Traffic light with camera has shorter yellow light

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, Larry Jernigan believes that the county government shortened the length of the yellow signal on the traffic light at West Broad Street and Alps Road when they installed a camera system to catch drivers running the red light. He is going to court to fight a ticket he received. The truth may not be so sinister, but the yellow light is indeed shorter there for West Broad Street than the yellow lights at other traffic lights on the same road where the speed limit is also the same, 40 m.p.h. The yellow lights at Sycamore Drive, Camellia Drive, and Holman Avenue are 4.0 seconds long. The yellow light at Rocksprings Street is also 4.0 seconds, even though the speed limit is lower, 35 m.p.h. The yellow light for West Broad Street drivers at Alps and Hawthorne is 3.8 seconds long, and this is the only light with a red light camera.

The shortest yellow light I observed was an arrow for eastbound traffic on Broad turning west onto Hawthorne. It stayed lit for just 2.9 seconds.

I measured these times with a videotape. The NTSC format uses 30 frames per second. (NTSC stands for National Television Standards Committee -- or Never Twice the Same Color.) I advanced my tape frame by frame and counted frames to determine the length of the yellow lights. Although the article reported that David Clark from the Athens-Clarke County Department of Transportation and Public Works said that the Alps-Hawthorne light for Broad Street is 3.9 seconds, the actual visible period is 3.8 seconds. (When the lights change, there is a dark period between each color, and it is possible that the equipment's measurement starts when the green light turns off, but I only counted the dark periods between yellows and reds. Even though most of the lights are LEDs, they still also fade on and off, so the first video frame of a light shows a dim light.



Gymdogs Win 3rd Straight National Title

And their 8th overall. Here is the ABH article.

Athens will host the 2008 NCAA Gymnastics Championships, where the Gymdogs will be going for four straight. Katie Heenan has already called it, Babe Ruth/Joe Namath-style.

Team draws power from Down Under 04/28/07

4 of the 5 Jittery Joe's starters for tonight's Athens Twilight Crit are Aussies, including my favorite local rider Jeff Hopkins:

OnlineAthens.com: Team draws power from Down Under 04/28/07


Decorated water spout

Oh, those clever art students
Oh, those clever art students,
originally uploaded by Amy Watts.
Amy Watts photographed this drainage spout that art students made more interesting with chalk drawing.


Bank robbery

From the e-mail:

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information on the person who robbed the Wachovia Bank, 1200 Mitchell Br Rd, on April 24, shortly after 9:00 a.m.
A white male entered the bank and presented a small box along with a note demanding money. The note also stated there was a bomb in the box. The suspect was given an undisclosed amount of money and, upon leaving, he left the box in the bank. The University of Georgia Police Department Bomb Squad responded and determined the box did not contain an explosive device.
The suspect was described as mid to late 20’s, approximately 6’, and possibly a stocky build. He was seen leaving in a dark in color, older SUV type vehicle (possibly a Jeep Cherokee, Ford Bronco, or Chevrolet Blazer).
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Det. Jeff Clark at 706-613-3888 X303. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the investigation. They may be reached at 706-549-6477 or after hours at 404-679-9000. If you wish to remain anonymous you may call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 706-613-3342 (04-1920).

Brussack for Congress?

Facebook denizens are urging University of Georgia law professor Bob Brussack (profile, homepage) to run for District 10. The idea is that his retirement coincides well with the qualifying period ending this week.


HOT 100.7 FM presents Good-Bye Donovan

HOT 100.7 FM presents Good-Bye Donovan
With Emmie Beretta on vocals, guitar and keys, Neal Nelson on bass, Carter Boss on guitar and Casey Kelly on drums, this new Athens band plays rock and roll with a little country pop on some songs, a lot more bratty anthemic punk on others.


odd conversation, considering it was in front of a customer

My wife and I were at Home Depot yesterday, and after debating the price of a plant, and agreeing with my wife that the sign indicated a lower price than what came up when scanned, the employee assisting her said to another while passing by, "Did you bring any weapons to work today?"

When asked about this she asserted that the question was meant for her coworker and not for the customer. Presumably she had momentarily forgotten that said customer was by her side and therefore within earshot.

When I asked her if she really said what my wife said she did, she implied that she asked because she had the intention only to do herself harm.

I will not be shopping there again. Hello, Lowe's!


