ACC Christmas Parade

Downtown Parade of Lights on Dec. 3: The annual Athens-Clarke County Downtown Parade of Lights is scheduled for Thursday, December 3 starting at 7:00 p.m. This year’s theme is “A gift from the heart.”

Botanical Garden Cafe is now open

This may be old news for some, but the Botanical Garden Cafe is open (again), but the menu looks to have really changed (used to be Lee Epting and more sandwich/soup sort of menu):
... the newly renovated Gardenside Café at the State Botanical Garden is now open under the management of Countryside Catering. Lunch is served from 11:00am – 2:00pm Tuesday through Sunday (closed on Mondays).
[Menu includes] pulled pork, baked beans, cole slaw, Brunswick stew, bread or a variety of sandwiches and salads.
For detailed information on menu selections, daily specials and pricing, please call the café at 706-542-6359.
Members of the Friends of the Garden receive a nice discount.


Athens Businesses Being Hurt By UGA Night Games on ESPN

When I set out to write this story, it was not what I anticipated. As one who likes to find silver linings, I thought I would be writing about a positive local economic impact from the new 15-year Southeastern Conference TV deal.

Here is an extract of the story and the link to the full piece.

ESPN, SEC Contract Part of Perfect Storm Killing Athens (GA) Businesses

In a smaller college town like Athens, Georgia, football season is more than a sport played in the late summer and fall. It is the economic engine that keeps many downtown Athens businesses, hotels, and restaurants afloat for much of the rest of the year. It is also a sport that, in theory, provides much needed sales tax revenue for the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County.

But something has changed this year as the Southeastern Conference (SEC) enters the first year of a 15-year television contract with CBS Sports and ESPN. Businesses in downtown Athens are hurting.


Athens Area Merchants Violating Credit Card Agreements (Updated 11/24/09)

There are a number of Athens area merchants, retailers and others who tell customers they have yo pay a surcharge to use their credit card, or pay a minimum amount to use a credit card. This is a direct violation of their merchant agreements with the credit card issuers.

Following the following excerpts from the policies of the major credit card companies is a list of Athens businesses that are in violation of their agreements and unfairly penalizing customers. Although it is "sad" they have to pay fees to take credit cards, it is a cost of doing business.

Minimum Purchase (Visa)
Visa merchants are not permitted to establish minimum transaction amounts, even on sale items. They also are not permitted to charge a surcharge fee when you use your Visa card.

Minimum Purchase (MasterCard)

Can a merchant charge me a fee to use my MasterCard card? Can a merchant require a minimum purchase amount to use my MasterCard card?

The answer to the first question is almost never; the answer to the second question is not ever. Merchants must follow certain acceptance rules in order to be granted the privilege of accepting MasterCard cards. One of these rules specifically prohibits the practice of surcharging, that is, charging a customer a fee for using a MasterCard card over and above the sale amount. Under very specific conditions, however, a merchant can charge customers - including those using a MasterCard card - a fee in addition to the transaction amount. As a general rule, such a fee doesn't violate the MasterCard rules provided the fee is charged to all customers engaging in the same transaction, regardless of the form of payment. Keep in mind, however, that it is not a violation of the MasterCard rules for a merchant to offer customers a price discount for payment in cash, provided payment by MasterCard card is on at least as favorable terms as payment by any other means. Another MasterCard acceptance rule prohibits merchants that accept MasterCard cards from establishing any minimum amount below which the merchant won't accept payment via MasterCard card. If a merchant displays a decal with the MasterCard logo to indicate that MasterCard cards are accepted, that merchant can not condition a sale based upon the cardholder disclosing any other information or identification, except under very specific conditions, such as when merchant needs to deliver merchandise to the cardholder's home or business.

It's not always easy to tell whether a merchant is complying with MasterCard acceptance rules. It's important to MasterCard that you are treated fairly and in accordance with those acceptance rules when you shop using your MasterCard card.

American Express

American Express's regulations do not explicitly prohibit minimum charges, but its policy is to discourage any merchant practices that create a "barrier to acceptance." Amex does prohibit "discrimination" against the Amex card, however, so if a merchant has no minimum charge for Visa and MasterCard, the merchant may not discriminate against Amex by imposing a minimum charge.
Athens Area Violators

Here is the list of Athens area violators. If the rescind their policy, the will be removed from the list. If you know of other violators, please add to the comments here so the list can be updated.You can find out other ways to protect yourself and see how backward Georgia is in protecting consumers in this area on this web site.

