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February 2020
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Why a community prayer breakfast?


Dr. Alveda King will speak at the February 26th prayer breakfast for the community.

By Ben Mock

Mount Zion Baptist

Our idyllic little community has experienced a lot of tension and tragedy of late. Turmoil in leadership, talk of scandal in trusted institutions, and families in crisis are clear signs that the collective soul of Pickens County is going through a time of moral and spiritual turbulence. Though there are some 80, yes, 80 churches in our area, it would seem the salt has lost its savor, and our light has been put under a bushel. As just one example of such, how else can the fact that Pickens County has one of the highest rates of child abuse and neglect in the state of Georgia be explained? 

Read more: Why a community prayer breakfast?

Will Walmart go to Round 3?

Pickens assessors still seeking data as corporate giant wants lower taxes


Christie Pool / Photo

Walmart wishes to cut their property taxes in half for their Jasper location.

By Mark Millican

Contributing writer


When a Pickens County property or business owner wants to challenge their property value so they can possibly lower their taxes, they supply the assessor's office with certain documentation that might help their cause.

Retail giant Walmart, just off the Appalachian Highway north of Jasper, is asking for their taxes to be cut almost in half – from the county's assessment of $10.453 million to the company's request of $5.912 million – yet representatives have not supplied that same crucial information. 

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

Megachurches a growing part of Pickens religious life


Encounter Life Church / Photo

The Rev. Jeremy Bryan and his wife Katlyn from Encounter Life Jasper are both from small towns and excited about coming to the local campus of the larger church.

By Jennifer Paire

Contributing writer


Trinity Tabernacle’s transformation from struggling congregation to growing megachurch campus - now Encounter Life Church - delivered the Jasper church from decline.

“It’s really hard when you have a small church,” said Sherry Copeland, one of the church leaders who sought help from Griffin First Assembly of God in 2019. “You have the struggle of being all that a larger denominational church can offer like big youth trips and a youth leader who can be there for all they do. A lot of those things we missed out on. Now, we are connected to something bigger, with a unified vision, but we still have a small town feel and independence in worship.”

         See full story, which includes interviews with numeorus local pastors in this week's print or online editions. 

Most key local offices up for election


       Election season is in full swing, with experts predicting record turnouts across the country. In addition to the presidential election and other state elections, there are numerous local elections voters will decide. 

All of the following offices will appear on the ballot: Pickens Commission Chair (currently held by Rob Jones); District 2 Commissioner (currently held by Becky Denney); Sheriff (currently held by Donnie Craig); Probate Judge (currently held by Judge David Lindsey); Magistrate Judge (following a recent arrest, Judge Allen Wigington has announced his resignation from the


position); Tax Commissioner (incumbent Darrin Satterfield announced in a letter this week Page 5A that he will not seek re-election); Coroner (currently held by Mark Godfrey); Clerk of Court (currently held by Jennifer Jordan) Board of Education Post 1 (Donna Enis); and Board of Education Post 4 (Sue Finley).

At the state level, incumbent State Rep. Rick Jasperse will face Charlotte Lee Williamson in the GOP primary.

Read more: Most key local  offices up for election

Local pastor recalls growing up during civil rights movement; welcomes Dr. Alveda King


       Dr. Alveda King, who will speak in Pickens on February 26, is a Christian evangelist and civil rights activist and is also known for her contributions in film, music, politics, education and journalism. She is an actress, singer, songwriter, blogger, author, Fox News contributor, and a television and radio personality. As a former Georgia State legislator and mother and grandmother, she is also a guardian of the King Family Legacy. Alveda is the daughter of Rev. A. D. King and Mrs. Naomi King, the granddaughter of Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. and Mrs. Alberta Williams King, and the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She currently serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, the African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. She is also a voice for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, sharing her testimony of two abortions, God’s forgiveness and healing. 

       In anticipation of Dr. Alveda King speaking in Pickens County during a community prayer breakfast at Chattahoochee Technical College later this month, Mt. Zion Baptist Church Pastor Ben Mock remembers what it was like growing up during the Civil Rights Era in the Deep South. Here he discusses the importance of Dr. King speaking and praying with the Pickens community. See details about the breakfast at the end of this article, including RSVP information. 


The Kings and I 


By Ben Mock

Mt. Zion Baptist Church Pastor

Growing up as a white kid near Sandfly, Ga., a "colored" community on the south side of Savannah, I had a front row seat to the injustices of the Old South. I recall riding on the Nancy Hanks to Atlanta, watching the cotton fields go by and wondering if the passengers in the rear cars weren't as thirsty as I was. I could get a cold Coca Cola in the dining car, they could not. On a later trip

Read more: Local pastor recalls growing up during civil rights movement; welcomes Dr. Alveda King