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General news and features

Over 578,000 ballots cast early for November election

     ATLANTA – With early voting fully underway in Georgia, voters have already cast 578,539 ballots in the General Election set for November 8, 2016. Secretary of State Brian Kemp encourages all voters to take advantage of Georgia’s advance voting period, which also includes absentee voting by mail, in this historic election.

County considers another budget increase

Proposed budget to be presented at next work session

Pickens County Commissioners Rob Jones, Becky Denney and Jerry Barnes during a recent millage rate hearing.
    Following heated public outcry last month when commissioners raised the millage rate to fund their 2016 budget, hearings last week to discuss the 2017 budget indicate commissioners may raise the county’s budget by $1.5 million next year.
    For three days last week, commissioners heard requests from county department heads for 2017. According to Faye Harvey, the county’s chief financial officer, the proposed 2017 budget is $25,375,000, a 6.5 percent increase over the approved 2016 budget of $23,824,000.

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

Uncool trick: Halloween slasher hits Arbor Hills home

halloween-slasherAn Arbor Hills residents got a nasty trick, no treat, this Halloween when her front yard inflatables were vandalized early Thursday morning. She is shown cleaning up her destroyed decorations accumulated over the past 20 years.


The Arbor Hills home of Joan Anderson was vandalized around 3 a.m. Thursday morning, October 27th when someone slashed four of her Halloween-themed yard decorations. The perpetrator has yet to be apprehended but did approximately $500 in damage to the home’s decorations - which have been accumulated over 20 years and are put up each year for the enjoyment of neighborhood kids.

Campfire restrictions in place in some wilderness areas

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (Oct. 28, 2016) – Effective immediately, there is a campfire restriction on multiple Georgia Wildlife Management Areas (WMA), according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).


“Due to the lingering and continued drought conditions, there is elevated risk of wildfire in north and central Georgia,” said John Bowers, Chief of WRD Game Management. “Suspending the use of campfires on WMAs minimizes the risk of dangerous wildfires that threaten public safety and our forest resources. This action is consistent with the policy recently established for National Forest Lands by the USDA Forest Service and is supported by the Georgia Forestry Commission.”


Until further notice, hunters and visitors to the WMAs named below must refrain from building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire (note: commercially available fuel stoves are excluded from restriction):


Allatoona, Arrowhead, B.F. Grant, Berry College, Blanton Creek, Broad River, Buck Shoals, Clybel, Conasauga River, Coosawattee, Coosawattee – Carter’s Lake, Crockford-Pigeon Mountain, Dawson Forest, Elbert County, Fishing Creek, Hart County, J.L. Lester, Joe Kurz, Lower Broad River, Lula Bridge, McGraw Ford, Oconee, Otting, Paulding Forest, Pine Log, Rich Mountain (state-owned tracts), Sheffield, Soap Creek, West Point, Wilson Shoals and Zahnd.


WMAs located on Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest land are subject to the fire restriction policy established by the USDA U.S. Forest Service, which dictates that campfires are restricted to developed recreation areas only, and confined within receptacles designed for fire in developed campsites. More information can be found at


For more information on Georgia WMAs, visit

Patriotic folks needed for Veterans Day Parade


By Suellen Reitz


American Legion Post 149 is looking for patriotic folks who want to show their support of veterans by marching or entering a float in the Parade honoring our veterans November 11 in downtown Jasper. If you have ever wanted to march down Main street or ride on your own float while being cheered by happy onlookers on the street corners and sides of the parade route…now is your chance to shine.

There is no charge for entering the parade. The only request is when registering you give parade coordinators the name of float or marching group. Registration can be made online at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Questions should be directed to Steve Whitt at the same email address or the Legion hotline number 706- 253-1715

Parade participants will form up at 9 a.m. behind the Jasper United Methodist Church on Spring Street with the kick off time starting at 10. The route will go down Main and turn past the Court House onto Stegall where all of Jasper Elementary School Students and their teachers will be cheering as they hold up their patriotic posters.  The route will end at Lee Newton Park for a special tribute to all of our veterans, past and present.

Special music sure to have everyone wanting to move their feet to the patriotic beat will be performed by Pickens High Marching band.  The granddaughter of U.S.  Army Veteran Ron Wheeler, Miss Andrea Layne will sing the National Anthem followed by the reading of names of all fallen veterans from Pickens.  Veterans Day finale will feature a special patriotic message given by U.S. Army Major Donovan Duke.

Major Duke, currently assigned as an assistant Professor of Military Science at the University of North Georgia, was deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm; four deployments to Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq and two deployments to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  Enlisted at age 17 in 1989, Duke received his commission in 2005 upon graduation from Fort Benning Officer Candidate School.  Highly decorated, some of MAJ Dukes awards include: Bronze Star w 3OLC; Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal w/2OLC, and Army Commendation Medal with Valor.

Come show our veterans the support they deserve and take part in Jasper’s Veteran Day Celebrations.  Bring your friends and wave your flag proudly as you walk down Main Street as part of the parade or just as a supporting fan.  

Let’s make Veterans Day 2016 one to be remembered.