Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Oconee County Commissioners Vote To Settle Sewage Capacity Suits, Allowing Large Residential Master Planned Developments

***Concessions Made***

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners tonight (Tuesday) approved a settlement agreement with the owners of Parkside and Westland subdivisions that will allow the massive residential master plan developments in the center and west of the county to move forward.

The developers did agree to concessions, including the reduction of the number of lots in both developments, elimination of proposed attached homes from Westland, inclusion of lots reserved for persons 55 years old and older in Parkside, and that no more than 75 building permits would be issued per year.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Kemp Makes Pitch For Two Oconee County State House Candidates During Bus Tour Stop

***Says Turnout Key***

Republican Brian Kemp brought his bus tour to Oconee County today (Monday morning) to raise money for and stir up interest in his campaign.

He made it clear, however, that he also wanted to help Houston Gaines and Marcus Wiedower, who are trying to unseat Democrats Deborah Gonzalez and Jonathan Wallace, holders of the House District 117 and House District 119 seats respectively.

Letter To Parents of Oconee County Elementary School Addresses Concerns About Mold And Mildew In Classroom

***Issue Raised At Board Meeting***

Oconee County Elementary School Principal Ashley Templeton sent a letter to parents and staff last week to reassure them that the school has not had a problem with mold.

Templeton took the action following a statement by Brandi Herndon, a moderator of the Facebook group, Parents Improving Oconee Schools, to the Board of Education earlier this month that she had been told of a “mold or mildew problem” at the school.

Congressman Hice Bragged About The Economy In Meeting With Regional Government Leaders

***Meeting In Athens***

Congressman Jody Hice’s presentation to the Council of the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission last month was not billed as a campaign event, but it would have been hard to have missed the political implications of the message.

In just “two quick years,” Hice told the government and civic leaders from the region, the country has gone from having a “stagnant” economy to one in which there is “great economic news.”

Sunday, October 28, 2018

All Watkinsville Council Candidates Say They Like Sidewalks and Bike Paths

***At Forum***

The seven persons seeking the three seats on the Watkinsville City Council agreed at the candidate forum earlier this month that the city needs more sidewalks, more bikeways, and more interconnectivity of those pathways.

All agreed that the big challenge is how to pay for these improvements to the city’s infrastructure.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Healthcare Issues Dominate Forum For Oconee County Senate And House Candidates Held At Baptist Church In Athens

***Medicaid Expansion Plays Role***

Healthcare generally and Medicaid expansion specifically dominated the forum last week for candidates for Georgia Senate District 46 and House District 117 and House District 119 organized by the Athens Community Agenda.

Democrats Deborah Gonzalez and Jonathan Wallace, incumbents representing the 117th and 119th Georgia House districts respectively, said they support Medicaid expansion, as did Marisue Hilliard, the Democratic candidate for Georgia Senate District 46.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Oconee County Early Voting Continuing At Strong Pace

***Nearly 1 In 5 Voters Participating***

An average of more than 700 Oconee County voters has cast a ballot in the first seven days of early voting for the Nov. 6 elections.

The 4,996 votes cast as of the end of the day today (Tuesday) represents 18.1 percent of the county’s 27,530 active registered voters.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Approves Bond Sales For Presbyterian Village

***Final Bond Amount Not Set***

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority today (Monday) agreed to sell up to $155 million in tax-exempt bonds for the construction of Presbyterian Village Athens.

The Authority will earn a total of $600,000 in fees for issuing the bonds for Westminster Presbyterian Homes Inc., which is building the continuing care retirement community on the 70-acre tract on U.S. 441 at Hog Mountain Road.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Cancels Meeting For Bond Sales To Presbyterian Homes

***Documents Not Ready***

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority cancelled its scheduled meeting for this afternoon because the documents needed for the Authority to go forward with authorization of a loan for Presbyterian Village Athens are not ready.

The county sent out a notice just before noon today announcing the cancellation of the 4 p.m. meeting but did not give a reason and did not indicate when the meeting would be held.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Candidates For Georgia House And Senate Take Different Stands On Health Care At Chamber Of Commerce Candidate Forum

***All See Health Care Problems***

The three Republican state legislative candidates who spoke at the Oconee County and Athens Area Chamber of Commerce Candidate forum on Thursday night said they did not want the government involved in health care and that the market could provide solutions to health care problems.

The other five speakers–four Democrats and a write-in candidate–said the market was not working and government needed to step in to address health care problems.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wiedower Raised More Money In July to September Campaign Period Than Any Other Oconee County Candidate

***Gonzalez Had Strong Report Too***

Marcus Wiedower, Republican candidate for the 119th House District seat, raised more than $80,000 from July 1 to Sept. 30, topping all six candidates for Oconee County’s seats in the Georgia General Assembly.

Deborah Gonzalez, Democrat incumbent in House District 117, raised $68,381–more than $20,000 above the $47,987 raised by her Republican challenger, Houston Gaines.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Oconee County Schools Assembling School And Community Team As Part Of Strategic Planning Process

***Report To Board***

Oconee County School administrators are in the process of putting together a team of some 30 to 40 members who will meet in early November as the next step in the Strategic Planning Process, Claire Buck, chief academic officer, told the Board of Education last week.

Buck said invitations had gone out to 39 individuals, roughly evenly split between student and staff on the one hand and parents and community on the other. Buck referred to the group, when assembled, as the Planning Team.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Postpones Meeting On Presbyterian Homes Bonds

***Final Figure Not Set***

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority on Friday postponed its meeting to consider issuance of bonds for construction of Presbyterian Village Athens on U.S. 441 at Hog Mountain Road that had been scheduled for tomorrow (Monday).

County Clerk Kathy Hayes sent out notice of the postponement of the Authority meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Friday but did not give an explanation of the decision to postpone the meeting.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Oconee County School Board Candidates Focus On Access In Forum; Legislative Candidates Address Campus Carry And Other Issues

***Gaines On Attack***

Fran Thompson and Andrea Wellnitz, seeking spots on the Oconee County Board of Education, told a packed room of citizens gathered for a candidate forum on Thursday night that they want the Board to be more transparent and more open to citizen input.

Incumbents Kim Argo and Amy Parrish said the Board already is transparent and open to citizens ideas and feedback and they want to make sure the community understands that.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Oconee County Commissioners Approve Rezones For Shopping Center And Car Museum

***Conditions Added In Both Cases***

Oconee County commissioners, with minimal discussion, unanimously approved the request for a shopping center at the intersection of Lenru Road and Malcom Bridge Road and for a museum, office, and events venue at Cole Springs Road and Snows Mill Road.

Just fewer than 50 citizens turned out for the meeting, about half of them interested in the shopping center decision, despite their having been told in advance it was unlikely they would get a chance to speak. They did not get that chance.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Citizen Asked Oconee County Board Of Education To Lobby Legislators To Reduce Testing

Superintendent Asked In 2015

The Oconee County Board of Education members, in keeping with policy, did not respond last month when Joyce Reifsteck, 1141 Thornwell Drive, north of Watkinsville, asked them to address her concerns about the burden placed on teachers by testing in the county’s schools.

“I don’t have to tell you about constant preparation and testing, and the tedious attention that is paid to the Georgia Standards of Excellence, formerly called Common Core,” Reifsteck said.