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No joy in Mudville – rains hampering first week of Rec. Department ball

Muddy fields at Roper Park, have stopped action for much of the first week of softball, baseball and tee-ball.


Progress Staff reports

Rain not only forced the cancellation of the Recreation Department’s opening ceremonies Saturday, predicted spring storms threaten the first week of regular games for the 538 kids in the program this year.

Rec. Department Director Melinda Goss said 2011 followed a pattern in the last four or five years of downpours drowning out opening day of the softball, tee-ball and baseball seasons. Last year the opening proceeded with cold temperatures and strong winds, but most of the past years have been just as soggy as last Saturday.

“We had to cancel Saturday ceremonies,” Goss said Monday. “We were supposed to start games tonight [Monday] but the weather is not looking too good for that either.”

Tuesday the skies remained cloudy at mid-morning, giving little opportunity for the muddy fields to dry out. Further storms were predicted for later in the week.

Goss said if the weather doesn’t improve this week, teams will be forced to wait until after spring break for regular season action. No games are scheduled for next week due to spring break.

Goss said they have re-done the schedule this year to allow for make up games on Saturday as no regular games are scheduled then. “We had planned for make-up games on Saturday,” she said. “We can get in a lot of games on a Saturday.”

Rather than opening ceremonies, Goss said the department will host some type of “end-of-season fun day” to coincide with tournaments planned this year for the end of the year. New for this year in all Rec. Department age divisions except tee-ball are double elimination tournaments.

Goss said the plans are for the regular season to end on May 14 and they aren’t planning to extend it with make-up games.

Goss reported that the fields and facilities were ready to go on Saturday. “Everything is looking good,” she said.

A big relief to many parents, the large back parking lot will be open for games following some work on a new gym for the park that had closed the access to the parking earlier.


Farmers' Market underway for the season


By Darla Huffman, Farmers’ Market P.R.

Butterfly gardens will be the topic of the week at the Jasper Farmers’ Market’s Master Gardeners Information Tent this Saturday, April 2, with a focus on creating a butterfly garden for your yard. There will be volunteers to answer your questions and “how to” information to take home. For the children, there will be butterfly pictures to color and caterpillars to make while learning about the life cycle of these winged creatures.

If you have ever wondered who are these people arrogant enough to call themselves Master Gardeners, here is definition: “The Master Gardener Program in Georgia is a volunteer training program designed to help Extension agents transfer research-based information about gardening and related subjects to the public by training home gardeners.”

Educating the public is what Master Gardeners are all about.  As sponsors of the Jasper Farmers’ Market, they bring information on farming and gardening into the community with our Educational Opportunities during the Market season. Stop by the Master Gardener Tent this week with your questions.

The Jasper Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday morning from April through October and Wednesday mornings, June 15 to August 31, from 7:30 a.m. to noon, except for the 4th of July Celebration and the Marble Festival. The location is the Park & Ride lot beside Lee Newton Park on Highway 53 near downtown Jasper.

Only handmade and homegrown items can be sold at the Market; see the Master Gardeners Web site for complete rules. The Farmers’ Market is a project of Pickens County Master Gardeners ( and the County Extension Office (706-253- 8840). Please contact either for more information.

Ga. gas prices 80 cents a gallon higher than last year on same day

Georgia, March 28- Average retail gasoline prices in Georgia have risen 3.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.46/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 3.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.56/g, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Georgia during the past week, prices yesterday were 79.1 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 15.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 21.5 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 76.5 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.


GasBuddy operates,, and over 225 other local gasoline price-tracking websites that follow prices at over 125,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. GasBuddy also uses Facebook ( Twitter (, and phone apps to keep motorists ahead of changing gasoline prices. was named one of Time magazine's 50 best websites and to PC World's 100 most useful websites of 2008.

Overdue depot project back on track at Tate

By Jeff Warren, staff writer

A long-awaited happening, relocation of the Tate railroad depot for renovation and preservation on county land at Tate south of State Highway 53 may soon be back on track after long delays. County leaders, Georgia Department of Transportation officials and Howard Bach of transportation consultants Moreland Altobelli met Friday afternoon, March 18, at the County Admin Building to begin ironing out details preliminary to the depot move.

Bach serves as go-between, connecting grant recipient Pickens County to Georgia DOT, which has awarded two transportation enhancement grants totaling $800,000 for the depot project. The money is federal, administered through the state transportation department and comes with many requirements that must be met before the money can be received.

Forest Fire Under Control in Marble Hill

Ga. Forestry crews burn areas along Highway 53 in Marble Hill to prevent the spread of a wildland fire that has consumed 780 acres since Tuesday. Seth Pierce with the Ga. Forestry Commission said Friday afternoon that the forest fire was 80 percent contained and under control. He said by nightfall Friday they would have it completely controlled, but the area may still continue to smoke. Pierce said they had established lines around the perimeter and burned some areas ahead of the fire. They will continue monitoring it.

Only one house has been threatened with no other homes in the area.

The fire began Tuesday and was thought to be mostly out Wednesday afternoon, but strong winds in the storm that night brought it back to life. No structures have been damaged.