Get Adobe Flash player


All “children of Earth” welcome to Spirit Dance

Twelve Stone Farm entrance sign


A sacred spirit dance will be held at Twelve Stone Farm in Talking Rock. Red Turtle, organizer of the event, said everyone is welcome because “everyone is on the Medicine Wheel.” The Twelve Stone Farm sign includes an image of the Medicine Wheel. 


Red Turtle, a member of the Metis tribe and a Pickens resident, is inviting the community to a sacred Native American Spirit Dance in Talking Rock to “unite with our ancestors,” and “restore our life so that it is in harmony with Earth and our fellow man.” 

“Everyone is welcome,” Red Turtle said from his Tate home, which is adorned with Native American art

Read more: All “children of Earth” welcome to Spirit Dance

Geocaching couple hiding local treasures

geocach IMG 0314

Dan Pool/ Photo

Jay and Angie Bird show off one of six geocache sites at the Talking Rock Nature Preserve. All the caches at the park were hidden with beginning geocachers in mind.


There would be a huge trove of witty headlines if Pickens residents Jay and Angie Bird had actually met through geocaching.

They didn’t. They first met about 20 years ago and then re-connected, the modern old-fashioned way – online.

So, of no use are headlines like Geocaching Your Way to My Heart or GPS Coordinates to Love.

Read more: Geocaching couple hiding local treasures

Charges against operators of smoke shops result of investigation into teen vaping

A1 smoke shot bust

Dan Pool / Photo

Law enforcement agents establish a perimeter around the A1 Smoke Shop on West Church Street Friday after a substance in a plastic container sent two detectives, a drug task force agent, two EMS responders and a store employee to the hospital with a range of symptoms. All were released later that day. 

        The district attorney’s office, sheriff offices and GBI wasted little time taking action against the vape shops they believe sold products that led to 12 medical emergencies at  high schools across the Appalachian Judicial Circuit earlier this month.

On Friday, agents from sheriff offices in Pickens, Gilmer and Fannin counties, along with GBI agents, drug task force officers and district attorney personnel, executed search warrants at the A1 Smoke Shop locations in Jasper (West Church Street), and in East Ellijay and a Citgo convenience store on Blue Ridge Drive in Blue Ridge.

        See full story in this week's print and online editions 

State seeks to revoke Animal Rescue’s license

Local group vows allegations by former disgruntled employee are false 



On July 10th the Georgia Department of Agriculture issued an administrative order for disciplinary action against Pickens Animal Rescue Ranch, seeking to revoke their license saying members of the board  knowingly took  animals who had owners and adopted them out illegally.  The longtime animal rescue group, commonly called PAR say the allegations  are false and were made by a former disgruntled employee, and they intend to “vigorously defend” the organization and its mission.

Pickens Animal Rescue is around two decades old and preceded the county shelter for many years as the only rescue group here.

        See this week's print or online editions for full story.

Warrant search at vape shop sends deputies, medical crew to hospital

A1 smoke shop


Three deputies and two medical responders are under observation at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital after one deputy passed out and the others showed lesser symptoms when a container with powdery substance was opened and went airborne during a search of the A1 Smoke shop on West Church Street Friday afternoon.

            Chief Deputy Jeff Hall, who was at the scene, said none of the officers or first responders had symptoms that appeared life threatening, but all showed some effects from the powdery substance and were treated with standard decontamination procedure. They remain under observation at Piedmont Mountainside.

            Hall said it began when a powder, believed to be a legally sold substance used in vapes and in the powder form, went airborne.

            Hall would not comment on what the original search warrant was for at this time. He did say the package in question appeared to be a regularly sold item at vape shops, not an illegal drug.

            A Cherokee County Hazmat team is expected at the scene to begin both clearing the area and gathering samples. The parking lot for the neighboring stores in the West Church Street area that contains Pueblo Grille was closed. Hall said there may be some delay as they are seeking additional search warrants after the incident.

            Hall said the deputy who passed out had regained consciousness and is recovering, but was still being watched closely. He said they were exercising full caution with the officers and med crew.