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Editorials - Pickens Progress Online


Winners announced in Sassafras Youth Writing Contest


sassafras2012 youth winners

Sassafras members celebrate with winning Youth writers. See winning works here.


Parents, teachers, relatives, and local writers watched as eleven young writers received awards for their winning entries in the Sassafras Literary Exchange Youth Writing Contest on Wednesday evening at the Pickens County Library.  The high quality of the entries resulted in an unprecedented three way tie for third place and five honorable mentions.

See winning works.


Following veins of history from Pickens to St. Paul


Minnesota history researchers visit local marble industry




 See a video from  Researcher Randy Croce of the “Who Built the Minnesota Capitol Building” project filming at Bethesda Cemetery in Nelson. 


It was an overcast afternoon at Bethesda Cemetery during the last week in October as researcher Randy Croce perched his video camera in front of the marble headstone of Felix Arthur, the first man who was killed in 1898 while working on the Minnesota Capitol building.

Arthur was one of six men who died on the 11-year project after he was caught in a conveyer belt. The others, who were then unprotected by workers’ safety regulations, fell from high places.  

Arthur became a key figure for Croce and his partner David Riehle, two members of the “Who Built the Minnesota Capitol Building” research team, not only because of the role he played in constructing the St. Paul historical site where the researchers live and work, but because the marble used on the 100-plus year old structure was mined in the place Arthur called home - Pickens County, Ga.  


Jasper monument gets touch up

Jacob Bozeman from the Jasper city crews  applies touch-up paint to the Oglethorpe Monument on the corner of Main Street in Jasper Thursday morning. The crews said the marble monument relocated to Jasper from Burnt Mountain about 10 years ago is still in good condition, but needed to have some brown spots cleaned up. The monument originally marked the starting point of the Appalachian Trail on Burnt Mountain, before the trailhead was moved to Springer Mountain many years ago.


On Sept. 8th, the Ga. State Society Daughters of American Colonists will host a ceremony at this monument. See more details about the ceremony on our calendar page.

Winners of Sassafras Adult Contest Announced


The winners of the Sassafras Adult Writing Contest were:
First Place = Searching for Clayton Fain by Travis McDaniel
Second Place =  Marble, Our Giant by Juanita T. Wilkie


First Place =The Dance at Bougival by Jack Fay
Second Place = Buck by Jack Fay
First Place = The Latin Stone by Alexander Goble
Second Place = Harvest by Fred Manget

5k organizer 200 pounds gone and counting

     5krayweightloss    Stephanie Ray after losing 215 pounds.


Stephanie Ray keeps it in her pocketbook, an old photo of herself at 500 pounds.

     “It’s my motivation,” she said. “I keep that handy.”

     Ray’s scale now reads 285, a whopping 215 pounds less than her peak weight.


 “I like to say I’ve lost a whole fat person,” she said over breakfast, which consisted of a small bowl of fruit, grits, eggs and one slice of toast.

     Ray said her weight began spiraling out of control after she got a desk job at a local auto body shop and quit going dancing with friends. Five years ago, when the near crippling effects of such excessive weight gain became too much, Ray took the first steps towards her weight loss journey. Since then the Pickens resident has lost every single pound the old-fashioned way, with healthy diet and exercise.

     To date, Ray has participated in fifteen 5k road races and is proud she has shaved off over 20 minutes from her race time in the past year. The Catching the Cure 5K is coming on September 8th, thanks to Ray's work.

     “My first 5K was 1 hour and 20 minutes,” Ray said. “The last one I did was 58 minutes and 45 seconds. There are still people faster than me, but I’m moving along. I just stick my headphones on and go.”

     In addition to walking three miles, four days a week, Ray is now enrolled at an area gym and attends a weekly healthy eating class called CHOICES at Jasper Seventh-Day Adventist Church and School. Each week, she and other participants learn how to eat well and have a weekly weigh-in to keep them on track.