Holiday safety tips (online scam edition)

From the Athens-Clarke County Police Department:

Although this release is long it contains a lot of tips that can help prevent you from becoming the victim of a crime. We want everyone to have a safe and wonderful holiday season. Please help us keep you safe by reading and following these suggestions.

 Leaving for the holidays

 The holiday season is upon us and many students and residents will be leaving their homes unattended for an extended period of time. We will take every opportunity and make every effort to provide excellent service to our citizens and students by conducting frequent patrols and partnering with The University of Georgia Police. But we need your help to accomplish this. We encourage citizens who leave town to take preventive measures to help ensure they are not victimized.

 • Lock all doors and windows before leaving. If you have a sliding glass door, place a dowel or a sliding door lock in the channel. Close blinds and curtains.
 • If you have an alarm system, set it whenever you leave - especially for extended periods of time. Make sure your alarm company has current emergency contact information for you.
 • Use a timer for lights or leave some lights on when you leave.
 • If you leave for the holidays, take high value items with you. Larger items could be moved to a closet to conceal them. (Items frequently stolen in burglaries are laptops, flat screen TVs, gaming systems, iPods, iPads, and jewelry.) Make sure you record model and serial numbers of all electronic equipment. If this information is available it will be helpful if your property is stolen and later recovered.
 • Ask friends or neighbors to keep an eye on your residence. Have someone pick up mail and newspapers as well as change the location of any vehicles left behind.
 • During the holiday season many people order online and have the items delivered to their home. Packages are also sent to people who cannot travel to be with family. Thieves are aware of this and they ride around neighborhoods looking for packages left at residences. If you expect a delivery, and are not able to be at home, have a neighbor or friend watch for and pick-up the packages.

 • Park in well lighted areas if possible. Place valuables (purse, laptops, cell phones, etc.) in the trunk or cover them in the back seat.
 • Do not leave a purse unattended in a shopping cart. Keep it close to you at all times. Do not carry large sums of money in your purse. If it is snatched, let it go. It is not worth fighting with the suspect and being injured or worse. Do not flash large sums money around while shopping.
 • As you walk to your vehicle after shopping, always be aware of your surroundings. Watch for people lurking around vehicles. If you see someone who looks suspicious or out of place, go to an area where there are other people. As you approach your vehicle have your keys in your hand – don’t be fumbling around trying to find them in your purse. Be ready to open the door and quickly place your bags in the trunk. If you plan to do additional shopping, consider moving your vehicle to another location in the event someone is watching you. On-line shopping
 • Black Friday/Cyber Monday specials – There are a variety of scams to get buyers to click on links or open attachments. Criminals build copies of well-known sites and send emails promoting great deals. They take your credit card information but you never receive the goods. If the site has great discounts that should be a red flag that something is not right. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Go to the company’s website through your browser and check to see if the offer is legitimate. Complimentary Vouchers or Gift Cards
 • Watch out for offers for discounts on gift cards that are on social media. Think before you click on offers or attachments about gift cards or vouchers. Shipping Notices from UPS and FedEx
 • These companies do not send emails with tracking information. That information will come from the vendor. If you do receive a tracking number, log into the carrier’s web site and check for yourself. When clicking on one of these fake sites, your computer might be infected with a virus or ransomware which holds your files “hostage” until you pay them money.

 Holiday Refund Scams
 • These emails appear to come from retail chains or e-commerce companies such as Amazon or eBay claiming there's a "wrong transaction." You are prompted to click on a refund link. When you do that, you are asked to fill out a form that asks for personal information. This information will then be sold to cyber criminals who use it against you. Never pay online with a debit card, only use credit cards. If the debit card is compromised, the criminals can empty your bank account quickly. Phishing on the Dark Side
 • A new phishing email is being circulated that tricks people into thinking they can win tickets to the new Star Wars movie due out next month. These emails are phishing attacks. Public Wi-Fi • When using a credit card to shop online, never use public Wi-Fi. Shop only with a secure connection at home. Additional tips
 • Check the Athens-Clarke County Police Department website (www.athensclarkecounty.com/police) or The University of Georgia Police website (www.police.uga.edu) Thanks to the Athens-Clarke County Computer Information Services for the on-line shopping tips!!


