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Fourth of July festivities, fireworks back for 2021

fourth lotsa flags

      A scene from the last Independence Day celebration, held in 2019. COVID forced a cancellation, but the Lions Club says everything is set to return to action this year.


The Jasper Lions Club this week announced the return of their annual Fourth of July celebration, which like all other big events was cancelled last year due to COVID. 

“We are so excited to be hosting the 4th of July festivities,” said Jasper Lions President Leslie Miller. “We missed it so much in 2020, and being able to bring our decades-long tradition back feels like a big step forward to things getting back to ‘normal.’”

The local civic group has hosted Fourth of July festivities since 1939, barring one year during WWII and in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to bring the event back in 2021 was made a couple of weeks ago, and the Lions are going full steam ahead to get prepared.

  “After the governor lifted restrictions and we spoke with the city we started coming up with our plan,” Miller said. 

Read more: Fourth of July festivities, fireworks back for 2021

Burn ban now in effect in 54 north Georgia counties


        On May 1, a ban on outdoor burning begins in 54 Georgia counties, primarily in the northern half of the state. Affected residents are asked to refrain from burning yard and land clearing debris during the hot summer months because smoke can negatively impact the state’s air quality by contributing to high ozone levels. These conditions have been linked to lung and heart disease in humans.

“The restrictions are required by the state Environmental Protection Division,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Protection Chief Frank Sorrells. “By limiting outdoor burning, fewer chemicals and particle pollutants are released into the air.” The burn ban is in effect until September 1 in the following counties: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee,

Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson, Walker and Walton.

Read more: Burn ban  now in effect in 54 north Georgia counties

“They’re Coming:” Development officials say growth is here

development new homes galore

        At Grandview at Gateway, new homes are popping up and being sold at a quick pace. Another two developments are also in some stage of construction along Highway 515 south of Jasper.


o describe where we sit on the development scale, Green Suttles, the joint Jasper/Pickens County economic developer, used an analogy of a grass fire with the metro area as the center and expanding outward. “I would say right now the edge of this grass fire is Ball Ground,” Suttles said in an April interview.

To add some figures to this, Suttles points out Gwinnett County has more than 900,000 people; 204,000 in Hall County and 258,000 in Cherokee County. “Now move over one inch on the map,” he said. His meaning that just barely moving your finger on a Georgia map puts you from dense population over to Pickens (population around 30,000). 

Both Pickens and Dawson counties are still mostly rural but just a slight movement in the neighboring populations and numbers will rise dramatically, he said.

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

Menard named 2021 Pickens High STAR Student

star student and teacher Menard-Westbrook


photo/ Kyle Frantz Photography

STAR Student Brett Menard and STAR Teacher Christine Westbrook.

Submitted by Jasper Optimist Club


Pickens High School senior Brett Menard has been named the school’s 2021 PAGE STAR Student. The Optimist Club of Jasper, the local STAR program sponsor, announced the honor.  Menard selected Christine Westbrook as his STAR Teacher.  Mrs. Westbrook has taught for 27 years and currently teaches Honors and AP Biology at PHS. She is married to Ricky Westbrook.

Brett is the son of Mark and Michelle Menard of Jasper and he has one brother, Nick Menard. He earned the recognition as the STAR Student for academic achievement and performance on the SAT.  

Read more: Menard named 2021 Pickens High STAR Student

Carpenter bees damage can sting homeowners if left untreated

extension bee



Although bumble bees and carpenter bees are often mistaken for one another, bumble bees have a hairy abdomen while carpenter bees, such as the one pictured, have a bare, shiny black abdomen. Just for comparison, a bumble bee is pictured below.  Traps can be effective against carpenter bees, but not always. Homeowners may have to try different versions to find one that works for their location.


    By Stephanie Butcher 

for CAES News


Carpenter bees are a common sight this time of year and can cause aggravation for homeowners. The large, black and yellow bees begin emerging in March, April and May and can cause unsightly damage — and in some cases significant damage — to wooden structures like the eaves of houses, porches and decks.

  The carpenter bee got its name because of its ability to tunnel in wood with its jaws. The female bees create half-inch, round holes in wood to lay their eggs. Some signs of carpenter bees are sawdust that can be found on the ground or on the surface of an object beneath the hole. The holes lead to short tunnels into the wood and run horizontally with the grain.

Read more: Carpenter bees damage can sting homeowners if left untreated