ACC African American Film Festival begins February 1

Make it a Blockbuster Month! ACC Leisure Services presents the African-American Film Festival at Lay Park. Enjoy a film each Saturday afternoon in February starting at 2:00 p.m.

Each movie features a predominantly African-American cast or has been produced by an African-American producer! Enjoy complimentary popcorn and soft drinks at this free event.

For more information, including list of films, please visit www.accleisureservices.com/afroamerfilm.shtml or call (706) 613-3596.


Double vision

These photos are for James Garland.

Double vision: new street signs Double vision: new street signs

A couple of months ago James questioned the financial wisdom of replacing so many of what appear to be perfectly good signs along our county's roads in "Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign."

Decide for yourself if this all makes sense. Decide which sign is new and which is old.

Update: I have been informed that these new signs are more reflective and have been installed to meet newer standards. I can appreciate the added safety and convenience. I do believe that old signs are usually recycled somehow, too.


Fundraiser for Courtney Gale

I thought some of you might be interested in this.

Good morning:
This is a reminder of the upcoming benefit BBQ for Sgt. Courtney Gale to be held in the Kohl's parking lot on Sunday, February 3rd, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm.

They will have BBQ chicken and all the fixings to go with it, T-shirts available for a donation, helicopter rides for a donation, personally labeled water bottles, and a bunch of goodies and stuff for the kids and families that can come out. For more information, please visit

If you click on "Amid cheers, officer off to rehab center in Atlanta" you are able to view the exciting event as she leaves St. Mary's to head to the Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta. The site is full of great information on her progress, a place to send your well wishes, and information on how you can contribute to the Courtney Gale Trust Fund if you are unable to attend the event.

For further information, please contact Investigator Jay Higgins at
jhiggins@oconeesheriff.org or Sheriff Scott Berry at sberry@oconeesheriff.org.


Seeking spellers! (Spelling Bee!)

The Athens Literacy Council is looking for teams for its annual spelling bee. Come on, you know you're smarter than a fifth grader!

The Athens-Clarke Literacy Council is now registering teams of three adults to compete in the third annual

Spirited Spell-off Spectacle
Saturday, March 1, 4:00 p.m.
Athens Technical College auditorium

Registration fee $60 per team ($20 per person)

Forms available from Sarah McKee (semckee@uga.edu) OR online at


Georgia Navigator - traffic reports and more

I know traffic here is usually not too bad (excluding holiday shopping, football games, etc.), but until we get a lightrail system to Atlanta and elsewhere, it is sometimes a necessary evil.

Anyhow, the Georgia Navigator website from the DOT has all kinds of traffic information (construction, realtime traffic maps for Atlanta, Macon & state at large, Top 5 active incidents, etc).
which can be very helpful.

Located here:


UGA Grad Brings the House Down in Orlando

I spent this past week at Lotusphere 2008 in Orlando, FL as both an attendee and as press. Earlier in the week, I dissected why Bob Costas totally flopped as the opening general session speaker. Going into yesterday's closing general session, expectations were not high. Needless to say, we were all blown away by the Food Network's Alton Brown (Good Eats, Iron Chef America), and he brought the house down. What I did not know is the fact that he is a UGA graduate and lives over in Marietta. So who needs Jeff Foxworthy when you can have a Bulldog bring the house down with food!

LS08CGS 032
This unsuspecting cameraman took an unexpected hit from a
hyper-powered, home-made Cheez Whiz blast.


Music, Art Exhibit & Auction upcoming

The Donald Keyes 18th Annual Mental Health Benefit

Schedule of Events

Fri., January 25, FIVE EIGHT will play at the 40 Watt Club.
Sun., January 27, Reception at Cups Coffee on Barnett Shoals Road at 3:00
pm. Caroline Monroe will perform and Carol Coussons de Reyes will speak.

Tues., January 29, the film "Away From Her" at 7:00 pm at the Georgia
of Art. (Q & A afterwards.)

Thurs., January 31, the film "Rocket Science" at 7:00 pm at the Georgia
Museum of Art.
Sat., February 2, the Art Auction takes place at 7:00 pm at the Georgian Hotel.

Donated art can be viewed online at


Lectures - Food safety; Breast cancer

A couple of lectures open to the public.

Jan. 29 Georgia Center for Continuing Education, 7 p.m.
Is Your Food Safe to Eat?

