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Forensic audit questions aired in public comments


     Following the August 28 Grand Jury recommendations that called for a forensic audit of county finances from 2005 to the present, county commissioners were faced with questions and concerns from residents at their most recent meeting Thursday, Sept. 19.
     Pickens resident Gary Copeland, who has been vocal about cutting waste from the county budget after a proposed tax increase last year, said despite being fiscally conservative he wants to see the county pony up funding for a forensic audit “and put this to rest,” he said.

     See this week's print or online editions for the rest of this story.


Possible school sexual assault being investigated


A letter went home to parents Tuesday from the school Superintendent saying that school officials were notified by the county sheriff’s office that a student at Pickens County Middle School may have been sexually assaulted by another student last Thursday, Sept. 19th.


Georgia’s unemployment declines to 8.7 percent

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 8.7 percent in August, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 8.8 percent in July. The rate was three-tenths of a percentage point lower than 9.0 percent in August a year ago. The decline follows three consecutive months of rate increases. 

“The primary reason the rate dropped is that we had a significant reduction in layoffs, in fact, the fewest since September 2007,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Also, we had a small increase in the number of jobs.” 

Renovated courthouse dedicated



The county courthouse is the center of all southern towns, Judge Brenda Weaver told the crowd who assembled to officially dedicate and re-open the new Pickens Courthouse on Main Street today. Tours of the $16 million facility are available until 6 p.m. this evening.

Other speakers included Commission Chair Rob Jones and Attorney General Sam Olens. See complete story in this week's print edition.

Roadkill: Squirrels dying for food?


An unlucky one - Shortening days and lack of available acorns and hickory nuts have squirrels scampering friskily about in search of food for the winter. This poor squirrel didn’t make it across Talking Rock Hwy.

     Although some have been known to reach 10 years old, a typical Georgia gray squirrel probably only lives a couple of years. But if the death toll of squirrels seen on area roadways over the past week is any indication, Jasper’s squirrel mortality rate is pretty high right now.
    Travelers throughout the county have noticed lots of squirrels darting into roads and, all too often, underneath our tires. While some make it – drivers often breathe a sigh of relief when they look in their rear view mirror to see a furry tail fleeing to the other side of the road – others don’t.