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General news and features

A drumming what?

Submitted by Kathe Hall of Van Goghs Hideaway


When folks around town have asked "What is a drum Circle?", I just simply explain that it's a group of people gathered into a circle for the purpose of making music with percussion instruments like drums, tambourines, etc.

At left, Jim and Mary Heaster of Tate discussing sharing the drum at a recent drumming circle. Van Goghs Hideaway holds drumming circles each month.

Though drumming circles can be found all across the country and take on many aspects, we are not limited to any specific tradition or culture.  It's a time to come relax, encourage creativity, and fellowship.

At VanGoghs Hideaway we schedule drumming on the full moon of each month.

Anybody got an extra opossum?


“There are always plenty of ‘possums out here, until you need one,” says New Year’s Eve Possum Drop organizer

At right, the 2008 Possum Drop featured a stand-in raccoon. This year organizers are on the lookout for the namesake marsupial, opossum.


In the past four years, whenever Cowboy Church began preparations for its annual New Year’s Eve Possum Drop, coming up with the honored guest was as simple as spreading the word a living marsupial was sought.

This year however, the Jerusalem/Henderson Mountain area has apparently run temporarily dry of opossums, says Cowboy Church Director Rebecca Hampton.

“There are always plenty of ‘possums out here, until you need one,” said Hampton Tuesday morning.

In years past, organizers have caught the guest of honor early on and then caged and fed it until the big night.

And, lest ‘possum-rights folk grow alarmed, when the gala midnight arrives, the drop includes a lighted cage lowered safely, so the featured critter can be released later, a bit jazzed maybe but unharmed.

No Pickens post offices threatened by proposed cuts

Area Postal officials talk about proposed cuts to service


Tonya Sercye, Dispatch Clerk for the Jasper Post Office, empties Christmas cards from a mailbox.

The Monday before Christmas, the Jasper Post Office was teeming with people shipping packages and letters in a last ditch effort to get them to their destination on time.

But this bustling scene is atypical for most post offices across the nation, with regular, non-holiday traffic and mailings dropping so much since their peak in 2006 that the federally-controlled operation is now billions of dollars in the red.

Recently post office officials have made announcements that the Postal Service will close 252 of its 487 processing centers and 3,700 of its nearly 32,000 offices nationwide, as well as nixing one-day first-class mail delivery, as a way to combat the changing market and plummeting bottom line.

Fortunately for postal workers in Pickens, regional officials say none of the post offices here are scheduled to be on the chopping block.

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One dead, two injured in Highway 515 wreck Monday; GSP still investigating cause

 UPDATED January 5th-- Drug charges have been brought against several people as a result of this wreck. See complete story in the January 5 edition. E-edition available.


UPDATED -- A fatal wreck on Highway 515 in Pickens County Monday afternoon closed traffic  in both directions a short distance from the Highway 108 intersection. According to information from the Pickens Sheriff's office, the Georgia State Patrol is still investigating and it may take a few days for them to sort through the information.

Coroner Kevin Roper said Timothy Ingram, 28, of Rydal was killed in the wreck. Ingram was an employee of an automotive shop and had been driving a customer’s Chevy Tahoe. Roper said the cause of the crash is not known at this point. However, he said nothing in the initial reports indicates that a vehicle malfunction was involved.

Initial reports at the scene by witnesses said only one car had wrecked, but others had stopped. However, information from the GSP indicates three vehicles were involved -- one that had been traveling northbound and two traveling southbound.

Besides the fatality, two other people were reported injured. 

The wreck was not at any crossing or intersection.

2012 Budget, courthouse project discussed at commissioner's meeting


     Work begins on the Pickens County Courthouse. Last Friday, Dec. 16 workers were seen staging the building with scaffolding before removing the marble slabs.

Just after his regularly scheduled meeting, Pickens County Commissioner Rob Jones held a public hearing for the proposed 2012 budget.

No members of the public attended the Thursday, Dec. 15 hearing, but Pickens County’s Finance Officer Mechelle Champion was on hand to discuss changes in the figures over last year.

The total proposed budget for 2012 is $19,313,000 on the revenue side, down about $2.5 million from the $21.8 million budget in 2011.

“The majority of the decrease is coming from the community center,” Champion said. “We won’t be building a community center in 2012.”