  • Hodgson's Pharmacy (5 Points)
  • Shell on Tallassee Road 
  • Cup's Coffee (East Side) (added 11//24/2009)

Holiday shopping -- local arts & crafts

Holiday Market @ Green Acres Baptist Church
(across from the eastside Krogers on Barnett Shoals Rd)
Sunday, November 29th
2:00- 4:00
Campus Cats will be there with our tea cup and copper bird feeders, catnip cat toys, homemade dog biscuits, and hand painted wine glasses.

(Proceeds from the Campus Cats sale, of course, benefit campus cats)....

Regional/local christmas tree farms

Here is a link to a list of Christmas tree farms by county


Recycle question

So, I have pretty much replaced all my light bulbs with CFCs over the past year. One of those bulbs went out. So I took it back to Lowes to recycle it. The young lady at the customer service desk told me that they don't recycle those bulbs. I thought there was a state law that mandates that business that sell CFCs must recycle them. Is that not the case? If not, what do I do with the bulb? It contains mercury so putting it in the trash is not an option. Anyone got any ideas on this?


For the webbies and techies (new Drupal and expression engine groups)

Hola! I'm chairing the ATHDrupal group and for now, I am just "helping" the EEATH group (I hope a Chair rises organically in the group).

ATHDrupal is a new regional Drupal group (forming out of the ashes of UGA's Drupal Group). We would like to invite anyone interested in Drupal to join us. We hope to have some f2f meetings -- perhaps, semesterly (and also, to connect up with DrupalAtlanta at some point).

Drupal is an opensource content management system (CMS). A content management system is a complete website management/design tool (hosted on your domain).
You can join the Drupal group @

Additionally a sibling group has formed for the CMS, Expression Engine

If you have questions re: the groups, please just drop me a line. thanks, robin aka georgiawebgurl


Canned Food and Supply Drive for Critters

A campus organization at the University of Georgia known as Forgotten Friends is collecting food and supplies to help animals get through the winter with the second annual Canned Food and Supply Drive for Critters. There are collection boxes at Daily Co-op, Pet Supplies Plus, the UGA Main Library, Tate Plaza, the Drewry Room inside Grady College, and the Rhodes Animal Science Building. The Red and Black has more information here.

Volunteers and donations needed for Thanksgiving Feast for the Homeless

From a list -- lots of volunteer opportunities coming up............
Please contact Tonya @ tonyal@sports.uga.edu for more info or to volunteer.
I just wanted to let everyone know that I am coordinating our annual "Thanksgiving Day Feast for the Homeless and the
Hungry" at Timothy Baptist Church again this year. What we do is we go around Athens to the shelters or where
ever we need to go and pick the people up. We bring them to our church and provide health screenings, we give clothes,
haircuts and hair styles, goody bags with hygiene necessities, we allow them to take showers and of course we feed them a Thanksgiving Meal. Our desire is to make it a special day for them. For example when we feed them, we don't allow them to stand in line. We decorate our dining area and I have our volunteers seat them and serve them.
If you could get the word out and let everyone know that we are accepting donations for these people. Of course if
anyone has any clothes we could use them. We would like them clean, folded or on hangers. We desperately need wash cloths, towels, unopened packaged t-shirts, underwear and socks. This is a major request from the people each year. If anyone is willing to donate any items please contact me. If anyone wants to help volunteer on Thanksgiving Day you are more than welcome and I can forward details. I will be taking items until Friday, November 20th. I will pick them
up if I need to or you can take them to Timothy Baptist Church, 380 Timothy Road. You can mention my name to
the receptionist and she will know what to do. Thank you.
Coach Tonya M. Lee
University of Georgia Track and Field
706.542.7957 / Fax: 706.542.5224


Angel Program 2009

The Clarke County DFCS Angel Project of 2009 is still in need of sponsors to buy gifts for our children in foster care and children that we are working closely in the community with. If you are interested in sponsoring a child/ren this Holiday season please contact Stephanie Higdon, Angel Project Coordinator, at smhigdon@dhr.state.ga us or 706-621-3657.

