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Local News

  • A family is urging people to be careful about selling anything online. Someone rode off with their expensive dirt bike during a test drive. David and Karen Flores wanted $2,100 for it, and after placing an ad on Facebook Marketplace, they had an interested buyer. 'We decided to go down and meet him because he said he was a young guy,' David Flores said. That meant making the long drive from Cleveland, Georgia, to South Fulton. Text messages show the original plan was to meet at a Publix, but the potential buyer made a last-minute change. “We got to Spaghetti Junction, and he hit me with a text that says, ‘Is it OK if you meet me at my house?” Karen Flores said. When the young man and a passenger pulled up, Karen says she felt a little uneasy. “There was no tag on that car,” she said. The Floreses say the young man asked to test drive the bike, but instead of just taking it for a spin, he took off. “He was probably 400 or 500 feet away from me. That’s when he took off,” she said. “The minute I opened the driver door, the car that had been sitting there the whole time took off. Just took off,” she said. The couple filed a report with the South Fulton Police Department but say there’s no sign of their son’s bike.  “The scary thing is, they’re giving fake addresses of nice homes where people like us would feel safe to go to make these exchanges,” David Flores said. Still David found it in his heart to send a text message to the young man that stole from him that said, “At first I was mad but God loves you and me just the same.” Then he said, “I forgive you.“ “I am angry, don’t get me wrong, but he was young. You know, we all do wrong,” David said. South Fulton police said this type of thing happens quite often in metro Atlanta. They said they advise anyone buying and selling online to meet at a police precinct to make an exchange.
  • US Rep Jody Hice, the Walton County Republican who represents Athens in Congress, wrote the following opinion piece for USA Today... There is no question that the United States is facing both a humanitarian and national security crisis on our southern border. Just think about this: 2,000 illegal and inadmissible migrants arrive at our border every day; our immigration courts have a backlog of more than 800,000 cases; and in the past two years alone, Customs and Border Protection has arrested thousands of criminals at the southern border. Unfortunately, Democrats have repeatedly denied the magnitude of this crisis. Blinded by hatred of the president, they have refused to negotiate in good faith — choosing political expediency over the safety and security of the American people. Calling that shameful would be an understatement, especially given that many of the Democrats who are the loudest in opposition today have advocated for these same measures under former presidents. President Donald Trump has rightfully and responsibly pressed Congress to listen to our Border Patrol agents on the ground and provide the resources they need to protect us from the criminal gangs, drug smugglers and human traffickers that are seeping into our country. That’s neither immoral nor wasteful; it’s a constitutional imperative. And for weeks, the president has shown time and again his willingness to negotiate and make reasonable concessions, while Democrats have maintained their uncompromising stance. As I have long said, ensuring the safety and security of the American people is a fight worth fighting. While I prefer legislative solutions to executive actions to address the pressing issues of our time, the president has now been forced into declaring a national emergency. To be clear, the use of executive powers should, and must, be limited. Ultimately, I had hoped that Congress could deliver on a solution that would serve American citizens, keep our nation safe and stop the humanitarian crisis at our border. But once again, we failed
  • University of Georgia faculty member Katie Ehrlich is a recipient of the 2019 Association for Psychological Science Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions. The award, named for the first elected APS president, celebrates the many new and leading-edge ideas coming out of the most creative and promising investigators who embody the future of psychological science. Ehrlich, assistant professor in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciencesdepartment of psychology, is among eight 2019 recipients of the award, which APS presents annually to individuals who have made transformative early career contributions to psychological science. A developmental health psychologist by training, Ehrlich’s research is focused on social and emotional experiences for children and youth. One of Ehrlich’s major early contributions is serving as principal investigator on a $2.3 million Director’s New Innovator Award from the NIH Common Fund’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, to investigate the social determinants of health in children. The program will implement a new approach to examine how stress exposure is linked to children’s antibody response to vaccination. “A large body of research focuses on the influence of childhood stressors on physical health in adulthood, and much of this research relies on people retrospectively reporting about experiences that happened decades earlier,” Ehrlich said. “We’re really interested in how stressful experiences might shape physical health in childhood, not just adulthood. But one challenge with this research is that kids tend to be pretty healthy, so it can be difficult to identify markers of health that have meaningful variability. This research will allow us to evaluate whether current stressful life experiences are associated with a dampened response to vaccination in childhood.” Children who do not produce sufficient antibodies may be susceptible to infection, and Ehrlich hopes this work will add to our understanding of why some children still get sick even though they received the flu shot. Ehrlich is grateful to be recognized by the Association for Psychological Science but was quick to note that her research is a team effort. “It takes a small village to carry out our studies successfully,” Ehrlich said. “I have excellent graduate students and undergraduate research assistants who keep our projects organized and moving forward, and we rely on numerous faculty and staff across the university, including staff at the Clinical and Translational Research Unit, the Center for Family Research, and the Center for Vaccines and Immunology.” Now that the flu season is winding down, Ehrlich’s team plans to launch a new longitudinal study to examine how children’s self-regulation and family life are associated with academic functioning, depressive symptoms and inflammatory processes. For the new study, supported by grants from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation and the Jacobs Foundation, Ehrlich will recruit 150 African American youth in the greater Athens area, and hopes to begin data collection this spring. All the recipients of the Janet Taylor Spence Award will receive their award at the 31st APS Annual Convention, which will be held May 23-26 in Washington, D.C.
