Area Unemployment Rates Jump in June

Unemployment in both Stephens County and the Georgia Mountains region jumps in June.

According to figures released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Labor, Stephens County’s preliminary unemployment rate for the month of June was 10.9 percent. That is an increase of 1.2 percent from the revised May rate of 9.7 percent. This June’s rate is also one-tenth of a percent higher from the June 2010 rate of 10.8 percent.

Unemployment also rose around one percent in neighboring counties. Habersham County’s unemployment rate rose 1.2 percent as well to 10.5 percent, while Franklin County’s unemployment rate rose nine-tenths of a percent to 12 percent, and unemployment in Banks County rose by nine-tenths of a percent to 7.7 percent.

The unemployment rate for the Georgia Mountains region in June was 9.3 percent, nine-tenths of a percent higher than May.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the increase was caused primarily by two seasonal factors. Those were layoffs among non-contract public school employees, such as bus drivers and janitorial workers, and an increase in the labor force, as students began looking for permanent or part-time jobs.


The new Currahee Club owners hosted an Open House Luncheon at the Currahee Club House Tuesday, July 26, 2011 and welcomed local leaders for a meet-and-greet. The new owners call it a new day for the Currahee Club development in Stephens County. Landology Hartwell, LLC closed on it acquisition of the club last week. Landology Hartwell is a partnership between real estate owner/operator, and Arendale Holdings, a Delaware-based company focused on real estate financing and property development.
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Stephens County Schools make AYP for 2011

Last week, the state of Georgia announced that Stephens County was on of only 31 systems where all schools made AYP last year based on the initial results. All schools in the Stephens County school system made AYP this year. AYP, or Adequate Yearly Progress, is part of the No Child Left Behind Act. A variety of assessments are used to evaluate how students are progressing including academic performance, test scores, attendance rate and graduation rate. Stephens County School Superintendent Sherrie Whiten said the school system is thrilled to have made AYP for 2011. She added that the school system could not be prouder and would continue to focus on student achievement.

Toccoa 9/10 Softball Wins STATE

The Toccoa 9 and 10-year-old softball All-Stars are state champs. Toccoa won the state tournament Wednesday in Elberton, defeating Jasper County 14-4 in four innings to claim the crown. This year’s 9 and 10-year-old softball team includes Ivey Andrews, Mackenzie Rogers, Natalie Morgan, Alanna Dunson, Hannah Hieb, Breanna Simmons, Gracie Jordan, Tyra Hunter, Kataryna Fuller, and Ashton Ayers. Other coaches included Tim Lowery and Dale Lingerfelt. The team will participate in the “Tournament of Champions” in Luray, Virginia beginning on July 29, starting off by playing a team from North Carolina.Read Article

Names chosen for the new high school gym & auditorium

The Board of Education has decided to name the new gymnasium Currahee Arena and the new auditorium the Tugaloo Center for the Performing Arts at the new Stephens County High School.

Whiten Highlights Stephens County 2010-2011 School year

Stephens County School Superintendent Sherrie Whiten said that the 2010-2011 school year was an exceptional one for the county’s school system.
“By every measure, this was a great year for students, teachers and everyone on the Stephens County School System team,” she said. “I want to publicly commend our teachers, administrators, support staff and board of education for some remarkable accomplishments.”
Whiten said the job was remarkable considering a shortened school year and budgeting challenges, and that students reached new heights.
“Our classrooms are stronger than ever, and our students are exceeding past performance,” she said.
Whiten noted the following accomplishments:

• Graduation rates exceeding past performances.

• 8th graders scoring high on their 2011 writing assessment with 89 percent meeting or exceeding state standards — an 11 percent increase from 2010’s 78 percent.

• 5th graders outpacing state percentages on their 2011 writing assessment by 84 percent. a five point margin from the state’s 79 percent.

• Improvements in almost every area of the state’s 2011 Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) including more than 98 percent of third and eighth graders passing the reading portion, 98 percent of sixth graders passing the English/Language Arts portion, math scores increasing for fifth and eighth graders and 98.6 percent of seventh graders passing the math CRCT, 91 percent of fourth graders passing the social studies CRCT.

• High school graduation test scores increasing from the previous year in English/Language Arts, Science and Social Studies.

“In every area, Stephens County students outperformed students throughout the state,” said Whiten.

The Toccoa Record