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Area News

Qualifying begins on Monday

Qualifying for the May 21 Primary begins Monday, March 4 and ends Friday, March 8 at the Oconee County Administration Building, located at 7635 Macon Highway. Qualifying hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for March 4-7 and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on March 8. Local seats up for election are as follows: Oconee Board…

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UGA mourns loss of students

The Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office will bring in prosecutor Sheila Ross from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council for the case against Jose Ibarra, 26, who has been criminally charged in the murder of 22-year-old Laken Riley. Ibarra, who entered the United States illegally in 2022 and has been accused of crimes in both New…

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Teen commits to U.S. Naval Academy

North Oconee High School senior Andrew Hawkins has earned an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. U.S. Rep. Mike Collins held a signing ceremony last week after having nominated Hawkins. An academy appointment entitles a student to the equivalent of a full undergraduate scholarship, including room and board, medical and dental…

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Teen launches tour of city cemetery

Julia Traill, a December 2023 graduate of Oconee County High School, earned the Girl Scout Gold Award for creating a historical walking tour of the Watkinsville City Cemetery. The tour delves deeper into the lives of people whom the cemetery is their final resting place, such as Marie Gauvain Harden, Burnell Brown, Edward Paine and…

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Watkinsville Council approves Historic Preservation ordinance

After hearing public comment, the Watkinsville City Council last week approved a Historic Preservation Ordinance. The framework of the Historic Preservation ordinance is credited to a class at the University of Georgia led by UGA Professor James Reap, who is the graduate coordinator of the Master of Historic Preservation Program. Reap’s class researched all 130…

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New eatery comes to Wire Park

At the Feb. 21 Watkinsville City Council meeting, the mayor and council members approved a new full-time public works and parks technician position, discussed upcoming city events and approved a beer/wine and distilled spirits license for a new restaurant at Wire Park.  Restaurant Southern Prospect, a restaurant that will serve burgers, fries, steaks and more…

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ESP creates a ‘masterpiece’ at the 2024 Big Hearts Gala

Extra Special People, a Watkinsville-based nonprofit for people with disabilities and their families, hosted its 17th annual Big Hearts Talent Show and Gala on Friday and Saturday nights, raising over $1.2 million while showcasing the many gifts of its particpants. ESP CEO Laura Hope Whitaker hosted the talent show alongside beatboxer and dancer Rod Smith…

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Suspect in custody for UGA campus murder 

The University of Georgia held a press conference at 7 p.m. to announce the arrest of Jose Antonio Ibarra for the murder of 22-year-old Laken Riley who was found dead in the area behind Lake Herrick at the UGA Intramural Fields Thursday afternoon, Feb. 22. The University of Georgia Police Department Chief Jeff Clark said…

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Press conference held for woman found dead at UGA IM fields

  The University of Georgia held a press conference at 7 p.m. about the ongoing investigation into the homicide of 22-year-old Laken Riley who was found dead in the area behind Lake Herrick at the UGA Intramural Fields. The University of Georgia Police Department Chief Jeff Clark said on Feb. 22 at 12:07 p.m., UGAPD…

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Oconee FFA makes leaders of students 

During National FFA Week, the Oconee County chapters educate the public about agriculture. Students will celebrate by holding a luncheon for school employees, a campus beautification campaign and clean-up days, competitions for faculty and staff, schoolwide trivia and games, gifts for school faculty/staff, thank-you notes to school employees and a visit to OCPS to greet…

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