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Print/e-edition only for the week of Jan. 26

connelly-chastainTwo enter race for District 1 Commission Post – Bart Connelly (pictured left) and Charlie Chastain (pictured right) announced this week that they will be running for west end commissioner later this year. Find our more about each candidate in this week’s paper. Pages 4A and 5A.

Amelia McIntyre named Citizen of the Year – Longtime advocate of the arts accepted the Citizen of the Year award at this Pickens County Chamber of Commerce Winter Ball over the weekend. Read about McIntyre and her service to the community on Page 1A.

What do children and families here need? – Pickens County Family Connection will conduct a community forum to identify the conditions in the community that affect families in the area. This information will be used to create a long range plan for development. Find out when and where on Page 8A.

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Courthouse project to close streets

 

Courthouse Facts:

•When the courthouse is completed, it will be 50,000 sq. ft. larger than the original courthouse, which was 16,000 sq. ft. total.

•Approx. 13 parking spaces will be lost in the downtown area due to construction and reworking of the streetscape, but it is estimated between 120 to 130 spaces will be added in the new parking area behind the Piggly Wiggly.

•According to Commissioner Robert Jones, a portion of the property the county purchased beside Pioneer Road may be used for a judicial center in the future.

•Demolition of the rear leg of the courthouse will begin this week.

Following a presentation from Pickens County Commissioner Robert Jones, the Jasper City Council approved closure of a portion of Depot Street that will be used as a staging area during renovations on the courthouse.

Jones, speaking at the regular Jasper Council meeting held Jan. 18, offered a general overview on progress of the SPLOST-funded courthouse project, detailed the county’s proposed traffic flow changes around the courthouse and requested the council close Court Street and a portion of Depot Street, the roads that run parallel to one another on either side of the courthouse.

Follow Read More to see more views of courthouse project.

Community center can be used for indoor walking track

communitycenterbasketballAlthough a previous article on the amenities at the Pickens County Community Center reported no indoor walking track, the recreation office manager says the outer edge of the two gyms can be used for just that.

“We don’t have it marked off or anything,” said Pickens County Recreation Department Office Manger Jim Weeks, “but what we’re doing is if you go 11 times around the outside of both courts that’s a mile.”

Gas price rise in Georgia

Georgia, January 23- Average retail gasoline prices in Georgia have risen 4.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.41/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 0.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.34/g, according to gasoline price website GeorgiaGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Georgia during the past week, prices yesterday were 40.4 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 30.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 11.8 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 25.3 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"We saw oil prices fall gently late last week as tensions with Iran seemingly have cooled somewhat," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "I'm certainly hopeful that the recent easing in tensions between Iran and the West continues in coming months, but there are certainly no guarantees and few expectations of such. Having said that, I expect gasoline prices to move very little in the next week, and in some areas of the U.S. gasoline prices may fall this week," DeHaan said.

About GeorgiaGasPrices.com

GasBuddy operates GeorgiaGasPrices.com and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 20 million times to help motorists find gasoline prices in their area.

Georgia’s jobless rate decreases to 9.7 percent

 

chartATLANTA – State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced January 19th that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined for the third straight month in December, dropping to 9.7 percent. That is a one-tenth of a percentage point decline from a revised 9.8 percent in November, making this the largest two-month decrease in unemployment since 1977. The jobless rate was 10.4 percent in December a year ago.

“The rate declined because 11,500 Georgians went back to work in December,” said Butler, “plus, we saw some increases in employment in areas that have been especially hard hit.”

There were 600 new construction jobs in December, the first time construction has gained jobs in December since 2003. Manufacturing grew by 400 jobs, the first December growth since 2005.  Job gains also came in information services and trade and transportation.

Despite the increases in those job sectors, the overall number of jobs dropped 7,300, or two-tenths of a percentage point to 3,826,900 from 3,834,200 in November. About one-half of the loss was seasonal jobs that traditionally end after the Christmas holidays. The number of jobs in December remained 14,000 fewer than in December of last year.

“Although there were fewer jobs overall than last December, the private sector actually created 11,300 jobs over the year, which is a positive,” said Butler, “but those gains were off-set by 20,300 job cuts in state and local government as the public sector adjusted to shrinking budgets.”

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits rose to 63,714, up 6,141, or 10.7 percent, from 57,573 in November. Some of the increase is attributed to traditional holiday layoffs. However, on a positive note, the number of initial claims decreased 11,921, or 15.8 percent, from 75,635 claims filed in December of last year.

Also, the number of long-term unemployed workers decreased 3,800, to 245,100 from November to December, the fewest number since October of 2010.

“This is great news for our state, particularly for Georgians who have faced a tough job market for several years now,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “A decrease in unemployment alongside a number of other positive economic indicators suggests we are heading in the right direction. I am fully committed to making Georgia the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business. Working cooperatively with Commissioner Butler, we will do everything in our power to move Georgians from unemployment rolls to payrolls, creating a better quality of life for all those who call Georgia home.”