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County looking at options for replacing Rec. director


     Commissioner Rob Jones said he is considering different options to replace Recreation Department Director Melinda Goss who was dismissed last Thursday.

     Jones said he will present the issue to the recreation and parks board this week to get some input, but that his first thought is to operate with an interim director for the remainder of 2012. He said by delaying it until that time, the full three-person commission can be sworn in and he can enlist the two district commissioners in the hiring process.

     Jones confirmed over the weekend that he had dismissed Goss, who has served as director of the parks and recreation department for the past several years and has worked in the program for the last 21 years. “It was no secret that there were some issues with that program,” he said.

Work on Hwy. 53 bridge over Amicalola extended

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Georgia DOT announces maintenance work on the State Route 53/Jasper Highway bridge over the Amicalola Creek will take longer than planned. Crews are currently working on the SR 53 Bridge over Amicalola Creek west of Tinsley Chapel Road, approximately 3 miles from the Dawson/Pickens County line. The bridge will remain reduced to one lane through August 31 for reconstruction. A temporary traffic signal is directing traffic across the bridge.

“The reconstruction work is taking longer than expected. If the weather cooperates, the work will be completed by August 31. A temporary signal will continue to operate almost as a person flagging traffic around the clock until the work is completed,” explained Georgia DOT District Engineer, Bayne Smith.

The existing concrete driving surface or bridge deck will be removed by hydro-blasting then a new concrete driving surface will be poured. The contractor will work around the clock on the project in one lane at a time. As one lane is finished, traffic will be shifted to use that lane while work occurs in the other lane. The work will conclude by August 31.

“We are going to continue to use the temporary signal for traffic control through the end of August. The capacity of State Route 53 Highway is reduced to one lane at the bridge so there are delays in the area. Please slow down in the area and use additional caution as the work occurs. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We will conclude the work and open both lanes of the bridge as quickly as possible,” concluded Smith.

This bridge is one of three included in a $1.9 contract awarded to Comanche Construction of Marietta. The State Route 11 Bridge over the Middle Oconee River in Jackson County and SR 246 Bridge over the Little Tennessee River in Rabun County are also a part of this contract. The contract completion date for all three bridges is of September 30, 2012.

The Georgia Department of Transportation continues its RoadWorks2012 construction program.  As the end of summer and a new school year draw near, dozens of important roadway infrastructure improvement projects continue throughout the state.  Keeping Georgia’s transportation network the nation’s finest requires continual investment and maintenance. Pardon us for this necessary inconvenience and please drive cautiously in work zones and safely at all times.  For more information on Georgia DOT projects, please visit; you also may follow the Department on Facebook( and Twitter (

DNR plans to relocate unwanted Jasper bear





A black bear that has been frequenting a street in Jasper is beginning to cause concern with residents who live there.

As a result, Jasper Animal Control Officer Lonnie Waters says the Department of Natural Resources has set a trap on Summit Street, which runs behind Pueblo Grill off W. Church Street.

According to Waters, the bear has been aggravating residents for weeks by digging through garbage and entering patios and porches. While no aggressive behavior has been reported, Waters said residents want the animal removed.



A bear trap that has been set by the DNR off of Summit Street in Jasper.


Bluegrass championship to bring top act to Jasper



Above, the Lonesome River Band, which will be headlining the Georgia State Bluegrass Championship in October.

     In the world of bluegrass, few groups are better known or more widely respected than The Lonesome River Band.

     This year, the award-winning ensemble will headline the 1st annual Georgia State Bluegrass Championship, the newest and most exiting addition to the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce’s Georgia Marble Festival, held every October at Lee Newton Park.

Mother of two fighting stage 3 melanoma cancer



At left, Angela Walker, 31, with her family. Earlier this year Walker was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma.

“Dear Mom… I hope your arm fills so much better…I can’t wait until you get feeling better. I hope you have a wapid wecovery mommy. I love you mommy.”
     That’s part of a letter Angie Walker’s daughter Madysen (age 8) wrote for her mother back in April, just a few months after Walker was diagnosed with a stage 3 malignant melanoma.
      Now, six months and three surgeries later, the Pickens mom has been forced to quit her job waiting tables, because five days a week she travels to Kennesaw for treatment of the skin cancer that can be deadly if not detected early.