Athens Needs a Comedy Club

I'm a big fan of the stand-up comedy. Because I am, it bothers me that there are precious few opportunities for me to enjoy said stand-up comedy here in Athens. Sure, there a few open mic nights here and there, and the occasional comic will appear at the Tate Center, Georgia Theater or the Classic Center. But, just as the occasional independent film at Flicker or Georgia Theater is not the same thing as Cine, these occasional stand-up appearances are not the same as having a full-time comedy club. I think Athens needs and could support one. The audience base would be similar to that for the music scene; largely students and local young professionals, along with folks coming in to town from around Northeast Georgia for weekend entertainment. Many comedians touring through the Southeast would probably hit Athens if there was a full-time club, and the existence of the club would also create the opportunity to develop local talent.

Is anybody else with me?


Rollergirls on Sunday

From the e-mails:

The Classic City Rollergirls are pleased to announce their first foray into hard-hitting derby action. On April 22nd, the Hittin' Misses will take on the Dames of Maim (featuring Poke A. Dot, AKA Sheila McAlister of the DLG) in an exhibition bout at Skate-A-Round USA on Cherokee Road. Doors open at 7:30 pm and the bout will begin promptly at 8 pm. Half-time music by The Dumps.

After the bout, meet up with the girls at an after party at King Pins Bowl and Brew featuring the Dictatortots, 8 Track Gorilla, and Bitch Switch.

Tickets are available through http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/13856.

Inaugural Brawl
April 22, 2007
Doors at 7:30; Bout at 8
Skate-A- Round USA
3030 Cherokee Road
Athens, GA 30606
$8 in advance
$10 at the door


VT rampage will open discussion of campus safety

What happened today at Virginia Tech today was absolutely horrible, with more people killed than in the shooting rampages at Columbine High School or the University of Texas. (I was hoping that the round-the-clock discussions of Don Imus on news channels would end, but not because of this kind of story.) This tragedy probably hits home in every academic community. Unfortunately, we will probably hear a lot of public discussion that will place blame on the wrong people and the wrong issues. I already heard a law enforcement instructor criticizing a lack of security screening on the campus.

I hope that any possible official overreaction does not come to our campus at the University of Georgia here in Athens. Like Virginia Tech, we have an open campus and generally low crime. Both visitors and members of the university community can freely visit the campus and many of its buildings. We have an air of respect and vigilance that discourages crime and violence (except on certain fall Saturdays). Metal detectors and searches are even lacking at functions involving important government officials from our own country and abroad.

I hope that we see no changes in security measures at UGA in the wake of this tragedy. Let's mourn this loss without asking for overprotective measures or blaming Virginia Tech administrators.

Another query

O, Internet, please tell me who the band was that was playing Saturday (April 14) at around 7 p.m. at the Tracy Street Warehouses. We took the long way around, being rained on, walking through the part where the roof is falling in, but we could see the band through the wire fencing there, as well as hear them, and they were pretty good, kind of punk rock, fairly young. I'd like to know more, but I see no way to do that unless you hear my prayers.


How many Starbucks does that make now?

For those who haven't been in the eastside Kroger lately, at the end of the month there's going to be a Starbucks opening up where Chick-Fil-A used to be.

It feels like pretty soon we're going to be at that point that comedian Lewis Black considers the end of the world universe, where there's a Starbucks across the street from a Starbucks.

[Edited to add:] Actually, wait, come to think of it, we're pretty close to that point already. The Starbucks on Atlanta Highway is right across the Loop from Barnes and Noble, which has a Starbucks within.


The Nuci's benefit featuring Dark Meat, Elf Power, and Of Montreal karaoke!

Of Montreal made a speedy return to Athens to help out local music venue, Nuci's Space, with a karaoke benefit concert. Elf Power, a fellow Elephant Six band, and Dark Meat, the 16+ member psychedelic super-band, also performed. Of Montreal was the only band that did the actual karaoke.

Before I talk about the actual show, I'd like to share an amusing anecdote about silly music snobs. My friend and I arrived early and grabbed a spot in front of the stage. Not long after, a guy with a camera struck up a conversation us but lost interest quickly. I talked about how happy I was to see almost every song from the April 24th performance up on Youtube.com. He said,
"Huh. Haven't seen those."
A couple of other men joined him within a few minutes and began talking about the "kind of people" that Of Montreal attracts in a disdainful fashion. He also made a note of how great their live shows are.
"Yeah," said the camera man agreed, "Have you seen them on Youtube yet? They're awesome."
My friend and I had a good chuckle out of that one. Nice, dude. So he lied to his friends about seeing videos; big deal. But the "kind of people" Of Montreal attracts? What an ass-hat. It goes without saying that this guy just stood there like a big rock for the duration of the show because he was way too busy being hip to (god forbid) let loose. He should have given his good spot to someone who actually wanted to have fun. "The kind of people..."

