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General news and features

Growth dominates planning conversation


       The county held their third in the series of comprehensive planning meetings October 17 with an agenda of discussing goals for the community and land use.

Like the previous meetings in this series, however, the discussion quickly became a roundtable on growth. As one participant later described it, about half the people there were talking about how we could attract growth like we see in counties to the south and the other half were talking about how we could prevent growth like we see in counties to the south. [In our estimation the sides were not really even, with more speakers offering pro-growth opinions.]

        See full story in this week's print or online editions. 

A hike around Doris Wigington Park finds nice trails, some problems

        raper-park-IMG 1196

A Progress reporter and a photographer took a field trip a few days after the forum to get a first-hand look. What we found were trails that are nice, despite some inclines that are a little steep and slippery from the gravel, but also a few things that might be contributing to people’s reservations about visiting.


         At a recent forum for Jasper City Council candidates, Doris Wigington Park, 60-acres of trails with entrances off Gennett Drive and Lumber Company Road, surfaced as a problem. 

The park, which has been given the unbecoming name “Raper Park” by nearby residents, goes largely unused. Councilmember Anne Sneve said it “has become an issue for us,” and that, “I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how we’re going to resolve that issue.”

 Candidate Doug Patterson went so far as to include the park in his platform. He said people are “scared,” and called for lighting, police presence, and golf trails that connect to Arbor Hills, the large subdivision that butts up to the park. (Golf trails were part of the original phase II plan for the park and part of the mayor’s larger vision for the area, but have yet to be completed.)        

        See full story in this week's print or online editions


New state record blue catfish beats previous by more than 12 pounds


         A day of fishing is good. A day you catch a new state record – and beat the old one by more than 12 pounds – is great! Richard Barrett is the new state record holder for the blue catfish. His catch, weighing 93 lb, 0 oz, beat the previous 2010 record of 80 lb, 4 oz., according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).

Barrett, of Axson, hooked this new state record blue catfish on the Altamaha River on October 14, 2017 using a live channel catfish they caught earlier in the day as bait.  The fish was caught on the edge of a deep hole, and the angler told WRD staff that he was shocked when he got it to surface and thought there was no way he was going to get the fish in boat! WRD fisheries biologist Tim Bonvechio aged the fish at 14 years old, which indicates a good growth rate.

Utah murder suspect arrested at Cherokee hospital

utah murder Sullivan


Cherokee Sheriff Press Release. October 23, 2017. The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office arrested Maria Elena Sullivan 26 years of age of Sandy, Utah on outstanding warrants on Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 4:52pm. 

    A Cherokee Sheriff’s Office sergeant was at Northside Cherokee Hospital in Canton when he was notified by hospital staff that Sullivan had made some concerning statements to them.  The sergeant checked Sullivan for warrants and was able to verify she had warrants for Murder, Child Abuse x3, and Endangerment of a Child.  As Sullivan was being discharged from the hospital she was taken into custody and transported to the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center.  She is in the custody of the Cherokee County ADC with zero bond. 

Jasper candidates sound off on growth, parks, and downtown


Jasper Council candidates (l-r) Doug Patterson, Dr. Sonny Proctor, Ryan O’Dea and Anne Sneve at Monday’s forum.


A Jasper City Council forum held Monday revealed that candidates have platforms that overlap in many areas, with issues like controlled growth, downtown revitalization, improved parks and recreation, more entertainment, job creation, and collaboration as top priorities. 

Two council seats are up for grabs. Incumbent Anne Sneve, who is running for a third term, faces challenger Ryan O’Dea, a 15-year resident of Pickens County. Incumbent Dr. Sonny Proctor, who is running for his first full term after filling one year of an unexpired term, is running against native Pickens County resident Doug Patterson. 

The election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 7. Early voting began Monday.