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General news and features

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.


Powerball rolls out $200M jackpot for Wednesday


ATLANTA – Powerball will carry an estimated $200 million jackpot to a single annuity winner for Wednesday’s drawing as the excitement grows in Georgia.

The jackpot has grown since Aug. 18 and has rolled 11 times.

Powerball offers two payment options: the $200 million jackpot prize paid over 29 years in 30 graduated payments, or the cash option, which is approximately $128 million. Powerball tickets are $2 per play.

As with all other Georgia Lottery games, proceeds from Powerball will benefit education in the state of Georgia. Since its first year, the Georgia Lottery Corp. has returned more than $13.6 billion to the state of Georgia for education. All Georgia Lottery profits go to pay for specific educational programs, including Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship Program and Georgia’s Pre-K Program. More than 1.4 million students have received HOPE, and more than 1.2 million 4-year-olds have attended the statewide, voluntary prekindergarten program.


Draw Date: Sept. 26, 2012

Estimated Jackpot Amount: $200 million
Annuity Amount: Jackpot prize paid over 29 years in 30 graduated payments
Cash Option Amount: Approximately $128 million
Cost to Play: $2 per play; an additional $1 per play to add the Power Play multiplier
Drawings: 11 p.m. (ET) every Wednesday and Saturday
Overall Odds of Winning Any Prize: Approximately 1:32
Odds of Winning Jackpot Prize: Approximately 1:175 million
Date Jackpot Began Rolling: Aug.18, 2012
Number of Rolls: 11
Last Winning Jackpot Ticket: Aug. 15, 2012 – $337 million jackpot (Michigan winner)
#1 Powerball Jackpot: Feb. 18, 2006 – $365 million jackpot (Nebraska winner)

For more information on the Georgia Lottery Corp. and Powerball, please visit: and

Grandview woman discovers more than mail in her mailbox


   Snake goes postal

           When Joy Buhl went to check her mail Monday afternoon she was met with quite a surprise - a snake coiled up amongst her letters.

            Following the shock of her discovery, Mrs. Buhl called her husband, Richard, who extricated it from the rock mailbox.

            “She took one glimpse at it and ran in and called me. It went into the back of the mailbox and when I eased the mail out there it was. Every once in a while we’ll have a roach or a salamander but this is the most threatening animal we’ve had in there,” Dr. Buhl said. “It’s one of those rock built (mailboxes) so it had to work pretty hard to get in there.”           


JeepFest drives traffic to Jasper businesses


More than $50,000 raised at weekend event


            If you were in town last weekend, it would have been difficult not to notice the droves of mud splattered Jeeps buzzing around.

            That’s because the Sheriff’s JeepFest 2012 Crawl for the Kids “went above and beyond our expectations,” said organizer Greg Baker. Baker said while the sheriff’s office was shooting for around 250 Jeeps, more than 400 of the off-road vehicles registered for the event. Over the three-day period $50,000 was raised for the Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Homes and the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation, around $20,000 more than their goal.

250 Jeeps expected this weekend, spectators encouraged for annual Jeepfest





What do you get when you mix 250 Jeep enthusiasts, one worthy cause and 30 miles of off-road trails?

According to both the county economic developer and Sheriff’s JeepFest organizer Greg Baker, not only do you get a good time, you could get a sizeable boost to the local economy.

“I think this event is great because it supports a good cause and it’s also good for the community because it brings families and it brings money here,” Pickens County Economic Developer Gerry Nechvatal said of this weekend’s Sheriff’s JeepFest Crawl for the Kids, to be held Friday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Sept. 16.

JeepFest, a fundraiser for the Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Homes and the Sheriff’s Foundation of Pickens County, is a major undertaking, with events ranging from Jeep obstacle courses to Jeep crawls, live music, a chili cook-off, a vendor fair, fellowship, a bonfire and more.


Video from Saturday of a stuck jeep being towed.


See slideshow of trial run of obstacle course -- follow Read More link.