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General news and features

‘You can have our water system when you pry our cold, dead hands off it,’ says mayor

Strange DDA meeting reflects tension, discord in local politics


        A meeting of Jasper’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Friday reflected the discord over the recent sacking of John Weaver as city manager and strong opposition to any consolidation plan of the city and county water systems. 

Originally scheduled several weeks ago, the meeting’s agenda indicated the authority would look at signing over property purchased through the DDA to the city council.

The meeting began with Mike Denson, chair of the DDA, asking some vague, technical questions to city attorney Bill Pickett about the ownership of the city pump station on Cove Road, one of the properties the city purchased through the DDA. Denson inquired what might happen if some other agency were given control of the property.

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

Jasper Council violates state law with closed meeting


At a Jasper council meeting on Monday, Jan. 8, council entered into closed meeting without following state Sunshine Laws. 

The Progress sent notice Friday asking for all notes and the audio recording of the portion of the closed Jasper City Council meeting where the council deliberated on the mayor/city manager position.

During the January 8th meeting, Weaver was not re-appointed as city manager, a position he has held for more than two decades. Instead the council indicated they will appoint sitting council member Jim Looney as city manager for an interim period, while they interview for a permanent replacement. Looney’s appointment was delayed as questions arose about whether he needed to resign his council seat. It is expected to be taken up at the February meeting.

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

Pickleball a big hit at rec. center


Angela Reinhardt/photo

Pickleball has gained popularity at the Pickens County Community Center. The rec. department makes one of their basketball courts available every weekday for pickleball players. 


The name “pickleball” is quirky enough to catch most people’s attention, but it’s the game itself that has a growing number of locals excited. 

“It’s really taking off,” said Pickens County Parks & Recreation Director Brian Jones. “We have people playing five days a week. If we could offer it more, they would probably take us up on that offer.”

  If you’re not familiar with pickleball, imagine a fusion of ping pong, tennis, and badminton. Singles or doubles play with a modified tennis net that sits low to the ground. Players use paddles that look like large ping pong paddles, and plastic balls similar to Wiffle balls. Paddles cost anywhere between $10 to well over $100.

Pickleball was developed in 1965 by a group of three dads in Washington state when their kids got bored one summer. The game has gained popularity over the years, with NBC calling pickleball one of the fastest-growing sports in America “that can be played by anyone.” 

Distracted driving, opioid issues will generate discussion under Gold Dome

State Representative Rick Jasperse previews legislative session




With Georgia on solid ground with revenue, the legislative session opening this week will see lawmakers looking at how to improve the Peach State. 

In a preview of the session, State Rep. Rick Jasperse (District 11) said, “We’ll be looking at how to make Georgia a better place. We want to continue to see Georgia as a great place to do business and to live.”

The state budget is the number one issue, reaching into all other areas of government. From schools to prisons, it falls back on the budget as to what the state can do, said Jasperse, who has represented Pickens County in the state’s House since 2010.