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Local News

  • The Sheriff’s Office in Hartwell reports the arrest of a man accused of wielding a knife and a machete during a domestic dispute. Hart County Sheriff’s Office investigators say Samuel Madden is facing charges that include battery and aggravated assault. The 34 year-old Bowersville man was allegedly arguing with a woman over car keys. She was not injured. 
  • A day after storms left damage across parts of northeast Georgia, forecasters say there's a chance for more of the same today. A strong thunderstorm that rumbled through Athens late Wednesday afternoon brought down a big tree at the intersection of Morton Road and Charles Drive on Athens’ east side.  From WSB TV… Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brian Monahan said the chance for showers begin this morning and more rain could fall later this afternoon.  'I do expect some showers and storms and those will increase through the afternoon,' Monahan said. Heavy rain and lightning will be possible for some today.  Temperatures will remain in the low 90s throughout the weekend, with rain chances increasing a bit Saturday. More scattered storms are expected for the beginning of next week. 
  • The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office says the local DARE program will begin a new program aimed at educating Clarke County students about the dangers of vaping. From the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office…     The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office is proud to announce that D.A.R.E is launching a new Vaping Prevention Lesson this year. Vaping nicotine nearly doubled among high school seniors from 11 percent in 2017 to 20.9 percent in 2018. More than 1 in 10 eighth graders (10.9 percent) say they vaped nicotine in the past year, and use is up significantly in virtually all vaping measures among 8th, 10th and 12th graders. These are—by far —the biggest one-year increases ever seen for any substance in the history of the NIDA Monitoring the Future survey. In response to this crisis, D.A.R.E. has developed and launched a Vaping Prevention enhancement lesson for both Middle School and High School students. In these lessons, students will learn about the risks associated with vaping and understand how knowledge of risk factors increases over the lifespan of a product. Clarke County D.A.R.E. Officers' will be actively involved teaching students important facts about the danger involving vaping. The lesson is FREE to D.A.R.E. communities. Sheriff Edward's is an innovative change maker, and believes in mentoring young minds. He is dedicated to bringing forward the latest information to help inspire children, youths, and teens to critically think before making hasty decisions. He believes early intervention assists in the positive development of students as they grow and go through school. The Vaping Prevention Lesson Plan is designed to have fun with the students while reinforcing the lessons they learned throughout the school year; to help the students retain the critical thinking skills needed; and to be productive citizens. 
  • The Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice is out of job: Avery Niles has been fired from the post he’s held since 2012. Niles lied under oath in a lawsuit, falsely claiming he had an associate’s degree in criminal justice.   From the AJC’s Christian Boone   Niles, who was the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice commissioner, offered to resign effective Sept. 1. He submitted his resignation to the DJJ board, which was meeting to deal with the brewing controversy stemming from Niles’ testimony in a 2017 lawsuit filed by a former department administrator.  In a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp announcing his resignation, Niles wrote, in part: “I am very proud of the work that was accomplished during my tenure and will forever be grateful for this tremendous opportunity.”  He continued, “I want to thank you for allowing me to serve in the capacity of Commissioner, and if there is any other opportunity for me to continue my service with your administration, please let me know.” But the DJJ board chose not to accept Niles’ resignation, voting instead to fire him immediately. Kemp approved the decision, the DJJ said in a statement.  Niles, one of the many Gainesville-based appointees of former Gov. Nathan Deal, had led the DJJ since 2012. He had previously served 25 years with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.  Niles’ tenure at the DJJ was marked by problems often unrelated to the commissioner. Staff shortages at juvenile justice facilities nationwide are not uncommon, and that problem only grew worse in 2018, an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found. The department’s own weekly staffing reports, obtained by the AJC, found that six of the state’s seven long-term youth detention centers, or YDCs, were dealing with greater shortages in juvenile corrections officers than experienced in 2017.  A spokesman for the DJJ has said Georgia would like to stop placing 17-year-olds in adult prisons for certain less serious crimes, but it lacks the staff to care for them. Georgia is among only a handful of states that still incarcerate juveniles in adult penitentiaries.  The DJJ has also dealt with accusations that it mishandled claims of sexual harassment by staff from other employees, a widespread problem in Georgia government agencies, according to a separate AJC investigation.  The DJJ wasted no time in erasing Niles from its website, removing his photo and a link to his bio within an hour of his dismissal. 
