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Inspiration in small, mysterious packages


Believe. Smile. Simplify. Do the kindest things in the kindest ways.

Motorists in the Jasper area may have felt their heart grow three sizes after driving by these uplifting nuggets now bolted to area stop signs.

But for us, the signs conjure up more questions than they answer. Who put them there? And why?

Following a close inspection of the five signs newspaper staff have spotted, we proffer they all originated from the same person or persons, aiming at injecting a little positive thinking in today’s cynical, hardened world.

Continuity in the signs’ physical and thematic attributes led us to this conclusion. Beyond the messages having a similar variety of Hallmark sentimentality, all of the signs are metal, lightweight, and brownish-colored on the back. And on the bottom right-hand corner there are little white tags that have been scratched off to varying degrees of precision.

On three, those stickers were removed to the point that none of the text was legible, but a discerning eye can make out a few letters on one, leading us to all we know for certain about the mysterious Jasper messages: they were originally purchased from Hobby Lobby and they were made in China.

Not nearly enough to crack the case.

To date we have spotted two at the intersection of Refuge Road and Camp Road, one at the intersection of South Main Street and E. Sellers Street,  the corner of Holly and Spring Streets and the last at the intersection of Camp Road and A.W. Lawson Road.

Another report has it that there was another sign placed at the intersection of Burnt Mountain Road and Cove Road, which came loose and fell to the ground. Our source told us that after picking up the message he noticed some writing on the back, which said something to the effect of “take me if you want me.”

It did not fit the other pattern, but was a positive sign left in a public spot.

We can’t quite remember when we noticed our city was being tagged by the devotional version of a graffiti artist, and we don’t quite know if these are the only of their kind in town, but we know we like them.

While there is a part of us that would like to uncover the identity of Jasper’s optimist incognito, we feel it might be best that those of you who have information to keep it to yourselves.

Some things, we think, are better left unknown.


Tragedy unfolded at Nelson Depot a century ago


Above, The Nelson Depot (no longer standing).

By Jeff Warren, staff writer

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Wander into the Bethesda Church cemetery at Nelson, and you will find it: a statue of a winged angel standing in benediction over a single grave. Not of local stone, the angel (it is said) was carved in Italy from Carrara marble and imported.                        

It stands atop a pedestal of native Georgia marble inscribed with an Italian name. Other than the angel and some other Italian graves close by, there is little to clue modern Nelson visitors that the town's population once included many Italian families.

Jasper hiker passes halfway point of Appalachian Trail

“After so many years, a dream has started,” retired Jasper veterinarian Mike McGhee posted on his online trail journal  March 27 of this year.

Mike McGhee, who operated Wayside Animal Clinic for many years before selling it, was a little beyond the halfway point of the Appalachian Trail, when he spoke to the Progress by cell phone earlier in June.

From near where the 2,181-mile trail crosses into New Jersey, the hiker said he had enjoyed the first 1,000 miles of walking but wasn’t sure he would want to do it again.

He carries the cell phone for emergencies, but because of limited recharging opportunities rarely uses it.

The trail, which begins near Amicalola Falls on Springer Mountain will end in Maine. Along the way, the trail passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

McGhee said he was doing well physically and mentally after hiking more than 1,000 miles of the trail. His only complaint on the day he called, was his feet were really battered and bruised after completing the Pennsylvania section known for  mile after mile of jagged rocks.

E. coli "always a threat in lakes and rivers," experts say




 As the summer heats up, we often run to our favorite swimming hole for some relief. But experts say when we swim in lakes, rivers and streams we need to be aware that no matter how clean the water may appear, "Recreational Water Illnesses" like E. coli are always a threat.

After the family of a 10-month-old Pickens boy told us he contracted the E. coli bacteria at a Gordon County lake, we spoke with local health and environmental professionals to get some insight into ways we can keep our families safe this swimming season. See complete story in this week's print edition. Now on sale at convenience stores throughout the area.

Jasper Lions #1 in Georgia

Some of the members of the Jasper Lions Club gathered to mark their #1 designation.


By Darlene Handy,

Jasper Lions Club

Thank you Pickens County!  Once again the Jasper Lions Club came home from the State Convention being named the #1 Lions Club in the State of Georgia. In addition, our club received nine 1st place awards and seven 2nd place awards.

Receiving these awards make us feel good, but the greatest feeling is assisting those in our community. This would not be possible without the support of our merchants, banks, dealerships, radio/TV stations, the Pickens County Progress and all of our generous citizens.

Congratulations to Lion Leslie Miller for being named the #1 Lions Club Secretary in the State of Georgia and for winning 1st place for producing the best monthly newsletter for our District, which comprises 44 clubs.

In addition, our Pickens High School LEO Club submitted two awards and won 1st place for their scrapbook and 2nd place for the Leo Club essay submitted by Sawyer Henderson. The subject for the essay was “Today’s Youth Meet(ing) the Challenge of Volunteerism.”  This is the sixth year that Sawyer has submitted a winning essay on the State level.

The Jasper Lions Club provides more than vision and hearing assistance, which is through Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center and the Georgia Lions Lighthouse. We also work with CARES, provide toys for children at Christmas, sponsor the Health Fair, work with Special Olympics, provide 4th of July events and much more.  This year our Alert Team assisted the Red Cross with disaster relief by donating tarps, water and Walmart gift certificates.

If you would like more information regarding the Jasper Lions Club and/or would like to join us in our efforts of assisting the less fortunate, please visit our Website or call 706-253-LION (5466).