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Anybody got an extra opossum?


“There are always plenty of ‘possums out here, until you need one,” says New Year’s Eve Possum Drop organizer

At right, the 2008 Possum Drop featured a stand-in raccoon. This year organizers are on the lookout for the namesake marsupial, opossum.


In the past four years, whenever Cowboy Church began preparations for its annual New Year’s Eve Possum Drop, coming up with the honored guest was as simple as spreading the word a living marsupial was sought.

This year however, the Jerusalem/Henderson Mountain area has apparently run temporarily dry of opossums, says Cowboy Church Director Rebecca Hampton.

“There are always plenty of ‘possums out here, until you need one,” said Hampton Tuesday morning.

In years past, organizers have caught the guest of honor early on and then caged and fed it until the big night.

And, lest ‘possum-rights folk grow alarmed, when the gala midnight arrives, the drop includes a lighted cage lowered safely, so the featured critter can be released later, a bit jazzed maybe but unharmed.

No Pickens post offices threatened by proposed cuts

Area Postal officials talk about proposed cuts to service


Tonya Sercye, Dispatch Clerk for the Jasper Post Office, empties Christmas cards from a mailbox.

The Monday before Christmas, the Jasper Post Office was teeming with people shipping packages and letters in a last ditch effort to get them to their destination on time.

But this bustling scene is atypical for most post offices across the nation, with regular, non-holiday traffic and mailings dropping so much since their peak in 2006 that the federally-controlled operation is now billions of dollars in the red.

Recently post office officials have made announcements that the Postal Service will close 252 of its 487 processing centers and 3,700 of its nearly 32,000 offices nationwide, as well as nixing one-day first-class mail delivery, as a way to combat the changing market and plummeting bottom line.

Fortunately for postal workers in Pickens, regional officials say none of the post offices here are scheduled to be on the chopping block.

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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.

2012 Budget, courthouse project discussed at commissioner's meeting


     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.”

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

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 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.