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UGA Sports

    ATHENS-----University of Georgia All-American Aaron Schunk has been named the 2019 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year, the College Baseball Foundation announced Thursday.   “In the end, we felt that Aaron’s impact on the mound, where he factored in the decision in 15 of his 17 appearances, his steady bat and his outstanding play at third base put him just a tick above the others,” said George Watson, chairman of the Olerud Award selection committee. “Plus his ability to positively affect the lives of others off the field makes him the perfect example of what the Olerud Award is all about. We are excited to see what the future holds for him.”   A second-round draft pick by the Colorado Rockies in last week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Schunk helped lead the Bulldogs to a No. 4 National Seed in the NCAA Tournament and a final record of 46-17. He became the first Bulldog in nine years to capture the “Triple Crown,” leading the team with a .339 average, 15 home runs and 58 RBI. On the mound, he tallied 12 saves to go with a 1-2 record and a 2.49 ERA in 17 appearances. Earlier this week, Schunk was named a first team All-American as a utility player by Baseball America along with other multiple All-America and All-Region squads by various outlets. Additionally, Schunk is a Dean’s List student and a three-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. He earned a spot on the 2019 SEC Community Service Team. Schunk signed a professional contract with the Rockies earlier this week.   “We are honored that Aaron has been selected as this year's John Olerud Award winner,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “It's a tremendous accomplishment for him and well-deserved. He's been an outstanding representative of the Georgia baseball program on and off the field throughout his career.”    The John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s and who was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The College Baseball Foundation (CBF) will present Schunk the 2019 award later this year. The other finalists this year were Will Mattiessen (Stanford), Alec Burleson (East Carolina), Tristin English (Ga. Tech) and Davis Sharpe (Clemson).   Schunk is the first Bulldog to win the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award. Previous winners of the award include Mike McGee (2010-FSU); Danny Hultzen (2011-Virginia), Brian Johnson (2012-Florida), Marco Gonzales (2013-Gonzaga), A.J. Reed (2014-Kentucky), Brendan McKay (2015-17-Louisville) and Brooks Wilson (2018-Stetson). For more information on the CBF’s John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.
  • ATHENS-----University of Georgia third baseman/closer Aaron Schunk and pitcher Emerson Hancock have been named All-Americans by Baseball America, it was announced Monday. Schunk, a 6-2, 205-pound native of Atlanta, Ga., earned First Team All-America honors as a utility player. He served as the starting third baseman and closer for the Bulldogs in 2019. The Colorado Rockies selected Schunk in the second round (62ndoverall) of Major League Baseball’s draft last Monday. He is a finalist for the John Olerud Award, given to the nation’s top two-way player by the College Baseball Foundation. The winner will be announced later this month. Schunk is the first Bulldog to be named a First Team All-American since first baseman Rich Poythress in 2009. Last year, Schunk and Keegan McGovern were selected to numerous Third Team All-America squads. Schunk became the first Bulldog in nine years to earn the “Triple Crown,” leading the team in batting (.339), home runs (15) and RBI (58). Outfielder Zach Cone was the last Bulldog to do that in 2010 (.363-10-53). Additionally, Schunk posted 12 saves to go with a 1-2 mark and a 2.49 ERA in 17 appearances. In his Bulldog career, Schunk started 153 games and tallied a .312 batting average with 30 doubles, 19 home runs and 114 RBI plus 20 saves, a 3-4 record and a 2.79 ERA in 38 relief outings. A three-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll as a psychology major, he was named to the 2019 SEC Community Service Team too. Schunk was a third team All-America selection by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in 2018. Hancock, a 6-4, 215-pound right-hander from Cairo, Ga., went 8-3 with a 1.99 ERA in 14 starts as a sophomore this past season to make Baseball America’s Second Team. In 90.1 innings, Hancock registered 97 strikeouts and only 18 walks while holding the opposition to a .185 batting average. Hancock’s 1.99 ERA was the eighth best in school history and lowest by a Bulldog starter since 1977 (Chuck Fore, 1.67). He is a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, majoring in Management. Currently, Hancock is on the 24-man USA Baseball Collegiate National Team (CNT) summer roster. He was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy. Earlier this month, he was named a second team All-American by Collegiate Baseball.  Hancock headlines a talented Bulldog squad that returns 11 pitchers and six starting position players in 2020. The 2019 Georgia team earned a No. 4 National Seed and reached the NCAA Athens Regional Final with a 46-17 record. They posted a school record 21-9 mark in Southeastern Conference action. Georgia was nationally ranked among the top 10 for much of the season. Final top 25 rankings will be released at the end of June following the conclusion of the College World Series. 
