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General news and features

Second fire of the year destroys Big Ridge home




Firefighters were called to Big Ridge Road in Ludville during the early morning hours Tuesday, January 8 but it was too late to save a home, according to Fire Marshal Curtis Clark. 

No one was injured in the blaze, but it was a total loss, Clark said.  Fire crews from Pickens County Fire and Rescue, Grandview, Hinton, and Talking Rock responded to the rental home. See more details in tomorrow's print and e-editions.



August UFO captured in cell phone photo


Ivy Ridge resident Robin Franklin pointing at the spot in the sky where he and a group of friends spotted a strange flying object in mid August. Franklin, who worked at Lockheed and on the Apollo space project, said he doesn't believe in aliens, but "can't wrap his mind around" the aircraft he saw. To see a photo Franklin took of the craft and to hear his description, see this week's print or online edition of the Progress.

Follow this link to read our editorial about the recent Pickens UFO sightings.

Optimist Club announces Annual Essay Contest



Submitted by Matt Moore

The Optimist Club of Jasper is now accepting entries for the annual 2012-13 Optimist Essay Contest where interested youth can write on the topic How Can I help My Friends Realize Their Value?

The Pickens County winner will receive a $150 cash prize and will be entered in the Georgia Optimist District Contest with a $2,500 college scholarship for the Georgia winner.

Interested youth should contact Matt Moore, Essay Contest chair, at 770-597-4534. 

Students at Pickens High School who would like an entry form and directions for the Contest may contact Debbie Roper who is an English teacher at the school. Entry forms are also available at the Pickens County Library. 

The deadline for entry is Jan. 16.


Paddlers to brave Etowah on Polar Bear Paddle, Jan. 12



Paddlers make their way through downtown Rome on the Etowah River during last year’s Polar Bear Paddle


Dozens of paddlers from across the state are expected to convene Jan. 12 at Dixon Landing on the Etowah River for Rome’s annual Polar Bear Paddle.

The six-mile paddle from Dixon Landing at Grizzard Park to Heritage Park in downtown Rome provides a view of Rome from the river, including encounters with Native American fish weirs and other historic sites.

 Complimentary canoes and kayaks are available while they last. Pre-registration is required. Participants can register online at or by calling CRBI recreational outreach volunteer Alan Crawford at 706-237-0917 or CRBI at 706-232-2724. There is no cost to participate in the paddle.

Online retailers should be collecting sales tax in Ga.



Beginning December 31, out-of-state retailers who sell merchandise to Georgia residents through commission-based Internet links are legally required to collect state and local sales taxes. The Georgia Retail Association - the trade group representing the state’s retail businesses – said the arrival of “e-fairness” in 2013 would bring a new era of growth to e-commerce.

The new law means that large online retailers – such as – who reach customers through “affiliate” websites based in Georgia, must collect sales tax on their transactions. The change means that Georgia’s retailers are gaining a level playing field with remote sellers, who until this year were not required to collect sales tax.