Work to begin soon on four signal upgrades in Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens counties
- ELLIJAY, Ga. – Work could begin soon on a signal upgrade project in at various location in Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens counties. Georgia DOT has just awarded a contract to World Fiber Technologies, LLC. of Land O Lake, Florida, valued at close to a million dollars for a construction project to upgrade the signals at four intersections in these three counties. The project includes a complete signal upgrade with pedestrian accommodation for every intersection. This would bring these intersections up to ADA requirements and replace old signal parts in place. The four intersections are at the following locations:
- State Route (SR) 515 at Ballewtown Road in Fannin County
- SR 52 at SR 2/River Street in Gilmer County
- SR 53 Business at Main Street in Pickens County
- SR 53 Business at Sammy McGhee Blvd in Pickens County
“This project and others like it in northwest Georgia add up to these two things- better and safer mobility and a better quality of life for all the area residents,” said Grant Waldrop, assistant district engineer at the Georgia DOT office in Cartersville.
This signal upgrade project is scheduled to be completed by the end of June 2019, at a construction cost of $736,739. Information on construction and lane closure schedules on this project will be forthcoming before work begins.
More details on this and other projects in the Department’s most recent bid awards are available via Award Announcement Download at: https://www.bidx.com/ga/lettin
The Georgia Department of Transportation continues its 2018 construction program. Dozens of important roadway improvement projects are ongoing this summer throughout northwest Georgia as we work to deliver projects on time and on budget while keeping our transportation network the nation’s finest. Pardon the necessary inconvenience and please drive cautiously and safely at all times, especially in work zones.
The public is urged to “know before you go.” For real-time information on active construction, incidents and more, call 511 or visit www511ga.org before you get into your car.
Roadway work zones are hazardous for workers and for the public. In fact, most fatalities in work zones crashes are drivers or passengers. Obey the rules in work zones – Pay Attention – Slow Down – Watch for Workers. And always, expect the unexpected. It can make the difference between life and death. Remember – work zone safety is in your hands. For information on the Department of Transportation, visit http://www.dot.ga.gov. You also may like us on Facebook(https://www.facebook.com/GDOT
JASPER, Ga. – After May’s primary election night, Kirk Raffield pulled out a close victory of 272 votes to his opponents 262. With the 50.94 percent results, Raffield attended the city of Jasper’s June council meeting to be officially sworn in as a part of the council.
With it being his first meeting, Raffield swore his oath preceding the official call to order in their council meeting and officially took his seat after this. With many in attendance to watch the ceremony, one citizen, Regina Mosley Camp, took a moment to comment on the event saying she knew Raffield as a younger child. “I am truly excited for him because I know the quality of man he is,” said Camp.
Camp volunteered in Raffield’s campaign for the council, noting that she was fervent in her support because of what she has seen him do throughout her time with him.
The special election came after former council member Jim Looney stepped down to take the interim city manager position for Jasper. The seat has been empty up to this month.
With such a close race, Raffield moves forward on the council with a question on him constantly asking what he will bring to the council meetings and what he will accomplish for the city. Sitting in his first meeting, Raffield was not shy about his new seat, speaking fervently on an annexation issue specifically. Check out more by reading City Council discusses Sharktop Ridge annexation.
Jasper, Ga. – The Jasper City Council dealt with an option to annex into the city limits a section of property on Sharktop Ridge Road.
The annexation is a part of a Planning and Zoning issue revolving around Paul King looking to have a residential development in the area connecting to Sharktop Ridge. The development would host around 23 homes, according to King. While he would utilize city water for the project, the sewage would be dealt with in septic tanks.
However, King and his development project have been met with resistance on the project at the Planning and Zoning level as well as at the council meeting. While none in opposition directly opposed the project itself, several citizens spoke in opposition to the project connecting to Sharktop Ridge. Almost an hour of discussion was spent at the council’s June 4 meeting delving into the heart of the citizens’ concerns. Ultimately, the viable complaints focused on the safety of the road with increased traffic along a treacherous left turn onto the road as well as the wear and tear on the road with an extended period of heavy construction equipment traveling the road as the only access point to the development.
While options were discussed such as moving the access to another point, possibly Old Burnt Mountain Road, or at least having the construction traffic access the development in an alternate route, no official action was taken. This is because the opposition to the project asked for additional study and options to prevent the “undue stress” on residents.