Michael Doyle, Regents Professor of food microbiology and director of UGA’s Center for Food Safety will present a lecture entitled “Is Your Food Safe to Eat?” as part of a series designed to increase public awareness about the public health issues in the media and at home. The series is presented by UGA’s College of Public Health and Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute. The lecture will be held at 7 p.m., Jan. 29, in the Masters Hall at the Ga. Center for Continuing Education. The public is invited to attend.


Breast Cancer and Environmental Health
Jan. 25, 148 Student Learning Center, UGA
12:20-1:10 p.m.

Dr. Kelly Happe, Speech Communication & Women's Studies

**Part of the Institute for Women's Studies Friday Speaker Series**


Exhibit and lecture

“Ink to Paper: The Craft of Printing,” a traveling exhibit of Frank Walsh's historical collection of printed documents. A reception for Mr. Walsh will be held Jan. 23 (Wed) at 4 p.m. in the Hargrett Reading Room. Mr. Walsh will discuss the art of historical printing and the etching, lithography, and engraving techniques used in his collection. He will also discuss the journey of building his collection and his inspiration.


Survey for georgia artists, craftspeople. etc.

Hi all,
I realize this isn't specifically Athens related, but I know
there are lots of artists in athens.

Georgia's Handmade Survey is now live & on line. As I understand it,
anyone may use this link to take the survey. The last four Town Hall
meeting attendees will be invited to take this survey, but it is
definitely NOT limited to those who attend Town Halls. If you know
anyone who would like to offer input to the Creative Economies
Initiative, please forward this link:


Thank you for all that you do! Any questions or comments, I'm always

Camille Ronay
Georgia Made Georgia Grown

www.georgiamadegeorgiagrown.com <http://www.georgiamadegeorgiagrown.com>
Georgia Art By the Mile
706/342-8225 ofc
706/473-3198 cell


Cortona Art students closing exhibit

The LDSOA Student Galleries Present.......

Cortona Study Abroad Program Exhibition

A collection of work created by LDSOA students during the Cortona Study Abroad Program.
On view in the Student Exhibition Spaces from January 8th - 26th
Closing Reception: Saturday, January 26th 3-5 pm
Student Exhibition Spaces
Lamar Dodd School of Art, UGA


Zoo Activities Feb. 2 & update on bags for bears

Celebrate Ground Hog Day at Bear Hollow! Festivities begin promptly on Saturday, February 2 at 7:30 a.m. as Mayor Heidi Davison joins us for the awakening of the zoo's resident groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, Alexandra and Gus! Enjoy hot cocoa, a live feeding domonstration, crafts, games, and much more! Visit www.accleisureservices.com/special_events.shtml more information or call to register at (706) 613-3616.

An update on the Bags for Bears Program to turn recycled plastic bags into playscapes:
1st place with 323,668 bags is Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School
2nd place with 81,083 bags is Fowler Drive Elementary School
3rd place with 74,926 bags is Barrow Elementary School
4th place with 47,370 bags is Whit Davis Elementary School
5th place with 45,350 bags is Oglethorpe Primary School (Oglethorpe
6th place with 37,128 bags is St. Joseph Catholic School
Total bags collected by all schools: 853,629 bags (doubled our goal)!!!!
Bear Hollow Wildlife Trail already received over 190 pieces of composite
lumber boards to begin the playscapes for the bears, bobcats and otters!!

The top six producing schools will receive a Trex lumber plaque with a bear
track mounted to the plaque. Additionally, the top producing school
(Oglethorpe Avenue) will receive a trip to the zoo for the top producing
teacher(s) - all expenses paid.


