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Tyler Craig headed to Jr. Olympics


Sixteen year old pole vaulter, Tyler Craig, of Pickens County is soon to compete at Wichita, Kansas in the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championship. The competition runs Tuesday, July 26, through Sunday, July 31. Craig vaults that Sunday.

Craig's participation at this national meet among athletes drawn from across the country amounts to an amazing accomplishment, considering Craig only began pole vaulting at the start of this year. A football athlete, he was recruited for the track team at the end of autumn, he said.

Briton named office manager for KPB

Joan Briton, a five-year resident of Pickens County, has assumed the duties of office manager for Keep Pickens Beautiful (KPB).

KPB operates out of the small green building on the south end of Main Street. Their primary activities include promoting recycling, adopt-a-road, and education.

Briton takes over following the retirement of Carol Opdenhoff who served as office manager for the past decade.

The work of office manager is the day-to-day operation of the organization including bookkeeping and bill payment and keeping membership lists current.

Brtion said she had been in a volunteer working on membership for the non-profit, when Opdenhoff retired. With book-keeping experience she was hired as the part-time manager.

Briton said she got involved with KPB after becoming more environmentally aware through several books she had read and was looking for some way to make difference. She met current KPB president Mary Anne Rentz who encouraged her to volunteer.

“I want to see the world go on,” she said.

Briton has lived in Pickens County for five years. Following many years of vacationing in the mountains of North Georgia she moved here from Fort Lauderdale.

Among the upcoming projects that KPB is working is on:

They will host the shredder on July 23rd from 9 a.m. until noon in the parking lot of the former Post Office behind the KPB offices. Briton said this is a good opportunity for households and businesses to see any documents they aren’t comfortable throwing in the trash shredded on-site while they wait. She said this is a great opportunity for law firms or medical businesses to get rid of old records safely.

• On a longer range scale: KPB is working to establish “a central recycling center drop off site.” This would be a spot where recyclable materials could be held for Pickens and surrounding counties until they have full truckloads. Briton said the project is about increasing the efficiency of recycling operations.

For more information on KPB call their office at 706-253-3600.


Jasper Council talks sports, audit, animal control

Jasper Youth Sports Association is gearing up for their 2011 season with practices beginning later this month. Here girls participate in the cheer camp at the old gym at Jasper Elementary School. Both cheer and football camp run the week of July 11 through July 15.


According to city officials, there are still a few days left to register your five to 12 year old for cheerleading and football through their youth sports program.

“We want as many children to play as can play,” said Jasper Youth Sports Association President Joe Nold in a later interview. “As long as they register by the end of the week they’re good to go.”

According to Nold, the city sports program has seen an increase in cheerleader registrations and a decrease in football registrations for this season.

“We’ve got about 102 for cheerleading and about 130 for football,” he said. “That’s up about 20 for the cheer and down about the same for football.”

Nold noted that because of recent fund-raising efforts the association has been able to replace out-of-date equipment.

“Last year we spent $15,000 on new helmets, and this year we spent $9,000 on shoulder pads,” he said. “When I started here we had equipment that was 10 to 15 years old.”

Cost for the program is $150 per participant for football and $140 for cheerleading, and there are hardship scholarships available to those who qualify.

Bank of Ozarks CEO discusses expansion plans

George Gleason, chairman and CEO of the Bank of the Ozarks, took a break to talk with the press by phone from his hotel room in Gainesville June 21st during a week the bank’s entire board of directors spent touring recently acquired Georgia facilities.

The Bank of the Ozarks, which began in 1903 in Jasper, Arkansas, has added 30 branches in Georgia to their Little Rock based operation through a series of FDIC acquisitions of failed banks. Included in those was Chestatee State Bank with its Marble Hill (Foothills) office.

Gleason said Georgia now accounts for roughly one-third of Bank of the Ozarks operations with 300 of its 1,100 employees in Georgia. He said the week-long series of bank tours and meetings gave directors firsthand knowledge of the business climate in Georgia – a state where they are planning aggressive acquisition and expansion.

Gleason has been chairman and CEO of Bank of the Ozarks since1979, when, as a 25-year-old attorney, he bought a controlling interest in the bank which at that time had a handful of employees and $28 million in assets.

In 1994 the Bank of the Ozarks, (a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, symbol OZRK) began expansion throughout the Southeast. It now has locations in Arkansas, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida.

Gleason said he considered it important that his entire board spend time in Georgia to understand what he called the environment for “aggressive expansion.”


Read more about what Mr. Gleason had to say in this week's print edition.