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General news and features

Georgia Northeastern Railroad under new ownership

Local leaders to work with new management to spur industry growth


 photo/Patriot Rail Company

    The longtime Georgia Northeastern Railroad owner has retired. Patriot Rail Company will now manage day-to-day operations of the short-line railroad that runs through Pickens County. 

    Georgia Northeastern Railroad, which operates 106 miles of railroad between Marietta and Mineral Bluff, Ga., including the 20 miles of track in Pickens, is under new ownership and will be managed by a separate rail services company.

Finally home! Soldier receives Laurel Lakes house



Ralph Dennis / Photo

Sgt. Matthew Hutcheson, wife Leslie and their daughters at their new home in Laurel Lakes. They were given the home through Operation Finally Home.



By Ralph O. Dennis

Contributing writer


Finally home! That is what Sgt. Matthew Hutcheson, wife Leslie and their daughters were saying Friday (January 29). The final step of their journey began with the ground breaking for their new home in September, 2015. The home is in Laurel Lakes subdivision in Nelson.

Pickens herbalist reviving Appalachian tradition



Crystal Merrell prepares an immunity boosting tincture at an office she works from in Ball Ground. She believes the time is right this year to build up a client base as a full-time community herbalist.


My tongue looks pretty healthy, a little shiny in a few spots which means its dry and could be a clue to a deeper condition if other symptoms were present.

But, all-in-all, Pickens County herbalist Crystal Merrell says medically speaking my tongue is fairly unremarkable.

Merrell also checked the shape of my wrist and ankles to determine that I was a “water” person – again nothing requiring action but something to note in case I had issues with my constitution.

I approached my January appointment with Merrell, a Pickens native, by letting her know that I was skeptical of herbalism, but it might make a good article. She works out of the Ball Ground office of Bruce Chiropractic.

Most county seats up for election

Candidate qualifying March 7-11

    If you’re interested in running for local office you’ll have ample opportunity this year, with 10 county seats up for grabs.
    Local elected offices that will appear on the ballot in 2016 are sheriff, currently held by Donnie Craig; commission chair, held by Rob Jones; district 2 commissioner, held by Becky Denney; tax commissioner, held by Sharon Troglin; clerk of court, held by Gail Brown; probate judge, held by

Tater Patch Players' "Sylvia" runs through February 14


Greg playing with Sylvia, to Kate's dismay.
By Pat Jewell
Tater Patch Players

    After stating “The dog phase of our life is definitely over” Kate is shocked and angry when her husband, Greg, brings a stray home. Kate and Greg have raised their children and moved to the city, carving out a new life in their careers and social activities.  There is simply no room for a dog in their lives.