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Pokeweed – a southern character in yard and on table


Plants of the Southeast


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.


Sheriff’s Citizens Academy ends session with a bang


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



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

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.


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.

Films shot in Ga. generate $3 billion this year

Entertainment industry economic impact in Georgia up nearly 30 percent


Films like Trouble With the Curve, some of which was shot in Jasper, are contributing steadily to the state's economy.

ATLANTA, September 24, 2012 — The Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), announced today that Georgia-lensed productions generated an economic impact of $3.1 billion in the state during FY12 (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012), a 29% increase from FY11.

“The 2012 fiscal year saw record investment in the state by the entertainment industry, with more than $879.8 million in direct spending,” said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Cummiskey. “The film industry’s impact will have a lasting effect on Georgia’s economy for years to come.”

See story on Trouble With the Curve opening in this week's print and e-editions.