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County EMA thanks public for staying home, praises county/emergency crews for “pitching in”

winter-weather-watch

 

  Friday night proved pretty uneventful with the public heeding warnings to stay of the roads, said Deputy EMA director for Pickens County Rodney Buckingham.

  “I want to thank the public; they heeded warning and stayed home,” he said. “I am not aware of any serious problems that occurred.

  Buckingham was also quick to praise the work of the county road crews, and emergency personnel. “The county road crews were quick to get to the trouble spots and do what they could with the conditions. Our fire and sheriff personnel took care of downed trees on the roads. They all pitched in and worked together. It’s one of the great things about living in Pickens County.”

  For tonight: Buckingham said things are definitely melting off with the sun, but cautioned the temperatures are not predicted to get above freezing until Sunday afternoon. He said all this moisture will likely freeze up again.

  All roads are open as of about 11 a.m. Saturday, but there are going be icy patches.

            

Why are we last? Jasper vs. Ellijay, Blue Ridge, Dahlonega

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   An aerial shot of Japser from the Highway 515 and Highway 53 intersection into downtown.

     “There’s nothing to do in Jasper.”
    “Why don’t we have a LongHorn or a movie theatre?”
    “Blue Ridge and Ellijay have so much more. What’s wrong with people here?”
    Anyone who lives in Pickens County has heard these complaints or made them themselves.  The Progress talked to a few local leaders and key players about economic development here to address why Jasper seems to have been “skipped,” and what, if anything, should be done about it.    

See this week's print or online editions for comments from the Jasper Mayor, the Pickens County Commission Chair and Economic Development Director, a developer and more.

Former Waleska manager arrested for theft of city funds

waleska Abernathy

Cherokee Sheriff’s detectives have arrested the former Waleska City Manager Aimee Abernathy, 43 years old of Cartersville, following a 4 week investigation into missing city funds. Abernathy is accused of making fraudulent payroll payments to herself in an excess of $14,000.00 during the almost 5 years she served as city manager. Abernathy is also accused of using the city’s Master Card and Staple’s account for personal purchases totaling approximately $8,000.00. 

            Abernathy, who resigned her position in late October 2015, turned herself into deputies at the Cherokee Adult Detention Center Thursday afternoon. Abernathy is charged with 2 counts of Felony Theft by Taking. She remains in custody with a $60,818.00 bond.

            This is an ongoing investigation and additional charges are possible.

Kilpatrick named 2016 STAR Student

  stars-Kilpatrick-Westbrook

     Hannah Kilpatrick has been named the 2016 STAR Student of Pickens High School. The announcement is made by the Optimist Club of Jasper, local sponsor for the Pickens STAR Program.  Kilpatrick is the daughter Rex and Beverly Kilpatrick of Jasper. She has selected Mrs. Christine Westbrook as her STAR Teacher.

Nelson audit filled with oversights, failed accounting and possible embezzlement

 

Council will hold special meeting Jan. 21

to address a financial house in disorder

 

By Ralph Dennis, Contributing Writer

The 2015 audit for the city of Nelson has been delivered. It is not a good one. Ten matters of errors or discrepancies were cited.

This audit, filled with problems found in the city’s books, will be presented to the council at a special meeting on Thursday, January 21, for the purpose of receiving the presentation and explanation from the auditing firm of Welch, Walker & Associates. The meeting is at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

Most of the problems cited were tied to poor or non-existent record-keeping, making it hard to trace where funds from the city had actually gone. 

Read our story this week at our e-edition or in the print copies.

See complete audit report. (Findings being on page 32 of lengthy document.)