Snow and ice memo

It's time to dust off my snow memo to share with people who grew up in colder climates and are surprised at how easily schools and businesses close down for winter precipitation in Athens. Every time there are closings someone makes snide remarks about how Georgians freak out over snow, so I am here to educate you if you are one of these people.
  1. Snow versus ice: First of all, we don't close down for snow; we close for the threat of icy conditions. Because Georgia is warmer than the state you came from, the rare occasions of snowfall are quickly followed by melting then freezing temperatures, resulting in icy roads. I saw a town in New York shut down schools and colleges on a warmer winter day because the temperature had gone above freezing for a while and then there was an accumulation of ice. Georgia's cold days are like New York's warm days. Snow here melts and refreezes. More often we have a direct accumulation of ice from freezing rain rather than snow first.
  2. Snow and ice removal: We have lower gas taxes and our government doesn't maintain as many snow plows and sand and salt spreaders. This means our roads are more dangerous when there is frozen precipitation. No one uses snow plow attachments on their pickup trucks because snow is so rare. And it seems we still have fewer snow closings than colder states that have to be prepared.
  3. Power outages: Since icing is rare, when we do get ice it causes a lot of tree limbs to fall on power lines at once. Many customers are affected for long periods of time. If ice storms were more frequent there would probably be fewer and shorter power interruptions each time because the problem branches would already be out of the way. Schools and businesses don't like to stay open when there are threats of power interruption. Trees and branches block roads, too.
So much, then, for why snow and ice is such a big deal in Georgia. If you're one of those snide commentators mentioned above, now you know some of the reasons why frozen precipitation is a problem. It isn't because we're unfamiliar with it. Most people in Georgia are quite familiar with snow and ice because either they're new residents like you -- this is the fifth fastest-growing state in the country with residents moving in from other places -- or else they've been around snow in their school or military days.

I Do Not Trust or Believe the Athens School Board

Right now I do not have a dog in this fight, as my kids are not in the government schools of Athens. I do pay school taxes though. In my 13+ years living in this town. my opinion of the local school board has not changed, except in a negative direction. They cannot manage SPLOST money effectively, they are petty, and the try to hide behind a law when firing people when asked why.

Now-fired Cedar Shoals Principal Tommy Craft says he was fired because he refused, under pressure, to promote Board Member Sidney Waters son-in law to assistant principal 3 years ago. Board member Chester Sosebee says it is not so. When push comes to shove, guess who I am going to believe?

(However, if Craft did report this to the superintendent when it happened, he should have done it in writing and be able to produce a copy of the documentation if he is going to make these statements.)

So a wise warning to anyone who aspires to be a principal or administrator in the Athens-Clarke county school system: if he parents like you and your school is improving, you better keep your resume updated and handy. You represent a threat to the school board and you will not be kept around.

Why Can't Athens Have a Minor League Baseball Team?

One of my dreams over the years has been waking up one morning and finding out that minor league baseball had come to town. Well it is coming, but to the wrong town. The Atlanta Braves are moving their AAA team from Richmond, VA to Gwinnett County. While this all sounds wow on paper, thhink about the numbers:

Cost to Build Stadium: $45,000,000
Braves lease at $250K/year for 30 years: 7,500,000

Taxpayer Tab: $37,500,000!!!

I cannot imagine the economic impact and related taxes will make up that bill, so for the sake of Gwinnett taxpayers, I hope they find alternate use for the stadium.

Meanwhile, Athens already has a stadium at the University of Georgia, and absolutely NOTHING going on during the summer. Would it not be great if we could have our own Class A or AA team in town. Wouldn't it be great if UGA would allow that to happen?

If I am going to go to Foley field and get really bad headaches trying to watch the game through the black netting, I would rather hear the crack of a wooden bat than the ping of aluminum. I do not want to have to drive to Gwinnett or Rome for that. I already have to for my annual minor league hockey fix.

There are a lot of people in Athens from the economically depressed area of Binghamton, NY (located upstate just above the Pennsylvania line). People like almost all of the members of 5-8 (Mike Mantione went to school there though), the owners of Cutter's Pub downtown, and many more. The metro area population of Binghamton is roughly the same as Athens. Yet, they have minor league hockey AND minor leauge baseball. AND they are hosting the American Hockey league All-Start Classic this month! (The AHL is the AAA of hockey)

There is no way we are going to build a hockey arena here unless it is included as part of a new Stegeman coliseum (hint, hint). But we do have Foley Field. Would it not be great one lazy summer evening to head down to the stadium, sit back with a beer, friends, and family and listen to the cracking bats of players trying to make it to the show? Even better, it would give the University of Georgia Athletic Association Basketball promotions staff extra practice at runny silly promotions to fill the stadium.

Wow, wouldn't that be a dream? So, if we were to have a hockey team and baseball team, what would the names be and how would you design the logos?


KITE TO THE MOON - Tigerz Excerpt 40 Watt Club Athens, GA

Ingest - reception & art exhibit at Athica

ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, Inc. hungrily presents: I N G E S T January 19
- March 22, 2008
Opening Reception:
Saturday, January 19, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
-with goodies donated by Farm255

ATHICA presents Ingest, an exhibit exploring the role of food in our personal lives as well as the
impact of food choices and production methods on our environment. Featuring installations by
Megan Cronin of Boston & Rachel Jobe of New York City, as well as painting, photography,
sculpture,video, new media and more by artists from Athens and around America.

