Birchmore Trail day

From the county:
On Sunday, May 4th from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. the Athens-Clarke County (ACC) Recycling Division, the ACC Leisure Services Department, and the Athens Kiwanis Club are sponsoring the 8th Annual Birchmore Trail Day. The event will include games and activities for children, scavenger hunts on the Fred Birchmore Nature Trail and a chance to meet the legendary Athenian Fred Birchmore, who rode a bicycle around the world, hiked through many countries and build the massive Great Wall of Happy Hollow.

The event will be held in the small meadow in Memorial Park off Gran Ellen Drive near the trailhead of the Birchmore Trail. There will be free refreshments and activities for children. Those who walk the Birchmore Trail will receive a special “I survived the Birchmore Trail” patch that can be affixed to clothing or back packs. The Trail, just over a mile in lengh, is named for 96 year-old Fred Birchmore -- adventurer, naturalist, author, speaker, world traveler and civic leader. One of the few “urban forest” trails in Clarke County, it begins in Memorial Park, winds beneath towering trees and over a deep gorge and passes by Birchmore’s home, “Happy Hollow”, which is encircled by a gigantic stone wall he built when he was 75 years old.

Birchmore, whose exploits also include riding in a hot air balloon over Switzerland, sailing in a cargo ship in Russia and floating from the Okefenokee Swamp to the Gulf of Mexico, will be present to talk about his life of travel and adventure and sign autographs.

Barnetts News Stand

Well, this sux. Barnetts is closing down. I have been shopping there since I was in grade school. We used to ride our bikes downtown and try to get to the magazines that were in the back of the news stand but the cashier knew what were about and always ran us off. I suppose change is inevitable, but this is a shame. An Athens landmark is soon no more..


Seeking input on community forums

Coming Fall 2008 Athens~Atlanta~Albany~Tifton

Join us for a series of statewide community forums, Fall 2008

This fall, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum will host a series of free public community issue forums in Athens, Atlanta, Tifton, and Albany where Georgians can come together, listen to one another, share perspectives, make informed judgments on key issues of today, consider how the implications of these policy decisions for tomorrow. The forum series is part of a nationwide initiative by the National Issues Forums, Presidential Libraries, and other organizations to encourage civic engagement during this critical election season.

Tell us what issues are important to you now

Organizers for the Athens-area forums want citizens to help them choose the issue topics for the three forums that will take place in the fall. Follow, the link below to take the survey and share your perspective. (You don’t have to be from Athens to participate in this survey!) http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=uwoJEHK_2b_2bm12AUASi16y5Q_3d_3d

All views are welcome

The forums will use the National Issues Forums (NIF) guides (www.nifi.org) to consider issues and will provide a civil and deliberative environment in which people from across the political, social, and economic spectrum can come together and consider public issues.

Find out more

The forums will begin in mid September and continue through October. Organizers will announce specific dates and locations shortly. More details about the program are available at http://www.libs.uga.edu/russell/exhibits/deliberations.shtml


Contact Jill Severn at 706-542-5766 or jsevern@uga.edu

Benefit concert at 40 Watt for Athens Area Homeless Shelter

Supercluster, The Heap, Jackpot City, Dana Downs, William Tonks, Clay Leverett and The Corduroy Road will pay tribute to Elton John this Friday at the 40 Watt to benefit the Athens Area Homeless Shelter in an event called "Gimme Shelter." Tickets are $10 and available from Schoolkids Records on East Clayton Street or from the shelter. The doors open at 9 p.m. and the music will start at the Athens prime time hour of 10 p.m.

But first there will a pre-party at Cine at 6:30 with a version of the game show "To Tell the Truth." The current and former mayors will try to guess who is telling the truth about their occupation among three mystery contestants. Tickets for this event are $20 or $25 for admission to both events.

Proceeds will benefit the Athens Area Homeless Shelter in its mission to assist families with children. This is the third annual "Gimme Shelter" event and the first with a pre-party. Visit http://www.athensareahomelessshelter.org/ for more information.