Anyway: end of rant. Onward!

For those of you who have not seen Dark Meat live and crave a wild musical experience, I highly recommend seeing them when you have the chance. This insanely large ensemble group consists of a trio of lady back-up singers, a horn section, a lead singer/guitarist, bass guitarist, flutist, a girl who doesn't really play anything besides the tambourine but has screaming pipes of the likes which have rarely been heard, a drummer, and a keyboardist who provides an amazing contrast to the insanity of everyone else by sitting at his stool with the straightest look on his face. If I have left anything/anyone out, and that's a big totally a possibility, then my apologies are given in advance.

Everyone looked fantastic. They sounded even better. This is a band that will rock the hell out of you. I wish that I could you give you a list of the songs they played, but unfortunately I wasn't familiar enough with their music before hand. Camera Man, however, was bitching that they didn't play enough from the album; in that case, I suppose any previous familiarity wouldn't have helped much.

It doesn't take an expert, however, to realize that Dark Meat is a glorious jumbeliah of music, attitude, oddities, and spirit. Jim McHughes, the lead singer/guitarist, introduced each song with an rather bizarre summary. Though I don't remember any of them verbatim, I believe this mock-summary shares a fraction of the same spirit:
"This song is about a psychedelic nanny and her vacuum as they slide across a rainbow and into the thicket of a revolution!"

I ordered the album promptly the next day. w00t.

Elf Power only took ten minutes or so to set up. That by itself is awesome. I don't want to sound like they were anything less than fantastic because I'm not writing much about them; that's not the case at all. They know their audience, they played the favorites, and they made it sweet and simple. I occasionally swing by the Elephant 6 message board and see people criticizing them for being 'dull' or 'hum-drum.' I don't know what the hell those people are talking about - Elf Power has never disappointed me.

Then it was time for Of Montreal. When everyone was in place, the MC announced that they were going to show us how to rock some karaoke and Kevin Barnes said, in his (very distinct) voice,
" 'Ello, Everybody, this is Spinal Tap in the UK!"

They actually played "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" from the film. It was great fun, yes sir!

I couldn't stay for all of the Karaoke. It was standard fare; occasionally you had someone sing something well (wee!) and everyone else did drunk renditions of random indie music and Guns 'N Roses. Most of the singers were funny and occasionally there were a few whose wild shenanigans made me think, "Are they really doing that?! No...wait! What the hell, yeah, they're really doing it!"

Even better, though, were the in between gags by the hilarious MC. Out of his many costumes, my favorite was the giant, clownish fat-suit. He waddled out, clasped his hands, and said, "I don't know about all of YOU guys, but I just LOVE Smucker's JAM!"

So anyhow, if you ever get a chance to see Of Montreal do their own set or show, do it. Their live shows are fantastic.

All in all, it was a great evening.

A query more than a post

Does anyone know if Cine does matinee prices for their 2 pm-ish shows on weekends?


Athens, a two-theater town

Here is another post by Tim from the archives, originally posted on June 11, 2005. The exciting thing is that this year we have a new theater downtown regularly showing movies again.

Athens was a growing town, I guess it always had been. But we knew for sure that it was getting big when we got the Palace Theater built downtown. We now had two theaters. The Georgia Theater was the first theater I remember. We would go to the movies there occasionally. But when they built the Palace, well, we dropped the Georgia Theater like a bad habit. Still and all, we missed the balcony at the Georgia Theater. Innocent kids that we were, we thought the balcony was just a good idea, a nice place to watch the movie from, even if the angle was bad and you ended up missing some of the movie detail because of that. It was only later that I realized that the balcony was put there before integration, that’s where the black folks had to sit. But like I said, we were innocents and didn’t ponder such things. I did later though after my time in the Army as I read more and more about the south during the early twentieth century. The Palace had no balcony. It also had more business and better movies. I think part of that was the air conditioning at the Palace was frigid. We’d come out of there on a summer Saturday afternoon about to freeze. Then the heat and humidity would hit us along with the glare, it was almost disorienting. It’d snap you back to reality though, putting the fantasy world of the picture show behind you quick.

