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Roper Park playground revitalized

playground 2

     Partnerships allowed the Pickens recreation department to redo their playground at Roper Park.


By Tucker Green

County PIO


Roper Park goers will be pleased to see new playground equipment installed for the youth of Pickens County. The updated equipment was installed by Southeast Outdoors Solutions, a locally owned company. This project was financially made possible by the generosity of several local donors partnering with Pickens County Recreation Department. Southeast Outdoors Solutions (Michael and Karrie Poole) graciously donated roughly $13,000 and Pepsi Beverage Company out of Ellijay donated $5,000. The donations by those companies matched by PCRD budgeted funds purchased: a new playset and swing set. 

Read more: Roper Park playground revitalized 

2018 may have been second wettest year on record

flooded bridge

A private bridge over Sharp Creek in southwest Pickens was overrun in August following another round of rain.

      At presstime, there were just a few hours before the end of 2018 and Atlanta was on track to reach 70 inches of rain in 2018, making it the second-wettest year since record keeping began by the Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) in 1878. 

According to the National Weather Service, Atlanta’s 30-year rainfall average from 1981-2010 was just shy of 50 inches a year, at 49.71, so this year’s 70 inches of rain meant drenched roads, fields, lakes and rivers. 

Read more: 2018 may have been second wettest year on record

Bringing nutcrackers to life – life size, that is!


 Pickens residents Johnny and Pat Denney with their larger-than-life nutcrackers, which Johnny builds at his workshop. These nutcrackers bring joy to the Denneys and their family and friends during the holidays.

            There’s almost nothing that evokes the holidays more than a nutcracker, those stately, colorful wooden men that, according to legend, protect homes and serve as messengers of good will to families who have them. 

            Most of these figures are fairly small in stature, with a levered mouth just big enough to crack nuts popular during the holidays – hickory, pecan, and walnut. But one Pickens man has brought the nutcracker to new heights with a series of giant – sometimes life size – versions of the classic German toy. 

Read more: Bringing nutcrackers to life – life size, that is!

VA clinic tour shows construction should be complete by March 1st

     VA clinic

        photo/ Angela Reinhardt

Developer/building owner David Shouse shows off the new VA clinic on East Church Street Saturday during a tour for veterans and interested community members. The clinic is expected to open this spring.

       A sizable crowd of mostly veterans attended a construction tour of the new VA Clinic in Jasper Saturday, with noticeable excitement.

Property owner and developer David Shouse, who has worked directly with the VA over the last two years to bring the facility to the East Church Street building, gave background about the project, reasons for construction delays, anticipated opening date, services the facility will provide, and a walking tour of the 10,000-square-foot building. 

       See full story in this week's print or online editions

Control light and Christmas cactus will bloom

Christmas Cactus

UGA Cooperative Extension experts say that the secret to Christmas cacti producing beautiful blooms lies in how much light the plant receives. Place these plants in a room with only natural light exposure near a window, ensuring that artificial lights stay off at night. 


By Paul Pugliese



December 21 officially marks the winter solstice, when areas in the Northern Hemisphere have the shortest day and the longest night of the year.

A few popular plants given as holiday gifts include Christmas cacti, poinsettias, kalanchoes and chrysanthemums — plants whose flowering is perfectly timed to the shorter days experienced this time of year. 

In many plants, the initiation of flower buds depends upon the amount of daylight the plants receive. The plant response to day length is called "photoperiodism." Some plants will flower as day length gets shorter, while others flower as day length gets longer. Some plants are neutral, where day length does not influence flowering directly. 

Read more: Control light and Christmas cactus will bloom