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To mark 9/11 anniversary, Jasper business owner and son prepare for Atlanta to New York bike ride

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Freedom riding father and son. Jon Hudgens and his son, Ian, plan to join a group composed mostly of firefighters riding to New York on bikes to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

 

A Jasper business owner and his son have the distinction of being the oldest and youngest participants in the Freedom Ride – a 1,035 mile bicycle ride leaving Atlanta August 26 and rolling into New York in time to commemorate the Sept. 11 attacks.

Jon Hudgens and his son Ian are both signed on as riders in the crew that began planning with just a simple idea of two firefighters making the ride with little accompanying fanfare to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks which destroyed theTwin Towers.

The simple idea hatched by Mike Palmeri, owner of Cartecay Bike Shop in Ellijay, and a fellow Atlanta firefighter has since taken off .

“It’s something that has gained a life of its own,” said Hudgens, who owns the Art of Hair on Cove Road.

The elaborate multi-day event has around 20 participants, including other riders (mostly fire fighters), plus an array of support personnel and sponsors.

Hudgens, at 62 is the oldest, said he had been “somewhat talked into it” by a fellow biker – the coercer has since dropped out. But once on board, Hudgens got excited by the challenge and the trip. Hudgens noted he hadn’t had a real vacation in a decade and why not take off and spend more than a week on two-wheels heading to New York. His son, Ian, the youngest rider at 22, got excited hearing his dad planning for it and even though Ian wasn’t a road cyclist decided he would join in.

Gas prices fall slightly

Georgia, August 1- Average retail gasoline prices in Georgia have fallen 1.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.71/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 1.1 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.70/g, according to gasoline price website GeorgiaGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Georgia during the past week, prices yesterday were $1.12/g higher than the same day one year ago and are 26.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 13.2 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 95.5 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

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TEA Party talks gas prices With Running on Empty tour

At right, Dr. James Rust addresses TEA party members Monday, while a large inflatable decrying high gas prices is taken down. Though it was deflated due to fan noise, one person said it was symbolic of what the group wants to do to the prices at the pump.

 

Before the panelist discussing gas prices could start at Monday’s TEA party meeting, a large inflatable gas pump with information on it had be deflated as the blower was too loud.

As it was going down, someone yelled that it was symbolic of what they hope to accomplish – shrink gas prices. Someone else yelled, “pull the plug on Obama.”

The three person panel tied the high fuel prices in this country to policies and actions of our government. But the speakers said it is as much the entrenched bureaucracy that goes back many years as the governing administration that has run up the prices through burdensome regulations.

The three speakers generally agreed that Washington listens to anti-fossil fuel lobbyists who want to make it expensive and burdensome to meet permit requirements for oil drilling and production in the United States.

9/11 flag stops at Ingles

A surprisingly large crowd braved extremely hot temperatures in the asphalt parking at Ingles Friday afternoon to catch a glimpse of the historic 9/11 flag.

The flag was transported in a Gilmer County Fire truck and will be taken on to Ellijay for a weekend of different events following the stop in Jasper.

Many firefighters from the surrounding area turned out to show support. This flag, which was originally flown at Ground Zero, had been repaired and patched following the September 11 attacks.

When it completes the different tours, the flag will have been to all 50 states and then housed in a 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero.

Other stories from this week's print edition

 

Schools at a glance – Want to know more about where your child will be attending school? Check out our two-page feature that outlines enrollment, achievements, clubs and more at each Pickens campus. Pages 10 & 11A.

Mr. Smith reports on climate change – Jasper resident Todd Smith has just returned from Washington D.C. with other concerned citizens to lobby for climate change legislation. Read about his journey on page 2A.darrelldowney

Customer-turned-owner revamps Jasper restaurant – Darrell Downey, the new proprietor at Kelly’s, started eating at the restaurant when it was a two-barstool establishment. Downey purchased the business because he loved the food and had developed a relationship with the staff, but he also brings along an impressive resume, having worked in upper management at J.M. Huber and a $55 million flower bulb business. Downey now operates his patented Ooze Tube company just a few hundred yards from the restaurant, which is now getting a family-friendly makeover form this business guru. Page 3A.