans and players alike) and not Florida. Year after year after year, we make the trek down there and play in the Gator Bowl, of all places, never getting a home game, travel wise in return. Meanwhile, the Gators sleep in their own beds and take an hour bus ride over from Gainesville. This is insane. Let’s start a new tradition of playing Florida in one of the greatest football stadiums on the planet Earth, Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga. —  Jeffrey Trapnell This is Question of the Day blog, Mr. Trapnell, and what you’ve submitted here reads more like a statement. So I’m afraid we’re not going to be able address it. Kidding, of course. You’ve made it clear how you feel about the situation, and a number of Georgia fans actually share your sentiment. That said, most don’t. More importantly, the respective institutions don’t. So I don’t want to say it will never become a home-and-home series again, or Jacksonville-Atlanta, but I’m going to pull up as close to that line as I can get it and park it there. Let me put it this way: I don’t think I’ll see it in my lifetime and I doubt my UGA alumnus daughter will either. Switching this matchup to a standard on-campus, regular-season game is something I’ve heard about for years. It seems to become an especially hot topic every time Georgia loses two or three games in a row to the Gators. So, it was bantered about a good bit last year in the wake of the Bulldogs losing three in a row. Then, of course, the Bulldogs went out and won 42-7, and that talk quieted. Meanwhile, the two schools just inked a five-year contract with the city of Jacksonville that will keep the game there through Oct. 30, 2021. That contract, by the way, happens to be very lucrative for both Georgia and Florida. It pays them $2.75 million each, which goes toward travel, lodging and expenses. In addition, the Bulldogs get $350,000 for charter air travel. But that’s not the thrust of the financial windfall. The teams also split the gate, or ticket revenue. I don’t have exact figures in front of me but, basically, Georgia makes about $2.3 million for every home game it plays (which it would get every other year in a home-and-home situation). But with their arrangement with Jacksonville, the Bulldogs make $1.8 million every year, or $3.6 million every two years if you want to compare them side by side. But the financials, though significant, aren’t the chief motivation for either team. The real benefit comes from the standpoint of public relations, marketing and, yes, tradition. The game is a block of granite in the annual college football schedule, always falling on Halloween and always filling the 3:30 p.m. time slot for CBS. It’s one of only two neutral-site, regular-season conference games played in the country, the other being Texas-Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout. Those are two of the best-branded games in sports. It brings the game closer to Georgia’s South Georgia and North Florida fans and makes a huge economic impact on Jacksonville and the Golden Isles of Georgia and Florida. Jacksonville reported a $35 million impact last year. Mostly, though, it’s the tradition, and for Georgia fans in particular. While it’s primarily a day trip for Gators fans, it’s a week-long fall vacation for many in Dawg Nation. It’s Georgia fans, mostly, who invade the islands of St. Simons and Jekyll and Amelia, and fill up the hotels of greater Jacksonville. And they have fun. That’s a reason they’ve kept coming back every year since 1933. Competitively, I’ve never bought that it’s any kind of advantage for Florida being a bus ride away as opposed to Georgia being five hours out. Yes, the Gators have won 21 of the last 28 going back to 1990, but that had more to do with Steve Spurrier’s arrival as coach than where the game was located. Case in point, Georgia was 15-4 in the 19 years before that. The Bulldogs lead the overall series 50-43-2 and they lead in Jacksonville 44-41-1. That’s nice and close, as you’d like for a neutral-site game. And it’s not the Gator Bowl anymore. It’s EverBank Field, and they just added a south end zone seating section and a bunch of other amenities to make it a better venue for this game in particular. No, it will always be the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, and it’s not going anywhere. Have a question for beat writers Chip Towers and Seth Emerson? E-mail us at ugaquestionoftheday@gmail.com. The post Get used to it because Georgia-Florida game is in Jacksonville for long haul appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS, Ga. – Due to the threat of inclement weather on Sunday in Athens, #14 Georgia softball has changed the schedule for this weekend’s 15th Annual Georgia Classic.   