  • ATHENS-----University of Georgia pitchers Emerson Hancock and Cole Wilcox have been invited to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team (CNT) summer training camp. Hancock, a 6-4, 215-pound right-hander from Cairo, Ga., is on the 24-man USA CNT roster. He was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy. A First Team All-Southeastern Conference selection as a sophomore, he went 8-3 with a 1.99 ERA in 14 starts this past season. In 90.1 innings, Hancock registered 97 strikeouts and only 18 walks while holding the opposition to a .185 batting average. Hancock’s 1.99 ERA was the eighth best in school history and lowest by a Bulldog starter since 1977 (Chuck Fore, 1.67). In SEC action, Hancock went 4-2 with a 1.69 ERA in eight starts. Also, he was named a second team All-American by Collegiate Baseball. Wilcox, a 6-5, 232-pound right-hander from Chickamauga, Ga., earned SEC All-Freshman honors after going 3-2 with a 4.07 ERA in 11 appearances including three starts. In 59.2 innings, he struck out 64 with 38 walks. In SEC play, Wilcox posted a 3-1 mark and a 2.57 ERA. As a freshman, Wilcox will be on the training camp roster with the aim of making the 26-man squad and ultimately the final 24-man team. The 2019 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will participate in series of four intrasquad exhibition games later this month and a contest against the Coastal Plain League Select squad before announcing a 26-man roster. Then, the team will play Cuba in an International Friendship Series that will take place July 2-6 in Cary, Charlotte, Durham and Hickory, North Carolina. Team USA's 26-man roster will then travel to Taiwan for the 19th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series after which USA Baseball will announce a final 24-man roster to compete in the 43rd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 16-21 in Japan. The Bulldogs (46-17) earned a National No. 4 seed for the 2019 NCAA Championships and advanced to the NCAA Athens Regional Final. Hancock and Wilcox were part of a staff that set school records for most strikeouts (601) and lowest opponent’s batting average (.200) plus posted the second-best ERA in school history at 3.24 and the second fewest runs allowed (235). They are the first Bulldogs to be invited to a USA CNT summer camp since shortstop Cam Shepherd in 2017. The Bulldogs who toured with the USA Summer Team include pitcher Cris Carpenter (1987), pitcher Dave Fleming (1989), pitcher Brian Powell (1994), catcher Clint Sammons (2002), shortstop Kyle Farmer (2012) and pitcher Robert Tyler (2015). Hancock and Wilcox are projected first round draft picks in the 2020 MLB Draft next June.
