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Youth Birding Competition registration open

youth birding

Georgia’s Youth Birding Competition turns 8 this year, and coordinator Tim Keyes is seeing plenty of evidence the event is making an impact for conservation.


            Keyes mentions early participants now studying biology in college and

former birding novices who as veterans are mentoring children in bird watching. “It’s been incredibly rewarding to watch that,” he said.


The rewards for competitors and organizers continue April 13-14, when the 24-hour statewide birdathon for teams varying in ages from kindergarteners to high school seniors returns.  The deadline to register is March 31. Complete details are at

Hollyhocks - Keeping the past alive in Talking Rock







By David R. Altman

Progress Contributor

When Paulette Grizzle first saw the dilapidated house on Talonah Street in Talking Rock, she could see the potential. “It was pretty rough looking,” she said. “But I just knew that with a name like Hollyhocks in Talking Rock, it had to work.”  

That was 1994, and now, nearly 20 years later, Hollyhocks has become a popular shopping destination in north Georgia and an anchor of Talking Rock’s unique shopping experience.

Paulette and husband Mark bought the old house which was originally built in 1888 and turned one of the earliest Talking Rock buildings into its most well-known store. But it wasn’t easy.

“When we got here - it was hard to see the house as it was so overgrown by trees and shrubs,” said Mark. “In fact, we had a cottonwood tree actually growing through what is now the main room.”  

The aging house had no windows and a not many walls. “In fact,” Paulette said with a smile, “it was so bad, when my dad came to see it he told me ‘You’d better get your money back!’” 

Mark, a retired deputy fire chief from Cobb County, said the experience of rebuilding was a challenge. He says they did most of the work themselves. “We had to build the stairway to the second floor, as the only way up there in the beginning was by ladder,” he laughed.  


Wolfscratch Farms: Organic farm grows more every year


Wolfscratch owner feeding chickens and Guinea Fowl “the bug squad.”

Bettina Huseby
Progress contributor

    I found Jamie Rosenthal out standing in his field talking on his cell phone. He wasn’t alone. From behind him came a confusion of black and white polka-dotted guinea fowl, headed directly for me. What a relief it was when they turned left and began furiously pecking at bugs in the garden.
    “We haven’t seen a tick anywhere since we got them. Our family dogs are pest-free,” Jamie said. “Guinea fowl are bug-eaters.  Of course, we hand-pick bugs too.” They make limited use of an organic pesticide made from ground-up chrysanthemums.

Brumby 5th in PHS history named to All-State team



By Coach Parker
    Junior Tanner Brumby has been named to the 1st team All-State team as a punter by the Associated Press. The AJC has Brumby as an Honorable Mention as a quarterback. This is a great accomplishment! In the history of Pickens High School, Brumby is the fifth player to be named 1st team All-State and the first since 1982. Below are the Dragons who have made 1st team All-State according to
    Tanner Brumby, 2012; Scott Finch, 1982; Fred Anderson, 1972; Fred Anderson, 1971; Charlie Chastain, 1968

Mollie Shaw named PHS 2013 STAR Student


By Reeder Burch

    Mollie Shaw, a high school senior, has been named the 2013 STAR Student of Pickens High School. The announcement is made by the Optimist Club of Jasper, local sponsor for the Pickens STAR program. Shaw, daughter of Tom and Maggie Shaw, selected Mrs. Debbie Grimes as her STAR Teacher.
    The PAGE Student/Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, now in its 55th year, is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Department of