Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Group Gives Oconee County Board of Commissioners Proposal For History Museum At Barnett Shoals

***Landowners And Land Trust Involved***

Russ Page, a tireless advocate for farmland and historic site preservation, last (Tuesday) night delivered on his promise in January to present the Oconee County Board of Commissioners a proposal for a county History Museum and preservation of historical sites on the Oconee River.

Page, representing a group of land owners, historians and archaeologists, and the Athens Land Trust, asked that the Board set aside $300,000 in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue for the purchase of land for the museum.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Oconee County Commissioners Approve Agreements For New Fire Station On Virgil Langford Road

***In Called Meeting***

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners, in a called meeting on Friday, approved a $2.1 million contract for construction of a new fire station on Virgil Langford Road just south of SR 316.

The Board also approved a lease-purchase agreement with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia that will provide the county with $2.4 million in credit for construction of a replacement for the Barber Creek Fire Station #8 on the Oconee Connector.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

John Barrow Tells Oconee County Democrats He Is Proud Of Endorsements From County Republicans

***People Notice***

John Barrow, running as a Democrat for Georgia Secretary of State, told Oconee County Democrats last week that he was proud of his endorsements from Republicans, including from Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry and from former Oconee County Commission Chair Melvin Davis.

“Believe me, to have someone like Scott and Melvin on there is an eye opener for folks who know the score,” Barrow said of his list of endorsements.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Oconee County Board Of Education Members Express Concern About Dependence On Sales Tax

***Online Threat Identified***

A standard feature of the regular meetings of the Oconee County Board of Education is a report from Chief Financial Officer Saranna Charping on the collections from the Education Local Option Sales Tax.

Charping’s report on the sales tax on Monday showed a sharp increase in sales tax revenue in December of 2017, but that followed months of slow growth and three months where revenue in 2017 was lower than a year earlier.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

New Watkinsville Mayor Said Impartiality And A Desire For Collaboration Will Guide Him In His New Role

Mayor’s Report

Dave Shearon used his first mayoral report to the City Council and the public to spell out a series of what he called “general principles” that will guide him as he serves as mayor of Oconee County’s county seat.

Shearon said he would be nonpartisan and impartial in addressing issues before the city.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

State Resource Team Praises Oconee County For Promotion Of Tourism And Offers Recommendations

***Criticism Too***

The state resource team studying tourism and its potential in Oconee County offered much praise of the county in the report it delivered last week at Oconee Veterans Park.

“You all have some really gorgeous things in your community,” team leader Cindy Eidson said. “Everything was so incredible.”

Monday, February 19, 2018

Libraries Are Not A Relic, Former Rep. Williams Says At Groundbreaking For Oconee County Bogart Library Expansion

***Challenge For Funders***

Former state Rep. Chuck Williams told a crowd of more than 50 people who turned out on Saturday for the groundbreaking of the 5,900-square-foot addition to the Bogart Library that getting state funding for library construction today is difficult because of a misconception.

“When it comes to libraries, there’s a challenge at the state to make sure that everyone needs to understand that libraries--public libraries like this--are not a relic,” Williams said.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Friends Of Barber Creek Seeking To Play Leadership Role In Discussion Of Oconee County Water Master Plan

***Board Elects New President***

Members of the Board of Directors of the Friends of Barber Creek have decided they want to play a leadership role as Oconee County completes work on its Water and Wastewater Master Plan revision.

The Board earlier this week elected Allan Antley, 1040 Lake Wellbrook Drive in Lake Wellbrook subdivision, as president, and decided to make new efforts to revive its membership base.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Oconee County Issues Building Permit For Online Grocery Operation At Epps Bridge Walmart

March Launch

Oconee County issued a building permit late last month for alterations to the Walmart Super Center, 1911 Epps Bridge Parkway, to incorporate an online grocery operation at the store.

Included is restriping of parking on the west side of the building to denote online grocery pickup parking and parking lot signage for the designated area.

Secretary Of State Candidate Told Oconee County Republicans He Wants To Make Sure Only Americans Vote In State Elections

Takes Pro Business Stance

Brad Raffensperger told Oconee County Republicans he is motivated by three key issues in his bid to get the Republican nomination for Secretary of State in the May 22 primary.

