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Smoke from large fires drifting into Pickens

All clear locally, but remain vigilant, says fire marshal

  If you are smelling smoke today, it is probably drifting into Pickens County from surrounding areas.

   Fire Marshal Curtis Clark said Monday morning there is nothing burning here at this time, but “we’ve got fires all around - in Gilmer, Cherokee and a large woodland fire in the Cohutta wilderness area.”

   He said even in the areas where they have the fire contained, it is so dry the decayed matter in the ground and roots are still smoldering and it’s impossible to put them out completely. He said they could spring back to life two days later as the ground is so dry.

   While you may have a faint smell of smoke all day, Clark urges anyone who believes they see or smell heavier smoke to call 911 immediately to give crews the chance to get a jump on anything before it can ignite.

  The fire marshal reminded the public there is a burning ban in place across north Georgia due to the drought.

  There have only been a few incidents where Clark has responded to outdoor burning.

  “Fortunately people here are heeding all the warnings,” he said. He said residents in Pickens have also been very good about calling in the little things so they can be contained quickly as the drought has all the woodlands at risk.

  Clark said in his career as a fire fighter and fire marshal he has never seen conditions this prime for fires in the woods.

            

R.I.P. Water park not coming

Also, Jasper DDA hears updates on Port Royal, bathroom building for downtown, water fears from mayor

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     Members of the Jasper Downtown Development Authority appeared to drive the final stake into years of speculation that a large water park resort was eyeing a spot along Highway 515.
    During their meeting Thursday, authority member Chuck Payne said he wanted to hear an update on the Port Royal project, which began in the spring of 2013 with a proposal for a $130 million project that would include a 400-room hotel and a waterslide park located on the fourlane.
See full story in this week's print or online editions.

KPB dedicates Memorial Park

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    KPB members at the park dedication Saturday: Back row (l-r)  Al Rothe, Mary Ann Rentz, Codi Van Atta, Gloria Proudfoot, Ron Jager; front row Stan Barnett, Carol Opdenhoff, Vered Kleinberger.

    Members of Keep Pickens Beautiful dedicated their Memorial and Honorary Garden, located in Lee Newton Park, Saturday.
    With perfect weather,  members gathered at the center of the area with natural stones and marble benches to look over the work of more than a decade to improve the former grassy field at the park. The KPB Memorial Park is adjacent to the Chamber of Commerce building, across the stream from the main field of Lee Newton Park.

Animal bites steady this year

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     The number of animal bites reported in Pickens County is average, maybe even lower than in previous years, according to figures from North Georgia Health District 1-2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health.
    According to Jennifer King, public information officer for the district, there have been about 50 animal bites reported this year in the county. “Compared to previous years (that) is considered to be average and even lower than in some years,” King said.
See full story in this week's print or online editions.

Grading could begin at Dollar General site this week

UPDATED November 2 -- Grading equipment is on site and erosion control work being performed ahead of grading.

 

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Hundreds of Pickens residents have been up in arms about the proposed Dollar General on Cove Road, but permits are now in place for the project to move forward.

     According to Pickens County Planning & Development Director Richard Osborne, grading is expected to begin at the end of this week at a Dollar General site at the corner of Cove and Grandview roads. 

     Osborne said his office issued land disturbance permit for the project on October 20. 

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