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New courthouse above ground


                                                                                                                                             Jeff Warren / Photo
Thursday, 9 a.m., August 2––A trackhoe and bobcat backfill dirt along sealed concrete walls of the new courthouse basement as a remote-control packer (wheeled bug behind bobcat) tamps earth, its operator following three paces behind. Work continues on the wide grid of reinforcing steel bar, soon to be the core of the coming story’s poured concrete floor.


Ball Ground fire hides homicides/suicide

Gunshot wounds found to wife and daughter


From Cherokee County Sheriff's Office



The three bodies found in the remains of the house fire on Spriggs Trail last month in Ball Ground have been identified. The medical examiner at the GBI Crime lab confirmed that the bodies were that of Ricky Norrell, his wife Darlene and their daughter Lindsey. The cause of deaths for Darlene and Lindsey have been listed as homicide. Both had gunshot wounds to the head. Ricky’s cause of death has been listed as a suicide.

Ricky Norrell’s body was mostly consumed in the fire. However, the remains of a .22 caliber rifle were found near his body. In addition, the Medical Examiner’s findings were consistent with Ricky Norrell dying from a head wound – believed to be a gunshot wound. Facts and circumstances of the deaths lead investigators to conclude that Ricky Norrell shot his wife Darlene and daughter Lindsey before taking his own life. The investigation into the cause and origin of the fire continues. "At this point, we will be making no further comment on this matter," stated the press release from Lt. Jay Baker of the

Cherokee Sheriff’s Office.

Tyler Craig finishes 2nd in Jr. Olympics Pole Vault

    Tylercraigjrolympics       Last weekend, Tyler Craig finished second in the top pole vaulting competition in the nation for his age group at the Junior Olympic National Championships.

The rising senior at PHS finished with a top height of 15 feet 11 inches, the same height as the winner Connor Foxworth of Alabama. Craig had more missed attempts leaving him in second.

4,400 expected when schools open Tuesday



See this week's print or online edition for full back-to-school coverage.

Cooling down a hot band - After a long all-day practice under the summer sky Wednesday, July 25, marching on a sun-fried parking lot where the working temperature hung close to 100, the Pickens High School band stood in need of some relief. Their tunes were smokin’. Their feet nearly, too. Luckily, Band Director Michael Oubre had phoned the fire department. An engine and crew arrived from the Tate firehouse around 5 p.m. After mounting a water cannon atop the pumper truck, a stalwart fireman commenced a group hosing (on cue) at 5:30. Cool spray arched high and long, descending on musicians down range like a gift heaven sent.

Edible Jasper grows another garden

ediblejasperBy Vered Kleinberger

     Container gardening can be tricky. Join us at Harvest Café to learn about soil composition and plant choice as we build the next Edible Jasper garden.

     Harvest Café has many, many containers bordering the windows of their building and asked the Edible Jasper crew to help them out. On Saturday, August 4, from 6-8 p.m., we’ll host a workshop focusing on building soil in the containers.  Come learn lots and help expand the edibleness of our community.

     Edible Jasper was begun as a Sustainable Pickens project by community members who wanted to learn more about easily growing edible plants. They have gotten together to edibly landscape Jasper while learning gardening techniques and plant selection. If you haven’t been to a meeting or workshop in the past, we look forward to meeting you at the Harvest Café soil workshop.

     Be sure to check out our other edible installations in the Pickens Progress parking lot, at 61 Main and at VanGoghs Hideaway. Harvest Café is next, with the Law Offices of Edwin Marger to follow once the summer heat has passed. Visit www. for details or call 770-605-2451 if you have any questions.

See you on August 4 at 6 p.m. at Harvest Café as you help Edible Jasper grow. Feel free to bring snacks, beverages and friends.