Teacup Bird Feeders to benefit Campus Cats

If you are looking for a fun and unique gift for Mother's Day and want to help UGA Campus Cats too, see the following web site for available tea cup & copper birdfeeders:


Click on the picture of the bird feeder to see what's available, and e-mail Kelly at kbettinger@plantbio.uga.edu with the number(s) of the tea cup feeders you would like. Bird feeders are $20 and each comes with a ~40” tall copper stake and a starter pack of bird seed.

They will be available for pickup between 11:00-1:00 and 5:00-6:00 Wednesday April 30th in the Earth Fare parking lot. That’s in 5 Points on Lumpkin, about a block south of the intersection with Milledge Ave. from the blue minivan -- stickers on the back window that read “Meow”, VA Tech, Oregon State, and UGA. Checks can be made out to Campus Cats.

Note: Campus Cats is the Nonprofit organization on UGA's campus to trap, spay/neuter and provide care to the feral cat population around the UGA campus area. Read more about campus cats here: http://www.catzip.org/Campus_Cats_Program.html


Hot Corner Celebration (free)

Hot Corner Celebration! The Morton Theatre hosts The Athens Heritage Project on Saturday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m.

The performance will be presented in “reader's theater style” with music from local musicians, multi-media elements and performances by the Rose Theatre of Athens.

The stories come from hours of personal interviews conducted by the Rose Theatre of Athens ensemble representing stories from many communities: African-American, Faith, Immigrant, Music, Old Town Athens, the University of Georgia and more.


The Athens Heritage Project*
May 3rd, 7:30 PM
The Morton Theatre, 195 West Washington Street in downtown Athens.
Donations are appreciated, however this performance is free.

Rose Of Athens Theatre "gets historical" at Hot Corner Celebration! Join us at the beginning! This world premiere staged reading with music, dance and media is a "sneak peak" into what will be an ongoing series of theatrical productions, featuring the stories collected from citizens all over Athens, GA and surrounding areas for years to come.

In keeping with the mission of Athens' flourishing non-profit 501(c)(3) professional theatre, ROSE OF ATHENS THEATRE, The Athens Heritage Project celebrates the voices of our diverse community by way of a dynamic, original piece, creating an enduring living history for our city and its region. The stories come from hours of personal interviews conducted by the ROSE OF ATHENS THEATRE ensemble, representing stories from many communities: African-American, Faith, Immigrant, Music, Old Town Athens, the University of Georgia and more. This performance is partly funded by
an Ideas for Creative Exploration Grant from UGA and the Mayor's CIP Fund.

The May 3rd performance of The Athens Heritage Project will be presented in "reader's theater style" (head writers, Shannon Rood and Lisa Mende) with music from local musician Sean Arington, dance (Lisa Yaconelli), multi-media elements (Joelle Re Arp Dunham) and, of course, all of the wonderful performances for which ROSE OF ATHENS THEATRE is known.

This presentation is the culmination of all of the building blocks of this exciting program, and it is both the catalyst and the engine for many wonderful productions to come. The Athens Heritage Project is an ongoing ROSE OF ATHENS THEATRE program, saving our oral histories for future generations and harvesting great stories to spurn on-going stage productions. This performance will provides a "sneak-peak" into the nuts and bolts of this exciting program.

For more information about The Athens Heritage Project or Rose of Athens Theatre, visit

Georgia Democratic Senate Forum

I watched the beginning of the debate among three Democratic Senate candidates yesterday evening. Dale Cardwell is focused on curtailing the influence of corporate interests and PACs; he compared PACs to packs of cigarettes with a play on words. Josh Lanier impressed me the most because he focused on the role of the United States Senate as an institution and had a sense of humor; his second campaign promise antecedent to an upcoming "uncampaign" was to move Saxby Chambliss' desk back to the Democrats' side of the aisle. Rand Knight tends to turn all questions to the environment and producing biofuels; at least his fake southern accent went away while he talked about something energetically.