Thanks so much to all of you who helped out last year as I know many, many of the faculty and staff at UGA were our biggest supporters. We do know times are tight for everyone right now and really appreciate any help you can offer. If you are unable to purchase gifs, monetary or gift card donations can also be sent to Clarke County DFCS, P.O. Box 1887, Athens, GA 30601 Attn: Angel Project/Rhonda Floyd. Please note on all checks that you are designating that money for the 'Christmas Angel Project'.

Thanks so much!
Stephanie Higdon, MSW
2009 Angel Project Coordinator
Clarke County DFCS
284 N. Avenue
Athens, GA 30601


Madison Co. Habitat for Humanity Art Auction

5pm this Saturday is the 7th annual Madison County Habitat for Humanity Art Auction.
This is a great event that benefits a great cause. There will be good food, live music, and over 100 items in the silent and live auctions.

Silent auction, food, and live music from 5 – 7 pm.

Live auction with Phil Piche begins at 7 pm. http://www.picherealtyauction.com/auction_detail.php?id=119018

The location:

Boutier Winery www.boutierwinery.com
4506 Hudson River Church Road
Danielsville, GA
This is really in Ila, but has a Danielsville mailing address.

$12 in advance
$15 at the door
For more information:

For pictures of some of the art available at the auction:
Directions to the Art Auction at Boutier Winery:
Travel north from Athens on Hwy 29.
Turn left towards Ila on Hwy 106 at the traffic light just past Ingles.
Turn left on Hwy 98 towards Commerce at the flashing light in Ila.
Drive 0.2 miles on Hwy 98 then turn right on Hudson River Church Road.
Drive 4.5 miles on Hudson River Church Road to Boutier Winery sign on right (before Jot Em Down Road).

Over a hundred items to be auctioned include:
Fine Art - Original framed paintings; reduction linoleum cut prints
Photography -framed and/or matted originals
Woodworking - hand turned exotic woods
Pottery and Ceramics - bowls, vases, platters, plates
Folk Art - pottery, paintings, wreathes
Textiles - tapestry, afgans

Gift Certificates for:
Therapeutic massage
Decorating consultation
Kayak/canoe rental
Yoga classes
Personal Chef
and more!

Classic City Christmas performance

Who: Classic City Arts
What: Classic City Christmas
Where: Seney Stovall Chapel Theatre - 201 N. Milledge Avenue
When: December 4th and 5th at 8:00, December 6th at 2:00
Cost: $6.00 - Can be paid by cash or check at the door, or online at www.classiccityarts.com
Info: ClassicCityArts.com, 706-850-1755

Classic City Arts is pleased to present its debut Christmas Concert 'Classic City Christmas' this December 4, 5 & 6 at the Seney Stovall theatre at 201 N. Milledge Avenue. The show features songs from throughout the ages and is sure to please children from one to ninety-nine.

The show includes an eight member cast performing a mix of solos and group numbers. The curtain rises at 8:00pm on Friday and Saturday with a Sunday matinee at 2:00pm. Tickets are $6 and all proceeds support CCA's Classical series of free performances.

Classic City Christmas Features: Amy Wright, Scott Earle, Shanon Hays, Effie Andreu-Hiter, Lila and Lucy Ralston and Andrew Stroer.

Produced by: Will Leamon and Amy Wright.

Directed by: Will Leamon.


Treating the campus with respect????

I do this every year, so I guess its time to do it again. I read about the concern that the administration has about our campus being trashed during home football games. I hear the new ads on the radio about treating our campus with respect. This is respect?
Its past time for the administration to put a halt to north campus tailgating. This is beyond absurd. Why is this allowed to continue game after game after game?
All the extra trash cans, all the trash bags being handed out prior to the game, and this is the end result. It looks to me like the trash got in their SUVs and cars, flags flapping in the wind, and left this mess for others to clean up.
Its time to put a halt to this now.


Free movies/discussion

Russell Library hosts lunchtime screening of A Chaplain’s Story and Rhodesia Unafraid

The Russell Library cordially invites you to attend a lunch time screening of two short films recently added to its international collections: Stan Hannan’s A Chaplain’s Story (1976) and Rhodesia Unafraid (1978). The screening will take place in the Russell Library Auditorium from 12:00-1:00PM on Friday, November 13, 2009.

