Jones Mountain Road Reopened

News

JASPER, Ga. – Pickens County Citizens are breathing an extra sigh of relief today as news is spreading that the major construction and repairs of Jones Mountain Road are officially complete.

Pictured is Jones Mountain Road shortly after the landslide, left, and after completion of repairs, right.

Citizens have been avoiding the road at first, and later dealing with only one open lane, since February 22, 2019, when a landslide took out a portion of the road and undermined the stability of the remainder. As county commissioners declared a local emergency in the situation, recovery began within that same week when inspectors came to assess the damage.

According to Pickens County Public Information Officer Tucker Green, the project has seen delays with one paving company backing out of the project, weather delays, and smaller issues popping up. The county has appreciated citizen’s patience with the project as Green said, “We sympathize for the inconvenience.”

According to an official release from the county, “GSI (contractors) and EXP Services Inc. (project engineers) completed the project and final inspections have been approved. This project which was caused by a natural disaster – landslide earlier in the year was declared a local emergency by the Board of Commissioners.”

Jones Mountain Road has officially reopened after inspections were completed on August 13, 2019.

Jones Mountain Road has officially reopened after inspections were completed on August 13, 2019.

It went on to add,”The work required was substantial and included: installation of a 380’ long Soil Nail Wall and a 20’ tall Geosynthetically Confined Soil Wall in the most severe portion of the landslide. Additionally, a guardrail and fencing were installed for safety precautions and both lanes of the road were resurfaced.

County Commission Chairman Rob Jones called the incident “A pretty good hit for a small county like Pickens,” back in March. But said this week, “With the amount of work and meeting state requirements along with the financial assistance from the Governor’s Office and the D.O.T., that area should be good for many years to come.”

Green also pointed to the assistance as a major boon to the project. The grant came in April with an expectation to quickly open one lane quickly and another two months to fully repair the road.

Green estimated that project to have a completed total just over $2 million, but exact expenses will come through financial reports with the county.

Author

Spring Into Action For The Chimps!

Announcements, Community
In this Issue:

Sustaining Former Research Chimpanzees

It is interesting to ask someone “what is sustainability?” Every person you ask will offer a different explanation of what it means to them. Broadly, “sustainability” is the need to create environmental, economic and social models that will allow both the human race and planet Earth to survive.
Betty enjoys a locally grown apple donated from Mercier Orchards.
At Project Chimps, we incorporate the principles of sustainability in many ways; making decisions about recycling, selecting eco-friendly products, purchasing locally, and more. One of the ways we seek to improve our sustainable practices is to grow and harvest our own food for the chimpanzees. Introducing Project Harvest.

Project Harvest will be a mini farm, carving out approximately 15 acres of our 236 to exclusively focus on high-volume producing varietals of fruits and vegetables.

Initial plans for Project Harvest include 11 planting beds, a small orchard, a new well, solar energy, and a robust apiary (bee hives) to ensure all the plants will be pollinated. The honey from the apiary will be humanely collected and shared with the chimpanzees too! You can help support this project, find out how here
Each chimpanzee at Project Chimps receives 5-6 pounds of produce every day; at least 7 different options are on the daily menu ranging from tomatoes, oranges, kale, sweet potatoes, and even onions. We receive donations in small quantities from local farmers and food distributors, but by and large, we must purchase the food with delivery trucks arriving three times each week. And that is just for 59 chimps!

With our plan to house more than 200 chimps, we realize that we need to find sustainable off-sets to the cost and delivery burden of our chimpanzee food supply.

In addition to Project Harvest, we are also tending to the edible trees and shrubs that grow on our property. These native and invasive plants allow us to provide the chimpanzees with daily “browse” clippings collected from the bamboo, sourwood, willow, and other plants that thrive inside and outside the chimpanzees’ forested 6-acre habitat.

Noel enjoys red cabbage currently purchased from a local store, soon we can offer her home-grown options! Photo by Crystal Alba.
By growing food for the chimpanzees right here on our own property, we will reduce our carbon footprint caused by transporting food from out of the local area. We will reduce our food costs, allowing us to use private donations in other areas. And we will be able to ensure we are not damaging the native wildlife that surrounds us by using only organic and natural pest deterrents.

Most important, we’ll be providing the chimps with a healthy and varied diet!

Our efforts to participate in the growing movements for food sustainability will be accomplished through our Project Harvest Committee; a group of passionate volunteers and funders who have already contributed their knowledge and early support to create the foundation of this farm area. While it is only on paper today, we hope to spend this summer grading and plotting with the goal to be planting by this fall.

