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July 2020
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University system advisory group on renaming buildings, colleges begins work

By Dave Williams
Bureau Chief
Capitol Beat News Service
    ATLANTA - Deciding whether to rename buildings or academic colleges on the 26 University System of Georgia campuses will be a complicated process fraught with emotion, system Chancellor Steve Wrigley warned Thursday.
   “You will face some complex choices,” Wrigley told the five members of an advisory group formed last month to review those names and recommend any changes. “Be deliberate and thoughtful. Those are not words we hear a lot today. We want you to be persuaded only by the facts.”
   The advisory group, which held its first meeting Thursday, was created amid a backdrop of protests across the country over centuries of racial injustice in America that have been marked by the removal of statues of Confederate leaders and public calls for renaming buildings honoring historic figures connected with the South’s history of slavery and racial discrimination and violence.
   “These conversations need to happen … where these names come from, whether they’re appropriate and whether they need to change,” said Marion Ross Fedrick, president of Albany State University and the group’s chairman. “It is critical that we purposefully look at the naming of our buildings, colleges and schools.”
   The group’s work promises to be time-consuming. More than 3,000 buildings dot the university system’s campuses, although not all have names.
  Fedrick said she already has received more than 1,000 pages of information on the histories of those buildings. She said she would like the group to meet at least twice a month through December and decide at that time whether the process needs to continue into next year.
   The group may develop an onsite platform to allow for public feedback.
   Fedrick urged group members to give equal weight to the various sources of that public input.
“A lot of this will be emotional and personal,” she said. “What we don’t want to do is listen to one and not another.”
   Besides Fedrick, the advisory group includes:

  • Michael Patrick, marketing and strategic growth at  Chick-fil-A.
  • Herbert Phipps, a retired former Georgia Court of Appeals judge.
  • Neal J. Quirk, a lawyer and executive vice chairman of the University of Georgia Foundation.
  • Sally Wallace, dean of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

Peace out Peace Park? Not quite. City adding curb appeal to the downtown park

peace park flattened

Angela Reinhardt / Photo

Artist Eino’s marble sculpture - including the large rock with the hole in the center - is no more. The city has cleared the area in an effort to beautify Main Street.


Motorists driving by Peace Park in Jasper this week have likely noticed extensive demolition work at the site, which many residents have complained is an “eyesore.” The park featured a large marble rock sculpture and was outfitted as a water fountain with a small pool at the far north corner. The park/art project was initially designed and installed by renowned marble sculptor Eino but has been modified by city crews as the artist departed before it was ever completed. At some point after the original sculpture was installed, the city added a faux well and other features for decoration. 

Read more: Peace out Peace Park? Not quite.  City adding curb appeal to the  downtown park

VA clinic hosts July 4th flag ceremony, announces opening in August

front flag going up

     Developer David Shouse said the 30-foot by 38-foot flag isn’t the biggest available, but was the biggest they could engineer a flagpole for at the East Church Street VA Clinic. Above, the local Marine Corps League with developer David Shouse raise the flag during a July 4th ceremony.


An enthusiastic crowd decked out in red, white, blue  - and quite a few masks - gathered at the forthcoming VA clinic on East Church Street to watch a giant American flag rise on the morning of July 4th in a brief patriotic program organized by the building’s owner/developer.

  It was announced during the program that the VA clinic, a project that the public was made aware of in August 2017, will begin seeing patients next month. 

Developer and landlord David Shouse welcomed the crowd and thanked the many veterans at the program. Shouse said people thank him for bringing this clinic here, but the real praise should go to all the men and women of the armed services who have kept the country free for the past 244 years.

See full story in this week's print and online editions. 

New playground at Jasper City Park



TIME TO MONKEY AROUND - Kids happily testing out the new playground equipment at Jasper City Park Monday, July 6th. Mom Whitney Poag brought out her three children, (L – R) Hattie, Brinlee, and Jensen, “to see what it was all about.” The family even brought along their new puppy to join in the fun. That afternoon, the Poags and other children seemed to enjoy the new play set, complete with swings, a climbing wall, slides, and other features. 

Jasper Mayor Steve Lawrence said ‘phase II’ improvements, which will replace the other playground equipment near the tennis courts, should be complete in 60-90 days. 

The temporary fencing around the larger playground will be replaced with permanent fencing after phase II is complete.


  photo/Angela Reinhardt

Gov. Kemp issues statewide emergency order amid Atlanta violence

By Beau Evans
Staff Writer
Capitol Beat News Service
    Gov. Brian Kemp placed Georgia under a state of emergency Monday afternoon following a pair of fatal shootings near a burned-down Wendy’s in Atlanta that has been a focal point for recent protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

   The emergency order came hours after Kemp sounded a warning that his administration “won’t hesitate to take action” in the wake of the shooting deaths and after protesters damaged the state Department of Public Safety headquarters in Atlanta around 1 a.m. Sunday, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

Read more: Gov. Kemp issues statewide emergency order amid Atlanta violence