Creativity support group

A new group is forming in Athens that is a creativity support group based on the book, The Artist's Way. If anyone is interested in this endeavor, please email Joan @ jy@uga.edu

The Artists Way is a book of exercises designed to encourage creativity, but it has branched off to encompass all arts and creativity, in general.

My idea is a seed only at this point, not anything highly structured or fleshed-out. A friend of mine has a group of artist friends who gather once a month to encourage each other to be true to living their lives in such a way that there is time and energy for their art work. They really seem to have helped each other stay committed to and focused on the artistic life and what really matters to each individual.
--from Joan

Jazz Festival @ Twilight Criterium

The Hugh Hodgson School of Music is pleased to present the 1st Annual UGA/Athens Twilight Jazz Festival this weekend. A combination of an educational jazz festival in which high school and college bands will be adjudicated at the School of Music and a downtown jazz festival of free performances for the community, we hope the festival will be a wonderful example of the town-gown synergy Athens offers and will continue for years to come.

The festival will culminate with a performance by The Joshua Redman Trio on Saturday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the UGA Performing Arts Center. Redman, saxophonist and son of the late Dewey Redman, is one of the "young lions" of jazz (having recently made a album with Dave Brubeck bearing that name) and was described by the New York Times after his recent stint at the Village Vanguard as "no longer a phenom but unquestionably a force." French Chanteuse Ilona Knopfler will be opening. Call 706-542-4400 for tickets.

There are lots of opportunities for listening, learning, and playing that are open to the public. If you are a musician, we encourage you to take advantage of all the opportunities for master classes with the festival clinicians and to come down to The Melting Point on Friday and Saturday nights to sit with band.

Please spread the word! Check out the festival website with music from the participating bands: www.uga.edu/music/jazzfestival. Tune in to WUGA 91.7 FM (www.uga.edu/wuga) today and tomorrow at 4:00 for festival previews.

For listeners:

Squat, Thursday, 8:00 p.m., The Melting Point, $5 advance/$8 at door
The Twilight Outdoor Stage, Friday 12 - 9, Saturday 10 - 6
Located on the 200 block of College Avenue, will have bands playing on the hour beginning at noon one Friday with the UGA Jazz Band. See schedule below. In conjunction with Twilight which will have children's activities, the Outdoor Stage will be very family friendly. The bands will range from high school to professional.

Festival Awards Ceremony with UGA Jazz Band and Classic City Jazz, Saturday, 4:00, UGA Performing Arts Center

The Joshua Redman Trio/Ilona Knopfler concert, Saturday, 7:30, UGA Performing Arts Center

The Melting Point Festival Jam Sessions, Friday and Saturday nights at
9:00 p.m., $8 advance/$10 at door
Festival participants and anyone with an instrument will sit in with house band Prime Time Jazz (Jim McKillip, piano, Tony McCutchen, drums, Chris Enghauser, bass).

For learners and players:

The Melting Point Festival Jam Sessions, Friday and Saturday nights at 9:00 p.m.
Festival participants and anyone with an instrument will sit in with house band Prime Time Jazz (Jim McKillip, piano, Tony McCutchen, drums, Chris Enghauser, bass).

Festival Master Classes, Music Building and UGA Performing Arts Center, free
11:00 Masterclass: Dave D'Angelo, saxophone, Music Building, Choral Suite, free
11:00 Masterclass: Dave Lambert, trombone, Music Building, Edge Recital Hall, free
1:00 Masterclass: Joshua Redman, saxophone, Music Building, Edge Recital Hall, free
2:00 Masterclass: Ilona Knopfler, vocalist, PAC, Ramsey Concert Hall, free
2:00 Masterclass: Charlie Bertini, trumpet, Music Building, Edge Recital Hall, free
3:00 Masterclass: Tony McCutchen, drum set, Music Building, PercussionSuite, free
3:00 Masterclass: Neal Starkey, bass, Music Building, Percussion Suite, free
3:00 Masterclass: Mimi Fox, guitar, Music Building, Edge Recital Hall, free
All performances on Friday and Saturday by festival performances for adjudicators are free and open to the public.

