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Burn Ban begins May 1 for Pickens, other counties

Experts saying restriction on outdoor burning improves air quality


On May 1, an outdoor burn ban will begin in 54 Georgia counties, primarily in the northern half of the state. Affected residents are asked to refrain from burning yard and land clearing debris, whose smoke can negatively impact the state's air quality during the hot summer months by contributing to high ozone levels.

"These restrictions are required by the state Environmental Protection Division so that fewer chemicals and particle pollutants are released into the air," said Georgia Forestry Commission Chief of Forest Protection, Frank Sorrells. "The risk of wildfire is also high at this time, and the Georgia Forestry Commission will be closely monitoring fire activity to keep Georgians and their property safe."

The burn ban will be in effect from May 1-September 30, 2012. The 54 Georgia counties affected are: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson, Walker and Walton.

Residents in Georgia counties not included in the annual burn ban will continue to be required to secure a burn permit from the Georgia Forestry Commission before conducting any outside burning. Permits can be requested online at, or by calling the local office of the Georgia Forestry Commission. If conditions are safe for burning, permits will be automatically granted.

"Last year unwelcome records were set in Georgia, with almost half a million acres of forest land lost to fire," said Sorrells. "We're also dealing with the effects of ongoing drought. Everyone needs to work together to ensure a safe and fire- free summer."

For more information about annual summer burn restrictions, burn permits and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit

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Sheriff Jeep Jam coming this fall -- video of four-wheel action



Nine jeep enthusiasts from around the state rode trails in Tate April 21st as part of a trial run for the 2nd annual Sheriff’s youth homes fundraiser, JeepFest 2012.

See a video of all the action here.


Jeepers were being asked in advance for suggestions to make the three day event “as fun and safe as possible,” said organizer Gregory Baker.

A large number of jeeps from around the region is expected before the ride takes place September 14-16. Sandy Bottoms in Tate has been chosen for the location, where two thousand plus acres will be prepared with trails and water crossings to give jeepers of all experience levels a fun experience.

To learn more about JeepFest 2012, visit the Pickens Sheriff’s JeepFest 2012 website at




A harmonious string of events

Nigel Wright and band tune up for German tour


Pickens resident Nigel Wright, center, and band members Clay Dean, left, and Jamey Merritt, right.

The band will be touring in Germany from July though September of this year.


     While searching for a different Nigel Wright online, German record company, Butterfly Collectors, stumbled onto a Tate Mountain Estates resident with the same name but far different sonic sensibilities.

     While the 18-year-old Tate-Mountain Wright was not who they set out to find, the Pickens’ home-fry is now signed with the fledgling label. He and drummer Jamie Merritt and bass player Clay Dean, both of Dawsonville, have since flown to Germany to film music videos and promo shots, and they are now preparing for a short German tour.

First campaign contributions disclosed for local races

    money While qualifying for the July 31 primary does not happen until May 23-25, contributions are already being made to local candidates who have announced they will run for office.

     During the May 23-25 qualifying period, candidates will register with their party.

     From now through the remainder of the election season, we will be following campaign contributions made in all local races.

     The following is the most recent data available from the Georgia Government Transparency and Finance Commission, formerly the State Ethics Department.

     Note that In-Kind donations are non-monetary contributions made to a campaign.

     All candidates were required to file a campaign disclosure report on March 31, 2012. Maximum donation amount is $2,500 from a single donor. See list of who is running at our election guide.


      Find out who is donating to which campaign in this week's print or online edition.

Who'll stop the rain?

Veteran in need receives new roof



Shingles flew as workmen ganged with pitchforks to remove old roofing at a Parker Circle address. Homeowner Ricky Martin, a Vietnam veteran who suffers with a disability, gained a needed new roof through the help of several local organizations and Global Builders, the company that carried out the work.


      Monday, 8 a.m., saw four roofers atop Ricky Martin's home on Parker Circle south of Jasper. Prying off old shingles with pitch forks, workmen labored at fever pace in the morning chill, raining chunks of Martin's old rooftop onto a large blue tarp, spread on the ground to catch all below.