  • There is more sales tax talk on tap for today in Athens: the citizens committee that is looking at the sales tax project list meets, 5:30 this afternoon at the Snipes Building on Barber Street. The 2020 sales tax referendum goes before Athens-Clarke County voters in November.  Oconee County’s Planning Commission meets tonight: it is a 7 o’clock session at the Oconee County courthouse in Watkinsville.  Work is set to start on a new facility that will consolidate all Madison County pre-K classes into a new Early Learning Center. The Madison County School Board has signed off on the plan. The new center will open in the fall in the old middle school building in Danielsville.  Tonight’s Jackson County Commission meeting is set for 6 o’clock this evening at the Jackson County courthouse in Jefferson. 
  • The University of Georgia’s record-breaking number of acceptances for the Fulbright U.S. student program this year earned the university its highest ranking yet on the student list of Fulbright Top Producers. The university tied for 16th—along with Stanford University, University of Virginia, University of Texas at Austin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Villanova University—in its third time on the student list. Sixteen UGA students and recent graduates are participating in the 2018-2019 Fulbright U.S. student program. They are teaching English, conducting research and studying in countries spread around the globe. UGA previously made the top student list in 2012-2013 and 2016-2017, with 13 students accepting Fulbright awards in both of those competitions. “I am pleased that the University of Georgia is once again among the top producers of Fulbright students and that our ranking continues to rise,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “UGA is proud of the students and alumni who will represent the university as they pursue their academic and career goals and build relationships with communities around the world.” Flagship program The Fulbright U.S. student program offers research, study and teaching opportunities in more than 140 countries to recent college graduates and graduate students. As the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Fulbright is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and countries worldwide. “As a top producer, UGA is positioned among an elite group of institutions,” said Maria de Rocher, campus Fulbright U.S. student program adviser and assistant director of the Honors Program. “This is a campus-wide accomplishment. Our 16 Fulbrighters represent a diversity of backgrounds and areas of study, and include undergraduates, both within and outside the Honors Program, and graduate students.” Seven UGA students and recent alumni received Fulbright academic and creative grants. They are listed below alphabetically with their study concentrations and host countries: Jennifer Alexander, waste management strategies, Vietnam. Katherine Cheng, microcredit and cash transfer programs, Brazil. Kristen Gleason, environmental theory and aesthetics in the contemporary arctic, Norway. Jonathan McCombs, urban geography, Hungary. Michelle Paterick, curriculum of Finnish public schools, Finland. Keysa Rosas-Rodriguez, effects of palm oil expansion on freshwater resources, Mexico. Nicholas Twiner, syntactic theory and sociolinguistics, United Kingdom. Nine alumni received Fulbright English teaching assistantship awards. They are listed below alphabetically by their host countries: Brazil: Lilian Zhu. Colombia: Shornima KC. Malaysia: Kara Pemberton. South Korea: Rachel Kelley and Maggie Little. Spain: Elizabeth Jennings, Laura Moeller and Rachel Tepper. Vietnam: Caroline Beadles.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS – Their average age is 40. Most of them played college football at places like Arkansas Tech and Texas Southern. Three of them didn’t play college ball at all. They are the 10 full-time coaches who will be assisting Georgia head coach Kirby Smart for what’s expected to be a championship run in the 2019 football season. It’s an interesting mix of youth and experience and it features a surprising lack of actual on-field, Division I playing experience. The makeup of the Bulldogs’ staff came more into focus after roles and salaries were revealed last Friday in response to open records requests from media outlets. Smart has yet to offer comment or answer questions about his new staff. Here’s some factoids to consider as we take a closer look at the group: Not that it matters, but two of Georgia’s three coordinators did not play college football themselves. Neither offensive coordinator James Coley nor co-defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann played ball beyond high school. Recently hired tight ends coach Todd Hartley also didn’t play college football. He was a student assistant coach while attending UGA as an undergrad. Only running backs coach Dell McGee played major college ball. He was a wide receiver and defensive back at Auburn from 1992-95 and played briefly in the NFL. New defensive backs coach Charlton Warren played as a defensive back at the Air Force Academy. The rest of the staff were small-college football players. Defensive coordinator Dan Lanning played linebacker at tiny William Jewell College, an NAIA program at the time. Heralded offensive line coach – and newly-appointed associate head coach — Sam Pittman also played NAIA