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Observations on America from a slow trip across nation

bike ride gary pichon

Gary Pichon, at almost 70 years old,  completed a bicycle ride across the country. This week he passes along his observations on the nation garnered from the sights and conversations with people along the route.

By Gary Pichon


Well I finally did the big ride, coast to coast on a bicycle just short of my 70th birthday. 3,000 miles is a distance you notice. I had a great time for 52 days. Got up, drank coffee, grabbed something to eat and then got on the bicycle and rode between 50 and 90 miles. Then  drank a beer and ate supper.  Back to bed, usually in a tent.  And then got up and repeated. A  very simple life.

Read more: Observations on America from a slow trip across nation

Tourism up, but can we trust the numbers?

     On May 9th, the Georgia Department of Economic Development announced that Georgia’s tourism industry generated a record-breaking $61.1 billion in business sales in 2016, up 3.5 percent over the previous year and 34 percent higher than its pre-recession level in 2008.

Visitor spending was estimated at $3.2 billion in state and local tax revenues. 

The state department gets its data from the U.S. Travel Association, which they pay to conduct annual Travel Economic Impact studies for Georgia. This study presents estimates of travel and its economic impact on Georgia at the state, region and county levels. 

Read more: Tourism up, but can  we trust the numbers?

Bear cub was roadkill, not poached


        Buddy Callahan, who works near the Hwy. 136 Connector where the bear was killed, holds up one of the legs that had the paw cut off. According to state law it is legal to take some or all of a bear carcass if you accidentally hit it with your vehicle. 

        A bear cub with severed paws found dead on the shoulder of the Highway 136 Connector was hit by a vehicle and not killed by a poacher as some originally thought, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. 

At approximately 9:30 a.m. someone called 911 about the bear and DNR  was alerted. Nearby resident Charles Chastain discovered the cub that morning. When he found a bullet hole in the animal’s chest and saw that its front paws were cut off he assumed it had been poached.

        See full story in this week's print or online editions

CONSUMER ALERT: Precautionary Measures to Protect Yourself from Cyberattacks



     ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr is urging consumers to take necessary precautions in the wake of an international cyberattack. It is being reported that most of the attacks are coming in the form of “ransomware;” a type of malicious software (malware) designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

“With hackers and identity thieves frequently finding new ways to infiltrate your computer, end-user awareness is critical in preventing the spread of malware,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “The Office of the Attorney General suggests the following to help curb your chance of falling victim to this type of attack.”


Read more: CONSUMER ALERT: Precautionary Measures to Protect Yourself from Cyberattacks

Dr. Wilson sworn in; contract details released

Dr. Carlton was sworn in as superintendent of Pickens County schools last week



Dr. Carlton Wilson, with wife Cindy, being sworn in. 

     New superintendent pledges to remove “junk” - At a swearing-in ceremony Friday, the new superintendent of schools, Dr. Carlton Wilson said he is proud to be taking the reins of one of the best school systems in the state.

He told those assembled his goal is to see Pickens recognized as a top 10 school system and when that happens, work for the number one spot. Wilson said he would strive to take away the “junk” that

Read more: Dr. Wilson sworn in; contract details released