We are well on our way to a sustainable food program!

If you are interested in supporting Project Harvest join our volunteer program or select a garden supply from our Amazon Wish List!

With warmest regards,


Ali Crumpacker
Executive Director

Join Us for One or More of our Spring Events!

Cheers for Chimps! Join us as Fannin Brewing Company unveils a new brew to benefit Project Chimps, Saturday, April 13th, from 2 to 8 p.m.

Each ticket holder will receive a limited edition Project Chimps 16oz glass, one pour of the new apple lager and one dish of our award winning Chimp Chili with live music from Gopher Broke. Reserve your ticket here.

Child paints rocks at Project Chimps
Our first-ever Chimps Rock! is on April 26th and 27th will feature two days of art and discovery for kids and kids at heart! Inspired by The Kindness Rocks Project, children and adults are invited to paint a rock with messages of inspiration after touring the sanctuary and enriching the lives of the chimps.

Tickets are only $10 for a child plus one adult.  Secure your tickets today! 
*Saturday is SOLD out*

Former Research Chimps Browse the Menu

At Project Chimps, we strive to enrich the lives of former research chimpanzees by giving them items that encourage their natural behaviors. In the wild, chimpanzees spend a majority of their day travelling and searching for food. Here at the Project Chimps sanctuary, our care team feeds the chimps a variety of fresh produce, the chimps don’t have to worry (like wild chimps would) where their next meal is coming from.

In sanctuary, the chimps’ daily diet of fresh fruits and vegetables are supplemented with a variety of healthy “snacks” that the chimps have to search for. In the sanctuary world, we call it “browse” – leaves and branches from trees and plants that in the wild, chimpanzees would be searching for and munching on all day long.

Samira chews on a bamboo stem in the mesh tunnel that connects her villa to the outdoor Peachtree Habitat at Project Chimps. Photo by Crystal Alba.
Chimpanzee digestive tracks are designed to handle a good bit of fiber, so the benefit of browse for gut health is substantial. On top of hoping the chimps have happy bellies, browse also keeps the chimps occupied and challenged. Members of our team gather stems and branches from native and invasive plants that grow on the grounds of our sanctuary in the Blue Ridge Mountains of north Georgia. Chimpanzee caregivers then lay the cut branches on the tops of the mesh of the chimps’ large group enclosures so the chimps must pull the leaves through the mesh to eat, mimicking the foraging process in the wild.

Read more about how browse supports the chimps health and happiness in this article by Chimpanzee Care Manager Laura Mayo on our Chimp Chatter blog.

To support foraging activities like this and chimp care directly, make a one-time or recurring donation today.

Project Chimps Onesie for $20!

Do you know a mother-to-be? A new Project Chimps fan in the family? Get them a onesie to show their chimp love!

Environmentally friendly phthalate-free soy based inks are used for the printing of this onesie.

  • 100% organic cotton
  • 95% Chimp design printed on front in charcoal.
  • Royal Apparel brand. Made in the USA.
  • Unisex fit, available in green and pink
  • Sizes 3 months to 24 months available

Get our onesie in green!Also available in pink!

Seeing the Forest for the Chimps

Meet Ryan Kennedy, Landscape Specialist at Project Chimps.
Don’t make him choose between plants and primates. Both are equally his passion.

Ryan Kennedy combines his expertise in horticulture with his passion for chimpanzees in the newly created position of Landscape Specialist at Project Chimps. On any given day, you’ll find Ryan bushwhacking through tall stands of invasive bamboo or climbing ladders to carefully prune native trees. His cuttings then become a major source of enrichment for former research chimpanzees.

Find out more about Ryan and how he helps the chimpanzees thrive in sanctuary on our Chimp Chatter blog.

Donate to Project Chimps Today

A Valentine’s surprise at Pickens County Middle School

Community, Dragon's Corner

JASPER, Ga. – Many see Valentine’s Day as a day to show a little extra effort toward someone special. It is a day set aside to spend a little extra effort to show someone they are special and worth the effort. Regardless of how or why it was created, it is generally a special day for those who celebrate it.

Aden Fillion, the boy delivering flowers to every girl in PCMS

Aden Fillion, the boy delivering flowers to every girl in PCMS

You, like me, may think about love and this day while having someone specific in mind, a significant other, a family member, or something of that sort. Look around and you can find all sorts of reminders of romantic and amorous love. But once in a while, someone will come along and remind you of true compassion for others, a love that supersedes the romance that can give us tunnel vision.

