State Superintendent Richard Woods visits Tate Elementary

News
Woods

JASPER, Ga. – On tour through several schools in North Georgia, the State Superintendent Richard Woods visited Tate Elementary last week to tour the school and speak with administrators on the beginning of the new school term considering much of the changes and challenges this year.

State Superintendent Richard Woods speaks with students of Tate Elementary during lunch

State Superintendent Richard Woods speaks with students of Tate Elementary during lunch.

During the visit, Woods got to see the school system during lunch and view many of the social distancing and new practices in place. Students sitting only on one side of the lunchroom table and empty tables in between those in use.

Woods spoke on some of the differences between the school systems inside of the Metro-Atlanta area and those outside of it. For example, inside the metro-area, many more are virtual and digital learning while the outside area is seeing closer to, on average, 70 percent of students in school with the other 30 percent on digital. However, he clarified that these were his understanding and not firm numbers. Woods also noted that each county is handling things in its own way and are showing different things and coming up with ideas on handling the situation.

Teachers and administrators of Tate Elementary told Woods that they were similar to that, with 75 percent in school and 25 percent through virtual. Woods discussed ideas on mask usage, the governor’s suggestions, transportation, food preparation, and student safety in the new return to class for student.

The school system has been work with Georgia’s DPH (Department of Public Health) through outbreaks and return to sports. Yet, as he was present during lunch time, a lot of the discussion focused on the students food prep and nutrition in school.

State Superintendent Richard Woods speaks with Nutrition Director Beth Thompson about students and challenges as they return to school.

State Superintendent Richard Woods speaks with Nutrition Director Beth Thompson about students and challenges as they return to school.

Planning has been key for food preparation in Tate Elementary as they spoke on individual wrapping and containers, separation and limitation on contact is only part of the steps taken to improve food safety and student safety in response to the virus. Nutrition Services has also seen complaints and issue in students selections and offerings, with servings prepared and put into containers or wrappers, students not seeing the food before selection.

While not a major issue, it is just an example of many of the changes that have come to schools in response to media coverage and social push for responses to the virus.

Superintendent Dr. Rick Townsend said that flexibility helps in the school systems. Woods asked how he could help local schools in their issues from the capital and from his position. Administrators said that continued flexibility would improve their efforts.

From left to right, Dr. Rick Townsend, Stephanie Hall, Richard Woods, and Rick Jasperse stop for a photo as they visited Tate Elementary as a part of Woods tour of schools as they return to classes.

Woods agreed saying that as he has toured other schools, one of the main things he has learned is that Pickens schools and their program will look very different from other counties. Individual responses and individual programs need the support for their individual responses in addition to state guidelines.

Another point that administrators brought up is that Pickens Schools may use many things in the future that they used this year in their viral response. One such example came with staggered start for some grade levels at Tate Elementary. The opening day was a huge success according to Tate Elementary Administrators, but Woods said many schools across the state are saying the same thing, that this has been one of their best starts in years. Local teachers also noted that the most important thing was to get started, to get the students back with their teachers and back to education.

Woods agreed saying that he felt much of the importance in the year is getting started, gaining momentum. He offered his continued support to Pickens saying he wants to know what the challenges are for local schools and those on both the urban and metro area and the rural and outside of the metro areas.

Former Superintendent Wilson offers letter to citizens

News
Wilson letter to citizens

Wilson letter to citizensJASPER, Ga. – Many citizens in Pickens County have been closely following the developments in the Superintendent position at Pickens Board of Education (BOE) through a series of Special Called Meetings as well as those regular scheduled in the final days of 2019 and early days of 2020.

Even FYN reported statements from Wilson that he would offer a written statement of the proceedings as he resigned during one of the called meetings on December 19, 2019.

Later he was nearly reinstated as questions arose about the validity of the “emergency meetings.” But was voted down by Chairman Tucker Green, board member Joeta Youngblood, and board member Donna Enis.

This week, Dr. Carlton Wilson released a public letter to citizens fulfilling his promise of a written statement from last month. That letter follows:

 

Dear Pickens County,

Cindy and I wanted to take a moment to express our thanks to you as a community. When we relocated here more than 25 years ago we knew we had found our home.  Cindy and I love living in and being a part of this community. We have raised our family here and we have worked to be a part of the community in every aspect. I knew when I interviewed for a teaching job here that this was the place I wanted to teach, coach, and live.  Having had an opportunity to serve as your Superintendent of Schools was one of the greatest honors of my life thus far. I know we have one of the best school systems in the state of Georgia, some of the greatest staff, students, and parents.

