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General news and features

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.  


Ga. parks offer online leaf tracking



Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth at left. Nearby Amicalola Falls is also considered a top leaf-looking destination.

Every October, Georgia’s forests become a brilliant blanket of red, orange and gold, inspiring leaf peepers to pull out their cameras and lace up their hiking boots. To help track the changing leaves and plan autumn getaways, Georgia’s State Parks will launch Leaf Watch 2012 beginning October 1 at

Whether hiking, biking or simply driving country roads, travelers can check Leaf Watch 2012 for advice on where and when to find the best color in Georgia’s state parks. They can read updates from park rangers, get safety tips for hiking, and browse event calendars. Last-minute availability for cabins, yurts, campsites and lodge rooms in the state parks will also be posted.


Mr. and Miss PHS named



Pickens High School held a ceremony during the football pre-game on Friday, September 28th to announce the winners of the Mr. and Miss PHS school-wide election.

Hillary Wheeler and Christian P. Gibson were chosen by their peers as Mr. and Miss PHS. Hillary is the daughter of Billy and Tina Wheeler and Christian is the son of Stephen and Melanie Gibson.  

See rest of story by Steven Wilkie, faculty advisor for PHS student newspaper,

and more photos by Ellyn Duncan in this week's print edition

Online retailers to start charging sales tax


From the Georgia Retail Association

ATLANTA – Starting today, Internet retailers with nexus – meaning an in-state presence as defined by state law -- are required to collect Georgia’s state and local sales taxes. Georgia’s retailers welcome the implementation of the “e-fairness” legislation passed during the 2012 Session of the Georgia General Assembly, saying it creates a level playing field for tax collections that is long overdue as Internet sales have taken larger share of purchases.

"This is not a new tax, it’s just the same old sales tax we’ve been collecting all along,” said Rick McAllister, president of the Georgia Retail Association. “Most retailers who have Internet sales already collect sales tax on their sites, but there are some who don't. Starting today those online retailers with nexus should be collecting the sales tax from their customers and sending it to the state of Georgia just like any store would."