City Council Talks Festivals in August


JASPER, Ga. – The Jasper City Council’s August meeting saw a change in the traffic direction for this year’s Marble Festival in October as well as for the popular JeepFest event starting at the end of August.

Haley Bouchie, President of the Jasper Merchants Association, presented a request to close a portion of Main Street during the festival. The road is already to be closed for the Road Race and the Parade that are scheduled for the weekend’s festivities. The new request would see the road staying closed from 6 a.m. on Saturday to 6 p.m. on Sunday evening.

Bouchie stated the joint venture between the Jasper Merchant’s Association and the Pickens County Chamber would have security for the vendors on the street overnight. The request was made last year as well but denied. After several close calls with the traffic and pedestrians, according to Bouchie, they have returned with the request for this year’s festival.

Bouchie also told the council that they would be working alongside the merchants on the street to improve and increase their foot traffic despite the loss of the parking spaces on the street.

Expanding the Marble Festival up to Main Street cause a large discussion on how to get traffic around the closed street including Dixie, Mary, or even Whitfield streets. Sitting down with police and businesses to discuss traffic by foot and vehicle were assured to be forthcoming in preparation of the event.

Ultimately approved by unanimous decision, the event will see the road closed to traffic from 6 a.m. on Saturday, October 6, to 6 p.m. on Sunday evening, October 7.

The same request came for September’s JeepFest event asking to close Main Street for a “Show & Shine” of Jeeps lined up on the street. City Manager Jim Looney presented a letter from Kris Stancil of the Picken’s County Sheriff’s Office requesting the closure of the street on Friday, August 31, starting at 5 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m. after a concert.

This is not the first time this request has been presented, having been done for years now. The request was approved for the event. Mayor John Weaver commented saying that the Jeeps take over all of Main Street with hundreds of Jeeps lined up down the road for the Show & Shine.

An additional request came from Wingsology for the JeepFest event. Requesting an outside beer and wine license, Wingsology is also a request from previous years.

The council approved the request unanimously as well.

With these events coming up quickly, citizens should be aware of the closures of Main Street during these events as to avoid congestion as they seek to travel through town or attempt to find parking. Shuttles are also being made available for the Marble Festival specifically. Citizens can find the shuttle areas by visiting the Marble Festival Website.



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.


GACCE Announces 2016 Class of Georgia Certified Chambers

Pickens County Chamber

It’s an exciting time to be in the chamber of commerce industry and to be a chamber in Georgia. Many chambers have risen to the challenge to provide unparralled leadership and direction, helping their members and communities thrive. This type of performance is a reflection of the solid organizational infrastructure built through much hard work and diligence.

In 2011, the GACCE Board of Directors sought a way to recognize chambers in the state that have focused internally on their operations to assess their strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to create efficient, effective organizations positioned to deliver great value. Thus the Georgia Certified Chamber program was created.

The purpose of the program is to facilitate continuing excellence in the chamber industry and to foster a pro-business environment across the State of Georgia. Chambers must meet standards in organization, service intent and capacity, professional administration, financial management, communications, and advocacy in order to achieve the designation.

With over 150 chambers of commerce in the State of Georgia, the 23 chambers that were recognized as Georgia Certified Chambers during the Opening Luncheon of the 2016 GACCE Volunteer Leader Conference held at the Macon Marriott City Center Hotel in Macon, GA on Monday, November 7 received a prestigious honor that distinguishes the high quality, expertise, and strong leadership displayed by accredited chambers. These chambers make up a total of 48 chambers of commerce that have been recognized with this distinction over the past five years.

The following chambers of commerce make up the 2016 class of Georgia Certified Chambers:

  1.       Albany Area Chamber of Commerce
  2.       Berrien County Chamber of Commerce
  3.       Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce
  4.       Carroll County Chamber of Commerce
  5.       Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce
  6.       Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce
  7.       Columbia County Chamber of Commerce
  8.       Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce
  9.       Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce
  10. Douglas County Chamber of Commerce
  11. Fayette Chamber of Commerce
  12. Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce
  13. Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce
  14. Lee County Chamber of Commerce
  15. Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce
  16. Pickens County Chamber of Commerce
  17. Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce
  18. Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce
  19. Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce
  20. Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce
  21. Warren County Chamber of Commerce
  22. Washington County Chamber of Commerce
  23. Wilkinson County Chamber of Commerce


GACCE congratulates these chambers for their accomplishment!

GACCE is the professional society for chamber of commerce executives and staff. The mission of GACCE is to engage, educate and empower chamber professionals.




Chamber November Membership Breakfast

Pickens County Chamber

The Chamber Membership Breakfast was held Tuesday, November 8th, 2016. Attendees arrived to a delicious breakfast catered by Coast 2 Coast and networked with over 150 people in attendance before beginning the program.

Amberle Godfrey’s Welcome and the Invocation was followed by our new member welcome by Chamber Ambassador Matt Youngblood of WYYZ – 1490 AM, which included: Crafting on the Hill, The Preserve at Sharp Mountain, Lead Edge Design Group, Advanced Sun Control, and Reverend John Baptist. We encourage the community to reach out to these new members and learn about the services they offer.

In addition, November’s Large Business of the Month, a program sponsored by Community Bank of Pickens County, was awarded to Home Depot.

The Teachers of the Year were recognized, and Gerry Nechvatal, the Executive and Economic Development Director, also provided updates regarding the Chamber of Commerce.

The November Chamber Membership Breakfast was sponsored by Piedmont Mountainside and Michelle Breitfelder spoke on their behalf.

After the sponsor remarks, the program was concluded by giving away door prizes donated by: Chattahoochee Tech, Carriage House, Piedmont Mountainside Auxiliary, Renasant Bank, ETC, A Love of Travel, R&R Bod Shop, Norwex, R&R Trikes, and the Holiday Market in Jasper.

The Pickens County Chamber of Commerce hosts a monthly breakfast with the next scheduled breakfast on Tuesday, December 13th. This is a great opportunity for members to network and make great business connections. For more information about the breakfast or any other events hosted by the Chamber, please call 706-692-5600.


By: Jackson Leake



Karla’s Korner 7/12/16


Karla “Stuffs the Bus” with info on how you can help local kids in school and more from the Gilmer Chamber.


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