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“Big push” turns up no clues for missing man

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    More than 110 trained volunteers covered 800 acres in a “big push” to find a missing 79-year-old Preserve hiker Saturday.

        One person described the area inside and around the gated Preserve at Sharp Mountain subdivision as “just searched to death.”
    And still not one clue to the whereabouts of Ben Thebaut, a 79-year-old retired surgeon who left his home on October 16 to go hiking and has not been seen since.

R.I.P. Water park not coming

Also, Jasper DDA hears updates on Port Royal, bathroom building for downtown, water fears from mayor

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     Members of the Jasper Downtown Development Authority appeared to drive the final stake into years of speculation that a large water park resort was eyeing a spot along Highway 515.
    During their meeting Thursday, authority member Chuck Payne said he wanted to hear an update on the Port Royal project, which began in the spring of 2013 with a proposal for a $130 million project that would include a 400-room hotel and a waterslide park located on the fourlane.
See full story in this week's print or online editions.

Understanding the different drought indicators for Pickens County

 By Rachel Wigington,

County Extension Agent

 (October 19, 2016) As the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and the local water departments in the counties continue to work together on water-related issues, we have discovered that there are two entities that monitor drought levels throughout the state – the National Drought Mitigation Center and the Environmental Protection Division.

The National Drought Mitigation Center developed the Drought Monitor to keep the public informed of changes in drought and provides measures that the public can take to prepare and ease the societal vulnerability.

Over 578,000 ballots cast early for November election


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     ATLANTA – With early voting fully underway in Georgia, voters have already cast 578,539 ballots in the General Election set for November 8, 2016. Secretary of State Brian Kemp encourages all voters to take advantage of Georgia’s advance voting period, which also includes absentee voting by mail, in this historic election.

Board of Education speaks out about senior tax exemption

“Opportunity School District” also denounced by board

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     For at least the second time in the last year a representative of Pickens Seniors for Change - an advocacy group for senior property tax exemption - petitioned the school board to help seniors from being “taxed into poverty.” 
    “We don’t get raises in Social Security,” Lee Williamson told the board at their Thursday, Oct. 21 meeting. “We were promised in December a panel would be formed to discuss this and so far I’ve heard nothing.”

See full story in this week's print or online editions, including comments from the board about their opposition to the "Opportunity School District" referendum.