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Redistricting divides Pickens in Ga. Senate and Congress



Pickens County will be split among two districts in the state senate and in the U.S. House of Representatives under re-apportionment maps set for approval this week by the state legislature.

The state senate will vote on the re-drawn maps this week. The house has already voted approval. The re-apportionment maps made significant changes to district lines at all levels across the state to accommodate the growing Georgia population.

State Senator Steve Gooch  and State Rep. Rick Jasperse who represent Pickens County both said they doubted much will change from the proposed maps presented last week with only some “minor tweaking” still in discussion this week.

Story on mother of autistic child generates overwhelming response


“I can’t keep up with everything that’s been happening,” said Kelly Ingram, who was featured in an article in last week’s edition of the Progress.

In the article Ingram described her emotional and spiritual journey raising her autistic son, Bradley.

“People have read that and the article is everywhere,” she said. “I’m getting Facebooked and emailed from people I don’t even know.”

No sidewalks, no streetlights, no safety -- Parents spell out objections to bus stops



Most parents speaking at a concerned citizens meeting Tuesday related similar lists of objections to the new bus stops used by the school system: The centralized stops require children as young as kindergarten to walk by themselves on  roads with no street lights or sidewalks, facing the dangers of traffic, sexual predators and wildlife.

Between 50 and 60 parents turned out for the meeting to voice their fears that the new bus stops are dangerous. As promised by lead organizer Willie Prather, everyone was allowed to speak as long as they wanted with the meeting running well past two hours as parent after parent told of their specific complaints to the new stops instituted this school year. Prior to this year, the school buses in Pickens County essentially ran “door-to-door” service. School faculty say combining bus stops, staggering school start times so that some drivers run two routes will save $120,000 this year, by eliminating some driver positions and buses.

School board chairman Wendy Lowe and vice-chair Byron Long attended the meeting, both addressing the group. Commissioner Rob Jones and Sheriff Donnie Craig were also on hand to hear from the citizens, although neither has any direct involvement in school transportation.


See updates on this story, parent comments and school board response in this week’s print edition.



Freedom Ride rolls through Jasper


Cyclists with the Freedom Ride come through Jasper Friday afternoon.

Day One of the 1,035 mile ride from Atlanta to New York was slated to end in Ellijay.

Among the riders are local business owner Jon Hudgens, the Art of Hair, (seen in front far right) and Mike Palmeri, who was a co-creator of the cycling tribute for 9/11. Palmeri owns Cartecay Bikes in Ellijay. The event began as an idea for Palmeri and one other fireman to make the ride in time to be in New York to commemorate the 9/11 attacks but kept growing as the idea caught on.

To follow along see a blog on the Cartecay Bikes website.


See previous story on rider Jon Hudgens and his son, Ian -- the oldest and youngest riders in the group.


Man sentenced for killing Fla. panther in Georgia

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Press Release

Florida panther killed by David Adams in Troup County, GA on Nov. 16, 2008. Photo: Georgia DNR.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday that David Adams, 60, formerly of Newnan, Georgia, was sentenced today in United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia, after pleading guilty to the unlawful take of a Florida panther, a species listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

According to court documents and other information presented in court, on November 16, 2008, Adams shot and killed a cougar known as a Florida panther while deer hunting in Troup County, Ga.  At the time of the shooting, Adams knew he was shooting at a species of cougar, for which there was no open hunting season in the State of Georgia.  The bullet fired from Adams’ gun entered the Florida panther in the rear portion of the rib cage by the right hindquarters just below the spine and lodged in the inside of the panther’s right front shoulder.

The Florida panther has been listed as an endangered species since March 11, 1967.  The Puma concolor coryi (the scientific name for the Florida panther) is a sub-species of the Puma concolor, which is known by many names such as, cougar, puma, catamount, and mountain lion.