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Following Canton child murder/abduction Sheriff urges community to make call when they see something suspicious

With parents and others here alarmed following the grisly abduction and murder of a 7-year-old in neighboring Canton, the Pickens County Sheriff took time Tuesday to discuss the crime and what can be done to keep children safe.

Sheriff Donnie Craig emphasized that nothing like the savage killing of the child in a Canton apartment complex had ever occurred in Pickens County, nor had Canton ever recorded a violent crime against a child like this before.

Craig said word his office has received from Canton law enforcement is that leads indicate the crime was likely committed by someone living nearby and familiar with the apartment complex and was not necessarily a threat here.[Editor's Note Friday update: this did turn out to be the case as a maintenance man was arrested].

Sheriff Craig said this shocking incident should be a wake-up call to everyone for taking precautions to ensure that their children or any children in their community remain safe.

“We may have sat back and said things like this only happen in Fulton or DeKalb counties,” the sheriff said. “But this is a prime example of it happening right in our own backyard. We, as parents, need to take responsibility for keeping our kids safe.”

Craig said this type of crime is hard to prevent from law enforcement agencies without an active community keeping watch.

Jasper infantryman severely wounded in Afghanistan


Family awaiting news from Wes Farron


Wes Farron’s young wife Melanie is praying for good news following a phone call Monday informing her that her 22-year-old husband had been shot and severely wounded while on active duty in Afghanistan. The couple have an 8-month-old son, Asher, whom Wes hasn’t seen since the child was seven weeks old.

Farron is in stable condition, following a first surgery that removed the bullet and repaired damage to his liver and kidney, according to Mrs. Farron’s sister, Erin Martin.

Martin said Farron was scheduled for a second surgery overnight Monday to wash and clean the wound, but, as of press time, the family had not heard how that surgery had gone.

“We just don’t have a lot of information,” said Martin. “We don’t know the extent of the damage to the kidney and liver.”

Farron was deployed to Afghanistan on April 12 of this year and was scheduled to come home January 1. He joined the United States Army in April 2009 and attended boot camp at Fort Benning before being stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas.

Wes and Melanie Lovern Farron will celebrate their second wedding anniversary this December along with their son, Asher.

“Asher was just 7 weeks old when his dad left. Wes hasn’t seen him since then, except when he was occasionally able to Skype on the computer,” Martin said.

Martin said before the injury Farron was scheduled to come back from the field Tuesday.

“Melanie hadn’t talked to him in over a week before the injury, and then she got the phone call Monday that he had been shot. We actually don’t know when he was shot, but the notification call came Monday,” Martin said.

Martin said the family was told Farron was “severely wounded in combat and sustained damage to his liver and kidney, and he is stable, yet critical.”

Once Farron is moved from Afghanistan, possibly to Germany, Melanie, Asher and Wes’s parents will be flown to see him.

“Right now we’re waiting on ‘bedside’ requests, and the doctor has to ask for that,” Martin said. “The army has called and gotten all of Melanie’s travel information. She’ll need to be ready in 2 to 3 hours once she gets word.”

Right now Melanie and her family, the Loverns, members of the Jasper United Methodist Church, are waiting and asking for prayers from the community.

“Prayers are greatly appreciated. That’s the main thing we need right now. The worst part is not knowing. It’s hard when somebody calls you up and says your husband’s been shot and you can’t see him. They have told (Melanie) that he’s stable, and we’re just hanging on to that right now.”

Wacky Rabbit Ranch sparks controversy

“If everything in the economy goes to hell I’ll be damned if I’ll give

them one rabbit leg,” says owner.


Robert and Rose Linehan dig through well-kept documentation of zoning and permitting since they bought their property in 1982. Damon Howell/ Photo

Robert Linehan has been raising rabbits on his .69 acres for the past two years, and he says the county, which has issued the North Ridge Road resident three citations following complaints from neighbors, is singling him out and violating his constitutional rights.

Linehan claims after the county became aware of his rabbit operation they have threatened him over permitting and septic tank issues and have changed his zoning without his knowledge.

“The county is trying to cram something down people’s throat they don’t want,” said Linehan, who lives on the property with his wife Rose. “They want to make this like a gated community. We’ve always had chickens; we’ve always had gardens and rabbits. This is an infringement of my constitutional rights. We want to go on living the way we were brought up.”

Gas prices drop again -- but only slightly

Georgia, October 10- Average retail gasoline prices in Georgia have fallen 1.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.23/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.1 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.42/g, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Georgia during the past week, prices yesterday were 57.2 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 30.0 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 24.0 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 61.8 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"After oil prices briefly dropped to $75/bbl in the last two weeks, we've seen a mini-rally take place, driving prices up to a more recent mark of $82/bbl. The volatility we continue to see in oil prices isn't surprising, and will likely continue as a fragile economy and some upbeat investors play the market," said Patrick DeHaan, Senior Petroleum Analyst. "What this means for motorists is a continued roller coaster ride at the gas pump. While I don't expect a huge of movement in either direction, these up and down fluctuations in gas prices will become the norm ahead of a volatile Spring 2012 time period," DeHaan adds.

About operates over 200 live gasoline price-tracking websites, including was named one of Time magazine's 50 best websites and to PC World's 100 most useful websites of 2008.

Sassafras writing contest winners announced


Winners in the Sassafras Adult Writing Contest were announced at the Georgia Marble Festival this weekend. (L-R) Christie Beiring Eagleson, 1st place; Bronwyn Rumery, 2nd place; Sassafras member Lynn Turner and Lynette Chambers, 3rd place.

By B. Joan Wilson-Barnes, contributor

On Saturday, Sassafras member Lynn Turner presented each of the three winners of the Sassafras Literary Exchange Adult Writing Contest with an award and a one year free membership in the Sassafras Literary Exchange from the central stage of the Marble Festival.

In keeping with the Marble Festival, the theme of this year’s contest was “Rocks.” Qualifying entries had to use the word rock or rocks in their essay, fiction or non-fiction story or poem. Creativity was encouraged and rock topics could include anything from “Pickens Rocks” to rock bands, to rocky roads, to famous rocks or anything else that referred to a rock or rocks.

The 1st place winner is Christie Beiring Eagleson. Her story, Simply a Rock, is a story about children’s fascination with rocks and the formation and travels of rocks.