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Test 'funny' well water through UGA laboratory to identify problem

topbox well

     One single test can't detect all the possible contaminants in well water, but University of Georgia Cooperative Extension recommends the basic water chemistry test performed at the UGA Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories. This test determines hardness, pH levels, and concentrations of 16 minerals and metals.

By Sharon Dowdy

 Adam Speir


University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents, like Adam Speir in Madison County, Georgia, often get calls from homeowners who are concerned about the quality of their well water. Water from municipal sources is routinely monitored for safety, but water from private wells isn’t monitored unless homeowners take steps to ensure that it's safe.

Axe murder update Griffith pleads guilty to hiding body

Trial for other man expected to start in June



Pickens Sheriff’s book in photo

Arnold Hoyt Griffith plead guilty to concealing the death of another.

A Cove Road man charged in December 2016 as a party to an axe murder has reached a deal with the state where he pleaded guilty to helping clean the murder scene and hide the body. Previous charges that he took part in the grisly summer of 2014 killing were dropped.

DA Alison Sosebee said further investigation and his guilty plea show that Arnold Hoyt Griffith, 59, of Cove Road, “was not an active participant in the killing.” Griffith pleaded guilty to charges of concealing the death of another, tampering with evidence, and abandonment of a body.

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

What, and when, do kids learn about sex?


Statistics presented at a Pickens Family Connections meeting. 

     At the most recent Pickens Family Connections meeting, sex education in public schools was brought up after statistics on local STD rates in youth were presented. 

     According to the Georgia Family Connections Partnership report, the rate of STDs in Pickens County youth ages 15-19 has increased from 10.9 per 1,000 in 2012 to 12.3 per 1,000 in 2016. While the most recent numbers are significantly lower than the state’s rate of 29.8 out of 1,000 youth in that age group with an STD, it indicates the county is worsening by more than 10 percent. 

     Other data from the report shows that in 2016, there were eight pregnancies in the 15-17 age group here, or a rate of 14.5 per 1,000, slightly above the state rate of 14.4. For the same year it also shows 27 teen births in ages 15-19 here, or 31.4 per 1,000. This is above the state rate of 23.5 per 1,000. 


Georgia requires emphasis on abstinence


       Sex education is taught in middle and high school. Public schools are held to state requirements through the Georgia Department of Education, which states sex education in Georgia be: “a planned program that shall include instruction relating to the handling of peer pressure, promotion of high self-esteem, local community values, and abstinence from sexual activity as an effective method of preventing acquired immune deficiency syndrome and the only sure method of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. This instruction shall emphasize abstinence from sexual activity until marriage and fidelity in marriage as important personal goals.”

      Read more about what's taught in local schools in this week's print and online editions. 

Good Samaritan health clinic spruced up

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        Michelle Menard / Photo

The Master Gardners, Timothy House, Boy Scout Troop 836, Bent Tree Gardners, and volunteers from Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center came together Saturday, March 24th to implement a landscape design that the Master Gardners had graciously created. The Good Sam clinic expressed appreciation for all the support from the community groups and invites everyone to the ribbon cutting for their new building May 19th at 2 p.m.

Pictured is Master Gardner Dee Bogus instructing the Boy Scouts and Good Samaritan volunteers Dai Luther, Christina Cottrell, Brett Menard, Jackson Willingham, and Top Maddux on constructing a perennial garden.