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State expands highway safety enforcement efforts


     Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the addition of 60 commercial vehicle enforcement officers to improve highway safety and help reduce motor vehicle crashes in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Public Safety and the Georgia Ports Authority are partnering to fund this investment.
      “As Georgia’s population and its economy continue to grow, we must adapt to meet the needs of a vibrant state,” Deal said. “While an expansion of the Savannah Harbor means jobs for Georgians and a boost to our economy, it will also mean an increase in commercial vehicle traffic. The safety of our drivers and the effective transportation of goods are of critical importance. This investment is a significant step forward in meeting these goals.”
     There are currently 234 commercial vehicle enforcement officers serving in 10 regions. The additional officers will patrol areas identified by the Department of Public Safety as “high crash corridors.” These areas include I-16 and I-95, as well as the Atlanta metro area, and the area south of Atlanta along I-85.
      "With Governor Deal's announcement of this initiative today, the Department of Public Safety is able to fulfill a critical component of our long-term strategic plan,” said Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mark McDonough. "This initiative will bring the staffing levels of our Motor Carrier Compliance division to 100 percent and it could not have come at a more strategic time with the beginning of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. The department's primary mission is traffic enforcement and public safety and this will better equip our officers to serve the citizens of the state of Georgia as well as those that choose to travel and conduct business here."
     Deal and the Department of Public Safety announced this new initiative along the I-16 corridor in Bryan County, an area that recently has suffered two high-profile, deadly accidents involving commercial truck traffic.
      Additional safety measures have also been implemented as part of this campaign, including:
The Georgia Targeting Aggressive Cars and Trucks Program; Operation Safe Drive on 95 — a joint operation between Georgia officers and their commercial vehicle enforcement counterparts in surrounding states
Just Pull’em Over -- an enforcement campaign involving local agencies through the traffic enforcement networks with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety
Ongoing partnerships with the Georgia Motor Trucking Association and the Georgia Motorcoach Operators Association
Compliance reviews and safety audits on Georgia-based carriers by MCCD officers
Concentrated patrols to enforce speeding, distracted driving and safety belt violations and to conduct Level 3 inspections. A Level 3 inspection includes examination of the driver’s license, medical examiner’s certificate, pre-trip inspection, driver’s record of duty status, hours of service, seat belt and hazardous materials/dangerous goods requirements.

20 percent of county property in conservation tax status

Pickens County Seal    According to numbers provided by Pickens County’s Chief Tax Appraiser, over one fifth of all land in Pickens is under a conservation valuation, a state program that gives property owners a tax break in exchange for an agreement to limit land usage to agricultural/forestry production for 10 years.
    Chief appraiser Roy Dobbs said for the 2015 year his office has approved 48 applications for Conservation Use Valuation Assesment (CUVA). Of those, 29 were renewals.

Ball Ground rocks the park with concerts this summer


    Performances by Owl Creek Band, Drive Wire, Thomas Fountain, and Stage Fright will take place over the next few months on this stage in City Park in Ball Ground.

By Larry Cavender
Contributing writer
     The City of Ball Ground has a full slate of events planned for family fun scheduled for this summer and fall, with the first event to be held this Saturday, June 13th when the first "Movie in the Park" will be shown.

Pickens mom creates anti-bullying group

bullying 3078    Bullying comes in all shapes and sizes, from mild teasing to more serious acts of physical violence.
    In the most severe cases - stories that garner national attention - victims of bullying are so traumatized they go to extreme measures, sometimes taking their own life.

    Now one Pickens mom says she can’t sit by and watch kids suffer from the sidelines. She’s taking the issue head on by forming a local anti-bullying group meant to provide victims and parents with tools to handle a problem, which she believes is pervasive in schools.
  See the print or online edtions for the rest of this story.

GDOT crews filling potholes on Hwy. 53 Business

DOT-workWednesday, June 3, Georgia DOT crews at the intersection of Main Street and Highway 53 Business fill a pothole midday. 
    Over the next few weeks motorists can expect to see Georgia DOT equipment along the stretch of Highway 53 (SR 53 Business) between Main Street and Mary Street in Jasper, where a GDOT crew will fill nearly two dozen potholes.