The school board has a hired an outside company to “assist” with their search for a new superintendent of Pickens County schools, following a called meeting last week.
School Board chairperson Wendy Lowe announced at the close of their regular meeting Thursday that they would use King and Cooper, a company that has worked on 27 superintendent searches in Georgia, to help find a replacement for Mike Ballew, who retired at the end of last year.
The board decided to use the outside company to help notify other school systems in Georgia and surrounding states of the vacancy as well as complete background checks of potential candidates at the called meeting.
Board Member John Trammell made clear at the regular meeting that the board is using this firm to "assist" not lead in the hiring process.
Lowe discussed how King and Cooper will be used in a followup interview. The board has also prepared a document "Superintendent of Schools Job Qualifications."
See a complete story on the superintendent search in tomorrow's print edition.
During a pre-trial hearing Friday, Feb. 11, a GBI agent described how Ben Thomas Abbott confessed to the killing of his in-laws the previous Wednesday, hoping to collect on their life insurance policies and keep his family from losing their home.
During the emotional hearing, Abbott’s wife described the night her parents were killed as her husband, shackled and dressed in orange prison fatigues, sat at the defense table with his chin tucked tightly to his chest, not making eye contact with anyone during the hour-long hearing in the county’s main courtroom.
The hearing, which saw onlookers sobbing and leaving the courtroom, was held in front of Magistrate Judge Allen Wigington to determine if there was adequate evidence for the case to be bound over to superior court, which it was judged to be. The next step will be for the case to be presented to a grand jury.
During the course of the hearing, District Attorney Joe Hendricks only called two witnesses: GBI Special Agent Dustin Hamby and the accused’s wife, Trinity Abbott. Through their testimony, the state built a detailed view of events before and after the killings of Raymond and Cythina Campbell at their home on Long Swamp Church Road on Wednesday, Feb. 9.
Shelves at the Community Thrift Store on Cares Drive sit empty after Christmas, the sluggish economy and winter storms.
The Pickens County Community Thrift Store was already feeling the pinch of families still reeling from Christmas debt and an unfriendly economy. Then came the “White Christmas snows” followed by the post-Christmas ice storms that locked down the area for days.
“This after-Christmas period is traditionally a slow season for donations,” explained Thrift Store founder Don Russell. “But factor in the economy and the weather and our intake is way down.”
Clean out…a cure for winter blues:
With more of winter’s freezing winds just around the corner, the need for warm clothing has never been greater. Russell suggests that this might be a good time to clean out the attic or closets, bag up those items people have been meaning to get rid of, and bring them to the Thrift Store. “If people have items they mean to donate, the time to do it is right now,” he emphasized.
Store still offers a good selection of bargains:
Pickens County veterans at a Memorial Day observance in 2008
"We are going to open," said Kirk Kondos, the man leading the effort to establish a VA-assisted veterans information and referral office for Pickens County. The idea of locating such an office here has been projected since last August when VA representative Ron Hackney visited Jasper to inform local veterans and interested others of the possibility.
A veterans information and referral office (a VIRO) is a county-based office manned by volunteers with the mission of advising United States military veterans on where and how to apply for benefits through the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.
There is a VA hospital on Clairmont Road in Decatur and a VA office at the same location that assists veterans in applying for all types of veterans' benefits, Hackney explained in August, but a VIRO in Pickens County could connect local veterans to information on VA services they seek while saving them the drive to metro Atlanta.
Press Release from Sheriff Donnie Craig
On February 9, 2011 at approximately 12:25 am, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home invasion on Long Swamp Church Road in the east side of Pickens County. Upon arrival, it was found that one person was dead on the scene from apparent gunshot wounds. Her husband also had multiple gunshot wounds and was transported immediately to Kennestone Hospital in Kennesaw Georgia. Once at the hospital, the second victim passed away.
The victims were Raymond Campbell, age 55, and Cynthia Campbell, age 53.
The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office began working a joint case with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations immediately. Through the investigation, an arrest has been made. Ben Thomas Abbott, the son-in-law of both victims, has been charged with two counts of Murder at this time.
Due to the nature of an ongoing investigation, we are not able to release any more information, stated Sheriff Donnie Craig.>