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2012 Budget, courthouse project discussed at commissioner's meeting

scaffolding

     Work begins on the Pickens County Courthouse. Last Friday, Dec. 16 workers were seen staging the building with scaffolding before removing the marble slabs.

Just after his regularly scheduled meeting, Pickens County Commissioner Rob Jones held a public hearing for the proposed 2012 budget.

No members of the public attended the Thursday, Dec. 15 hearing, but Pickens County’s Finance Officer Mechelle Champion was on hand to discuss changes in the figures over last year.

The total proposed budget for 2012 is $19,313,000 on the revenue side, down about $2.5 million from the $21.8 million budget in 2011.

“The majority of the decrease is coming from the community center,” Champion said. “We won’t be building a community center in 2012.”

One dead, two injured in Highway 515 wreck Monday; GSP still investigating cause

 UPDATED January 5th-- Drug charges have been brought against several people as a result of this wreck. See complete story in the January 5 edition. E-edition available.

 

UPDATED -- A fatal wreck on Highway 515 in Pickens County Monday afternoon closed traffic  in both directions a short distance from the Highway 108 intersection. According to information from the Pickens Sheriff's office, the Georgia State Patrol is still investigating and it may take a few days for them to sort through the information.

Coroner Kevin Roper said Timothy Ingram, 28, of Rydal was killed in the wreck. Ingram was an employee of an automotive shop and had been driving a customer’s Chevy Tahoe. Roper said the cause of the crash is not known at this point. However, he said nothing in the initial reports indicates that a vehicle malfunction was involved.

Initial reports at the scene by witnesses said only one car had wrecked, but others had stopped. However, information from the GSP indicates three vehicles were involved -- one that had been traveling northbound and two traveling southbound.

Besides the fatality, two other people were reported injured. 

The wreck was not at any crossing or intersection.

Monday fire that endangered family a criminal act, says fire marshal

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Damon Howell / Photo

An insurance adjuster measures the remnants of a house which caught fire early Monday morning on Carlan Road.

 

In a stunning twist, the county fire marshal said late Wednesday, the blaze on Carlan Road which destroyed a home and threatened a family’s lives appears to have been intentionally set.

Assistant Fire Chief Curtis Clark, who also serves as the fire marshal, said, “We are ruling this was an intentionally set fire and a criminal act against the homeowners.”

The fire was reported at 1:14 a.m. Monday when a Pickens deputy on routine patrol spotted the front porch of the Carlan Road home in flames.

Gas prices fall 7.3 cents per gallon in Georgia

Georgia, December 19- Average retail gasoline prices in Georgia have fallen 7.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.12/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 4.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.23/g, according to gasoline price website GeorgiaGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Georgia during the past week, prices yesterday were 26.8 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 14.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 13.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 26.4 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"Gas prices across much of the nation continue their downward move, bringing the national average for a gallon down to its lowest level since late February," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "While some motorists are thinking these falling gasoline prices are nice, I'll unpleasantly remind them that gasoline prices will still set record highs this Christmas across much of America- motorists have never seen average prices this high on Christmas. As prices typically reach a low point during early winter, this sets up a troubling start to 2012 in terms of gasoline prices. Summer gasoline prices typically are 80-120 cents per gallon higher than where prices stand around Christmas," DeHaan said.

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Deputy saves family from burning home

Owner says they will “pay forward”all the support community has shown

 

Damon Howell / Photo                  

An insurance adjuster measures the remnants of a house which caught fire early Monday morning on Carlan Road.

 

A patrolling deputy is being credited with saving a Carlan Road family from a fire that destroyed their home early Monday.

According to sheriff and fire department reports, Corporal Heath Watson, who has been with the Pickens Sheriff’s Office about three years, was on regular patrol on Carlan Road, at about 1 a.m. Monday, when he saw the front porch of Bobby and Melissa Bradley’s home in flames.

Assistant Fire Chief Curtis Clark said later Monday that he didn’t know at that point why the front porch was burning. He said there were no Christmas decorations in that area, and Ms. Bradley said they hadn’t even put up their tree yet.

Clark said it is unusual for a front porch to be the starting point of a fire. Clark noted when speaking to the Progress later on Monday morning that he had been on the scene since the blaze but had not had time to go over his notes, so he didn’t have any definitive ideas on the blaze.

The couple and 8-year-old daughter were asleep and could have burned to death had it not been for the deputy passing by, spotting the flames and then taking action.

Clark said, “If it hadn’t been for the sheriff deputy, they [the family] would have still been in there. He was instrumental in reporting the fire and in saving some lives.”

 

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