Enter Aden Fillion. He is a sixth-grader in Pickens County Middle School (PCMS). And last year at Valentine’s Day, Aden got an idea.

As he looked around his classes on this day, he began to notice something that bothered him. Not every girl was getting a candy gram for Valentine’s Day. On a day that is meant to show how much love there is in this world, there were girls in his school that were “left out” as he says.

When he noticed this, Aden said he felt the pain: “When they felt left out, I felt left out.” It was something he couldn’t stand to see. The thought came to Aden that he wanted to make sure every girl got one of these candy grams on Valentine’s Day.

Aden Fillion, left, stopping for a photo with his mother, Jessica Fillion, right.

Aden Fillion, left, stopping for a photo with his mother, Jessica Fillion, right.

Though he didn’t speak of the issue right away, the thought stayed with him until September. Speaking to his parents, Jessica and Clint Fillion, Aden revealed his hope for this year’s Valentine’s surprise. After debating on how to accomplish this feat, Jessica eventually decided to try setting up a GoFundMe page. She admits now that she wasn’t too sure about how much success the page would get.

Two days later, $300 had already been raised for Aden to accomplish his plan. A feat that shocked Jessica and emboldened Aden. With everything ready, the Fillions needed only to wait until this month to place the order, keeping the secret until now.

Aden stops by the front office to deliver flowers to the front office staff of PCMS.

Aden stops by the front office to deliver flowers to the front office staff of PCMS.

Always having been very compassionate and empathetic, Jessica says her son Aden constantly wants to give people things. Constantly wanting to see people smile, Jessica added of Aden, “He is very loving.”

The awe of the day was shared by seventh-grade teacher Sue Watters, who helped run the carnation orders with BETA club. Watters stated, “Wow, for a kid to have that level of empathy is unheard of in middle school.”

While in the past, the counselor’s office has handled candy grams, according to Watters, this year changed as the BETA club decided to handle the Valentine’s items. Thinking about February as Heart Health Month in addition to Valentine’s Day, BETA decided to do carnations instead of the candy grams.

As Jessica and Aden began talking with Watters about Valentine’s Day and what he had planned, they began planning and ordering for all 225 girls in PCMS. There was only one issue – last year’s candy grams cost $1, but this year’s carnations cost $2.

As of today, few people have been privy to this plan, but every one of 225 girls is walking out of their middle school today with a carnation, and a reminder of the love that people can have for each other. Through community support and a little help from BETA, Aden’s plan has been fulfilled, and one student reminded everyone of what we can accomplish for each other.

Aden begins delivering flowers with a personal friend Harley.

Aden begins delivering flowers with a personal friend Harley.

What Aden didn’t know was that BETA was selling the carnations to help the seventh grade finance their field trip to Atlanta in April. With some students needing help to be able to go on the trip, Aden’s plan snowballed larger than even he had intended. Diving into his plan, Aden said he had never gotten discouraged. Talking about the plan, he kept going back to saying, “I wanted them to feel happy.”

Each flower that he sent came with a note attached, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.” A quote from Albus Dumbledore in the book, and film, Harry Potter is a note from Aden and his mother’s favorite movie to explain his hope for those of his class, a note of the happiness he wanted for them.

 

Author

Skid Steer Disagreements

Community, News

Although a few members short, Mayor Weaver brought attention to the council a matter that had been declined last month, the purchase of a new skid steer for $60,611.

Donnie Fowler spoke to the council and insisted that a new skid steer would help with much larger projects and would provide safety to those operating it. The current equipment can handle many jobs, but runs the risk of being a liability with it not having a cab enclosure.

Council Member Jim Looney and Mayor Weaver went head to head on this topic. Mayor Weaver agreed with Fowler in the fact that a new skid steer could handle bush hogging and the larger logs through the city.

Jim Looney and other members of the council had a harder time seeing the need for the new equipment. Throughout the back and forth conversation Looney stated he wouldn’t agree return to the other one they had as the cage cab could prevent someone from being injured while bush hogging.

Although the skid steer was approved this time around, John Foust voted against the skid steer. FYN asked Foust after the meeting about his decision,

It’s not that I disagree with a new Skid Steer, I just think there is more to look into and think about on it.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at www.fetchyournews.com

Serve Saturday

Community

Serve Saturday is one of many ways a church can go out and help our community. Revolution Church hosts the project called Serve Saturday. The projects vary from month to month in order to provide help in a wide range of locations. The event allows people to come together and participate in different odd jobs to make our town better.

