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Ga. unemployment declines to 8.5 percent

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 8.5 percent in November, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 8.7 percent in October. The rate was 9.5 percent in November a year ago. 

“This is the lowest state unemployment rate in nearly four years, since it was 8.5 percent in January 2009,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.  “Once again, the rate dropped because of continued job growth and fewer new layoffs.” 

The number of jobs increased to 3,984,000, up by 9,600, or two-tenths of a percentage point, from 3,974,400 in October. The monthly growth came mostly in trade, transportation, and warehousing, up 12,400; educational services, up 1,700; information services, up 1,600; local government, up 1,300; financial services, up 1,200; and manufacturing, up 600. The overall job growth was strong enough to offset some losses in some sectors. Construction was down 4,000; leisure and hospitality, down 2,700; professional and business services, down 2,100; and other services, down 1,100. 


Kids helping kids at Christmas

“It just warms my heart to see children who will do something like this,” says Toys for Tots director


    These cousins spent four weekends raising money for the local chapter of Toys for Tots. Pictured are Brooke Huffman, Johnathan Koonce, Lexie Wright, Bryce Wright and Braden Huffman with Toys for Tots Director Richard Wilson.

    Most children think about what they can get at Christmas. But five Pickens children have thought, instead, about what they can give.
    “I just wanted to help out other kids and Toys for Tots,” said elementary student Brooke Huffman, who originally thought of raising money for the Jasper-based Toys for Tots program before getting her brother and cousins to help out.    

Grandmother Renee Pettitt said her grandchildren started collecting donations after Brooke came home one day and asked where the balloons were.
    “It’s like those balloons you make animals out of,” she said. “Before I knew it she was outside with her brother at the end of my sidewalk selling them to cars that passed by to raise money for Toys for Tots, which I have helped with in the past.”
    That first weekend it was just Brooke and her brother exchanging balloons for donations, but for the next three weekends their cousins joined in and, all totaled, managed to collect over $100 that they delivered to the Toys for Tots center off North Main Street in Jasper. 

Dying man’s open house draws people from near, far


    Former radio station owner Mark Hellinger with Toby, a dog recently adopted from the county shelter. Hellinger is again opening his home during the holidays to any and everyone.

  At his home near the southern county line, Mark Hellinger, the former owner of  two radio stations here, sat wrapped in a “Snuggie” blanket behind a microphone stand and other audio equipment, with a long line of pill bottles beside him last Wednesday.
    When asked if the microphone is hooked up, the 38-year broadcast journalism veteran, says, “Oh, hell no. I figured I’ll die sitting in this chair and I want to die behind a microphone.”

Witness comes forward to describe possible UFO

     Two weeks ago, the Progress ran a story on a Nov. 30 search for a possible downed plane after several callers called Pickens 911 to report something unusual over west Pickens.
    Most calls made to emergency operators described a plane that sounded like it was in trouble. One person called it an unusual aircraft, but noted specifically they weren’t suggesting it was a UFO.

See the print or online edition for the rest of this story.


Sheriff office issues statement on school security

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Statement from Pickens Sheriff Office


The Pickens Sheriff’s Office is working hard to keep our community and schools safe.

Due to the recent tragedy in Newtown Connecticut, Sheriff Donnie Craig wanted to assure everyone

that the Pickens Sheriff’s Office is continuing to prepare for what we hope that we never have to experience. “It is unthinkable that violence of this type can occur in our schools, but sadly it does.” Craig stated. Sheriff Craig continued to state, “For years we have all heard and even believed that an event like this could not happen in our town. Unfortunately, we now know it can.”