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Recently hired superintendent brings competitive streak to school achievement

Profile of Dr. Ben Desper


Dr. Ben Desper, along with his wife Laura, are looking for a home here during regular work trips the new superintendent of schools for Pickens County makes from his current residence in Bartow County.

The new superintendent must work through June in Bartow’s school system before starting here full time in July.

Desper, who is mixing house hunting with work to familiarize himself with the local schools, said his new home will preferably be near the school system’s central office.

In Floyd, Habersham and Bartow counties, where Desper has worked previously in education, he looked for “places where you can see the school from the house when the leaves are off the trees.”

 Read the rest of the profile of the county's new superintendent in this week's print edition now on sale.

Employment issues top barrier for healthy Pickens families

Organizers of a community assessment on families in Pickens County speculate that employment and job issues will be the number one need identified for the forthcoming five-year plan.

At a public input meeting Monday, representatives from different social agencies discussed the 2013-2018 Comprehensive Plan for the Advancement of Families and Children in Pickens County.

This effort will identify the top “barriers” families here face and will work to develop strategies to address these barriers  over the next several years.

Pickens Family Connections is hoping for a broad range of input, setting a goal of 500 completed surveys from all areas of the county.

“This thing can go in any direction people want,” said Matt Moore, director of Pickens Family Connections. “It just depends on the input.”

Woman arrested for falsely reporting kidnapping

Update: Woman who reported kidnapping arrested for filing false report

Lisa Bode, 44 years old of Ball Ground, who reported that she was kidnapped on Interstate 575 Monday afternoon was located overnight in Fannin County. After interviewing Bode investigators charged her with False Report of a Crime and Giving False Statements. She is currently in the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center with an $11,880.00 bond.

It appears Bode was dealing with numerous personal problems which lead to her fabricating the abduction story, according to a press release from the Cherokee Sheriff's office.


Cherokee County Sheriff Office Press release

Cherokee detectives are asking for assistance from the public in locating a kidnapping victim. Lisa Bode, 44 years old of Ball Ground, called Cherokee 911 at approximately 2pm today and told dispatchers she had been kidnapped after her car broke down on Interstate 575 near the Cherokee – Pickens County line.

Bode stated she was put in the trunk of a gold car by a white male who then drove her south on Interstate 575.

Bode’s black Ford Explorer was located on Interstate 575 southbound just inside Cherokee County. Anyone with any information is urged to call 911 or investigators at 770-928-0239. As this is an ongoing investigation, the 911 tape will not be released at this time.

Immigration reform signed by governor

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal Friday signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011, which passed both houses of the Georgia Legislature by overwhelming margins.

“Georgia is a welcoming state with vibrant immigrant communities and a highly diverse population,” Deal said. “These are strengths that enrich the culture of Georgia and expand our economy. There’s no better way to promote the quality of life of all who live here and no better way to protect taxpayers than upholding the rule of law.

“This immigration reform measure fulfills my promise to Georgians to crack down on the influx of illegal immigrants into our state. Georgia has the sixth-highest number of illegal residents, and this comes at enormous expense to Georgia taxpayers. Those who claim that this law will have a negative financial impact on Georgia completely ignore the billions of dollars Georgians have spent on our schools, our hospitals, our courtrooms and our jails because of people who are in our state illegally.

“In Georgia, we learned from the state laws elsewhere that raised objections from the federal government. We do not wish to go to war with the federal government. We wish to partner with the federal government to enforce the current law of the nation. Let’s remember: It’s already illegal on every inch of U.S. soil to hire someone who is in this country illegally. What we’ve done in Georgia is create a level playing field for all employers. The use of E-Verify means everyone plays by the same rules – and it protects employers by giving them a federal stamp of approval on their workforce. This also protects workers because those who live in the shadows of our society lack legal protections and they’re vulnerable to fraud and abuse. This legislation was expertly crafted by state Rep. Matt Ramsey to assure that our state protects the constitutional rights of all who live here. Rep. Ramsey knows, as I do, that there’s no better way to promote the rights of individuals than by protecting the rule of law.

“Illegal immigration is a complex and troublesome issue, and no state alone can fix it. We will continue to have a broken system until we have a federal solution. In the meantime, states must act to defend their taxpayers.”