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Despite rain, Laying of Stones ceremony well attended

Click on the image below to see a video of the dedication ceremony.





 The dedication ceremony at Pickens' new 107-acre park on top of Oglethorpe Mountain was well attended despite the heavy fog. Be sure to check out next week's edition for a full account of the event and details about the park, which is a gift from Ken and Billie Ann Rice. The story did not make this week's early Christmas edition, but here is a video from park board member John Feight.

Secretary of State Advises Georgians on charitable donations


ATLANTA (Dec. 19, 2013) – Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp offers advice to individuals planning to donate to charitable organizations during the holiday season. As Secretary of State, Kemp serves as Georgia’s charities regulator.

Ga. unemployment at lowest rate in 5 years

Georgia’s unemployment rate declines to 7.7 percent in November; Lowest rate in five years

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 7.7 percent in November, its lowest point since November 2008, when it was 7.6 percent. The rate is down four-tenths of a percentage point from 8.1 percent in October and a full percentage point from 8.7 percent in November a year ago. 

“The rate is down because of strong job growth and a very good drop in new claims for unemployment insurance benefits,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “The number of new jobs is the best October to November growth since 2007 and the number of new claims is the lowest for any month since September 2007. Both of these numbers pre-date the recession.”

The number of jobs increased by 19,500, or 0.5 percent, from 4,076,000 in October to 4,095,500 in November, the most jobs in Georgia since September 2008. Growth came mostly in trade, transportation and warehousing with 14,700 new jobs. Government added 2,000; financial services, 1,700; construction and education and health care, 1,500 each; manufacturing, 1,000; and information services, 900, along with 100 in other services.      

Over-the year, Georgia gained 91,200 jobs, or 2.3 percent, since November 2012 when there were 4,004,300 jobs. 

“The November to November job growth is the strongest for that period in eight years,” said Butler. “The growth came in several industries, which indicates a broad job market recovery.”

The gains came in professional and business services, 27,400; leisure and hospitality, 20,500; education and health services, 18,600; trade, transportation and warehousing, 16,500; construction, 13,100; and financial services, 5,900.  Government has lost 6,900 jobs in the past year.  

The number of new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, decreased to 33,781, down by 6,351, or 15.8 percent, from 40,132 in October. Claims declined in several sectors, including manufacturing, 1,800; professional, scientific and technical services, 825; administrative and support services, 700; retail trade, 650; health care and social assistance, 600; transportation and warehousing, 300; and construction, 250. There were 47,351 claims in November 2012. 

The overall number of unemployed Georgians decreased to 363,055, down by 20,322 from 383,377 in October. This is the fewest unemployed Georgians since October 2008 when there were 346,852. There were 420,382 unemployed residents in November 2012. 

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Dogs put bite on homeowners insurance


Delores Barnes with her dog Duke, which a home inspector with Allstate determined to be a liability. 

    You love your dog – but your insurance company may see that furry friend as a liability and put a choke chain on your policy.
    That’s what happened to Pickens County resident Delores Barnes, who earlier this month received a letter saying her and her husband’s homeowners insurance would be cancelled because their “pet increased the potential for liability claims,” it said. 

For the rest of this story see our print or online editions.

“Laying of Stones” ceremony Saturday at new 107-acre park


    Billie Ann Rice and John Feight hold one of the stones that will eventually form a “walk through” eagle sculpture.

     A brand new 107-acre park at the top of Mt. Oglethorpe with hiking trails, scenic overlooks and a rock sculpture will open Saturday – talk about a Christmas present to the county.
    “Eagle’s Rest” will soar to life Saturday, Dec. 21st with a Laying of the Stones ceremony at 2 p.m. The public is invited to watch or participate with the laying of stones to form the initial marking of a large “walk through” eagle sculpture on the southern face of the mountain.

     To read the rest of this story see our print or online editions.