Monday, October 30, 2017

Gaines Raises $200,000 Plus In Race For 117th House Seat, Outpacing Other Candidates In 117th and 119th Special Elections

***Has $140,000 To Spend***

Houston Gaines, running as a Republican in the special election for House District 117, has raised more than $200,000 for his campaign and, as of Oct. 25, had more than $140,000 in unspent funds.

All of the money Gaines has raised is in the form of contributions, with large amounts coming from the campaign funds of politicians and from corporate interests.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Early Voting Continues At A Low Pace in Special Elections in House District 117 and House District 119

***Only 3,000 Or 4,000 Voters?***

Voting continued at a low rate this second week of early voting for the special elections in House District 117 and House District 119, with an average of only 167 persons going to the polls per day in Clarke County and 97 going to the polls per day in Oconee County.

Voting was even lower in Barrow and Jackson counties, parts of which contribute to the 117th House District.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Oconee County Commission Put Demolition Of Old Jail On Agenda For November Vote

***Wilkes Opposed***

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners last (Tuesday) night agreed to put a bid of $92,000 for demolition of the Old Jail located behind the Courthouse in Watkinsville on the agenda for final action at its Nov. 7 meeting.

County Administrator Justin Kirouac recommended that the Board accept the low bid from Complete Demolition Services Inc. of Carrollton to allow for both security and space upgrades to the existing Courthouse.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Six Candidates For Two Open Georgia House Districts Get Chance To Restate Positions At Athens-Clarke County Forum

***Healthcare Differentiates***

Responding to fixed questions they had received in advance, the six candidates running in the special elections for Georgia House District 117 and District 119 Monday night offered largely familiar responses on campus carry, redistricting and other issues.

One question not asked so simply and precisely in earlier forums did help to underscore the differences among the candidates in the Nov. 7 elections.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Owners Of Reception Hall In South Of Oconee County Initiate Application For Business License After OCAF Event Moved

***Alcohol Permit Lacking***

The owners of The Farm at High Shoals, the horse barn turned reception hall between Bishop and North High Shoals, filed an application for a business license last week, according to B.R. White, director of Oconee County Planning and Code Enforcement Department.

That was more than a month after the Oconee County Board of Commissioners approved a rezone for just less than 5 acres, including the horse barn, to allow the owners of the 306-acre horse farm to continue to operate the reception hall business.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Oconee County Outperforming Clarke County In Early Voting For Nov. 7 Special House District Elections

***Forum Monday Night***

Houston Gaines, running to replace Republican Regina Quick, who stepped down in August as representative from Georgia House District 117, had a warning for the Oconee County Republicans who attended the party’s meeting in late September.

“We’ve got to work hard to keep this seat,” Gaines said of the 117th, which is dominated by Clarke County but includes parts of Oconee, Barrow and Jackson counties as well.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Oconee County Exploring Collaboration With Athens-Clarke County As One Option For Sewer Capacity Expansion, Citizens Told

***Town Hall Meeting***

Oconee County is exploring collaboration with Athens-Clarke County for future wastewater treatment, Oconee County Commission Chair John Daniell told a small group of citizens this week at a Town Hall meeting in Oconee Veterans Park.

“We’ve had different conversations since I’ve been in office,” Daniell said in response to a question asking if the commissioners had “met with Clarke County to discuss wastewater?”

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Questions On Trump Again Prominent In Oconee County Candidate Forum For Two Open Georgia House Seats

***Created Spark In 117th Race***

Donald Trump played a role in the candidate forum for the Nov. 7 special elections for House Districts 117 and 119 held tonight (Tuesday) at the Oconee County campus of the University of North Georgia, as he did in a forum last week.

In response to a question about Trump’s behavior as President, the three Republican candidates in the race for House District 119 strongly endorsed Trump, though Steven Strickland did say he had problems with 5 percent of what Trump does.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Clarke County Dominates Both House Districts 117 And 119 And Brings Different Demographics From Those Of Oconee County

***Registration Analysis Confirms***

Clarke County voters are dominant in Georgia House District 117 and make up a very slight majority of voters in the 119th Georgia House District, an analysis of voter registration data as of Oct. 1 shows.

Clarke County voters also differ demographically from those in Barrow, Jackson and Oconee counties, who share the 117th, and from voters in Oconee County, who share the 119th, the analysis of the registration data confirms.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Speakers Tell Oconee County Board Of Education They Oppose Reassignment From Malcom Bridge Elementary School

***Is Move Necessary?***

Eleven people spoke at the Oconee County Board of Education Listening Session on elementary school redistricting last week, and none of them was in favor of the plan put forward by Oconee County Schools.

The proposal calls for creation of a new elementary school district north and west of U.S. 78 to accommodate the new Dove Creek Elementary School under construction on Hog Mountain Road near the Barrow County line.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Georgia House Candidates Address Wide Range Of Issues In Forum At Oconee County's Veterans Park

***Both Parties Represented***

The candidates on Monday night fielded questions on campus carry, healthcare, religious freedom, President Donald Trump and a variety of other matters.

The three candidates running as Republicans in Georgia House District 119 agreed in their responses to most of the questions, while the lone Democrat in the Nov. 7 special election politely differentiated his views from those expressed by the others.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Oconee County Approves Building Permit For Hobby Lobby In Expanded Epps Bridge Centre

***Now On Atlanta Highway***

Oconee County has issued a building permit for Hobby Lobby in Epps Bridge Centre II, signaling that another big box retailer is leaving the Atlanta Highway commercial corridor for Oconee County.

The permit is for a 54,947-square-foot building and is the first issued by the county for Epps Bridge Centre II, which is across the Oconee Connector from the existing shopping center at the newly opened Plaza Parkway.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Rezone For Possible Hotel And Restaurant At SR 316 And Oconee Connector Gets Approval Of Oconee County Board Of Commissioners

***Exit In Question***

Oconee County commissioners on Tuesday night approved a concept plan for a hotel and restaurant at the southeastern corner of SR 316 and the Oconee Connector, but how patrons will exit the development remains uncertain.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is building a full median cut on the Oconee Connector allowing left turns and right turns into and out of the property.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Oconee County School Ranked Second In State On Average College Entrance Exam Scores

***ACT and SAT***

Oconee County Schools ranked second in the state in student performance in 2017 on both the ACT and the SAT college entrance exams and tied for seventh in graduation rate, school administrators told the Oconee County Board of Education at its work session on Monday.

Forsyth County Schools was the only school system that outperformed Oconee County on the ACT scores, and Buford City Schools was the only system that outperformed Oconee County on the SAT scores.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Four Republican Candidates For Two Open State House Seats Introduced Themselves To Oconee County Republicans

***Similar Stands Voiced***

The four Republican candidates for Georgia House District 117 and District 119 used the opportunity presented them at the Oconee County Republican Party meeting last week to introduce themselves and take similar stands on a number of issues.

All spoke about the need for improvements to roads, in support of education, and in favor of campus carry, though some were open to changes in the campus carry law passed by the legislature last year–without the support of then 117 Rep. Regina Quick or then 119 Rep. Chuck Williams, both Republicans.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Developer Asking Oconee County Commissioners For Variance To Recently Enacted Mars Hill Overlay District Building Height Restriction

***Full Median Cut On Connector***

Owners of the property on the southeast corner of SR 316 and the Oconee Connector are asking the Oconee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night to set aside a restriction approved just last year limiting building height in the Mars Hill Overlay District.

The property owners, 316 Holding Group, also are asking for a change in the zoning of the 4.5-acre parcel from one type or business use to another to allow for the possible development of a restaurant and hotel on the property.