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Sheriff's Office goes hi-tech

     Submit tips, view localized crime report map


     Have you ever wondered how safe your neighborhood really is? Or would you like the option of giving police tips on your Android or iPhone?

     Now that the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with and, Pickens residents can do just that by accessing free crime reports for their area or by submitting anonymous tips through their mobile devices.

     CrimeReports provides official sex offender information, crime events and incident information for Pickens County and surrounding areas.

     “Providing reliable, timely information to our citizens is one of our top priorities, because an informed public is a safer public,” says Pickens County Sheriff Donnie Craig. “Partnering with CrimeReports gives us the ability to keep the public informed on a regular basis as to what is going on in the community.”

     By downloading the free iPhone app you can filter crimes by location, address, crime type and date, and view them on an easy to read map that displays a different colorful icon for each crime. Registered sex offenders are also displayed on the map.

     Click on the icons to find details about each crime, including the date and charge.

     For information or for the free app download visit Using your smart-phone, scan the QR Code on the page to be directed to the app store.

     Citizens without a mobile device can access the map on the sheriff’s website as well.

     Tip Submit mobile is an app that allows citizens to submit anonymous tips to the sherriff’s office with the convenience of a mobile app.

iPhone, iPad, and Android users can download the free app from app stores. Just search TipSubmit, download and install. Then select Pickens County Sheriff’s Office as the agency and set your password.

     The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 706-253-8900.

Deadline draws close for local writing contest



The Sassafras Literary Exchange’s Adult Writing Contest has been extended through September 15.  Be sure to enter before the deadline! Winners will be announced at the Pickens County Marble Festival the first weekend in October.  Entries of 1,500 words or less of Fiction, Non-Fiction, or Poetry submitted by applicants 18 years old or older will be accepted.

The theme of this year’s contest is: “Marble through the Ages”.  Submissions should mention marble and its history, influence, or use during any time period; past, present, or future.   Creativity is greatly appreciated and valued by the judges.  Use your imagination as any mention of marble will qualify.

The date, time, and place for the announcement of the winners will be given in the Pickens County Progress near the end of the contest.

Stop sign, lower speed limit sought by Mt. Zion


The Rev. Ben Mock alongside North Main Street in front of Mt. Zion Church. Members of the church are seeking a stop sign and lower speed limit along the route.



   Members of Mt. Zion Baptist Church on North Main Street are seeking measures to slow traffic along that route, following a fatal crash in front of their church last month.

   The 400 member church has created a petition asking for a lower speed limit on the stretch of road from downtown Jasper to the intersection with Philadelphia Road. They are also requesting a stop sign at the intersection of Old Philadelphia Road and North Main.

    The July 2 wreck that killed Kimberley Godfrey of Talking Rock did not involve church members, but is the latest of several serious wrecks in that section of road. The Rev.    Ben Mock said it is difficult to get information on the total number of wrecks there, but he found seven listed on a 911 report, and church members remember others that involved serious injuries.

    One of the other wrecks left a victim with permanent brain damage; another involved the nephew of a church member.

“The primary culprit is speed,” Mock said. “People coming out of Jasper come around that curve [where Old Philadelphia Road intersects] and they start picking up speed.”

Tax hike too much, citizens tell commissioner



At the first two of three public hearings held on a county tax increase, around 50 citizens told Commissioner Rob Jones last week they want to see the county cut spending instead of raising taxes.

Business and property owner Ralph Fitts was among those commenting both Thursday and Friday at hearings. Fitts said during the Friday hearing, “People in business and people paying taxes are suffering and have tried to cut back,” he said. “But I don’t think anyone in government realizes the extent we businesses have cut back and what we have done.

“Government has grown to an entity that it’s not cutting back at the same speed we are in business. What you are doing in government is not comparable to what we are doing in homes and businesses.”

With many of the same faces showing up to comment on the proposed 9 percent tax increase for Pickens County at the two meetings, Commissioner Rob Jones reiterated earlier statements that he had no choice but to raise the millage rate this year. Jones said the recent court ruling against the county over the tax exempt status of the Young Life camp cost $400,000, and also that declining property values played a part in forcing him to raise the millage rate by .64 mills to a total county millage of 6.9.

Jones pointed out that the county has not raised taxes in several years.

Jasper “Duck Pond” work ahead of schedule



Updated: Mayor John Weaver announced Monday that work at the popular walking/picnic area is going faster than expected. Portions of the park could open next week.

See complete story in this week's print edition.

     In a sudden move, Jasper City Hall announced Thursday that the portion of the Jasper City Park containing the duck pond and walking trail would be closed for urgent repairs beginning later today (Friday, Aug. 25).

     The repairs could take a month, according to a statement sent from city hall. The sports fields adjacent to the duck pond in the park will not be closed.

Jasper Mayor John Weaver said he went by the park earlier Thursday and started looking at everything that was broken, rotten, overgrown or just trampled following a summer of heavy use and realized they needed to take action immediately.

   Heavy equipment will be needed around the walking paths and there is no way the work can be handled with people coming through he said.

Weaver noted that of prime concern are spindles holding up the handrails around the pond that are rotten and a safety concern.

The park, which includes a walking path, tennis courts, two playground areas and picnic areas sees heavy summer use all day, walkers using the mostly level paved path, while the picnic tables with nearby grills get regular weekend gatherings. The park also contains the best playgrounds in the county.

Weaver said the park is really pushed beyond its capacity with the number of users. He said when he started developing a work list he kept finding items that were in urgent need of attention, which prompted the immediate closing.

There are overgrown trees, the rotten spindles, the lake is leaking through a drain, we are going to need some heavy equipment to do the work “and I won’t even tell you about the sand in the playground.”