Health benefits discussion ends in Jasper’s March meeting


JASPER, Ga. – On the agenda since January, Jasper City Council has been discussing self-funding for medical insurance versus insuring normally as they have been for years. They have had both Matt Bidwell, of MSI Benefits, and Kevin Godfrey, of Godfrey-Downs, looking through their contacts and markets to bring forth proposals to the council for insurance.

The city ultimately went with the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) recommended by Bidwell and MSI Benefits. Though the original recommendation was a $1,500 deductible plan, the council’s motion approved an alternate plan with a $1,000 deductible. The new plan’s premiums for the city would come to $1,104,163.00, around a $52,000 increase, which is far less than the near $300,000 increase the city was originally looking at during the beginning of the year. According to Bidwell, this plan is just above a 4 percent increase over the $1,500 deductible plan for the city.

The plan also allows, according to Bidwell, for any employee receiving compensation in the form of workman’s comp or a salary from the city to be covered under the insurance. This covers the issue the city had with their current insurance preparing to drop an officer from coverage who was injured in the line of duty.

The city may be closing down North and South Main street once a month in favor of a recurring Chamber event. Setting the events as May through August, the Chamber is attempting to establish the Saturday Social in the Mountains as a tourism event. The issue came before council to close South and North Main Street for the social events. While representatives had no set point of exactly what every event would entail, they did suggest they could include live music, children’s events, food, and other activities. Ultimately approved, the item passed with two votes, as Dr. Sonny Proctor and Anne Sneve abstained due to their involvement with the Chamber.

The council also approved a number of previously budgeted expenses including $14,000 to swap out the Cove Well emergency generator, $11,900 to rebuild pump four across from Shiloh Church, and the previously discussed 3 percent raise for city employees.


Pickens election candidates qualify (FINAL)

Election 2018

JASPER, Ga. – This week marks qualifying for the coming 2018 elections in Pickens County.

Pickens County is holding elections for this year’s open positions for County Commissioner District 1, Board of Education Post 2, Board of Education Post 3, Board of Education Post 5, Jasper City Council, and Nelson City Council.

Each day, FetchYourNews will be taking note of those qualifying for the election and the position for which they will be running.

As of Thursday, March 8, those who have qualified so far are as follows:

District 1 County Commissioner

Amberle Godfrey has qualified for the District 1 County Commissioner position as a Republican.

Amberle Godfrey

Bart Connelly has qualified for the District 1 County Commissioner position as a Republican.

Bart Connelly

Jerry Barnes has qualified for the District 1 County Commissioner position as a Republican. He is the incumbent for this position.

Jerry Barnes – Incumbent

Board of Education Post 2

Joeta Youngblood has qualified for the Board of Education Post 2 position as a Republican.

Board of Education Post 3

The race for Post 3 will see competition this year with two already qualified for the position.

Byron Long has qualified for the Board of Education Post 3 position as a Republican. He is the incumbent for this position.

Tucker Green has qualified for the Board of Education Post 3 position as a Republican.

Board of Education Post 5

Steven Smith has qualified for the Board of Education Post 5 position as a Republican.

Jasper City Council

With the recent resignation of James Looney in the Jasper City Council, the open seat up for election has seen qualifiers as well.

Kirk Raffield  has qualified for the Jasper City Council seat.

Kirk Raffield

Doug Patterson has qualified for the Jasper City Council seat.

Doug Patterson

Nelson City Council

Nathan Hamby has qualified for the Nelson City Council seat.


Dynamite Fitness – Ribbon Cutting

Press Release


The Pickens County Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate Dynamite Fitness on their ribbon cutting for their business. Dynamite Fitness, LLC is a “Boot Camp” style ladies-only gym. They are here to motivate, encourage, and support the ladies of our community to be a healthier and happier YOU! They offer strength, weight, HIIT, circuit, cardio and endurance training BY women FOR women! They offer drop in day rates, weekly, or monthly programs.

Brittany Poole and Bridget Roland started this venture because they knew there were many local ladies who would love the opportunity to get in shape but just did not feel comfortable in a typical gym setting. When you walk through their doors, you will feel welcome and never intimidated or out of place. They have members ranging from young teenagers to 60+ and on ALL fitness levels. Poole and Roland coach and support you through it all! Not only will you be able to get in shape, but you will have a great time while doing so. The laughs and high fives are endless, and the sweat is just a bonus. Kids are also welcome where they are free to play games, color, watch TV or work on homework.