  • UGA President Jere Morehead revealed Friday that Georgia football coach Kirby Smart and his wife, Mary Beth, have given a “significant donation” to the university’s Terry College of Business, which resulted in a classroom being named in their honor when the final phase of that school’s construction project is completed this summer. “A very ‘smart’ classroom,” Morehead quipped. Kirby and Mary Beth Smart graduated with finance degrees from the Terry College. Morehead could not say how much money they donated.  “Enough to get a classroom named after them,” said Morehead, who approved Smart’s $7 million annual salary last year. The Smarts did not respond to messages seeking comment. A dedication of the three-phase project that produced three massive new buildings on the corner of Lumpkin and Baxter Streets will be dedicated this fall.  At the Georgia Athletic Association’s end-of-year retreat Friday, the board approved a record budget of $153.89 million for Fiscal Year 2020, which begins July 1. That is an increase of more than $10 million from last year’s budget ($143.32 M). Together with last year’s budget increase of $16 million, Georgia’s budget has grown by $26 million in the last two years. The athletics board underscored Friday that Kirby Smart’s contributions to football are resulting in a lot of contributions to the athletic department. His Bulldogs are 32-10 in three seasons, having won an SEC Championship and played for a national title. Matt Borman, the GAA’s director of development, revealed that Smart is intimately involved in the Bulldogs’ fundraising efforts. He initiated the change of format of the Georgia Bulldog Club’s annual coaches’ caravan to put the emphasis on donor dinners. Borman said Smart also regularly has lunches with individual donors in his office and at times will make fund-raising visits with major givers when his schedule will allow. “Kirby is unbelievable with his time,” Borman said. “Obviously he is a great salesman for his program. We’ve been able to take advantage of the time he’s giving us. Those lunches in his office has led to some major gifts being closed.” Said Athletic Director Greg McGarity: “We can see why Kirby is such a great recruiter because he connects so well with our fan base. He knows so many people and he’s able to talk about the University of Georgia in a certain way because he’s been there and experienced it. He and Mary Beth value their degrees from Terry and he’s passionate about it.” Smart’s program also benefits, of course. Details remain vague, but the Bulldogs are in the midst of raising money for a new football building, the price tag for which might exceed $80 million. Together with the Payne Indoor Athletic Center, the West End renovation and locker room expansion at Sanford Stadium and other projects, that’s more than $175 million in facility improvements for the football team since Smart came on board four years ago.
  • The Georgia athletic association’s board of directors unanimously endorsed naming the field at Sanford Stadium in honor of former longtime coach Vince Dooley. Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium is expected to be crowned Sept. 7, when the Bulldogs face Murray State in the home opener. Dooley, 86, was informed of the plan in person Thursday morning by university president Jere Morehead and athletic director Greg McGarity. “It’s a great tribute to all of the players that I’ve had the privilege of coaching through the years, and I’m very happy for my family as well,” Dooley said of the honor. » Mark Bradley: A victory for Vince Dooley» More: Social media buzzing about Dooley Field “Coach Dooley’s many contributions to this university can be seen across campus,” Morehead said in a statement, “from Georgia athletics, where he achieved unrivaled success, to the learning environment, where today many academic programs and initiatives bear his name, such as the Dooley Library Endowment Fund to the Dooley Professorship in Horticulture. The university community will continue to benefit from his service and dedication for generations to come.” Dooley was the Bulldogs’ head football coach from 1963 to 1989, winning the national championship in 1980. He won six Southeastern Conference Championships. While athletics director from 1979 to 2004, Georgia teams won 23 national championships and 78 SEC titles. The move was praised by two noted university supporters. Herschel Walker, who won the Heisman Trophy, under Dooley’s tutelage said the honor was long overdue. “I applaud the University of Georgia for honoring coach’s decades of service and success,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement. “I look forward to watching the Dawgs compete on Dooley Field in the near future.”
  • Former University of Georgia running back and now Super Bowl champion Sony Michel joined Jimmy Kimmel last night to talk about the big win in Atlanta.