The Palace also had the marketing thing going with the Athens kids. The Saturday afternoon at the movies was wildly popular. A lot of us kids watched the Officer Don Popeye club show on the television station from Atlanta. It was either channel 2, 5 or 11, that was it. I can’t remember what channel it was on, I want to say channel 2, but it was a live, in-studio show with an audience of kids. Popeye cartoons were shown on the show. Well, one Saturday afternoon at the movies, it was announced that Officer Don himself would be at the Palace the very next week. Damn, we were all stoked. It was to be our first encounter with true celebrity! Imagine, Officer Don himself, right there in our picture show! We couldn’t wait, but somehow the next Saturday finally arrived. The place was packed a good 30 minutes before the show started. I was sitting down on the first or second row. I wanted to see it all. I was convinced that Officer Don was going to bring Popeye, Brutus, Olive Oil, Wimpy, and everyone else that I saw every afternoon on the television. What did I know from a cartoon? Imagine my disappointment when Officer Don appeared, by himself, told a few corny jokes, then did a hand stand on a ladder back chair as the grand finale? After he left the stage, we saw some Popeye cartoons, but I was bitterly disappointed that I didn’t get to meet Popeye et al.

Later on, much later on, Athens got a third theater downtown. It was over across from City Hall. It was called the Paris Adult Theater. Times, it seemed, had changed…


Classic City Golf coming to Jennings Mill next week

Long Drive Shootout & Junior clinic Part of Tournament Week Activities

Nationwide Tour Players and Host Pro swing for Bragging Rights

ATHENS, Ga., April 9, 2007 – Tiger Woods may be the number one ranked player in the world with millions per year in earnings, but he would be only tied for 96th on the Nationwide Tour in terms of driving distance. Local sports fans will have the opportunity to see some of this power displayed firsthand as some of the Nationwide Tour’s biggest hitters tee it up in a long drive competition prior to the upcoming Athens Regional Foundation Classic (ARFC). In addition, local youth will have the opportunity to learn how to hit the long ball from several of the pros following the competition in the annual ARFC junior clinic.

Taking place on Tuesday, April 17th beginning at 4:00 p.m. at Jennings Mill Country Club (JMCC), five Nationwide Tour Players and JMCC host professional Larry James will battle it out for bragging rights. Southern Broadcasting’s 960 The Ref personalities Jeff Dantzler and Mike Tingle will be joined by ESPN personality and ARFC participant Charlie Rymer to provide drive-by-drive commentary through live remote coverage of the contest.

Currently, the driving distance leader on the Nationwide Tour, Tad Ridings, averages more than 321 yards off the tee. The average of the top-ten driving distance leaders on the Nationwide Tour is almost 10-yards longer than their PGA TOUR counterparts.

“I think fans will be blown away with the strength and ability of these players,” said ARFC tournament director Cutts Benedict.

The junior clinic will begin directly after the conclusion of the long drive contest. The junior clinic is a chance for local youth to hear directly from the pros about topics related to golf and life on the tour. Time and space permitting, junior clinic participants will even have an opportunity to hit a few balls and receive individual instruction from the pros.

“What better way to pick up the basics of the game than from some of the world’s most talented players,” explained Benedict. “Youth of all ages and skill levels will be able to walk away with something they’ve learned from these guys – both about the fundamentals of the game and the commitment it takes to succeed at golf.”

The long drive contest and the junior clinic are free of charge. The junior clinic is open to all boys and girls 15 years old and younger. Participants are encouraged to bring clubs if they have them. Parents are encouraged to attend with their children. Each child in attendance will receive two complimentary tournament daily passes.

Athens Regional Foundation
All proceeds from the Classic will benefit the Athens Regional Foundation. The Foundation’s goals of community service and education are accomplished by providing the financial means to establish projects and programs to reach out and serve the long-term healthcare needs of area citizens. Recent projects of the Foundation include the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support, which provides free resources to anyone affected by cancer; The Guest House, a home away from home for families of critically ill patients; a Mobile Mammography Unit, which provides screening mammograms to women who do not easily have access to mammograms; and the Breast Health Center, which includes one of the only all digital mammography centers in the country.

The Foundation’s current project is a campaign to expand cancer care services. A highlight of the campaign is the Griffin-DuBose Healing Lodge, named in memory of John E. “Buck” Griffin and Bolling DuBose, M.D., two beloved community members who served the hospital for many years; increased programming with an emphasis on survivorship and patient care services; and growth of the existing endowment to ensure long-term existence of these services.

The Nationwide Tour
The Nationwide Tour is part of the PGA TOUR family and was founded in 1990. Nationwide has served as the umbrella sponsor of the Tour starting with the 2003 season. The Top 20 players on the Nationwide Tour graduate to the PGA TOUR annually, and to date, former players have won 193 PGA TOUR titles, including 10 major championships. Among those who have honed their game on the Tour are Stewart Cink, John Daly, Chris DiMarco, David Duval, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman and David Toms. The PGA TOUR is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Its website is www.PGATOUR.com.

