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General news and features

For some, fire insurance rates skyrocket


    Fire Chief Bob Howard points to the Tate fire district on a map that outlines the different fire districts in Pickens County. The blue dots represent fire stations. Pickens has two districts with residents that are considered “unprotected” by ISO, the fire preparedness rating agency.

     Some Pickens residents, especially those in the west, may have had to do a double take when they opened their latest home owners’ insurance bill.
    According to Pickens County Fire Chief Bob Howard, that’s because insurance providers are cracking down on rules they’ve already had in place. This action has translated to increased premiums – double, and sometimes triple – for homeowners.
    “I’m getting complaints every day. With all the losses insurance companies have experienced in the last few years, they are getting very strict about their policies,” Howard said.

For the rest of this story see our print or online editions.

April is Prevent Child Abuse Month in Pickens


      Commissioner Robert Jones signed the proclamation on April 4 declaring April as Prevent Child Abuse month. Surrounding Mr. Jones were supporters and service providers working on the problem of child abuse in Pickens County.

Sports columnist weighs in on baseball's first week


Pickens County Progress Sports Columnist Tommy Gartrell

By Tommy Gartrell
    One week into the professional baseball season, we have seen a bit of everything including near Yu Darvish’s “almost perfect” game in Texas, Sandy Koufax’s return to Dodger Stadium and thunder and lightning in Atlanta. Where do the Braves stand? How is the Atlanta-Arizona trade looking thus far?

Tate Depot “back to square one”


    Despite the Federal Highway Administration awarding reimbursement grants for renovations,

no progress has been made at the Tate Depot off Hwy. 53 East.

    If you’ve driven by the old Tate Depot in the last seven years, you’ve likely noticed a banner touting a Transportation Enhancement grant received in 2007 to fund its relocation and renovation. 
    The banner is gone now, but the Tate Depot still sits with busted windows, rotting wood and dislodged shingles like it has for years. 
    “It’s like rowing a boat with a rope,” Pickens County Commission Chair Rob Jones said of the project, which has frustrated local leaders by derailing time and time again.

Talking Rock water park resort discussed


    An indoor/outdoor water park, 400-room hotel and conference center is in the early stages of talks among developers, the county, and economic development council. 

     County officials recently heard plans for a proposed $130 million indoor/outdoor water park and 400-room resort hotel slated for Talking Rock, a development which could bring hundreds of jobs to the area.
    The tourism impact of this development would also completely change the face of Pickens County’s economy. However, the commissioner representing west Pickens said he has already heard serious concerns from his constituents.

     For comments from local leaders, including the economic developer, the west district commissioner and members of the economic development council see our print and online editions.