We have been overwhelmed and extremely humbled by the love and support from the people of Pickens County.  This is just another reason Pickens County is a great place to live. We love this county and I especially love our school system. The past month has been very difficult and confusing.

Our current school board is the third school board that I have served with as your superintendent. As school boards change board members, even just one, their personalities, priorities, and visions can change. Each school board is different from the boards they replaced. However, I felt it was very important to continual and complete the goals our previous boards had established not knowing these priorities, goals, and visions had changed. The current board never shared with me that that their priorities or visions changed for our school system.  As Superintendent, I have always followed the strategic plan and direction that I was given. That was my job.

I am very proud of the accomplishments, partnerships, and relationships our school system developed over the past couple of years. I am very happy I can say I left the school district knowing every employee received a raise while we reduced the mileage rate for the fourth consecutive year. This took teamwork and I was proud to be a part of it.

I realize when information is not given, people will fill the void with rumors. Just to be clear, I was not given any reason except several of the board members had lost confidence in my leadership. Several members of the Board did not like the direction I was leading the school system. Concerning decisions that I made during my tenure as superintendent, I can assure you that every major decision was made with the school board’s understanding and approval. However, I take full responsibility for all day to day operational issues. Again, that was my job.

It has been a privilege serving the students, staff, and residents of Pickens County. I wish the greatest success to our school system and especially the young people they serve. The students deserve stability and strong leadership from our next Superintendent and the principal’s of our schools. Our teachers deserve the support of not only the board and school leadership but the community. I encourage you to help our community move forward by investing in our school district and helping them move to the next level. Cindy and I are excited to see what the future holds and I look forward to continuing to serve our great community in the future.

Sincerely,

Carlton Wilson

Superintendent resigns amid last minute meetings

News

JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Education has called three meetings in less than 48 hours of each other regarding the subject of the Superintendent position.

This morning, at 8:59 a.m., the notice came from the Pickens County Board of Education for an Emergency Special Called meeting an hour later at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the Superintendent position. This coming after last night’s meeting that was called just over 24 hours earlier. Less than an hour after this morning’s meeting finished, another meeting has been called for tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m., giving slightly less than 24-hours notice.

Today, at 10 a.m., the Emergency Special Meeting was held to accept the resignation of Pickens County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson. The meeting was called to order and the agenda amended to delete an executive session and approval of executive session minutes, moving straight to the discussion as the superintendent resigned.

Board Attorney Phil Landrum III said, “Mr. Chairman, at your direction, and at the board’s direction, I have prepared a settlement agreement between the superintendent and the board. I presented that to all parties last night. It is my understanding that the Superintendent is tendering his resignation subject to the conditions upon the terms of that agreement.”

The vote came immediately after this at 3-2 to accept his resignation. Joeta Youngblood, Donna Enis, and Tucker Green voted for accepting the resignation. Steve Smith and Sue Finley voted against accepting his resignation.

Right before the meeting adjourned two comments were made. Sue Finley stated, “I am heartbroken. Dr. Wilson has done a fantastic job leading this county. He has turned around a lot of the issues that we had when he came in. He is one of the kindest men I know. He is one of the smartest men I know. When teachers demonstrate weaknesses that need to be corrected, they are brought into their administrator’s office. Their weaknesses are outlined and explained. And they are given a plan to remediate those weaknesses. They are rarely summarily dismissed. I believe that Dr. Wilson should have been afforded this courtesy and he was not. I completely disagree with this decision to release him. I believe that this is at least one backward step for our county. And I am so sorry, Dr. Wilson. I am very embarrassed that our county is going to be portrayed this way and that you’ve been treated this way. But, unfortunately, I am part of the minority.”

Additionally, Steve Smith commented saying, “I totally agree, this is the most egregious act I have ever witnessed on a board. And for it to come out of nowhere is shocking. I was as shocked yesterday, uh, I absolutely do not support the release of Dr. Wilson and I absolutely think our board has taken a ten-year step backwards. I think our school system has suffered because of this decision. I admire you Dr. Wilson.”

Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson ResignsNo board member voting to accept the resignation offered comment and left shortly after the meeting.

While few citizens were on hand for the meeting, some who were present spoke privately with Dr. Wilson. One citizen was overheard asking why the meeting was called as an emergency. Another was heard saying this subject should have been handled after the new year.

Landrum did say in the meeting that he had presented the settlement the night before this meeting was called 61 minutes before it was held. Finley was also discussing the topic with citizens saying that the board has gone through four superintendents in six years.

Dr. Wilson declined to comment at the moment, instead saying that he would offer a written statement later.

