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General news and features

Update on sexual assault investigation

No clear suspect identified, investigation continuing

   Several details have emerged concerning the investigation that is centered at Pickens Middle School after a student says he was sexually assaulted in a bathroom there last week.

   In an interview with an Atlanta television station, the father of the student, whose name nor face was shown, indicated the son was in special education.

   Neither investigators nor the schools have confirmed any information about the identity of the student. But sources close to the case have acknowledged it has been very complicated compiling a sequence of events based on statements from the student.

   The victim has been to two forensic interviews to narrow down when and where the assault took place. Forensic interviews are conducted by specialists when the victims are either juveniles or have mental issues.

   Lt. Kris Stancil said Thursday that the sheriff office and schools have both poured all their resources into this investigation and they are drawing from additional resources of the GBI.


Renovated courthouse dedicated



The county courthouse is the center of all southern towns, Judge Brenda Weaver told the crowd who assembled to officially dedicate and re-open the new Pickens Courthouse on Main Street today. Tours of the $16 million facility are available until 6 p.m. this evening.

Other speakers included Commission Chair Rob Jones and Attorney General Sam Olens. See complete story in this week's print edition.

Forensic audit questions aired in public comments


     Following the August 28 Grand Jury recommendations that called for a forensic audit of county finances from 2005 to the present, county commissioners were faced with questions and concerns from residents at their most recent meeting Thursday, Sept. 19.
     Pickens resident Gary Copeland, who has been vocal about cutting waste from the county budget after a proposed tax increase last year, said despite being fiscally conservative he wants to see the county pony up funding for a forensic audit “and put this to rest,” he said.

     See this week's print or online editions for the rest of this story.


Young Life kicks off year with Colorball


 It was an explosion of color and fun, hot dogs on the grill and a great chance for the kids to hang out with their friends and leaders at the first Young Life activity of the year.

By Bonnie Carlton
Pickens County Young Life
     Pickens County Young Life kicked off the new school year on Monday, Sept. 9, when students from Pickens High School and their Young Life leaders came together for Color-Ball. It was an explosion of color and fun, hot dogs on the grill and a great chance for kids to hang out with their friends and leaders.            

Roadkill: Squirrels dying for food?


An unlucky one - Shortening days and lack of available acorns and hickory nuts have squirrels scampering friskily about in search of food for the winter. This poor squirrel didn’t make it across Talking Rock Hwy.

     Although some have been known to reach 10 years old, a typical Georgia gray squirrel probably only lives a couple of years. But if the death toll of squirrels seen on area roadways over the past week is any indication, Jasper’s squirrel mortality rate is pretty high right now.
    Travelers throughout the county have noticed lots of squirrels darting into roads and, all too often, underneath our tires. While some make it – drivers often breathe a sigh of relief when they look in their rear view mirror to see a furry tail fleeing to the other side of the road – others don’t.