Nationwide, based in Columbus, OH, is one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the world with more than $157 billion in assets. Nationwide ranks #99 on the Fortune 100 list. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, homeowners, life, health, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mutual funds, pensions and long-term savings plans.

Nationwide and the Nationwide Framework are federally registered service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. On Your Side is a service mark of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

* * * * *

10th district voter registration drive

HELP! We have fallen, and we are about to get up!

Dear Democrats in the 10th Congressional District of Georgia,

Now is our chance! We?ve been asking for it. We have a wonderful
opportunity to put a good Democrat in Congress representing our interests!

What an exciting day that will be!

The Democratic Party of Georgia (DPG) and the Voter Registration (VR)
Committee have targeted Athens-Clarke County as the key to the 10th.

We feel if we get our old faithful and new faithful to simply vote on June
19th, 2007 we can take this seat from the Republicans.
Wow! That does not give us much time!

The last day to register to vote is May 21, 2007.

*********The DPG VR Committee is holding a get-started meeting in Athens on
this Saturday, April 14th at 10am. 337 S Milledge Ave (Butler Bldg).

We want YOU there! We want every good Democrat to get involved!

If you are a good Democrat, a member of your County Democratic Party, the
State Committee or Executive Committee of the DPG, League of Women?s
Voters, APRI, etc.
I urge you to come on Saturday! We need your energy and your knowledge of
our community and Congressional District. You are so important to our

Please try to come this Saturday. For sure, plan to vote on June 19th.
Please, please forward this information to anyone you know who can help
register, volunteer to phone bank, or help in any way.

We have the talent, knowledge, and dedication to pull this one off!

Barbara A. Sims
10th Congressional District Chair DPG

Counties in the 10th:
Banks, Clarke, Columbia, Elbert, Franklin, Greene, Habersham, Hart, Jackson,
Lincoln, Madison, McDuffie, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Putnam, Rabun,
Richmond (part), Stephens, Towns, and Wilkes.

Bombay Cafe closing??

I just heard that the Bombay place is closing. Does anyone have a confirmation of this?

Suspicious yellow van; entrepreneurship

This may be a little late, but there is an e-mail going around warning Athens residents of a suspicious yellow van. It says he told one resident "he had a letter which needed to be signed for collection," but the person refused to sign anything or let the man use his phone. It says that at another location on March 21 the man grabbed a woman who was able to free herself, close her door, and report the incident to the police. The van is described as yellow but with no markings, and it has been spotted in such places as Skyline Park and the St. Ives subdivision.

In other news, Athens-Clarke County is expected to receive a designation from the Georgia Department of Economic Development as an entrepreneur friendly community. Mayor Heidi Davison said yesterday that earning this designation requires not only that the community to have the appropriate resources but have them organized and accessible in one place. I'm not sure which place that is, but maybe we'll find out in upcoming news stories talking about this process.


Surveillance cameras bust vandal

The Athens-Clarke County Police report that the perpetrator of graffiti with a marker was caught this morning by a surveillance camera, and the suspect was charged for 13 markings:

Around 0220 April 9 a communications officer monitoring the downtown surveillance cameras saw a male writing on the wall outside JR’S BAIT SHACK, 142 N Jackson St. An officer responded and located the male at Wall St/Clayton St. He was identified as JOHN MCCALL DAVIS. He was asked if he had a marker on his person and DAVIS advised he did. A check of the downtown area revealed 12 other locations that had been marked with “JMD” or “PC4.” These locations included FOSTER’S JEWELERS, 283 E Clayton St; JUNKMAN’S BROTHER’S DAUGHTER, 283 E Clayton St; DEPALMA’S, 401 E Broad St; THE 283 BAR, 283 E Broad St; SCHOOL KIDS RECORDS, 264 E Clayton St; ATHENS REALTY, 254 E Clayton St; MARGO JEWELERS, 224 E Clayton St; COOKIES CAFÉ, 198 College Ave; ON THE ROCKS, 255 E Clayton St; PITA PIT, 123 N Jackson St; a building at 173 Jackson St; and a light pole at Clayton and Jackson St. DAVIS, 34, Commerce Rd, was arrested and chargd with 13 counts
Criminal Trespass to Property. (04-0641)

Update: The Athens Banner-Herald has covered this: "Graffiti arrest makes case for cameras, police say," 10 April 2007.

One in Three

That's the portion of teen girls in Athens who will become pregnant before they're 20, according to an article in today's Banner-Herald.
It's not hard to see the connection between teenage parenthood and poverty, Burnett said. Teenage mothers are more likely to drop out of school, are likely to be unmarried, and their children are more likely to have expensive health problems than those of older mothers, he said.