Additionally, the meeting was closed without any interim or stand-in appointed. Some would speculate that the notice sent out at 11:04 a.m. today, calling for a new meeting at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, is to address the issue as Wilson’s signatures are no longer valid on any board documents, agreements, checks, or other legal actions.

FYN can confirm that yesterday’s meeting delivered an ultimatum of “resign or be terminated.” The meeting, called to order at 3:00 p.m., held over two hours of executive session in which Dr. Wilson spent the majority of the time excluded from, but then later included in the final part of the executive session.

Further on that topic, it is FYN’s understanding that the settlement agreement is likely to have been different from the termination clauses specifically in the amount of money involved. However, FYN is attempting to confirm this as we submit an Open Records Request for the settlement agreement.

Stay with FYN as new details become available in this story and we await comment from Dr. Wilson and look to tomorrow’s last-minute meeting as the board deals with the situation mere days before Christmas.

EDUCATION SHOULD BE RUN BY PARENTS AGAIN

Opinion

One of the key issues today is education.  Everyone should be interested in all children getting the best well rounded education available. Children are the future and it is concerning to have a growing populace that purposely remain ignorant due to the cookie cutter approach to public schools.

My question is why have the American people allowed education to become a government led agenda?

Initially, when America was young, there was no guideline for schooling. In England, schools were available for the privileged, but not the masses. 

The American spirit formed its own brand of education. Children were taught at home or in the homes of neighbors. As communities grew, the one room schoolhouse was brought into play. This building housed the school, served as a community center and often a church on Sunday.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-room_school

There was usually a home or a “Teacherage” close to the schools, so that male teachers’ families were close to the school and able to assist the teacher with his duties. Unmarried female teachers were usually boarded with someone in the community. 

Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the “Little House” books, became a schoolteacher two months before her sixteenth birthday. She taught in a one room schoolhouse.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Ingalls_Wilder

The one room school system allowed for the parents and the community to decide on the curriculum and the values taught in the schools. The community that sponsored their own school would have been up in arms if anyone from the government had tried to interfere with their wishes. They accepted some guidelines, but interference would not have been tolerated.

The one room school allowed for a child to go further than his or her own age level. If the child was advanced, they could finish their lessons and listen to the next age level’s work. The community school usually only went up to the eighth grade. This provided basic education.

 If a student wanted further education, they could go to a central high school within the county or state. 

Standardized tests did not come into play until much later, if you went to school and attended and passed all of your classes, you could graduate. 

This system spawned many a leader within the United States.

My maternal Great Grandfather John Thomas Jones donated land for a two room schoolhouse here in Paulding County, Georgia. My Grandmother Clara M. Jones and her older brother Hershel Jones taught there for a period of time.

Though his scholastic career was interrupted by family needs on the farm, my Uncle Herschel returned to school later. He later completed all of his studies and graduated from Oglethorpe University. He went on to be the principal in the Paulding County school system.

Herschel Jones Middle School in Dallas, Georgia is his legacy to education, and a tribute to the power of the one room school.

Instead of relying on the government to educate children, parents need to be in charge of the local educational system. More thought needs to be given to how each parent is personally is going to provide education to their children. In this way, the values of the parents, not the government are instilled

Taking back the power of education is key to developing free thinkers.

The Federal Government’s interference has led to teaching to tests and leaving students behind on important basics, especially American History. It is an indictment of the public school system every time some reporter asks college age students questions, like who is on the $ 20 bill. The school systems have taught our young people to be ashamed of our great nation and have misled them on how our country was founded.

When school systems insist on teaching values that are contrary to the values taught at home, it is unacceptable.

It is time to take your children and their education back from those who are running their own agenda.

 

Pickens County Schools Start Back Today!

Dragon's Corner, News

JASPER, Ga. – Pickens County Schools start back Tuesday, August 6, 2019, and  the official calendar and daily schedule is as follows!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019: First day of school.
All are Monday – Friday.

Pickens County High School / Student Drop-Off: 7 am / Start: 7:45 am / End: 2:45 pm

Pickens Junior High School / Student Drop-Off: 7 am / Start: 7:45 am / End: 2:45 pm

Jasper Middle School / Student Drop-Off: 7:15 am / Start: 8:30 am / End: 3:30 pm

Harmony Elementary School / Student Drop-Off: 7:15 am / Start: 8:30 am / End 3:30 pm

Hill City Elementary School / Student Drop-Off: 7:15 am / Start: 8:30 am / End: 3:30 pm

Tate Elementary School / Student Drop-Off: 7:15 am / Start: 8:30 am / End: 3:30 pm

 

