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General news and features

Schools’ Milestones scores a mixed bag

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     Georgia Milestones scores from the 2015-2016 school year have been released by the Georgia Department of Education. The good news is Pickens’ scores improved over the previous year, but local results are hit and miss when it comes to meeting the state average.
     See full story in this week's print and online editions, including comments from the school board chair and the director of learning.

$1 million suit filed over PHS b-ball team

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     John Curry, Pickens resident and father of a former PHS student, has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the Pickens County School System, alleging administrators have “maliciously ignored reports and complaints” about the boys’ basketball program.

See full story in this week's print or online edition.

Troy Marrs talks reptiles, vivariums and following your passion

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Earth’s Eco Reptiles and Amphibians founder and owner Troy Marrs with family dog Ma’ma Lou. Marrs and his wife Shannon renovated the shop space at 98 Dean Goss Road, Jasper, directly off of Highway 515 (next to Shiloh Baptist Church). They have two children, Kirby, four, and Rowan, two.

Troy Marrs grew up in Canton and now lives in Ball Ground. After considering a career in criminal justice, Marrs decided to blaze his own path. He recently founded Earth’s Eco in Jasper, which takes a natural approach to raising reptiles and amphibians through all organic enclosures called vivariums.

Attorney Mark Miller pleads not guilty

But sees new charges and no bond
Mark-Miller---PickensMark Miller booking photo.


    Jasper attorney Mark Miller pleaded not guilty Tuesday to numerous financial theft and fraud charges before a visiting judge in Pickens court, but the hearing revealed that Miller will face at least two more sets of theft charges.
    Miller was denied bond for the foreseeable future in the court action Tuesday. Judge Richard Winegarden said he did not feel comfortable letting Miller out on bond. He noted specifically that Miller’s law office escrow account only has a balance of $225, which sounded suspiciously low and the judge questioned if there might be other funds elsewhere.

See full story in this week's print or online editions.

UPDATE: Murder-for-hire plot results in arrest of PHS student; sheriff, school system release statements

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 Morgan Miles Morris

      The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office and the Pickens County School System have released statements (see both below) about the arrest of PHS student Morgan Miles Morris, 17, who plotted to have two other students and their families killed.

          According to Pickens Sheriff’s Capt. Kris Stancil, Morris offered an undercover officer $12,000 during a telephone conversation, and in a later in-person meeting with the officer attempted to negotiate a lower amount. During negotiations, Morris offered details about how he wanted the murders carried out.