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Record-breaking crowd at Marble Festival

Attendance up 50 percent since 2007, says director


    The house was packed for the Saturday evening performance by the Lonesome River Band. GrassBackardz and Thomas Fountain also performed on Saturday, as well as contestants who entered the Georgia State Bluegrass Championship on both Saturday and Sunday. Flatline took home $1,000 for best bluegrass band.
    According to Pickens County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Denise Duncan, this year’s Georgia Marble Festival was the best to-date with record-breaking crowds exceeding 10,000.


Main Street goes ballistic

Not intended for Armageddon, but new business can accommodate


    Protective Structure’s owners and operators (l to r) Carrie Schlosser, Rachel McClain and Shelley Hill. The female business partners are pictured inside one of their on-site storm shelter displays.

    When I walked into Protective Structures, the newest addition to Jasper’s artillery of Main Street businesses, I didn’t imagine an interview about storm shelters and bulletproof materials would get emotional.
    But there was a lot about the interview I hadn’t expected.
    I wandered in out of sheer curiosity --- for weeks I had driven by the new sign advertising “Bullet and Storm Resistant Systems & Materials.” The thought of an emergency preparedness shop on a small-town’s Main Street was so unorthodox I couldn’t resist. 


Bear in downtown Jasper tree




UPDATED -- the bear has come down and returned to the woods unharmed.


Updated -- the large bear remains in the tree on the edge of downtown Jasper as of mid-morning. Jasper Animal Control Officer Lonnie Waters assured several people stopping by to take pictures that he has no plans to shoot, dart or do anything to the bear "unless something happens."

He also quickly told one person that he definitely isn't going to climb up to get it. Waters estimated the bear might weigh as much as 250-300 pounds.

The animal control officer predicted the bear would eventually sneak back off into the woods -- most likely after dark tonight.


Original story --

As of about 5:30 a.m. Thursday this bear was still clinging to the top of an oak tree in the small city park on the edge of downtown Jasper. The tree is on the grounds of the Old Roper Hospital where the bear fled after Jasper's animal control officer chased it out of a residential neighborhood about 9 p.m. last night. According to deputies who stopped by to check on it, it had first settled on a lower branch before moving higher durng the night.

A walker out early on Thursday said South Main Street had been a hotbed of bear activity lately -- the basic in-town bear behaviour eating bird feeders and turning over garbage cans.



Corrected -- Waters said he isn't sure this is a bear he chased out of a residential neighborhood last night. Though he answered two different bear calls, Waters said, "There are so many bears, I don't know if that is him or not."


“Bear”demonium causing traffic issues

Concern expressed for bear in tree;

crowds asked to give animal some space




   Jasper Police Officers are asking the crowds to stay back from the cele-BEAR-ity that has taken up residence in a high oak on the edge of downtown.

   The officers said the crowds are interfering with traffic, with people stepping out in front of cars to get pictures of the black bear that has been perched in a fork in the tree since 9 p.m. last night.

   Officers also expressed concern for the bear. The animal, thought to weigh between 250-300 pounds, moves every once in a while as though it is looking for a way down.

   It was also pointed out by that the bear hasn’t had any water since last night and it has gotten warm in the sun – especially when you have a big black fur coat on and are hanging on to a tree limb.

   Jasper's Animal Control Officer felt the bear would come down on its own and return to the woods if given a good break -- though it may wait until after dark and people leave. 


Georgia State Parks not affected by the shutdown


Above, photo from Leaf Watch 2013


ATLANTA, October 1, 2013  --  Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites are not affiliated with the National Park System and will remain open even with the federal government experiencing a shutdown starting October 1.  These sites are operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.  The only affected park is S.C. Foster State Park, located inside the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.  While this park’s campground and cabins remain open, visitors can not boat into the swamp or hike nature trails.   

“We’ve already had a number of campers check into our state parks because they had to leave Corps of Engineers campgrounds which had closed,” said State Parks Assistant Director Wally Woods.  “We have plenty of cabins, yurts and campsites available this week.”

Many Georgia State Parks are located on Corps of Engineers lakes, including Don Carter on Lake Lanier, Red Top Mountain on Lake Allatoona, Mistletoe on Clarks Hill Lake, and Tugaloo on Lake Hartwell.  Additional examples of sites not affected by the federal shutdown include:
Atlanta Area – Sweetwater Creek, Etowah Indian Mounds

Augusta Area – Elijah Clark, Magnolia Springs

Columbus Area – Chattahoochee Bend, Roosevelt’s Little White House

Macon Area – Indian Springs, Jarrell Plantation

Savannah Area – Skidaway Island, Wormsloe


October is just the beginning of the fall foliage season, which is a very busy time for many state parks. Typically, northern Georgia peaks in late October; however, color can be seen as late as mid-November. Some parks in southern Georgia put on a pretty display during late autumn as well, particularly those with cypress trees and tea-colored lakes such as George L. Smith State Park. Whether hiking around a lake or simply driving country roads, travelers can check Leaf Watch 2013 for expert advice on leaf watching.  

Waterfalls and lakes, salt marsh and mountains are just some of the beautiful environments of the 48 state parks and 15 historic sites. Most state parks offer fishing, boating, hiking, camping, golf, geocaching, birding and more.  Accommodations include campsites, cabins, lodges, even yurts, and vary by park.  Among the historic sites are presidential homes, ancient Indian mounds, battlefields, plantations and even a gold museum.  Georgia State Parks are affordable destinations for quick getaways, and many offer two-day, two-night overnight packages such as golf at the consistently highly rated Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course at Richard B. Russell State Park in Elberton.  


From October 1 through December 1, the Reelin In The Prizes fishing tournament is underway in more than 38 parks across the state.  A wide range of fishing environments include warm water streams and rivers, small and large lakes, reservoirs, even salt water fishing.  Contestants have a chance to win several prizes, including a Big Green Egg Grill.

Georgia’s public libraries have ParkPasses and Historic Site Passes that can be checked out like a book.  Visitors can also purchase an Annual ParkPass for $50 (or just $25 for seniors 62 and older).  Even better, membership to Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites includes a free ParkPass and more discounts.  For information or connect with us at