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School board to interview superintendent candidates this week


Members of the school board will meet Friday and Saturday to begin interviews of superintendent candidates.

The board is expected to meet both days in closed sessions to interview candidates for the top post in the Pickens school system. They will meet at 4 p.m. on Friday and then re-convene Saturday at 9 a.m. at their conference center on D.B. Carroll Street.

School Board chair Wendy Lowe said Monday they had 7-10 people they plan to interview in the first round. She said they hadn’t really eliminated anyone who applied, but were going to start interviewing with an initial group later this week. She said they may have to extend initial interviews into next week depending on the availability of the candidates.

Lowe said they hope to conduct follow-up interviews the next week and be ready to make a selection by the end of April. She said they still have a goal of having a new superintendent hired by the end of April, but this could be delayed depending on the contract negotiations.

Open meetings law allows public groups to conduct job searches in private until they have narrowed their list of potential candidates down to three, at which time the names of the applicants become a public record.

When asked if she was satisfied with the quality of the applicants, she said, “Absolutely. Any one of them would be well qualified. The challenge will be to find who will do the best.”


Bow Wow! Seven year old donates birthday gifts to animal shelter

For his birthday Nick Renner asked his friends to buy gifts that could be donated to the Pickens County Animal Shelter.

Above Renner is pictured with Pickens County Commissioner Rob Jones (left) and Pickens County Sheriff Donnie Craig.

By Angela Reinhardt

staff writer

Nick Renner made his parents proud last week when he decided to forgo birthday gifts and instead ask friends and family to bring donations for the Pickens County Animal Shelter.

“Like any typical kid he has way too many toys,” said Renner’s mother Marla. “So I thought I would suggest making a donation to an organization.”

Marla said she first suggested donating the toys he received to those in need, “but he wasn’t sure about that, so I suggested that he ask people to bring in gifts to donate to the animal shelter and his eyes got huge. He loves animals and he couldn’t wait to get the invitations out.”

Renner’s party was held at Jump Start in Jasper where he opened the animal-friendly gifts, which included dog food, cat food, treats and play toys.

Later that week Renner and his family then delivered the donations to the animal shelter on Camp Road where the Jasper Christian School student met Sheriff Donnie Craig and Commissioner Rob Jones.

“I was nervous,” Renner said, who told us he likes kittens and puppies best of all. “It made me feel good.”

When asked if he would do it again he said, “I know I would. I’ve got more toys than most anybody.”

The shelter’s manager Christiana Voyles said they do receive donations, but that they typically come in when people make adoptions or surrender animals.

“We do occasionally have some people just bring in a bag of food, though,” she said.

Voyles said the shelter is always in need of newspapers (to line the kennels), food, treats, toys and cash donations.

“But that kid was so cute,” she said. “All kids should be that cute. He was so well behaved.”

Renner’s father is Rodney Renner. He has two siblings, sister Alex and brother Andrew.

“This is something I am going to suggest for Christmas, too,” Renner’s mother said, “that they choose a group or organization and if they get money they donate some of it.”

The Pickens County Animal Shelter can be reached at 706-253-8983.

Angela Reinhardt can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Farmers' Market underway for the season


By Darla Huffman, Farmers’ Market P.R.

Butterfly gardens will be the topic of the week at the Jasper Farmers’ Market’s Master Gardeners Information Tent this Saturday, April 2, with a focus on creating a butterfly garden for your yard. There will be volunteers to answer your questions and “how to” information to take home. For the children, there will be butterfly pictures to color and caterpillars to make while learning about the life cycle of these winged creatures.

If you have ever wondered who are these people arrogant enough to call themselves Master Gardeners, here is definition: “The Master Gardener Program in Georgia is a volunteer training program designed to help Extension agents transfer research-based information about gardening and related subjects to the public by training home gardeners.”

Educating the public is what Master Gardeners are all about.  As sponsors of the Jasper Farmers’ Market, they bring information on farming and gardening into the community with our Educational Opportunities during the Market season. Stop by the Master Gardener Tent this week with your questions.

The Jasper Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday morning from April through October and Wednesday mornings, June 15 to August 31, from 7:30 a.m. to noon, except for the 4th of July Celebration and the Marble Festival. The location is the Park & Ride lot beside Lee Newton Park on Highway 53 near downtown Jasper.

Only handmade and homegrown items can be sold at the Market; see the Master Gardeners Web site for complete rules. The Farmers’ Market is a project of Pickens County Master Gardeners ( and the County Extension Office (706-253- 8840). Please contact either for more information.

No joy in Mudville – rains hampering first week of Rec. Department ball

Muddy fields at Roper Park, have stopped action for much of the first week of softball, baseball and tee-ball.


Progress Staff reports

Rain not only forced the cancellation of the Recreation Department’s opening ceremonies Saturday, predicted spring storms threaten the first week of regular games for the 538 kids in the program this year.

Rec. Department Director Melinda Goss said 2011 followed a pattern in the last four or five years of downpours drowning out opening day of the softball, tee-ball and baseball seasons. Last year the opening proceeded with cold temperatures and strong winds, but most of the past years have been just as soggy as last Saturday.

“We had to cancel Saturday ceremonies,” Goss said Monday. “We were supposed to start games tonight [Monday] but the weather is not looking too good for that either.”

Tuesday the skies remained cloudy at mid-morning, giving little opportunity for the muddy fields to dry out. Further storms were predicted for later in the week.

Goss said if the weather doesn’t improve this week, teams will be forced to wait until after spring break for regular season action. No games are scheduled for next week due to spring break.

Goss said they have re-done the schedule this year to allow for make up games on Saturday as no regular games are scheduled then. “We had planned for make-up games on Saturday,” she said. “We can get in a lot of games on a Saturday.”

Rather than opening ceremonies, Goss said the department will host some type of “end-of-season fun day” to coincide with tournaments planned this year for the end of the year. New for this year in all Rec. Department age divisions except tee-ball are double elimination tournaments.

Goss said the plans are for the regular season to end on May 14 and they aren’t planning to extend it with make-up games.

Goss reported that the fields and facilities were ready to go on Saturday. “Everything is looking good,” she said.

A big relief to many parents, the large back parking lot will be open for games following some work on a new gym for the park that had closed the access to the parking earlier.


Overdue depot project back on track at Tate

By Jeff Warren, staff writer

A long-awaited happening, relocation of the Tate railroad depot for renovation and preservation on county land at Tate south of State Highway 53 may soon be back on track after long delays. County leaders, Georgia Department of Transportation officials and Howard Bach of transportation consultants Moreland Altobelli met Friday afternoon, March 18, at the County Admin Building to begin ironing out details preliminary to the depot move.

Bach serves as go-between, connecting grant recipient Pickens County to Georgia DOT, which has awarded two transportation enhancement grants totaling $800,000 for the depot project. The money is federal, administered through the state transportation department and comes with many requirements that must be met before the money can be received.