Georgia will host College of Charleston, ETSU, and Gardner-Webb at Jack Turner Stadium. The eight-game tournament will be played Friday and Saturday.   Friday’s slate will begin with Gardner-Webb vs. ETSU at 10:30 a.m. followed by Charleston vs. ETSU at 1. Georgia will begin tournament play at 3:30 against Charleston followed by a matchup with Gardner-Webb in the nightcap at 6.   Saturday’s schedule will also be changed. A rematch between ETSU and Gardner-Webb will begin the day followed by Gardner-Webb taking on Charleston at 1. Georgia takes on Charleston at 3:30 followed by ETSU to round out the tournament.   Admission to all Georgia softball games is free for all fans.   Live stats will be available all weekend long at GeorgiaDogs.com as well as live Twitter updates on the official Twitter page of the Bulldogs, @UGAsoftball.   15th Annual Georgia Classic Schedule Friday 10:30 a.m. – Gardner-Webb vs. ETSU 1 p.m. – College of Charleston vs. ETSU 3:30 p.m. – College of Charleston vs. Georgia 6 p.m. – Gardner-Webb vs. Georgia Saturday 10:30 a.m. – ETSU vs. Gardner-Webb 1 p.m. – Gardner-Webb vs. College of Charleston* 3:30 p.m. – College of Charleston vs. Georgia 6 p.m. – ETSU vs. Georgia   Home team is listed second and will occupy the third base dugout *College of Charleston will be the home team but will occupy the first base dugout
  • One of the highlights of the annual AJC Peachtree Road Races is the commemorative t-shirts given to the runners. Five Atlanta-area graphic designers have been selected as the finalists for the 2018 race. The public will now have a chance to vote on its favorite design by visiting ajc.com/peachtree. Voting is open through March 26.  The winning art will appear on the coveted finisher shirts received by 60,000 runners and walkers at the finish line of the 49th AJC Peachtree Road Race. This year’s finalists are: •    Michael Martinez, Austell •    Bart Sasso, Atlanta •    Cheryl Totty, Duluth •    Russ Vann, Atlanta •    Margo Weitzel, Smyrna The five designs were chosen from more than 125 entries by a panel of judges made up of representatives from Atlanta Track Club, the AJC and Mizuno USA, which produces the shirts. Last year’s winner, Kevin Benton, also served as a judge. Coincidentally, two 2017 finalists were again chosen to be among the top five with Bart Sasso and Cheryl Totty’s designs both advancing to the next round of the competition. This is Sasso’s third consecutive year as a finalist. “The AJC Peachtree Road Race is a celebration of all things Atlanta,” said Rich Kenah, Atlanta Track Club’s Executive Director. “It is always exciting to see the creative ways Atlanta’s art community captures this 49-year-old Atlanta tradition event in their designs.” The winner will be revealed at the finish line of the AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4, 2018. Besides having their design appear on the T-shirt, the winning designer will also receive $1,000 from the AJC. Each of the three runners-up will receive $100 for their efforts.
  • ATHENS ― The parallels between what Georgia is doing and what Clemson has done are uncanny. There is not an emotion that the Bulldogs or their fans are feeling that the Tigers did not experience two years ago. Clemson made it to the National Championship Game following the 2015 season in the second year of the College Football Playoff and pushed perennial powerhouse Alabama to the brink. But Dabo Swinney’s Tigers came up short, losing 45-40. Clemson also fell victim to some of Nick Saban’s masterful in-game calls. The Tigers led heading into the fourth quarter. But after Alabama tied the game at 24-24 with 10:34 left in the game, Saban took a gamble and called for an onside kick to try to keep the ball away from Clemson’s red-hot quarterback, Deshaun Watson. It worked. Marlon Humphrey recovered and the Crimson Tide quickly scored on a 51-yard touchdown pass to give them a lead they’d never relinquish. But Clemson never went away. The Tigers stayed right on Bama’s tail until the very end. The outcome wasn’t decided until Clemson’s onside kick attempt sailed out of bounds with seconds left in the game. Clemson players and fans were devastated. It had been 34 years since the program’s last national championship. They felt like victory was in their grasp, and they let it slip away. Georgia players and fans can relate. On Jan. 8, the Bulldogs led 13-0 at halftime and 20-10 heading into the fourth quarter before finally falling to Alabama 26-23 in overtime of the National Championship Game. What made the loss even harder to take was that the Tide’s winning score came on a 41-yard pass on second-and-26 with Georgia leading by 3. In Clemson’s case, the Tigers made it back to the National Championship Game following the 2016 season, but this time the Tigers vanquished the