They have been blessed with an AMAZING group of ladies thus far and look forward to all 2018 may bring.

Your first class is always FREE, so just give them a shot.

For more information on Dynamite Fitness and many other businesses that are members of the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce, please give us a call at 706-692-5600 or visit our website at

Council member resigns to take new position


JASPER, Ga. – Jasper City Council Member Jim Looney resigned during the Jasper City Council Meeting Monday, Feb. 5.

Resigning so that he may take the interim position of city manager, Looney stated it was due to information advised to him that state law prohibits a councilman from holding another municipal office without resigning from his council seat.

Looney read the state code in the council’s meeting: “A councilman or alderman of a municipal corporation shall be ineligible to hold any other municipal office during the term of office for which the councilman or alderman was chosen unless he first resigns as councilman or alderman before entering such other office.”

Immediately after his resignation, the city council officially nominated Looney as city manager for Jasper. As part of the motion made, the city manager position was set “until such time as specific duties and powers of the mayor and city manager are clearly delineated by the city council, that the city manager report to the mayor and city council collectively.”

Jasper Mayor John Weaver recognized members of the public to speak at the meeting. The council was questioned about the public knowledge of the proceeding involving the transfer of the city manager position from Weaver and now to Looney.

Jasper City Council Member Dr. Sonny Proctor commented saying he had asked about the situation last year and began researching the position and the separation of positions. Having spoken on the topic several times, Proctor confirmed there was closed discussion about personnel issues in executive sessions, but the votes were taken in public.

In addition to this resignation and appointment to the city manager position, Looney’s move leaves a city council seat open. During their meeting, the council approved a call for election and set the qualifying fee at $35 for the position. With details still coming about the approval, Jasper will be seeing more details about the election in the coming weeks.

One last comment from Proctor came before the final vote on the issue. “This is a time for us all to come together, and I know it doesn’t feel like that is what’s going on,” Proctor said. “I’m not trying to divide us. I’m trying to bring us together, in a different way I understand that. But I want us to collaborate and work together.

The official vote appointing Looney as city manager came 3-1 with council member Tony Fountain being the dissenting vote.

As the meeting moved through the rest of the agenda items, it came time to adjourn the meeting. However, Mayor John Weaver took time to make one final comment before adjournment saying, “I have been mayor/city manager for 25 years, 5 months, 2 days and 15 minutes, maybe 4 hours and 15 minutes. Anyway, I have enjoyed my stay here and I feel like by being the mayor/city manager, being the evil thing that it is, has allowed the city of Jasper to grow from a $1.6 million budget to over $12 million without raising taxes and with only one water rate increase. I feel like by being the mayor/city manager has given me the opportunity to go visit people, look them in the eye, and argue the case of the city of Jasper better than any city manager that you could possibly have.”


Lady Rebels Declaw the Lady Bobcats

FCHS Sports, Sports

This past Friday on day two of the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the Lady Bobcats traveled to take on the Lady Rebels. The Lady Bobcats were coming from a win on day one of the tournament while the Lady Rebels were well rested from the bye game that was scheduled on the first day. Both teams came ready to play and were hungry for another win.

It appeared to be an even matchup from the start. Gilmer had the hustle on defense while Fannin had the determination on offense. The Lady Rebels seemed to score the majority of their points off plays. Lady Rebel, Maleah Stepp, led Fannin in scoring with thirteen points with her will to win. The Lady Bobcats made most of their points from driving the lane and playing in the moment. Lady Bobcat, Mallory Kiser, led her team in scoring with nine points due to her grit. Lady Rebel post, Mackenzie McClure, was on fire with her outside shots which put her right behind Stepp in scoring with ten points. Lady Bobcat guard, Taylor Boling, was behind Kiser in scoring with seven points overall. With the first quarter coming to an end, the Lady Rebels were just one point ahead of the Lady Bobcats with a score of 13-12.