  • US Marshals arrest a second suspect in the murder of a Gwinnett County teenager who was shot and killed July 1 outside a convenience store in Buford: victim Branden Gerena was 15 years old; 20 year-old Savion Dillard was arrested this week in Wisconsin. 21 year-old Denzel Wilburn was already behind bars, arrested two days after the deadly shooting. Gwinnett County Police say robbery appears to have been the motive for the murder.     On July 16, Dillard was captured by Marshals in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He was charged murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault and others. Authorities said he will be sent back to Georgia 'in the near future.' 

Bulldog News

  • HOOVER, Ala. Greg McElroy has about as much insight into the Georgia football as anyone outside the program, and the former Alabama quarterback likes what he sees from the Bulldogs. A lot. 'I love Georgia this year, I really do,' said McElroy, who led the Tide to an undefeated record and national championship in 2009, back when Kirby Smart was on the Alabama coaching staff. 'I'd be absolutely shocked if Georgia's not in the College Football Playoff conversation.' McElroy provided color analysis for the Bulldogs' G-Day Game, meeting with the staff in the days leading up to it to get a read on the team. It has been well-documented that Georgia's receiving ranks are thinned out, with the top five pass catchers from the 2018 roster no longer on the team. McElroy, however, shrugged that off. 'With all due respect to the wide receiver position, I think you can find productivity there,' McElroy said. 'I'm encouraged by what Demetris Robertson might become, and I think (Tyler) Simmons has a chance. 'I know they like some of the young guys that are coming up, Matt Landers in particular, couple that with the fact the running game is going to be remarkably strong and they have the best offensive line in college football.' McElroy said he still wants to see more from Smart's defense, however. 'The one thing I want to see is I want to see that havoc rate that Kirby Smart so often talks about,' McElroy said. 'You can't consider yourself an elite defensive unit and be 11th in the league in sacks. I want to see those numbers go up, and they have the personnel to do it.' McElroy, who stars on several ESPN and SEC Network platforms, also shared his thoughts on the power in the SEC East Division: Greg McElroy The post SEC Network analyst Greg McElroy: I love Georgia this year' appeared first on DawgNation.
  • HOOVER, Ala. A pair of Alabama players said Georgia was the toughest team they played last season, even though the record books reflect Clemson was the College Football Playoff champions. 'I sure as hell don't want to play them again,' Tide coach Nick Saban famously said of the Bulldogs after rallying from a two-touchdown deficit to win 35-28 in the SEC Championship Game last December. It was clear at SEC Media Days on Wednesday at the Wynfrey Hotel that Saban's respect for Georgia filters down to the Alabama players. 'I tell everyone Georgia is definitely the hardest team I've played since I've been in college,' Crimson Tide linebacker Dylan Moses said. 'It's really because they are very aggressive, just like us. So when we play against them we have to bring our A' game. 'You have to be consistent and always finish strong. That's why we've always been able to come out on top in the game, because we've been able to finish.' Alabama finished the season losing to Clemson 44-16, the Tigers finishing 15-0 and four-time defending ACC champions. Scoreboard Tide All-American receiver Jerry Jeudy indicated that why the scoreboard may not lie, it didn't tell the whole story, either. 'I'd say Georgia is the toughest team, too,' Jeudy said. 'I don't really think scoreboard defines the best of the teams, because some days the team could be at its best and win the games, and some days the team could be at its worst. 'For example, my freshman year we beat Clemson bad (24-6) last year, they beat us bad, so it depends on that moment who's the best team,' he said. 'Every time we play Georgia, it has always been a great game, so that's how I define who's the best team.' Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said he couldn't get a good enough read on the Bulldogs to make an assessment when asked to compare Clemson and Georgia. 'They are all tough teams, but I couldn't really get a good grasp on Georgia because I wasn't really as healthy as I wanted to be,' Tagovailoa said. 