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General news and features

Litter is no little problem here

Sheriff trash pickup to ramp up in spring

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Damon Howell / Photo

Mike Haviland doing more than his share of roadside trash pickup on Smokey Hollow Road. He attributes the 68 bags of litter gathered last week to the 2.5 mile stretch of road never being picked up before.

At least twice a month Mike Haviland gets up-close and personal with a widespread litter problem that’s trashing county roadsides. In the last five years, Haviland, an Adopt-A-Road volunteer, has picked up 950 bags of garbage along Pickens Street and Apple Orchard Lane in Nelson – but he recently deviated from his routine. 

The trash warrior set his sights on the junked-up Smokey Hollow Road in Tate where he collected 68 bags, or about one for every 30 feet of roadway, as well as 11 bags on Headstart Road in the same area. That volume is

Suit over Big Canoe preferred builder program heading to March jury trial

topbox scales     A lawsuit over the Big Canoe preferred builders program is set to open in Pickens Superior Court later this month after a judge denied the order for summary judgement on February 28th.

The suit filed on behalf of three homeowners challenges that the Big Canoe Company received commissions from builders that were on the “preferred builders list” and in two cases  required people buying in the gated community to use those builders, but did not scrutinize the builders they recommended.

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


Hill City places 3rd at Reading Bowl

Hill City Reading Bowl

     Front (left to right):  Aiden Daves, Dylan Lo, Grayson Ludington (Team Captain), Jayden Greer, Ada Keener, Julie Hermann. Back (left to right):  Suzanne Hardison (Coach), Mariah Clayton, Alyssa Caylor, Lilly Tartt, Sara Kate Smith, Ruth Parker (Coach).


Submitted by Hill City 

Elementary Media Specialist Suzanne Hardison


Congratulations to this amazing group of Hill City Elementary students! They achieved a 3rd place victory at the North Divisional Competition of the Georgia Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl held at Southwest DeKalb High School on Saturday, March 3, 2018. 

Hemlock Doctor on a mission


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Damon Howell / Photo

Dr. Mike Shearer treating a stand of hemlock trees. This begins his months-long endeavor to save as many trees from insect infestation as he can.

It was a warm, sunny afternoon in February, ideal weather for the first day of Dr. Mike Shearer’s busy season. 

“I’ll be working almost every day from now until it starts to slow down in June,” Shearer said at a Pickens home where he was treating Canadian hemlocks, a native species in danger of extinction from the hemlock woolly adelgid. 

The aphid-like insect feeds on sap at the base of the hemlock’s needles, which eventually turn brown and fall off. The trees starve to death over the next three to five years.