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General news and features

New principal hired for Jasper Elementary


     Jasper, Georgia — The Pickens County School District announces the hiring of Dr. David Wilds as Principal for
Jasper Elementary School.
     Dr. David Wilds is a native of Statesboro, Georgia but has called Houston County home since 2005. He has
served as an Assistant Principal of Instruction at Lake Joy Primary School in Warner Robbins, Georgia, a very
high performing elementary school. Dr. Wilds earned a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and a Master of
Educational Leadership from Georgia Southern University. He received an Education Specialist in Educational

Carbon Monoxide poisoning blamed in Bent Tree deaths

    A preliminary autopsy shows carbon monoxide poisoning likely killed a Bent Tree couple whose bodies were discovered in their home November 3.

   The bodies of Richard and Wanda Zimmerman were discovered after security officers in Bent Tree went to their home to check on them after their water bill had gone unpaid. The unpaid bill was judged to be out of character for the homeowners.

   Sheriff Donnie Craig said the couple had been using a kerosene heater inside the home. Craig said a test of the heater showed it was giving off high levels of carbon monoxide.

Big plans for Veterans Day ceremonies



Plans for a Veterans Memorial to be built in Lee Newton Park, on the hill near the Pickens Senior Center. An official groundbreaking is planned in conjunction with Veterans Day ceremonies.


This year’s Veterans Day parade will be one for the history books, to include a very special event organizers have planned in conjunction with the Wednesday, Nov. 11 ceremonies. 

The morning’s activities will begin at 10 a.m. with a parade down Main Street in Jasper. Organizers are still accepting applications for parade entries, and encourage walkers, military and other vehicles, wagons and floats and anyone who supports veterans to enter. Entry into the parade is free. Applications can be found on page 20A of this week's paper. They must be received by Friday, Nov. 6. 


Also in this week's paper -- Read about one of the area’s most decorated World War II veterans, Page 16A

Execution date for Ga. inmate

An execution date for Marcus Ray Johnson has been set for November 19, 2015. Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens offers the following information in the case against Marcus Ray Johnson for the 1994 murder of Angela Sizemore:

Scheduled Execution


Marcus Ray Johnson’s direct appeal proceedings and his state and federal habeas corpus proceedings have been concluded. Accordingly, on November 2, 2015, the Superior Court of Dougherty County issued an order setting a seven-day period of time during which the execution of Marcus Ray Johnson may take place. The period of time ordered by the Superior Court will last from noon on November 19, 2015, to noon on November 26, 2015.  The execution has been set for Thursday evening, November 19, 2015.

E-SPLOST passes Fountain wins council

 Pickens voters overwhelmingly said yes to a sales tax to fund school needs, including a new middle school, in the Tuesday election. 

  Voters approved the school SPLOST 771 to 445 in an incredibly light turnout of 6.7 percent of registered voters.

  School Board chair Mike Cowart said the solid approval for the SPLOST,  projected to collect $30 million over five years, shows voters prefer to fund school construction and other needs with a sales tax.

  In the only city race, Tony Fountain won a third term on the Jasper Council taking 66 percent of the ballots over challenger Kirk Raffield. Fountain won 164 to 82.

  Fountain thanked everyone for their support during his campaign.

[A later report from the election's office gave slightly revised figures from a report released last night. The change didn't affect the outcome of either race. The figures in this story are the final figures.]