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General news and features

Following Canton child murder/abduction Sheriff urges community to make call when they see something suspicious

With parents and others here alarmed following the grisly abduction and murder of a 7-year-old in neighboring Canton, the Pickens County Sheriff took time Tuesday to discuss the crime and what can be done to keep children safe.

Sheriff Donnie Craig emphasized that nothing like the savage killing of the child in a Canton apartment complex had ever occurred in Pickens County, nor had Canton ever recorded a violent crime against a child like this before.

Craig said word his office has received from Canton law enforcement is that leads indicate the crime was likely committed by someone living nearby and familiar with the apartment complex and was not necessarily a threat here.[Editor's Note Friday update: this did turn out to be the case as a maintenance man was arrested].

Sheriff Craig said this shocking incident should be a wake-up call to everyone for taking precautions to ensure that their children or any children in their community remain safe.

“We may have sat back and said things like this only happen in Fulton or DeKalb counties,” the sheriff said. “But this is a prime example of it happening right in our own backyard. We, as parents, need to take responsibility for keeping our kids safe.”

Craig said this type of crime is hard to prevent from law enforcement agencies without an active community keeping watch.

Wacky Rabbit Ranch sparks controversy

“If everything in the economy goes to hell I’ll be damned if I’ll give

them one rabbit leg,” says owner.


Robert and Rose Linehan dig through well-kept documentation of zoning and permitting since they bought their property in 1982. Damon Howell/ Photo

Robert Linehan has been raising rabbits on his .69 acres for the past two years, and he says the county, which has issued the North Ridge Road resident three citations following complaints from neighbors, is singling him out and violating his constitutional rights.

Linehan claims after the county became aware of his rabbit operation they have threatened him over permitting and septic tank issues and have changed his zoning without his knowledge.

“The county is trying to cram something down people’s throat they don’t want,” said Linehan, who lives on the property with his wife Rose. “They want to make this like a gated community. We’ve always had chickens; we’ve always had gardens and rabbits. This is an infringement of my constitutional rights. We want to go on living the way we were brought up.”

Sassafras writing contest winners announced


Winners in the Sassafras Adult Writing Contest were announced at the Georgia Marble Festival this weekend. (L-R) Christie Beiring Eagleson, 1st place; Bronwyn Rumery, 2nd place; Sassafras member Lynn Turner and Lynette Chambers, 3rd place.

By B. Joan Wilson-Barnes, contributor

On Saturday, Sassafras member Lynn Turner presented each of the three winners of the Sassafras Literary Exchange Adult Writing Contest with an award and a one year free membership in the Sassafras Literary Exchange from the central stage of the Marble Festival.

In keeping with the Marble Festival, the theme of this year’s contest was “Rocks.” Qualifying entries had to use the word rock or rocks in their essay, fiction or non-fiction story or poem. Creativity was encouraged and rock topics could include anything from “Pickens Rocks” to rock bands, to rocky roads, to famous rocks or anything else that referred to a rock or rocks.

The 1st place winner is Christie Beiring Eagleson. Her story, Simply a Rock, is a story about children’s fascination with rocks and the formation and travels of rocks. 

Bridge over Talking Rock Creek to be named for Lou Chastain


     The late Lou Chastain of Pickens County will be honored Friday, Oct. 7, at 10 a.m., when the State Highway 136 bridge spanning Talking Rock Creek north of Blaine is officially named in memorial.

     Chastain was well-known here as Georgia DOT's area engineer serving Pickens, Gilmer, Fannin and Cherokee counties.

Together, couple navigates blindness



Rumerys start support group for visually impaired

Being married can be challenging enough, but imagine adding blindness to your list of marital hurdles.

Keep that in mind the next time you drive through Jasper. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might just see Bronwyn and Scott Rumery walking up Main Street with guide dogs Jadyn and Duke leading the way.

The Rumerys, who were both blinded by a degenerative eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), spend their days doing a multitude of tasks they say many “sighted” people don’t realize can be accomplished by the blind.

Now the couple is taking steps to help support the visually impaired in the area and educate others about the disability.

“Other than driving, we can do everything seeing people can do, we just do it a lot slower,” said Scott, who met his wife Bronwyn on an Internet site dedicated to RP back in 2003.

Pictured, Scott and Bronwyn Rumery with guide dogs Jadyn and Duke. The Rumerys live in Jasper with their daughters Elizabeth and Makayla.­