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Woodbridge Inn owner seeks investors for major upgrades

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The Woodbridge Inn and Restaurant owner, Hans Rueffert, stands in the lawn of his Jasper business. 

    Hoping to maintain the legacy of The Woodbridge Inn, which his family has owned and operated for decades, Chef Hans Rueffert has some large-scale plans to transform the historic venue with kitchen upgrades and areas for special events and entertainment.

 

Superintendent Desper discusses sudden retirement

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     Below is an interview conducted via e-mail with Superintendent Ben Desper over the weekend. Click here for previous coverage of his retirement announcemet.

    Obviously your announcement came quickly and after your contract had been extended. What prompted the change of direction?
    I began to think about retirement in October of last year when the state offered a retirement incentive to those state employees who had over thirty years of work experience. The board of education was very generous to make contract changes to provide me an incentive to stay, however, now is really a good time in our family for me to make this change.  I am very excited about beginning a new chapter of my life.
    The demands and the rewards of this job are great, but your family must always come first. Along with spending more time with my family, I want to have the time and freedom to pursue some interests that I have had to put on the back burner for a few years. 

    The budget process has been somewhat contentious, but it appeared that you were near the end of it. Did issues that arose during it play any part in your announcement?

For Dr. Desper's answer to this and several other questions regarding the Pickens County School System, see this week's print or online edition.

UPDATE: Charges made after explosive material found

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     Steve Burgess, 56, has been charged with possession of methamphetamines and intent to distribute following an investigation Monday afternoon that uncovered explosive materials in the man’s home.
     At approximately 11 a.m. on Monday, June, 3 during the execution of a court order at the Talking Rock Highway residence just north of Annie's Restaurant, suspicious items were located that indicated the presence of explosives.

See our print or online edition for the rest of this story, which includes comments from Pickens County Sheriff's Office Leiutenant Kris Stancil.

School Superintendent Desper announces retirement

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[UPDATED: The school board held a called meeting Thursday. Following a lengthy executive session, it was announced that their attorney would handle details involved in finding an interim-superintendent who could quickly assume the top position in the system and the board would begin planning a search for a permanent replacement.]

 

In an e-mail to school board members yesterday, Superintendent Ben Desper announced his retirement, effective at the end of June.

            He was wrapping up his second year serving as the superintendent for Pickens schools (see Progress story when he was hired). His contract had been extended for several additional years last year.

            School board chair Wendy Lowe confirmed that the superintendent had announced his retirement in a brief interview Wednesday. She said it did not come as a complete surprise to board members but there were issues that will be discussed in a meeting later this week.

            Lowe said the board will need to decide how to proceed but she anticipated they would follow the same procedure as when Desper was hired – to first name an interim and then conduct a search for a replacement.

 

            With the budget not finalized for this year, Lowe said it is important to have someone in the office to keep things moving, but she noted that with an experienced finance director, they shouldn’t have any added difficulties wrapping up the budget process.

 

 

See complete story in next week's print edition.

 

 

 

Rittenberry to instruct at vocal camps

 

 

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Brian Rittenberry with CAPAA Instructor Bay Cagle, Sharptop Strings members Kim, Carly and Grant Hipps at PCMS Arts Rally with Mr. Louden.

 

 Summer camps are around the corner and the Creative and Performing Arts Academy is excited to announce that Brian Rittenberry will be instructing at our vocal camp on June 28 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  

The vocal camp begins earlier in June with CAPAA instructor Raquel Rae, Nashville singer and songwriter. Raquel will work with campers to learn patriotic songs and work on voice technique on June 12, 19 and 26 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.  Cost for the camp is $100 ($90 if you register before June 1!).  

At the first meeting, campers and parents will discuss the possibility of a July 4 performance if enough campers will be in town and available.

Visit www.CAPAAJasper.com to learn more about this camp, register online, or to discover our other great camp offerings this summer. Call 770-893-8185 with any questions.  CAPAA is located at 95 Whitfield Drive, Suite A, Jasper, next to the Bargain Barn.