No more boiling

It's safe to drink the water in Athens now (per this announcement).

Athens music boom spotlighted in photo exhibition

Athens music boom spotlighted in photo exhibition

Boil water advisory still in effect

We may hear news by Tuesday on whether this advisory gets lifted after repairs to the water main on Jefferson Road were completed.


Boil water advisory

Yeah, I'm a little late sharing the boil water advisory issued yesterday:
In order to protect the public from a potential health hazard, all Athens-Clarke County residents located in the affected area are advised to boil all water prior to use for drinking, cooking, or preparing baby food. 
The affected area covers the area bounded by Jefferson Road / Hawthorne Avenue / Atlanta Highway / Epps Bridge Parkway to the east and the Oconee County and Jackson County county lines to the west. It also includes Bogart residents who are Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities customers. A map of the area is linked to this release or view the map.


ACC garbage collection

Its Monday morning, 0745, South Millege Avenue heading in to 5 Points. The traffic is backed up roughly from George's Low Country all the way to 5 Points. The reason? The ACC waste department has chosen this time to run a damned garbage truck that stops at every house and apartment along South Millege as it works its way to 5 Points. Seriously ACC? Are you that indifferent or that ignorant?


Georgia woman accused of death threat against congressman

Georgia woman accused of death threat against congressman

Authorities say a northeast Georgia woman is in federal custody after
prosecutors say she threatened to kill U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a Georgia

An indictment filed this week in U.S. District Court
in Georgia states that Pam Spivey of Lavonia threatened to kill Collins
as well as an immediate family member of the congressman.

The indictment doesn't identify the family member, nor does it reveal a possible motive.

is charged with influencing a federal official by threat; and
influencing a federal official by threatening an immediate family


Georgia taxpayers pay $92k bill to pave road at Nathan Deal’s house | Political Insider blog

Georgia taxpayers pay $92k bill to pave road at Nathan Deal’s house | Political Insider blog

762 area code rocking along

The 762 area code has been in place in Athens for years now, which is why we have had mandatory 10-digit dialing in place since 2006 (if you still use a landline and know what that means). 762 is one of those overlays covering the whole 706 area code, including Columbus and Augusta. We are recently noticing these numbers in actual use around here, so don't be confused if someone gives you a number starting with 762. For example, T-Mobile phones are being assigned local Athens numbers starting with 762-728. The other exchange number in Athens right now is 762-499, which has shown up on voice-over-IP phones.

Don't forget that there are locally dialed number in the relatively new 470 area code, too, as those are showing up in Winder and Bogart. Athens now has five different area codes covering locally-dialed numbers, so it's harder and harder to identify local calls on caller ID.


Scene from a distance: Art Rocks Athens celebrates era between 1975-1985

This story, while not having much if anything to directly deal with Oconee County, was written by Hillary Butschek, who is the journalist hired by the Athens Banner-Herald ostensibly to write for the Oconee Leader

Scene from a distance: Art Rocks Athens celebrates era between 1975-1985

Sep. 1 Forum on Southern Mill, Chase Street, and Complete Streets policy

This event mentioned in Flagpole caught my attention: Blake Aued reports that there will be a public meeting on Sep. 1 at 4:00 p.m. at Hendershot's (237 Prince Avenue) to discuss plans for the Southern Mill redevelopment and Chase Street as it is being affected by upcoming work under the Complete Streets policy. The forum is being organized by Michael Smith and the participants include Kelly Girtz, Melissa Link, and Tim Bryant. (If you are curious about the scheduled time, Commissioners Girtz and Link have a regular meeting of the Mayor and Commission afterward at 7 p.m.) Read more in Flagpole...