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Jurors give convicted killer life without parole

A jury's sentence of life without parole for a convicted double murderer Thursday brought an end to one of Hall County's longest-pending criminal cases.

Ignacio "Nacho" Vergara, 26, showed no emotion as Senior Superior Court Judge John Girardeau, after a tense pause to look over the verdict form, read aloud the sentence of the nine-man, three-woman jury. The panel spent more than four hours over two days deliberating his fate.

September 02, 2008 | Stephen Gurr | Local


Gainesville's budget in the black, despite sales tax slump

Gainesville ended fiscal year 2008 with money to spare, but sales tax revenues were down over last year, the city's chief financial officer said Thursday.

September 02, 2008 | Ashley Fielding | Local


Hall County Commission: Residents worry about changes

Proposed changes in their neighborhoods drew many people to Thursday's Hall County commission meeting.

September 02, 2008 | Melissa Weinman | Local


Uga VII to be introduced prior to Saturday's game

Uga VII, the latest in the storied line of University of Georgia mascots will be introduced Saturday in pre-game ceremonies before Georgia's season opener against Georgia Southern.

The new mascot succeeds Uga VI, who died in June of heart problems. He will be escorted onto the field by members of the Frank W. "Sonny" Seiler family of Savannah who have owned the continuous line of mascots since Uga I took up the mantle in 1956.

September 02, 2008 | From staff reports | Local


Local Republicans happy with McCain's choice as running mate

U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., said he had heard his Alaska colleague talk about the state's maverick governor but knew little more about Sarah Palin, who was named Friday by Sen. John McCain's as his vice presidential running mate.

September 02, 2008 | Harris Blackwood | Local


Nobody protests planned big development in Flowery Branch

FLOWERY BRANCH - A proposed $15 million mixed-use development planned for downtown sailed through a public hearing Thursday night with input coming only from the project's developer.

September 02, 2008 | Jeff Gill | Local


Police arrest two for robbery

Two men attempted to rob an elderly man at his home on Jesse Jewell Parkway around 9 p.m. Thursday.

Howard Mahaffey, 78, heard a knock on his door and when he opened it, two unarmed black males asked him for cigarettes.

September 02, 2008 | Melissa Weinman | Local


Labor Day holiday: Some will venture out on lake, roads

Labor Day traditionally is considered the last hurrah of summer, one final chance for a cookout or a swim before the season gives way to autumn.

But it's not clear how many people will be in the mood to celebrate this year.

September 02, 2008 | Debbie Gilbert | Local


Japanese woman finally gets to be U.S. citizen

Izumi Igarashi cannot speak. But her joy in becoming a U.S. citizen was clear in the smile on her face and the tears in her eyes as she was sworn in Thursday at New Horizons North in Gainesville.

Igarashi was naturalized in front of her friends, family and teachers after waiting 10 years to become a citizen.

September 02, 2008 | Melissa Weinman | Local


Beware of scams when picking repair contractors

As sure as there are tornadoes and other storms, there likely will be scam artists attempting to take advantage of the situation.

September 02, 2008 | Harris Blackwood | Local


Dog bites hospitalize Jackson EMC meter reader

A Jackson EMC contract employee was hospitalized after he was bitten by four dogs while working Tuesday, suffering severe injuries.

September 02, 2008 | Melissa Weinman | Local


Jury keeps pondering Vergara’s sentence

Jurors will resume deliberating today whether to sentence a convicted killer to death for the drug-related shooting deaths of two men on a isolated South Hall road.

The jury of nine men and three women deliberated for more than three hours Wednesday in the sentencing phase of Ignacio Vergara's death penalty trial before asking to be released from duty for the day at about 7:30 p.m. It was the eighth day of sequestration for the jury, which is staying in an area hotel.

September 01, 2008 | Stephen Gurr | Local


Ballowe, Gainesville school board settle for $190,000

The Gainesville City Board of Education voted 3-2 to enter into a mutual termination agreement with former Gainesville school system Superintendent Steven Ballowe.

Phil Hartley, attorney for the Gainesville school board, said the board agreed to settle with Ballowe for $190,000, the equivalent of his salary last year without benefits. Hartley said the board will pay Ballowe in two $95,000 payments, one during this fiscal year and one during the next.

