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General news and features

What do vacant downtown buildings mean for Jasper?

“Slowly but surely, one business at a time, we can grow it into a thriving downtown,” says local realtor


    A corner store at the south end of Jasper’s Main Street, former location of Main Street Fitness,

has been sitting empty for over a year now.   

     Since massive renovations in 1998 that sent unsightly utility lines underground and saw the installation of new sidewalks, trees and a top-dressing of fresh pavement, Jasper’s streetscape has remained pretty much the same; but the tapestry of businesses that line those streets has changed dramatically, with some familiar businesses going under or moving out of downtown, leaving several buildings vacant and in need of repair.


Pickens courthouse project on the home stretch


    While the commission board wants to have everything on the exterior of the courthouse completed in time for July 4th festivities, rain has hampered paving.

    After nearly a year-and-a-half of heavy equipment, torn up pavement and piles of dirt and construction materials marring up Jasper’s Main Street, the SPLOST-funded Pickens County Courthouse project is coming in for the home stretch with the grand opening to be held sometime in August.


"The only city in Georgia with the guts" to have July 4th parade



The speaker at the grandstand said that Jasper was the only city in Georgia that had the guts to carry on with Independence Day plans with so much rain in the forecast and that had already fallen overnight.

Today, the brave were rewarded --no rain fell during the July 4th parade, which wrapped up about 10:30 a.m. with wet streets but nothing more coming down.

A long time Lions Club member estimated the crowd was down from normal attendance by about half, but the show had gone on.

Other activities are similarly scheduled to roll as planned.

See July 4th holiday weekend schedule.

Rise in cremations may signal weakening traditions


    Kevin Roper, owner of Roper’s Funeral Home stands in the urn room, where he offers families a choice of many options for the keeping of their passed loved one.
     For much of our history, Pickens countians, like many throughout the South, have shunned cremation for loved ones, opting instead for a traditional Christian burial where their bodies are laid to rest in consecrated ground.
    But, that trend is changing as more people than ever are choosing cremation.
    “Currently we are handling around 70 cremations a year,” said Kevin Roper of Roper Funeral Home and Crematory. “In the past couple of years cremation has represented about 50 percent of the total calls we receive.”

See the print or online editions for the rest of this story.

Explosive class at Jones Mountain shooting range




Damon Howell/photo     

Law enforcement officers attended a class on explosive devices including live detonations at the sheriff shooting range on Jones Mountain Friday.

        The class featured numerous explosions, the loudest of which set off car alarms 100 yards away.

  Above, officers look at the remnants of a filing cabinet blown up with "sheet" explosives.