North Oconee High School Student-Athletes Head to Military Academies

For the first time in North Oconee High School’s history, there are two female athletes who have been recruited and appointed to U.S. military academies. Alexis Shirley, a swimmer, will attend the Air Force Academy in the fall. and Anna Jerald will play rugby at West Point. Swimming has been a part of Alexis Shirley’s life since the summer after first grade and ever since 5th grade, she’s been swimming with AVSC Competitive Swim Academy affiliated with Abington Vale Swimming Club which takes place at UGA’s Ramsey Center. Anna Jerald,…

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Neighbors Voice Dirty Water Concerns Over New Pipelines

Residents of Oconee County were “up in arms” after the Board of Commissioners approved an Amendment to expand Calls Creek Wastewater facility. The plan says they will have to install pipelines along the creek because of the increased amount of waste that is filtered and poured into the creek. Neighbors of Calls Creek are worried about how the plan will disrupt the natural environment and wildlife in their backyards once construction begins. Homeowners at the meeting wore t-shirts in opposition to the plan. They are members of a non-profit organization…

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Parents Struggle to get a Refund from Swim School

Some Oconee County parents want their money back from the Georgia Aquatic Center in Watkinsville. The parents say a disagreement that banned a coach from the swim center last month cost them the program and their money. Coach Sean Gillan ran “Sean Gillan Swim School” for a year and a half out of the facility. Gillan says a disagreement about issues with water chemicals and clarity led to the coach and facility ending their relationship. Gillan says that he had a difficult time working with management, and the situation escalated…

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Campus Carry Reloaded

Campus Carry, a bill that caused a lot of controversy last year, is back on the agenda for the 2017 Georgia legislative session. Supporters say it may pass with the Governor’s blessing, thanks to one difference from its predecessor—but legislators are running out of out of time to get it through the house. This year’s bill is almost word for word the same as the Campus Carry bill vetoed by Governor Deal last session. That one was vetoed by the governor because it didn’t have exemptions for places like day…

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A solution to overcrowded schools is in progess

Oconee County Schools is inching closer to breaking ground a new elementary school. The school system are currently in the process of seeking bid proposals to build sewage treatment and disposals systems on the plot of land purchased in late 2016. The new elementary school, located at 7921 Hog Mountain Road in Statham, Georgia, was purchased for 1.023 million dollars in late 2016. Elementary school number seven is being funded by an educational local option sales tax voted on by Oconee County constituents in November 2016’s general election.The school which is projected…

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Watkinsville’s La Parilla participates in “A Day Without Immigrants”

Local restaurant employees who intended to make a statement found themselves the victims of racist remarks last Friday.  La Parilla, a mexican restaurant in Watkinsville decided to close for the day last Thursday after many of their employees took the day to recognize a national protest called “A Day Without Immigrants.” They posted a sign explaining the closure and returned Friday to find the sign covered in racist remarks, including a swastika and messages saying “Trump Train,” “Build The Wall,” and “You Just Got Your Last Peso From My Family.”…

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Oconee County Library hopes to raise $10,000 from book sale

WATKINSVILLE, Ga. – Volunteers will be holding a winter book sale to raise money for programs the annual budget doesn’t cover. Penny Mills and other Board Members of Oconee County Library Friends (OCLF) hope to donate about $10,000 to the Oconee County Library. Year after year, Mills is encouraged to see the volunteers who are motivated to help the Oconee County Library and their teen programs. “There are a dozen regular volunteers who come back year after year to help put on a successful fundraising event”. Nearly 24 volunteers were…

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Active Shooter Training in Oconee County

WATKINSVILLE, Ga.– More than eight law enforcement and emergency management agencies representing North East Georgia gathered at the Oconee County Civic Center train in the event of an active shooting. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, more than 200 active shootings have occurred since 2000. The training was part of an “Active Shooter Incident and Management” course. Billy Godfrey, the lead instructor, said the class is all about being prepared. “This class is designed to help responders work together more effectively, more closely, and more quickly to save lives,”…

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Oconee County School Rivalry

There is a rivalry between the two high schools in Oconee County– but it has nothing to do with football. Meet Jenny Major, an Oconee County High School parent who says that some people think one side of the county is better than the other. She also thinks that realtors might be steering families in the direction of the North side of town, which could potentially decrease property values in the Southern end. Callie Waller, a real estate agent in Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties, disagrees. She says that families do…

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Improved Drought Conditions Due to Rain

Athens, GA. – Today’s rain, and the showers you’ll see tonight and tomorrow will help the drought a little. That means there are still steps you need to take to help conserve water and help ease the impact of what experts call an “exceptional drought”. For Pam Knox, drought conditions are a hot topic. Knox is an Agricultural Climatologist for the Crop and Soil Science Department at The University of Georgia. She is familiar with the severity of Georgia’s current drought. She says it may or may not get better this…

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More Than Just A Band Director: Scott Smith

Oconee, Ga.—  The North Oconee Band is busy learning new material for their Christmas Concert, but Band Director Scott Smith is teaching his students more than just music. Step into the North Oconee band room and you’ll see a lot of trophies. These trophies are the result of Band Director Scott Smith’s dedication to his students. In just three years he has grown the program with one hundred and fifteen students, but Smith says most of these students will only play music in high school. “I kind of look at it…

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News Ways to Catch a Crook

Not all heroes wear capes…or even breathe for that matter. There’s an emerging way of fighting crime and this time it involves social media. At the sound of a siren, officers head out to search and catch criminals and now you can help save lives too. Using social media as a way to help catch lawbreakers is an emerging method that police and local sheriff departments realize quicken investigation processes. Athens-Clarke County Public Information Officer Epifanio Rodriguez says that involving the community by having a Facebook page “shows them [community members] that we’re…

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