Monday, September 2, 2019: Labor Day Holiday

Friday, September 6, 2019: Progress Reports

Monday, September 23, 2019 – Friday, September 27, 2019: Fall Break

Tuesday, October 15, 2019: End of 1st Nine Weeks

Friday, October 18, 2019: Report Cards

Friday, November 15, 2019: Progress Reports

Monday, November 25, 2019 – Friday, November 29, 2019: Thanksgiving Holidays

Friday, December 20, 2019: End of 2nd Nine Weeks, End of 1st Semester

Monday, December 23, 2019 – Tuesday, December 31, 2019: Christmas Holidays

Wednesday, January 1, 2020 – Friday, January 3, 2020: School Holiday

Monday, January 6, 2020: Inservice

Tuesday, January 7, 2020: Students Return to School

Friday, January 10, 2020: Report Cards

Monday, January 20, 2019: Martin Luther King Holiday

Friday, February 7, 2020: Progress Reports

Monday, February 17, 2020 – Tuesday, February 18, 2020: Winter Break

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 – Friday, February 21, 2020: Potential Inclement Weather Make-Up Days for Students

Tuesday, March 17, 2020: End of 3rd Nine Weeks

Friday, March 20, 2020: Report Cards

Monday, April 6, 2020 – Friday, April 10, 2020: Spring Break

Friday, April 24, 2020: Progress Reports

Friday, May 22, 2020: Last Day of School, End of 4th Nine Weeks, End of 2nd Sesmester

Saturday, May 23, 2020: Graduation Day

Monday, May 25, 2020: Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 – Friday, May 29, 2020: Post Planning
 
 
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Kickoff 4 Kids

Announcements

The Pickens Report – July 2018

Business, Community, News

Pickens County Government, like many other government entities is taking full advantage of the hot summer months to pave as many roads as financially possible. All paving projects are funded through LMIG (Local Maintenance Improvement Grant) and SPLOST (Special Local Option Sales Tax) dollars. During the month of July, subcontractor crews repaved: Upper Grandview, Grandview Circle, Hickory Cove, Cove View Valley, Cove Hill Road, Old Cove Road, Scott Drive, Southbrook Drive, Eastwood Circle, Paradise Lane, East Eden Way, and West Eden Way. The 2018 paving contract is now roughly 65 percent complete with the remainder to be paved in the coming weeks. Pickens County Public Works repaved: Griffith Road and Tate Mill Way. Additionally, they completed a project to widen Pettit Road and plan to begin tar and graveling that road, along with Jordan Road, Thomason Road, and Evans Road. Public Works is continuing routine maintenance around the county while dealing with some inclement weather. Over the last few weeks, Public Works has cleaned up 95 trees downed by heavy rain and wind.

During the month of July, the 911 Operations Center received 1,809 total calls, 753 were medical responses and fire related. The Water Department installed 10 new meters. The Department of Planning and Development issued 37 new building permits. The Pickens Animal Shelter brought in 101 animals, and 100 animals went out through various forms of adoption. Animal Control responded to 7 cases. The Recreation Department concluded another successful year of Summer Camp with an average of 55 kids a day. Pickens County Fire Station #12 off Carlan Road is expected to be completed in approximately two months. The exterior of the structure is nearly complete with now the focus on the interior construction. Pickens County government departments continue to stay busy working hard 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. To stay up to date like us on Facebook and Twitter, and check out our website www.pickenscountyga.gov.   

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

 

BEFORE TURKEY SEASON BEGINS, DO YOU NEED A HUNTER EDUCATION COURSE?

Outdoors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BEFORE TURKEY SEASON BEGINS, DO YOU NEED A HUNTER EDUCATION COURSE?

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (March 18, 2019) – Do you need hunter education before you head to the woods? You have options! Hunters in need of the Georgia hunter education course can choose to go completely online or attend a classroom course, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

“In 2018, over 14,000 people completed the Georgia hunter education course – either online or in a classroom,” says Jennifer Pittman, statewide hunter education administrator with the Wildlife Resources Division. “I am glad that we can continue to offer both classroom and online options, as it gives students a choice of what works best with their schedules, especially those with time constraints.”

The four available online courses each require a fee (from $9.95 – $24.95) but all are “pass or don’t pay” courses. Fees for these courses are charged by and collected by the independent course developer. The classroom course is free of charge.  

Completion of a hunter education course is required for any person born on or after January 1, 1961, who:

  • purchases a season hunting license in Georgia.
  • is at least 12 years old and hunts without adult supervision.
  • hunts big game (deer, turkey, bear) on a wildlife management area.

The only exceptions include any person who:

  • purchases a short-term hunting license, i.e. anything less than annual duration (as opposed to a season license).
  • is hunting on his or her own land, or that of his or her parents or legal guardians.

