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Relay for Life perks up in 2012

Have you ever seen a brassiere on a man? Or perhaps a child tossing ping-pong balls into garish purple bra cups fastened to a pegboard?

If not, you didn’t make it to the Pickens Relay for Life Kickoff Party last Saturday, where nearly 80 people came out to get this year’s event off to a good start – and organizers say this may be the biggest year so far.

Concern over accidents at Twin Mountain Lakes


Railroad crossing on Twin Mountain Lake Road near the water, where a driver ran off the left side of the road last December and nosed into a deep ditch against the railroad embankment.


Twin Mountain Lake Road resident Christy Young phoned the Progress office Tuesday, Dec. 13. As she talked on the phone, she was watching a wrecker haul a crashed vehicle back into the road near her home, she said.

A Chevrolet Blazer had drifted out of a curve as it approached a railroad crossing headed downhill. The vehicle hit the ditch on the near side of the rails and stuck. A wrecker was called to pull it out.

Speed was involved in the accident, Young said. It was not the first such accident she had seen around there, she said. A previous one occurred near the same place, Young said. A truck that time.

"Flying," she said. "Couldn't make the curve, hit a tree and not the lake."

Young said speeders are a problem on her road. "There's a sign at the top of the road telling the speed limit, but they don't seem to care," she said, meaning motorists who ignore the limit: 20 miles per hour. She had previously contacted the Sheriff's Office to ask for speed enforcement on her road, Young said.

PHS hires new football coach

See updated stories from our Sports Page. Columnist Tommy Gartrell and the PHS Dragons' Lair News on the new coach in this week's print or e-edition.
  Pickens High School will have a new face leading the football program next year. The man behind the face is Mr. Chris Parker. Coach Parker was recommended by Principal Eddie McDonald and Superintendent Dr. Ben Desper to take on the role of Head Football Coach, and a physical education teacher at the high school. Coach Parker comes to Pickens from Chapel Hill High School in Douglas County Ga. Before his tenure at Chapel Hill, Coach Parker was the offensive coordinator at Sequoyah High School in Cherokee County.

Coach Parker is planning on traveling to Jasper next week to meet with students that are interested in playing football next year. Mr. McDonald and Athletic Director Kyle Rasco would like to extend a special “thank you” to the search committee for all the diligent work on this project.

See more on this story in next week's print edition.

TEA Party meeting on gun control draws packed crowd


Jeff Anderson of Georgia Carry addresses a packed TEA Party meeting last week at Chattahoochee Tech.

When he was 38 years old, Jeff Anderson was nearly robbed in his car in Athens, Ga.

Anderson, who is now a lifetime member of the state gun rights advocacy group, Georgia Carry, told the Pickens County TEA Party last week that he averted the attack by flashing the handgun that had been tucked in his glove box since the early 1990s.

That day, he said, changed his life.

“That night I found Georgia Carry on the Internet when I was looking for Georgia gun laws,” Anderson told the packed house at Chattahoochee Technical College, “because I knew I wasn’t going to be lucky the next time. I was 38 at the time and never voted in my life and wasn’t signed up to vote.

“Georgia Carry encouraged me to get to know my representatives and ask them out to lunch and get these laws changed,” he said.


Read more from the meeting in our print edition now on sale or our e-edition.

Georgia, fat and still growing: UGA initiative to address obesity epidemic

fatcutAthens, Ga. – The University of Georgia has launched a major campus-wide initiative to help the state address its growing epidemic of adult and childhood obesity. Clifton A. Baile, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor of Animal and Dairy Science and professor of foods and nutrition, along with the Office of the Vice President for Research, will lead the new UGA Obesity Initiative.

“The data showing how quickly our population has been overcome by this menace to public health are truly startling,” UGA President Michael F. Adams said in announcing the initiative. “Obesity and its related diseases are taking a huge toll on the health of Georgia’s citizens as well as the cost of health care in this state, and I believe it undermines our economic development efforts in multiple ways.

To develop this initiative, UGA will blend obesity-related instruction and research activities with its powerful public service and outreach components to develop obesity prevention and treatment programs that interested Georgia communities, employers and healthcare providers can implement.

“As Georgia’s land-grant university, UGA will harness its many and diverse skills and work cooperatively with interested parties, including other Georgia research institutions, to help bring this epidemic under control,” Adams said. “This is a long-term problem for our state and the nation that will evade a quick fix, but we must get started. The university is determined to play its part.”

Georgia ranks among the worst in the nation for adult and childhood obesity. Over 65 percent of adults and 40 percent of children are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The steady increase of overweight infants—children under 11 months old—also is causing alarm. Obese children have an 80 percent probability of being obese when they become adults.

According to Baile, parents contribute to the development of obesity in children in various ways. For example, couples who are obese when their children are conceived and women who are obese during gestation also increase the tendency for their children to be obese when they reach adulthood.

The related health consequences and costs are equally staggering. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers, costing the state an estimated $2.4 billion annually—the equivalent of $250 per Georgian each year—in direct health care costs and lost productivity from disease, disability and death, according to the CDC. People who are obese have average annual medical expenses $1,400 higher than those who aren’t overweight.

More than 75 UGA faculty members are active in collaborative teams with activities ranging from basic research on obesity, metabolism, genetics and disease to the development of pharmaceuticals, weight management interventions, gaming and mobile technologies for health messaging and innovative after-school exercise programs.

Collaborations with Athens Regional Medical Center to integrate obesity prevention and treatment strategies into healthcare are in the works. The initiative will coordinate the study and development of state and national public health policies and economic strategies to address obesity and metabolic disorders.

“Obesity is such a multi-faceted problem that it requires the combined efforts of the UGA researchers and the communities they’re partnering with,” Baile said. “The breadth of research at UGA and its status as a land-grant institution dedicated to serving the state make it particularly well suited to tackle Georgia’s obesity epidemic.”

The initiative will be based at UGA’s newly opened 56-acre Health Sciences Campus located near downtown Athens. When complete, the Health Sciences Campus will be home to the Georgia Health Sciences University/UGA Medical Partnership, the College of Public Health and other health-related programs.

The obesity initiative, developed with financial support from OVPR and the Provost’s office, will be strengthened through recruitment of faculty with nationally recognized expertise and by launching a $10 million fundraising campaign for the obesity prevention work as part of its larger capital campaign. The initiative will also receive support from the Georgia Research Alliance.

“The University of Georgia contributes in many ways to the progress and well-being of our state. Our effort to help curb this threat to our public well-being is just the latest example,” Adams said. “I am particularly enthusiastic about engaging our undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff in this effort; and we will look for creative ways to do this.”

More information about UGA’s Obesity Initiative is available at