Complete Jazz Festival Schedule at www.uga.edu/music/jazzfestival

Kite 2 The Moon does Hollywood!



Greenway comments -- deadline today!

Sorry for the late notice....

Below is information on a potential trail connection from the eastside that would allow bike commuters to travel off road (off of College Station Road) from the eastside onto campus and beyond. Public comment is needed TODAY so that the commission knows that there is public support to have this connection further studied for feasibility. This is also part of the bigger issue of whether to consider trail connections along certain public utility corridors for greater connectivity of our trail system.

Please consider sending an email message of support to Public Utilities today at the email address below.

Thank you.

This project is an opportunity to take the first step in establishing a new, east-side, greenway trail, and is on the ACC Commission's agenda for May 6th. Access the agenda report at:


This project is an upgrade of a sewer line linking Lexington Rd (via Shadybrook Dr.), to Barnett Shoals Road, connecting to the sewage treatment plant off College Station Road. See agenda map. Sewer lines traditionally have not included provision for trails, despite considerable encouragement from some Commissioners. Now we have another opportunity, and an exceptional one connecting to the North Oconee Greenway and South Campus---all off-road!

This time there may be majority support on the Commission to include the trail option as part of the sewer project. But public support and encouragement are essential.

SUBMIT a written e-mail comment supporting the trail option. Deadline is Tuesday 4-22-08, at 5 pm.
Send email to edwardfocht@co.clarke.ga.us


Athens Indie Craftstravaganzaa on May 10

From the email:
Alright, get ready for Athens Indie Craftstravaganzaa Spring '08

Applications are available at Agora, or visit our website for details and a
downloadable application.


The event will take place Saturday May 10, 10am-7pm, in the parking lot next to Agora. This is also Graduation Day and the day before Mother's Day -- there are going to be lots of folks out and about shopping for gifts and we think it's going to be a great day for a craft show!

We want to make this event bigger and better, with more vendors and more activities to enjoy, so if you know crafters, artists, musicians, performance artists, djs, or any variation of the above, who want some exposure at a diverse event, send them our way!

We are excited to see your applications, so get 'em in! Don't hesitate to email or message us with questions, and we'll keep you updated.

Please cross post and share with your crafty friends!

Reward offered on Choo Choo robbery

From the Athens-Clarke County Police:
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for an armed robbery at Choo Choo on April 12 around 0300.

A black male entered the restaurant located at 1055 Gaines School Rd and went directly behind the counter He pointed a handgun at the clerk and demanded the cash from the register. The restaurant was busy at the time of the robbery. After receiving the cash the suspect left the store on foot.

This case may be related to the armed robbery that occurred on March 26 at Perry's Convenience Store. Photos are attached.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sgt. Jerry Saulters at 706-613-3888 X296. If you wish to remain anonymous please call the Crime Stoppers tip line at 706-613-3342.


Water Body (aerial dance) @ Canopy

On April 18-20 and April 25-27, The Canopy Studio Repertory Company presents its spring concert: Water Body, original works of aerial dance with spoken word written by renowned author and naturalist Janisse Ray. The collaborative performance will incorporate works on silks, trapeze, ladders, bungee and invented apparatus by company members with video projection and sound design by Michelle Dodson, a graduate student in the University of Georgia Department of Theatre and Film Studies.

As an exploration of water, the performance represents the sublime beauty of the Earth, while also exploring the shadow side of ourselves that pollutes and decimates the world around us. Dancers move through the space as if cradled, submerged, or swept away by water—illusions enhanced by video projections depicting water in its many forms. Harnessing the emotional power water carries, the show ultimately honors the balance water represents: strong enough to destroy
everything we know, it also gives us life.

Water Body is co-directed by Michelle Dodson and Canopy Studio artistic director Susan Murphy, who will perform in the show. The show is funded in part by a grant from Ideas for Creative Exploration (ICE) and by community support.

