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State unveils new online portal

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced a major redesign of the state’s official website,, which offers friendlier navigation, greater usability and more robust search functions. GeorgiaGov, planned and implemented by the Georgia Technology Authority, provides information and services for more than 115 state agencies.

“We are excited to announce this new innovation in Georgia’s delivery of information, and we plan to stay in the forefront of e-government,” said Deal. “With the Internet becoming the No. 1 way people interact with government, Georgians need to be able to access information and services quickly. It saves them time and saves our state money.”

Cowboy Church brings together believers of all types

A cowgirl, a rabbi, and a congressman walk into a barn . .

Rebecca Hamption, left with Rabbi Gary Maxted and his wife Cheryl and some of the 

15 horses of Cowboy Church on Henderson Mountain Road.

A cowgirl, a rabbi, and a congressman walk into a barn . . .

Not the start of a joke, the above serves as a partial program for the Ole Time Camp Meeting now underway Cowboy Church on Henderson Mountain Road.

Having started Saturday, the local church, which really is in a barn and with 15 horses, will boast the most diversified group of Christian speakers likely to ever grace the same pulpit in North Georgia throughout the rest of this week. (See schedule in this week's print edition.)

Among the speakers for the daily services are Pickens Sheriff Donnie Craig, U.S. Congressman Tom Graves and many pastors from churches and organizations in Pickens County.

Among the eclectic speakers, you will find the unlikely combo of Cowboy Preacher Joe Ed Smith on Saturday followed by Rabbi Gary Maxted of the Tikvah L’Chaim (Hope for Life), a congregation in Cherokee County, on Sunday.

Last week, Cowboy Church leader Rebecca Hampton sat down with Rabbi Maxted and his wife, Cheryl, to discuss the unlikely relationship between a group that uses the motto, “Ropin’, Ridin’, Eatin’, Singin’, & Preachin’ Christ” and a Messianic Jewish Congregation with a name, Tikvah l’Chaim, few people in these parts can pronounce.

Ms. Maxted said, once they were introduced, they found a lot of similarities between their congregation and Hampton’s church. “In its purest form, the Old Testament teaches you to do what is right. Rebecca teaches the cowboy way, ‘you do what is right.’”

KPB reminds residents to recycle old phone books


Keep Pickens Beautiful would like to remind all of our county residents who have the Ellijay Telephone Company as their provider for telephone service; the 2012 Telephone Directories are being delivered this month. Your old telephone book may be recycled at the  Camp Road Recycle Center and the Cove Road Recycle Center.  The phone books go in the mixed papers containers at both recycle centers.  If you have questions please call the KPB office Monday or Wednesday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, at 706-253-3600.  Help KPB reduce the solid waste going into our landfills.

Whitestone Farm and Trade Grand Opening May 25, 2012


Whitestone Farm and Trade, a market that will focus on local and organic farm and gourmet foods, opens this Friday and will hold its Grand Opening celebration through Monday. Above, one of six paintings that were donated to the market stand by artist Tim Gartrell.

If you’re in love with local produce, crafts and other homemade goods and fare, you won’t want to miss out on the Grand Opening celebration of Whitestone Farm and Trade this Memorial Day weekend.

     Not only will the four-day celebration include blacksmithing demonstrations, a group mural and other activities suitable for the entire family, but the market area will be open for market-goers to buy, sell and trade homegrown and handmade goodies.

     Along with the chemical-free produce cultivated at the farm, Whitestone Farm and Trade, a project of Jasper native Ben Jones, will offer produce and goods from other area farmers and craftsmen.

     Jones is the sixth generation in his family to manage the north Pickens farm.

     Meats, veggies, grits, and cornmeal will be available from Riverview Farm in Ranger, Ga. Earth Friendly Farm of Ellijay will be on-site selling eggs, honey, mushrooms and more, and there will be produce and other goods from Harvest Moon farm in Gilmer County.

     Whitestone Farm and Trade will also sell gourmet chocolates, coffee, and sea salts.

     The market will be open Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

     Whitestone Farm and Trade is offering space to other local farmers and local craftspeople and artisans as well. For more information call Ben Jones at 706-669-0590.

Whitestone Farm and Trade is located at 961 Old Whitestone Road East, Talking Rock, Ga.

Governor Deal launches landmark initiative to improve childhood fitness

SHAPE merges efforts to combat obesity by promoting exercise and better nutritional options

Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia Department of Public Health today launched Georgia SHAPE, a statewide program merging governmental, philanthropic and academic and business communities to address childhood obesity.

“This affects all of us,” Deal said. “We must work together to improve the health of children in our state. Some suggest that we’re raising the first generation of American kids to have shorter life expectancy then their parents because of problems related to obesity. We can and will do better to promote healthy lifestyles.”

Flanked by First Lady Sandra Deal; Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health; and representatives from the Atlanta Falcons; the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation; the Atlanta Braves; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Coca-Cola and other important leaders, Deal challenged Georgians to tackle the state’s childhood obesity epidemic head on.