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County in search of volunteer firefighters


Proud volunteers of the Hinton Fire Department, photographed March 2008.

With the ongoing reliance on volunteer firefighters here, County Fire Chief Bob Howard has initiated a recruitment drive to gain new volunteers. The reason is straightforward, he said.

Even with full-time paid firefighters in place today, Pickens County still depends heavily on volunteer firefighters to make a response when fire breaks out.

The county fire department runs on a 24-hour basis (with professional firefighters manning two county firehouses round the clock) by relying on a total of just five paid firefighters per shift, explained Howard.

Backing that small core of professionals is a long roll of trained volunteers who also respond to fight fire whenever the call comes down, the chief said.

Fictional thriller set in Pickens

Christian novelist brings mystery and romance to a place once called home

wake the sleeping lady book


In Carolyn Koontz DeArteaga’s world the line between reality and fiction is like a blurry watercolor, where characters cherry pick from real-life people, and imaginary streets and landscapes dovetail with places in three-dimensional time and space.

In DeArteaga’s new novel, Wake the Sleeping Lady, she transports us to a Pickens County that exists one step removed from our own plane of reality. Many elements are left in tact, such as The Woodbridge Inn, Oglethorpe Mountain and the charms of Appalachian culture, but she spends plenty of time flexing her creative muscles, replacing Jasper with the small mountain town of Windy Ridge and substituting other well-known landmarks with ones that dip their toes into the imaginary.

PHS STAR students and teachers profiled


Submitted by Reeder Burch,

Optimist member

The Optimist Club of Jasper will host the annual “STAR” Banquet on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. The banquet will be held at 7 p.m. at Chattahoochee Technical College, 100 Campus Drive, Jasper, Ga. Anyone interested in attending the banquet should contact Reservation Coordinator Rodney Buckingham by e-mailing him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Banquet tickets are $22 per person and the dinner will be catered by the Woodbridge Inn.

Former Pickens High School STAR Student, Dr. John Chastain, will be the guest speaker for the banquet. Chastain, a 1994 graduate of PHS, was the STAR Student of his class and chose his mother, Kaye Chastain as his STAR Teacher. Chastain is a physician in Atlanta.

This year the Optimists will recognize the PHS STAR Student and Teacher along with Nine STAR Finalists. Each student and teacher was given a questionnaire and below you will find responses from each of this year’s STARS.

The STAR Student for this year is Michael Land and the STAR Teacher is Mrs. Gail Culbreth.

The Star finalists who are all profiled in this week's print edition Pages 10A-11A are:

Jessica Bell - Susan Anderson

Jessica Bradley - Martha Kinney

Lauren Fann - Danny McCormick

Taylor Goble - Lynn Cantrell

Sara Rooker - Shea Byers

Emily Talley - Kevin Jacobs

Alberto Torres - Patrick Gallagher

Jamie Waterman - Carissa Parker

Carly Wood - Mary Land

Stan Barnett named Citizen of the Year



At right, Stan Barnett

The Pickens County Chamber of Commerce crowned Stan Barnett the 2011 Pickens County Citizen of the Year on at the Tate House during Chamber’s annual winter ball event.

Barnett, who was in attendance at the event, expressed his appreciation to a packed house of curious spectators. Barnett, 76, has served many local organizations over his 15 years as a resident of Pickens County. He managed the Pickens County Thrift Store for five years and remains an active member of several charitable and non-profit organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Mountain Conservation Trust of Georgia, and Keep Pickens Beautiful. Stan currently serves as an Auxiliary courtesy golf cart driver at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital.

All-Stars named for Rec. Dept. Basketball


By Casey Parker

The regular basketball season may be over, but look out for the All-Stars from the Pickens Rec. Dept.

Rec. Dept. Director Melinda Logan said, "The season went great, with the exception of all the snow causing cancellations.”

Games for the All-Star teams start next Thursday Feb. 17, lasting until Saturday Feb. 19.