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General news and features

Father maintains crusade for immigration reform after son killed by illegal driver

After 11 years, Billy Inman remains dedicated to his crusade for immigration reform and the capture of an illegal immigrant who collided with the Inmans’ car, killing 16-year-old Dustin and permanently disabling Ms. Inman.

As part of his one-father mission, Mr. Inman came to Jasper Monday to focus attention on the case as part of a swing through North Georgia. Inman said June 16 was the 11th  anniversary of the wreck at an intersection in Ellijay that forever altered his family’s life.

On that fateful day, the Inman family was on their way to Hiwassee for a Father’s Day celebration with other relatives.

The man who ran the red-light and hit them, later identified as Gonzalo Harrell Gonzalez, has never been caught. He was in this country illegally at the time.

In 2006, it was thought that Gonzalez had been apprehended, but it turned out to the man’s brother, also in this country illegally. Inman said the fact that his brother was here illegally is evidence that the driver may still be here.

Inman said with the heightened attention to immigration this year in Georgia as a result of recent legislation, he is optimistic that some of the new checks may turn up the man who drove the car that day.

“I am still hopeful that he will be caught,” said Inman. “I realize that won’t bring my son back. But I want something done to make our system work.”

Inman said he hopes his relentless campaigning over the past decade may have played a small role in bringing immigration reform in this state. Inman said he doesn’t get involved with the lawmakers directly,  prefering to talk to “everyday people” about the problem and the need for them to get involved in politics.

“I don’t blame anyone who wants to come here legally and work,” he said. “But I want to see our laws enforced.”

Inman’s crusade has been joined by others including some who do lobby the legislature. For more about this, see the http://www.thedustininmansociety.org/.

 

 

With summer gardens producing, Farmers’ Market to open Wednesdays

Andy Givhan bags up lettuce for a customer who has brought her dog along.

 

By Darlene Huffman

There was still plenty of lettuce available at the Jasper Farmers’ Market Saturday. Andy and Marie Givhan from Rydal  where they operate an aquatic plant nursery in addition to growing vegetables, had lettuce, kale, carrots, onions and some exotic looking bog plants for sale.

Another vendor known to have unusual plants is Mark Harrison. He often sells, and is very knowledgeable about, native plants as well as a large variety of the more common ones. On this Market day he had a magnolia tree that has extra large leaves and huge blossoms and grows to about 30 feet high.

Cindy Fix has been selling her fiber arts at the Market for several years, focusing on clothes and hair bows for little girls. This season she has sun hats. Mimi Tritt, the vendor next door selling fresh fruit sorbet, liked them so well she had Cindy custom make her one in fresh fruity colors.

Handmade soap has become increasingly popular with both vendors and shoppers liking the idea of a natural, local product.  Beth Allen is fairly new to both soap making and the Farmers’ Market but has made an interesting variety – a shampoo bar, a shaving bar, an exfoliating bar and several other choices.

This is the week that the Wednesday Market opens. The hours will be the same as Saturday, 7:30 to noon and will end Wednesday, August 31. The Saturday Market continues through October. Here is where we usually say that we are closed for the 4th of July celebration but this year we will be OPEN THE 2ND OF JULY. Sackett’s Western Wear Tack and Feed has invited us to have the Market in their parking lot, so tell everyone, “The Jasper Farmers’ Market is not closing for the 4th of July.”

See more of what is going on at the Farmers’ Market on Facebook, www.knowpickens.com, or the Master Gardeners Web site (www.pickensmg.org). The Market is a project of the Pickens County Master Gardeners.  See their Web site for more information or contact the County Extension Office (706- 253-8840).

 

Teacher enters plea bargain and avoids sex charges

 

Laura Deane Lyles (34), a former Pickens High Shool teacher indicted after allegations of sexual misconduct with male students during the 2009-2010 school year, has pled guilty to a state accusation of cruelty to children in a plea bargain that spares Lyles from prosecution on charges brought in her indictment.

Lyles' guilty plea on child cruelty charges came just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, at the end of a Superior Court session to handle plea bargains for numerous defendants in a variety of cases.

The session began at roughly 4:30 p.m., following arrival of presiding Superior Court Judge Roger Bradley to the upstairs courtroom within the Pickens County Courthouse. Lyles' case came last, the court session ending around 6:45 p.m., shortly after she was sentenced.

Lyles' indictment included two charges of sexual assault on a person in custody, two sodomy charges, and four charges of furnishing beverage alcohol to underage persons. The state's accusation of cruelty to children in the first degree was put forward by the prosecution pursuant to a plea agreement, explained Assistant District Attorney Scott Poole, who served as prosecutor during the Lyles proceeding.

New Jasper acting company “putting a spin” on community theatre

smokeactors

NEW COMPANY, SAME FACES - With the majority of the original cast in tact, Smoke on the Mountain is travelling to the Cumming Playhouse with the new Jasper-based North Georgia Acting Company. The show opened June 2 and will run through June 26.

 

For Ross Galbreath, creative director of a new Jasper-based acting company, theatrical productions should be all or nothing.

“The shows need to be 100 percent,” Galbreath said from his Jasper hair salon, Hollywood FX Studio off Bill Wigington Parkway. “They need to have the highest possible quality every time.”

Galbreath, who has more than flat irons and styling products up his sleeve, is bringing 20-years of entertainment industry experience to the new company, having worked for Walt Disney and on other live shows, independent films and special event productions in various roles, from directing to managing to producing and casting.