Pickens opens Fire Station 12

Community, News

Pickens County Board of Commissioners, left to right, Jerry Barnes, Becky Denney, and Rob Jones celebrate Station 12 at the ribbon cutting on July 25, 2019.

JASPER, Ga. – Representatives from all across Pickens County met Thursday, July 25, to cut the ribbon and officially open Pickens Fire Station 12.

Pickens’ Board of Commissioners Chairman Rob Jones, Post Commissioners Becky Denney and Jerry Barnes, Jasper City Councilmember Dr. Sonny Proctor, Jasper City Manager Brandon Douglas, Jasper Fire Chief Steve Roper, and even members of Cherokee County Fire Department visited the new station on Thursday to greet citizens and tour the facility after the ceremony.

Working for years on this project, Jones said it began with planning in the current SPLOST and is an asset on moving forward with making the area safer and lower the ISO (Insurance Service Organization) Rating of 10 at the site.

The project, according to Jones, was only possible through the support of citizens and their support for the SPLOST. It boasts three bays, full living facilities, and a weather-safe room built to protect inhabitants during extreme weather and dangers that come with it.

 

Be sure to check out more photos of the station and the ribbon cutting at FYN’s Facebook Album.

Pickens County Fire Station 12 is officially open on July 25, 2019!

Posted by Fetch Your News on Friday, July 26, 2019

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Speaker Ralston Announces North Georgia Office of the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation in Ellijay

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(The following is a Press Release from the Office of David Ralston, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives.)

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) today announced that the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation has opened a North Georgia Office in Ellijay. The office is located in the Collaboration on River’s Edge (CORE) Building, a workplace innovation space and initiative of the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation.

“I am proud to welcome the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation to Ellijay and look forward to the good work that will be done to further economic opportunity throughout rural Georgia,” said Speaker David Ralston. “This center is a direct result of the work of the House Rural Development Council and our continuing efforts to ensure prosperity is accessible to all Georgians – regardless of zip code.”

The center, also known as Georgia’s Rural Center, has named Janet Cochran to lead the North Georgia Office. Cochran comes to the center with more than a decade of experience as a project manager with the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

“Finding ways to not only maintain but to multiply the economic and cultural vitality present in so many of north Georgia’s small towns and rural communities relies heavily on relationships,” said Dr. David Bridges, Georgia’s Rural Center interim director, “and we know that our presence and personnel there will only improve our ability to facilitate positive outcomes. Janet brings a wealth of experience in managing economic development projects in this region of the state, and we’re excited to have her join our team in this role at the North Georgia Office.”

Headquartered at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation serves as a central information and research hub for rural best practices, including community planning, industry-specific assistance and cooperative efforts with community partners. The center was proposed by the House Rural Development Council in 2017 and was created by House Bill 951, which was enacted in 2018.

“Promoting a strong business environment that enhances the quality of our community is not just the chamber’s mission in words, it is behind everything we do. The opening of CORE and the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation is a cornerstone moment in that mission and one that we have worked tirelessly to support and create for many years. I join with our 650 members in celebrating,” remarked John Marshall, Gilmer Chamber Chairman of the Board.

“As chairman of the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation it has been our goal as a private, citizen funded organization to help spur economic growth for our community and region. CORE being the home to the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation North Georgia office brings our vision to reality. We look forward to continuing to serve our communities for years to come,” said Kent Sanford, Chairman of the Board.

“Working with Speaker of the House David Ralston and the House leadership to bring the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation North Georgia office to our community will have economic impact to the entire region. We look forward to continuing to work to insure the success of the center and all of our partners within CORE,” remarked Lex Rainey, Greater Gilmer Joint Development Authority Chairman of the Board.

Located in Gilmer County, Ellijay is a thriving rural community in the North Georgia mountains, offering a unique blend of southern hospitality and natural beauty. The area leads Georgia in apple production and is a center for agribusiness and agritourism.

For more information about the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation, visit http://www.ruralga.org/.

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CORE receives grant and state office at ribbon-cutting

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – “This is the kind of project that will spread prosperity throughout our entire region. It is the kind of skin-in-the-game project that deserves support…” Georgia Speaker of the House, David Ralston praised the CORE Facility in Ellijay who hosted their official ribbon-cutting today.

Nestled just off Maddox Drive on the banks of the Coosawattee River in Ellijay, Georgia, the CORE Facility hosts business offices and incubation locations for entrepreneurs and start-ups in need of an office or workspace without the hassles of long-term investment.

Left to right, Gilmer Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, Fannin Commission Chairman Stan Helton, and Pickens Commission Chairman Rob Jones celebrate with Greater Gilmer JDA Executive Director Kent Sanford at the CORE Facility ribbon-cutting in Ellijay, Georgia, on July 24, 2019.

