Ah, year’s end, time for a little ritual to Janus, the two-faced Roman God who looks both forwards and backwards. This week we’re looking backwards at how we fared with what we wanted in 2017 - as published in this space a year ago. Next week’s we’ll look ahead.
• Give us a sign – We sought curb appeal on Highway 515 showing that Jasper is here and welcomes visitors. Nope. Looks the same as it did at the start of the year. Surely, we can muster a sign at the Highways 515/53 intersection and some landscaping. Both Ellijay and Blue Ridge have made the four-lane through their burgs attractive and do well with tourism.
• Don’t Facebook, be happy – Social media hasn’t collapsed under the avalanche of lies, nasty comments and inane pet/food photos, but we can still hope. Even the Facebook company blog recently acknowledged that too much time glaring at their feed is detrimental to your mental health.
• Tax cuts for the county – Both the county and schools cut taxes slightly and now the GOP has delivered some tax relief for all Americans. We’ll take small victories where we find them. NOTE: before you start e-mailing, we understand some people may have seen their properties re-assessed and higher tax bills. But in general taxes were cut.
• Fewer legend deaths – The deaths of Tom Petty, Glen Campbell and Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) plus Hugh Hefner made news but 2017 didn’t hit as hard on the celebrity death notices as prior years – unless you count those who sexual misconduct figuratively killed.
• Fill the Buildings – Small change. A new pizza restaurant coming to the old SideBar/Crust building). Otherwise empty large buildings and vacant commercial properties still abound, though the former NAPA building downtown does look very nice.
• Rain – Pretty solid improvement with rainfall. Though no one here gets to claim credit, we were happy to go a year without serious drought issues.
• Marble Festival ReBoot – We’d consider this a full success. The Chamber of Commerce put new events and life into the October festival. Let’s get behind them to see it grow and improve again this year.
• Trump to Succeed – Last year we noted that regardless of how you voted, everyone should want the man in the White House to succeed. Didn’t happen. At this point, we judge the nation to be slightly less great than when his term started. Let’s hope for a better sophomore year.
Some notable wish lists items
from earlier years:
• Go Dawgs. For Kirby Smart to fire up the Dawgs. Didn’t make it in 2016 but we’ll take it a year later.
• Boys and Girls Club built and funded and open (2016 list). A big yes and continuing to meet needs.
• Revival of the arts in Jasper – Keep on dreaming.
• More focus on ways to capitalize on Pickens as a great bedroom community. No progress that we can tell. In fact we’re not sure there is any focus on any marketing angle of this county.
• Development around Walmart (2015 request) – Added the Murphy gas station, but certainly isn’t crowded out there or anywhere on the four-lane, though there is a whole new (empty) area near the Highway 108 intersection.
• Take off at the airport tech park (2014 list) – We wanted it first three years ago and it hasn’t happened. However, there are signs of life with the re-formed airport authority. Chances look good that we’ll finally see potential get airborne out there in 2018.
• Beat the national averages on SAT – In 2017, on the revived 1600 scale Pickens scored a 1092 average while the state average was 1050 and the national average was 1060 so mission accomplished. Way to go Dragons.
We wish all our readers a happy and prosperous New Year.