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Morning headlines: ACCPD and DA team up for fentanyl initiative

Fentanyl pills
Fentanyl pills

Deaths from fentanyl overdoses are increasing in Athens-Clarke County area and the rest of the nation. A joint effort between law enforcement, prosecutors, and community groups seeks to slash those numbers.

In an effort to stem the increasing numbers of deaths from fentanyl overdoses, the District Attorney’s Office and the Athens-Clarke County Police Department are launching the SAFE, or Strategically Addressing the Fentanyl Epidemic, Initiative.

"This is not a problem that we're going to be able to arrest our way out of," said Lt. Shaun Barnett of the ACCPD. "We really wanted to bring awareness to the community about the dangers of fentanyl and get other community resources involved in helping us address this issue.

Additional participants include recovery organizations, leaders in the faith community, healthcare providers and more.

State test scores rise

Test scores for Georgia students recovered some in the 2021-2022 school year from their pandemic plunge, but remain significantly below pre-pandemic levels, raising questions about whether students can fully recover and how long that might take.

The Georgia Department of Education released the annual Milestones test results Friday. Students in grades 3-8 as well as high schoolers take the tests, most of which are required by federal law.

Normally, test results would be used to assign A-to-F letter grades to schools and districts. That won’t happen for a third year in a row because the state can’t reliably compute some figures. There was no testing in 2020 and shares of students taking the tests in 2021 varied widely from school to school, making it generally invalid to compare 2021 and 2022 results at the school or district level.

Independent candidates for Oconee school board petition to be on November ballot

Oconee County Observations reports a meeting is being held Monday morning to determine whether to accept or reject petitions from two independent candidates who are seeking to run for positions on the Oconee County Board of Education.

Ryan Repetske, who is seeking post 3, and Melissa Eagling, who is seeking post 2, say they submitted more than the required 1,425 signatures of registered voters asking that their names be placed on the ballot. Two Republicans, Amy Parrish and Ryan Hammock, are seeking the positions with no Democratic opposition.

Repetske and Eagling say they rejected the idea of running in either the Republican or the Democratic primaries, saying the positions should not be politically oriented.

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!