Mark Richt’s next job: A campaign for Georgia governor? | Political Insider blog

Mark Richt’s next job: A campaign for Georgia governor? | Political Insider blog

Christmas traditions for the kids

More than two billion people celebrate Christmas globally every year. Christmas time is full of family traditions. In America, cookies are made, a tree is decorated, and stockings are hung by the chimney with care, but each country celebrates Christmas in their own unique way.
Children of all ages and their caregivers are encouraged to learn about some of these wonderful traditions by making crafts from different countries on Thursday, December 10 at 3:30 p.m. in the Athens-Clarke County Library Children’s Area. This drop-in activity is available while supplies last.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Children’s Area or call (706) 613-3650, ext. 314. The Athens-Clarke County Library is located at 2025 Baxter Street, Athens.


Holiday safety tips (online scam edition)

From the Athens-Clarke County Police Department:

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

 Leaving for the holidays

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

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

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

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


Boil water advisory

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


ACC garbage collection

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


Georgia woman accused of death threat against congressman

Georgia woman accused of death threat against congressman

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

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

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

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


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

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

762 area code rocking along

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Hugh Acheson to discuss cookbook for vegetables and fruit

This Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at the Athens-Clarke County Library, Chef Hugh Acheson will discuss his cookbook The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruit. This book covers recipes ranging from the easy do-it-yourself to extravagant dinner party dishes, with an emphasis on healthy dining. The event is sponsored by Friends of the Library, and copies of the book will be available for purchase. The program will be held in the Appleton Auditorium and followed by a reception.


A Confederate license plate’s deep roots in Georgia law | Political Insider blog

A Confederate license plate’s deep roots in Georgia law | Political Insider blog

Another scam alert

From the Athens-Clarke County Police Department:
A group commonly known as the “Irish Travelers” has been operating scams in areas surrounding Athens-Clarke County; however, we have not had any reports at this time.
Reports from other counties indicate that one or two subjects come to the door of a residence. They identify themselves as working for a utility company and need to check the property line. They convince the owner to walk to the back of the property with them. During this time another subject will enter the residence and steal property. This group usually preys on senior citizens but that does not mean they will not approach other residents.

If people come to your residence with this type of story, ask them to show identification. Employees of most utility companies will have identification and will not be offended if you ask for it. Ask for a contact number and call the company to verify that the subject is legitimate. Under no circumstance should you open your door to strangers until you have verified they are truly an employee of the company they say they represent. If they try to pressure you into coming out with them, close and lock the door. Call 911 immediately and give the communications center a description of the subjects and a vehicle description if one is seen.

This is just one of many scams this group uses. In other scams residents have been told they need a new roof because of damage from storms or they have left over asphalt and they will pave your drive for a good price. Do not become a victim of these scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Do not hesitate to call 911 if you see suspicious activity in your neighborhood.


Huge turbine to be transported across north Georgia

Huge turbine to be transported across north Georgia

New chief in town

The Athens-Clarke County Unified Government announced yesterday that Scott Freeman has been appointed the new permanent chief of police. The announcement says that Freeman has most recently served as the chief deputy of the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office, and it details his  accomplishments in his career in that office as well as the Conyers Police Department. The former chief Joseph Lumpkin moved on last fall to become chief of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.

Welcome to Athens, Chief Freeman. There is a lot to do, but there are a lot of good officers and conscientious citizens to help you do it.


Two transported to hospital after truck overturns in Oconee County; road closed

This got me thinking, as I tend to do after any small disaster, what route to Athens would I take if all of the sudden, Barnett Shoals Road in Watkinsville was closed as it was in this wreck, Simonton Bridge was closed as it started to be today with the five foot shaving at the intersection with Milledge Avenue, and take into effect the old Macon Highway with the recently extinguished smoldering remains of the Puritan Cord Mill closing that route. Yes I could still wander around to Atlanta Highway and or the 10 Loop, but sometimes we do take for granted our frequented paths and usual journeys.  What is your favorite secret way to Athens, taking these out of the calculation?

Two transported to hospital after truck overturns in Oconee County; road closed

Portion of Whitehall Road closed through July 31

That is a long time! Plan ahead if you're going that way south of South Milledge Avenue. Details here.


Tasers coming soon

From the Athens-Clarke County Police Department:

Prior to deploying Tasers in the field, the Police Department is holding a series of community forums to explain its policies for Taser usage and address questions and concerns. The first forum was held on April 29. The next session is scheduled for Thursday, May 28, at 7:00 PM at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, 1931 Old West Broad Street. The third forum will be Wednesday, June 3, at 5:30 PM at the Police Department’s West Precinct at Georgia Square Mall, 3700 Atlanta Hwy.


New teen writers group

From the library:

Are you a teen who wishes to improve their writing or get feedback? Join the Teen Writers’ Guild at the Athens-Clarke County Library on Friday, February 20, at 4:30 p.m. The Writers’ Guild allows teens to share and discuss their writing with other teen writers. The guild is free and open to all teens ages 11-18. Teens should bring writing with them or be prepared to write at the meeting.

For more information visit the teen desk or call (706) 613-3650, ext. 329.  The Athens-Clarke County Library is located at 2025 Baxter Street, Athens.


AthCon March 14 and 15

Athcon and Rose of Athens Theatre are pleased to announce the return of the area’s only Comics/Star Wars/Gaming /Anime Comic Con.  AthCon will return in its 3rd year to a two-day event at the Classic Center in downtown Athens. Con attendees from all over the state and beyond will enjoy: 
·      Stormtroopers and sci-fi characters from the Georgia 501st Stormtrooper division.
·      Gaming contests sponsored by Dragon Star Hobbies, including a regional Magic Card tournament. 
·      Comics’ guest panels/ discussions.
·      There will also be costume contests with local fans, featuring all the heroes and villains from your favorite comics and movies. 
·      AthCon will feature a costume dance party Saturday evening in the main Athena ballroom of the Classic Center.
·      Don't miss our Georgia Ghostbusters, Stormtroopers, Replica Batmobile, Zombie Response Team, Georgia Robocop and the Kilted Creature.

AthCon is a charity event; all proceeds will go to benefit a nonprofit 501c3, Rose of Athens Theatre and its Arts Education programming.  So come dressed in the weirdest, nerdiest look you can imagine, have fun, and support the Arts for youth March 14-15, 2015.

For more detailed information please ath-con.com, Rose of Athens Theatre, Dragon Star Hobbies, or Mr. Comic Shop.