PHS student Jessi Griffin, ladies silver medalist 2019 team trials Junior Division.
Kerrville, Texas was the first of two Olympic trials of grueling competition to select the U.S. Olympic team for the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo, Japan. Jessi Griffin, a Pickens County High School student, proved her metal against many of the nation’s top competitive shooters in international skeet, taking the silver medal for ladies Junior Olympic shooters.
In a called meeting lasting a matter of minutes the school board approved the millage rate for this year and a fiscal year 2020 budget Friday at the central office.
With board chair Tucker Green participating by speaker phone, the board approved a rolled back millage rate of 15.1 mils, down from last year’s 15.33.
Superintendent Carlton Wilson commented that this marked the fourth year in a row they had rolled back the tax rate and he was excited about it.
Angela Reinhardt / Photo
Jethro Flicks’ Executive Producer Tim White gets into character at the gallows inside the Old Jail where he filmed Southern Spirits. The film will run the last three weekends in October inside the historic Main Street building. Follow Jethro Flicks on Facebook for information about showing dates and times and where you can purchase tickets. Each show is $10 and includes a tour of the Old Jail.
Most people have been to haunted houses or haunted hayrides during the Halloween season – but how many people can say they’ve watched a spooky film inside a spooky old jail in the days leading up to All Hallows Eve?
This year movie-goers will have their chance with Southern Spirits, the locally-produced film that will be presented inside the historic Old Jail on Main Street the last three weekends in October. The film follows the story of a jail tour guide who, after being granted access by the “Keymaster,” unintentionally conjures ghosts of former inmates and sparks a series of tragic events.
“It’s tasteful, there isn’t any gratuitous violence, just implied violence,” said Jethro Flicks’ Executive Producer and Director Tim White, who is ecstatic about presenting his first full-length film to the public. “It’s got a more Hitchcock feel.”
White, who daylights as an attorney, has been filming home movies and videos for decades, and even appeared as an extra in “In the Heat of the Night” and other commercials/productions - but since 2009 has wanted to take his love of the film industry a step further. The seed for Southern Spirits was planted earlier this year after White became a volunteer with the Pickens Historical Society and began giving tours of the jail, which was built in 1906 and has a plethora of creepy features that make it perfect for a scary flick.
“I walked in and it was just like a lightbulb went off,” he said. “I knew I had to film there, with the old, closed in space and the gallows. It screamed to me that the idea I had from 2009 needed to be revived.”
White was on a mission to prove that quality films could be made on a low budget. He began recruiting local actors and got in high gear to film and edit the movie in time for the Halloween season. He’s spent 100s of hours in the last few months in preparation and secured the Old Jail for the screening location.
“I wanted to show that this can be done with just one guy a didn’t have to cost $9 million,” said White, who in addition to directing also appears in Southern Spirits. “I think we nailed it. I handpicked local actors with little to no experience and was able to give direction and just be relaxed about it. The last few weeks of getting this ready to show has been the most fun I’ve ever had. I wanted to prove I could do this.”
The film features 13 locals, including White, Pickens Progress Editor Dan Pool, Bill and Bay Cagle, Nancy and Steve Dennison, Mark and Terry Forrest, Donnie Low, Jim Trimby, Edee Disharoon, Beth Johnson Coberly, Lee Banks, and Henry the dog.
White, a Pickens resident, is also excited about showcasing the community he loves.
“I love volunteering at the jail and giving tours, and I love this town – but people need something to do and I want to show people that amateur movies can be fun. These are all local people, local sites, and it highlights Jasper and showcases the town,” he said.
If the movie garners any attention outside the county the director believes it could attract people to Jasper to see the filming location. He also said there will be a sequel next Halloween, and anticipated Jethro Flicks will produce two films per year.
Plans are to run Southern Spirits the last three weekends in October on Friday and Saturday nights at 7 and 9 p.m., with the possibility of additional dates and times to be added if demand requires. Follow Jethro Flicks production company on Facebook for more information about where to purchase tickets, which will be $10 per person and include a tour of the old jail before the show. The movie runs 67 minutes. White recommends the film for adults and children above 13.
Dan Pool / Photo
Neal Montgomery, outside his home, says he and other RV residents would “be lost in the woods” if the county suddenly cracked-down on housing that doesn’t meet official building codes.
“Necessity, pure and simple; it’s what we can afford,” said one of the residents of two RVs parked near each other north of Jasper.
One member of the group asked for the Progress to come and see their homes in hopes that the county will understand the implications of any restrictions they may pass on RVs.
The planning commission has discussed in two previous meetings the need to address people living in non-certified housing, including RVs, Tiny Homes, and even tents. The discussion indicated there may be between 50 and 100 of these residences that the county’s planning office was aware of. In comments later, Planning Director Rodney Buckingham said that was his ballpark estimate but he simply doesn’t have any good way to survey all the people out there who may be residing under the radar in non-traditional homes.
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The mine entrance near Cove Road. Tossing rocks into the darkness produces a splash not far down. Showing the mines, City Water Superintendent David Hall said they have measured and modeled and calculated that all the twisting corridors of former marble mines there hold 300 million gallons of water when it’s full to the entrance.
With the splash not far down, Hall said they likely have 270 million gallons there now.
Water seepage into the caverns constantly produces some refill. But Hall said for an extreme-worst-case scenario, figure starting with 270 million gallons, and if you made urgent pleas for conservation and with restrictions, the city could cut their daily usage down to 1.5 million gallons, so the mines (with no other sources) would provide water for the city for six months allowing for some natural refill.
With weeks of dry conditions already in the books and more dry weather forecasted, Jasper Water Superintendent David Hall said their supply is okay right now, with plenty of reserves, “but if things continue to be dry we may have to take some action,” he said.
Hall elaborated that he foresees the city being fine well into 2020 with a lingering drought.
But what causes concern is if weather history repeats itself with conditions that were experienced in 2006-2007. Hall explained where droughts really create fear among water managers is when you have a very dry fall and winter and then miss spring rains, that next summer will require more drastic measures like watering bans.