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County finance officer resigns

Updated: Gilmer County CFO hired as replacement, see story in print or e-edition on sale.


Mechelle Champion, right, at an earlier tax hearing with Commissioner Rob Jones and County Attorney Phil Landrum. Champion resigned on Friday.

Pickens County Finance Officer Mechelle Champion has resigned as of Friday 7.

     According to Commissioner Rob Jones, the CFO put in her resignation due to personal issues.

     “It was a friendly resignation,” Jones said Monday, who noted that Champion will work on and off until Oct. 31.

     “She’s going to work for a while and help with the paperwork to get things caught up,” Jones said. “I’m looking for a new CFO now, and I’ve got a few names I’m pulling from.”

     Champion was not available for comment.

Parvo outbreak at county shelter forces destruction of 62 dogs

    animal-shelter-cleaning     Above, an inmate cleans and sterilizes the Pickens County Animal Shelter after 62 dogs were put down following a parvo outbreak.

     County Animal Shelter Manager Brandy Strawn said Friday that she and the rest of the staff of the county facility had been “absolutely devastated” by a parvo outbreak that lead to the euthanization of all 62 dogs at the site the day before.

     Strawn said the decision to destroy all the dogs housed in the county animal shelter did not come easily or without a great deal of consulting with professionals outside the sheriff’s office after nine dogs in the facility were found to be showing signs of parvo – a highly contagious canine disease that can kill within two days of visible symptoms.

     The shelter is under quarantine and undergoing intensive cleaning through Tuesday.

     The outbreak began the week prior when three animals adopted to a rescue group for terriers were found to have parvo by a vet with the rescue group. Strawn said she was surprised by this, as two of the animals had not been processed into the shelter and looked healthy. During the same week, they had dogs die and other dogs showing signs of the disease, which spreads and kills quickly. Dogs may carry the parvo virus for years without it being active but triggers like heat, humidity and stress – such as coming into a shelter can cause it to become active.

Blue law overturned by Jasper council

Beginning this Sunday, package sales allowed in city


sundaysalestrouts    Above, Trouts Wine Manager Weldon Hooley at the package store on W. Church Street in Jasper. Trouts is one of many stores within the city limits that will begin selling by the package this Sunday. 

     Following narrow approval by Jasper City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 4, businesses within the city limits of Jasper will be able to sell alcohol by the package beginning this Sunday.

     Approval followed a second reading of the amended city ordinance, and passed with a 2-3 vote. Council members Tony Fountain and John Foust voted against the motion to approve Sunday package sales.

     Alcoholic beverages can now be sold by the package from 12:30 p.m. until midnight on Sunday within city limits. Any business with a current beer and wine license in the city of Jasper will be able to begin selling this Sunday with no change to their current license, but beginning in 2013 the city will change their licensing procedure.

     Council will discuss the cost of the new license at an upcoming budget meeting, expected to happen in the fall of this year.

     Voters in the City of Jasper approved Sunday package in the July 31 primaries.

Bike to the Future

Local bicycling entrepreneurs work with Delorean Motor Company on two-wheeled offerings


Delorean bicycles are more than just a fancy name. The stainless steel frames compare favorably in weight and performance with carbon fiber models.


Joe Lambert, a former bicycle racer and Jasper bike store owner, with his business partner Marc Moore of Calhoun are working with the famous Delorean Motor Company to produce a line of high-end bicycles. The bikes should be rolling into showrooms in the next couple of months.

Naturally the bikes will be made from the stainless steel similar to that used on Delorean sports cars in the 1980s; a car made famous by the Back to the Future movies.



Lambert, who is known in Jasper as the owner of the former Bike Connection shop on Main Street, said the bikes they produce bearing the Delorean name are not gimmicks. They will be competitive bikes, ready for racing. Another local rider praised a test model for being a lightweight, great handling bike, ready for the steep climbs in North Georgia.

Currently Delorean plans two designs, a cruiser/commuter and a race model.

The partnership between the Georgia cycling professionals and the car company was formed when Moore was having dinner with Stephen Wynne, who now owns the Delorean Motor Company and they started discussing cycling. Wynne, who rides as does his wife, wanted to see a bike produced that would be competitive and with the distinctive style of the Delorean sports cars.

Lambert, said they explored frame designs and settled with an Italian company to produce the stainless steel frames. Lambert, a long time bike entrepreneur, said stainless steel makes a very good frame material that is surprisingly light, and stiff -- producing quick acceleration and good handling.                                    


Lambert said the stainless steel will hold its own against carbon fiber – the choice material for high-end bikes at this time.

For anyone who thought Delorean was a thing of the past, the original company did stop production in the 1980s but fans of the stainless steel cars with their gull wing doors, maintain such a strong interest that Wynne purchased all the remaining parts and offers refurbished DeLoreans built in Houston under the Delorean Motor Company name. According to Wikipedia, most estimates say that 6,500 cars survive from the 9,000 built before the original company folded in 1982.

For more information on the bikes, see




Joe Lambert, a Bent Tree resident, is now working to bring Delorean bicycles to the market.

Anger over proposed 9 percent tax increase grows


After being pressed and berated by more than 50 citizens for two hours Friday in the final hearing on a proposed 9-percent property tax increase, Commissioner Rob Jones agreed to give the budget one more look before making it official. Above, Commissioner Rob Jones presents finer points of the budget to a crowded meeting last Friday.
Jones told the crowded mid-morning gathering of citizens angry over the higher tax rate that there is little left to cut, “but we’ll go back and see what we can do.”

The citizens in attendance had a lot to say, including calling for a 20 percent cut in all county department spending. See the rest of the this story in our print and e-edition now on sale.


Also in our print and e-editions: Final chance for cuts not encouraging, says Jones


See previous story from our August 30 edition, Tax Hike Too Much, citizens tell commissioner