September 01, 2008 | Jessica Jordan | Local


Rainfall gives lake ‘a pretty nice jump’

Even as Hall County residents were dodging tornadoes Tuesday, you still could hear people remarking that "all this rain is going to be good for the lake."

There's no question that Tropical Storm Fay did benefit Lake Lanier. By Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Geological Survey was reporting the lake's elevation at 1,055.44 feet, about 2 feet higher than it had been on Monday.

September 01, 2008 | Debbie Gilbert | Local


Hall recovers from the fury of tornadoes

Until two days ago, Jesus Ramirez and Jane Gable only had seen a tornado in the movies, but three very real ones touched down in Hall County Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service confirmed.

Tuesday's tornado did not sound like the freight train tornado Ramirez had seen in the movies. Ramirez' experience had been a little more rural.

September 01, 2008 | Ashley Fielding | Local


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Articles by Section - Local


Brenau, top Chinese university agree to joint program

Brenau University has struck an agreement with a top Chinese university to bring a steady flow of Chinese students to Gainesville.

October 25, 2014 | Kristen Oliver | Local


Hall County officers train on simulator for dangers on the road

A call for a carjacking comes over the radio, and Sgt. Steve Carey with the Hall County Sheriff's Office turns on the siren. Negotiating quick turns in following the suspect, Carey tails the perpetrator without ever leaving the Allen Creek Training Center.

October 25, 2014 | Nick Watson | Local


Strong home sales, new construction trending in local real estate market

October 25, 2014 | Joshua Silavent | Local


Election polls open today in Hall County

Early Saturday voting will be offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Hall County Elections Office, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.

October 25, 2014 | Times staff reports | Local


‘Aloha spirit’ meets Southern hospitality

When deciding where to build an expansion of the King's Hawaiian facilities, the initial thought was to place the second building outside of Georgia.

October 25, 2014 | Carly Sharec | Local


Accused gunman indicted in Gainesville apartment shooting

The accused gunman in the Aug. 15 shooting of two women at Atlanta Street Apartments was indicted Wednesday on nine counts.

October 24, 2014 | Nick Watson | Local


Man accused of killing cellmate will undergo mental evaluation

A Dawsonville man accused of murdering his cellmate in the Hall County Jail will be evaluated for mental competency.

October 24, 2014 | Nick Watson | Local


Republican party remains optimistic

October 24, 2014 | Bill Barrow Associated Press | Local


Rehabilitation organization celebrates 45 years

It's not easy to get a job these days, but the task is considerably more difficult for people with disabilities.

October 24, 2014 | Kristen Oliver | Local


How Gainesville schools are changing grading practices

Gainesville schools have changed the way they grade middle school students, but the change is not a drastic one, according to Sarah Bell, the district's chief academic officer.

October 24, 2014 | Jennifer Brown | Local


Gainesville Civic Center hosts mother-son Halloween dance

From pirates to rock stars and everything in between, area mothers and sons donned their best Halloween costumes Thursday for a night of dancing at the Gainesville Civic Center. The mother-son dance served as a way for family members to bond with one another, while also continuing a tradition that has gone on for the past 11 years. Every costume from the funny to the scary was seen, as attendees showed off their dance moves for all to see.

October 24, 2014 | Alison Marchman | Local


Hall officials want more info on rail crossing before making next move

The controversy over whether to close the Tumbling Circle railroad crossing continues unabated after the Hall County Board of Commissioners on Thursday night delayed a decision on abandoning the road.

October 23, 2014 | Joshua Silavent | Local


First ladies reminisce about time in Governor's Mansion

Some people might expect life in the Governor's Mansion to be stuffy or formal, but Georgia's first ladies say it was filled with laughter and family.

October 23, 2014 | Kristen Oliver | Local


Gainesville workshop to focus on starting a business

The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center in Gainesville will offer the following workshop for individuals who are interested in either starting or growing a new venture.

October 23, 2014 | Times staff reports | Local


Morning wreck injures 4 in North Forsyth

Two adults and two children were hospitalized Thursday morning after a near head-on collision at the entrance to Silver City Elementary School by the Forsyth-Dawson County line.

October 23, 2014 | | Local


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