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Basement being dug at courthouse


                                                      Jeff Warren / Photo
Thursday, May 10, saw two earth-moving machines continue to gnaw at red earth set to move, making way for the coming four-story courthouse addition. At bottom, the new building will include a “sally port” underneath for transferring prisoners between vehicles and the new justice center.
Shown: a view from Court Street. At left, the Courthouse Annex. At right, the back of the existing marble courthouse.

The art and strategy of Magic

     magiccardsWhether just for fun or serious competition, Aury Friedman of The Fastest Dog believes the complex world of Magic can foster new levels of critical thinking and strategizing among the games’ players while they cast spells and launch attacks and counter-attacks with their creatures of fantasy.

     Friedman, whose computer store is located beside Quiznos on West Church Street, hosts game nights at his shop on Friday nights for both newbies to the game of Magic and for avid, long-time players. Each game of Magic, according to Wikipedia, represents a battle between mighty wizards, known as planeswalkers, who employ the magical spells, items and fantastic creatures depicted on individual Magic cards to defeat their opponents.

Cody loses contest but undeterred

Cody remains determined to go to Morgan's Wonderland   CodyJones

  Despite getting over 1,400 more votes than the next closest contestant, Cody Jones lost the We Are Teachers contest that would have sent the PHS Junior to a San Antonio amusement park for handicapped kids. Cody’s mom Angie said despite the setback he and his family are undeterred in their efforts to get Cody to Morgan’s Wonderland.

The 20-year-old and his family launched a massive online and Progress media campaign to garner votes for the physically handicapped Pickens resident but, despite getting the most votes, he lost. According to Mrs. Jones, when she contacted We Are Teachers she was told the fine print said they had the ultimate choice in choosing a winner.

     “Cody got over 6,000 votes which was amazing,” Mrs. Jones said. “His teacher had nominated him for this and We Are Teachers picked him to be in the top 50 kids vying for the trip.”

     Cody and his entire family were devastated to hear on May 3rd that he did not win. Mrs. Jones said We Are Teachers at that point said the winner was chosen by a selection committee and not based on who received the most votes.

     “They said the winner would be announced May 1 and it was May 3rd before they announced it. You don’t do that to specially challenged kids. You don’t do them that way. Cody was checking that website every 20 minutes to see if he’d won.”

     Mrs. Jones contacted Morgan’s Wonderland and she was told they had no idea the contest even existed.

     “It’s not Morgan’s Wonderland fault because they knew nothing about it,” she said. “We all feel like we were mislead into believing the top vote getter would win. It was just like if he’d had 100 votes instead of over 6,000 he would have had as good a chance as winning. He was in the lead for five weeks. There was only about three days he wasn’t in the lead.”

     But Cody isn’t giving up.

     “The biggest thing I think is that Cody brought all these people together in our community for one cause,” Jones said. “All these people reached out to their friends all over the world for votes.”

     Jones said she is planning a fundraiser and maybe a motorcycle ride to raise money to take Cody to San Antonio and to Morgan’s Wonderland. A date, likely in June, will be announced later. Due to his rare lung disease and being on oxygen 24 hours a day he has trouble breathing in hot weather so Jones said she hopes to take him when the weather cools off in October.

     “I feel sure we can get the rest of the funds,” she said.

     If you’d like to help send Cody to Morgan’s Wonderland, donations may be sent to the Jones family at 218 Bell Avenue, Jasper, Ga. 30143.

Previously, Cody was featured with a Christmas Card campaign. See that story

13-year-old begins battle with bone cancer

“When the doctor came in and said, ‘Mrs. Anderson, Jade has got cancer and she could die,’ that was like, I mean, I just about hit the floor,” mother says.


“JMS loves Jado” — Students and staff at Jasper Middle School rally behind Jade Anderson, a student recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

     Mid afternoon last Monday, 13-year-old Jade Anderson, known as “Jado” by her friends and family, was tucked under the covers at her Jasper home watching television.

     While the rest of her friends were at school that day, she had spent the afternoon getting blood tests at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta clinic in Kennesaw. That’s because three weeks ago, the very first day of her spring break this April, Jade was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a malignant bone tumor that typically develops near the knee or shoulder during the rapid stage of growth in adolescents.


“Too many cats to count” roaming Jasper


Jasper’s animal control officer cages a member of the growing nuisance stray cat population in the city.