Water Body will be presented at 8 p.m. April 18-19, 25-26 and 5 p.m. April 20 and 27. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students with a student ID, $6 for children under 1


Commissioner Herod on the water rate plan

Andy Herod, Athens-Clarke County District 8 Commissioner, kindly wrote in to respond to my post about the tiered water rates that were voted on this week.

Hi, Adrian: I saw your post on your blog re the recent water mechanism and just wanted to point out that there are some inaccuracies, the correction of which might make you feel better (or may not!). I'm not sure how to post to the blog (I'm not much of a blogger), but here they are, for what it's worth:
  1. The baseline is winter '05-'06, not '06-'07.
  2. There is a first tier of 3,000 gallons per month that will be charged at the lowest rate, thereby protecting those who were conserving in '05-'06; after one has used that amount up then your cost will increase in tier prices, based on your winter average.
  3. Larger users will pay more because they will more quickly move up the tiers to the highest-priced tier, tier 4.
  4. For those whose circumstances have changed since '05-'06 (e.g., have added a child to the household) there is an appeal process.
  5. The committee chose the winter average approach because, they reasoned, this was when people were not using discretionary water to water yards but were using water that was essential to the size of their households for drinking, cooking, washing etc. The summer spike is due to people watering their yards, and the new mechanism is designed to try to calm that spike (as the summer is when we fall most behind in our rainfall).
I was not on the committee and had some problems with just using the straight winter average from the first gallons of use because it would have punished light users. I think the 3,000 gallons as a first block was a reasonable compromise. There is no perfect system, and we will try this for this year and then either tweak it or look for a different one. But I guess we have to start somewhere.
I appreciate Andy's response to explain the reasoning behind his vote. However, the only point that I agree with is the "reasonable compromise" aspect. It looked like certain commissioners may have not budged on using winter averages, so the 3,000-gallon floor at least moderates the effect on some people.

My whole beef is with the winter average and its effect of charging different fees to households using the same amount of water. Andy explains that the point of the average was to find the amount of the water essential to the household, but this is flawed reasoning that does not justify such a plan. Different households have different lifestyles and different plumbing. What the recent drought has taught us is that water uses and plumbing fixtures inside our houses make a huge difference in our consumption. Let me explain.

Some households use water for cooking, and some don't. Some use water for laundry, and some households use laundromats. Some houses have older toilets that use more gallons per flush. Some people (like myself) take two showers a day, and we know that many Athenians take only two per week. Also, some households use plenty of water for irrigation even during the winter. If we say that the winter average is essential, we are indeed rewarding those who waste water during the winter. We are deeming old, inefficient plumbing fixtures essential, and we are deeming it unessential for people who did not wash clothes or cook at home to begin doing so. An individual household's winter water usage does not reflect household needs.

A uniform pricing tier would encourage everyone to adopt efficient usage practices at home. Commissioner Hoard's poverty anecdote was completely irrelevant because the plan voted on bases prices for everyone, not just poor families, on their past usage. If we want to base prices on household needs, then perhaps we should decide on an allotment per person and allow each ratepayer to report the number of people in the household. Yes, that system would be subject to abuse, but the actual plan is no better.

I strongly disagree that the administrative process for appealing based on changed circumstances is appropriate. It is costly to the government and costly to the ratepayers. If the utilities department were to hear from everyone with changed circumstances, they would be overwhelmed; they are being called upon to perform a new function at a cost to the system. And the ratepayers who most need the relief are likely too busy working extra jobs to make ends meet, or they might not understand that they are even entitled to relief or how to pursue it. An investment of time is needed by both sides to process a request that may make a difference of only a few dollars per year. This is inefficient government and a burden on ratepayers.

There is also the complication of giving the utilities department the burden of reviewing records and calculating the winter average. And what about the water accounts that didn't exist in '05-'06? What about the thousands of households without their own water meter because they are part of an apartment complex? Once again, the county commission has taken a simple idea -- this time, tiered water pricing -- and made it incredibly complicated.


