Get Adobe Flash player


This poop stinks - Some manure can kill garden plants


Tomato plants owned by area gardener Andy Kippenhan. Kippenhan says the plants on the right were treated with contaminated manure from a local stable and died as a result of herbicide carryover. The plant in the photo to the left is a healthy tomato plant not treated with the contaminated manure.

     Sure, you can smell it a mile away, but do you really know where your manure came from?

     Gardeners know that the key to cultivating strong, healthy plants is good soil rich in nutrients. One of the ways gardeners achieve this is by adding manure to their compost or by applying it directly to garden beds. But local gardener Andy Kippenhan, who learned about the stinky side of manure the hard way, warns that farmers and gardeners should ask about the source before applying it to garden vegetable or flower beds.

Scouting opportunities abound in PIckens



Above, Boy Scouting Troop 288

     Happen to be a parent of a middle school or high school aged youth with a hankering for the kind of adventures available through a Scouting program? What follows is a list of Scouting groups active in this county with some details of each group.
      Pickens County has three Girl Scout troops for girls middle school age or above. Four Boy Scout troops operate here, with young men, ages 11 through high school, participating. In addition, two coed Scouting groups are also at work here: Venturing Crew 288 out of Hill City and Explorer Post 800, a law enforcement post, sponsored by the Pickens County Sheriff's Office.
      Scouting opportunities begin as early as kindergarten for girls and at age 7 for boys.
      To learn about Scouting groups available to girls younger than middle school, contact Jennifer Clark (service unit director for Mountain City Girl Scouts of Pickens County) at 770-833-4754.
      To learn about Scouting opportunities available to boys younger than 11, contact Carlton Wilson (Boy Scouting's district commissioner for Cherokee and Pickens counties) at 770-402-9105.


More snakes? No, just more encounters

A warm winter and spring probably contributed to more snakes being seen this year, but there’s no evidence that Georgia snake populations are increasing.

John Jensen, a senior wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, said most of the state’s native snake species are actually losing habitat, a change that limits their numbers.

Reasons for the rise in sightings likely include snakes being more active during mild winters, people being outdoors more because of the warmer weather, and development adding roads, homes and businesses in wooded and other areas where snakes live.

“It’s putting people in closer encounters with snakes,” said Jensen, who works with the Nongame Conservation Section of DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division.

Fellow DNR biologist Thomas Floyd listed two other possible factors: drought that has some snakes on the move and public perception spurred by media coverage. “The abundance hasn’t increased,” Floyd said. “People are just encountering them more often.”

What to do if you spot a snake?

• Try to identify it from a distance. Georgia has 43 native species, and only six are venomous. It is illegal to possess or kill

most nongame species, including all non-venomous snakes.

• Do not attempt to handle the snake. Give it the space it needs.

• Remember that snakes are predators that feed on rodents, insects

and even other snakes. Most species in Georgia are harmless. There is no

need to fear non-venomous snakes.

If a clearly identified venomous snake is in an area where it represents a danger to children or pets, consider contacting DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division for a list of private wildlife removal specialists. Most snake bites occur when a snake is cornered or captured, prompting the animal to defend itself.

Non-venomous snakes such as the scarlet kingsnake and eastern hognose are sometimes confused with their venomous counterparts. Venomous snakes are often identified by their broad, triangular-shaped heads. Yet, many nonvenomous snakes flatten and broaden their heads when threatened and

may have color patterns similar to those of venomous species. Use caution around any unidentified snake.

You can reduce the potential for snakes near your home by removing brush, log piles and other habitat that attracts mice, lizards and other animals on which snakes prey.

For more on Georgia’s snakes, go to

Snakes are part of the Georgia outdoors. Most native snakes are protected by state wildlife laws; the southern hognose snake and eastern indigo snake have additional legal protection as imperiled species.

To help conserve rare, endangered and other nongame wildlife in Georgia, buy or renew a bald eagle or hummingbird license plate or donate directly to the Wildlife Conservation Fund. This fund supports DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section, which receives no state general funds for its mission to conserve Georgia wildlife not legally fished for or hunted, as well as rare plants and natural habitats.

Details at

Bluegrass competition added to Marble Festival 2012


The Bruce Week's Family Band will be heading up the Bluegrass Gospel Entertainment on Sunday, October 7 of the Georgia Marble Festival.

     For 2012, organizers of the Georgia Marble Festival will add a significant change to the festival when it opens on the first weekend in October.

In addition to the quarry tours and parade, this year’s edition will feature the “Georgia State Bluegrass Championships” on the festival grounds. It will also bring a night-time headliner bluegrass concert to close out the first day of the two day festival.

BRAG riders bring positive econmic impact

 Above, frontriders with Bicycle Ride Across Georgia. These four riders were the first of 1,200, which began streaming down Main Street in Jasper early-afternoon Monday, June 4.


     BRAG cyclists, who overnighted in Jasper this past Monday, June 4, brought more than just snazzy wheels and helmets along for the ride.

     According to local restaurant owners and event organizers, the BRAG stopover made a big economic impact for businesses here.

     “We served 82 for dinner, and that would have been busy on a Saturday night for us,” said Woodbridge Inn owner Hans Rueffert, who opened his restaurant specifically for the event.

     “We are usually closed Monday,” he said, “and if we do 35 or 40 people on a weeknight that’s  good for us.”

     Rueffert said all the rooms at the inn were booked as well, and the restaurant sold a record number of beers in one evening.

    Other restaurant owners and hotels said they saw heavy crowds on Monday as well.

     “The cyclists that visited wese very impressed,” said one event organizer. “The Sheriff’s office really stepped up with the shuttle, the drivers were courteous and campers were very impressed with the community center.