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General news and features

Update on roads from county Thurs. at noon


A DOT snow plow at work in Pickens County.


Commissioner Rob Jones who was manning the county emergency operations center reported that roads in Pickens may have thawed some but are still treacherous in many spots.

  He further cautioned that overnight with an expected low of 22 will produce widespread black ice in the morning.

  “It’s still icy in Jasper, so you can imagine what the outskirts are like,” he said. When asked about particular problem spots, Jones said “really everything. We’ve worked around the clock plowing and are still plowing.” Henderson Mountain has been opened to one lane, but it would be better for residents not to use it at all, he said.

  On the good side, Jones said the public appears to have heeded the warnings as there have been very few wrecks and, luckily, no fires or serious damage reported. “We were very fortunate that we have had more people sliding off the road than actual wrecks,” the commissioner said.

  Jones noted that the county has four-wheel drive ambulances – “we will get you out.” Sheriff deputies are in four-wheel drives as well.

  Jones said the county has been shuttling nurses, hospital staff and nursing home staff to jobs as needed.

  The county’s warming shelter will shut down at noon but can re-open within 30 minutes if it is needed.

  Jones said reports show that about 200 homes are without power throughout the county if both

  Georgia Power and Amicalola EMC customers are counted. Jones said they assume it is downed trees that had caused the outages.

  For anyone who needs more information or a warming station or other assistance call the county emergency operations center at  706-253-8976  until this evening and then call 911.





Kaila’s Birthday Wish Fundraiser Saturday


Kaila is hoping people will turn this Saturday so she can reach a goal of raising $10,000 for St Jude’s Hospital.

Submitted by Brandi Strawn 

This Saturday is Kaila's fundraiser. Kaila is the Pickens girl turning 13 who wanted to donate money to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for her birthday. [See original story]

Everyone is invited to the event on February 28th at the Pickens Rec Dept. from 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. There will be a drive thru set up for those who want to donate but not leave the comforts of their warm cars.

Kaila’s mother, Brandi reported this week she is currently at $3,400. 

“We have a ways to go to meet her goal of $10,000,” the mother wrote. “We will have hot dogs, chips and drink donated by Williamson's BBQ. I am looking for deserts and finger foods if any of our local home chefs or bakers would like to donate.” There will be a $10 or higher donation fee to enter this event. There will be raffles for various gift certificates along with other fun items. These tickets will be sold at the event and raffles will take place at the event.

Optimists present STAR profiles

See two page spread in this week's Progress for a profile of all the STAR students for 2015.


The Optimist Club of Jasper will host the annual STAR Banquet on Thursday evening, March 5. The banquet will be held at 7 p.m. at Chattahoochee Technical College, 100 Campus Drive, Jasper.   

Ms. Cathy Cox, president of Young Harris College, will be the guest speaker for the 2015 Banquet. This year the Optimists will recognize the PHS STAR Student and Teacher along with nine STAR finalists.  Each student and teacher was given a questionnaire and below you will find responses from each of this year’s STARs.

The STAR Student for 2015 is Andrew Haygood and he chose Mr. Michael Oubre as his STAR Teacher.

optimist star profile

Foster parent classes to begin in March

By Angela Reinhardt

Staff writer

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Following a recent Progress article about the dire need for foster parents in Pickens, a handful of families have stepped forward with plans to attend upcoming orientation and training classes – but there’s still room for more.

“We’ve had five or six families call since that article,” said Pickens DFCS employee Carla Poole who works strictly with foster parents. “But it’s a long process so they haven’t been approved yet. They’ve got to attend orientation, IMPACT classes, which are once a week for eight weeks, then they need background checks and home evaluations.”

If all of those potentials are  given the stamp of approval by DFCS, it will double the number of foster homes in Pickens, which currently stands at six.

American Pickers coming to area



Mike Wolfe doesn’t just believe “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” No. Wolfe embodies dumpster diving. For him, garbage gleaning is an art; one he continues to perfect each week on HBO’s hit show “American Pickers,” which airs on the History Channel. And pretty soon, Wolfe and buddy Frank Fritz could be gracing the back roads and barns of rural Cherokee County, if we’ve got enough “rusty gold” to get them here!