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General news and features

Pickens 16th healthiest county in state, 6th best quality of life




Pickens County is ranked as Georgia’s 16th healthiest county, behind #1 Forsyth, #2 Oconee and #3 Cherokee. Gilmer ranked 36th and Dawson 23rd.

  The 2018 County Health Rankings, released last week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program, showed affluent suburban counties as Georgia’s healthiest.

  After Forsyth, which is northeast of Atlanta, the next four are Oconee, Cherokee, Fayette, and Gwinnett counties. They are followed by Columbia, Cobb, Harris, Paulding and Coweta.

Two children severely burned in fire

Blaze sends eight to hospital

franklin goldmine fire

By Larry Cavender

Contributing writer


Tragedy struck a northeastern Cherokee County family on Tuesday night, March 13th, when their home was totally destroyed by fire. The Franklin Gold Mine Road fire left eight members of the family injured, including three adults and five children. Two of the children remain in critical but stable condition early this week.

According to a Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services press release, Cherokee County 911 received a call from a neighbor reporting the house next door was on fire. Shortly after 11 p.m., firefighters were dispatched to the scene. Squad 4 from the Free Home Fire Station was the first to arrive on the scene and reported that the one story wooden structure was "fully involved."

Historic flea market will re-open in April

flea market1

J.C. Burke and his signed fiddle. Burke has had a booth for 28 years at the roadside attraction on Highway 515.

By Ralph O. Dennis

Contributing writer


A historical landmark in Jasper is getting a face lift and a new start. Market 96 flea market will hold its grand re-opening on April 7. How can a flea market be a historic site? The flea market was opened sometime in 1984-85. Arthur Lee Prather opened it on the corner of County Highway 96 (now Allred Mill) and what is now Hwy. 515. Up on the hilltop was a grove oak trees that soon became the market. He named it 96 West Oaks Flea Market. The sign still hangs over the west door of the main building.

Youth Art on display March 22 - March 24 for Youth Art Month


 Creative works from Pickens County art students in grades K through 12 will be on display at the Southern  Appalachian Folk School, 255 Chambers Street, Jasper, GA 30143. This multi­ media exhibit, sponsored by Pickens Arts & Cultural Alliance (PACA) and Southern Appalachian Folk School, highlights Youth Art Month, a national celebration sponsored by the Council for Art Education.  The annual celebration, which typically takes place in March, emphasizes the value of art education for all children and encourages support for quality art programs in Georgia schools.


Smiling faces fill first Shamrock Stroll

shamrock stroll IMG 4363

Robin Dunn / Photo

More than 250, plus dogs and children, joined the Shamrock Stroll 

Saturday. Organizers hope it will become a yearly tradition.


With perfect weather and a large turnout in green, the inaugural Shamrock Stroll in downtown Jasper left Irish (and other) eyes smiling.

The short walk down Main Street followed by a family friendly party at the grassy area on the corner of Spring Street was hosted by Reinhardt University as part of their scholarship program “ADay for Pickens,” which has raised $30,000 for local scholarships since it was started last July.

The event held in the late afternoon saw an outstanding turnout, with more than 250 registered Shamrock strollers sporting their finest Irish-themed attire most of whom stayed to enjoy the food, beverages, games at the city’s green space park along with music from the C.C. Morgan band.