While there is no point where the city can officially block what is allowed under a residential zoning, this issue arises as the land is being considered to be taken into the city as an R1 zone to allow the project to move forward. King mentioned and later agreed to bring in an engineer to analyze the viability of accessing the land from Old Burnt Mountain Road despite the extra costs. However, King did note that he already had the engineer glance at the area and offer a preliminary estimation that the slope and grade of the road would make accessing the land there far too costly for the project.
The council will be looking at the agenda item again next month along with requested documents like the engineer’s official report and an accident report on the road and intersection with Cove Road. One citizen also requested they provide an additional independent engineer’s opinion on the access viability.
As discussion heated after 35 minutes, Councilmember Tony Fountain commented saying, “We’re sitting here tonight to discuss and vote on the annexation of that property … The last time I checked, we still live in a free country where if you have the good fortune to take your retirement and buy a piece of property. And you wanted to develop it and [sic] make you a little money. Who is it for us to say, ‘No, you can’t do that because you might disturb some of your neighbors.'”
He was not the only council member to comment as new member Kirk Raffield also spoke up. One of the first council members of the night to mention tabling the issue to further investigate, Raffield questioned King on his willingness to access a different road. While King suggested an increased cost would make him unwilling to go that route, he had previously agreed to look into it and said he would be willing to investigate, putting off the item until next month.
Raffield also commented on the item as a whole thanking both parties for attending the meeting. He went on to say, “As frustrating as it may be on both sides, thank you for sticking with it. Please do not lose your temper, remain professional at all times, that’s why we’re here. I know it’s frustrating … I understand your concerns, and I understand your right. So, please remain patient with us.”
With the official motion to table the annexation of the property in an effort to look for better information, citizens are already considering returning July 2 to see the further information provided and continue the discussion there.
JASPER, Ga. – Cowboys and cowgirls from all over the United States had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Jasper and Pickens County last Friday and Saturday nights as the Southern Rodeo Company brought the excitement back for the annual rodeo. At the corner of Hwy 515 and Hwy 108, the bleachers filled quickly with fans of all ages. Local businesses came together to sponsor this event with Sackett’s Western Wear being the mastermind.
Each night, eight events are held to narrow down the top competitors and award the prize money accordingly. These events are fun for all and include bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc, team roping, individual calf roping, ladies calf roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling and every fan’s favorite … the bulls. These competitors are also looking to move up in the National Rankings and qualify for the Finals at the end of the Rodeo season.
At the opening of each night, a majestic moment occurs as the American flag is escorted into the arena on horseback to the cheer of the crowd gathered. Rodeo staff, cowboys, cowgirls and, of course, the fans are some of the most patriotic people in the country. I’ve experienced many of these in my life and chill bumps still appear when the flag of our great nation is brought out to be honored with the singing of the National Anthem.
A highlight of the night is always our favorite rodeo clown. Hollywood Harris appears in the arena wearing oversized cut blue jeans and an absolutely horrid colored shirt with suspenders. With his cowboy hat and a little crazy make up, he is ready to bring tears of laughter and conversation to the crowd. Harris’ routine of comments and jokes keeps the fans entertained during the down times of riders preparing for their chance to compete. Some events are timed and some are scored. The timed events, such as barrel racing, steer wrestling and the roping, are based on the quickest time. In the scoring events of saddle bronc, bareback and bull riding, there are two judges with a maximum of 50 points each to be given (25 for the cowboy or cowgirl and 25 for the animal they are riding). The difficult part in these scoring events is that no one knows how the horse or bull will perform on any given night. Also in the scoring events, each rider must complete an eight-second ride before a score can be given.
Another great rodeo event has come and gone and the people of Pickens County are counting down the days until next year’s event.
JASPER, Ga. – On May 16, 2018, at approximately 10 a.m., our office was notified of an incident involving a substitute teacher who had a handgun in her purse at Harmony Elementary School. As we were notified, the substitute had already been relieved from her classroom and sent home by school officials.
During the investigation, it was determined that several students in the first-grade class that Ms. Julie Gungl was teaching had observed the pistol and brought it to her attention. She then notified school administration. The handgun was a 9mm Springfield and, according to Gungl, it was unloaded at the time. She stated that she forgot the weapon was in her purse upon entering the school.
