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General news and features

Up, up and away! Middle schoolers work with hot air balloons

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Christie Pool / Photo
Up, up and away - From left, Jack West, Preston Godfrey, Pickens Middle School  Teacher Tom Brooks and Isabella Crowe look on as their handmade  tissue paper hot air ballons take flight last week as part of an engineering and technology class.
    "The hot air balloon unit introduces students to lighter-than-air travel in a fun hands-on activity,” the teacher said. “Students learn the concept of buoyancy, while also using incorporating math concepts such as volume,

Looking for the Most Beautiful Pet in Pickens County


     Registration is under way once again for Pickens Animal Rescue's Most Beautiful Pet contest. Here's your chance to show off that glorious fur-friend you brag about to your friends, family and co-workers. Yes, you know who you are!  Well now it's time to really show them off and let the citizens of Pickens County bask in their glory with you and cast their votes to determine who is truly the Most Beautiful Pet in our county. It’s okay if your pet isn’t furry.  Dog, cat, fish, fowl, terrarium or barn inhabitants -- all are welcome to join in!   It's all in good fun and

Old Jail ghosts appear happy with discovery

Future ghost tour planned during the Marble Festival

The Murray County Paranormal Investigations team at a ghost hunt in the Old Jail on Friday, Sept. 9.

    It was well past the witching hour, but the low-hanging half-moon, stained an appropriately spooky shade of amber, had brazenly positioned itself outside my windshield on the drive home --- celestial residue from the paranormal experience I’d just had with a group of ghost hunters.
    Earlier that night, one of the Edwards twins - both members of the Murray County Paranormal Investigations team that conducted a hunt at the Old Jail and the Quinton-Kirby Cabin in downtown Jasper – educated me. He said a “paranormal” experience doesn’t necessarily mean contact was made with the spirit world.

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

Public up in arms over proposed tax hike


Commissioners Rob Jones, Becky Denney and Jerry Barnes look over figures at last Thursday's public hearing on taxes. They are expected to vote on the increase this week.


 The public made it clear they do not approve of a proposed tax hike to give the county an additional 13 percent in operating funds during two meetings at the county administration building Thursday. The meeting was required for any government seeking a tax increase, with a final hearing this Thursday, Sept. 15, at 5 p.m. and the commissioners expected to pass the increased millage in a meeting directly afterwards at 5:30 p.m.


   This move would raise the county millage to 8.2, up from 7.22 last year.

   If approved, the tax hike would give the county $11.2 million in taxes to fund the 2016 budgets, up from $9.8 million last year.

   Both the morning and evening public hearings ran around two hours before Commission Chair Rob Jones brought them to ends with speaker after speaker indicating they were fed up with property tax increases.

   Local business owner Ralph Fitts said during the morning meeting that every time the public comes to a meeting here it’s a tax increase. “When does it stop?” Fitts asked. “Where is that line that enough is enough?”

Dog comments have public howling

Commissioner Jones says he was misrepresented
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Above, Forrester, a pit bull at the Pickens County Animal Shelter who was recently adopted to Bartow County.

    Comments made by the commission chair over adoption policies for pit bulls, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers has created an uproar among dog lovers and confusion over how the county shelter handles these breeds.   
    Chair Rob Jones is now saying his comments last week were misconstrued and that he was misrepresented on social media, denying that he ordered any euthanizations for those breeds. 
See full story in this week's print or online editions.