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Folk school to open next month

folk school Founders

     Founders of the Southern Appalachian Folk School, located in the Jasper building that most recently housed Pickens DFCS. (l-r) Debbie Brownlee, Heather Poole, Pat Jewell, Rhonda Lindsey, JJ Roper, Billy Roper and C. Larry Wilson


       A group of dedicated artists and art supporters have come together to open a folk school in Pickens County to celebrate the unique Appalachian culture of the area. 

     Southern Appalachian Folk School is a homegrown effort to keep the mountain culture alive by sharing its arts, crafts and stories. Beginning February 2018, the school will offer classes in a wide variety of folk arts. Among the initial offerings will be basket making, wood whittling, making cane blow guns, and chair caning. As the school grows, it will

Former directors of the Ruth House arrested for theft by conversion

New director in place at women's ministry


Pickens Sheriff Press Release


Pickens County Georgia, January 12, 2018: Following an October Search Warrant of the Ruth House in Ranger Georgia, Greg and Detra Mason have been charged with Felony Theft by Conversion.

   Original complaints of mismanagement of funds led to the investigation into the handling of the local ministry for women with Substance Abuse issues. After a search warrant was executed on the property, boxes of receipts and financial documents were gathered and have been gone through extensively. Following the review of documents covering a recent period of time, PSO detectives presented the evidence to a judge and were able to obtain arrest warrants for both Greg and Detra Mason. The warrant was issued for Theft by Conversion, a felony in the State of Georgia.

   The Masons willingly came to the Pickens County Adult Detention Center on January 2nd and were booked in for the charges. On the same date, both were able to post the $10,000 bond that had been set for each.

   Captain April Killian with the Pickens Sheriff’s Office stated that the investigation is still continuing as additional documents are being reviewed, but sufficient probable cause was found at the time to warrant the arrest. “After digging through the past year of documents, we have been able to identify over $26,000 that had been converted from Ruth House funds to their own personal use”. Killian went on to say that “We still have a lot of documents to review and additional charges could be found as the investigation continues.”


From this week's Pickens Progress

Women's Ministry hires new director, forging ahead
Ruth House Ministries proudly announces the appointment of their new director, Jessica Chastain. Ms. Chastain has served as volunteer at the Ruth House and brings years of corporate administrative experience at a Fortune 500 Company. As a Christian based drug and alcohol regeneration center for women, the Ruth House has served the community and surrounding areas for 20 years. 
When asked about the direction of the Ruth House, Ms. Chastain replied: “The Ruth House will continue to positively impact the lives of addicted women and their families. Our core values remain rooted in 2 Cor 5:17.  Our vision, ‘restoring families and changing lives thru the healing power of Jesus Christ’, is and will be the heart of this Ministry. We thank the community for their increased support and covet their prayers.”

Pickleball a big hit at rec. center


Angela Reinhardt/photo

Pickleball has gained popularity at the Pickens County Community Center. The rec. department makes one of their basketball courts available every weekday for pickleball players. 


The name “pickleball” is quirky enough to catch most people’s attention, but it’s the game itself that has a growing number of locals excited. 

“It’s really taking off,” said Pickens County Parks & Recreation Director Brian Jones. “We have people playing five days a week. If we could offer it more, they would probably take us up on that offer.”

  If you’re not familiar with pickleball, imagine a fusion of ping pong, tennis, and badminton. Singles or doubles play with a modified tennis net that sits low to the ground. Players use paddles that look like large ping pong paddles, and plastic balls similar to Wiffle balls. Paddles cost anywhere between $10 to well over $100.

Pickleball was developed in 1965 by a group of three dads in Washington state when their kids got bored one summer. The game has gained popularity over the years, with NBC calling pickleball one of the fastest-growing sports in America “that can be played by anyone.” 

Distracted driving, opioid issues will generate discussion under Gold Dome

State Representative Rick Jasperse previews legislative session




With Georgia on solid ground with revenue, the legislative session opening this week will see lawmakers looking at how to improve the Peach State. 

In a preview of the session, State Rep. Rick Jasperse (District 11) said, “We’ll be looking at how to make Georgia a better place. We want to continue to see Georgia as a great place to do business and to live.”

The state budget is the number one issue, reaching into all other areas of government. From schools to prisons, it falls back on the budget as to what the state can do, said Jasperse, who has represented Pickens County in the state’s House since 2010.

Big Canoe’s Potts Mtn. property off table for future development

1,378 acre tract put in permanent conservation status

Potts Mountain Investors LLC property2                                                           Atlantic Coast Conservancy/ Photo

This Potts Mountain property, shown above, is now permanently protected.

         In a move with far-reaching implications, 1,378 acres comprising the Potts Mountain section of Big Canoe was placed into permanent conservation status in December.

Phil Landrum III, the attorney for the Atlantic Coast Conservancy as well as Pickens County, confirmed that Potts Mountain Investors, LLC had put all the property into a conservation easement. Landrum said the easement, which restricts development there to only five potential  homesites, had been signed and recorded in both Pickens and Dawson counties.

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