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Athens News Matters: 12/04/2020

This week on Athens News Matters:

  • Mayor Kelly Girtz and District 3 Commissioner Melissa Link joins us to discuss the conversation surrounding the one-percent increase in the city's tax on hotel rooms.
  • We catch up with Democrat Deborah Gonzalez to discuss her win in the Western Judicial Circuit DA runoff and her campaign.
  • The panel discusses this week in news and politics including Deborah Gonzalez and the dispersement of the COVID-19 vaccine in Athens.
  • Dr. Jeff Humpreys (Director of Simon S. Selig, Jr. Center for Economic Growth at UGA) joins us to discuss his research on the financial and economic benefits that higher education degrees have on graduates and the state.
  • We sit down with Bob Sleppy, Executive Director of Nuci’s Space, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Athens nonprofit.
  • Daniel Sollenberger (Department of Natural Resources) and Dr. John Maerz (Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor, Wildlife) provide insight on the invasive Cuban Tree Frog, and what to do if you see one.
  • We are joined by the Director of the State Botanical Garden, Jennifer Cruse-Sanders, as she talks about some of the events and exhibits you can enjoy at the State Botanical Garden.
Chris Shupe began work at WUGA as a part time weekend announcer in 2010. At the time Shupe was focused on maintaining a thriving career in Real Estate, as well as balancing his time as a local entertainer. Shupe may be best known as The Athens King, a tribute to Elvis Presley, which often included an 8 piece show band! In 2012, Shupe joined WUGA full time as the station’s Morning Edition Host and Assistant Operations Director, and after 2 years of serving in that role Shupe was hired as Program Director for the station. As PD, Shupe spearheaded a return to more involvement in national conferences and continuing education opportunities through industry professional organizations like the Public Radio Program Director's Association, Public Media Development and Marketing Association, Morning Edition Grad School, the NAB, and the Public Media Journalists Association. This involvement led Shupe to undertake a comprehensive market study in 2015, the first such examination of local audience trends in more than 15 years.
Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!
Martin Matheny was promoted to Program Director and Content Strategist on July 1, 2022. He has served as the Executive Producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters', and he covers local government for WUGA News. He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on WUGA at 10pm. 'Night Music' can also be heard statewide on the GPB Classical stream Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm. As part of 'Athens News Matters' Martin works with student interns to help cultivate the next generation of Public Media rock stars! In his spare time Martin is an amateur book binder and freelance musician who frequently performs with Big Band Athens playing bass trombone. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.
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