  • ATHENS — While Georgia football doesn’t benefit immediately from Jalen Hurts’ decision to transfer from Alabama to Oklahoma, it only serves to help the Bulldogs in the long run. Hurts, as a graduate transfer, was eligible to play immediately anywhere he chose to go. Here are three ways Georgia benefits from is decision to play for the Sooners: RELATED: Chris Fowler explain’s ‘Pandora’s box’ of CFB transfer world 1. Hurts won’t be starting for a UGA scheduled opponent There’s no question Hurts was a much-coveted player during this offseason, offering leadership and championship game experience. Adding a player and a leader like Hurts might have been enough to get some programs over the hump. Tennessee, most notably, would have been a prime landing spot for Hurts. Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt   was said to have a good relationship with Hurts in Tuscaloosa. Tennessee isn’t on the Bulldogs’ level quite yet from a talent standpoint, but AD Phillip Fulmer has beefed up the Vols’ coaching staff and Hurts would have provided another immediate lift. RELATED: Vols fork out nearly $5 million for Georgia OC Jim Chaney  2. Alabama football weakens in 2019 with Hurts transfer There was a chance Hurts was going to decide to stay in Tuscaloosa and complete his legacy as a Tide legend. UGA fans can breathe a sigh of relief he chose another route. There’s no guarantee Alabama will reach the SEC Championship Game to face Georgia again, but it would be hard to bet against that happening. As big of an issue as it was for Georgia OLB D’Andre Walker to leave the SEC title game with the Bulldogs up 28-21, it still took a special performance from Hurts to exploit the loss of UGA’s sacks leader. Alabama, like Georgia, is stockpiled with talent. But it’s hard to imagine the Tide — or any other program this season — having a 1-2 punch like Hurts and Tagovailoa have proven to be the past two years. Indeed, Alabama’s QB depth was the only thing that stood between the Bulldogs and the 2017 College Football Playoff Championship as well as the 2018 SEC championship and a spot in the CFB Playoffs. 3. Georgia out of QB transfer spotlight for now The Justin Fields’ transfer story probably isn’t finished playing out in the national media yet — there’s still a controversial appeal for immediate eligibility to be filed (and likely won). But Hurts’ transfer talk will boost Oklahoma into the national transfer spotlight as it deals with the fallout of adding another player to its roster, one action triggering another. New College Football transfer destinations: -Brandon Wimbush: UCF -Tate Martell: Miami -Jalen Hurts: Oklahoma -Urban Meyer: Retirement* -SEC fans: Clemson -Florida State fans: 2013 -Alabama fans: 1st grade math * = “Retirement” is short for “USC, when the job comes open” — NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) January 16, 2019 Already, we’ve seen controversy at Ohio State where incumbent Tate Martell has announced his intention to transfer, and now Martell’s grounds for immediate eligibility will be scrutinized and measured against those in other programs. Georgia’s quarterback situation is suddenly quiet — still competitive, but in a more comfortable manner. Jake Fromm is the clear No. 1, and incoming No. 2 Dwan Mathis is eager to learn from Fromm to become the most prepared back-up quarterback he can be heading into the 2019 season. Georgia coach Kirby Smart also has the luxury of having depth at the position in 2019. The Bulldogs added former UGA walk-on and junior college transfer Stetson Bennett for peace of mind. Part of the issue with the Fromm-Fields situation last season was the Bulldogs had no other scholarship quarterbacks.           The post 3 ways Jalen Hurts’ transfer to Oklahoma helps Georgia football appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily — the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the cast of DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss UGA coach Kirby Smart’s quest to keep the Bulldogs on top of the SEC. On episodes No. 865 (Jan. 16, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about 5-star UGA signee Nolan Smith. Georgia football podcast: 5-star signee Nolan Smith already getting attention from ESPN Beginning of the show: 5-star defensive end — and Georgia signee — Nolan Smith is UGA’s most important recruit according to a recent article from ESPN. I’ll talk about the impact Smith could make for the Bulldogs on today’s show and explain why he still might not be UGA’s most important freshmen. 15-minute mark: DawgNation’s Mike Griffith joins the show to discuss the latest on UGA’s search for a defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. 35-minute mark: I discuss other SEC headlines including new Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis backtracking on some recent comments about his old boss, Nick Saban. End of show: I discuss the hype surrounding UGA’s game vs. Notre Dame in September and share the Gator Hater Updater. The post Georgia football podcast: 5-star signee Nolan Smith already getting attention from ESPN appeared first on DawgNation.