For more information, go to https://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/huntereducation or call 770-761-3010.

BOE Investigates allegations of segregation

News

Jasper, Georgia – The Pickens Board of Education has made a public statement about allegations from a recent chorus concert.

Pickens Junior High School and Pickens High School chorus groups performed in a joint concert last evening. The district office is aware that some members of the audience have expressed concerns on social media based on their perception that a student was “separated, segregated, and alienated” during the performance.

Superintendent Wilson wants to assure the community and public that the allegations circulating on social media are serious in nature and are being investigated. The district is working with all individuals involved to ensure the concerns are resolved and that any misunderstandings are made clear. We appreciate your patience as we work through this process.

Myth’s, Illusions or Truths?

Opinion

Most of our nation’s young people under the age of 30, are the products of some form of
government control. They enjoyed free meals at schools, health care, education, housing, etc..
The expected requirement of their acceptance was to obey teachers and school administrators.
The punishment that followed, if they deviated from the official dogma, was to be ostracized and
shamed. Through the collectivization of their thought process, they needed to only to know what
was taught to them and to ignore what they learn outside the school environment from their
parents, friends, relatives and Fox news. Attempts at original thought was/is discouraged.

Schools can’t proceed as they do without the political and financial support of politicians; the
very ones, the “Establishment Elites,” we are fighting today. It is they who organize the standard
dumb-down curriculum to ensure implementation of their socialist ideas without comment. All
propaganda and brainwashing. Don’t dare show up with a MAGA hat.

Unobstructed, politicians know that the more they lie the more we tend to believe them and
become more dependent on them. Without the constant barrage of propaganda, our attention
span would decline and they’ed lose control over our actions. The present predicament of the
Progressive sneaked up on ‘em and their supporters in the elections of 2012, 2014 and 2016.
The Democrat Elites lost control because believed their own nonsense and didn’t see the Trump
tidal wave coming. We see it often enough when we recognize otherwise smart folks acting
contrary to their own best interests without a second thought. That’s the power of propaganda
but, it must be a continuous daily drumming on the listeners’ senses if it is to stick!

Trump, like a breeze of fresh air, beyond all possible reasoning of media ‘pundents,’ confronted
them with a serious challenge to their belief system and their minds closed tight, because,
without a script or a firm belief that their dumbing down of the populous has really worked, they
don’t know what to do. Witness Sen. Elizabeth, the Indian Princess. Her defense of her
Pocahontas DNA tests was a fraud. That wee drop of native blood she says she has comes
from South America, from an illegal no doubt. Trump trolled her and, like a slippery fish bent on
absolution, she rose to the bait and now looks like a complete fool. It’s exactly the same for silly
Hillary who thinks she and Bill can tour the country, at $1000.00 a head, and draw the big
crowds like Trump does.

When challenged, progressives immediately go into avoidance behavior. They scream, holler or
’PooPoo’ the challenge as a “Vast Right-Wing conspiracy,” label it as stupid and unworkable and
move on to the next subject threatening dire punishment for any who dare question their truth.
Alinskites know that organized and sophisticated propaganda operates outside the normal level
of intelligence. So, without some reason to ask questions, as many intelligent people don’t, they
accept the lies and myths the same as the mass general population. Repeated often enough,
the propaganda then becomes conventional wisdom because, we rarely accept challenges to
conventional wisdom. Once belittled, it’s never considered again. Here is where they ignore
facts even when those facts support contrary knowledge, and embrace “stupid.”

When do myths, used to persuade people, become dangerous? When the people accept them
as ‘benefits. That’s the power of propaganda. Losing an illusion actually makes us wiser than
finding a truth.

Remember, freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em! (17Oct18)

Substitute teacher charged after bringing a handgun to school

News

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:

REVIEW TURKEY HUNTING SAFETY TIPS BEFORE SEASON BEGINS

Outdoors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

REVIEW TURKEY HUNTING SAFETY TIPS BEFORE SEASON BEGINS

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (March 18, 2019) – Before you head to the woods this Spring in pursuit of a gobbler or two, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division encourages all hunters to take some time to review important turkey hunting safety tips.

“Firearms safety knowledge is critical to keeping you, and others, safe while in the woods,” advises Jennifer Pittman, statewide hunter education administrator with the Wildlife Resources Division. “In addition to firearms safety tips, hunters should review and practice safety precautions specific to turkey hunting.”