'The amount of talent they have is absurd. They have great, great talent out there.' Coach Dabo Swinney's Tigers obviously do, too. Clemson out-gained Alabama 482 yards to 443 yards, taking advantage of two Tide turnovers while not committing any. Georgia also out-gained Alabama last season, 454 yards to 403 yards. But unlike Clemson, the Bulldogs didn't capitalize on their plus-two (2-0) turnover margin advantage over Alabama in the SEC title game. UGA also missed a costly 30-yard field goal in the third quarter that would have extended the Bulldogs' lead to 31-14 at that time. The Tigers hit their only field goal attempt, a 36-yarder right before halftime, that gave Clemson a 31-16 lead at that time. Common opponents South Carolina and Georgia Tech were two other common opponents for Georgia and Clemson in 2018. WATCH: South Carolina star Deebo Samuel says Georgia was toughest 2018 competition The Bulldogs beat the Gamecocks 41-17, outgaining South Carolina in Columbia 473-336. The Tigers beat the Gamecocks 56-35 in Clemson, totaling 744 yards to Carolina's 600. Georgia beat Georgia Tech 45-21 in Athens, with 447 yards to the Yellow Jackets' 219. The Tigers beat Tech 49-21 in Atlanta, winning the total yardage battle 480-203. Georgia senior safety J.R. Reed didn't stray to far off the rehearsed one-game-at-a-time script the Bulldogs players brought to media days. But Reed dropped an unsolicited reference to Clemson, making it clear Georgia hopes to measure itself against Alabama or the ACC powerhouse in the 2019 postseason. 'Alabama is always going to be Alabama, Clemson will be Clemson,' Reed said. 'Hopefully we will see those guys soon, or see them in the championship.' The Bulldogs and Tigers aren't scheduled to meet again until 2024 in Atlanta. Georgia won the most recent meeting, 45-21 in 2014 in Athens. WATCH: Kelly Bryant reveals Clemson's locker room chatter from 2014 game at Georgia Clemson vs. Georgia 2018 NCAA stats Total Offense No. 3 Clemson, 527.2 yards per game No. 18 Georgia, 464.9 Passing Efficiency No. 4 Georgia, 170.52 rating No. 13 Clemson, 154.65 Rushing Offense No. 10 Clemson, 248.2 ypg No. 16 Georgia, 238.8 Third Down Conversion % No. 10 Georgia, 47.5 No. 20 Clemson, 46.0 Turnover Margin No. 29 Clemson, Plus-7 No. 50 Georgia, Plus-3 Total Defense No. 5 Clemson, 285.9 yards per game No. 13 Georgia, 314.3 Pass Efficiency Defense No. 15 Clemson, 110.92 rating No. 29 Georgia, 117.47 Rushing Defense No. 4 Clemson, 96.3 yards per game No. 31 Georgia, 134.0 Third Down Conversion Defense % No. 6 Clemson, 28.5 percent No. 23 Georgia, 34.0 Schedule Strength (USA Today/Sagarin) No. 10 Georgia, 76.63 No. 25 Clemson, 75.13 Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses The post WATCH: Alabama players agree, Georgia toughest team' Tide faced last season appeared first on DawgNation.
  • HOOVER, Ala. Andrew Thomas is miscast a lot of times. He was the 4-star who didn't get fully healthy until late into his senior year of high school. When he did, he was clearly one of the nation's top offensive tackles. Flash forward two years and Thomas won on the UGA plane bound for Hoover. Picked to represent the program at SEC Media Days. Thomas did not enroll early back in 2017. Yet he still started all 15 games of his freshman season. True freshmen in the SEC give themselves a chance to do that when they enroll early, but maybe not so much otherwise. Georgia's prized junior from Lithonia shed that label, too. He quickly claimed a starting role in fall camp and held it for all 15 games. That specific feat might not ever be matched again at UGA. It will require a true freshman (on this roster especially) to start wire-to-wire for a team in the SEC Championship Game, plus a playoff semifinal and then reach the national title game. Thomas is not the Bulldog most likely to drop interview sound byte gold at the same rate he levels his blocking assignments.He was at the SEC's flagship media event because of what he represents. Not just what he has to say. 'He started every game that he's been at the University of Georgia,' Kirby Smart said of Thomas in Hoover on Tuesday. 'He's a tremendous leader, person. Charismatic. Doesn't say a whole lot all the time. That's why it's fun to bring him to this event. I told him today as we got off the plane: Andrew, you're going to have to talk today. And I think he's excited to do that.' He spoke about what he sees that seems different about the 2019 Georgia football team. 'I think we had a shift in our leadership group,' Thomas said. 'A lot of our guys who were younger when coach Smart first got here are older guys now. Everybody is starting to buy into the system and everything. This is the senior class that Coach Smart first recruited. Everybody is really bought into what is going on.' Thomas plans to be more vocal. His play can no longer set just example. When he speaks, this team will listen. 'With the offensive line, I have to be more vocal when I see things that need to be addressed,' he said on Tuesday. Andrew Thomas: Charging ahead into his junior year The reality here is Thomas isn't quite as much into his shell as most might think. He even told a slew of reporters on Tuesday that he will open up once he gets comfortable with everyone in the room. It is far too simplistic to say he no plays like he should have been a 5-star. The more pertinent matter here is he plays like a future first-round draft pick. Thomas was hit by waves of questions about mock drafts, draft speculation and how he keeps his focus on the upcoming season with all those options on the mind. The rising junior from Pace Academy in Atlanta has said, did say and will continue to say all the perfunctory things there. Perhaps the most interesting subject that came up on Tuesday during his media tour was what Thomas is playing right now. Not where he'll play next fall. That's the piano. 