Saturday, November 27, 2021

Oconee County Republican Party Features Representatives Wiedower And Gaines, Gov. Kemp, At Nov. 29 Meeting

***Redistricting Topic For Legislators***

Oconee County’s Republican Party is giving Oconee County citizens a chance on Monday night to hear from their two representatives in the Georgia House, Marcus Wiedower and Houston Gaines, regarding the just completed redistricting in the state.

Gov. Brian Kemp is the featured speaker at the meeting, scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at Hadden Estates at DGD Farms, 1112 Cliff Dawson Road, but the two representatives are scheduled to give what is being called a “redistricting update” as well.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Citizens At Town Hall Meeting Express Interest In A Second Vote On Rejected Oconee County Transportation Sales Tax Referendum

***LaVista Road Plans Discussed***

Oconee County Commission Chair John Daniell didn’t make any mention in his opening comments at the Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday of voter rejection on Nov. 2 of the proposed Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

He bragged in those first comments about recognition the Water Resources Department and the Parks and Recreation Department have received and discussed the contract the county has signed with Charter Communication to expand broadband in the county.

Daniell also updated the audience on a number of road projects, including at U.S. 441 and LaVista Road, at three intersections on Hog Mountain Road west of Butler’s Crossing, and along Experiment Station from Butler’s Crossing to the U.S. 441 bypass.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Video Shows How Redistricting Affects Residents Of Oconee And Clarke Counties

***Maps Of Counties Divided And Districts Constructed***

With a population of 41,799, Oconee County is too small to have its own House District.

Clarke County, however, has enough residents to have two districts of its own, with 9,649 residents left over.

With the addition of those 9,649 residents from Clarke, plus another 8,063 from another county, such as from the area around Statham in Barrow County, Oconee County could be whole and dominant in a House District, as it was prior to redistricting in 2011.

If Oconee and Clarke joined in a Senate District, they would need fewer than 21,000 residents from another county, such as Madison or Barrow or Walton, to form a Senate District.

The outcome of the latest round of redistricting is quite different from the outcome just described.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Northeast Health District Has Increase In COVID-19 Cases In Last Week; Deaths From Disease Drop By One

***Oconee Cases Are Up; Clarke Cases Are Down***

The 10-county Northeast Health District added 415 new cases of COVID-19 in the week ending on Friday, up from the 290 cases added a week earlier, and 10 new confirmed deaths from the disease, down from 11 added last week.

Two of the confirmed deaths in the last week were in Clarke County.

The average number of added cases in the District was 59.3 per day on Friday, up from 41.1 added cases per day for the week ending Nov. 12.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Oconee County Planning Commission Recommends A Medical Center Over A Hotel, Expansion Of A Retirement Community

***Both Projects Along Virgil Langford Road***

The Oconee County Planning Commission on Monday night recommended approval a medical center as a replacement for a proposed hotel in one rezone request and the near doubling of the size of a Continuum of Care Retirement Community in another.

Both rezone requests were in the fast-developing medical area along Virgil Langford Road between SR 316 and SR 10 Loop.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Oconee County Broadband Contract With Charter Expected To Provide Nearly Complete County Coverage In About Two Years

***Federal Relief Funds To Be Used***

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners has decided to use $1.7 million in federal relief funds the county has in hand to pay Charter Communications to build out broadband in underserved areas mostly in the central and southern parts of the county.

The county’s grant isn’t likely to be all that Charter will need to invest to reach the 1,377 addresses tentatively identified as lacking adequate broadband service, but it is the amount that Charter requested in negotiations for the grant from the county.

Friday, November 12, 2021

COVID Cases In Northeast Health District, Oconee, Clarke, Resume Downward Movement, Reversing Increase Of Last Week

***Oconee School Cases Remain Unchanged***

The 10-county Northeast Health District added 290 new cases of COVID-19 in the week ending on Friday, down sharply from the 561 cases added a week earlier, and 11 new confirmed deaths from the disease, down from 18 added last week.

Three of the confirmed deaths in the last week were in Clarke County.

The average number of added cases in the District was 41.1 per day, about half of the average of 80.1 for the week ending Nov. 5.

The average number of cases was down from the 65.5 average on Oct. 29.