Come to Rock Trivia!

Every Monday at Little Kings.
Starts circa 8 p.m. and usually lasts two hours, give or take.
It's big fun, especially if you are a Rock (i.e. Rock 'n' *$#! Roll!!!) nerd, like me.
Also, you (and your teammates) can win a Little Kings bar tab if you come in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.
Be there or be square!


Bird Walk at Sandy Creek

Come and join the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society this Saturday, April 5th, at Whitehall forest. We will meet at 8am at Whitehall Forest along the road in front of the gate past the mansion, and please come prepared with your binoculars, clothing appropriate to the weather and practical shoes. Also, please don't be late! We will have to close the gate behind us once we are in and there will be no way to get in after that, though you will be able to leave at any time.

As usual, the walks last between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 hours, but one can leave at any time. The current forecast for Saturday is not particularly favorable, but we will be out there unless there is lightning - bring that poncho!

If you have any questions please contact fieldtrip@oconeeriversaudubon.org or at 706-208-8504

Different water rates for different residents

Your water usage in the past will now determine how much you pay for your water in the future. On Tuesday the Athens-Clarke County Commission passed a water pricing plan using "average winter month methodology" based on ratepayers' usage during the winter of 2006 and 2007. The usage for each household will set its individual pricing tier. Water used above the amount of this tier will be charged a higher rate. That means if a lower volume household were to increase its usage to equal a higher volume user, it will be charged more. Two households using the same amount of water can be charged different rates.

How is that fair?

How does that encourage the higher volume user to use less water?

How did seven commissioners suffer a lack of judgment and vote for this plan? Did they stop seeing the forest for the trees with Kathy Hoard's anecdote about poor people and Alan Reddish's warning about having a plan by June? I suppose they didn't they see the series of letters in the Athens Banner-Herald showing massive opposition to this plan from their constituents. Like many other proposals, some commissioners criticized it but voted for it anyway. Some had reservations but seemed to think it should be pushed along but could somehow be discussed further and modified later.

I no longer enjoy bandying about my opinion on local politics in this public channel, but unfairness needs to be pointed out. This concept wrongly assumes that every household was using the appropriate amount of water last winter, and it wrongly assumes that every household's water need is going to remain fixed.

I respectfully submit these criticisms and complaints to the community in hopes of finding out how this plan can be fair. I also submit that the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution requires similarly situated people to be treated alike, and I don't think it is constitutional to charge residential users different rates for water without looking at their actual circumstances. Looking at historical usage in isolation does not actually evaluate a household's water need.


Athens Transit priorities

Athens Transit now has live tracking of its buses on their website based on data from GPS devices. Yes, this is really neat, but I am still confounded at the priorities of this agency. They have invested loads into new technology, recently adding electronic signs and automated announcements inside the buses, and now they have GPS tracking on the website. Yet just last fall I could not find a simple map for Route 20, and I confirmed that it was unavailable. The printed schedule had only a timetable with no map. If they can't even print a simple map, why spend thousands of dollars on all this equipment? Assuming that the average transit rider walking toward a bus stop has an iPhone or other wireless computer of some sort at the bus stop, isn't this great that she can watch the buses move around on an electronic map? Yet she may have no idea where the bus is going or how to find a stop because the service doesn't print maps for all of its routes.

I would rather The Bus provide useful information instead of showing off bells and whistles.

Previous related posts:

Hey, Kool Aid!!

Hey, Kool Aid!!
Originally uploaded by false_profit65
Bill captured this image and shared it on Flickr. It appears to be a giant image of the Kool-Aid Man on plywood propped against a UGA building.


Music video competition deadline

The Sprockets Music Video Contest is accepting entries until April 15. Videos will be screened June 14 at the 40 Watt, and videos selected by the judges and audience will be screened on June 20 at Morton Theatre for the Flagpole Music Awards during AthFest. Read more on the film::athens website.