He said he wants to make sure that only Americans vote in elections in the state, that Georgia is a great place to find a job, and that Georgia is a great place to build a business.

Speaker Tells Oconee Democrats They Need To Reach Out To Others To Win Elections

***Urged Involvement In Local Races***

Democratic activist Daniel Blackman from Forsyth County told the gathering of Oconee County Democrats last month that he was really pleased to see so many people in the audience, but he said it wasn’t enough.

Blackman said there were not enough young people in the group.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Georgia Department of Transportation Has Lifted Stop Work Order Halting Construction On Mars Hill Road

***In Place Since December***

The Georgia Department of Transportation lifted a stop-work order last week against G.P.’s Enterprises Inc., contractor for the widening of Mars Hill Road, that had halted all work on the road project since December of last year.

GDOT had issued the stop work order after discovering problems with storm water drainage at the bridge over Barber Creek that resulted in dirt and sediment entering Barber Creek.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Oconee County, Fearing Legal Challenge, Revises Its Sign Ordinance

***Removes Content References***

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners last week acted quickly to change the county’s sign ordinance in an effort to strip the document of any reference to the content of the signs and thus avoid a lawsuit.

The Board took the action at the urging of County Attorney Daniel Haygood, who told the Board he was afraid the existing sign ordinance left the county vulnerable to a legal challenge in light of the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in an Arizona case in 2015 greatly restricting how local governments can regulate signs.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Future Development Map Attracts Attention At Public Forum On Revisions To Comprehensive Plan

***Light Turnout At Meeting***

Monday night’s meeting at the Community Center in Oconee Veterans Park was billed as a Public Forum on the 2018 revision to the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

Opportunities for feedback on the current draft of the plan were quite limited, and only a small number of people not engaged with creation of the draft were in the audience.

Oconee County Chairman Tells Board Of Education County Roadwork At New Elementary School Is Progressing

***Responding To Questions***

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman John Daniell appeared at the Monday meeting of the Oconee County Board of Education to reassure Board of Education members that the county is moving expeditiously on roadwork around Dove Creek Elementary School, set to open next school year.

Daniell’s comments followed questions from Board of Education members about the county’s work on the entrances to the school at the Jan. 22 meeting and again on Monday and reports from Facilities Director Jake Grant that the county was behind on the project.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Oconee County Reports Another Spill At Calls Creek Plant

***Monday And Tuesday***

Oconee County late Tuesday reported its second major spill in less than a month from its Calls Creek wastewater treatment plant outside Watkinsville.

According to the county, an estimated 72,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater was released on Monday and Tuesday (Feb. 5 and 6) into Calls Creek from the plant, which is located at 1100 Durhams Mill Way, on the north side of Watkisville.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Public Forum On Comprehensive Plan Set For Monday Night At Oconee Veterans Park

***Draft Plan Available For Review***

Oconee County citizens get their first chance tomorrow (Monday) night to review the nearly-completed work of the 29-member citizen Stakeholders Committee, which has worked in collaboration with the county consultants to draft a 2018 Comprehensive Plan.

Based on citizen input at the meeting tomorrow, the consultants are scheduled to make changes to the document to be discussed at a final meeting of the Stakeholders Committee in early March.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Oconee County Library Friends Winter Book Sale Will Help Fund Summer Reading Program At Watkinsville Library

***Feb. 8-10 At Library***

Oconee County Library Friends will direct funds raised through its winter used book sale from Feb. 8 to 10 to support of the summer reading program at the Oconee County Library on Experiment Station Road in Watkinsville.

Rebecca Ballard, children’s specialist at the library, said children experience a “summer slump” in reading when school is not in session, and the summer reading program is designed to address that.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Citizens Seek To Make New Friends Across Party Lines On Rainy Sunday In Oconee County

***Oconee Progressives And Democrats Are Sponsors***

Twenty-eight people turned out at the Oconee County Library in Watkinsville on last Sunday’s rainy afternoon to exchange nonpartisan conversation with the goals of getting to know each other and of building community.

The sponsors, the Oconee Progressives and Oconee Democrats, had reached out across party lines with their invitations, and they were successful.