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Talking Rock Park now open

talking rock park

        Talking Rock Park reopened to the public Saturday, May 22. 

The park has been closed due to damage from flooding. While there is still some damage remaining, city officials say the park is usable. Mayor Randy Banks has meet with contractors to replace some washed out walkway areas with concrete, fencing, two swings, and bathroom stalls.

Banks said these repairs have been held up while the city waited for disaster relief funding. Over the next several weeks the public can expect the park to close briefly a day or two here and there while repairs are performed. 


Wide variety of veggies and handcrafted items at Jasper Farmers Market

market chair weaver hands

        Photo/Dan Pool

Terry Warden from TDW Chair Weaving showing off his craft at the Jasper Farmers Market under sunny skies Saturday.


By Heather Giambra


Another very busy Farmers Market graced with great weather and happy hearts made the shopping fun for the customers today. From Corinne’s Cookies to Miss Piggy’s pork skins and around again. There is such a wonderful choice of tasty treats for humans and pooches.

Add to that, with all the wonderful creativity at our market there are many choices of decorations, useful and artful, like cutting boards, bowls, jewelry, inspirational signs and paintings. Sewers and knitters make the aprons, bags, glass holders, and shawls. There are so many choices they can’t all be listed.


We had a special gallery on wheels roll in. Cuckoo clocks, the likes you haven’t seen. Wonderful creativity at it’s best, these cuckoo clocks featured beautiful patterns and colors, plus one is a total farm theme. (Jenny’s favorite). The new vendor, Jodie Davis & Mark Rowell, really had the customers talking.

Come see the market. Shop the market. Stroll the market. It’s well worth the visit and don’t forget the veggies. Our garden growers are offering garlic and greens and all things in between.

The Farmers Market is sponsored by the Master Gardeners of Pickens County each Saturday morning, 7:30 a.m. -  12 p.m. The next plant sale and program, Create Herb Infused Vinegar, will be  June 19th. The market is located in the Park n Ride parking lot of Lee Newton Park across from the Veteran’s Memorial. And mark your calendar, the Wednesday market will begin on June 23 with the hours 11-2. Perfect for those that want to drop by during their lunch hour.

Ga. to cut off federal COVID unemployment benefits

 By Dave Williams and Beau Evans

Capitol Beat News Service

    ATLANTA - Georgia is joining a growing number of Republican-led states in cutting off federal unemployment benefits to incentivize out-of-work employees to return to their jobs.

   Gov. Brian Kemp said in an interview with Fox News Thursday that the Georgia Department of Labor will stop issuing $300 weekly checks to jobless workers next month.

   The governor’s remarks came three days after a coalition of statewide business organizations spearheaded by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce released an op-ed complaining companies can’t find workers for a growing list of job openings because unemployed Georgians are receiving more in state and federal jobless benefits than they could earn by going back to work.

Read more: Ga. to cut off federal COVID unemployment benefits

Class of 2021 to graduate Friday evening

First evening graduation in years

graduation cap

        Approximately 285 members of the PHS Class of 2021 will graduate Friday evening, May 21st in Dragon Stadium.

The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. as graduates take their seats on the field to Pomp and Circumstance. Senior Class Secretary Sarah Cottrell will deliver the invocation followed by Emma Long singing the national anthem and the PHS Chorus Ensemble will lead the senior class singing the alma mater.

Senior Class Vice President Clayton Shoffer will introduct the graduation speaker, SRO Deputy Kevin Roach. Brooke Bell will deliver the salutatory address followed by class Valedictorian Heather Vincent delivering her speech to the class. 

Pickens High School Principal Chris Wallace will then present the Class of 2021 as he is joined by Superintendent Tony Young and Senior Class President Alyssa Ray in awarding the diplomas.

Read more: Class of 2021 to graduate Friday evening

Kemp to Georgia motorists: Stop hoarding gasoline


gas pumpBy Dave Williams
Bureau Chief
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA - Georgians rushing to gas stations to fill their tanks are worsening fuel shortages that began after a cyberattack shut down the Colonial Pipeline, Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday.

“Only get the gasoline you need,” Kemp urged motorists during a mid-afternoon news conference at the state Capitol. “Please do not go out and fill up every 5-gallon tank you have. Doing so will only mean the shortage will last longer.”

The 5,500-mile pipeline that supplies almost half of the gasoline on the East Coast shut down last Friday after a ransomware attack that has been traced to hackers operating out of Russia or Eastern Europe.

Colonial officials are working to get the pipeline back into service by the end of this week. Meanwhile, panicking motorists have been lining up at gas stations to fill their tanks, resulting in some stations running out of fuel.

With pump prices on the rise, Kemp signed an executive order Tuesday suspending the collection of the state gasoline tax. The order also lifts the usual weight limits on fuel delivery trucks.

In a move to increase supplies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the state’s request to allow the sale of a blend of gasoline normally sold only during winter months. The state has a supply of winter-blend fuel in storage.

“We’re going to have this new product flowing quickly,” said state Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, whose agency oversees fuel quality control in Georgia.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said his office has received more than 300 complaints of price gouging. The governor’s executive order prohibits price gouging, although pump prices have been edging higher during the last few days due to the higher costs of shipping fuel with the pipeline out of service.

“No one should be taking advantage of consumers trying to pursue their daily activities,” Carr said.

Kemp said there have been no cyber threats to the state’s computer systems in the wake of the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline.

However, state agencies involved in cybersecurity – including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Cyber Center and the Georgia Technology Authority – are working together on contingency plans for dealing with a threat should one occur, he said.

“We’re doing all we can to ensure if an attempt is made, our employees and agencies are well equipped to respond,” he said.