Get Adobe Flash player


General news and features

Apparent murder-suicide under investigation

sherifflogoOn Tuesday, March 21st, deputies responded to an address on Burgess Road West in Jasper Georgia. The caller had advised that he had found his tenant in his home and he was not conscious. After arriving, deputies found 2 individuals in the home that were deceased.

During the initial investigation, it appears that a Mr. Perry Wayne Hightower killed Ms. Brenda Castleberry and then committed suicide. Hightower, 59 years old, was in a relationship with Ms. Castleberry, 62 years old. 

The caller revealed that he had went to the home with a family member of Ms. Castleberry after they had not heard from her for a short period of time, which was rare. 

Now is the time for real county planning, says Magistrate


Magistrate Judge Allen Wigington is leading an effort for more serious long-term planning for county government. Here, he addresses the board of commissioners on the subject at a recent meeting.


What is Pickens County going to look like in five years? Ten?  

A group of the county’s elected officials say without a clear long-term vision the future could be ruled by reactionary government instead of foresight and thoughtful planning.   

Speaking at the most recent commissioners’ meeting, Pickens County’s Chief Magistrate Judge Allen Wigington said the time is now for leaders and the public to begin work on a plan that will include internal governmental operations such as budgeting,  as well as a larger vision for the community and also economic development. 

See what else this group has planned in our print and e-editions.

Latest Details: Deputy shoots man charging him with pipe after imploring him to stop and drop it

 "Don't make me shoot you," deputy implores before shots fired


A still-frame from dashboard video of encounter where a deputy shot Gary Lee Castle after he continued charging with a pipe despite numerous warnings.


Pickens Deputy Sgt. Travis Curran shot a man charging him brandishing a metal pipe around 1 a.m. Tuesday following a traffic stop on Lincoln Street. [Original report.]

Gary Lee Castle, 54, who lived on Lincoln Street where the shooting took place, was hit twice in the abdomen and  once in the arm by the 17-year-veteran deputy firing the sheriff’s office standard .40 caliber Glock pistol. Curran hit Castle with all three shots fired. 

Castle, who did not lose consciousness, was taken by helicopter to an Atlanta trauma center where he was listed in critical but stable condition Tuesday about noon.

A dashboard video from Curran’s patrol car clearly shows the events leading up to the shooting but not the shooting itself. 

See all the latest details in this week's print or e-edition.



Suspect arrested in Waffle House robbery


UPDATED -- The Progress was informed this evening that the suspect in this case has been arrested.



[Security image from Waffle House. Police are asking for help identifying the man with facial tattoos, suspected of robbing the restaurant early Saturday morning.]

  Jasper Police are releasing a photo of a suspect in a robbery at the Waffle House (near Hwy. 108 intersection on Hwy. 515) in the early morning hours Saturday.

  Detective Matt Dawkins said there are some details that are still being sorted out, but the suspect is known to have gotten away with about $500 from the Waffle House. Dawkins said at this time they are only saying robbery, not armed robbery.

   Dawkins said the suspect is very distinctive looking with facial tattoos. They have been circulating the photo among law enforcement agencies hoping someone knows the identity.

   They are asking the public to call the Jasper Police at 706-692-9110 if they have any information on person shown. Anonymous tips are welcome. Leave message if no answer for detectives.

The suspect is described as a white male, heavyset and over 6’1.”

   The police are also asking for anyone with information on vehicles that might have been connected to the robbery between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. at the Waffle House on Highway 515 south of Jasper.

   “We will definitely be following up some leads,” the detective said.

   The same Waffle House was robbed by an armed man on December 24, 2016.

   When asked if the robberies could be related, Dawkins said no way, “totally different.” 



Ghost hunter finds spirits in Cherokee removal fort


Ghost hunter and author Jeanne Wells at Fort Newnan in Blaine.

By Jeanne Wells

Author of forthcoming book on Georgia ghosts

The third smallest town in Georgia -Talking Rock - was originally part of the Cherokee Nation. Its name may have derived from a rock formation that echoed, or from the sound of water running over the rocks in the creek. 

The Cherokee who lived in the surrounding area were eventually taken and held at an “Indigenous Peoples” removal fort called Fort Newnan. Fort Newnan is located in a community near Talking Rock called Blaine. The Fort’s location itself is believed to have been near the town’s Masonic Lodge. Established in 1838, the fortification was set up as a detainment camp and was  used to round up the Cherokee before their long walk on the Trail of Tears. 

Find her Facebook page Spirits, Angels and Paranormal here

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