News

  • Romance author Judith Krantz, best known for writing 'Scruples' and nine other best-selling novels, has died at age 91, multiple news outlets reported Sunday. >> Read more trending news According to The Associated Press, Krantz died of natural causes Saturday afternoon at her home in Los Angeles' Bel-Air neighborhood, said one of her sons, producer Tony Krantz. Before she published the racy 'Scruples' at age 50 in 1978, Krantz wrote for women's magazines such as Cosmopolitan, McCall's and Ladies' Home Journal. She eventually wrote 10 novels that sold more than 80 million copies around the world, CNN reported. She also published a memoir, 'Sex and Shopping: The Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl,' in 2001. Several of Krantz's books, including 'Scruples,' 'Princess Daisy' and 'Mistral's Daughter,' were adapted into television miniseries in the '80s and '90s. A remake of the 'Scruples' miniseries was 'still in the works' when she died, Tony Krantz told the AP. Krantz was preceded in death by her husband, producer Steve Krantz. She is survived by their two sons and two grandchildren, the AP reported. Fellow authors took to Twitter after learning of Krantz's death, calling her a 'legend.' Read more here. – The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Police are investigating a shooting that left one person dead and two hurt in a South Fulton County apartment complex.  Channel 2’s Kristen Holloway is at the scene, where she talked to neighbors who say they heard about 12 gunshots.  The shooting happened at the Avery Park Apartments in the 2600 block of Charlestown Drive in College Park Monday. We’re at the scene talking to police about the shooting and the victims, for LIVE reports on Channel 2 Action News This Morning. BREAKING: Just got the scene of shooting at an apartment complex in College Park. Stay with @wsbtv for updates. pic.twitter.com/HE0HjejFRP — Kristen Holloway (@KHollowayWSB) June 24, 2019  
  • The search for a missing New York girl came to a sad end late Sunday when authorities found her body in Ontario's Casey Park. >> Read more trending news According to New York State Police, Zyvette Marquez-Rivera, 3, was found dead 'in a small body of water' about 11:43 p.m., nearly five hours after she was reported missing. Emergency crews, including an underwater rescue unit, responded to the park to look for the girl. The Monroe County Medical Examiners' Office will perform an autopsy on the child to determine her cause of death, authorities said. The investigation is ongoing.  If you have information about the case, call New York State Police at 585-398-4100. Read more here.
  • A New York man died unexpectedly while visiting the Dominican Republic last week, becoming the latest of at least 11 Americans who have died in the popular tourist destination since June 2018. According to Fox News, 56-year-old Vittorio Caruso, a recently retired pizzeria owner from Glen Cove, Long Island, died June 17 after he fell sick at Santo Domingo's Boca Chica Resort.  >> Read more trending news 'We found out he was brought by ambulance to the hospital in respiratory distress after drinking something,' Lisa Maria Caruso said of her brother-in-law, who had gone to the island nation alone. She said family members learned of Caruso's death via phone just minutes after officials had called to say he was sick, News 12 Long Island reported. However, Dominican Republic National Police told CNN that Caruso had begun 'receiving medical attention' six days earlier, on June 11. Caruso 'was not a sick person' and had been in good health, Lisa Maria Caruso told Fox News. A doctor said Caruso's cause of death was respiratory failure, but officials are still awaiting autopsy results, CNN reported.  Caruso's case appears to be similar to the other American deaths reported recently in the island nation. Most of the travelers died from respiratory failure, pulmonary edema and/or a heart attack, officials said. Some had taken drinks from a hotel minibar before falling ill, family members told multiple news outlets. According to CBS News, the Federal Bureau of Investigation 'is assisting Dominican authorities' as they look into the deaths. So far, investigators reportedly have not found any evidence that the incidents are connected.  'There are no mysterious deaths here,' Dominican Republic Tourism Minister Javier Garcia told Fox News. ''Mysterious' implies that things happened that science cannot explain.' Although the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory in April urging American tourists to 'exercise increased caution in the Dominican Republic due to crime,' officials have not revised the notice to include any health warnings. In fact, the department said last week that it has 'not seen an uptick in the number of U.S. citizen deaths' in the popular vacation destination, ABC News reported. 'The overwhelming majority travel without incident,' a department spokesperson said of the 2.7 million Americans who go there each year.