ball. He was an All-American lineman at Pittsburg State in Kansas. Special teams coordinator Scott Fountain played at Samford, receivers coach Cortez Hankton played at Texas Southern and defensive line coach Tray Scott played at Arkansas Tech Georgia’s staff also is not extremely deep on experience. Pittman, 57, and Fountain, 52, have been around the longest. They’ve logged 32 and 31 years, respectively, in the college game. Many people don’t realize that Pittman was once a head coach. He spent two seasons as head coach at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, three overall. Today he is considered one of the most successful recruiters of offensive linemen in the country. When broken down into experience as actual on-field, college assistant coaches, the average length of service for members of Smart’s staff is a relatively low 11.5 years. The 28-year-old Schumann has the least, entering his fourth year as inside linebackers coach for the Bulldogs. He was a volunteer analyst as an undergraduate student at Alabama, then a graduate assistant and, finally, a director of player development and personnel for two years before following Smart to UGA. Hartley (7), Hankton (7), Lanning (6), McGee (6) and Scott (6) all have less than eight years experience as well. Most of Georgia’s coaches spent a good bit of time coaching high school ball before moving into the college ranks. Fountain and McGee were high school head coaches before breaking into college as analysts. Pittman was also a high school head coach. Coley and Lanning each were high school assistant coaches before getting their breaks as analysts, or quality control specialists. Smart lost a combined 56 years of college and pro coaching experience off his staff when coordinators Jim Chaney and Mel Tucker left to accept new jobs after last season. Tucker became head coach at Colorado while Chaney accepted a $650,000-a-year raise to make a lateral move to Tennessee. That resulted in Smart paying $375,000-a-year less for his assistant coaches. Chaney’s addition along with the hiring of Derrick Ansley as defensive coordinator and Tee Martin as wide receivers coach and some other staff moves mean that Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt is now paying his staff $800,000 more than Georgia is ($6.045 million). That’s primarily due to coordinator pay. Chaney ($1.6 million), Ansley ($1 million) and Chris Rumph ($805,000) all have multiyear contracts and make $3.4 million annually between them. Georgia’s three coordinators are due $2.25 million in the next year. It’s not yet known if they signed multiyear deals, but three-year deals are standard operating procedure in the business. What’s it all mean? Not much at the moment. Smart’s doing just fine, thank you very much. He is a combined 10-3 against Georgia’s four primary conference rivals of Auburn (3-1), Florida (2-1), South Carolina (3-0) and Tennesssee (2-1). He is, of course, 0-2 vs. Alabama. The post Georgia Bulldogs’ 2019 football staff is short on experience, long on potential appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia Athletic Association board members will be briefed on the progress of efforts to add a new football-dedicated building to the Butts-Mehre Athletic Complex when it holds its annual winter meeting on Wednesday. In a conference call with members of the board’s facilities and development committee Monday morning, Athletic Director Greg McGarity confirmed that a status report will be provided on the latest multi-million dollar project to come on line since Kirby Smart became the Bulldogs’ head coach in 2016. McGarity said Georgia is in the process of selecting engineers and architects for the project, which is expected to be erect a building in the space between the Spec Town Track & Field grandstands and the Payne Indoor Athletic Facility. As DawgNation reported six months ago, such a facility is expected to carry a price tag of more than $50 million. Fundraising efforts are already underway. Since Smart’s arrival on campus in January of 2016, Georgia has built and dedicated a $30 million indoor practice facility and $65 million locker room and recruiting area underneath the West grandstand at Sanford Stadium. Since the fall of 2015, members of Georgia’s relatively new Magill Society have pledged donations totaling nearly $100 million to cover the cost of those projects. Board members will also be briefed on an upcoming project to improve the lighting at Sanford Stadium, McGarity said. The majority of the focus on facilities updates on Wednesday will be on construction of a new grandstand for the Henry Feild Stadium courts at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, McGarity said. Cost for that project is now expected to exceed $8 million. The board will also be briefed on plans to erect a new six-court indoor tennis facility for the complex. “That will be the only action item on Wednesday,” McGarity said. To date, none of the monies raised from the Magill Society have gone toward tennis. That is the sport Magill oversaw for decades before his death in 2014 at the age of 93. Board members will also be briefed on an ongoing $3.1 million equestrian project that will include a 7,000-square foot clubhouse at the team’s facility in Bishop. The post Expansion of Georgia Bulldogs’ football complex to be discussed at UGA athletics board meeting appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — As