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General news and features

Pickens herbalist reviving Appalachian tradition



Crystal Merrell prepares an immunity boosting tincture at an office she works from in Ball Ground. She believes the time is right this year to build up a client base as a full-time community herbalist.


My tongue looks pretty healthy, a little shiny in a few spots which means its dry and could be a clue to a deeper condition if other symptoms were present.

But, all-in-all, Pickens County herbalist Crystal Merrell says medically speaking my tongue is fairly unremarkable.

Merrell also checked the shape of my wrist and ankles to determine that I was a “water” person – again nothing requiring action but something to note in case I had issues with my constitution.

I approached my January appointment with Merrell, a Pickens native, by letting her know that I was skeptical of herbalism, but it might make a good article. She works out of the Ball Ground office of Bruce Chiropractic.

Most county seats up for election

Candidate qualifying March 7-11

    If you’re interested in running for local office you’ll have ample opportunity this year, with 10 county seats up for grabs.
    Local elected offices that will appear on the ballot in 2016 are sheriff, currently held by Donnie Craig; commission chair, held by Rob Jones; district 2 commissioner, held by Becky Denney; tax commissioner, held by Sharon Troglin; clerk of court, held by Gail Brown; probate judge, held by

Tater Patch Players' "Sylvia" runs through February 14


Greg playing with Sylvia, to Kate's dismay.
By Pat Jewell
Tater Patch Players

    After stating “The dog phase of our life is definitely over” Kate is shocked and angry when her husband, Greg, brings a stray home. Kate and Greg have raised their children and moved to the city, carving out a new life in their careers and social activities.  There is simply no room for a dog in their lives.

School janitorial supervisor arrested for multiple thefts


Some of the loot recovered by sheriff detectives believed to have been stolen from the local school system.

Sheriff Office press release 

   After completion of an investigation regarding thefts from the Pickens County Board of Education, detectives from the Pickens Sheriff’s Office have arrested Larry Ledbetter, a long time maintenance technician and supervisor over janitorial staff.

    Originally receiving a complaint that Ledbetter was doing outside work for individuals during work hours, school officials began investigating. Early into their investigation, it was determined that items were missing as well. At this time, Stacey Gilleland, the Director of Operations for the Board of Education, contacted the Sheriff Donnie Craig and a criminal investigation was launched.


New leadership at airport brings enthusiasm, forward momentum

“My goal is to push these projects into reality so we can start seeing a surplus,” said new authority chair

airport 2249A shot down the central taxiway of the 17-acre 'horseshoe" located beside the Pickens County Airport. The airport authority hopes to attract aviation related businesses to build hangars here.    

New leadership and a new engineering firm at the Pickens County Airport seem to have generated a renewed enthusiasm for development and expansion, with two big initiatives slated to happen this year.

See the full story in this week's print or online editions.