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From gut health to ginger: Fight winter illness with these health tips

             It is more or less common knowledge that washing your hands, exercising, and eating nutritious foods are excellent ways to sidestep illness.

            But did you know about the healing power of garlic or probiotics, or that eating in season provides you with the vital nutrients your body needs when it needs them?

            That’s according to Sandy Gerhardt, owner of Jasper’s Natural Market Place. Gerhardt recently spoke with the Progress about some of the holistic approaches she says will help keep your family out of the doctor’s office this winter and all year round.

            Here’s what she recommends:


            Gerhardt says stress is one of the primary imbalances that causes the immune system to weaken and that being aware of this is a big part of prevention.

            She also says that during the wintertime our bodies have to cope with a more stressful environment which puts our immune system on the chopping block.

            “Dealing with ice, bundling up, clenching your muscles, all of that is stressful to the body,” Gerhardt said. “I think that’s one of the fundamental reasons we get sick in the wintertime more than in the summer. Being aware of that and taking better care of yourself, whether it’s taking time to relax and take a hot bath or getting the right amount of sleep, is very important.”

            If you have a rough day, she says, don’t overextend yourself with unnecessary tasks.

Courthouse renovation still coming; no construction date set


In 2008 voters gave the county permission to spend $17 million to renovate and expand the Pickens County Courthouse by way of a one-cent sales tax.

Now it’s 2011 and most Pickens residents, especially those who have been inside the courthouse, have likely noticed that work has yet to begin on the outdated, dilapidated building.

While Commissioner Robert Jones says he has no estimate for when construction will start, he spoke to the Progress about what’s going on behind the scenes and why he chose to construct the SPLOST-approved Pickens County Community Center first, a building which cannot be funded with SPLOST money until renovations on the courthouse are completed first.

The courthouse is a SPLOST Tier I project, while the community center, which falls under the recreation heading, is a Tier II project. By state regulation, all SPLOST projects must be funded in order.

Above, a window in the courthouse is sealed with clear tape to cover cracks in the glass and damage with the frame.

Disease ends work of beloved Good Sam doctor

Dr. Joe Wilber passed away Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

This particular Thursday the waiting room at Good Samaritan Health & Wellness Center is SRO––Standing Room Only. This Thursday is not unique. It’s like any other day at Pickens’ free medical clinic.alt

If you haven’t been, drive by Good Sam during their regular hours and see for yourself. The parking lot is almost always spilling over, cars teetering on grassy banks and rocky outskirts. Since opening nearly nine years ago, the free medical clinic has accumulated 6,800 patient files and has a staggering 14,000 patient visits a year during its limited hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Some patients have appointments, but many of them don’t. They walk in with hopes of getting desperately needed medical care they can’t afford otherwise.

“We’re the largest practice in town,” said Dr. Joe Wilber, who was recruited by Drs. John Spitznagel and Al Hallum to help open Good Sam in 2002, and who has since volunteered at the clinic three to four days a week.

“The patients are very nice people with terrible bad luck,” he went on. “All of them are poor, and they have no health insurance, no Medicare, no Medicaid, and a lot of them are out of work, so we supply everything.”

By “everything” Dr. Wilber means primary medical care, dental care, eye examinations and glasses, mental health and diabetic counseling and X-ray and laboratory services.

Even the prescriptions are free.

Paying tribute to Mark Whitfield

Right, Mamie and Mark Whitfield on the day the street in front of Jasper Banking Company was renamed in his honor. “Well they’re not supposed to do that until you die. I think somebody’s trying to give me a hint,” their daughter remembers Mark saying.


When an important man dies, how is he best remembered? An important man to Pickens County, Mark Whitfield passed away Jan. 12, leaving a long list of accomplishments tied to his decades of service through Jasper Banking Company.

Whitfield began at the bank in 1948, working part-time while still in high school. His job then included some coal stoking in winter to keep the bank heated. Later he became a teller. After two years away in the Army, Whitfield returned to the bank as a full-time employee. He is said to have worked every job in the place on his way to becoming chief executive officer in 1971, a job he held until Sept. 2010, when he retired without fanfare.

While Whitfield always performed as a man abundantly dedicated to his work, his motivation lay beyond profit totals or stars for his resume´. Working through a local bank, Whitfield used his clout as boss and his influence beyond the bank to serve the community at large.

From 1976 until his final illness, Whitfield served on the Pickens County Development Authority Board, working to bring industry and commerce into the county. He was an original director on the local hospital authority board that gained a county hospital for the community, a hospital since become Piedmont Mountainside Medical Center.

Thanks for checking out our new website


Welcome to the recently redesigned Pickens Progress newspaper's website. There are still a few areas where we are experimenting and will continue to make changes during the next several weeks. If you spot anything that you feel we should change or improve upon, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We hope you find this website a useful supplement to our weekly print edition. We will continue to give regular updates of news throughout the week that we feel the people of this community may need as well as some of the stories that appear in our print edition. We do not intend to put all our stories online each week, as that is what our print edition is for. This spring, we plan to offer an e-edition which will allow subscribers access to the entire contents of our weekly print edition online on the day it hits the news stands.

We hope to expand some of the interactive features of a website to allow uploads of ads and pictures for  news as well as post form and event information that can be downloaded or printed.

As to the message board, we are considering bringing back a different styled forum that will require names and valid e-mails to post on local topics. As for now we are going to see how the comments that can be posted on each article serve the needs of our online audience.

Again, we welcome feedback either through the comments here or with aThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.