Sunday, September 29, 2019

Regional Transportation Planning Committee Told About Citizen Input On Transportation Plan And High Speed Passenger Rail

***Citizens Favor Bike And Pedestrian Facilities***

Citizen feedback on the draft MACORTS 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan was wide-ranging, but positive comments on the inclusion of bike and pedestrian facilities on road projects, particularly in Oconee County, were dominant.

The Technical Coordinating Committee of MACORTS, the federally mandated metropolitan planning organization for the region, received a summary of the feedback before approving the draft 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan at its meeting on Wednesday morning in Athens.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Oconee County To Have Its First Public Outdoor Pickleball Court At Herman C. Michael Park

***Board Responds To Public Request***

The many pickleball enthusiasts who turned out at the Oconee County Town Hall meeting in February got the good news on Tuesday that the county will resurface the six tennis courts at Herman C. Michael Park on Hog Mountain Road and stripe two of the courts for their sport.

The Board at its meeting on Tuesday tentatively agreed to a contract with Advance Athletic Services LLC of Dublin for $56,698 for resurfacing the two quick start courts and the four regulation tennis courts.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Extra Special People Has Encountered Problems That Have Slowed Plans For Miracle League Field At Harris Shoals Park In Watkinsville

***Executive Director Told Garden Club***

Extra Special People has run into some obstacles that it must overcome as it sets in motion its plans to build a Miracle League Field at Harris Shoals Park in Watkinsville, Laura Whitaker, executive director of the organization, said earlier this month.

The project is going to require more money than originally anticipated, Whitaker told a gathering of the Watkinsville Garden Club meeting at Harris Shoals Park.

Monday, September 23, 2019

GDOT Moving Forward With Plans For Widening Of U.S. 441 Along Existing Route And With Truck Bypass Of Bishop

***Design Of Bypass Not Finalized***

The Georgia Department of Transportation has decided to move forward with the planned widening of U.S. 441 to four lanes along the existing route from Madison to Bishop.

It also is proceeding with plans for a truck bypass of Bishop, calling it the “more appealing alternative for localized traffic in the area.”

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Oconee County Schools Ended Fiscal Year With $2 Million Budget Surplus, School Administrator Reported To Board Of Education

***Also Gave Update On ELOST***

Oconee County Schools ended the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year with a budget surplus of just more than $2 million, Saranna Charping, school system chief financial officer, told the Board of Education last Monday.

Part of the savings came from the state declared “holiday” on the system’s contribution to the employer match for employee health care benefits, Charping said in response to a question from Board Member Tim Burgess.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Oconee County Is Creating An Economic Development Strategy From A Position Of Strength, Expert Says

***Housing Issue Should Be Addressed***

Oconee County is in a really strong position as it plans for the future, Craig Lesser, managing partner of the Pendleton Group, told the Oconee County Task Force on Economic Development on Tuesday morning.

The county has the third highest median household income among the state’s 159 counties, Lesser said.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Oconee County Proposing Closing Section Of Road And Contemplating Roundabouts Near North Oconee High School

***Discussions At Final Meeting Of Committee***

Oconee County is proposing the closing of Cole Spring Road from Snows Mill Road to Hog Mountain Road to address traffic problems, Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell told the Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee last week.

Daniell also said he can “envision” three roundabouts on Hog Mountain Road, one at Clotfelter Road, one at the entrance to North Oconee High School, and one at the Snows Mill Road and Rocky Branch Road intersection.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Watkinsville Election Forum Set for Oct. 3 At City Hall

***Open To City And County Residents***

An election forum is set for 7 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 3 at Watkinsville City Hall for the city mayoral and council races as well as for the Sunday Brunch issue on the November ballot.

Incumbent Mayor Dave Shearon and former state representative Bob Smith have indicated they will attend. Both are running for mayor.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

First Meeting Of Oconee County Economic Development Task Force Scheduled For Tuesday

***At Chamber Of Commerce***

The newly formed Oconee County Economic Development Task Force is scheduled to hold the first of three meetings on Tuesday to help develop a plan for economic development in the county.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the Chamber of Commerce, 55 Nancy Drive in Watkinsville.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Enrollment In Oconee County Schools Increased This Year, But At Lower Rate Than Recent Years, School Board Told

***Roundabouts Discussed Again***

The census of enrollments in Oconee County Schools this fall showed 8,170 students attending the system’s 11 schools, an increase of 1.8 percent over the year earlier.

In his report to the Board of Education on Monday, Brook Whitmire, chief Human Resources officer, noted that the growth in enrollments was “a little bit less than what we’ve seen in the last few years.”

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Proposed Regional Transportation Plan Adds Pedestrian And Bicycle Facilities To Oconee County’s Hog Mountain And Daniells Bridge Roads

***Comment Sought At Meeting Monday Night***

The regional long range transportation plan now before the public for review makes significant changes to the current document and provides for both pedestrian and bicycle travel on two key roadways in Oconee County.

Both bicycle and pedestrian “facilities” would be added to Hog Mountain Road from Mars Hill Road in Butler’s Crossing to U.S. 441, passing the Presbyterian Homes complex now under construction at the Hog Mountain Road intersection with U.S. 441.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Oconee County Commission Struggles With Its New Residential Lot Size Requirements In Three Rezone Cases

***Split Votes And Split Decisions***

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday night to impose a minimum lot size of 1.5 acres on a 10.1-acre residential subdivision off Mars Hill Road and in a split vote agreed to allow a 42.5-acre residential subdivision off Ruth Jackson Road to have lots of only 1 acre.

The Board struggled with a request to create three lots out of a five-acre tract off Moores Ford Road near the Apalachee River and ended up tabling the request without a resolution.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Labor Shortage Is Threat To Growing Economy, Elected Officials Tell Oconee County Republicans

***Immigration Not Offered As Solution***

The economy in the country, the state of Georgia, and the region is very strong, 10th District Congressman Jody Hice and Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler told a gathering of Oconee County Republicans last week.

That strong economy is threatened, both speakers said, by the shortage of labor to fill the jobs the strong economy is producing.