Due to the potential for wintry hazardous road conditions tomorrow, Monday, December 10, Pickens County Health Department will be CLOSED all day, and Fannin County Health Department will delay opening until 10 AM. Gilmer County Health Department will delay opening until 9:30 AM. This applies to all public health services in these counties. Further updates will be posted to the North Georgia Health District website at www.nghd.org and to our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – What has been a simmering disagreement between Dawson and Pickens counties for months, erupted into something far more serious Monday when it was learned that Pickens County Commission Chairman Rob Jones plans to violate an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that has existed between the two counties since 2008.
Jones has made it clear Pickens County will take over training for the volunteer firefighters at Station 8 in the Wildcat Community, part of which lies inside both counties.
Dawson County Manager David Headley said Jones’ decision violates Section 5 of the IGA which states: “Dawson County shall provide training, equipment and workers compensation insurance for up to ten volunteer firefighters.”
It could also violate Section 12 of the IGA if Pickens plans to pullout of the agreement completely. Section 12 states: “The terms of the agreement shall be renewed automatically each year unless 180 days written notice of termination is provided by the other party.”
“I’m disappointed with the position (Jones) has taken,” Headley said Monday morning. “Dawson County has always been there for that community. Unfortunately the Pickens County Chairman has chosen not to adhere to the IGA.”
Dawson County Fire and Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson said he has a training class scheduled for the volunteers at Station 8 tomorrow (Dec. 4) at 6 p.m.
Jones decision to violate the IGA places volunteers in the difficult position of deciding whether to attend training provided by Dawson or Pickens counties. Sources have told Fetch Your News the volunteers are being pressured to attend the Pickens training which won’t begin for several more weeks.
Fetch Your News reached out to Chairman Jones but he did not return our phone call.
Station 8 was constructed in 2008. Under the terms of the IGA, Pickens County assumed responsibility for acquiring the land, making improvements to the land, construction of the station, building and contents insurance and LP gas.
Dawson County’s responsibilities include operation of the station, providing fire apparatus, including a fire engine and tanker truck, training and equipping the volunteers as well as administrative support and leadership.
The agreement worked well until recently when a dispute arose over the need for an additional water tank. The existing tank at Station 8 holds only 45,000 gallons of water and once it is drained, it takes several days to refill. The need for an additional water source was driven home last month when a home on Burnt Mountain Ridge Road was destroyed by fire.
In a townhall meeting following that fire — which Headley said was meant to ambush Dawson County officials — Clayton Preble, president of the Wildcat Community, said there was a firm agreement that Dawson County would provide a tank and move it and that Pickens County would construct the foundation.
Headley said that is nonsense. “There was an informal discussion but it never went any further than that,” he said. “Something like that would have to be approved by the Board of Commissioners and the issue was never placed before them.”
Headley said former Emergency Services Director Lanier Swafford located a tank the county could have obtained for the price of moving it, which Swafford estimated to be about $10,000. But the actual cost turned out to be much higher — between $50,000 and $60,000. Moreover, no contractor was willing to bid on moving it.
Headley and Thompson spent more than an hour being grilled by the residents of Wildcat Community during the townhall meeting while Jones sat in the back of the room and was never questioned.
“It seems like their refusal to adhere to the IGA is in retaliation for us not giving them what they want with regard to the water tank,” Headley said.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com
The holidays are approaching; the season is a time for family, fellowship, friends and giving.
While this time is a bright one for many, it is important to remember those in our community that
are not as fortunate. Every year in Pickens County various civic groups, organizations, and
helpful neighbors come together around the holidays to assist those struggling in our community.
There are many ways you can contribute to those in need during the holiday season. On Saturday
November 10 th, “A Taste of Pickens” fundraiser will occur between 11:30-1:30 at Chattahoochee
Technical College to benefit C.A.R.E.S. (local food pantry). On Thanksgiving Day, Mary Ann’s
will host their annual community Thanksgiving. If you’re interested in donating or volunteering
for the community Thanksgiving meal, contact Mary Ann’s at 706-253-2225. If you would like
to assist in providing Christmas for a foster child, contact DFCS (Heidi Smith) at 706-692-4730
or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can donate Christmas gifts to other families in need through
Toys for Tots or the Lion’s Club “Fill A Stocking” program. Additional opportunities to assist
are available throughout our community, be on the lookout to find the best way you can
contribute to our neighbors in need!
Construction on Pickens County Fire Station #12 off Carlan Road is coming along well. They’re currently finalizing the interior of the building and construction is expected to be completed at the end of the year. Equipment is scheduled to be moved in at the beginning of 2019. Additionally, the property was purchased at the NW corner of Old 5 and Worley Crossroads for the relocation of a new Tate Fire Station. Currently, plans for grading and building specifications are being put together. Construction is planned to begin in Spring of 2019. These are both SPLOST (Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales-Tax) projects and were outlined on the 2014 SPLOST plan.
During the month of October, the 911 Operations Center received 1,669 total calls, 698 were
medical responses and fire related. The Pickens Animal Shelter brought in 95 animals, and 92
animals went out through various forms of adoption. Animal Control responded to 22 cases. The
Water Department installed three new meters. The Department of Planning and Development
issued 41 new permits. Basketball registration has ended at Pickens County Recreation
Department. A total of 347 kids signed up, making a total of 40 teams from instructional to 12-
year-old leagues. Games will start on December 1 st and run through the end of January. Public
Works resurfaced Lower Dowda Mill Road. They set a paving record resurfacing 31 miles of
roads this year. Currently, they are patching portions of several roads around the county. Overall
the Pickens County government departments are working hard for the citizens of Pickens
County. The Pickens County Board of Commissioners continues to do a great job of leading these
efforts. As work progresses, and projects continue, I will do my best to keep you informed of
Until the next time, stay safe, and shop local!