Turkey Hunting Safety Tips:

  • Never wear red, white, blue or black clothing while turkey hunting. Red is the color most hunters look for when distinguishing a gobbler’s head from a hen’s blue-colored head, but at times it may appear white or blue. Male turkey feathers covering most of the body are black in appearance. Camouflage should be used to cover everything, including the hunter’s face, hands and firearm.
  • Select a calling position that provides at least a shoulder-width background, such as the base of a tree. Be sure that at least a 180-degree range is visible.
  • Do not stalk a gobbling turkey. Due to their keen eyesight and hearing, the chances of getting close are slim to none.
  • When using a turkey call, the sound and motion may attract the interest of other hunters. Do not move, wave or make turkey-like sounds to alert another hunter to your presence. Instead, identify yourself in a loud voice.
  • Be careful when carrying a harvested turkey from the woods. Do not allow the wings to hang loosely or the head to be displayed in such a way that another hunter may think it is a live bird. If possible, cover the turkey in a blaze orange garment or other material.
  • Although it’s not required, it is suggested that hunters wear blaze orange when moving between a vehicle and a hunting site. When moving between hunting sites, hunters should wear blaze orange on their upper bodies to facilitate their identification by other hunters.

For more hunting information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations .

Pickens Schools’ weather and early dismissal procedures

Dragon's Corner, News

JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Education wishes to inform citizens of the procedures for Inclement Weather and Early Dismissal. The following is an official release from the BOE concerning parents and students.

INCLEMENT WEATHER AND EARLY DISMISSAL PROCEDURES

Do you know how your child is getting home?

Jasper, Georgia – Now that it seems we have definitely entered into winter, the Pickens County School
District wants to make sure you are aware of how we will proceed in case of inclement weather. Our
number one priority is to make sure our students and staff are safe.

EARLY RELEASE / DISMISSAL

At the beginning of every school year, each parent completes a form where a choice is made regarding what
your child will do in case school is released early. Should school ever be released early, your child will go
home based on your selection on the form. Following this procedure allows us to account for all students
and make sure they are safe, which is the most important part of what we do.

If you need to make changes, those need to be handled before inclement weather takes place. This can be
done by sending in a note to the school along with your child’s name, whether your child will be a car rider or
bus rider (include their bus number), your signature, and a telephone number. We have specific protocols
and procedures we follow because it is extremely difficult for our school office staff to handle large volumes
of calls and notify teachers with last minute changes. Also, we ask that you not email teachers with changes
in how your child should be transported for early release. There is no way to guarantee a message is
received.

HOW YOU WILL BE NOTIFIED

In the case of early release, start time delays, or school closings, the school district will utilize the Infinite
Campus Messenger service to notify parents and guardians. The Messenger service sends phone calls,
emails, and notifications to your Infinite Campus account. It is critical that you notify central registration or
the school if your phone number changes.

If there is a need for a delayed start time, we will make that call as early as possible, and hopefully no later
than 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. Weather is unpredictable, so there may be an occasion that the call comes a little
later.

For school closings, you can also tune in to Atlanta news stations, district and school Facebook pages, and
local news media – Know Pickens, Pickens Progress, and Fetch Your News.

Again, our first priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff. We want everyone to arrive
safely to their destination. Also of great concern to the district is the number of inexperienced high school
drivers who are new to driving in inclement weather.

Make certain that you take care of updating telephone numbers and transportation directions before a
weather event occurs.

2019 STATEWIDE TURKEY HUNTING SEASON OPENS MARCH 23

Outdoors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


2019 STATEWIDE TURKEY HUNTING SEASON OPENS MARCH 23

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (March 18, 2019) – Georgia turkey hunters are ready for the season to open on Saturday, Mar. 23. The 2019 turkey hunting season should be a fair season, similar to 2018, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.  

“Reproduction in 2017 was lower than the four-year average, so that could mean a lower than usual supply of 2 year-old gobblers across much of the state in 2019,” explains Emily Rushton, Wildlife Resources Division wild turkey project coordinator. “However, that lower average comes between two better years, so hopefully other age classes will remain plentiful.”

With a bag limit of three gobblers per season, hunters have from Mar. 23 through May 15 – one of the longest seasons in the nation – to harvest their bird(s).  

What should hunters expect this spring? The Ridge and Valley, Piedmont and Lower Coastal Plain should have the best success based on 2017 reproduction information. The Blue Ridge region had a poor 2017 reproductive season, but saw a significant jump in 2018, so there may be a lot of young birds in the woods. The Upper Coastal Plain saw reproduction below their five-year average for the past two years, so numbers in that part of the state may be down.

