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Shooting the Breeze with Sam Wheeler


Sam Wheeler is a native Pickens County resident and works at the Georgia DOT Area Engineer for Pickens, Cherokee Bartow and Gordon counties. His wife is Karen and has two children, David and Audrey. 


What are you responsible for as a GDOT Area Engineer?


I am currently responsible for a staff of 50 employees and nine consultants that handle maintenance and construction projects on over 1,350 lane miles of state highways in a four county area.  I am also responsible for two rest areas in Gordon County on I-75, four maintenance headquarters, an area office and the rolling stock of 120 pieces of equipment.  My main function is to oversee two assistants and their assigned employees.  I handle incoming requests from state representatives and senators, board members, local government officials, vendors and citizens and either provide answers or direct their

Shooting the Breeze with Connie Branam


Connie Branam is the new Pickens County DFCS Director. 


Why did you get into the social services field?  


I believe family is important. I wanted to work in a field that engages families.  Family is important to the individuals who are part of that family. Family is important to the community.

Shooting the Breeze with Vered Kleinberger


Vered Kleinberger talks conservation, hard work and crunchy peanut butter



 Vered Kleinberger is president of Keep Pickens Beautiful and has founded the non-profits Sustainable Pickens, Edible Jasper and Homeschool Excursions. 


What accomplishments has Keep Pickens Beautiful made over the last year, during your term as president?

KPB has always been involved in the community in a variety of ways, especially helping with recycling at events and other activities throughout the county to reduce the volume of waste headed for the landfill.  However, I felt like there were many events we were not present at that could have used our


Shooting the Breeze with Pastor Don Rice


As a young man Don Rice converted from Judaism to Christianity and has been preaching since 1972. Pastor Rice hosts Overcomer’s Broadcast and In the Word on WYYZ 1490 out of Jasper. 


If you could boil your theology down to a few lines what would you say you believe? 


I believe that Christ came and died for the world that we might be saved to his shed blood. I believe that Christ is the only way, which is why I converted from Judaism to Christianity. I searched through a lot of religions when I was young because I didn’t know if the way I was going was right. The Jewish traditions and rituals, like Passover, I saw those and questioned things. I