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General news and features

Open records case goes viral


Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver

     The Georgia First Amendment Foundation, the Atlanta Press Club, Georgia Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Georgia Press Association want all charges dropped against a Fannin newspaper publisher and his attorney, with Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver accused of jailing them over open records requests.
    On Friday, June 24th, Fannin Focus publisher Mark Thomason and his attorney Russell Stookey were arrested and charged with attempted identity fraud, identity fraud and making a false statement. The two men were jailed and released on $10,000 bond to await trial.

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

Habitat families “pay it forward”: First home dedicated in New Hope Acres

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    Angela Reinhardt / Photo
    Randy and Jessica Casey, with sons Trey, 2, and Zachary, 15, in front of their new home in New Hope Acres.

    Earlier this year the Caseys were living with parents in Hinton, but after taking a leap of faith and applying for a Pickens County Habitat for Humanity house, the family is in their own home in the New Hope Acres community. 
    “We just felt like if we applied God might be willing to help us get approved,” said Randy Casey, who along with wife Jessica and their sons were presented with keys to their new home at a Sunday dedication ceremony.

Reclaiming Roots: A modern Appalachian herbalist free herbs gathered from nature


Free Herbs from nature
By Crystal Merrell
Local herbalist

    Free stuff is great. Everybody knows that. Backroad blackberries gathered on a hot summer morning taste better than those bought at the store. Squash and cucumbers gifted from your aunt’s overflowing garden come with a heaping helping of love on the side. And my favorite - free and plentiful wild local herbs. It is like your birthday combined with a scavenger hunt! You get the free gift of the herbs AND the joy and experience of the hunt and gather.

Hamming it up at radio club field day


Dan Pool / Photo
    Jasper Radio Club members scan and listen for contacts in the competitive Field Day.
    Ham radio operators worked around the clock in Lee Newton park last weekend scanning dials, calling out lingo, sending Morse code and listening for other radio users around the world as part of a 24-hour competition.
    The Jasper Radio Club hoped to repeat past success (they have won in several previous years) by making contact with more people than any other group their size between 2 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

UPDATED: Mark Miller denied bond in theft, fraud case


   Jasper attorney Mark Miller was denied bond after a lengthy hearing today, Monday, June 27th in the Pickens County Courthouse.

See full story on bond hearing and Miller's defense attorney's comment in this week's Progress.


   Miller recently spent 10 days in the Gilmer jail on contempt charges and now faces a barrage of financial transaction card fraud charges, identity fraud, theft by deception, theft by conversion, and theft by taking charges here in Pickens County. He was also charged with exploitation and intimidation of disabled adult, elder person or resident. He is also accused of "racketeering activity" for the crimes. He was arrested Friday afternoon by Gilmer County deputies at his home and was being transferred to the Pickens jail, according to a statement from the Pickens sheriff about 3:30 p.m.