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General news and features

Attorney Mark Miller pleads not guilty

But sees new charges and no bond
Mark-Miller---PickensMark Miller booking photo.

    Jasper attorney Mark Miller pleaded not guilty Tuesday to numerous financial theft and fraud charges before a visiting judge in Pickens court, but the hearing revealed that Miller will face at least two more sets of theft charges.
    Miller was denied bond for the foreseeable future in the court action Tuesday. Judge Richard Winegarden said he did not feel comfortable letting Miller out on bond. He noted specifically that Miller’s law office escrow account only has a balance of $225, which sounded suspiciously low and the judge questioned if there might be other funds elsewhere.

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

UPDATE: Murder-for-hire plot results in arrest of PHS student; sheriff, school system release statements


 Morgan Miles Morris

      The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office and the Pickens County School System have released statements (see both below) about the arrest of PHS student Morgan Miles Morris, 17, who plotted to have two other students and their families killed.

          According to Pickens Sheriff’s Capt. Kris Stancil, Morris offered an undercover officer $12,000 during a telephone conversation, and in a later in-person meeting with the officer attempted to negotiate a lower amount. During negotiations, Morris offered details about how he wanted the murders carried out.

Head Start cuts back classes

Parents under the gun to find options for their children


    Parents of students attending Head Start in Tate last week received a letter saying  classes would be canceled on Thursdays and Fridays until October 1, resulting in almost two months of shortened weeks for students and teachers. The move left many parents searching for places to  care for their children while they work.
    According to a letter from Kay Laws, Head Start Director for Ninth District Opportunity which controls the Tate-based location of Head Start, she said when notice of funding was received, “the amount was dramatically

Buy tickets now for JeepFest raffle


Submitted by George Kudrick
    The Pickens County Sheriff's Office Auxiliary Unit is raffling off a John Deere XUV590i Gator 4x4 and a 5 x 10 trailer. The drawing will be on Sept 4th at JeepFest.
    Tickets are $10, available at the Adult Detention Center, any auxiliary member, and during JeepFest. Auxiliary members will be set up this weekend at Sleep USA Mattress Superstore across from the RaceTrac gas station.
    The auxiliary’s mission is "To support the Pickens County Sheriff's Office and it's employees in times of sickness and hardships, and through those employees, support the citizens of Pickens County during a disaster."  Visit our web site at

Community health center holds listening session on healthcare

good-sam2    “It’s a complete circle of care,” says Chris Stancliff of his experience with the Good Samaritan Clinic in Jasper. Stancliff with cane, is surrounded by the health center employees, volunteers and board members.
    Patients and staff of the Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center presented a “listening session” Thursday at their clinic on Samaritan Drive, showcasing the work of the community health center to local, state and federal officials and community members.