Jim Looney replaces John Weaver as city manager
In an historic move with a standing-room-only crowd, the Jasper City Council put an end to the longtime unification of the mayor and city manger positions.
At their Monday, Feb. 5 meeting, in a 3-1 vote, council appointed former council member Jim Looney to temporarily fill the position of city manager, which Jasper Mayor John Weaver has held since 1992.
Separating these two positions surfaced last year when new council member Sonny Proctor brought up the issue at the January 2017 meeting. He has since argued that it is a conflict of interest that goes against the city’s original charter.
See full story in this week's print or online editions.
A portion of Main Street will be closed on Saturday.
After two years scouting locations in Pickens and Gilmer counties, Atlanta-based production company Through the Glass Darkly, LLC will begin filming February 2 and continue through March.
Pickens residents can expect to see crews in downtown Jasper this weekend, including at one Main Street building, and in the coming weeks at other locations around the county. While it was initially reported that a portion of Main Street would be closed on Saturday and periodically on Sunday, that is no longer the case. Main Street will REMAIN OPEN during the weekend.
“We’re so grateful to be filming up here,” said Susan Graham, writer and producer of the film, also titled Through the Glass Darkly. “It’s such a beautiful area.”
The company selected Pickens County as a location because the director, Lauren Fash, visited when she was younger and thought the setting worked for the film.
“She lived in Atlanta but would come up and stay the summers in Bent Tree,” Graham said. “When we were creating the ideas for the story she remembered the wonderful times she had here and felt like it was a good fit.”
In Pickens, the production team hopes to use the old Weeks Jewelry Store on Main Street in Jasper, a private home, as well as the library, the Tate House, and other locations. The Tate House would be used for a wealthy, whiskey-distilling family.
“When you try to establish a family’s status, we say show me don’t tell me,” Graham said. “With the Tate House, it does that instantly.”
In Ellijay, the team hopes to film at the American Legion, Whiskey River, a medical facility and other areas.
Through the Glass Darkly follows the story of a woman recently diagnosed with Alzheimers who sets out to prove her innocence in the kidnapping of a young girl, but instead uncovers several clues that link her to the crime.
Through the Glass Darkly, LLC, which will begin shooting in Pickens County beginning in early February, is putting out a general request to locals to park their 90s-era or older vehicles in some exterior shots.
The Atlanta-based production company is filming “Through the Glass Darkly.” It follows the story of a woman recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's who sets out to prove her innocence in the kidnapping of a young girl, but instead uncovers several clues that link her to the crime.
SUMMARIES OF OPINIONS
Published Monday, January 29, 2018
Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Public Information Office for the general public and news media. Summaries are not prepared for every opinion released by the Court, but only for those cases considered of great public interest. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official opinions of the Court. The full opinions are available on the Supreme Court website at www.gasupreme.us .
STATE OF GEORGIA V. SMITH ET AL. (S17A1992)
The Supreme Court of Georgia has reversed a Chatham County judge and ruled that when three young men go on trial for the highly publicized murder of a Savannah State College co-ed, the jury will hear evidence the trial judge had ruled was inadmissible.
State prosecutors hope to prove at trial that on Jan. 21, 2013, Kevin Lenard Smith, Roderick “Rod” Demione Parrish, and Jordan Lamar Campbell attempted to rob Rebecca Lorraine Foley when she arrived home at her apartment on the Southside of Savannah, GA. Foley, 21, was a student at Savannah State University. As Foley arrived in her red Volkswagen Beetle, the three men, all in their early 20s, approached with a gun. Foley attempted to drive away, but the men shot at her through the rear passenger window. They then fled the scene in a get-away vehicle driven by a fourth man, James Pastures, leaving Foley to bleed to death. The State hopes to prove that all four men were members of the gang, the Bloods. The men went into hiding, escaping detection until May 2013 when Smith was arrested on unrelated aggravated assault charges from a March 2013 shooting. Authorities determined that the gun used in the March shooting was the same caliber of gun used to kill Foley. During questioning about the March shooting, Smith stated he had purchased the firearm in March 2013 from someone he did not know well, by the name of “Jarod” or “Rod” (as in Roderick Parrish), according to the State. Ballistics testing confirmed that the weapon used in the March 2013 shooting matched the ballistics from the Foley crime scene. Eventually, the men became concerned that Pastures, the driver in the Foley case, was talking to police. The State hopes to prove that subsequently, on Jan. 19, 2014, Pastures was murdered by gang members Shaqeal Speaks and Henry Sanders. In August 2016, Smith, Parrish, and Campbell were indicted for malice murder, felony murder and other crimes related to Foley’s death. Sanders and Speaks were indicted for murder and other crimes related to Pastures’ death. In November 2016, Parrish’s attorney filed a motion objecting to the State’s proposed use of Smith’s statement that he had bought a gun from “Rod” Parrish. Following a hearing, the trial judge entered an order blocking admissibility of Smith’s statement unless Smith chose to testify and Parrish’s attorney had an opportunity to cross-examine him, based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1950 decision in Crawford v. Washington. In Crawford, the high court held that cross-examination is required to allow the admissibility of prior out-of-court testimony of witnesses who have since become unavailable. The State then filed a motion to sever Smith’s trial from that of the others, concerned that if he was not tried separately, prosecutors would be limited in their use of Smith’s prior statement to law enforcement about the gun used to kill Foley. The judge denied that motion. The State then appealed the trial judge’s ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court.
“The trial court found that because Smith’s statement was not ‘clearly inculpatory’ of Parrish, severance of Smith’s trial from Parrish’s trial was not mandated. But the trial court’s analysis should not have ended there,” Justice Michael P. Boggs writes in today’s unanimous opinion. Because the court found that Smith’s statement did not directly “inculpate” – or incriminate – Parrish, “it should have concluded further that the statement would be admissible against Smith with an instruction to the jury to consider the statement only against him.”
“Here, Smith’s statement that he bought the gun from Parrish after the murder is not directly inculpatory of Parrish, and so it would be admissible against Smith with an instruction to the jury to consider the statement only against Smith,” the opinion says. “The trial court therefore erred in ruling that the statement is wholly inadmissible.” The high court therefore reverses the trial court’s ruling on Parrish’s motion to exclude Smith’s statement and remands “this case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”
Attorneys for Appellant (State): Margaret Heap, District Attorney, Frank Pennington, II, Asst. D.A.
Attorneys for Appellee (Smith et al.): Richard Darden
Jasper Food Mart owner Chirag Thakkar and clerk Sabrina Moriarty, standing under the Georgia Lottery prize check, want to find the winner of a Fantasy 5 ticket sold in early January.
The lucky winner of a $125,000 Fantasy 5 ticket sold in Jasper apparently doesn’t know how lucky they are, because nearly two weeks after the January 3rd drawing the prize has gone unclaimed.
“We were so excited when we got the news it was sold here,” said Chirag Thakkar, owner of Jasper Food Mart on Highway 53 directly beside Bojangles. “But no one ever came to claim it.”