“There are cats everywhere you look,” said Jasper’s Animal Control Officer Tuesday while giving a firsthand tour of the problem he reported at the previous night’s city council meeting.

And Animal Control Officer Lonnie Waters isn’t exaggerating – big orange toms, solid blacks ones, black ones with white paws – more than a dozen cats are spotted within thirty minutes while driving around the Lily Circle/ Friendship Baptist and Georgianna Streets areas.

Waters estimates about half these cats are completely feral – having been born and grown to maturity in this area with no human contact. The other half were dumped out or abandoned.

Trapping efforts have taken at least 15 felines off the streets in the past weeks since the cat population exploded this spring.

According to the report given by Waters at Monday's city council meeting, adoption efforts in conjunction with the county animal shelter are working, and before this explosion in kitties, the stray animal situation had improved and was even under control for awhile.

Then this spring something like a Biblical plague of cats hit town, the epicenter being South Main and neighborhoods on either side of it.

"There are way too many [stray cats] to even attempt to count," Waters told council members. He had responded to one call that day for a litter of seven he was going to attempt to herd into cages the next day.

While on the Tuesday driving tour, he went to one home where the owner said she believes there are four nursing mother cats roaming in a semi-wooded area behind her house.

At another house, Waters said the owner said her garden has become a litter box for the roaming cats.

Waters' report to the council showed a picture of dozens of cats and listed the following streets as having a stray cat problem: Richard, Georgianna, East and West Sellers, Elizabeth, Moore, East Church, Bell.The report ended with "way too many to try and count!!!!"

Waters was asked if the picture was one he took of local felines. He said no, but "it is that bad."

On Tuesday, Waters was able to catch one of the cats in about 15 minutes at a home near Friendship Baptist Church on Lilly Circle. When that cat sprang the live trap three others were waiting in line to get to the bait. Waters estimated that he could catch cats as fast as he could haul the animals to the county shelter.

Waters said catching some of the less feral cats isn’t difficult, but for the completely wild ones, it’s tough. Some of the cats spotted on Tuesday fled as soon as Waters stopped the city truck and weren’t seen again – the wildest of the roamers. Others, however, took a few steps back when the truck stopped but didn’t move out of sight – most likely abandoned pets accustomed to humans.

Waters said his plan is to catch all he can before the population gets any more out of control. He said there are no plans for any type of cat killing, as this could violate animal cruelty laws and would create too much controversy. The only animals ever “put down” are those that are sick, injured or too wild to rehabilitate. The euthanization is handled at the county’s animal shelter in a licensed procedure. Waters himself is not certified for dispatching animals, only catching them.

“We’ve got to get these captured, or it will get totally out of control,” he said.

For the Tuesday demonstration, Waters drove the captured white and orange spotted cat to the county facility on Camp Road.

The City of Jasper and Pickens County work together on animal issues, and the city is able to bring the animals they trap to the shelter. But at this point, the facility is overflowing with both dogs and cats, according to shelter personnel.

The cat in the cage was “not too wild” by Waters’ estimation. Once at the shelter, it slipped free of an inmate (working there on an inmate work detail) who had reached in the cage with padded gloves. Taking some bloody-clawed revenge, the cat ran up the inmate’s back and over a counter. After a short chase, the feline was bare-handed by Brandi Strawn, shelter director.

This cat will be held for ten days while it is assessed for disease and for aggressiveness. If after that it is considered too wild to safely handle, it will be euthanized.

If it has calmed down, it will be put up for adoption. Strawn said it is hard to tell the first day if an animal will calm down or not. “I give them every chance I can,” she said, holding them ten days, double the required five day holding period.

Even if adoptable, with 90 cats and kittens already awaiting adoption, the chances this cat will end up in a good home are low. Kittens go first, and there are only so many homes out there. Strawn remarked as the fazed and stunned cat was re-caged, “all because people won’t spay and neuter.”

Waters’ report to the council also noted an increase in dogs apparently “dumped out” by former owners.

He said this is a disappointing turn, as they thought the stray situation was "under control for awhile."

Mayor John Weaver responded to Waters’ report, "I don't know how we ever got by when we just ignored this problem." The city only began taking animal control in earnest two or three years ago as the county began planning for its animal shelter.

Waters replied to Weaver, "Nature took care of it."

For anyone wanting to help with the cats or any of the stray animals in the county, the shelter on Camp Road hosts volunteers days on the mornings of May 12th and May 26th this month.