However, the facility’s impact reaches so much farther than the city limits or the county’s borders. Today marked a celebration for the region and for the state. Representatives statewide joined together for this ribbon cutting including Gilmer Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, Gilmer Post Commissioner Karleen Ferguson, Pickens Commission Chairman Rob Jones, Fannin Commission Chairman Stan Helton, Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston, State Senator Steve Gooch, State Representative of District 11 Rick Jasperse, Ellijay City Mayor Al Hoyle, Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, and many representatives from the Ellijay and East Ellijay City Councils and Gilmer Board of Education. Efforts from many organizations have led into combined organizations such as the Greater Gilmer Joint Development Authority (JDA) and the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation.

That Foundation was the birthplace of the initiative to build CORE. According to Kent Sanford, Executive Director of the Greater Gilmer JDA and part of the Greater Gilmer Community Foundation, a 14-month birth cycle has finally come to full fruition.

While the celebration was a culmination of efforts so far, it is only the beginning. It is a project that holds great impact on the future, according to Ralston who said, “It will create jobs in our area. The jobs of tomorrow will be possible because of the work that goes on in this building.”

Speaker of the House, David Ralston announces a $420,000 state grant for the CORE facility to applause from attendees at the ribbon-cutting on July 24, 2019.

Ralston also dedicated support to the facility as he announced, “Because of the local commitment to the CORE building the State of Georgia, through our OneGeorgia Authority, is awarding $420,000 to this project to be used for Facility purchase and improvement costs. This $420,000 grant is historic, both in terms of its dollar amount and the impact it will have on this project and community.”

Ralston continued speaking about the economic development and job creation in the county before offering the second announcement of the day regarding the Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation, also known as Georgia’s Rural Center.

Ralston stated at the ribbon-cutting, “I am proud to announce that the new North Georgia of the Georgia Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation will be housed right here in Ellijay in this facility. The office will be led by Janet Cochran.”

Ralston’s office later offered a full Press Release on the announcement stating the center serves as a central information and research hub for rural best practices, including community planning, industry-specific assistance and cooperative efforts with community partners. The center was proposed by the House Rural Development Council in 2017 and was created by House Bill 951, which was enacted in 2018.

The Georgia Center for Rural Prosperity & Innovation, also known as Georgia’s Rural Center, was officially announced to open a North Georgia Office at Gilmer’s CORE facility during a ribbon-cutitng on July 24, 2019.

These announcements were applauded by those present and praised by the Chairman of the Gilmer Chamber, John Marshall, who said, “Mr. Speaker, once again you have proven yourself to be the very epitome of a stalwart and faithful advocate not only to your hometown and all the other communities in these beautiful North Georgia Mountains, but to each and every corner of the state of Georgia.”

President of the Gilmer Chamber, Paige Green also praised the facility as the realization of a dream for the community that has spread to benefit not only one county but something larger that now spans the region.

Today was a celebration of completing the first steps of a larger plan for the facility. Though it is now open, it is only the first phase of that dream. Director Sanford noted last year that the hopes for the facility include two more phases.

In Phase II, the foundation will continue renovation onto the second floor to open up a larger area for education and training in a 1,200 square foot space upstairs.

In Phase III, hopes for the CORE Facility could extend into the schools for things like STEM Classes, STEM Saturdays, or other forays into education connection. Consolidating resources for these could include shared STEM kits or a shared expense for a STEM subscription service involving 3d-printing necessary components. However, specific details into PHASE III have yet to be finalized.

Ultimately, the CORE wants to continue spreading and growing this larger community where possible. Opportunities that may come have yet to be revealed, but one ribbon-cutting today, one celebration, can lead to something bigger than imagining tomorrow.

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Pickens flooding in the storm

News

JASPER, Ga. – Parts of Pickens are falling victim to the heavy storms and rain as water levels rise. Citizens are sending in photos of the damage during the storm.

Already cancelling the “Piggin in the Park” event Lee Newton Park, event planners are still trying to look at possibly continuing the event tomorrow at the scheduled time. The National Weather Service did say the storms tonight could have “up to 40 mph wind, frequent cloud-to-ground lightning and very heavy rain.” However, no warnings or watches have been issued specifically for Pickens County as a whole.

While most of the storms are northeast of the county, effects are still being felt in isolated situations like this. For citizens on the east side of the county, near the Gilmer and Dawson County lines, be alert as the storm damage could easily reach and affect you.

Authorities are asking citizens to “be on alert for minor damage to tree limbs and blowing around of light, unsecured objects. Heavy rain will cause temporary street flooding, especially in poor drainage areas, and rising water on creeks and streams.

The park is not the only area being affected as another photo from in front of the Speedburger shows the flooding is spreading to other parts of the county.

Police and Emergency authorities are responding to the incidents. Authorities have asked citizens in recent storms to not drive through flooded streets if you cannot see the road as a driver cannot tell if part of the road has washed away.

The National Weather Service has also issued a statement saying, “Motorists should slow down and be prepared for possible loss of control due to hydroplaning.”