Alabama monster. They won 35-31 to secure the school’s first football national championship in 35 years. The question now is this: Can Georgia do the same thing? Can the Bulldogs finish first after finishing second? And would they need to go through Bama again, whether that be in the SEC Championship Game or the playoffs? The answer is yes. And Clemson stands as precedent. Larry Williams is in the perfect position talk about the similarities and differences in Clemson’s latest run of success and the one that many are predicting for the Bulldogs. Williams once covered UGA athletics as a newspaper beat reporter. Today, he is a senior writer at TigerIllustrated.com, the Rivals website dedicated to covering Clemson. He also wrote a book chronicling the Tigers’ 2015 season, Clemson Tough: Guts and Glory Under Dabo Swinney. Williams said what Georgia did in 2017 and in the National Championship Game in particular is reminiscent of Clemson’s 2015-16 run. And, lest we forget, the Tigers were in the College Football Playoff again after last season. “It was nothing like Georgia experienced with the officiating; that’s a big difference,” Williams said with a laugh. “There’s reason for Georgia fans to continue to be ticked off for the next few weeks and years, really. It was nothing like that for Clemson. But after the initial devastation of how close they came, the (2015) season still retained that sort of magical quality and the fans and the team came away thinking, ‘Wow, we were right there on college football’s biggest stage.’ ” To this point, Georgia has matched Clemson only in terms of losing to Bama in the title game. The key now is getting back into the playoffs for a second consecutive run. And that’s much easier said than done. To start with, the Bulldogs lost to graduation or to the NFL draft 11 players who started against Alabama in the CFP final in Atlanta. Seven of those players come from the defensive side of the ball, including Butkus Award-winning linebacker Roquan Smith. But if it’s any consolation, so did Clemson. The Tigers lost their top two defensive ends, who were first- and second-round NFL draft choices, a couple of interior defensive linemen, their starting inside linebacker, their top cornerback and both safeties. “They lost a ton of talent,” Williams said. “They just sort of reloaded because they had been recruiting so well.” Sound familiar? Georgia has been recruiting exceptionally well under coach Kirby Smart. In fact, if one puts any stock in recruiting rankings, the Bulldogs are recruiting even better than Clemson did in its lead-up to three consecutive playoff berths. The Tigers finished 11th, ninth and 16th in the 247Sports composite team recruiting rankings in the three years leading up to winning the national championship. That’s an average of 12th. Georgia has posted recruiting classes ranked first, third and sixth in the last three seasons, an average of 3.3. “We can talk all we want about the motivation and the intangibles and all that stuff. Really, it’s about the horses,” Williams said. “Clemson beat Alabama [in January 2017] because they had Deshaun Watson and Mike Williams and Jordan Leggett and Wayne Gallman. They just put playmakers on the opposite side of the ball, and that’s what it takes. That’s why they couldn’t beat [Bama] the third time.” That talent infusion is why everybody is pointing to the Bulldogs to repeat as SEC East champions in 2018. But that’s just part of the equation. Williams pointed to the motivation of opposition as another obstacle that must be overcome. Clemson managed to repeat as ACC champions and make it back into the playoffs, but it wasn’t easy. Clemson struggled early in the 2016 season. The Tigers barely beat Auburn, had to fight like mad to beat Troy in their own stadium and lost to Pittsburgh. They squeaked by Louisville and Florida State, and Virginia Tech, although a heavy underdog, gave Clemson all it could handle in the ACC Championship Game. “It was kind of a struggle for them all year,” Williams said. “I remember one of their coaches telling me that they were adjusting to that target on their chest. That’s something that Georgia is going to have to deal with and experience as well. Clemson in ’15 and Georgia’s season last year both had that sort of magical quality; they were doing a lot of things for the first time. It’s just a different deal when everybody you’re playing watched you play in that championship game.” Georgia is proud to be in the position to wear that target. And with the pedigree of athlete Smart has brought to Athens during these last three recruiting classes, it’s one the Bulldogs could wear for a long time. The post Clemson precedent shows Georgia can return to College Football Playoff and win appeared first on DawgNation.