These films, produced during Hannan’s time in the Rhodesian Army’s Chaplain Corps, offer a unique window into the Rhodesian Bush War (1964-79) from the perspective of the chaplains who ministered to the beleaguered Rhodesian Army. Also known as the Zimbabwe War of Liberation or the Second Chimurenga, this conflict ultimately resulted in the overthrow of white governance in Rhodesia and the creation of modern Zimbabwe.

Craig Breaden, Head of Media and Oral History, will provide a brief introduction to both films prior to the screening. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please call (706) 542-5788 or email jlevinso@uga.edu; For directions to the Russell Library, visit http://www.libs.uga.edu/russell/aboutus/visitor.shtml.


Peanut Fundraiser

The UGA Turf and Agronomy Clubs have begun their Annual Peanut Sale and Fundraiser. Available in handy 2-lb cans, these Georgia grown peanuts come in both skinless and honey-roasted variety. Cans are $6.00, and the proceeds from this sale support club members’ activities throughout the year.

For more information, including order forms, please visit www.ugaturfclub.org, or contact peanuts@uga.edu.

On behalf of the UGA Turf and Agronomy Clubs, thank you for your support!


Reading by Dorianne Laux


The Georgia Review, the renowned literary quarterly published from the University of Georgia since 1947, and the Georgia Poetry Circuit, a consortium of colleges and universities across the state that cooperates in bringing nationally-recognized poets to Athens and elsewhere three times a year, are pleased to announce the first of this year’s events: a reading by acclaimed poet Dorianne Laux. The reading will begin at 7pm on Friday, November 13 at Ciné, 234 West Hancock Avenue in downtown Athens. The event is free and open to the public. UGA instructor and poet Heather Cousins will be the opening reader.

Dorianne Laux was born in Augusta, Maine, in 1952. She worked as a sanatorium cook, a gas station manager, a maid, and a donut holer before receiving a B.A. in English from Mills College in 1988. She is the author of Facts About the Moon (W. W. Norton 2005), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other collections include Smoke (BOA Editions, 2000); What We Carry (1994), also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Awake (1990), which was nominated for the San Francisco Bay Area Book Critics Award for Poetry.

Of Laux's work, poet Tony Hoagland has said, "Her poems are those of a grown American woman, one who looks clearly, passionately, and affectionately at rites of passage, motherhood, the life of work, sisterhood, and especially sexual love, in a celebratory fashion." Among her awards are a Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She now lives, with her husband, poet Joseph Millar, in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she serves among the faculty at North Carolina State University's MFA Program.

Heather Cousins lives in Monroe, Georgia. She holds an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia's creative writing program. Her first book, Something in the Potato Room, won the 2009 Kore Press First Book Competition. She has poems published or forthcoming in The Yalobusha Review, Alehouse, and The Country Dog Review. One of her poems has recently been nominated for a 2010 Pushcart prize.


By Dorianne Laux

Someone spoke to me last night,
told me the truth. Just a few words,
but I recognized it.
I knew I should make myself get up,
write it down, but it was late,
and I was exhausted from working
all day in the garden, moving rocks.
Now, I remember only the flavor--
not like food, sweet or sharp.
More like a fine powder, like dust.
And I wasn't elated or frightened,
but simply rapt, aware.
That's how it is sometimes--
God comes to your window,
all bright light and black wings,
and you're just too tired to open it.


W. Broad St. Bus-Bus stop featured on BoingBoing!

The other day, the bus stop made out of old school buses on W. Broad St. was posted on BoingBoing (the best blog ever... well, it's my favorite all-around blog anyway). Check it out!

Volunteer opportunity -- bookstore & booksale announcement

from a list
I'm posting a PSA about a new bookstore that's opening up in Winterville. The bookstore will be run by FOWL (Friends of the Winterville Library...best acronym EVER) with all proceeds going to the Winterville Library. Volunteers are needed to staff the store. Shifts are in one hour slots. If you are interested, please email Jan Mazzucco at Fowl1012@yahoo.com or call her at (706) 742-7090. See below for more information.

