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Public help sought for missing Ball Ground man

Update -- Mr. Barber was found overnight in Gilmer County. "He was ok," according to an update this morning from the Cherokee Sheriff's office


Cherokee County Sheriff Office Press Release

The Cherokee Sheriff's Office is asking for assistance in searching for a missing elderly man. Tommie Barber, 84 years old of Ball Ground, left his home at approximately 2:30pm Thursday.

He called his family at approximately 7pm to say he was lost. He has not been heard from since. He is driving a 1992  blue Ford Explorer. Tag number 4303AKE. Mr. Barber does suffer from dementia.

Anyone who sees Barber, his vehicle, or has any information that could assist investigators is urged to call 911 or 770-928-0239.

With summer gardens producing, Farmers’ Market to open Wednesdays

Andy Givhan bags up lettuce for a customer who has brought her dog along.


By Darlene Huffman

There was still plenty of lettuce available at the Jasper Farmers’ Market Saturday. Andy and Marie Givhan from Rydal  where they operate an aquatic plant nursery in addition to growing vegetables, had lettuce, kale, carrots, onions and some exotic looking bog plants for sale.

Another vendor known to have unusual plants is Mark Harrison. He often sells, and is very knowledgeable about, native plants as well as a large variety of the more common ones. On this Market day he had a magnolia tree that has extra large leaves and huge blossoms and grows to about 30 feet high.

Cindy Fix has been selling her fiber arts at the Market for several years, focusing on clothes and hair bows for little girls. This season she has sun hats. Mimi Tritt, the vendor next door selling fresh fruit sorbet, liked them so well she had Cindy custom make her one in fresh fruity colors.

Handmade soap has become increasingly popular with both vendors and shoppers liking the idea of a natural, local product.  Beth Allen is fairly new to both soap making and the Farmers’ Market but has made an interesting variety – a shampoo bar, a shaving bar, an exfoliating bar and several other choices.

This is the week that the Wednesday Market opens. The hours will be the same as Saturday, 7:30 to noon and will end Wednesday, August 31. The Saturday Market continues through October. Here is where we usually say that we are closed for the 4th of July celebration but this year we will be OPEN THE 2ND OF JULY. Sackett’s Western Wear Tack and Feed has invited us to have the Market in their parking lot, so tell everyone, “The Jasper Farmers’ Market is not closing for the 4th of July.”

See more of what is going on at the Farmers’ Market on Facebook,, or the Master Gardeners Web site ( The Market is a project of the Pickens County Master Gardeners.  See their Web site for more information or contact the County Extension Office (706- 253-8840).


Father maintains crusade for immigration reform after son killed by illegal driver

After 11 years, Billy Inman remains dedicated to his crusade for immigration reform and the capture of an illegal immigrant who collided with the Inmans’ car, killing 16-year-old Dustin and permanently disabling Ms. Inman.

As part of his one-father mission, Mr. Inman came to Jasper Monday to focus attention on the case as part of a swing through North Georgia. Inman said June 16 was the 11th  anniversary of the wreck at an intersection in Ellijay that forever altered his family’s life.

On that fateful day, the Inman family was on their way to Hiwassee for a Father’s Day celebration with other relatives.

The man who ran the red-light and hit them, later identified as Gonzalo Harrell Gonzalez, has never been caught. He was in this country illegally at the time.

In 2006, it was thought that Gonzalez had been apprehended, but it turned out to the man’s brother, also in this country illegally. Inman said the fact that his brother was here illegally is evidence that the driver may still be here.

Inman said with the heightened attention to immigration this year in Georgia as a result of recent legislation, he is optimistic that some of the new checks may turn up the man who drove the car that day.

“I am still hopeful that he will be caught,” said Inman. “I realize that won’t bring my son back. But I want something done to make our system work.”

Inman said he hopes his relentless campaigning over the past decade may have played a small role in bringing immigration reform in this state. Inman said he doesn’t get involved with the lawmakers directly,  prefering to talk to “everyday people” about the problem and the need for them to get involved in politics.

“I don’t blame anyone who wants to come here legally and work,” he said. “But I want to see our laws enforced.”

Inman’s crusade has been joined by others including some who do lobby the legislature. For more about this, see the



Summer safety 101 from the Red Cross

Nearly 20 children came to the Pickens County Library last Tuesday, June 14 to hear Northeast Georgia Chapter Director of Community Services Andy Thompson give valuable summer safety tips.



From poison ivy to snake bites, children who attended the Red Cross library safety day were schooled on summer tips to keep them safe when the weather gets hot.

Local Red Cross Director Andy Thompson’s presentation focused on basic summer safety tips and inspired numerous questions and comments from children in attendance Tuesday at the Pickens library.

For the parents, Thompson offered to give presentations on this and other Red Cross awareness efforts at no charge.

He also noted that the local  Red Cross will be hosting a popular eight-hour babysitting course in August for 11-14 year olds.

Pets line up for Jasper registration day -- owners encouraged to keep the animals coming


SHE'S NUMBER ONE -- This little black and white Shih Tzu known as Precious was the first animal to be registered in the City of Jasper’s new program. Precious’ owner, Jasper resident Joyce Roberts, arrived at city hall for last Saturday’s registration day 30 minutes before the 9 a.m. start time.


Dozens of Pickens County pet owners had their favorite felines and canines in tow last Saturday, when the City of Jasper hosted its first animal registration day.

“This thing has already been a success,” said City of Jasper Animal Control Officer Lonnie Waters, who reported 35 pets were registered from 9 a.m. to noon at city hall, and that 15 appointments have been made for the coming weeks.

“When people are willing to pay $45 for three animals to be registered, you know they care about their pets,” he said.

The city recently passed an updated animal control ordinance that requires pet owners to register their animals, but Waters said the city is only asking that residents participate in the program voluntarily at this time.

“We don’t want to force anyone to do this,” Waters said during registration day. “It’s really for the safety of your pets. I had a guy come through who said it’s like taking out an insurance policy on his animal, and that’s the truth.

“If I pick up your animal and they are registered, I can bring them right back to your door,” he said.

Waters said he has had good response from non-city residents who are interested in registering their animals as well, with people from Gibson Trail, Gordon Road, Bent Tree, Camp Road, West Price Creek and Upper Salem Church Road areas participating in the Saturday event.

“People in the county want to be involved in this too,” Waters said. “And we want people to know that anyone in the county can register their pet, not just people from the city.”

Waters also said registration is not limited to cats and dogs.

“If it’s your pet, we’ll register it,” he said. “I imagine we’ll start seeing all kinds of animals come through.”

Waters said there has been some confusion about the registration program, with some residents mistakenly calling the county animal shelter for information.

“We just want to be clear this is the city and not the county that’s doing this program,” said Waters, who noted that he and Pickens County Animal Control are working closely to help bring pets and owners back together.

Early Monday morning, Waters met with county shelter officials and shared registration information that was gathered Saturday.

“This way if an animal is taken to the shelter this will assist in their identification of that animal,” he said. “We have always worked well with the county, and we want to continue to do that in the future.”

Information about all registered animals, not just those registered Saturday, will be transmitted to the county shelter.

Waters urges pet owners who have not registered their animals to contact him at city hall to set up an appointment.

For dogs or cats, owners are required to show proof of a rabies vaccination for their animal at the time of registration.

You can contact city hall at 706-253-9100 or email Waters at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .