General news and features
Night of Lights Parade shines - The 5th annual Night of Lights parade wound along Main Street Saturday night as throngs of people were on hand for the arrival of the jolly old man from the North Pole. Ross Galbreath, president of the Jasper Merchants Association who sponsored the night's festivities, said three times as many people as last year showed up for entertainment that featured not only Santa and beautifully lighted floats but also the talents of several local choirs and musicians. "It was beautiful," Galbreath said. "This year we had a great turnout and the weather was amazing. Now next year if we can get it even better with no wind we'll be fine." Galbreath said the Jasper Merchants Association was pleased to have been able to showcase local talent. "We had the PHS chorus and the JMS chorus, a community gospel Christmas choir and a group called the Jasper Young Singers. We also had a great turnout as far as participation for the parade."
Best of Show and 1st Place went to Hollywood FX/North Georgia Acting Company/Get To the Point Dance for their float "Welcome Home for the Holidays". Second place was awarded to Green Heating and Cooling and featured a soldier coming home for the holidays. Third place went to the Pickens Chamber of Commerce and the "Chamber Chicks" for their float advocating shopping locally
Top county and judicial officials held a more than two hour meeting with architect Bruce Jennings Friday to go over plans for the massive courthouse project slated to begin within the next few weeks.
The exact start date for demolition of a portion of the downtown courthouse has not been set, but comments at the Friday meeting indicated plans are nearing completion.
Officials present, including Commissioner Robert Jones, Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver and Sheriff Donnie Craig, agreed to hold one more meeting between Christmas and New Year’s Day with all judicial department heads who will be housed in the new building. There was discussion that a number of other county/judicial officials might be on vacation at that time, but when all present said they could attend, Project Manager Thurman Slone was asked to arrange the meeting.
Architect Jennings said he requested that meeting so everyone involved could be in the same room to go through every detail presented on blueprints.
With parents and others here alarmed following the grisly abduction and murder of a 7-year-old in neighboring Canton, the Pickens County Sheriff took time Tuesday to discuss the crime and what can be done to keep children safe.
Sheriff Donnie Craig emphasized that nothing like the savage killing of the child in a Canton apartment complex had ever occurred in Pickens County, nor had Canton ever recorded a violent crime against a child like this before.
Craig said word his office has received from Canton law enforcement is that leads indicate the crime was likely committed by someone living nearby and familiar with the apartment complex and was not necessarily a threat here.[Editor's Note Friday update: this did turn out to be the case as a maintenance man was arrested].
Sheriff Craig said this shocking incident should be a wake-up call to everyone for taking precautions to ensure that their children or any children in their community remain safe.
“We may have sat back and said things like this only happen in Fulton or DeKalb counties,” the sheriff said. “But this is a prime example of it happening right in our own backyard. We, as parents, need to take responsibility for keeping our kids safe.”
Craig said this type of crime is hard to prevent from law enforcement agencies without an active community keeping watch.
Robert and Rose Linehan dig through well-kept documentation of zoning and permitting since they bought their property in 1982. Damon Howell/ Photo
Robert Linehan has been raising rabbits on his .69 acres for the past two years, and he says the county, which has issued the North Ridge Road resident three citations following complaints from neighbors, is singling him out and violating his constitutional rights.
Linehan claims after the county became aware of his rabbit operation they have threatened him over permitting and septic tank issues and have changed his zoning without his knowledge.
“The county is trying to cram something down people’s throat they don’t want,” said Linehan, who lives on the property with his wife Rose. “They want to make this like a gated community. We’ve always had chickens; we’ve always had gardens and rabbits. This is an infringement of my constitutional rights. We want to go on living the way we were brought up.”
Winners in the Sassafras Adult Writing Contest were announced at the Georgia Marble Festival this weekend. (L-R) Christie Beiring Eagleson, 1st place; Bronwyn Rumery, 2nd place; Sassafras member Lynn Turner and Lynette Chambers, 3rd place.
By B. Joan Wilson-Barnes, contributor
On Saturday, Sassafras member Lynn Turner presented each of the three winners of the Sassafras Literary Exchange Adult Writing Contest with an award and a one year free membership in the Sassafras Literary Exchange from the central stage of the Marble Festival.
In keeping with the Marble Festival, the theme of this year’s contest was “Rocks.” Qualifying entries had to use the word rock or rocks in their essay, fiction or non-fiction story or poem. Creativity was encouraged and rock topics could include anything from “Pickens Rocks” to rock bands, to rocky roads, to famous rocks or anything else that referred to a rock or rocks.
The 1st place winner is Christie Beiring Eagleson. Her story, Simply a Rock, is a story about children’s fascination with rocks and the formation and travels of rocks.