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New director at animal shelter

animal-shelter-Jerry-WatkinsJerry Watkins
    If Jerry Watkins’ work as director at the Pickens County Animal Shelter is anything like his first day, his house is going to get very crowded.
    Watkins started his new position last week and his very first day on the job he took home a calico cat. 

Pickens unemployment at 5 percent in September

Northwest Georgia’s unemployment rate declines to 5.6 percent in September
ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that the unemployment rate in the Northwest Georgia region for September was 5.6 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 5.8 percent in August. The rate in September 2014 was 6.9 percent.
    In Pickens County the unemployment rate for September was 5 percent, down a fraction from 5.1 in August. A year ago, the unemployment rate here was 6.4 percent.
    Pickens unemployment was a down well below Gilmer and Fannin counties, both with a 5.6 percent unemployment rate in September. Pickens' rate was a fraction higher than Dawson County with 4.9 percent unemployment for the month.

The rate declined as the number of employed residents increased by 1,420 to 372,502 from 371,082 in August.

At the same time, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 338, or 15.3 percent, to 2,550 in September. Most of the increase came in manufacturing. Over the year, claims were down by 566, or 18.2 percent, from 3,116 in September 2014.    

Metro Gainesville had the lowest area jobless rate at 4.7 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 7.5 percent. 

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for September was 5.8 percent, unchanged from August. It was 6.9 percent in September 2014. Over the month, Georgia gained 9,100 jobs, and is ranked third nationally in monthly job creation. Over the year, Georgia gained 84,200 jobs.

Local area unemployment data are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at

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Real Men Wear Pink to Fight Breast Cancer


(l-r)Tony Pritchett, Gilmer County EMS director; Kirk Garner, Ace Hardware; Alan Davenport, ETC; and Allen Wigington, chief magistrate judge.


Submitted by Piedmont Mountainside

Piedmont Mountainside Hospital’s annual Real Men Wear Pink campaign promotes early detection of breast cancer during National Breast Cancer Awareness month in October

Four men make up the 2015 “Real Men” team, serving as ambassadors who advocate for women to schedule mammograms. Alan Davenport and Tony Pritchett, both community leaders in the business and public sectors, are two of this year’s ambassadors.

[See "5 Ways to Think Pink"

and show your support by using hashtag #PinkThereItIs (Instagram) and Twitter]

Billy Roper featured at Meet the Artist event


This Billy Roper painting will be raffled off at the Sunday, Oct. 25 “Meet the Artist” event at Junktiques. 

Submitted by Pickens Arts and Cultural Alliance

Billy Roper was selected as the PACA Featured Artist for the Fall Quarter 2015.  Known for his amazing folk art with written descriptions on the back of the canvas, his work has reached art lovers throughout the world.  His work can be found in art collections throughout the United States and more than 30 countries. He was North Georgia College & State University's first artist-in-residence in 2007 and the book, "Billy Roper: Visual Storyteller," was the first work published by the University Press of North Georgia.  Another book by Pickens County's Jean Curran titled In My Dreams I Ride Wild Horses: Biographical Sketches, Art, and Poetry of Appalachian Artist Billy Roper was published in 2011.  Billy also works with wood and marble sculpting. 

See Shooting the Breeze Profile with Billy Roper From the Progress Archive