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Commuters on Hwy. 575 may find construction delays

CHEROKEE COUNTY – Work has just begun on a DOT project to reconstruct the I-575/Sixes Road Interchange, located between the cities of Woodstock and Holly Springs near mile marker 11 on I-575 in Cherokee County.  The project includes the construction of a bridge and its approaches on Sixes Road over I-575 and intersection improvements. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2013, at a construction cost of $7,968,602.


To minimize the impact of this construction project on the heavy traffic in the area, work interfering with traffic on I-575 and Sixes Road will occur mostly at night and at non-peak hours during the day.   Single lane closures will only take place on I-575 between the hours of 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weekdays and between the hours of 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. on weekends.


“Georgia DOT wants to constrict traffic flow in this area as little as possible, but delays at times are almost unavoidable,” said Kent Sager, district engineer at the DOT office in Cartersville. “We have made every effort to minimize the impact this construction project may have on the heavy traffic on I-575 in Cherokee County. Working at night and on weekends and in phases; scheduling the lane closures after the morning rush hour, and reopening these lanes before the evening rush hour; and informing the public in advance of any traffic interruption are only a few examples of these efforts,” he added.


The bridge under construction over I-575 will allow for two through lanes in each direction, two left turn lanes onto I-575 South, a left turn lane onto I-575 North, a raised median, and sidewalks on each side. The ramps on all quadrants of this diamond interchange will be reconstructed with concrete pavement. The I-575 northbound exit ramp will be widened to a two lane exit, with a total of four lanes at its terminal with Sixes Road, to allow for dual left and right turn lanes. The southbound exit ramp will be a single lane ramp with two lanes at the terminal to allow for turn lanes for each turning movement. The northbound entrance ramp will have one lane and the southbound ramp will have two lanes to allow for the dual lefts from Sixes Road and will continue to its terminal with I-575. The total length of the project is 0.519.


Teacher enters plea bargain and avoids sex charges


Laura Deane Lyles (34), a former Pickens High Shool teacher indicted after allegations of sexual misconduct with male students during the 2009-2010 school year, has pled guilty to a state accusation of cruelty to children in a plea bargain that spares Lyles from prosecution on charges brought in her indictment.

Lyles' guilty plea on child cruelty charges came just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, at the end of a Superior Court session to handle plea bargains for numerous defendants in a variety of cases.

The session began at roughly 4:30 p.m., following arrival of presiding Superior Court Judge Roger Bradley to the upstairs courtroom within the Pickens County Courthouse. Lyles' case came last, the court session ending around 6:45 p.m., shortly after she was sentenced.

Lyles' indictment included two charges of sexual assault on a person in custody, two sodomy charges, and four charges of furnishing beverage alcohol to underage persons. The state's accusation of cruelty to children in the first degree was put forward by the prosecution pursuant to a plea agreement, explained Assistant District Attorney Scott Poole, who served as prosecutor during the Lyles proceeding.

Cool stuff for Summer Solstice Celebration June 21

When last seen, the world’s largest kudzu basket was in scaffolding (during the 1st Annual Jasper ArtFest) - but it will be unveiled in finished form for the upcoming summer solstice celebration.


By Amelia McIntyre, Lisa Schnellinger

PACA members

Come and celebrate summer at the 2nd Annual Summer Solstice Celebration on Tuesday, June 21, in Jasper. Taking place on the longest day of the year, the event is designed to bring arts and cultural groups and individuals together to offer their work to the public.

Summer Solstice is sponsored by the Pickens Arts and Cultural Alliance (PACA) and co-sponsored by Sharptop Arts Association. It is being presented in partnership with Pickens Family Partners, the Mountain Conservation Trust and Educational Excursions. Other local supporters are the Pickens County Board of Education, the Pickens Progress and Smoke Signals newspapers, WIVL Radio Station and local restaurants.

The program is a community workshop funded in part by a project grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. PACA also works in collaboration with the Pickens Chamber of Commerce and its tourism committee to promote economic development through arts and cultural tourism.

The community workshop will consist of a variety of smaller workshop events in downtown Jasper beginning at 1 p.m. on June 21. The individual workshops are designed to showcase local artists at work and engage participants to either observe or roll up their sleeves and get involved.

New Jasper acting company “putting a spin” on community theatre


NEW COMPANY, SAME FACES - With the majority of the original cast in tact, Smoke on the Mountain is travelling to the Cumming Playhouse with the new Jasper-based North Georgia Acting Company. The show opened June 2 and will run through June 26.


For Ross Galbreath, creative director of a new Jasper-based acting company, theatrical productions should be all or nothing.

“The shows need to be 100 percent,” Galbreath said from his Jasper hair salon, Hollywood FX Studio off Bill Wigington Parkway. “They need to have the highest possible quality every time.”

Galbreath, who has more than flat irons and styling products up his sleeve, is bringing 20-years of entertainment industry experience to the new company, having worked for Walt Disney and on other live shows, independent films and special event productions in various roles, from directing to managing to producing and casting.