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Pond owners warned about potentially deadly algae blooms

 UGA researchers tie toxic algae to cattle deaths in Gwinnett County


UGA graduate student Jamie Morgan tests the water in an algae-filled pond on Bill Atkinson’s farm in Dacula.


From UGA news service


University of Georgia researchers have determined that toxic algae killed four cows on a cattle farm in Gwinnett County. A recent perfect storm created the right conditions for a toxic algae bloom in ponds, they say, warning property owners to be vigilant about keeping livestock and pets out of water that has become discolored or opaque.

The toxic algae has been found in at least one other pond less than 10 miles from Atkinson Farms in Dacula, and researchers say it is very possible these are not isolated incidents.

House set for demolition after owner completes without county building inspections or approvals

On May 21st, the county marshal, following orders from the county’s building and development department, asked tenants at a rental house on Reavis Mountain Road to move out within 30 days, as the house was condemned. This marks the first time a case involving building codes has ever reached the point of possible demolition in Pickens County. It did not happen quickly, as the inspections office has been familiar with owner Claude Beaver and this house since 2005 when construction began without a building permit.


See complete story in this week's print edition or e-edition.

Four injured in Marble Hill crash



Four people were injured in a two-car wreck Friday on Highway 53 in Marble Hill. Two of those hurt were airlifted in separate helicopters after the collision in a section of curves east of the Huber marble plant.

Accident reports from the Georgia State Patrol indicated that an Oldsmobile driven by Sandra Summers of Cumming crossed the centerline and the driver lost control as she tried to correct. The Oldsmobile hit a Toyota Camry driven by Ashley Murphy of Ball Ground.

Summers received head injuries and was taken by lifeflight to the Atlanta Medical Center. Her 17-year-old daughter was also injured and taken by lifeflight to Atlanta Medical Center with broken bones and lacerations.

Murphy and a third passenger with Summers were taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Tim Nichols, the commander of the Georgia State Patrol Post in Jasper, said  all occupants were wearing seatbelts and airbags deployed properly.

The passengers who were transported by helicopter were first driven to the IGA grocery store parking lot. Highway 53 remained closed for about an hour and a half while crews worked to free the injured occupants and clean up the wreckage.

Big Canoe home lost in early morning fire Monday

Sunday fire extinguished at Salacoa Highlands

Photo courtesy Pickens Fire Department

Pickens fire crews continue to get business in spurts with long slow periods followed by multiple fires on the same day. This was again the case with one fire Sunday evening followed by another after midnight (early Monday). No injuries were reported, but a home in Big Canoe was a total loss.

The first fire at Acerose Court in Salacoa Highlands was discovered at 7:40 p.m., June 24, when homeowners came home from a weekend away to find their house filled with smoke.

Owners Phillip and Jane Elliott wisely closed the door to the house and called 911. Assistant Fire Chief Curtis Clark said closing doors to burning or smoldering homes or rooms will slow flames.

“Close it up quick,” Clark said. “You don’t feed the fire.”

Blake Wilson achieves Eagle Scout rank



Cindy Wilson, Blake’s mom, pins on the Eagle Scout medal near the conclusion of ceremonies installing him as an Eagle Scout. The high honor is the ultimate achievement within the Boy Scouting program, joining young Wilson to the small fraternity who have achieved it.

  Blake Wilson has achieved Eagle Scout's rank after years of disciplined hard work and dedicated achievement. A ceremony to mark Wilson's accomplishment, a Boy Scout's ultimate promotion, took place at Jasper's Appalachian campus of Chattahoochee Technical College Saturday afternoon, June 16.
      Eagle Scout Wilson is a member of Hill City Boy Scout Troop 288, a troop co-founded by Hill City Elementary School Principal Carlton Wilson and Scoutmaster Charles Bufford nine years ago. Carlton Wilson is Blake's father.