Local group vows allegations by former disgruntled employee are false
On July 10th the Georgia Department of Agriculture issued an administrative order for disciplinary action against Pickens Animal Rescue Ranch, seeking to revoke their license saying members of the board knowingly took animals who had owners and adopted them out illegally. The longtime animal rescue group, commonly called PAR say the allegations are false and were made by a former disgruntled employee, and they intend to “vigorously defend” the organization and its mission.
Pickens Animal Rescue is around two decades old and preceded the county shelter for many years as the only rescue group here.
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Three deputies and two medical responders are under observation at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital after one deputy passed out and the others showed lesser symptoms when a container with powdery substance was opened and went airborne during a search of the A1 Smoke shop on West Church Street Friday afternoon.
Chief Deputy Jeff Hall, who was at the scene, said none of the officers or first responders had symptoms that appeared life threatening, but all showed some effects from the powdery substance and were treated with standard decontamination procedure. They remain under observation at Piedmont Mountainside.
Hall said it began when a powder, believed to be a legally sold substance used in vapes and in the powder form, went airborne.
Hall would not comment on what the original search warrant was for at this time. He did say the package in question appeared to be a regularly sold item at vape shops, not an illegal drug.
A Cherokee County Hazmat team is expected at the scene to begin both clearing the area and gathering samples. The parking lot for the neighboring stores in the West Church Street area that contains Pueblo Grille was closed. Hall said there may be some delay as they are seeking additional search warrants after the incident.
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Hall said the deputy who passed out had regained consciousness and is recovering, but was still being watched closely. He said they were exercising full caution with the officers and med crew.
Damon Howell / Photo
City employees Eddie Rey, Chad Miller and supervisor Jimmy Howard taking out the trash at a local business.
The approximately 600 Jasper residents who have city garbage collection could see changes to service, with a town hall meeting scheduled at the end of the month to discuss the service’s future.
Council is considering privatizing trash pick-up, with local companies to possibly take over the routes and provide weekly pickup. According to an advertisement for the town hall meeting (on page 8A), changes could cause rates to increase, back-door pickup to be no longer available or to go up in price, and could cause daily garbage pickup to no longer be available.
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Dan Solla, a combat veteran who suffers from PTSD, said when he was in full blown crisis mode, time was not a luxury he had.
“The VA has lists that are two months long for vets with PTSD,” said Solla. “I didn’t have time to wait for that. I needed help right then.”
Solla, who now works for the Atlanta Chapter of PTSD Foundation of America helping other combat vets by telling his own story, had spiraled out of control. At his lowest, he said even though he may not have been thinking about putting a gun to his head, “I was doing a lot of self-harm. I didn’t care what happened to me. I was on the road to killing myself that way.”
Members of the planning commission agreed Monday that the county should work with the Department of Community Affairs to create new categories for land use, further define some standards, and “get ahead of the curve” with land use planning.
County attorney Phil Landrum asked the commission their views ahead of a discussion by the board of commissioners to update/overhaul the land use standards used by the county. The appointed planning board members all agreed that updating and refining is needed.