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Should city and county combine water/sewage systems?

comp plan

       Clayton Preble, standing, and Roger Schultz, seated to his right, lead a discussion on merging some operations of the county and city at a planning meeting last week.

       Should the city of Jasper and Pickens County combine resources to form a joint water/sewage authority? 

That question was the key discussion point of the Comprehensive Planning Session December 12th at the County Admin building. The comprehensive plan update is required in all Georgia counties on a regular basis. Pickens is expected to begin drafting a revision to the current plan early next year to submit to the state by summer of 2018. 

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Changes sought at Chattahoochee Tech


chattahoochee tech empty parking lot

Damon Howell / Photo

Last Friday afternoon the parking lot of the tech school showed few signs of activity. The apparent absence of educational use has been noticed by community members who voiced criticism and questions at a meeting with Chattahoochee Tech officials last week. 


        Members of the community, including business leaders and civic officials, met Friday with top administrators of Chattahoochee Technical College to discuss how the college could be reinvigorated to meet the needs of the community.

After a long discussion, several actions were advocated, including the hiring of a full-time person to promote the Jasper campus; a needs assessment to give direction on courses and other offerings; and a promise by the college president “to listen more intently” to the people of this area.

Chattahoochee Technical College has a total enrollment of 10,200 students. The largest group are students who take at least some classes online and also attend classes at a campus. The Marietta campus is the next largest with 4,500 students. 2,500 students attend the second largest campus in Cherokee County, while Pickens only has an enrollment of 414.

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

Mountain bike trails open up in Pickens County

   mt. bike trail open

     6-year-old rider Beau Tate at the Talking Rock Nature Preserve trails now open to the public. His father, Will Tate, is president of the local friends of the trails and said the trails are well-suited for younger and beginning riders.

After five years of planning and work, the private land trust that owns the property announced this week that the mountain bike trails at the Talking Rock Nature Preserve are open to the public and free to ride or hike.

Bill Jones of Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land (STPAL), speaking at the Chamber of Commerce meeting Tuesday said they were expecting the last loads of gravel to be delivered for the parking lot that day at the center of the 211-acre tract on the west side of Highway 515 at the Pickens/Gilmer line. 

Five of the planned 10 miles of trail are ready and work continues on the remainder at this time. The park can be accessed from Old Whitestone Road or Carnes Mill Road coming from Highway 515 across from Biguns Barbeque.

Read more: Mountain bike trails open up in Pickens County

Congressmen Graves, Collins comment on tax bill passage

“This bill is a Christmas present for every American,” says Tom Graves


Washington, D.C. – Rep. Tom Graves’ (R-GA-14) today voted for and the House passed the Conference Report to Accompany the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1), which is the final version of legislation to cut taxes for families and businesses and create more American jobs. This legislation worked out differences between the previously-passed House and Senate versions of the bill. 

“This is a historic moment for our country,” said Rep. Graves. “When President Trump signs the Tax Cut and Jobs Act into law later this week, it will mark the first time the tax code was reformed in more than three decades.

Read more: Congressmen Graves, Collins comment on tax bill passage

Is the Pickens County Animal Shelter up for grabs?

animal shelter

       The Pickens County Animal Shelter opened in 2009. The county is now fielding proposals from two entities interested in taking over operations and/or medical care.  

       At the most recent commissioners work session, board members briefly discussed a proposal from a local veterinarian interested in taking over Pickens County Animal Shelter operations, as well as a second group that has separately expressed interest in contracting for the care of the animals. 

Animal Medical Clinic, operated by Dr. Craig Chester, has proposed to move his operations to the animal shelter and use his current office for quarantine. Full details of his proposal were not made public at this time, but Dr. Chester will make a presentation at the next regular meeting on Thursday, Dec. 21.  

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