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General news and features

Whipping up life skills at the Dragon Table

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Angela Reinhardt / Photo

Pickens High School’s special education students take turns adding ingredients to make a batch of cookie dough for the Dragon Snack program, funded in part by the state’s Innovation Fund Tiny Grant.



On a recent afternoon, the smell of fresh baked cookies filled the Dragon Snack Shack at Pickens High School, where special education students were busy measuring, pouring, and mixing up the week’s batch of goodies - oatmeal peanut butter cookies. 

“We’ll do muffins, cookies, and other types of treats each week,” said special ed teacher Diane Hicks, who along with teacher Darya Schmidt wrote and received a $6,500 grant through the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement for their Dragon Table program, which has four project areas where special ed students develop a variety of life and business skills.  

Burnt Mountain used for indie filming location

“It’s one of my favorite places,” director says



Photo / Bryan Tan

The director of “Ends” selected Tate Mountain Estates on Burnt Mountain for its natural, isolated beauty and relationship to themes in the film. 


        Even though he’s never lived there, David Tabor has spent countless hours on Burnt Mountain inside the Tate Mountain Estates community. 

“I’ve spent so much time in that place and I fell in love with that world,” Tabor said, who used it as the sole filming location for his short  “Ends,” and who wants to use it and other areas in north Georgia for a full-length version called “Ends: Aliens & Old People.”

Jasper Merchants trying to salvage New Year’s party


A shot from one of the downtown New Year's Eve celebrations hosted by the City of Japser. 

        The Jasper Merchants Association is working to salvage the New Year’s Eve celebration after the city council voted to not fund it at their last meeting. However, the volunteer group knows it won’t be easy to get the party started.

“It’s not a done deal,” said the merchant’s vice president Kirk Raffield. “I’m not going to say we are going to have one, but we will go before the council and petition them to let it occur.” Be sure to see our editorial this week, "Time is of the essence with New Year's Eve decision.

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

Georgia Attorney General advises: Shop Wisely this Holiday Season

ATLANTA, GA - Attorney General Chris Carr is providing the following tips for holiday shoppers.

“The way we are making holiday purchases is changing with more sales being made and processed on our phones, tablets and laptops,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “In fact, 59 percent of consumers are planning to buy gifts online this holiday season according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. In this shifting landscape, it is more important than ever to protect your wallet and your identity, and we are offering the following tips to remember while shopping this holiday season.”

     Take precautions when making online transactions with an unfamiliar business. To avoid scams, do your online shopping through reputable, well-known websites. Be leery of ads on social media. You can check out a company’s reputation through the Better Business Bureau at

Jasper bicyclist completes 13,000 mile trip around America


       Mike McGhee on his touring bicycle after riding the perimeter of the nation.

Click here to follow along with McGhee's adventures on his blog.


Mike McGhee cruised back into town Thursday on his bicycle after a 13,334-mile trip around the perimeter of the United States, saying that it was mostly fun.

Arriving a month ahead of schedule after departing on January 1, the Jasper cyclist was on his third bicycle and had spent a month recuperating after being hit by a truck in Texas on March 6 (which destroyed bike #1). 

Looking back over the many days, McGhee described the trip as fun  - doing something he enjoyed and visiting towns where he could have the occasional beer and a good meal and find lodging when he needed it.

“I got to see stuff, talk to people,” he said. “It’s a simple lifestyle; you know exactly what you are going to do the next day.”