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Hood Road park work underway



City of Jasper crews took advantage of the warmer and drier weather Friday to work on a new park in the Hood Road area north of downtown.

The city is using an industrial blower connected to the long metal tube (seen at the front of the pile) to pump air into the brush to make it burn hotter.

When the photo was taken, the city employees were just beginning work. Once the fire gets going, there should be little smoke as the constant flow of air makes the flames hotter and quickly gets rid of the moisture, which causes the heavy smoke.
Mayor John Weaver said the winds on Friday allowed them to burn as the smoke that was created blew back into the 62 acres of woodland for the park.


See complete story on the forthcoming park, "New Jasper park to be big on trees, trails" in this week's print and e-edition.


Tough choices loom as school board opens budget process


     The school board opened the FY14 budget work with a clear message from the finance director that further cuts are coming to already depleted budgets.
    In their first budget workshop of the year, school finance director Amy Burgess told all five members of the board and many principals and administrators that the board has two options: either raise revenue with a property tax increase which won’t be

State unemployment unchanged at 8.7 percent

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 8.7 percent, unchanged from December. The rate was 9.3 percent in January a year ago. 

There was a loss of 47,700 mostly seasonal jobs and an increase in initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits over the month, but the increases were not enough to impact the unemployment rate.

“The good news in this report is that we lost the fewest jobs for January since 1987,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “And, we start the year with 79,600 more jobs in January than we had in the same period a year ago.” 

The number of jobs increased to 3,956,300 from 3,876,700 in January 2012. Most of the over-the-year job growth came in professional and business services, 25,500; leisure and hospitality, 21,300; education and health care, 16,100; trade, transportation, and warehousing, 13,000, and manufacturing 5,800.

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits, resulting from layoffs during the month, increased by 20,669 to 71,530 from 50,861 in December.  The increase is mostly from seasonal layoffs in manufacturing, administrative and support services, construction, and retail trade. However, the number of initial claims was down by 6,226, over the year, dropping from 77,756 in January 2012. Most of the over-the-year decline came in manufacturing, retail trade, construction, accommodations and food services, and transportation and warehousing. 

Georgia’s labor force grew by 15,704, reaching 4,846,362 in January, its highest level since July 2008. The labor force has grown by 54,127, or 1.1 percent, from 4,792,635 in January 2012.  

The number of long-term unemployed workers declined by 3,700 to 191,300 in January, its lowest level in 35 months. The long-term unemployed—those out of work for more than 26 weeks—make up 45.2 percent of those unemployed in Georgia. 

Instead of gifts, teen wants St. Jude donations

Party this Sat. to benefit children’s hospital

Kenzie Williams wants friends and family to give a gift to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for her birthday. Her party is being held this Saturday at the Pickens County Community Center from 1 - 5 p.m. The community is invited.
“She’s always marched to the beat of her own drummer and been very independent and caring,” said a teary Brandy McClure, mother of Kenzie Williams.
    Williams, a 15-year-old who splits her time between her mother’s home in Pickens and her father’s home in Calhoun, is asking that instead of birthday gifts, friends and family donate a gift or money to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.