And personally I'm really tired of the head-in-the-sand attitude of many so-called religious conservatives and republicans. The standard excuse for opposing most measures pertaining to providing reproductive health care is anecdotal: my daughter isn't doing this, so I won't support it for anyone else. Or morally superior teens aren't doing this, so I refuse to support measures that encourage immorality. First, regardless of your personal circumstances, the need is there. And second, due to the statistics, your personal cirucmstances may not be as you think they are.

But a delusional grip on the statistics isn't limited to the right:
Although most adults in Clarke County don't think unmarried teens should be sexually active, more than 70 percent also believe sexually active teens should be provided with birth control, according to the survey.

While we sometimes like to pull a Mr. Wilson and grumble on about the kids today, I'm not sure that anything has changed in the last 20 or so years....or perhaps longer. My mother taught junior high in the mid-70s, and she noted that she found it discouraging to teach kids whose prevailing destiny was teen pregnancy followed by all the usual consequences. When I was in junior high and high school in the 80s/90s there were pregnant teens among us. So, it's perfectly fine to note your opinion about whether or not teens should be having sex...but that doesn't really matter when the vast majority of them are. And furthermore have been. Forever.

And as a feminist, I think it's important to note what choice really is. It's the choice to have children, or not have children, when it is most appropriate for you to do so. It is the choice to protect your ability to earn (at that age to become self-sufficient) by delaying childbearing until you are economically capable of caring for a child. Or not.

Meanwhile our choice as citizens is to give teens all the tools necessary to make their own choices. It's imperative that we do so.


Record low temperatures

Easter is going to be colder than Christmas. Welcome to Georgia.

Photos of people and places

TheGlobe_E 013
TheGlobe_E 013,
originally uploaded by scenemissingmagazine.
If you want to regularly catch views of people and places in Athens, you should watch the Flickr account of scenemissingmagazine. This guy catches a lot of scenery and activity around town. Sometimes I even see people I know, though I don't this photographer myself. Some photos are artistic and others are casual snapshots.

EPD approves sewage spew into Barber Creek

Citizens for Oconee's Future, Inc.
P. O. Box 1301
Watkinsville, GA 30677

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has notified us that a permit has been granted to Oconee County to discharge 1,000,000 gallons of treated wastewater into Barber Creek. The Board of Commissioners will now proceed with the development of the additional sewage treatment capacity. A message from Lee Becker follows with additional information on the issue.

Please keep up with this issue as it is still possible to mitigate some of the adverse impact if the Board of Commissioners chooses to do so. Keep in mind that spills happen. The County just recently notified the public of a spill at its Calls Creek treatment plant. The neighborhoods along Barber Creek must be protected from untreated or poorly treated sewage flows down Barber Creek.

Charles Baugh

Dear Friends,

As you probably already know, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division has granted a permit to Oconee County to begin discharging 1 million gallons per day of treated wastewater into Barber Creek.

As expected, the EPD made its decision on narrow technical grounds. Now the Oconee County Board of Commissioners must decide whether to build the Rocky Branch sewage plant for which the permit was issued.

The Commissioners can make a decision to address some of the key concerns citizens voiced about the plant. The Commissioners can decide to treat the water to a higher standard so that people can come into skin contact with it without danger. They also can agree to restrict the discharge into Barber Creek to times when it will not contribute to flooding.

The EPD ignored some of the key arguments we made about the draft permit, including the inappropriateness of the public notice for the hearing and violation of the fecal coliform standard.

I will be talking with legal advisers about whether we can force the EPD to reconsider its decision.

In the meantime, the spotlight is on the Board of Commissioners. We will need to do everything we can to keep it there.

For more information on the EPD decision, go to:




Automated car wash

I tried out the new Tidal Wave car wash today. It's on West Broad Street near Sycamore Drive where Burger King used to be. For $3.99 -- wow, less than four dollars -- I got my car washed in an automated drive-through system. What was interesting to me was that it was more of a pull-through system than a drive-through. The attendant tells everyone to drive within guide rails and put their car in neutral, then you don't steer or brake. A conveyor pulls your car through the wash which has brushes and all that. I'm not sure what the advantage of this system is over the type that moves brushes around a stopped car, but I imagine it could be all the rage in car wash trade magazines. I have used a vehicle wash that you drive through slowly, but it was the bus wash machine for Campus Transit at UGA.

The convenient part was the free vacuums to clean your car's interior. It's nice not to get nickel-and-dimed over everything, though of course the wash system did have more expensive options that allegedly do more.

If I had paid with cash rather than a credit card, would the machine have spit back a penny? It must be really important to keep that price under four dollars.

