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General news and features

Superintendent’s contract renewed by school board



By Alex Goble

            The Pickens County School Board held a meeting on Thursday, Oct. 25, in which Superintendent Ben Desper’s contract was renewed in a unanimous 5-0 vote. The vote took place following a private executive session that lasted for much of the meeting.

            All five members of the board (Wendy Lowe, Byron Long, Ervin Easterwood, John Trammell and Dan Fincher) voted in favor of extending the contract.           

            The executive session lasted a little over an hour and included the two incoming board members (Mike Cowart and Peggy Andrews) who will take office in January.

            According to Wendy Lowe, the board’s chair, Superintendent Desper wanted to be assured that he had a position in the future if he decided to stay on as superintendent instead of retiring, because there are incentives right now for him to retire early.

“We think he’s headed in the right direction and we don’t want to go on a superintendent search right now,” said Lowe, reinforcing the board’s confidence in their choice.

County-wide Sunday alcohol sales to be on March ballot


Convenience store and grocery owners outside the city limits of Jasper may be happy to hear that the county will put Sunday alcohol sales by the package on a special election ballot in March of next year.


Duck Pond work waddles into November


     Jasper Mayor John Weaver and city employees Richard Simmons and Gary Poole stand atop a half-finished waterfall at the Duck Pond. Other crew members were at the quarry.
    The renovation at the Jasper City Park that began as a one-month endeavor has been extended to what Jasper Mayor John Weaver estimates could be as long as three months.
    But, Weaver reported to city council at their October meeting on Monday, the wait will be worth it.


Boo-Who? Scarecrow slideshow & winners

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 Check out all the entries in the first annual Boo-Who? Scarecrow contest, hosted by The Burnt Mountain Trading Company. Want to see them in person? Just walk around downtown Jasper, where they will be displayed until November 1. 1st Place went to Cherokee Valley Ranch, 2nd to PHS Wrestling Team and 3rd to Madeline's Cafe & Bakery.

Gov. cites record job growth in state


Latest statistics show four-year growth trend with more than 28,000 new positions created last year


Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that jobs and investment generated by the Global Commerce division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development jumped by almost a third during the state’s most recent fiscal year. The department reported that the 403 company expansions or locations with which it assisted created 28,776 jobs, an increase of 29 percent from last fiscal year, and $5.97 billion in investment, a 32 percent increase. These statistics reflect a trend of continued growth since the state’s 2009 fiscal year.

“These figures are more than numbers — they represent the growth of hope and opportunity for our citizens,” said Deal. “This tangible evidence of proactive company growth is a sign that not only is our economy on the path to recovery, but also that Georgia’s top-notch business climate has helped us stand out against our competition.”

The 403 projects worked on by GDEcD’s Global Commerce Division during fiscal year 2012, which ended June 30, 2012, also represented an 11 percent increase from the previous year. Of those projects, 36 percent were new locations, highlighted by companies such as Baxter, Caterpillar and Bed, Bath & Beyond. These three projects alone created 4,100 jobs. The remaining 64 percent were expansions by existing Georgia companies. The largest of these expansions were by Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (1,000 jobs) and Home Depot (700 jobs).

Foreign direct investment, which typically creates more jobs per project, accounted for 29 percent of the year’s projects. Kia suppliers such as Mando and Daewon America continued to add jobs to the west Georgia region while others around the state were generated by companies including Kubota, Toyota Industries, Erdrich Umformtechnik, Dinex and SANY.