Revolution Church of Jasper has been working over the past four months in our community. Most of what they have accomplished so far is high impact/high visibility projects such as painting cemetery walls on Church Street. However, these projects are only leading to more from the church, such as their event this Saturday, July 15 from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. the church will be cleaning up the intersection around the Walgreens and Rite Aid, along with the intersection at Hwy 53 and Main Street. Around 46 people signed up to participate in this event.

On their website they commented,

The Mayor and his staff are thrilled that we have been caring for the city!

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at www.fetchyournews.com

LOCAL ARTIST LEAVES BEHIND BRICK-AND-MORTAR STUDIO…FOR A BUS AND A ROUSING NEW PROJECT.

Business

Mobile businesses are happening all around us and in every industry. The art world is no exception.

Artist Jenny King has been a fixture on the Marietta Square for almost a decade. At the end of the month, she will be moving her studio from the cozy spot above The Australian Bakery, to a shuttle bus conversion. “Leaving the Square was a tough decision, I love it there, the people, the community, but ultimately, transitioning into a mobile studio is in alignment with a project I’ve been working on for awhile now called Artist on the Lam.”, she explains.

Since 2009, King has contributed countless hours to help create the booming art scene present today on the Marietta Square. Her efforts include sharing her studio space with other local artists via Red Door Art Gallery & Studio, creating the charity event Trilogy, making the First Friday Art Walks more exciting for patrons with Mystery Themes, and even donating her services to The Winter Wonderland Experience by painting the mural at the ice rink, and that’s just to name a few.

She has strived to help bring the community together through art, so why move off the thriving Marietta Square now? She says that it’s simply the right time for her. “The Square is in a good place with some very talented and dedicated people to support it. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the last 19 years, my boys are getting ready to go off to college soon and so now I’m looking forward to slowing down from the grind, logging some travel time while still being able to create art.”

Her new project aims to continue that spirit of building community through art, but on a broader platform. It’s described as “a video documentation of the creative process presented in an engaging format to nourish your mind and spirit.” She breaks it down for us like this: “If Bob Ross and American Pickers had a baby…it would be Artist on the Lam.”

Fellow artist Kirk Stansbury is an integral part of this endeavor as he brings a different style of art and perspective. His work uses many upcycled and repurposed materials he randomly finds and constructs into a folky and funky art.

“I’m excited about it on a number of levels.”, says Stansbury. “This is a new experience of the unknown. I’m looking forward to traveling to new places, the adventure, meeting new people, the things we’ll discover to create art. My only hope is to educate and inspire others while having a little fun along the way.”

The diversity of Kirk and Jenny’s styles along with their congenial personalities is sure to make this a dynamic production, which is on track to launch in 2018.

The heart of Artist on the Lam is to inspire people by shining light on what it takes to create art in a way that others may learn. “If even one person out there can take something from this, can learn something new, travel (even if only vicariously) to a place they’ve never been, but especially if someone connects with their inner artist from watching Artist on the Lam, we will know we have achieved our purpose.”

King is not quite ready to leave the Square completely however. Her art will be remaining as she partners exclusively with Markay Gallery. “The Light Series is an important body of work to me.”, says Jenny. “I went through some very difficult life changes over the last two years. I’m still going through it. This series has been very soul healing for me.” The collectors that are drawn to these paintings seem to appreciate the ethereal feeling of hope they experience when viewing her work as well.

Markay Gallery, located just off the Marietta Square at 26 Winters Street, is the newest venture to join the Marietta Square, its owner however, Amber Markay Byrd, has been a prominent figure in the community for the last decade and has had a significant impact on the growth and success of the arts in the area.

“Having met Jenny almost 10 years ago, I have loved seeing how she uses art to connect with people in such a special and meaningful way.”, says Byrd. “Her canvas is her page and her paint is the story. Her work is beyond beautiful, it’s a personal connection to behold. Having her on board as a Markay Gallery artist is an exciting new chapter for both Jenny and the gallery. We’re honored to represent her!”

Amber’s vision and forward thinking approach to connecting collectors to the kind of art that “you just can’t live without now that you’ve seen it” has catapulted Markay Gallery to the top of unique gallery experiences to acquire the best and brightest the art world has to offer.

Jenny King still accepts commissions for clients who value a personal touch when it comes to art. View all the services she offers at www.JKingArtworks.com.

To learn more about the Artist on the Lam project, please visit www.ArtistOnTheLam.com.

For more information on Markay Gallery, please visit www.MarkayGallery.com.

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