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Freedom Ride rolls through Jasper

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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.

 

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

 

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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.

 

 

Out of the dark, into the light -- Mother of autistic child describes journey from brokenness to salvation

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Imagine having a child who won’t look at you or talk to you. Imagine having a son who won’t smile, but who spits, screams, flaps his arms and bashes his head against the wall.

Imagine all of that, and then try to imagine the devastation and heartache that comes with being the parent of an autistic child.

With her autistic son, Bradley, now 13 years old, Kelly Ingram of Jasper has lived through what she describes as hell on Earth. But through her new and powerful relationship with Christ, she has emerged into a place where love, hope and grace trump despair.

From the kitchen table of her Sharp Mountain home, Ingram held nothing back as she retold her story, from living simply as a young and happily married woman, through life-changing brokenness into a rich and fulfilling world of motherhood and a new career ministering through music and media.

Ingram and her husband Mark married just out of high school and divided their time between working during the week and letting loose on the weekends.

Jasper boy Bradley Ingram and his mother Kelly at the Special Olympics. Bradley is 13 years old and has autism.

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.

Graves Joins Congressional Mission To Israel


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-09) will join a bipartisan Congressional mission to Israel next week in order to strengthen American-Israeli ties and learn more about the latest regional security and economic issues and the impact on the interests of the United States.  Rep. Graves issued the following statement ahead of his departure:  

“During this time of historic change in the Middle East, and with the United States fighting three wars in the region,  it’s critical to maintain the strongest possible bond with Israel, our great ally and partner in democracy.  I am pleased to join this mission to Israel as we seek to learn from each other and maintain the strategic U.S.-Israel alliance that protects our interests and provides security for our citizens.”

Background:
This mission is organized by the American Israel Education Foundation [AIEF], an independent, nonprofit charitable organization, and is privately funded by U.S. citizens.  No funding is provided by the United States Government or the Israeli Government.

Over the course of two weeks, eighty-one members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, are expected to travel to Israel.  Rep. Graves is participating in the second week, August 21-28.

Members of the U.S. delegation will meet with key Israeli and Palestinian government officials, American diplomats, and other defense and economic experts in order to receive high level briefings on security, defense cooperation, and international trade, among other core issues.  The delegation will visit a variety of areas across Israel, including U.S-Israel cooperative projects, military bases, universities, hospitals, and holy sites.

 

Above, Graves at a recent town hall meeting here.