Cedar Creek and Cedar Creek-Little River WMA Hunters, take note! The 2019 turkey season will run April 6-May 15 on these properties. This is two weeks later than the statewide opening date. This difference is due to ongoing research between the University of Georgia and WRD, who are investigating the timing of hunting pressure and its effects on gobbler behavior and reproductive success. Through this research, biologists and others hope to gain insight to the reasons for an apparent population decline in order to help improve turkey populations and hunter success at Cedar Creek WMA and statewide.

Georgia Game Check: All turkey hunters must report their harvest using Georgia Game Check. Turkeys can be reported on the Outdoors GA app (www.georgiawildlife.com/outdoors-ga-app), which now works whether you have cell service or not, at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, or by calling 1-800-366-2661. App users, if you have not used the app since deer season or before, make sure you have the latest version. More information at www.georgiawildlife.com/HarvestRecordGeorgiaGameCheck.

Hunters age 16 years or older (including those accompanying youth or others) will need a hunting license and a big game license, unless hunting on their own private land.  Get your license at www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, at a retail license vendor or by phone at 1-800-366-2661. With many pursuing wild turkeys on private land, hunters are reminded to obtain landowner permission before hunting.

 

Conservation of the Wild Turkey in Georgia

The restoration of the wild turkey is one of Georgia’s great conservation success stories.  Currently, the bird population hovers around 300,000 statewide, but as recently as 1973, the wild turkey population was as low as 17,000. Intensive restoration efforts, such as the restocking of wild birds and establishment of biologically sound hunting seasons facilitated the recovery of wild turkeys in every county. This successful effort resulted from cooperative partnerships between private landowners, hunters, conservation organizations like the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Wildlife Resources Division.

The Georgia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation has donated more than $4,000,000 since 1985 for projects that benefit wild turkey and other wildlife. The NWTF works in partnership with the Wildlife Resources Division and other land management agencies on habitat enhancement, hunter access, wild turkey research and education. The NWTF has a vital initiative called “Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt,” focused on habitat management, hunter access and hunter recruitment.

“Hunters should know that each time they purchase a license or equipment used to turkey hunt, such as shotguns, ammunition and others, that they are part of this greater conservation effort for wildlife in Georgia,” said Rushton.  “Through the Wildlife Restoration Program, a portion of the money spent comes back to states and is put back into on-the-ground efforts such as habitat management and species research and management.”

For more hunting information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations .   

 

Photos courtesy of Brian Vickery. After watching his older sister have two successful seasons, 7 year-old Luke is able to take his first bird during the special opportunity youth turkey hunting season.

David Cooper feels he can reach across party lines and defeat Doug Collins

Election 2018, News, Politics

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – David Cooper will face off against Josh McCall for Georgia’s 9th congressional district seat Democratic nomination. The winner of the May General Primary will then run against Republican incumbent Congressman Doug Collins in the November General Election.

Collins has held the Georgia 9th Congressional District seat since 2013.

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David Cooper seeks Democratic nomination in May General Primary.

Cooper stopped by the Fannin County Democratic meeting to share with Fannin County residents why he feels that he is the best man for the job.

“I am soldier. I have served in the forces that have guarded this country and our way of life, and I am prepared to serve again,” Cooper introduced himself.

Holding a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration, Cooper has also had a career working various levels of government and is currently retired from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During his employment with the EPA, Cooper worked in hazardous waste clean up and also worked in commercializing green options, such as solar, wind, and geothermal.

Because of his background, Cooper feels that he can reach a wide audience: “I speak the language of patriotism and sacrifice. I speak the language of compassion and selfless service. I speak the language of public participation, cost effective regulation and legislation.”

“It is not about giving a speech. It’s not about making a list of here’s my issues, and wouldn’t it be cool if we could do these things. That is what every politician is taught to do,” Cooper said, explaining he wants to see real accomplishments.

“I am an unconventional candidate, and I will be running an unconventional campaign,” Cooper noted, adding that unlike his opponent, McCall, he would in fact seek to sway Republican voters. “I have the skills and experience to have those conversations.”

Cooper is convinced that there is no such thing as a single-issue voter and is confident that he can find common ground and common values among all residents of Georgia’s 9th District.

Cooper summarized his beliefs and his platform into three key elements, with the first being a need to “save democracy”. He feels this can be accomplished by stopping fake news, ensuring clean elections, and implementing term limits.

His second stance is to “protect what we hold dear.” Cooper cited a few areas that deserve our attention and care, with these being social security, medicare, women’s rights, the environment, veterans, and small businesses.

Cooper labeled his final stance as “progress for the future.” He would like to see steps made toward universal health care, common sense gun control, clean energy, fair taxes and affordable education.

“Not free education,” Cooper pointed out, “until we can get healthcare for everybody, don’t talk to me about free education.”