'I'm still working on it,' Thomas said. 'I feel like I got off from it a little bit and I am working on getting back on it.' He's working on a couple of John Legend songs in 'Higher' and 'All of Me' with that. Correspondents that know his story well will know that he actually played percussion in his high school concert band in winter and spring shows. 'The keys and all from the drums are the same notes as the piano so I already understood a little bit of how that is and needs to be,' he said. 'While I am in college I decided to buy one just to practice it.' Thomas is working on learning the sheet music for a few of those John Legend hits right now. Not just working to be an Orlando Pace or a Tony Boselli or a Jonathan Ogden. 'I'd probably say I am a one-star piano player right now,' Thomas said. 'I'm learning. It is just a hobby right now when I have free time right now.' Does that translate to keeping Jake Fromm's jersey clean at all? 'I guess it is the same as far as like you have to practice it a lot,' Thomas said. 'It is a learned thing. Just like the offensive line. You can't just go and do it. It is the same for the piano.' How Andrew Thomas can be better in 2019 Thomas is now six feet, six inches tall. He said he weighed in earlier this week at 332 pounds. His body has changed a lot in Scott Sinclar's program in Athens. 'Just my strength,' Thomas said. 'I felt like I was pretty athletic in high school but my whole strength level has increased. My power cleans and my squat. My bench. I'm just a much stronger player now than I was then and that helps on the field.' He's working on his verse of 'Do More' by focusing on his pass protection. How he can be better with his hands to defuse SEC edge rushers. He also stays off-campus and also finds himself in the weight room at the complex working on his core strength and keeping his weight down even when he's not at the team facility. It sounds weird to say it, but Thomas is now one of the more veteran guys on the team. There has already been a lot of football played since his top Georgia moment so far. 'I would say the Rose Bowl,' Thomas said. 'Not when Sony [Michel] scored but when we drove down the drive before overtime and we scored on the train' play we always run. Well, not the train' play there but the toss sweep right when I went out and made a block and then after we scored. I saw the video and it was like I had so much emotion on that play. I would say that was one of my biggest moments.' He looked back on why he was able to play so early in his career. Thomas began working on being ready to go when he arrived in Athens in January of his senior year. He couldn't enroll early but he was already preparing himself to play when he got there. 'I think a big thing was my preparation before I got there,' Thomas said. 'With coach [Kevin] Johnson and understanding technique before I got there.' With that, he credited his Pace Academy offensive line coach. Kevin Johnson is one of the game's best teachers when it comes to line play. He made sure that both Thomas and rising sophomore Jamaree Salyer were well-schooled in the technical aspects of their positions before they arrived in Athens. 'Once I got to camp it was just working hard and understanding that,' Thomas said. 'If I wanted a spot, to go take it and having guys like Isaiah Wynn to teach me and help bring me up.' Thomas was assigned to room with Wynn during his freshman year. Wynn was the senior who played LT who went on to be drafted in the first round by the New England Patriots. Thomas became a fixture at right tackle, but also served as an apprentice that year under Wynn to slide over seamlessly to left tackle in 2018. 'That transition was very fast,' Thomas said. 'I remember coming in just doing workouts and the next thing you know we are playing for the national championship. It was a fast adjustment and I was happy that I was ready for it.' His big goal for 2019? Just stay healthy, he said. He hurt his ankle against South Carolina and that lingered for three or four games before finally getting better as the year went along. He started in all 13 games he played last fall but did miss the Middle Tennessee State game after that setback in Columbia. DawgNation.com from SEC Media Days Watch: Jake Fromm stays cool in the face of the media crush Kirby Smart compares Jake Fromm to Tim Tebow When did Georgia know? The timeline for the Jeremiah Holloman case? Zamir White has 'thrilled' Georgia head coach Kirby Smart with his off-season workouts The post Georgia football All-American candidate Andrew Thomas locks in on his junior year appeared first on DawgNation.