MACORTS Approves Scoping Study Request For Truck Bypass South Of Watkinsville After Challenge From Oconee Citizen Representative

***Approval Allows For Review Of Routes North Of Bishop***

The MACORTS Policy Committee meeting on Wednesday morning took an unusual turn when Oconee County’s citizen representative said it was his intention to vote against a request for a scoping study of a truck bypass linking SR 15 and U.S. 441 south of Watkinsville.

Dave Henson said his goal was to keep the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) from considering any route that put additional traffic on U.S. 441 through Bishop.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Maps Passed By General Assembly Will Change Focus Of Legislators Representing Oconee, Clarke Counties

***Change Small For Oconee Citizens, Large For Clarke Residents***

Oconee County’s legislators in the Georgia General Assembly will find themselves with rather different districts when the legislation they and fellow Republicans passed on Monday and Wednesday takes effect for the November 2022 elections.

Marcus Wiedower, who represents the county from the 119th House District, will gain a new Oconee County precinct while losing two precincts in Clarke County if he seeks re-election.

Houston Gaines, who represents the county in the 117th House District, will lose a precinct in Oconee County, one in Clarke County, and a precinct in Barrow County, and he will gain a precinct in Jackson County--if he seeks to stay in the Georgia House.

Bill Cowsert will continue to have all of Oconee County in his Senate District 46, but he will have fewer precincts in Clarke and Walton counties and add precincts in Gwinnett and Barrow counties, provided he decides to run again for his seat.

Saturday, November 06, 2021

MACORTS TCC 10 27 21 Transportation Planning Committee Endorses Scoping Study Of Truck Bypass South Of Watkinsville

***Comments Show Concern About Route***

The MACORTS Technical Coordination Committee has approved modifications to the transportation group’s documents, moving plans forward for a scoping study of a truck bypass linking SR 15 and U.S. 441 south of Watkinsville.

The action now goes to the MACORTS Policy Committee, which meets virtually on Nov. 10, for final action.

Friday, November 05, 2021

COVID-19 Cases Increase In Oconee, Clarke, Northeast Health District, Reversing Decline That Started In Early September

***Deaths Remain High But Fall From Last Week***

The 10-county Northeast Health District added 561 new cases of COVID-19 in the week ending on Friday, up from 459 added a week earlier, and 18 new confirmed deaths from the disease, down from 21 last week.

The average number of added cases in the District was 80.1 per day, compared with 65.6 per day in the week ending Oct. 29.

This was the first increase in the average number of cases per week since cases per week peaked on Sept. 3.

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Republicans Release State House And Senate Redistricting Maps; House Map Changes Oconee Districts

***Analysis Shows T-SPLOST Lost In Election-Day Voting***

Georgia House Republicans released their version of new House District boundaries on Wednesday as the legislature assembled in Atlanta to create new maps for the state House, Senate, and U.S. Congress.

Oconee County would continue to be split between two Districts, numbered 120 and 121, if the Republican map is approved, but Clarke County would be split between four districts, 120, 121,122, and 124, rather than the three at present.

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Oconee County Voters Reject Transportation Sales Tax; Watkinsville Voters Select Incumbents For Mayor, Council

***Bogart Rejects Incumbent On Council***

Oconee County voters Tuesday turned down a new Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax in a low-turnout election.

Watkinsville voters selected incumbent Mayor Brian Brodrick over Rebecca Billings and incumbent Post 2 Council Member Connie Massey over Carolyn Maultsby.

In North High Shoals, voters selected Meagan Cundiff over Jared Strickland to fill the open Post 5 seat.

In Bogart, incumbent Jenny Bridges was defeated by challenger Greg Maddox. David Kilpatrick was re-elected to Council.

Monday, November 01, 2021

Proposed Democratic House Map Splits Oconee County Into Three Districts; Proposed Democratic Senate Map Keeps Oconee Whole

***Vulgar Social Media Attacks In North High Shoals***

The Democratic Caucus of the Georgia House of Representatives on Friday released a draft redistricting map that would radically change how Oconee County is represented in the Georgia House.

The Georgia Senate Democratic Caucus on Wednesday released its map for redistricting of the state Senate, and that plan would keep Oconee County whole in Senate District 46, as is the case at present.

On Oct. 21, both Democratic Caucuses released a plan for U.S. House Districts, and it, like the map released by the Georgia Senate Republican Caucus in late September, would put Oconee and all of Clarke together at the center of a district stretching from Walton County to the Savannah River.