Area Postal officials talk about proposed cuts to service
Tonya Sercye, Dispatch Clerk for the Jasper Post Office, empties Christmas cards from a mailbox.
The Monday before Christmas, the Jasper Post Office was teeming with people shipping packages and letters in a last ditch effort to get them to their destination on time.
But this bustling scene is atypical for most post offices across the nation, with regular, non-holiday traffic and mailings dropping so much since their peak in 2006 that the federally-controlled operation is now billions of dollars in the red.
Recently post office officials have made announcements that the Postal Service will close 252 of its 487 processing centers and 3,700 of its nearly 32,000 offices nationwide, as well as nixing one-day first-class mail delivery, as a way to combat the changing market and plummeting bottom line.
Fortunately for postal workers in Pickens, regional officials say none of the post offices here are scheduled to be on the chopping block.
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Work begins on the Pickens County Courthouse. Last Friday, Dec. 16 workers were seen staging the building with scaffolding before removing the marble slabs.
Just after his regularly scheduled meeting, Pickens County Commissioner Rob Jones held a public hearing for the proposed 2012 budget.
No members of the public attended the Thursday, Dec. 15 hearing, but Pickens County’s Finance Officer Mechelle Champion was on hand to discuss changes in the figures over last year.
The total proposed budget for 2012 is $19,313,000 on the revenue side, down about $2.5 million from the $21.8 million budget in 2011.
“The majority of the decrease is coming from the community center,” Champion said. “We won’t be building a community center in 2012.”
Georgia, December 19- Average retail gasoline prices in Georgia have fallen 7.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.12/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 4.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.23/g, according to gasoline price website GeorgiaGasPrices.com.
Including the change in gas prices in Georgia during the past week, prices yesterday were 26.8 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 14.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 13.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 26.4 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
"Gas prices across much of the nation continue their downward move, bringing the national average for a gallon down to its lowest level since late February," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "While some motorists are thinking these falling gasoline prices are nice, I'll unpleasantly remind them that gasoline prices will still set record highs this Christmas across much of America- motorists have never seen average prices this high on Christmas. As prices typically reach a low point during early winter, this sets up a troubling start to 2012 in terms of gasoline prices. Summer gasoline prices typically are 80-120 cents per gallon higher than where prices stand around Christmas," DeHaan said.
UPDATED January 5th-- Drug charges have been brought against several people as a result of this wreck. See complete story in the January 5 edition. E-edition available.
UPDATED -- A fatal wreck on Highway 515 in Pickens County Monday afternoon closed traffic in both directions a short distance from the Highway 108 intersection. According to information from the Pickens Sheriff's office, the Georgia State Patrol is still investigating and it may take a few days for them to sort through the information.
Coroner Kevin Roper said Timothy Ingram, 28, of Rydal was killed in the wreck. Ingram was an employee of an automotive shop and had been driving a customer’s Chevy Tahoe. Roper said the cause of the crash is not known at this point. However, he said nothing in the initial reports indicates that a vehicle malfunction was involved.
Initial reports at the scene by witnesses said only one car had wrecked, but others had stopped. However, information from the GSP indicates three vehicles were involved -- one that had been traveling northbound and two traveling southbound.
Besides the fatality, two other people were reported injured.
The wreck was not at any crossing or intersection.
Damon Howell / Photo
An insurance adjuster measures the remnants of a house which caught fire early Monday morning on Carlan Road.
In a stunning twist, the county fire marshal said late Wednesday, the blaze on Carlan Road which destroyed a home and threatened a family’s lives appears to have been intentionally set.
Assistant Fire Chief Curtis Clark, who also serves as the fire marshal, said, “We are ruling this was an intentionally set fire and a criminal act against the homeowners.”
The fire was reported at 1:14 a.m. Monday when a Pickens deputy on routine patrol spotted the front porch of the Carlan Road home in flames.