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General news and features

Ball Ground man arrested for sex charges involving children

From Cherokee Sheriff's Office


Cherokee Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested a Ball Ground man Wednesday for sexually assaulting 2 juveniles under the age of five. Daniel Baxter, 27 years of age, is charged with 1 count of Rape, 2 counts of Aggravated Child Molestation, 2 Counts of Aggravated Sodomy, and 2 counts of Sexual Battery. The incident was reported to the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday.

Although not related, the victims were acquainted with Baxter. Detectives are unaware of any other victims at this time. Anyone who has children that have been around Baxter can call investigators at 770-928-0239 to report any concerns they may have.

Baxter remains in the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center without bond.

House set for demolition after owner completes without county building inspections or approvals

On May 21st, the county marshal, following orders from the county’s building and development department, asked tenants at a rental house on Reavis Mountain Road to move out within 30 days, as the house was condemned. This marks the first time a case involving building codes has ever reached the point of possible demolition in Pickens County. It did not happen quickly, as the inspections office has been familiar with owner Claude Beaver and this house since 2005 when construction began without a building permit.


See complete story in this week's print edition or e-edition.

Work continues on courthouse

Pouring of basement foundation footings at courthouse construction site, Friday, June 22. Old Crust restaurant building in background. Marble Courthouse Annex at left.


Installing underground utilities; preparing footings for the basement area; renovating the existing structure––so Courthouse Project Manager Thurman Slone characterized present progress of courthouse construction Thursday, June 21.

 That sounded somewhat understated, given a look and listen at the building site, then teeming with workmen and heavy equipment. Supplies arrived regularly by truckload, admitted through gates in the tall blue fence that partially hides activity going on inside.

See complete update on the work in this week's print edition or e-edition.


Tai Chi comes to North Georgia



Instructor Mike McElwee doing Tai Chi with students at Lee Newton Park. Tai Chi and Qigong are said to have many health benefits.

     Fred Crimi was diagnosed with cancer before he began practicing Tai Chi or Qigong.

     Now Crimi, like many students of the ancient Chinese practices, says that without including the eastern modalities into his treatment regimen his healing would not have progressed as satisfactorily.

     Crimi had a metastatic tumor on his left frontal lobe, he suffered from aphasia, underwent full brain radiation, and later was diagnosed with lung cancer, but Crimi is now cancer free and feeling positive about his future.

Four injured in Marble Hill crash



Four people were injured in a two-car wreck Friday on Highway 53 in Marble Hill. Two of those hurt were airlifted in separate helicopters after the collision in a section of curves east of the Huber marble plant.

Accident reports from the Georgia State Patrol indicated that an Oldsmobile driven by Sandra Summers of Cumming crossed the centerline and the driver lost control as she tried to correct. The Oldsmobile hit a Toyota Camry driven by Ashley Murphy of Ball Ground.

Summers received head injuries and was taken by lifeflight to the Atlanta Medical Center. Her 17-year-old daughter was also injured and taken by lifeflight to Atlanta Medical Center with broken bones and lacerations.

Murphy and a third passenger with Summers were taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Tim Nichols, the commander of the Georgia State Patrol Post in Jasper, said  all occupants were wearing seatbelts and airbags deployed properly.

The passengers who were transported by helicopter were first driven to the IGA grocery store parking lot. Highway 53 remained closed for about an hour and a half while crews worked to free the injured occupants and clean up the wreckage.