  • Cardi B, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino and the late Nipsey Hussle won top honors at the 2019 BET Awards, held Sunday night at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. >> Read more trending news Here's the complete list of winners:  Album of the year: Cardi B, 'Invasion of Privacy' Best new artist: Lil Baby Best female hip-hop artist: Cardi B Best male hip-hop artist: Nipsey Hussle Coca-Cola viewers choice award: Ella Mai, 'Trip' Best collaboration: Travis Scott feat. Drake, 'Sicko Mode' Best international act: Burna Boy (Nigeria) Viewers' choice: Best new international act: ShoMadjozi (South Africa) Best female R&B/pop artist: Beyoncé Best male R&B/pop artist: Bruno Mars Young stars award: Marsai Martin Best group: Migos Video of the year: Childish Gambino, 'This Is America' Video director of the year: Karena Evans Best actress: Regina King Best actor: Michael B. Jordan Dr. Bobby Jones best gospel/inspirational award: Snoop Dogg feat. Rance Allen, 'Blessing Me Again' Sportsman of the year: Stephen Curry Sportswoman of the year: Serena Williams BET HER award: H.E.R., 'Hard Place' Best movie: 'BlacKkKlansman' Lifetime achievement award: Mary J. Blige Ultimate icon award: Tyler Perry Humanitarian award: Nipsey Hussle
  • Plans to develop thousands of acres of Ohio farmland to take advantage of the sun’s energy — but not for growing food — have divided area rural communities. >> Read more trending news  Solar energy development companies are seeking approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board for construction of large solar farms in the state’s rural areas. Some land owners have agreed to long-term leases with solar companies, while their neighbors who oppose the massive electric-generating facilities are hoping to stop the projects from going forward. The recent increase in solar arrays in Ohio is partially because solar power technology has improved to make it more competitive with other energy sources, according to Doug Herling, director of business development at Open Road Renewables. >> Related: Greene landowners concerned over potential solar farm “Until recently, solar did not make sense in Ohio,” Herling said. “The technology is vastly more efficient and can now compete with wind and coal. It comes down to the economy of producing power. We can’t build one of these if it’s not competitive on the power market.” Open Road Renewables has applied to install two solar arrays in Preble County. A grassroots effort is underway to try to block the projects. Among residents opposing the projects is Rachel Vonderhaar, who farms thousands of acres as a family business. Vonderhaar questions the transparency of the process, saying few people took notice of the flyer that came in the mail two weeks prior to the first public meeting. “When it comes to transparency, there’s a real problem with how the system operates,” Vonderhaar said. “Two weeks before a meeting is not enough notice for someone to figure out what their rights are, let alone to participate, to prevent an application from being submitted.” >>Trending: Cops pose as utility workers to catch distracted drivers Daniel Sawmiller, Ohio’s energy policy director for the Natural Resource Defense Council, said solar is becoming more prevalent in Ohio as coal plants are shutting down. Sawmiller, who was formerly with the Sierra Club, said he worked on the settlement with American Electric Power, which resulted in a commitment by AEP to add 900 megawatts of renewable energy sources, including 400 megawatts from solar power. Projects in Highland and Brown counties, where the local economy has been hit hard by the decline in the coal industry, are a direct result of that settlement, Sawmiller said. Sawmiller said adding solar and other renewable energy sources to the grid will ultimately result in “lower wholesale energy prices,” which leads to lower electric rates for consumers. Solar farms as big as a lake Six solar electric generation facilities have been approved in four Ohio counties, amounting to 12,573 acres, according to records on file with the Ohio Power Siting Board. By comparison, Grand Lake St. Marys is 13,500 acres across Mercer and Auglaize counties. Three proposed projects are pending approval by the OPSB, including two in Preble County that would occupy about 1,800 acres of farmland, according to records. >> Trending: 7 motorcycle riders killed in fiery crash identified; range in age from 42 to 62 The three pending applications were filed with the state in December 2018; among the approved projects, the first application was in March 2017 for approximately 1,200 acres in Vinton County, according to the records. Greene County property owners near Yellow Springs and Cedarville have also been approached about lease agreements for a solar farm there. Open Road Renewables is an Austin, Texas-based company that has applied for the two solar projects in Preble County, called Alamo and Angelina. Herling said the solar arrays proposed in Preble County would result in $1.7 million annual tax revenue, $9,000 per megawatt generated, that would benefit the county, school district and other taxing jurisdictions. ‘Animosities with neighbors’ Concerned Citizens of Preble County is a grassroots effort aimed at stopping the projects. The group