160 Tracy Street, Unit 4
Gallery Hours:
Thursdays 6-9 p.m.; Friday, Saturday, Sunday 1-6 p.m. and by appointment.

For directions call or go to http://www.athica.org/findus.php


Body found in Memorial Park lake

OnlineAthens reports that a woman's body was found in a lake at Memorial Park. The article says that conclusive identification has not been made yet but that the description and clothing matches Cayle Bywater who has been missing since Dec. 29.


Agnes of God

This Friday and Saturday the University of Georgia's Graduate Acting Ensemble will present John Pielmeier's "Agnes of God" at the Arena Theatre in the Fine Arts Building. It is the story of a nun who gives birth to a child who is later found dead in a trash can. A court psychiatrist has to confront the nun and Mother Superior when investigating the nun's sanity. This is a three-woman show that explores issues of science of faith.

The Friday show is at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday's is at 2:30 p.m. A donation of $5 at the door is encouraged. More information is available from the Theatre and Film Studies Department website.


Mandala Literary Journal seeks submissions

Mandala Literary Journal seeks submissions of shorts stories, poetry, essays, and visual art. We are a journal interested in issues of race, identity, sex, gender, class, culture, politics, and all that falls under those labels.
We are sponsored by the Institute for African American Studies, University of Georgia.

Submission deadline: Feb 1, 2008
Submissions and questions to: mandala.journal@gmail.com

Thank you for your time and for helping us meld Art and Activism.
All the best,
Mandala Literary Staff


Jaywalkers beware

This morning I observed a UGA police officer writing a pedestrian a traffic citation at the intersection of Sanford Drive and Baldwin Street. One officer explained that their department was indeed targeting pedestrians breaking traffic laws. Another explained that they were looking only for dangerous incidents, such as one in which a woman walked in front of a van with a green light whose driver had to brake to avoid striking her.

Pedestrian safety would be helped at this intersection and at Baxter and Lumpkin if the traffic lights did not require pedestrians to push a button to get a walk signal. Pedestrians are reluctant to push the buttons because of the crowds that form and the distance that the buttons have been moved farther from the street corners. Last year I asked David Clark from the Athens-Clarke County Transportation Department to consider having the walk signal at Sanford-Baldwin be included in the regular light cycle, but he declined, citing complaints from drivers waiting longer at red lights.


Search continues for missing woman

Cayle Bywater is still missing. Her last contact with family or friends was on Saturday, December 29, and she was last seen that same day. The Athens-Clarke County Police Department is still wanting to speak with anyone who may have seen her in Memorial Park where her dog was found. The Athens-Banner Herald has reported on the search for her, and a blog has been started to document the search and seek help.

Police have disseminated the following photographs. The first is an undated photo of Bywater. The second shows how she was dressed in the Memorial Park on Dec. 29 as she happened to appear in the background of a photo taken by a visitor at the park.

This is the flyer from the police department:

Cayle Raelene Bywater
DOB 09/21/1978
503 tall/113 pounds
curly red hair/blue eyes
S. Milledge Avenue
Athens, GA 30606

Cayle Bywater was last seen on 12/29/2007 at approximately 1800 hours in Memorial Park, 293 Gran Ellen Drive. Her residence is within walking distance on South Milledge Avenue. Her vehicle, phone, and other belongings were left at the residence. Her dog was subsequently seen running unattended in the park on 12/30/2007. No family members or friends have had contact with Cayle since 12/29/2007. She did not show up for work on 12/29/2007. Cayle is entered on GCIC as a missing person.

If you have contact with Cayle Bywater, please notify the Athens-Clarke County Police Department at (706) 613-3330, Central Communications at (706) 613-3345, or Det. Dustin Smith at (706) 613-3888, ext. 795.


Gun ordinance hearing canceled

GeorgiaCarry.org reports that a hearing originally scheduled for tomorrow in its lawsuit against Athens-Clarke County has been canceled. Its e-mail today states that the county is agreeing to an injunction against enforcement of the ordinance with plans to repeal it. Since I have not heard of involvement from the Mayor and Commission, I speculate this means that the county attorney is agreeing to the injunction and may recommend repealing the ordinance, but the facts are not clear yet.

Earlier story: "The legal gun battle."