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General news and features

Wacky Rabbit Ranch sparks controversy

“If everything in the economy goes to hell I’ll be damned if I’ll give

them one rabbit leg,” says owner.


Robert and Rose Linehan dig through well-kept documentation of zoning and permitting since they bought their property in 1982. Damon Howell/ Photo

Robert Linehan has been raising rabbits on his .69 acres for the past two years, and he says the county, which has issued the North Ridge Road resident three citations following complaints from neighbors, is singling him out and violating his constitutional rights.

Linehan claims after the county became aware of his rabbit operation they have threatened him over permitting and septic tank issues and have changed his zoning without his knowledge.

“The county is trying to cram something down people’s throat they don’t want,” said Linehan, who lives on the property with his wife Rose. “They want to make this like a gated community. We’ve always had chickens; we’ve always had gardens and rabbits. This is an infringement of my constitutional rights. We want to go on living the way we were brought up.”

Sassafras writing contest winners announced


Winners in the Sassafras Adult Writing Contest were announced at the Georgia Marble Festival this weekend. (L-R) Christie Beiring Eagleson, 1st place; Bronwyn Rumery, 2nd place; Sassafras member Lynn Turner and Lynette Chambers, 3rd place.

By B. Joan Wilson-Barnes, contributor

On Saturday, Sassafras member Lynn Turner presented each of the three winners of the Sassafras Literary Exchange Adult Writing Contest with an award and a one year free membership in the Sassafras Literary Exchange from the central stage of the Marble Festival.

In keeping with the Marble Festival, the theme of this year’s contest was “Rocks.” Qualifying entries had to use the word rock or rocks in their essay, fiction or non-fiction story or poem. Creativity was encouraged and rock topics could include anything from “Pickens Rocks” to rock bands, to rocky roads, to famous rocks or anything else that referred to a rock or rocks.

The 1st place winner is Christie Beiring Eagleson. Her story, Simply a Rock, is a story about children’s fascination with rocks and the formation and travels of rocks. 

Bridge over Talking Rock Creek to be named for Lou Chastain


     The late Lou Chastain of Pickens County will be honored Friday, Oct. 7, at 10 a.m., when the State Highway 136 bridge spanning Talking Rock Creek north of Blaine is officially named in memorial.

     Chastain was well-known here as Georgia DOT's area engineer serving Pickens, Gilmer, Fannin and Cherokee counties.

Together, couple navigates blindness



Rumerys start support group for visually impaired

Being married can be challenging enough, but imagine adding blindness to your list of marital hurdles.

Keep that in mind the next time you drive through Jasper. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might just see Bronwyn and Scott Rumery walking up Main Street with guide dogs Jadyn and Duke leading the way.

The Rumerys, who were both blinded by a degenerative eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), spend their days doing a multitude of tasks they say many “sighted” people don’t realize can be accomplished by the blind.

Now the couple is taking steps to help support the visually impaired in the area and educate others about the disability.

“Other than driving, we can do everything seeing people can do, we just do it a lot slower,” said Scott, who met his wife Bronwyn on an Internet site dedicated to RP back in 2003.

Pictured, Scott and Bronwyn Rumery with guide dogs Jadyn and Duke. The Rumerys live in Jasper with their daughters Elizabeth and Makayla.­

New Progress column looks at plants of the Southeast

Water-shield,” Brasenia schreberi

By John Nelson, curator

A.C. Moore Herbarium, South Carolina

Frequently the leaves and stems of a plant will prove to be just as fascinating as its flowers. This is a plant like that, and it is a native, aquatic species.

Except for its leaves, the entire plant grows below the surface of water, most often in quiet lakes and millponds or sometimes creeks. In the Southeast, it is most commonly seen in ponds on the coastal plain and in the sandhills, but it also grows in the mountain lakes. This species is actually quite common in many places around the world now. You generally need to do some wading to get up-close and personal with it, unless you have a canoe or kayak.

The leaf blades, dark green or sometimes purplish, are shaped like little footballs with rounded ends. Each blade is attached to a very long leaf stalk at its center, rather than at its edge, and botanists say that the leaf is thus “peltate,” in architecture something like an umbrella with its handle. What is more interesting is that the lower surfaces of the leaves, and for that matter, all the submersed parts of the plant, are thickly coated with a crystal-clear, mucilaginous jelly. Because of this, it is something of a challenge to handle the plants: they are really quite slippery. This mucilage on the stems and leaves may serve some purpose, but we don’t exactly understand what it might be.