of residents who live or own land near the proposed sites say they were not aware of the projects until late last year, despite representatives from Open Road Renewables beginning talks with local officials and land owners years earlier. The group has myriad concerns beyond what they said will be negative effects on the aesthetics of their farming community and their property values. Among the group is Joe DeLuca, former superintendent of Eaton schools. DeLuca said he’s always been an admirer of solar power, but it’s concerning when out-of-state companies looking to make a profit on large projects can go to the state level for approval and not worry about local opposition. >> Trending: Exonerated 5, formerly Central Park 5, bring crowd to their feet at BET Awards “The big picture for me: why would anyone want to take some of the best productive farm land in the state or anywhere and put solar panels on it to take it out of production?” DeLuca said. In Oregon, a commission for land conservation and development has implemented a temporary ban on installing solar arrays on prime farmland. Resident Marja Brandly’s home on Fairhaven College Corner Road is surrounded by hundreds of acres used for growing soy beans and corn. Brandly, who is the fifth generation to inherit the property, pointed to the horizon where one of the proposed solar arrays would be within sight. “It really has torn us apart and created animosities with neighbors, because we feel by their secrecy and not letting the rest of us know that they really set out to knife us in the back,” Brandly said. “If these same people had come to us two years ago, I would have had a lot more respect for their openness and forthrightness. Now, nobody trusts them. We don’t want them on our property … That’s how far down the relationship has descended.” Greene County next? The groundwork preparing for other potential solar farms is also happening in the state before any official applications are filed. The Dayton Daily News reported in May about farmers in Greene County who are being solicited for lease agreements by a law firm working on behalf of Australia-based Lendlease, which has plans to install solar arrays on more than a thousand acres around Yellow Springs and Cedarville. Greene County resident Mark Pinkerton said he is bothered by what he described as the sneaky way in which solar development companies are securing lease agreements. Pinkerton said he also questions the efficiencies espoused by solar array proponents after he invested in a project that wasn’t profitable in Colorado. “Certainly there needs to be some land use policies put in place. There needs to be public hearings ahead of time,” Pinkerton said. “I want people to use the land how they feel is appropriate, but those of us who have invested in the community want to protect our investment and property as well.” Cedarville resident Ryanne Rinaldi, an environmental biology and chemistry student at Grace College, said a neighbor’s field behind her family’s home is one of the areas where the solar array would be installed. She said her research has given her concerns for the toxins that are inside the solar panels, the impact to wildlife and the environment. “This will ultimately reduce our property value, and we won’t be able to either sell or enjoy the space that we live in anymore,” Rinaldi said. >> Trending: SEE: Hot air balloon crash-lands into crowd at Missouri festival Lendlease has not submitted a formal application with OPSB. Messages left with the company have not been returned. Approval, but no construction yet The OPSB technical staff has recommended approval of the Preble County projects, with conditions, according to Matt Schilling, spokesman for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Though the power siting board has approved six projects in the state, no construction has begun on any of them, Schilling said. An evidentiary hearing is scheduled July 26 for the projects in Preble County. The Preble solar projects could come up for the state board’s consideration before the end of the year, according to Schilling. State approval is required of energy projects that produce 50 or more megawatts. By comparison, the village of Yellow Springs’ solar array sits on a little more than 6 acres and is designed to produce 1 megawatt of power. Ohio House Bill 6 has passed the Ohio House of Representatives and could come up for a Senate vote this week. If the bill becomes law, electric rates for Ohio consumers would be raised to pay for subsidies on two nuclear power plants owned by FirstEnergy Solutions as well as two coal-fired plants owned by Ohio Valley Electric Corp. >> Trending: Former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak jumps into crowded Democratic primary The proposed legislation also seeks to remove existing renewable energy and energy efficiency standards established since 2008. Proponents of HB 6, including Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance, say it’s needed to keep jobs from disappearing with the closure of two nuclear power plants within the next two years. Opponents, including Americans for Prosperity, say the bill is a bailout for the company operating the nuclear power plants, First Energy Solutions, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year.