JASPER, Ga– Work could begin soon on constructing one mile eastbound passing lane on State Route (SR) 53 east of Jasper in Pickens County. Georgia DOT has just awarded a contract to Vertical Earth Incorporated of Cumming, Georgia, valued at nearly seven million dollars for a project to reconstruct and rehabilitate the highway at that location.
The project includes 1.370 miles of widening and reconstruction for a passing lane on SR 53, beginning east of Four Mile Church Road and extending to east of Wilkie Road in Pickens County. It is intended to provide more passing opportunities in an effort to improve mobility and limit crash frequency and severity within the project corridor. The project corridor features rolling terrain and only minimum passing opportunities. With traffic expected to grow at 1.5 percent annually between now and 2037, the addition of a passing lane should improve the flow of traffic on the highway and make it safer.
“Upon completion, this project will improve the flow of traffic on State Route 53, make it safer and help the public get where they need to go in Pickens County,” said Grant Waldrop, district engineer at the Georgia DOT office in Cartersville.
This reconstruction project is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2020 at a construction cost of $6,818,725. 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 the Award Announcement Download at: https://www.bidx.com/ga/
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.
The 2018 general election which includes races for every major state-wide elected office and
several congressional and state representative races is approaching. The early voting period will
begin on October 15 th and run through November 2 nd (weekdays 8am-5pm) at Pickens County
Board of Elections off Pioneer Road. There will also be a Saturday availability to early vote on
October 27 th from 9am until 4pm. Election day is on Tuesday, November 6 th polls will be open
from 7am until 7pm at your local precincts. For information on your voter registration status or
to locate your precinct go to sos.ga.gov.
Also, approaching in the coming weeks is the 2018 Public Safety Day at Jasper Home Depot.
This free event will take place on Saturday, October 27 th between 10am and 2pm. Pickens
County Fire/EMS, Emergency Management Agency, Sheriff’s office, Jasper Fire and Police, and
others will all be on hand to provide safety demonstrations and tips. All citizens are encouraged
to attend this great event.
During the month of September, Public Works completed resurfacing Harrington Road, Pea
Ridge Road, and a portion of Fortner Road. They also completed tar and graveling Rocky Ridge
Road. Subcontractor paving crews completed the final phase of the 2018 paving contract. They
resurfaced: Nalley Drive, Poole Avenue, Solomon Avenue, Jones Avenue, Griffith Avenue,
Lanier Avenue, Little Avenue, Wood Street, Spring Place Drive, Beth Avenue, White Oak
Drive, Sweet Gum Circle, East Holly Lane, West Holly Lane, Dogwood Trail, Red Oak Lane,
Popular Lane, and Charles Avenue. The Water Department installed eight new meters. Planning
and Development issued 40 new building permits. The Pickens Animal Shelter brought in 75
new animals, and 67 animals went out through various forms of adoption. Animal Control
responded to nine cases. The 911 Operations Center received 1,681 total calls, 744 were medical
responses and fire related. The Pickens County Recreation Department is still offering basketball
registration until October 14 th . A late registration period will be available October 15-17. The
basketball skills evaluations will take place on October 22 nd , 23 rd , and 25 th , practices will begin on
October 29 th . Overall the Pickens County government departments are working hard for the
citizens of Pickens County. The Pickens County Board of Commissioners continue to do a great
job of leading these efforts. As work progresses, and projects continue, I will do my best to keep
you informed of these developments.
Until the next time, stay safe, and shop local!
The Pickens County Chamber of Commerce is proud to give you an update of some of our most recent
developments. First of all, we are very excited to announce our new board members. This fine group will
serve you and the Chamber for 2019-21, which are shaping up as key years for the future of Jasper and
Pickens County. These new members and their organization are Joanna Kearns, Century 21 Realty; Dale
Morrissey, Reinhardt University; Kay Lawrence, Renasant Bank; Jody Weaver with the Pickens County
Sheriff’s Department, Stephanie Ray, R & R Body Shop; and Denise Ray from Piedmont Mountainside
Hospital. We also have three previous board members who are serving extended terms: Sheryl Messner,
C.P.A. from Sheryl Messner, P.C., Lonnie Waters, the City of Jasper, and Diane Hales, Synovia Bank.
Returning board members include Todd Payne, Donna McDonald, Anne Sneve, Carrie Roland, Angie
Jones, Daniel Lopez, Davis Kelley, Tony Young, Melisa Jordan, Angie Jones, myself, and ex officios
Commissioner Rob Jones, PCS Superintendent Carlton Wilson, Sheriff Donnie Craig, District Attorney
Alison Sosebee, and Mayor John Weaver.
Next, we would like to announce that on September 28, the board unanimously decided to engage
Anissa Starnes from Swingbridge Consulting to assist us in our position development and search for our
new Executive Director. The search committee has been formed, and we hope to have our new director
in place no later than January 1, 2019. The Chamber is very fortunate to have Amberle Godfrey currently
serving as interim which has made this transition time much more easy and productive. Amberle has
shown such a selfless commitment to our community in true servant leader style: I know this upcoming
move will take us to the next level!
Finally, we would like to announce our 2018 Board Retreat coming up on November 30 and December 1,
at Brasstown Bald. We will be reviewing board responsibilities and taking a look forward with the aid of
the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development as our facilitator. Each and every one of these
steps reflects the recent successes of our chamber and our community, and we look forward to serving
our membership and our community in the coming years. The Pickens County Chamber of Commerce is
on the move to even better things!
Sonny Proctor, M.D.
Board of Directors
Pickens County Chamber of Commerce