Get Adobe Flash player


General news and features

School board cuts taxes


Pickens County schools general fund. Revenue source comparison, FY01 to FY18. **FY17 & 18 figures based on budgeted revenue.

        Following a vote to lower the millage rate by the school board earlier this month, the Progress sat down with Superintendent Carlton Wilson and school finance director Amy Smith.

This marks the largest rollback in the millage rate in seven years and the second straight year of cuts.

The tax rate for 2017 was approved at 15.66 mills, down from 15.98 last year and from 16.1 mills the four years prior.

        In terms of local tax dollars (mostly from property taxes) the schools will budget to collect $21,416,418 for 2017, only slightly lower than the amount collected last year, but almost $900,000 lower than the amount collected 2012, when they budgeted for $22.3 million in local taxes.

        See full story, which includes comments from the schools finance officer and superintendent, in this week's print or online edition. 

Fire crews battle two blazes in past week



A county fireman goes head to head with a blaze that engulfed a home off Highway 108 in south Pickens. Just four days later crews fought a house fire at the top of Burnt Mountain. The family living in the home lost everything. Click here to find the GoFundMe account to help Pete Coker and family. This was the first of two fires in one week.  



     A massive house fire near the summit of Burnt Mountain  could be seen for miles on Sunday, Sept.17.  

     “It was a big, hot fire,” said Pickens County Fire Marshal Curtis Clark.  

A neighbor on Longview Road off Highway 136 near the Gilmer line, where the home was located, called the fire in at approximately 5 p.m. The home was engulfed in flames and smoke, and is considered a total loss. 

     The fire marshal said the cause is unknown at this time.  

     “We just don’t know. There’s nothing left to look at,” Clark said. “Everything is gone.”  

     The house was uninhabited, and had been for months according to neighbors. At the time of the interview Clark was tracking down the owners. 

Ball Ground takes first step to limit truck traffic downtown

BG ribbon cutting

     A ribbon-cutting ceremony was recently held for Boutique Unique which specializes in personalized merchandise. Seen cutting the ribbon in center are owners Teal and Wendell Sanders flanked by members of the Ball Ground Business and Community Association.

By Larry Cavender

Contibuting Writer

At their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on September 14th, the Ball Ground City Council approved a resolution in hopes eventually to remove portions of State Route 372 from the state highway system. The resolution asks the Cherokee County government to support the city in this effort, and is only the first step in the town's attempts to limit downtown truck traffic.

If Cherokee County agrees to support the measure, and Mayor Rick Roberts says indications are the county would offer their support, the next move would be to petition the Georgia Department

Ellijay festival gives glimpse into Tiny Homes

tiny house

       Tiny homes are a growing trend among designers and home buyers. 


Tiny Home Mountain Festival


We were excited to learn about a new festival taking place in Ellijay September 23rd and 24th, the Tiny Home Mountain Festival.   Like many tiny home festivals there will be tiny home models in the tiny home village but unlike other tiny house festivals this festival includes tiny homes on foundations. Each of the homes on foundations focuses on affordability and each one spotlights different building materials, exterior designs and energy efficiency options. Including a SIP built construction, White Cedar Log Cabin and a Steel House with unique rough sawn siding.

Pickens meets Juilliard grads in a world premier

“Letters of the American South” theme of Sept. 23 concert

Casual Classics ColArtsEnsemble

Collaborative Arts Ensemble (at right) is made up of four recent Juilliard graduates: a singer, pianist, actor, and fiddler. The ensemble will perform a free concert on Saturday, Sept. 23.  

FREE CONCERT - Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m., Fellowship Presbyterian Church. The Casual Classics Concert Series presents secular (non-religious) concerts suitable for all ages as a gift to Pickens County and north Georgia residents.

Suzanne Shull, Manager of the Casual Classics Series - now in its 12th season - recently interviewed Juilliard graduate, Thomas West,"Letters of the American South."