Legion Field concert: Battle Against Poverty

From the e-mail:

The 2007 Battle Against Poverty Concert is a day long event taking place on Legion Field. This concert is a community-wide initiative begun by local high school students that not only stresses awareness but also breaks the boundaries of the University bubble and local Athenians for an eye-opening afternoon of rock, hip-hop, and awareness.

Athens society is as diverse and generous as you're likely to see, but at the heart of our town is a lesion, buried under layers of scar tissue from two decades of persistence. Poverty is this problem antagonizing Athens and The Battle Against Poverty recognizes this in a united and powerful event.

This event will happen on Saturday April 7th at UGA's Legion Field. [Legion Field is on campus and located along Lumpkin St., across from the Tate Center parking lot.] The concert kicks off at 3:00 PM with a High School battle of the bands emceed by none other than Mayor Heidi Davidson. The champion of this round earns the shiny prize of a position in Athfest 2007 . The festivities continue into the adult division of the battle at 4:30 PM, and keep rolling on to a rap battle hosted by Ishues at 8:15 PM and a 9:15 PM performance of Bling the Children Back Home.

However, donations are appreciated and t-shirts with the Battle Against Poverty logo on the front being sold at the concert for $10.00. All proceeds go to the Athens organization Partners for a Prosperous Athens.

High School Battle of the Bands:
4:00 SUB-PAR

Adult Battle of the Bands:
6:00 MUDRA

8:15 ISHUES will be hosting the city-wide invitational rap battle


Special guest speakers Partners For A Prosperous Athens Chair-Judge Steve Jones and PPA Steering Committee Member- Monica Knight will speak throughout the concert:

Steve Jones at 3:30 pm
Monica Knight at 7:30 pm

Other events part of the Battle Against Poverty effort include:

The "Poverty in Art" Show Grand Opening
When: Friday, April 6th, 2007
Where: Cedar Shoals HS fine arts auditorium
Time: 6:00-7:00 pm
Admission: Free

The 2007 Miss Jag Queen Contest

hen: Friday, April 6th, 2007
Where: Cedar Shoals HS Fine Arts Auditorium
Time: 7:00-9:00pm
Admission: $2.00
[Proceeds go to the Athens organization Partners for a Prosperous Athens.]

We hope that everyone will come out to enjoy these events!

What about students born without silver spoons?

Once again, there is more talk about trying to get university students to graduate in four years:

University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll Davis wants University of Georgia students to complete their classes in four years, and he wants to hit them where it hurts if they don't.

What if you are a student who has to work to support yourself? Without a college degree, with no money from outside sources to meet all your living expenses, and competing in the Athens job market, you have to work a good number of hours, and that cuts into a full time academic schedule. Many students simply can't go to college full time and graduate in four years. This needs to be addressed when this idea is discussed. Since it is not, I sense elitism when I hear these comments. However, Davis' biography shows he is interested in helping students "in need," so what are his expectations exactly?


There are two llamas on campus in a pen, in front of the vet school/engineering area of campus.

Also, there seems to be a bbq smoker set up and some tents.

Are they selling llama bbq? Someone with a camera needs to go take a picture of this.


Those whacky greek-types

In yesterday's Red and Black there was an article on a sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, whose members trashed a UGA transit bus. They were returning from a trip to Greensboro, where they apparently drank waaaay too much. So in today's Red and Black there is a follow up article. The first paragraph says:

"It remains unclear why Athens-Clarke County Police presence did not stop members of Alpha Delta Pi from vomiting and urinating on Campus Transit buses Friday night".

Well now, I suppose the writer overestimates the power of 'police presence' somewhat. When you are drunk enough that you are going to puke, you are going to puke. Nothing is going to stop that. I am still laughing at the incident and the Red and Black's coverage of it. My son's and I have a standing over/under bet at the beginning of each Fall Semester as to how long it will take a frat boy to do something stupid/outrageous/ridiculous. Looks like we'll need to include the Greek 'ladies' as well.

It's chilly outside!

I realize this is not exactly news. I like to check the weather forecasts online and was aware we were in for a drop in temperature. Last night on TV I heard some weatherman say that it would be "COLD" today and I thought that saying it like that was a bit much. Walking around the UGA campus this morning without a jacket has changed my mind. It is cold, relatively speaking. I am looking forward to the return of our normal spring time temps.


Green Band-Aid

Originally posted Feb. 16, 2006 by Tim:

It was summertime in Athens and hot as a penny on a stove top. I was about 12 years old or thereabouts. I spent summers on my bike, riding all over town. My mom would make a peanut butter sandwich for me for lunch and off I'd go on the bike. I'd generally get back home around 6 PM or so, just in time for supper. My parents believed in everyone sitting at the table for dinner.

