(Photo by Patrick Coin.) The leaves of the sweetgum instantly separate it from everything else: nothing else has smooth leaves with five (sometimes seven) lobes, these toothy and when crushed, releasing that distinctive medicinal scent.
By John Nelson
I’ve had a long friendship with this tree, commonly called the sweetgum.
My first recollection of it was while still a small boy, seated outside on a summer morning on the porch and crushing its bright green leaves in my hand, and then enjoying a remarkably pleasant, somewhat medicinal fragrance. Once you’ve taken the scent, so to speak, you’ll never forget it.
Submitted by Kathe Hall of Van Goghs Hideaway
When folks around town have asked "What is a drum Circle?", I just simply explain that it's a group of people gathered into a circle for the purpose of making music with percussion instruments like drums, tambourines, etc.
At left, Jim and Mary Heaster of Tate discussing sharing the drum at a recent drumming circle. Van Goghs Hideaway holds drumming circles each month.
Though drumming circles can be found all across the country and take on many aspects, we are not limited to any specific tradition or culture. It's a time to come relax, encourage creativity, and fellowship.
At VanGoghs Hideaway we schedule drumming on the full moon of each month.
At right, the 2008 Possum Drop featured a stand-in raccoon. This year organizers are on the lookout for the namesake marsupial, opossum.
In the past four years, whenever Cowboy Church began preparations for its annual New Year’s Eve Possum Drop, coming up with the honored guest was as simple as spreading the word a living marsupial was sought.
This year however, the Jerusalem/Henderson Mountain area has apparently run temporarily dry of opossums, says Cowboy Church Director Rebecca Hampton.
“There are always plenty of ‘possums out here, until you need one,” said Hampton Tuesday morning.
In years past, organizers have caught the guest of honor early on and then caged and fed it until the big night.
And, lest ‘possum-rights folk grow alarmed, when the gala midnight arrives, the drop includes a lighted cage lowered safely, so the featured critter can be released later, a bit jazzed maybe but unharmed.
Submitted by April Ingle of the Georgia River Network
You can see the Paddle 12 in 2012 project page.
The idea of community water trails is extremely popular right now and over 30 trails in Georgia are either in the works or completed. A water trail (also referred to as a blueway or canoe trail) is similar to a hiking trail or greenway, only on the water.
Water trails are being recognized for their benefits to communities which include recreation, economic development, healthy lifestyles, greenspace and more.
“Georgia River Network believes that getting people out on rivers is an effective way to introduce people to river issues and engage them in protection of their local waterways,” says April Ingle, Georgia River Network executive director. “Our annual Paddle Georgia trip down a different river each year is our most popular program. People want more opportunities to connect with Georgia’s wonderful rivers.”
A few examples of some of the trails in Georgia that are featured on the website include:
• The Altamaha Canoe Trail offers 138 miles of trail, originating near Lumber City at the confluence of the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers, emptying and into the Atlantic Ocean. On the canoe trail, you will float past numerous Wildlife Management Areas and Natural Areas, tidal swamps, and rich bottomland forests. The Altamaha River has been designated by The Nature Conservancy as one of the 75 “Last Great Places” in the world.
Area Postal officials talk about proposed cuts to service
Tonya Sercye, Dispatch Clerk for the Jasper Post Office, empties Christmas cards from a mailbox.
The Monday before Christmas, the Jasper Post Office was teeming with people shipping packages and letters in a last ditch effort to get them to their destination on time.
But this bustling scene is atypical for most post offices across the nation, with regular, non-holiday traffic and mailings dropping so much since their peak in 2006 that the federally-controlled operation is now billions of dollars in the red.
Recently post office officials have made announcements that the Postal Service will close 252 of its 487 processing centers and 3,700 of its nearly 32,000 offices nationwide, as well as nixing one-day first-class mail delivery, as a way to combat the changing market and plummeting bottom line.
Fortunately for postal workers in Pickens, regional officials say none of the post offices here are scheduled to be on the chopping block.
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