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Heavy winds leave mostly minor property damage


Employees from Jasper Banking Company and a neighboring print shop on Main Street clean up the remains of the clock-sign which was blown away in heavy winds Wednesday night. Other roofs and signs throughout Jasper showed signs of damage from strong winds Thursday morning. 


See more scenes from wind damage Wednesday around Jasper

Damage from Wednesday night’s winds were mostly minor and mainly in Jasper.

“It appears at this point the damage was pretty much cosmetic with a little debris, downed trees, signs awning and some roof damage,” said Pickens Fire Chief Bob Howard. However, he noted there may be damage that hasn’t been reported yet.

Bent Tree’s first deer kill sparks controversy from homeowners

Some homeowners of gated community infuriated, accuse board of

mismanagement and inadequate research

The gated community of Bent Tree has just undergone its first deer culling, where 54 deer were shot by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) to thin a herd wildlife officials say became too large for the residential area. 

 But some property owners in the community vehemently opposed the killing, which took place Monday, March 14 through Wednesday, March 16. They accuse the Bent Tree Board of Directors of not backing up the cull with enough research, of improperly conducting the herd survey, of not attempting to manage the herd with alternative methods, of mismanaging funds to pay for the cull and, in some cases, of wanting to eliminate the wildlife in Bent Tree for the sake of saving “fancy yards and flowers” from becoming deer food.   

 Over the three-day cull, Mitch Yeargin of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said he was called out to subdue conflicts that may have arisen from Bent Tree residents opposed to the kill.


Read the rest of this story in our print edition on sale now at these area locations.

Two trailer fires in past week -- One results in complete loss, other stopped with only minor damage

Pickens fire crews had to deal with a rapidly spreading flame that reached vehicles and outbuildings Sunday night.

Pickens County Fire Department / Photo


Pickens fire crews responded to blazes at two mobile homes in the past week with one resulting in a near-total loss, while the other was contained to one room.

Sunday at 2:55 a.m. the home of Tommy and Cindy Clark on Beaver Ridge Road caught fire in “a fast-moving fire that progressed rapidly,” according to Assistant Fire Chief Curtis Clark.

The owners were not home, but members of their family were, and if it had not been for smoke detectors, the fire could have resulted in fatalities, Clark said.

“There was heavy smoke,” he said. “They had to literally crawl out the back door.”

If the smoke detector had not alarmed, they could have been cut off from an exit, Clark said.

Clark has ruled the cause of the fire electrical. It involved the main electrical panel, he said.

Aside from its rapid progression, the fire was a challenge, Clark said, due to “multiple exposures” – four vehicles, a boat, a utility trailer and a garage all near the home.

Clark said fire crews from volunteer departments at Bethany-Salem, Tate, Yellow Creek and Hinton along with paid county crews were able to save the garage, but the double-wide mobile home with further additions was a complete loss. The vehicles and boat were also damaged, he said. “You try to get as much help as you can with so many exposures and a fire that big,” he said.

“It was an interesting challenge to have that many vehicles involved,” Clark said. He said he initially thought it might have been one of the vehicles that caused the flames but then determined it was the electrical source.

Clark said crews did all they could, but this fire “just had a good headstart; it was well-developed prior to our arrival.”

The second fire (last Thursday) was at a rental home owned by Dorothy Watson and rented by the Kirby family on Collins Road.

Here, Clark said the fire cause originated from a bed, an indication it was some type of accidental fire as “there was zero heat source” in that area.

Clark said the mother and  three children at the rented residence were home at about 7 p.m. The mother first tried to put the fire out herself, an effort that included dragging the mattress outside.

Unsuccessful, she had to call 911, according to reports. Clark said law enforcement agents were first to arrive. They slowed the flames with fire extinguishers until fire crews arrived and stopped the fire in one room. Clark said the mobile home is repairable, the only loss being some contents of the room that burned.

“This home had no working smoke detectors,” Clark said. “There were two there, but neither were working (one had missing batteries, the other was taken down). This is a common situation in a rental unit.”

He said it was fortunate the fire occurred in the early evening hours before anyone went to sleep, since there would have been no smoke detector warning.

Clark said if the larger, faster fire had occurred in the home without smoke detectors, “We would have had fatalities. Of that I’m convinced. Smoke detectors are so important.”

Local Red Cross director Andy Thompson said they are working with both families. The Red Cross assists families that experience a fire or other disaster, providing funds for food, shelter and clothing. If you would like to help fund the work of the local Red Cross, please mail a check to Red Cross 1266 East Church St. Suite 154 Jasper, Ga. 30143.

Pool can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Seniors again seeking school tax relief


A group of senior citizens met with State Rep. Rick Jasperse Friday in Bent Tree to look at options for older residents to gain some exemption from property taxes that fund schools.

About ten seniors, some of whom led previous efforts to gain a senior tax exemption, brought the issue out of hibernation with the organizational meeting.

Near the end of the meeting, Robert Winston summed up the status: “We’re off to a good start here. It will be interesting to see what happens when the story hits the streets. We need to get our facts and figures and see where we’re going to go with this.”

Friday’s roundtable organizer Walter Bogas said he has been spearheading efforts for at least three years trying to gain some type of senior property tax relief, but his efforts have not been well received thus far.

Attorney, doctor speak to seniors regarding end of life decisions


Revisit advance health directives every five years, attorney says

According to discussion at last week’s senior center program, advance health directives are essential when considering how you’d like your final days to be and they offer assurance that your medical care is carried out as you’d like at a time when you may not be able to instruct caregivers or doctors.

In a culture where death isn’t readily discussed, you can have peace of mind that your wishes concerning how you die are carried out through an advance health directive, according to speakers at a series on end-of-life decisions at the Pickens Senior Citizens Center on Stegall Drive.

The Georgia directive, which can be found online, combines a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care, allowing people to choose for themselves issues relating to their medical care. From assigning a health care agent and guardian to detailing treatment preferences such as whether you want to withhold or withdraw life support or accept or refuse nutrition and/or hydration, the health care directive can be an all encompassing tool to ensure you control all aspects of your personal and medical care.