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General news and features

Hemlock Doctor on a mission


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Damon Howell / Photo

Dr. Mike Shearer treating a stand of hemlock trees. This begins his months-long endeavor to save as many trees from insect infestation as he can.

It was a warm, sunny afternoon in February, ideal weather for the first day of Dr. Mike Shearer’s busy season. 

“I’ll be working almost every day from now until it starts to slow down in June,” Shearer said at a Pickens home where he was treating Canadian hemlocks, a native species in danger of extinction from the hemlock woolly adelgid. 

The aphid-like insect feeds on sap at the base of the hemlock’s needles, which eventually turn brown and fall off. The trees starve to death over the next three to five years. 

Officials review school security procedures

If you see something say something, don’t post something, says sheriff



Sheriff officials said Tuesday they are reviewing the procedures they follow with school threats after an investigation last week sparked a  panic among some parents.

Sheriff Donnie Craig and Captain Kris Stancil said the sheriff’s office, which commands the school resource officers, is regularly training and assessing school safety and has really increased their efforts this year with input from Superintendent Carlton Wilson and the school board. “We had really picked up the pace and this was before the Florida shootings,” said Craig.

[The school district also released a statement on security which appears at the bottom of this article.]

For the physical layout/structure of the schools, Craig said they identified some weak points where they want to make changes but would not publicly identify any until after they have been corrected.

Marines remember Iwo Jima

veterans iwo jima


     Members of the local Marine Corps League at the Iwo Jima Remembrance Memorial. (l-r): Jerry Harrison, Wayne Poore, Chuck Flemming, John Murray, Ken Hulsey, and Corpsman Gerald Faulkner. 


Submitted by Wayne Poore of Marine Corps League N. Ga. Mtn. Det. #1280


On February 19, 2018, members of the North Georgia Mountain Detachment #1280 of the Marine Corps League attended a Remembrance Memorial to show tribute to the 6,821 American lives lost (mostly Marines) involved in the invasion of Iwo Jima during WWII. 

On the 19th of February 1945, 73 years ago, at 07:59 in what seemed like mass confusion, “Operation Detachment” began. During the previous four days (the original request was for 20 days) the pre-invasion

Qualifying next week



Candidate qualifying for six local elections begins Monday, March 5 and ends Friday, March 9. Candidates must qualify at the Pickens County Elections & Registration office.  The office will be closed from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch. Qualifying dates, times and fees are as follows: