Get Adobe Flash player


General news and features

120 turn out for community prayer

More than 120 people turned out for a community prayer Saturday at Pickens High stadium. The Rev. Ron Rucker, who opened the ceremony, said it was a non-political event to pray for the "crisis affecting this country."

Following remarks by several preachers and public officials, those in attendance broke into small groups to pray individual prayers. See a complete report from Rev. Diane Hale, one of the organizers in this week's print edition.

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


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.

4,438 students expected in class when school starts next Wed.


With the sounds of school bells just around the corner, principals, teachers and staff are gearing up for the more than 4,400 students expected on area campuses next week.

Teachers returned to school this week to prepare their classrooms for the first day of school August 3.

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.