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Sheriff's office investigating church break-in

Press Release from Donald E. Craig, Sheriff
Pickens County Sheriff’s Office


On Sunday, April 17, 2011, our office received a report that a local church had been broken into. After an investigation, it was determined that someone entered into the church over the weekend by breaking a door. The individual, or individuals, then removed several expensive sound equipment items from the facility. Detectives from our office were able to locate several clues and will continue to work on this case from all available leads.

Please remain vigilant in monitoring your businesses, homes and churches to ensure that you do not become a victim of similar acts. We will continue to extra patrol our churches while we continue this investigation. If you have any information that you believe would assist in determining who these offenders may be, please contact the Criminal Investigations Division at 706-253-8935.

Cove Road re-opens following rockslide


Updated Sunday -- Cove Road re-opens. Cove Road was re-opened about 4:30 p.m. despite earlier statements that concerns over future slides might delay re-opening into next week.

See next week's Progress for comments from elected officials on long-range plans.

Earlier Story

In an inspection of the Cove Road rockslide site Sunday morning, Jasper Mayor John Weaver said motorists should prepare for Cove Road to remain closed all day. He said most likely it would still be closed Monday and could remain closed indefinitely due to other hanging rocks above a road that serves as a main traffic artery for east Pickens County. "We're going to have to do an evaluation of the potential for other slides," the mayor said. "There are a lot of other big rocks up there."

Commissioner Rob Jones in later comments from the scene, was more optimistic that the road could be opened sooner. The commissioner said they will definitely have the rocks removed from the roadway by dark on Sunday and he thought it might could be opened by Monday.

Offering guidance in the early morning assessment was Pickens County Marshal Jim Harvey, who comes with more than 20 years experience with blasting and quarrying all across the southern United States. Harvey pointed out several other cracks and seams in the stone walls of the steep north bank of the S turns-section of road that pose potential threats.

Several large sections of rock could be seen overhanging the road near the site of the large rockslide Saturday.

Original story 

A landslide about 10 p.m. has closed Cove Road at the steep S-turns near Longswamp Creek.

Commissioner Rob Jones said the no one was injured nor any vehicles damaged, but the road is mostly covered with earth and rocks from the steep banks.

The road will be closed Sunday morning as road crews begin work clearing it. The county was moving in equipment Saturday night. City of Jasper crews are assisting with the clean-up.

Power service may also be affected.

High School principal’s contract not renewed for next year


A tense end of Thursday’s school board meeting left high school principal Chris Williams without a contract for next year and Board member John Trammell warning the board may be going “down a slippery slope.”

Among the final items in a lengthy meeting was the board approving personnel recommendations. Unlike most board meetings, there was no executive session on the agenda for closed discussion. Thursday, Interim Superintendent Ben Arp presented a list of personnel recommendations which included all principals without reading any names or mentioning any position specifically.

When personnel came up on the agenda, Board member John Trammell first motioned that all the superintendent’s recommendations, including all principals, be approved.

Board member Dan Fincher asked for the motion to be amended to where high school Principal Chris Williams’ position be considered separately. After some discussion of procedure with the board and attorney Phil Landrum as to how amendments to motions are handled, the board voted three to two that Williams’ contract would be handled apart from all the other personnel recommendations.

The split on the board saw longer-serving Board Members John Trammell and Ervin Easterwood voting no to the separate action on Williams and the three board members elected in the most recent election, Wendy Lowe, Byron Long and Fincher, voting to move Williams’ contract to a separate item.

The board then voted to approve all other personnel recommendations with the same three-to-two bloc and then voted to not approve Williams’ contract with the same voting lines.

The only comment or discussion following this was Board member Trammell saying he had already discussed all he had to say and warning the board is “going down a slippery slope.”


Cherokee Sheriff seeks info on missing Ball Ground man

Updated Monday 4-18

Press Release from 

Cherokee County Sheriff's Office


Canton, Cherokee County, Ga. April 15, 2011. The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office is seeking assistance from the public in locating a missing Ball Ground man.  Stephen Lyon, 48 years old, was last seen on March 6th. He is believed to be traveling on foot. Mr. Lyon has brown eyes, is approximately 6’2” and weighs 260 pounds. If anyone has seen, spoken to, or knows the whereabouts of Mr. Lyons, they are urged to contact investigators at 770-928-0239.

A spokesman from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office said Lyon is just considered missing, not sought for an investigation, and his family is concerned.


Talking Rock awaiting governor's signature for charter change





At right, The Talking Rock Council in deliberations at their April meeting.

"The governor's secretary called me today," reported Mayor Peter Cagle near the start of Talking Rock's town council meeting Thursday evening, April 7. "The change on the charter has all been approved through the state legislature. It's now gone to the governor's desk to be signed."

Changes to the Talking Rock town charter, asked for by the council and now awaiting Governor Deal's approval, would establish two things for Talking Rock town government. First, election cycles for council members would be staggered, so no election could ever seat a council wholly without governing experience.

The second change would establish a new way of manning any council seat or the mayor's chair left open by an untimely death or by resignation or removal. With the charter change, the empty chair would be filled without a special election, saving the town money.