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Progress state races political forum Tuesday


The Pickens Progress will sponsor a political forum for state races on October 16th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Pickens County Administration Building in the Pickens Room.

The forum will feature races for the state legislature that include Pickens County:

• State Senate District 54 with incumbent Chuck Payne and challenger Michael Morgan.

• State House District 11 with incumbent Rick Jasperse and challenger Lee Shiver.

• Steve Gooch, running unopposed, in Senate District 51 will address the public.

The Progress’ Ball Ground correspondent Larry Cavender, who has received high marks for his handling of previous forums, will again moderate the event.

Meth cause of mother and infant death in Acworth

Cherokee Sheriff Press Release

   On July 17, 2018, Cherokee Sheriff’s deputies responded to a home on Cedar Mill Crossing in Acworth in reference to a “person down” call. When they arrived deputies discovered a 31-year-old female deceased on the sofa. Underneath the female, they found a deceased 8-month-old male infant. Also in the home was a 2-year-old female that was unharmed.

   The adult female was identified as Holly Whitley. There were no obvious injuries to Whitley or her infant son. An autopsy was conducted at the GBI Crime Lab. The “manner of death” for both the Whitley and the infant is listed as “accidental.” The “cause of death” for Holly Whitley was “Methamphetamine Toxicity.” The cause of death for the infant was “mechanical asphyxia.” In layman’s terms, Ms. Whitley died from a lethal amount of Methamphetamine in her system, her body came to rest on top of her infant which caused the child to smother, leading to his death.


Milestone scores show improvement, but still “room to grow”



Georgia Milestones scores from the 2017-2018 school year have been released by the Georgia Department of Education. While there are many areas where Pickens County students improved over last year, there are some areas that need attention. 

The 2017-2018 school year was the fourth time students took the Georgia Milestones test, which replaced the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT). Georgia Milestones scores are used to assess the mastery of Georgia Performance Standards. Milestone scores include End of Grade (EOG) tests for grades 3-8 and high school End of Course (EOC) tests.

Scores are broken down into numerous subject areas and several categories within those areas. For complete results by grade level, which includes a breakdown by school, visit 

Students are placed in one of four levels of learners in the Georgia Milestones: (1) Beginning, (2) Developing, (3) Proficient and (4) Distinguished. Students who score in the Proficient or Distinguished categories have demonstrated mastery of content for their grade and are considered on track to be college and career ready. The goal is to have students operating at the Proficient Learner level or above. 

Read more: Milestone scores show improvement, but still “room to grow”

Elderly Ball Ground woman arrested for husband's murder

Cherokee Sheriff’s Office

Press Release

On April 1, 2018, the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office responded to a “person down” call at 3180 Ball Ground Road near Ball Ground. At that location, they found 76-year-old David Parton deceased inside his home. Parton’s wife, Betty Sue Parton, 74, of Ball Ground, reported her husband had fallen and hit his head. Parton had injuries consistent with a fall. Initially the cause of death was unknown. Parton’s body was sent to the crime lab for an autopsy.  

In July, the Medical Examiner at the Crime Lab contacted detectives with the sheriff's office about the death being suspicious. On the autopsy report, the Medical Examiner listed the manner of death as “homicide” and the cause of death as “blunt force trauma.” In September, detectives executed a search at the Parton home. On Tuesday, Oct. 9, detectives secured arrest warrants for Betty Sue Parton. She was arrested at her home and charged with Felony Murder, Elder Abuse, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Aggravated Battery. She remains in custody at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center without bond. 


Lack of manpower puts brakes on traffic patrols


The three-member board of commissioners held a wide-ranging monthly work session last Thursday, quickly running through a number of topics before slowing down to talk speeding.

As a response to citizen concerns by Commissioner Becky Denney, public works personnel had been asked to price some flashing signs that show motorists’ speeds.

There have been resident concerns in the area around Tate Elementary over the velocity of traffic, especially big trucks descending the steep section of Highway 53.

Read the rest of this story in our e-edition.