many as three outgoing Georgia football players have been projected as first-round NFL Draft picks by different analysts at different times. But there’s always one Bulldog on the first-round list — Deandre Baker. That didn’t change on Monday when the Georgia Thorpe Award winner surfaced as the No. 20 overall pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Mel Kiper’s latest first-round mock draft on the ESPN Insider pay site. RELATED: Georgia opens with 10 on NFL Draft boards Kiper has Baker as his second-highest rated cornerback in the draft behind LSU’s Greedy Williams, who he forecasts will go to Denver at No. 10. Earlier this month, NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter opened eyes when he projected both Baker and tailback Elijah Holyfield to be selected in the first round. Reuter, in a Feb. 5 three-round NFL mock draft, had four Bulldogs listed: Deandre Baker, No. 24 overall, Oakland Elijah Holyfield, No. 30 overall, Green Bay Riley Ridley, No. 35 overall, Oakland Isaac Nauta, No. 62 overall, New Orleans Ridley was at one point projected as high as the first round — at No. 32 — by NFL.com writer Daniel Jeremiah. WATCH: Riley Ridley coached up by NFL legends Jeremiah and fellow NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein recently penned an article on which one player each team should keep an eye on. The Baltimore Ravens were advised to keep an eye on speedy Georgia receiver Mecole Hardman, as “the buzz is starting to build in personnel circles.” The San Francisco 49ers, meanwhile, should watch for Ridley, according to the story: “The Niners need another big target at wide receiver with size and toughness for Kyle Shanahan’s scheme. Ridley’s college production was just OK, but there were plenty of mouths to feed in the Georgia offense. Ridley might be a fit for San Francisco as a Day 2 option, provided he shows ball-tracking ability and some route acumen in Indianapolis.” Projections from one analyst to another vary, as they each do their own evaluations and rely on different NFL sources. Kiper, for example, doesn’t have Holyfield, Ridley or Nauta ranked in the top 10 at their respective positions in the upcoming draft. It’s all talk for now, and NFL Draft projections are sure to get a thorough shaking up after the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. The combine testing runs from March 1-4. Georgia will have eight players at the combine, seven taking part in on-field testing. Outside linebacker D’Andre Walker had sports hernia surgery on Jan. 16 in Birmingham, Ala., and is rehabilitating. Walker hopes to be healthy enough to take part in the Bulldogs Pro Day for NFL scouts on March 20.     The post Georgia football favorites Elijah Holyfield, Mecole Hardman generating NFL Draft buzz appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Nicolas Claxton’s All-SEC campaign continued Saturday night against No. 19 LSU, the sophomore leading Georgia in scoring and assists. The Bulldogs played the Tigers tight in a hard-fought 83-79 defeat before the sold-out Stegeman Coliseum crowd, and Claxton had everything to do with it. RELATED: Georgia battles LSU in bitter 83-79 defeat “We had no answer for Claxton,” said LSU coach Will Wade, whose team has won 14 of its past 15 games. “He played great.” Indeed, Georgia out-scored the Tigers by nine points when Claxton was on the floor. Problem was, the six minutes the 6-foot-11 forward didn’t play, LSU outscored the Bulldogs by 13. Wade credited Georgia coach Tom Crean with creating match-up problems throughout the game with personnel substitutions. LSU struggled to get a handle on how to defend Claxton. “When he’s hitting those mid-range turnarounds, it’s very tough to guard him,” Wade said. “We put Skylar (Mays) on him, one of our guards, and they posted him, and we put our big guys on him, and they took him on the perimeter and he was driving and he was spinning. “We just didn’t have very good coverage on him. They exploited the mismatch.” Claxton converted a conventional three-point play despite being triple-teamed with 5:30 left, pulling Georgia within 71-70. But Claxton couldn’t get his shot to fall with the game on the line in the final seconds. Claxton’s layup was uncharacteristically off-target after Crean called time out to set up the play with the Bulldogs down 82-79 and 29.5 seconds left. “I was supposed to drive and make the layup,” Claxton said. “So, we executed the play right, I just came up short on the layup.” Claxton is one of only four players in the Division I ranks who leads his team in all five major categories: points (12.8 per game), rebounds (9.0 per game), assists (53), blocks (64) and steals (31). Claxton, the SEC’s overall leader in rebounding and blocked shots, just wants to get back in the win column. “I would say it’s progress, us just playing our hardest for the whole 40 minutes, not coming out in the second half and being in a drought,” Claxton said. “At the end of the day, we did not want a moral victory. We wanted to come out and get the win.” Georgia dropped to 10-15 and 1-11 in SEC with the loss. The Bulldogs play host to Mississippi State at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Georgia basketball players LSU coach Will Wade Georgia basketball boxscore   The post WATCH: LSU won, but ‘had no answer’ for Georgia basketball star Nicolas Claxton appeared first on DawgNation.