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General news and features

Refuge Road store burglarized

Public, business owners asked to be on lookout for suspicious activity over holidays

pharrs gas station   

   This convenience store on Refuge Road was burglarized by a gang of professional thieves, according to investigators with the Pickens County Sheriff's Office. 


    An experienced gang of burglars broke into a convenience store on Refuge Road in the early morning hours of December 21, marking what investigators believe is the third such burglary in Pickens County by the same group.

   Investigators with the Pickens County Sheriff's Office believe the burglary of the closed store, a Chevron with the generic name Food Mart, is the latest in at least 20 similar break-ins attributed to group an investigator referred to as the “All About the Money Gang.”

Extremely high bail set for Miller

Attorney says, “functionally it’s no bond”


Mark Miller


     After a day in court, lasting more than ten hours, Jasper attorney Mark Miller, who is accused of numerous counts of financial fraud and theft was given a bond, but one so high his counsel said, “It is functionally no bond.”

Over 50 percent of Pickens students on free or reduced lunch


This chart shows the percentage of Pickens County students on free and reduced lunch by school and by year.

     For the 2016-2017 school year, reports show 52.49 percent of students in the Pickens County School District  qualified for free or reduced lunch.
    Of the 4,325 students enrolled in grades K-12 there are 2,311 eligible for the program. Of those who qualified, 1,894 receive free lunch and 366 receive a reduced price lunch.
    Last year the state average for students receiving free or reduced lunch was 62.29 percent.

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

Senator David Perdue: We Need A Health Care System That Works

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, today released the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed a resolution that sets up the repeal of Obamacare:  


Obamacare is collapsing under its own weight. Since President Obama and his Democratic Super Majority crammed this bill through Congress without one Republican vote, we’ve seen premiums and deductibles increase and choices decrease. Many Americans, like me and my wife, had their insurance plans cancelled altogether. We were promised we could keep our doctors, and that wasn’t true. We were promised we could keep our plan, and that wasn’t true. The American people are fed-up and went to their polling booths in November to express their outrage.


“Make no mistake, this moment has been a long time coming and with President-elect Donald J. Trump in the White House and Congressman Tom Price leading our top health care agency, Americans can expect to see great improvements in our health care system. While I am concerned with the lack of direction we’ve seen in Congress, these important decisions that will directly impact Americans’ health care must not be rushed. We have to get it right. There are various common-sense Republican health care solutions that would provide greater coverage options, drive down costs, and improve continuity of care. These ideas have been studied and debated over the years, and it’s time we coalesce around a solution that will work.


“I promised Georgians I’d do everything I can to get rid of Obamacare, and we are now one step closer to getting some real relief from this disastrous law.”

Pickens County Development - Year in Review

By Richard Osborne
Pickens CountyPlanning & Development Director
Total Building Permits
2016    438*     
2015    332
2014    343
2013    325
2012    319
*(32% increase over 2015)
New Home Permits
2016    111*     
2015    62
2014    50
2013    58
2012    32
* (79% increase over 2015)
2016    1698   
2015    1193
*(42% increase over 2015)


Commercial / Institutional
    -Dunn Manor, a wedding & events venue on Hwy. 53 West, opened.
    -Foothills IGA (Hwy. 53 East) owner Jeff Downing obtained special event permits from the Beer & Wine Board for wine tasting events throughout the year. They hosted approximately seven events in 2016.
    -Huddle House (Hwy. 53 East) had a facelift in 2016, including a new parapet wall and new signs.
    -McDonald’s was completely renovated.
    -Northgate shopping center activity (Steve Tate Hwy.): County staff worked with representatives who renovated the restaurant and re-opened it as the Sourwood Café. A dentist office also opened in the center.
    -Old Twin Tanks General Store (Hwy. 53 West) opened at the site of the former Motorcycle Bob’s Store.
    -Pickens County Boys & Girls Club new building opened at Roper Park. In the new facility, staff has been serving over 200 youth.
    -Tate Meat Market (Tate 4-way) opened after renovation of the building that had been a restaurant and other uses previously.
    -Tate House complex (Hwy. 53 East) now includes a new 5,000 square feet pavilion completed this year.
    -Tatum Acres, a wedding & events venue on Cove Rd., opened.
    -Zoology, a health and wellness business, relocated to the Tate 4-way.
    -FRN: for this contents restoration specialist company, a new 6,000 sq. ft office and warehouse building was constructed in the Sharp Mountain Business Park off Hwy. 108.
    -Huber (Hwy. 53 East) has been expanding – work occurred in 2016 on a 6,500 sq. ft building addition, new 12,500 sq. ft. building, guard shack, silo, and truck wash.
    -Bent Tree: a building permit was issued for a new home.
    -Big Canoe: building permits were issued for 13 new homes. A land disturbance permit was issued for refurbishment work for the golf course driving range.
    -Crossing at Ball Creek (Hwy. 136 West): building permits were issued for two new homes.
    -Cove Lake (Cove Rd.): building permits were issued for two new homes.
    -Edgewood (off Grandview Rd.): a building permit was issued for a new home.
    -Fisher Creek Estates (Hwy. 136 near Burnt Mtn. Rd.): building permits were issued for two new homes.
    -Golden Acres (off W. Church St.): a building permit was issued for a new home.
    -Hampton Farms (Parker Rd.): building permits were issued for six new homes.
    -Hunter’s Ridge (Burnt Mtn. Rd.): a building permit was issued for a new home.
    -New Hope Acres (off Hobson Creek Rd.): building permits were issued for two new homes.
    -Outback (E. Price Creek Rd.): a building permit was issued for a new home.
    -Preserve at Sharp Mountain (off Pettit Rd.): building permits were issued for four new homes.
    -Salacoa Highlands (off Henderson Mtn. Rd.): building permits were issued for three new homes.
    -Settlers Ridge (Reavis Rd.): staff has been working with project reps on land development and platting matters in anticipation of obtaining permits for new houses in the next few months.
    -Talking Rock Valley (E. Price Creek Rd.): a building permit was issued for a new home.
    -Village on Blackwell Creek (Steve Tate Hwy.): in addition to working with representatives on platting and infrastructure matters in 2016, a permit was issued for the model home.
    -Village at Oak Creek (Hwy. 53 West): building permits were issued for five new homes.
    -Wild Timber (Worley Crossroads): building permits were issued for seven new homes.