I'd spend the day with some of my friends, riding around town, getting into mischief of one kind or another. On a particularly hot day, several of us kids had ridden over to the Vet School. Back behind the Vet building was a cattle paddock, and in that paddock were yearling steers. We stood there looking at the steers, when one of the guys who worked there asked if we wanted to try to ride a steer. I suppose it was a slow summer for them and the prospect of watching some of us little townie-rats trying to ride a steer sounded like fine entertainment to them. Well hell yes we'd like to try to ride a steer!

The fellow climbed over the wooden rails and told us to do the same. He got a steer pressed up against the slats and I climbed on. He backed off letting the steer off the slats and the steer began bucking. I stayed on about 2 seconds, hit the soft dirt, landing on my back. Up went the next kid, same result. We all tried riding the steers and no one did. By the time we had been at it for what seemed like several hours, there was quite a crowd gathered, all laughing at us. Nobody got hurt and I am pretty sure the steers had as much fun with us as the crowd did. We were covered in sweat, dirt, saw dust and cow crap. All tired out too.

We slowly rode our bikes up the Lumpkin sidewalk, headed to 5 Points. I was thirsty, all dried out from the 'rodeo', so we stopped at the gas station (that is now Jittery Joes). The station was closed, but the Coke machine was outside and that’s what we were after. Coke machines in those days came in several models, the one there at the gas station was an upright machine with a narrow glass door. You put your money in the slot, pulled your bottle straight out of the machine after you opened the door. There was a built in bottle opener right under the coin slot. We all got our 6 ounce Cokes and sat down, leaning against the wall to drink our Cokes.

The bottles were returnables and were manufactured all over the place, so we had a game that all kids of that era played, figuring out whose Coke bottle was from farthest away. The plant that manufactured a bottle would have the town and state formed into the pressing of the bottle. When you finished your Coke, you turned the bottle over to read where it was made. It was considered poor form to hold the bottle up high and read it from underneath before you finished the Coke. Drinking the Coke first allowed time for bets to be made about whose bottle was the winner. And so it was that day.

Damn that Coke tasted good. It went down in about 2 minutes. I don't remember whose bottle won. I do remember that Coke tasting so good, that I got another one out of the machine. I sat back down and took a swig. This Coke tasted funny. I figured it was due to the fact that I drank that first one so fast and that I was so thirsty. Still, it tasted funny, but I kept on taking swigs. Down to the last swig now, and then I turned the bottle over to see where it was from. To my horror, inside the bottle was an old greenish band aid. It was stuck to the bottom on the inside of the bottle and now I knew why that Coke tasted so funny. I wasn't laughing, but damn my friends sure were. I ended up puking, it just grossed me out thinking about that band aid in my Coke bottle.

It was a simpler and less litigious time back then. If something like that happened today, God knows how much the lawsuit would be worth. As it was though, it was worth millions of laughs to my friends, who took to calling me 'Coke' after that day. I don't think I drank another Coke that whole summer. That was the summer I discovered the joys of iced tea. In a glass. That I filled up. And inspected prior to doing so.

We'll continue to repost Tim's stories and other fine articles that used to exist here on athensworld.com.


Deuce from Watkinsville

Not sure they need much commentary. The first is an image that scares me at the bbq stand next to Chicken Express. The second is a bidness name that gets right to the point.


Pollen washing away

Pollen washing away
Pollen washing away,
originally uploaded by Adrian P..
We finally had the first rain in weeks today. It wasn't quite a gully washer, but some of the pollen has been washed off the surfaces on which it has collected. Here is a picture of a sludgy mess that started to wash through a ditch before the rain stopped.

Athens-Clarke loses appeal of order to release records

The Georgia Court of Appeals has denied a rehearing in its decision to order Athens-Clarke County to release its police investigation records concerning the murder of Jennifer Stone to the Athens Banner-Herald. See "Court upholds decision ordering records release" on 3/31/07 from onlineathens.com. The decision reverses the decision of Athens-Clarke County Superior Court by Judge Lawton Stephens.

The Court's opinion favoring the newspaper is Athens Newspapers, L.L.C. v. Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County, 2007 Ga. App. LEXIS 258, 2007 WL 677777. The Court of Appeals docket number is A06A1786; the Superior Court number is SU05CV1704S.

blogger environment

Well, I for one, like the blogger set up much better than typepad. It has a much better look/feel to it and is easier to use. At least, those are my impressions so far. When will the transition be complete?