Locally, Cooper would like to work to support small businesses, citing that they are uniquely numerous in our area due to the tourism industry. He feels that one way to promote this would be to “energize the Small Business Administration to do more to support and provide more outreach.”

“That’s how we keep the Georgia 9th vibrant, keep these small businesses going,” Cooper added.

“Collins should not be making rules for anyone,” Cooper spoke of his Republican opponent. “His loyalties are not with the people.”

In the General Primary, Cooper said the focus should not be about himself running against McCall, but instead he advised the crowd, “You need to pick the person who can beat Doug Collins and who has a plan.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Josh McCall prepares to face Doug Collins in upcoming election

Election 2018, News, Politics

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Josh McCall hopes to receive the Democratic nomination in the race for Georgia’s 9th congressional district seat.

This seat is currently held by incumbent Congressman Doug Collins. Collins has been Georgia’s 9th District representative since 2013.

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Josh McCall seeks Democratic nomination in May General Primary.

McCall has been traveling the district during his campaign, and made a stop at the Fannin County Democratic meeting to discuss with residents why he should represent our district.

Tired of hearing negativity in politics and disagreeing with many of today’s political moves, McCall stated that it had gotten to the point where he dreaded looking at his phone to get the latest news.

“Inevitably, as though it is some kind of force of fate, I do open my phone because I do care about my country and I want to know what’s happening,” McCall added.

Criticizing the Republicans, McCall referred to the party’s Debt Clock: “because everything that goes into feeding the poor people, those Republicans are putting it on the clock.”

“They just passed a bill handing over the fortunes of our children that was supposed to go into green infrastructure and the educational facilities of tomorrow,” McCall spoke of the party’s hypocrisy, “and it went into the pockets of billionaires.”

McCall added, “Let me tell you the red letters of our (Democrats) debt clock. They are written in the blood of students who died at Parkland. They’re written in the blood of the children who died daily from gun violence in this nation, which is breaking out like an epidemic.”

According to McCall Republicans used to care about urgent matters such as the National Debt and what is being left to the nation’s children, but their concerns have since shifted.

McCall wants to see focus put on healthcare and the costs related to this field, stating, “Those are the threats that are really facing us. You deserve life and you deserve health.”

“It is my fundamental belief that nobody should die because they are poor, and that nobody should be poor because they are dying,” McCall reiterated his passion to see meaningful change.

On national matters, McCall would like to see corporations “put on check” for environmental damage, and for lobbyists and organizations to have less of a hold on our government, citing that NRA (National Rifle Association) money is what stops real change to gun control.

“We are in too many nations right,” McCall said stating that we should pull forces out and invest at home,”There is not a single nation with a possible exception of Korea, that is any better off than it was before we invaded it.”

McCall would like to form a Public Service Coalition to serve at home and focus on social needs. The Civil Conservation Corp. could provide services such as taking care of the elderly in their homes and aid in environmental protection and clean up in exchange for scholarships to colleges.

For a two year term, McCall suggests, participants could receive a two-year technical degree scholarship, and for a four-year term, participants could receive a scholarship for a four year Bachelor’s Degree.

McCall switched gears to speak of his stance on the Second Amendment, “I firmly believe in the Second Amendment. The problem is the NRA does not. They only believe in that second part that makes them money.”

Citing that no one is safe in any public space in today’s climate, McCall emphasized that there is need for a well regulated militia.

“If they are law abiding citizens of sound mind, I want them to have that bolt action rifle. Their hunting rifle,” McCall stated, but also explained that there needs to be meaningful change.

One simple solution that he felt could have a lasting impact would be to have a 10 bullet limit on magazines, and outlaw removable clips. Other solutions would be to have gun owners secure weapons in their homes to keep them away from children. McCall stated that Georgia was number one in the nation for toddlers to die of gun related deaths.

“I don’t believe in confiscation,” McCall made very clear if new reform were to pass.

Locally McCall would like to focus on infrastructure in the 9th District, and have improvements to infrastructure done by people trained in our area.
If McCall were to receive the Democratic nomination, he spoke of where he differs from his Republican opponent Doug Collins.

“I believe that Doug Collins is most vulnerable in his complacency,” McCall stated and added that this election year Collins cannot ignore the Democratic party.

“Compassion and cooperation are the center pieces of my campaign,” McCall said and then added, “That is where he is vulnerable, he has not a compassionate or cooperative bone in his body, and that is our strength.”

McCall concluded by saying, “Am I my brother’s keeper? My answer to that is a resounding yes. This race is truly not about me. I have faith in the people of the 9th District.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

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