  • HOOVER, Ala. Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm handled his SEC Media Days appearance similar to how he operates in the pocket on Saturdays. Calm, cool and collected, Fromm provided quick, efficient answers to a barrage of questions without stumbling. UGA coach Kirby Smart has come to expect as much from Fromm, on and off the field. ' He leads the right way, does everything you ask him to do, enjoys the game of football,' Smart said Tuesday at the podium in the Wynfrey Hotel. 'When you go out to practice every day, this guy's got a smile on his face, he's competing, he's challenging people. 'He challenges me day in and day out. I know defensively we try to stop him, and he does a tremendous job.' Fromm has done such a good job that his name has come up among the favorites for the Heisman Trophy. RELATED: Fromm, Swift and Fields among Heisman favorites Fromm, however, showed no interest when asked about his potential to win the coveted award. 'For me it's about staying focused, how can I make this team be the best team it can be, and how can I win a football game' Fromm said. 'That's what I'm focused on, being the best teammate I can be. 'So I'm not really worried about that. I'm trying to take my team to win every single week and go into camp and get ready for Vanderbilt.' The Bulldogs open the season on Aug. 31 in Nashville against the Commodores. Smart said Fromm's work ethic and enthusiasm has been infectious, which is one of the characteristics of a great leader. Georgia QB Jake Fromm, SEC Media Days 2019 DawgNation at SEC Media Days Florida believes its closer to beating Bulldogs than final score Gators say playing UGA in Jacksonville a home game' Kirby Smart expands on playing Florida in Jacksonville Kirby Smart compares Jake Fromm to Tim Tebow When did Georgia know? Timeline for Jeremiah Holloman case Zamir White has 'thrilled' Kirby Smart with off-season workouts Expert breaks down Georgia Great Wall' breakdown Sam Pittman's O-Line headlining act for Georgia Kelly Bryant reveals Clemson locker room chat on Georgia The post WATCH: Georgia QB Jake Fromm stays cool in face of media rush appeared first on DawgNation.
  • HOOVER, Ala. Kirby Smart said a great many many many things on Tuesday at SEC Media Days. He also used a Jacksonville reporter's question and that media platform to clearly state his case regarding recruiting, the Georgia-Florida game and whether or not it needs to be in Jacksonville. 'Getting opportunities to put your best foot forward [and] to have people into your home so you build a $63 million dollar facility at your home location and you want to develop relationships with kids,' Smart said. 'Every opportunity you miss to have a kid at your home is an opportunity to get better.' When asked directly about his thoughts on the future site selection in Jacksonville, he offered his full view on that matter. 'I'm for what's best for the University of Georgia and as a group and as a staff and as administration, and we'll look at that internally and make the decisions based on what is best for our student-athletes and what is best for the university,' Smart said in the main media room at SEC Media Days on Tuesday. 'I don't get caught up in the emotion of this decision or that decision. I look at it from a perspective of 10,000 feet where I say: What is best for our program? And it's that simple. And we'll make that decision as I group and go with it.' The recruiting counterpoint in the Jacksonville site story arc Yet when it comes down to recruiting, it can be argued the Bulldogs can't do much better in recruiting over the last three cycles as they have with Smart. Georgia has averaged the nation's No. 2 recruiting class since Smart's first full year in 2017. That's the best mark in the nation in that span. It includes the nation's Nos. 1 and No. 2 classes in 2018 and 2019. Smart said the staff doesn't see things in that light. Those rankings are immaterial to the progress of his football team. 'We don't look at things from the scope of we had the No.3 or No. 2 or No. 6 or No. 10 recruiting class,' Smart said. 'That doesn't matter. We're trying to figure out how to get better. We're trying to figure out how to get better. The best way to get better is to have opportunities to present in front of those kids.' DawgNation from SEC Media Days so far Kirby Smart compares Jake Fromm to Tim Tebow When did Georgia know? The timeline for the Jeremiah Holloman case? Zamir White has 'thrilled' Georgia head coach Kirby Smart with his off-season workouts The post WATCH: Kirby Smart lays out the missed recruiting opportunities with the Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville appeared first on DawgNation.