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Area jobless rate declines to 9.4 percent in August

 

The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that the preliminary unemployment rate in the Northwest Georgia area declined to 9.4 percent in August, down three-tenths of a percentage point from 9.7 percent in July. The rate was 10.4 percent in August 2011. 

The rate decreased because there were 2,974 fewer layoffs in manufacturing, construction, trade, transportation and warehousing, professional and technical services, administrative and support services, educational services, and accommodations and food services. Also, the area’s labor force declined by 2,740, partially because some students left summer jobs to return to school. 

 

Pokeweed – a southern character in yard and on table

 

Plants of the Southeast

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By John Nelson, curator of the A. C. Moore University of South Carolina

“[Annie]'d go out in the evening and pick a mess of it...

Carry it home and cook it for supper,

'Cause that's about all they had to eat.”           

                                     ---lyrics by Tony Joe White

Of course, Annie would only collect :   “Pokeweed,” (Phytolacca americana) in the spring, as the plants were just coming up. The young, tender leaves, boiled, have been used for a long time as a pot-herb (love that term!!), which means that cooking is involved--in this case, a lot of cooking, as they must NEVER be eaten raw. Pokeweed parts tend to be poisonous, especially late in the growing season, as in now.

What an odd native American it is! Nearly all of its relatives are tropical, in both South America and in Africa. Some even attain “big tree” size. Our plant, though, is definitely an herb, a perennial, coming back year after year (if given the opportunity) from massive root-crowns. Pokeweed grows up quickly, making smooth stems and leaves. The stems are rather fragile, hollow and pithy, and easily broken or knocked down. In the summer, flowers are produced on racemes, which appear one at a time opposite a stem leaf. Twenty or thirty flowers will be produced on the raceme.

 

Property tax bills could arrive next week

 

$1.5 million remains uncollected from 2011
 
Despite cooler temperatures, that daily walk to your mailbox next week may not be very pleasant as most of us will be met with our 2012 property tax bills.
 
On Monday, Pickens County Tax Commissioner Sharon Troglin said bills would be going out earlier than usual this year – with an accompanying earlier deadline for payment. Depending on the printer, she said, the bills would be sent either this Friday or Monday. If they are mailed Friday, she said, the payment deadline will be Nov. 27. If they go out Monday, Oct. 1, the deadline will be November 30. 
 
Once the county’s digest is approved by the state, the bill information is sent to a printer and cued up in line along with other Georgia counties. This year will mark the earliest Pickens County tax bills have been due in decades.
 
“As long as I’ve been here – and I’ve worked in the tax office for 23 years - I don’t ever remember them being out this early,” Troglin said.
 
Read the rest of this story in our e-edition.

Sheriff’s Citizens Academy ends session with a bang

 

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Citizen Academy participant Ardis McCain at the shooting range.
 
By Bettina Huseby
Progress columnist
 
Imagine you’ve invited some people to your house. They drive your cars, pet your dog and touch your tools. Then they drink all the sweet tea. Would you ever invite those people back? Nope, me neither. 
For two nights a week, and several weeks in a row, the Pickens Sheriff’s Office invited me and some other people to their house (the Big House on Camp Road). We drove their cars, pet their dog, touched their tools and drank all the sweet tea. Somehow, they seemed to enjoy it. 
Using grant money designated for public education, Lieutenant Ernie McArthur thought up the Citizens Academy, but then he had to sell the idea to Sheriff Craig. Teaching taxpayers a few factoids is one thing, but letting them drive cars and shoot guns is something else. But Sheriff Craig trusted Ernie, whose instincts are good and boyish charm even better. He knew he was onto something great. 

Ga. parks offer online leaf tracking

 

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Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth at left. Nearby Amicalola Falls is also considered a top leaf-looking destination.

Every October, Georgia’s forests become a brilliant blanket of red, orange and gold, inspiring leaf peepers to pull out their cameras and lace up their hiking boots. To help track the changing leaves and plan autumn getaways, Georgia’s State Parks will launch Leaf Watch 2012 beginning October 1 at www.GeorgiaStateParks.org/LeafWatch.

Whether hiking, biking or simply driving country roads, travelers can check Leaf Watch 2012 for advice on where and when to find the best color in Georgia’s state parks. They can read updates from park rangers, get safety tips for hiking, and browse event calendars. Last-minute availability for cabins, yurts, campsites and lodge rooms in the state parks will also be posted.