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The Pickens Report – May 2019

Community

THE PICKENS REPORT
MAY 2019

Another busy month has passed for Pickens County with lots in store for the Summer. Currently, local contractor Jimmy Stewart is working on constructing the new Tate Fire Station through SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) funding. Local contractor Noland Construction is removing the outdated building and grading the property off Camp Road that houses Public Works. The new property layout will be more suitable to the needs of Public Works. After that phase of construction is complete bids will go out to construct a new facility to house Public Works. Paving bids for phase one are currently being accepted. The bid deadline is June 20th at 1pm. The county will be resurfacing roads in two phases this year, phase one in the summer and phase two in the fall. Phase one includes 10.36 miles of roads to be resurfaced. Additionally, the stabilization of Jones Mtn. Rd. is on schedule with plans to have both lanes open to traffic in July.

During the month of May, the Pickens Animal Shelter brought in 79 new animals, and 84 went out through various forms of adoption. Animal Control responded to 20 cases. The Department of Planning and Development issued 48 new building permits. The Water Department installed six new meters. The 911 Operations Center received 1,677 total calls, 705 were medical responses or fire related. Public Works paved Town Creek Trail and are performing routine road maintenance throughout the county. The Pickens County Recreation Department started its annual Summer Camp which will run through August 2nd. Also, the county pool is now open with hours of operation Tuesday – Saturday from 11am until 5pm and on Sunday from 12pm until 6pm. For additional information about Summer Camp or accessing the pool contact PCRD at 706-253-8863. Pickens County government departments continue to stay busy working for the citizens of Pickens County. The Pickens County Board of Commissioners continues to do an excellent job of leading these efforts. As work progresses, and projects continue, I will do my best to keep you informed of these developments.

Kids at Summer Camp enjoying a movie break

Until the next time, stay safe, and shop local!

BOC considers vending contract in Recreation Dept

News

JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Commissioners began considerations for their vending contracts at the Recreation Department.

During their monthly work session, the commissioners listened to details presented proposals from Coca-Cola Company and Pepsi Co. While Pickens has used Pepsi for the last few years, this year’s bid packages were presented to the commissioners with a quick comparison.

That comparison showed that Pepsi has offered a $5,000 check to the Recreation Department and Coca-Cola has offered to either fund two scoreboards plus maintenance or provide a $6,000 check.

Additionally, the county’s ‘commission on vending sales’ with Pepsi would be 30 percent while Coca-Cola would be at 35 percent, Pepsi is proposing to go from $1.50 in price to $1.75 while Coca-Cola’s proposal is priced at $1.50.

Part of the contract with Pepsi is a required truck sale that the county does in the spring, Coca-Cola’s contract holds the truck sale as optional. Selling this miniature trucks functions like a fundraiser for the recreation department according to information in the commissioners meeting.

The county will not vote and decide on the proposals until the county’s regular meeting on June 20, this also gives citizens time to contact the commissioners and weigh in on what they would like the county to chose.

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City addresses Adult Entertainment sign

News

JASPER, Ga. – Citizens are still in confusion about a sign appearing at the Shops of Jasper announcing “Adult Entertainment” coming soon.

According to City Manager Brandon Douglas, the City has no application or permitting for an adult entertainment business or signage at this location. He went on to note the property owner has also told him he has no intent to pursue this kind of business.

Douglas said that the City has reached out to the property owner about the sign and has received acknowledgment about the sign and it will be coming down. While no fine or official action is being taken because of this acknowledgment, Douglas said the city will be following up with the property owner if the sign does not come down.

As for the possibility of an Adult Entertainment type of business, the city does have zoning where it could be allowed, but Douglas said it is restricted to industrial areas and is also listed as a conditional use permit. This means that if a business like this would be created, it would have to go through zoning and come before the Mayor and City Council for approval. Douglas assures citizens that this type of business would be well advertised, as all conditional use permits are, well in advance of the business opening.

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Pickens County Animal Control Officers Exposed to Rabid Cat

Announcements, Community

Pickens County Animal Control Officers Exposed to Rabid Cat
Undergoing Rabies Post Exposure Vaccinations

Jasper (GA) – Two Pickens County Animal Control Officers have begun post exposure rabies vaccinations due to exposure to a cat that has now tested positive for rabies.

Three weeks ago, a stray cat was found on Lambert Street in downtown Jasper, Georgia and brought to the Pickens County Animal Shelter. Other than having a bite mark, the small adult black and white female cat seemed healthy until it started exhibiting neurological symptoms. It was then sent to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory for rabies testing on Tuesday, May 21. The following day, the lab reported the cat tested positive for rabies.

The two animal control officers are believed to be the only ones exposed to the cat while it became symptomatic for rabies during a 21-day quarantine it had been placed under since arriving to the shelter. Therefore, no other recommendations or warnings are being issued related to this case.

Health officials continue to urge the public to avoid all unfamiliar animals and to report bites or scratches from any animal that could potentially be unvaccinated against rabies to a healthcare provider and to the local environmental health office immediately. The Pickens County Environmental Health Office phone number is (706) 253-0900. If calling after hours, please call the Georgia Poison Control Center, toll-free, at 1-800-222-1222.

For more information about rabies and its prevention, please log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.

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