After completing the investigation, detectives have charged Gungl with possession of a weapon
within a school safety zone. Due to the fact that Gungl had a Georgia Concealed Weapons Permit, this charge is a misdemeanor. Throughout the investigation, Gungl has remained very cooperative and turned herself into the Pickens Sheriff’s Office Adult Detention Center.
She has been released after posting bail that was set at $1,000.
Statement from Pickens County School Board:
The 2018 Football season will look different to all who enter the gates of Dragon Stadium this year as a multi-million dollar renovation draws closer to completion. Upon entering the stadium, the eyes of the fans will be immediately drawn to the new artificial turf that has been been put down to replace the natural grass surface that has seen many years of tackles and touchdowns.
As the history of the old field remains in the hearts of Dragons before, a new era of history will begin on Friday May 18, 2018 as the Tigers of Dawson Co. will come in as the first opponent on the new turf and will end the 2018 Spring practice session for the Dragons. As exciting as it will be to see the Dragons take the field on Friday, it is just as exciting to know what actually goes into creating a masterpiece. The new turf is being completed by Deluxe Athletics. Their name might not be known but you will definitely recognize their work. Probably the most recognized on their resume is Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. As the home of the Falcons and Atlanta United, the turf is obviously durable and in Dragons Stadium it will see both football and soccer action for years to come.
The process of installing a surface such as this is fairly complex. After the turf is unloaded from the trucks, it is placed on the ground and rolled into position. Each roll is attached together by a rolling sewing machine and the meticulous job of putting the hash marks, numbers and logos begin. Every hash is individually cut out of the green turf and white strips are placed using a rolling machine that heats industrial strength hot glue to secure them. This process also occurs for the numbers, the logo in the center of the field and also for the end zone logos. Once this is complete the turf is swept with a street sweeper to prepare the surface for the sand and rubber pellets that lie deep within the grains of the artificial grass.
As the sand starts going in, it is monitored to remain at a specific depth and the packed with a commercial roller to ensure firmness and consistency of the playing surface. Following the sand, the crews bring out the rubber pellets to spread over the field. After completion of layer one of pellets, a second layer of sand and pellets are applied and then swept again. In the final process in completing the field a new technological product will be used. Cool Play is a highly advanced pellet that has a surface temp of 35 degrees cooler than traditional pellets used in artificial surfaces.
Also new to the stadium is a state of the art 32 feet high definition Jumbo Tron video board. This will allow player bios and game highlights to stream throughout the game while still functioning as a normal scoreboard. Track and Field for Pickens will benefit from the renovation as well with a new track surface being installed.
The first of many non athletic events that will take place on the new surface is scheduled for May 26, 2018 with the Graduating Class of 2018 receiving their diplomas and heading out in to the world.
Georgia State House Representative District 8 Debate with the Incumbent Matt Gurtler vs. Candidate Mickey Cummings.
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JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Commissioners Chairman Rob Jones met with members of the community April 17 to officially sign the county’s proclamation declaring April “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.”
The proclamation urges “all citizens to observe this month by becoming aware of the reality and tragedy of sexual assault, and by supporting the North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network in its efforts to end sexual violence and exploitation.”
Joined in support at the meeting, Kerri Henderson, Pickens County supervisor for the Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and Shelly Cantrell, Student Services for Pickens County Schools, showed just a small portion of the network of support the Crisis Network has established to answer the need for those victimized. Elaine Cannon, interim executive director at the North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network, said the community that makes up the supporting organizations are the key to taking care of those in need.
Proclamations like this one from county and city governments show the official and legal face of supporting the cause as the “awareness” that becomes part of shepherding those in need to those who can help, but also in keeping the Crisis Network open with official support when they seek grants and funding to continue their work.
Another part of the network’s need for awareness, Cannon explained that some victims may not come forward for care due to stigma or fear. Explaining the options for victims and those who just need an advocate in a time of shock or confusion and others needing guidance and support going through investigations or medical care is something that these people may not realize. Catering to every need from a retreat, shelter, or support in a court case, the network continues to build upon the entire support structure to continue, without interruption, to provide for the people they help.
Cannon told FetchYourNews, “If we can work together that way, it ensures that the people get a more broad arena of services … Of course, none of us can provide everything they need all the time, but together we can.”