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General news and features

Rep. Collin's statement on respecting the National Anthem


WASHINGTON—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) released the following statement in response to the question of how NFL players and representatives choose to respond to America’s national anthem:

“The National Football League is home to some of the most talented athletes in the greatest nation of the world. While I respect their right to protest, I commend to them the examples of their colleagues Pat Tillman and Alejandro Villanueva. These men defended that freedom and their fellow citizens as Army Rangers, and their actions illustrate a patriotism that unifies Americans.


Harvey Relief efforts in Jasper



Volunteers are collecting supplies for Hurricane Harvey victims at Lee Newton Park in Jasper. Volunteers, headed by a group from Trinity Tabernacle, will be there today until noon taking donations and back every day but Sunday until the truck is full. They are hoping to expand hours if more volunteers to help load supplies come forward. "We want this to be a real community effort," said one of the volunteers Roger Jenkins.

Supplies needed include linens, clothing, school supplies, toys, bath products and more. 

Judd Voyles, who organized the efforts said, "Stand in your yard and look at your house and imagine water all the way up to the roof, that's what those people out there are dealing with."

Voyles has made contacts with churches in the affected area that will distribute the donated items. He is providing the trailer and will drive the load out himself.

Ball Ground takes first step to limit truck traffic downtown

BG ribbon cutting

     A ribbon-cutting ceremony was recently held for Boutique Unique which specializes in personalized merchandise. Seen cutting the ribbon in center are owners Teal and Wendell Sanders flanked by members of the Ball Ground Business and Community Association.

By Larry Cavender

Contibuting Writer

At their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on September 14th, the Ball Ground City Council approved a resolution in hopes eventually to remove portions of State Route 372 from the state highway system. The resolution asks the Cherokee County government to support the city in this effort, and is only the first step in the town's attempts to limit downtown truck traffic.

If Cherokee County agrees to support the measure, and Mayor Rick Roberts says indications are the county would offer their support, the next move would be to petition the Georgia Department

Rebooted Ga. Marble Festival brings new attractions this Oct.


The Chamber of Commerce wants people to know they have listened to suggestions and are making changes to the Marble Festival, coming October 7-8 this year.

Last week, Chamber Executive and Economic Development Director Gerry Nechvatal said they have held numerous planning sessions, invited members of the community to give input and, based on suggestions they are both expanding the festival with new attractions and bringing back some past favorites.

Nechvatal said there were three areas they identified as priorities: 1. Refocus on arts and crafts; 2. Have more value for people inside the gates; 3. Have a bigger impact on local businesses.

“It is going to be bigger and better for the community,” he said. “But at the same time, we are going back to our roots.”

Among efforts inside the gates are a larger children’s area. The Chamber is working with a volunteer group with a proven track record to bring in a lively kid’s area but they are not ready to release full details at this time.

School board cuts taxes


Pickens County schools general fund. Revenue source comparison, FY01 to FY18. **FY17 & 18 figures based on budgeted revenue.

        Following a vote to lower the millage rate by the school board earlier this month, the Progress sat down with Superintendent Carlton Wilson and school finance director Amy Smith.

This marks the largest rollback in the millage rate in seven years and the second straight year of cuts.

The tax rate for 2017 was approved at 15.66 mills, down from 15.98 last year and from 16.1 mills the four years prior.

        In terms of local tax dollars (mostly from property taxes) the schools will budget to collect $21,416,418 for 2017, only slightly lower than the amount collected last year, but almost $900,000 lower than the amount collected 2012, when they budgeted for $22.3 million in local taxes.

        See full story, which includes comments from the schools finance officer and superintendent, in this week's print or online edition.