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deerprotestDeer kill protested – With bright red signs that read “Please Help Us Stop the Slaughter,” Bent Tree residents recently protested the deer kill slated to happen later this month. Page 3A.

Financial troubles threaten Air Force career – Airiel Green says a defaulted student loan and bankruptcy linked to an abusive past marriage may keep her from getting security clearance in the Air Force, which would make her lose her GI Bill and leave her with no funding for school. Page 6A.

Restaurant scores - Want to know how your favorite restaurant fared in cleanliness and sanitary food preparation? Check out the restaurant scores found in this week's edition.

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School board approves calendar for next two academic years

Vacation times will change in future years


The school board approved calendars for the next two academic years at its February 9th meeting.

After looking at more than 15 options, the board was presented the top two choices favored by staff at their meeting last week for both the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years. The board ended up choosing calendars that differ from this year’s calendar for vacation days and school ending dates. This year’s calendar follows a format pretty consistent with recent years.

The Dixie Swim Club opens this weekend


     Tater Patch Players is asking you to put on your fat pants and embrace your hertiage this February, when the story of five women and 33 years of friendship are told in the upcoming production of The Dixie Swim Club.

     The show opens Friday, Feb. 10 and closes Feb. 25. Find out more about showtimes and dates at or call 706-253-2800.


Physician Assistants to “Prescribe” Healthy Hikes In Georgia’s State Parks


      Everyone knows that exercise is one key to being healthy, but not everyone enjoys going to the gym.  Georgia’s State Park system has teamed up with the Georgia Association of Physicians Assistants (GAPA) to make healthy living a bit more fun.  Through the new “Rx for Fitness” Program, physician assistants can prescribe healthy hikes in the great outdoors, and patients can turn in their “prescriptions” for free park passes.
      “Rx for Fitness” is part of the State Park system’s new Tons of Fun Fitness Challenge which encourages citizens to use outdoor recreation as part of their regular exercise.  Park visitors may find that exploring a canyon is more fun than a step machine, and that hiking along a waterfall burns more calories than a treadmill.  The parks also offer less traditional exercise, like lake swimming, geocaching and disc golf.  Even some state historic sites offer walking trails in beautiful settings.
Members of GAPA will be able to help their patients in a new way, by identifying those who need more exercise and suggesting they go for a hike.  By trading their “prescription” for a free pass, patients will not need to pay the $5 parking fee on their first visit.  Those who decide that regular hikes can help them meet weight-loss goals can choose to buy an Annual ParkPass.

     “We are so excited to offer a new and unique way of showcasing the benefits of outdoor recreation,” said State Parks Director Becky Kelley.  “When exercise is fun, people tend to stick with it for much longer.  It becomes part of their daily lives, and they have a better sense of wellbeing.  Another benefit of visiting state parks is being able to bring your friends and family along with you.”

     “Rx for Fitness” will launch today at the GAPA winter meeting.  It is funded byThe Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation.

     “Rx for Fitness is a creative way to give more kids and families access to healthy outdoor activities,” said John Bare, vice president of the Blank Family Foundation. “Better fitness is a walk in the park.”

     To learn more about the new “Rx for Fitness” program, visit  The website also offers free advice from a personal trainer and nutritionist, healthy recipes, a health journal and more.  To explore all of Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites, visit

State to begin weighing students



Parents  may see reports

by end of academic period

With administrators making it very clear the action comes by state law, Pickens schools, like all public schools in the state, are set to begin weighing and recording the weights of P.E. students.
The SHAPE program mandated by the state legislature requires schools to weigh all students in classes taught by certified physical education teachers. This means in Pickens County all elementary students and most middle school students will face the scales at least once each year. High school students are only required to take P.E. once during high school’s four years, so they will only be subjected to the new rules once.
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