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The Dixie Swim Club opens this weekend


     Tater Patch Players is asking you to put on your fat pants and embrace your hertiage this February, when the story of five women and 33 years of friendship are told in the upcoming production of The Dixie Swim Club.

     The show opens Friday, Feb. 10 and closes Feb. 25. Find out more about showtimes and dates at or call 706-253-2800.


State to begin weighing students



Parents  may see reports

by end of academic period

With administrators making it very clear the action comes by state law, Pickens schools, like all public schools in the state, are set to begin weighing and recording the weights of P.E. students.
The SHAPE program mandated by the state legislature requires schools to weigh all students in classes taught by certified physical education teachers. This means in Pickens County all elementary students and most middle school students will face the scales at least once each year. High school students are only required to take P.E. once during high school’s four years, so they will only be subjected to the new rules once.
Read full story in our print edition now on sale or our e-edition which is always available with search and archive features.

Pickens High first at district reading bowl

Harmony Elementary finishes second

The Pickens High Reading Bowl team celebrates their first place finish Saturday at Chestatee Academy. Harmony Elementary finished second at the same event.

Both teams will advance to the regional level in the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, which challenges teams to answer questions from a list of books posed by judges in a Jeopardy style competition.

See photos of all Pickens teams who competed Saturday and more from the battling bookworms in our print edition this Wednesday.

Yellow Creek character area creates “firestorm” among residents


Officials say misinformation to blame

County officials are postponing a presentation from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs in regard to a “character area” study for the Foothills area.
Officials say the meeting has been pushed back in order to streamline it with the development of a state-mandated five-year county development plan happening later this year. But talk of the proposed character area study already has residents in the area stirred up.
Many Yellow Creek residents have made angry calls to the county planning and development office complaining that implementation of additional zoning requirements would be unfair to property owners there.  These officials say, however, that unrest among these residents is by and large a result of misinformation.

Building permits up slightly in 2011


Like an ark perched on a high place, this large barn going up near the corner of Twin Mountain Lake Road and the Talking Rock Road, frames a welcome sight: raw 2x4s of new construction bristling up from a fresh-poured foundation. Carpenter Bradley Mealer, of Timber Ridge Construction, stands at left.

"If you build it, good times will come." There was no audible voice, but witnessing fresh lumber stood up on a high place, the sense of that promise was hard to miss.  Despite much rain in recent weeks, workmen with Timber Ridge Construction have persisted in raising up a new barn just off the Talking Rock Road north of Jasper.

The new horse barn (1,728 enclosed square feet with wing sheds at both sides) goes up at 34 Twin Mountain Lake Road on land owned by Richard and Louise Naylor. Builder Jeff Lacey, owner of the construction company handling the project, said the finished barn will sport a metal roof, multiple horse stalls, board and batten walls.

Though just a barn, its construction has ginned much attention, Lacey said. New building sites remain a rare sight in the county since arrival of the housing slump about four years ago. Raw framework standing plumb in evidence of fresh endeavor with roof trusses stacked chest high, waiting to be craned into place, composes an inspiring vision.

"Even the building inspectors seem tickled to see this going on," Lacey said. "We've had everybody in the world stopping, wanting to help. We're blessed to be busy and have work."

Based from Fairmount, Lacey's company builds in Gordon, Bartow and Pickens counties with much of its work around Calhoun. He said he has managed to stay steadily busy despite the economic whoas on construction for a while.

"We've really been blessed to have stayed at it," Lacey said. He has done more than home construction to stay afloat. He once hammered together an ark for a church in Adairsville, Lacey testified.

But believe it or not, new home starts actually marked an uptick in Pickens County during 2011.

"We had a total of 37 new home permits last year, up from 27 the year before," said Pickens County Director of Planning and Development Joey Low. An engineer, Low is charged with approving construction plans for every building permit application made to the county.

True, 37 new house starts is well off of the number the county saw in boom times. But who is to say the noted upturn doesn't prophesy improvement in the local economy?

"It's not a huge increase, but it is an increase," Low said. "We've been seeing the number steadily go down, but they did at least go up this year. I'm excited to see anything building in this day and time. We'd like it to be a little more."

Lacey said he expects to complete the barn project for the Naylors within 30 days, given some cooperation from the weather. He was warring mud the week we spoke.

He started his company in 2005, Lacey said. Things were good for a couple years before hard times hit, he said. But standing on a construction site, even a muddy one, it wasn't hard to believe good times could return.

"I believe they will," Lacey said.