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High School principal’s contract not renewed for next year


A tense end of Thursday’s school board meeting left high school principal Chris Williams without a contract for next year and Board member John Trammell warning the board may be going “down a slippery slope.”

Among the final items in a lengthy meeting was the board approving personnel recommendations. Unlike most board meetings, there was no executive session on the agenda for closed discussion. Thursday, Interim Superintendent Ben Arp presented a list of personnel recommendations which included all principals without reading any names or mentioning any position specifically.

When personnel came up on the agenda, Board member John Trammell first motioned that all the superintendent’s recommendations, including all principals, be approved.

Board member Dan Fincher asked for the motion to be amended to where high school Principal Chris Williams’ position be considered separately. After some discussion of procedure with the board and attorney Phil Landrum as to how amendments to motions are handled, the board voted three to two that Williams’ contract would be handled apart from all the other personnel recommendations.

The split on the board saw longer-serving Board Members John Trammell and Ervin Easterwood voting no to the separate action on Williams and the three board members elected in the most recent election, Wendy Lowe, Byron Long and Fincher, voting to move Williams’ contract to a separate item.

The board then voted to approve all other personnel recommendations with the same three-to-two bloc and then voted to not approve Williams’ contract with the same voting lines.

The only comment or discussion following this was Board member Trammell saying he had already discussed all he had to say and warning the board is “going down a slippery slope.”


Talking Rock awaiting governor's signature for charter change





At right, The Talking Rock Council in deliberations at their April meeting.

"The governor's secretary called me today," reported Mayor Peter Cagle near the start of Talking Rock's town council meeting Thursday evening, April 7. "The change on the charter has all been approved through the state legislature. It's now gone to the governor's desk to be signed."

Changes to the Talking Rock town charter, asked for by the council and now awaiting Governor Deal's approval, would establish two things for Talking Rock town government. First, election cycles for council members would be staggered, so no election could ever seat a council wholly without governing experience.

The second change would establish a new way of manning any council seat or the mayor's chair left open by an untimely death or by resignation or removal. With the charter change, the empty chair would be filled without a special election, saving the town money.

2009 murder charges dropped after judge rules self defense

A Jerusalem area man  has been granted immunity from two murder charges and one aggravated assault charge after a judge ruled Wilburn Curtis Childers acted in self defense in the 2009 shooting death of his cousin and neighbor.

Superior Court Judge Amanda Mercier ruled last week in favor of Wilburn Curtis Childers that self defense justified the shooting of Charles Wayne Childers and that the formerly accused Childers would not face malice murder, felony murder or aggravated assault charges brought by the state.


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Hans Rueffert keeps on ticking despite removal of stomach


Hans Rueffert is no stranger to surgeries. He has battled cancer for years, traveling often to M.D. Anderson Hospital in Texas, where surgeons have cut into, pulled out and inserted things into pretty much every part of his body.

His most recent surgery, and by far the most painful, removed his stomach.

Although this may seem unimaginable to most of us, especially considering Hans is a chef whose passion for food is well known both locally and nationally, perhaps the most unbelievable and admirable  thing is how he has maintained a positive attitude throughout his ordeal.

“I’m optimistic that this is the one surgery,” Rueffert said Monday on a call from his hospital room. “We tried hard to save the stomach and esophagus, but when they just went ahead and went stomach-less, it should fix the problems.”

Dogs, trains and art: Big events slated for this weekend





Janet Smith making her Feathered Event birdhouse. This work along with many others will be up for viewing and auction Friday night. The Feathered Event is the first of several high-profile events planned this weekend. See tomorrow’s Progress for all details.

This weekend promises to have a little something for everyone in Pickens, with three outdoor events scheduled that may leave you wondering which one to choose.

The first annual Jasper ArtFest will run April 16 though 17, bringing dozens of fine art and food vendors, and other fun outdoor activities to Main Street in Jasper. Festivities will run Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission to Jasper ArtFest is free.

Dog Days in the Park, a fundraiser benefiting substance abuse prevention in Pickens, will be held on Saturday, April 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lee Newton Park. Participants are invited to bring their fine canines out for an afternoon’s worth of contests and prizes.

Tate Depot Days will also be held on Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17 where the historic depot will be opened to the public for the first time in over 60 years. Attendees will hear presentations about the latest plans to relocate and renovate the building.

Anyone is invited to attend this free event.

The Optimist Club 5K Flapjack Fun Run is scheduled for Saturday morning, with proceeds going to benefit the Optimist Club. Admission is $25.

You can also attend the Sharptop Feathered Event birdhouse auction on Friday at the Burnt Mountain Trading Company from 5-9 p.m. Tickets are $10 each. Birdhouses will be auctioned to support the Sharptop Arts Association.

Choose one or choose all three, but whatever you do don’t choose to miss out on the fun. Be sure to check out this week’s print edition for more details about all of these events.

Angela Reinhardt can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.