Get Adobe Flash player


Progress celebrates 125 years as your hometown paper


     This week the Progress is marking its 125th anniversary with a special anniversary edition. Inside this week's paper you'll find a history of the Progress from 1887 to 2012, a copy of the front page from an 1899 edition and reflections for former Progress editor Martha Edge Pool. Print editions are on sale now, or follow this link to sign up for the e-edition.

Givens sentenced to life for 2010 Whitestone murders

    FRONT-Givens      Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Roger Bradley has sentenced Charles William "Billy" Givens to life in prison without parole for the double murder of Laura Schell and Wayne Alan Poole, Jr. at Whitestone in July 2010. Givens also committed aggravated assault against Robbie Payne at the same crime scene, when he shot Payne in the face. Payne survived.

You can find the rest of this story in the print or online e-edition.

Hans Rueffert to Grand Marshal at Saturday's Relay parade

    RelayForLife-Logo This Saturday, May 5, at 6 p.m. Pickens Relay for Life organizers are inviting the public to the first annual Relay Parade on Main Street.

     The parade theme is “Around the World: Passport to Hope,” and floats will travel north to south starting from Old Federal Road to end at Spring Street across from Jasper United Methodist Church.

     Relay for Life is a program of the American Cancer Society that celebrates the lives of people who have battled cancer. Relay fights back against the disease with fundraising efforts that support cancer research and programs.

Mason meeting at marble quarry expected to draw hundreds

     masons-waterfallAccording to Masons Charles Allen and Cliff Fisher, it’s very appropriate that local lodges will host a large gathering of other Georgia Masons at the former marble quarry on Cove Road on May 19th.

     Fisher, Allen along with members from seven lodges have spent several months organizing and sprucing up the city-owned property to accommodate the expected 200-300 people at their first annual event.

     Fisher said, “Mason history goes back to King Solomon’s temple and it is symbolic to hold a meeting in an old marble quarry.”

     The outdoor meeting to be held in Jasper is being called the Cove Waterfall Masonic Meeting. The meeting is being presented by Blaine Lodge, Pickens Star Lodge, Marble Hill Lodge, Ball Ground Lodge, Waleska Lodge, Sharptop Lodge and E.W. Hightower Lodge.

     The outdoor meeting will serve as part of the Masonic Lodge annual fundraiser which provides scholarships to local students and other charities in Pickens and Cherokee counties.

     The meeting will be held on Saturday, May 19th, and is for qualified Master Masons only.

     The local lodges however will offer the public a chance to see the waterfall setting off Cove Road on Friday, May 18th, as they offer barbecue chicken dinners for sale from noon to 2 p.m. For a ticket for the Friday chicken dinners, contact any member of the local lodges or Fisher or Allen with their numbers below.

     The Jasper gathering will join two other Georgia outdoor meetings in scenic/historic settings.

     In Valdosta in 1934 a lodge of Georgia Masons began a time-honored tradition of holding an outdoor Masonic Meeting in, of all places, a sandpit. In 1953, another group of Masons in Blue Ridge continued the tradition by beginning their own outdoor meeting on the side of a mountain in an old rock quarry.

Fisher and Allen both felt the symbolic value of using the waterfall location at the Cove quarry here.

     Allen said the local lodges came together as they realized the project was too much for any one group to handle alone. He said a young, inspired member of the Blaine Lodge attended the “rock quarry” meeting in Blue Ridge and began efforts to host such a meeting here.

     Georgia Masons have been meeting since 1734, after establishing the first Masonic Lodge in Savannah. Since then over 400 lodges have been formed in Georgia with approximately 47,000 members. Georgia Masons provide community services in their home counties, such as food and clothing drives, disaster assistance and children toy drives during the holidays. Georgia masons also own and operate the Georgia Masonic Children Home in Macon since 1904. This facility provides clothing and shelter for children and adults.

     A local press release asked, “Do you know a Mason? Maybe your grandfather or father was a Mason. Masons come from all walks of life. Famous Masons include Georgia Washington, the first president, and several other former presidents. Other famous Masons include Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr., Gene Autry and John Wayne. In Jasper and Pickens County, the mayor, two city council members, the former Police Chief, the Pickens sheriff, the coroner, the former Magistrate Judge, and the Probate judge are all Masons.

     If you have any questions, please contact Charles Allen @ 678-895-2209 or Cliff Fisher @ 706-455-2249. We invite all qualified Master Masons to come to the mountains and enjoy the fellowship under the waterfall.

16-year-old killed by SWAT sniper following standoff in Cherokee


     Cherokee Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to an armed person call Tuesday afternoon at approximately 5:50pm. The location of the incident was 921 Laurel Crest Drive inside the Eagle Watch subdivision.  Responding deputies determined a 16 year old male was armed with a 357 Magnum revolver and had threatened to shoot his mother. The mother, who was the 911 caller, was safely removed from the house; however the suspect remained barricaded inside the residence.