If you love books, then you cannot afford to miss the Grand Opening of "Front Porch Bookstore" in quaint and historic downtown Winterville, between the old train depot and the Winterville Library @ 102 Marigold Lane.

The "Front Porch Bookstore" is totally 100% non-profit with all proceeds going to purchase books and equipment and to fund literary programs for the Winterville Library. The grand opening will be held in conjunction with Winterville's Christmas in the Park on December 4, 2009. The bookstore will be open that evening from 5pm - 8:30pm.

After the grand opening, the store will need volunteers to handle money transactions, stock shelves, and help keep the store clean as follows:
Mon. 3pm to 6:45pm
Tues. 3pm to 6:45pm
Wed. 9am to 11:45am
Thurs. 3pm to 6:45pm
Sat. 10am to 1:45pm


Oconee residents voice concerns at town hall | Oconee | OnlineAthens.com

It is interesting how some of the same people made repeated queries to the members of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners. I am all for participatory democracy on any level.
Oconee residents voice concerns at town hall | Oconee | OnlineAthens.com

Historic Oconee home to be restored | News | OnlineAthens.com

Historic preservation is something that needs to be supported no matter what you affiliation or beliefs. I strongly support this effort and applaud all those involved.
Historic Oconee home to be restored | News | OnlineAthens.com

Is AT&T defrauding business DSL customers?

My phone at the office has been ringing all month. No, it isn't all new business for me; rather, I have been harassed by several calls from telemarketers hired by AT&T. The callers never asked us if I wanted to upgrade my DSL service. They started telling us that they wanted to confirm an upgrade that had already been ordered. They told us that AT&T was switching from old BellSouth lines to newly installed lines. They told us that everyone was getting an upgrade and they were just calling to let us know. When I protested I was treated rudely. When I asked questions the callers hung up.

It turns out that one of these telemarketers did place a fraudulent order on my account to upgrade my service from 1.5 Mbps to 3.0. I was clued in when one of the telemarketers later insisted she was only letting me know that all customers were automatically being upgraded from 3.0 to 6.0.

AT&T's response to my complaints about the calls was to change some record on my account to prevent future telemarketing, but they said it would take "30 to 60 days" for the calls to stop. And, yes, my phone has been ringing every single day for weeks since I asked for the calls to stop. I suggested that they give me a month of free service for my troubles, and after the involvement of two divisions -- because there is no single office authorized to issue credits on both voice and DSL service -- they agreed. However, after the credits were applied I was still left with a bill for $48.00. So much for a free month, huh?

Has anyone else had this trouble? It is clear to me that AT&T is defrauding its business customers. They choose and hire these unscrupulous telemarketers, and they are responsible for their actions.



It has been brought to my attention that Oscar Mayer will be sending its Wienermobile to Athens where it will make the following appearances and giving out swag:

Wednesday November 4th
2 pm - 7 pm: Red Cross Blood Drive for UGA Homecoming Week
Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity House
846 Milledge Avenue
Athens, GA 30605

Thursday November 5th
10 am- 4 pm: Cookout with the Humane Society to Benefit Pet Adoption
1781 Mars Hill Road
Watkinsville, GA 30677

Friday November 6th
3:30 pm - 5:15 pm: Afterschool celebration at the Athens YMCA
915 Hawthorne Avenue
Athens, GA 30606

Reading, Q&A, and Coffee with Author Judson Mitcham

Judith Cofer's graduate writing seminar invites you to a reading and Q & A by poet and novelist Judson Mitcham. Coffee and refreshments will be available. Everyone is welcome.

Location: Park Hall, Room 261 (UGA)
Day: Wednesday, November 4
Time: 10 a.m.

Judson Mitcham's work has appeared in many literary journals, including Georgia Review, Poetry, and Harper's. He has published three collections of poems: Somewhere in Ecclesiastes, which won the Devins Award, This April Day, and A Little Salvation: Poems Old and New. His novels, The Sweet Everlasting and Sabbath Creek, were both awarded the Townsend Prize for Fiction. Mitcham has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Georgia Council for the Arts. He taught psychology at Fort Valley State University for many years, and he currently teaches creative writing at Mercer University.