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General news and features

Jasper Lions #1 in Georgia

Some of the members of the Jasper Lions Club gathered to mark their #1 designation.


By Darlene Handy,

Jasper Lions Club

Thank you Pickens County!  Once again the Jasper Lions Club came home from the State Convention being named the #1 Lions Club in the State of Georgia. In addition, our club received nine 1st place awards and seven 2nd place awards.

Receiving these awards make us feel good, but the greatest feeling is assisting those in our community. This would not be possible without the support of our merchants, banks, dealerships, radio/TV stations, the Pickens County Progress and all of our generous citizens.

Congratulations to Lion Leslie Miller for being named the #1 Lions Club Secretary in the State of Georgia and for winning 1st place for producing the best monthly newsletter for our District, which comprises 44 clubs.

In addition, our Pickens High School LEO Club submitted two awards and won 1st place for their scrapbook and 2nd place for the Leo Club essay submitted by Sawyer Henderson. The subject for the essay was “Today’s Youth Meet(ing) the Challenge of Volunteerism.”  This is the sixth year that Sawyer has submitted a winning essay on the State level.

The Jasper Lions Club provides more than vision and hearing assistance, which is through Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center and the Georgia Lions Lighthouse. We also work with CARES, provide toys for children at Christmas, sponsor the Health Fair, work with Special Olympics, provide 4th of July events and much more.  This year our Alert Team assisted the Red Cross with disaster relief by donating tarps, water and Walmart gift certificates.

If you would like more information regarding the Jasper Lions Club and/or would like to join us in our efforts of assisting the less fortunate, please visit our Website or call 706-253-LION (5466).


Brief storm left lengthy outages

This road in the Wildwood area of Jasper was blocked by falling trees Saturday evening which also took down power lines throughout the area. Some areas of the county are still without power.


See update from power companies in this week's print edition

Though brief, Saturday evening's storm has left several areas of Pickens County without power into Monday. And those residences may not see power restored until late this evening.

A spokesperson from Amicalola EMC said they project having all power restored by the end of today, but, noted it may not be until late in the day.

Stacey Fields, Director of Public Relations at Amicalola EMC, issued this statement Monday morning," Currently, we have approximately 1,100 members without power across our service area. Those outages include Gilmer, Pickens, Cherokee, Dawson and Lumpkin counties. We are now estimating that all power will be restored today, although restoration for many may be into the evening and late evening hours."

County crews are continuing road-clearing efforts as well on Monday morning. Some secondary roads remain blocked with downed trees.

Initially after the storm, Commissioner Rob Jones reported that the thunderstorm, which only lasted a few minutes, produced widespread, though mostly minor, damage. No serious structural damage, nor injuries were reported.



Summer safety 101 from the Red Cross

Nearly 20 children came to the Pickens County Library last Tuesday, June 14 to hear Northeast Georgia Chapter Director of Community Services Andy Thompson give valuable summer safety tips.



From poison ivy to snake bites, children who attended the Red Cross library safety day were schooled on summer tips to keep them safe when the weather gets hot.

Local Red Cross Director Andy Thompson’s presentation focused on basic summer safety tips and inspired numerous questions and comments from children in attendance Tuesday at the Pickens library.

For the parents, Thompson offered to give presentations on this and other Red Cross awareness efforts at no charge.

He also noted that the local  Red Cross will be hosting a popular eight-hour babysitting course in August for 11-14 year olds.

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