The second quarter was back and forth. Neither team could keep a consistent lead for the eight minutes on the clock. The Lady Rebels started to play scrappy on defense and began rebounding. Lady Rebel, Bailey Whitener, got aggressive down low and contributed three points for her team. Another Lady Rebel, Maddie Johnson, got after it and scored five points after getting steals on defense. Gilmer started looking up the court to find Lady Bobcat, Marylee Callihan, who also put five points on the board for her team. Number twenty-four for the Lady Bobcats, Emma Callihan, put her all into the game and contributed four points for Gilmer. With Fannin in the lead halfway through the quarter, Lady cat Michaela Staley drew a foul and made two of her foul shots. Staley’s two points tied up the game. Gilmer continued to score and further their lead until the end of the second quarter. It was the Lady Rebels ball as the clock was winding down and Reagan Henderson happened to be wide open. Henderson received a beautiful pass down low which resulted in her making a buzzer beater shot and contributing two of her overall three points to tie the game 23-23.

With both teams having the same chances of winning, Fannin found their spunk. The Lady Rebels started to draw fouls from driving the lane. Lady Rebel, Hope Franklin, drew two fouls from the block and contributed two of her four points from the foul line. However, Fannin was not the only team to draw fouls. Lady Bobcat, Katie Kiker, drew a foul and put one point on the board for Gilmer. As Fannin’s lead extended, Gilmer came alive on the block. Lady Bobcat, Faith Ralston, scored two of her three points from down low. Another post for Gilmer, Jasmine Staley, contributed two points for the Lady Bobcats from under the basket. Gilmer’s lead strayed farther from Fannin’s which resulted in the score being 31-25 at the end of the third quarter.

With Gilmer down by only six points, they were determined to make a come back. Both teams wanted to win and it showed through their hustle and intensity. With Gilmer trying their best to catch up to Fannin, the Lady Rebels tried just as hard to keep their lead. Although both teams had the heart to win the game, one had to lose. The Lady Bobcats played an amazing game, but were five points away from victory. The Lady Rebels 38-33 win over the Lady Bobcats put Fannin in the championship game to be played the next day against the Lady Dragons.

The Lady Rebels win puts their overall record at 7-6 while the Lady Bobcats record also stands at 7-6. Catch the Lady Rebels next region game at Fannin County High School on January 5 against GAC starting at 7:00! Or catch the Lady Bobcats next region game on the same day and at the same time as they travel to take on Northwest Whitfield!


December Breakfast Press Release


December Chamber Community Breakfast

By: Rachel Whitman


The Pickens County Chamber of Commerce hosts a monthly Community Breakfast that is open to Chamber members as well as the public. The most recent breakfast was held Tuesday, December 12th, 2017. Attendees arrived to a delicious breakfast catered by Bojangles and enjoyed networking with the many people in attendance before beginning the program.

Donna Torres, the Board Chair for the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce did the welcome and then Ben Mock did the Invocation. Which was followed by our new member welcome by Matt Youngblood: Comprehensive Healthcare of North Georgia, Spectrum Medical, and Appalachian Gun Range, Inc. We encourage the community to reach out to these new members and learn about the services they offer. In addition, December’s Small Business of the Month, a program sponsored by Community Bank of Pickens County, was awarded to Georgia Mountains Hospice, LLC.  

The November Chamber Community Breakfast was sponsored by ETC Communications, LLC. Gerry Nechvatal with the Chamber of Commerce spoke for ETC Communications, LLC. He then introduced the speaker Bill Jones. Jones talked about the Talking Rock Nature Preserve.

After the sponsor remarks and speaker, the program was concluded by giving away door prizes.

The Pickens County Chamber of Commerce hosts a monthly breakfast with the next scheduled breakfast on January 9th. This is a fantastic opportunity for members as well as the public to network and make business connections. For Community Breakfast pricing and registration, please call 706-692-5600 or visit our website

Professional Women of Pickens County Christmas Party


Professional Women of Pickens County 

Christmas Party

Thursday, December 7, 2017

11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Madeline’s/Coast 2 Coast Catering

1052 East Church Street

 Jasper, GA 30143


Admission – $20.00

Optional $10.00 ornament exchange

Calling All Non-Profits!


Non-profit members are invited to setup a display table promoting their organization at the December Membership Breakfast.

If you would like to participate, you must notify Rachel Whitman at the Chamber of Commerce 706-692-5600 by December 7, 2017 before 5:00 pm.

Community Breakfast
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
7:00 am – 8:30 am
Chattahoochee Technical College
100 Campus Drive
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