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Peace, love, and “bust” at Rainbow Gathering 2018


It was just after twilight in a meadow where a bonfire and drum circle were swelling to life. A naked man with a didgeridoo appeared from nowhere. The slender 20-something asked my friend and I if we knew where his pants were (we did not), if we had noticed he was nude (we had), and if I was tripping (I was not). He proceeded to tell us about the Hindu goddess of death, Kali, who he said is taking over the world.  

In any other setting this encounter would be (understatedly) unexpected, but at a Rainbow Gathering I quickly learned rules of the modern world don’t apply. The goal of the Rainbow Family is simple, one many might call idealistic – come to nature to celebrate oneness, peace and love through community, music, dance, and meditation. It’s a place where, according to the Rainbow Gathering “mini-manual” handed out to participants, anyone with a bellybutton, no matter their race, religion or background, is welcome as long as there is shared love and respect “without anyone getting hurt.”

After a discussion with my editor we decided I should head out to the gathering, just 40 minutes from Jasper, to see what it was all about. 


Read this story at our e-edition.

Veterans park dedication rescheduled due to rain





Veterans Memorial Park 
Dedication Ceremony 
Thursday, August 9, 2018
11:00 am 
Lee Newton Park 
(Next to Pickens County Chamber of Commerce - 500 Stegall Drive)


After working hard for over a year, the Pickens County Veterans Memorial Park (PCVMP) group has reached its goal – to build a memorial to pay tribute to all veterans: those who have fought to protect and serve our nation in the past, those who are serving and those who will serve in the future. 

The dedication service for the memorial is scheduled for August 1, at 11 a.m. Dedication activities include a formal military ceremony including the presentation of colors, singing of the national anthem, an Air Force flyover and a 21-gun salute.

Too much junk swamping Thrift Store


A picture taken at noon July 15th shows the increasing problem of dirty, worn-out or broken items left at the Community Thrift Store. In June the store, which has provided millions in grants to local groups had 142 tons of unsellable items left at their site. 


By Don Russell

Thrift Store founder


The Community Thrift Store started in January 2000 and has been very successful because of its business model of operating with only donated items, using only volunteers (no one is paid), selling or giving to some at great prices and returning all profits to the community in  forms of grants to non-profits, the grants total $5.6 million. 

This concept operates well with getting usable donations and having adequate volunteers to  manage the store. The store needs about 200 volunteers to cover all the work.  

Eight votes give Barnes re-election to district 1 seat


By the narrowest of margins, incumbent Jerry Barnes retained his seat as the District 1 commissioner in Tuesday’s GOP primary runoff. 

Barnes defeated Amberle Godfrey 835 to 827, an eight vote margin, giving him a razor slim 50.2 percent of the ballots cast.

“That is something else,” Barnes exclaimed, when the tally was announced at the county’s election office.

Once he had regained his composure, Barnes said he had thought it would be close  with third candidate Bart Connelly “throwing his hat in with [Godfrey].”

“I really had no idea what the outcome would be,” he said. “I’m just glad the good Lord took care of us,” he said.

Barnes said he had worked hard to be sure his supporters turned out. 

In a phone interview, Godfrey said she wanted to congratulate Jerry, thank all her supporters and promised to keep working for the county.”

“I will keep working to move the county ahead,” she said.

The District 1 seat represents the western, and some of the south area, of Pickens County. There is no Democratic opposition, so Barnes will keep the seat without a November challenge.