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General news and features

Ammunition leads to lock down at JMS, but all clear after search


    The empty hallway of Jasper Middle School after the campus was put on lock-down. Ammunition was found in a bathroom of the school on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Principal, Sheriff discuss lockdown in today's Progress and e-edition 

Sheriff department press release

Earlier today (Tuesday), some ammunition was located inside one of the student bathrooms at Jasper Middle School. A student immediately notified school officials and a decision was made to implement all safety precautions. These procedures included locking down the school campus and calling in law enforcement to investigate.
The Pickens Sheriff’s Office joined with Board of Education personnel, the Jasper Police Department, the Georgia State Patrol, and the Jasper Fire Department to check the school. In addition, a K-9 unit from the Woodstock Police Department was contacted and responded to assist in searching the school. This unit specializes in locating any form of explosive, similar to that found in ammunition.
A thorough search of the school was made in addition to checking each student. Law enforcement officers did not locate any items of concern.
As a precaution, an alert message was sent to all parents of JMS students notifying them of the incident and advising that students could be picked up. The investigation into how the ammunition was placed in the bathroom is ongoing and is being conducted by Pickens Sheriff’s Office Detectives and JMS staff. 


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.