Free Dr. Mitchell!

We’ve waited a long time for spring, including putting up with two March snowfalls, but today, it finally feels like spring is here to stay. The sarvis still hasn’t bloomed, but I’m beginning to see butterflies other than the always early Mourning Cloak, and the Bradford pears and forsythia are in bloom.

The talk of the town for the next little while is apt to hinge on Dr. Mitchell, the McCaysville veterinarian. According to an email that is being circulated among the animal rights folks, Dr. Mitchell was arrested for having a doe and her fawn in his possession, presumably because they were injured, without having the proper permits. The DNR people then killed both deer. While there may be more to emerge on this story, on the face of it, this is the sort of idiotic stuff that makes people everywhere hate the government. Dr. Mitchell will be arraigned on April 11 at the Circuit Court in Blue Ridge, and is asking people to come along to show their support.

There’s also been a lot of discussion of the News Observer’s decision to stop publishing twice a week, and go to once a week publication on Wednesday. There’s been a lot of speculation that this is being driven by financial problems and some worry about what it all means. I don’t have any inside information, but it would be unfortunate if we were to lose this newspaper. While their editorial stance and commentary tends to be annoyingly regressive, they do a pretty good job on hard news, give or take the occasional vendetta.

Next Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14, is the Arts Association’s Plein Air Festival in the downtown city park. Here is the announcement: “Artists will be scattered throughout the county painting, you will see them around town, at The Art Center or possibly come across them on the banks of the Toccoa River. They will be traversing our county capturing the rivers, streams and waterfalls. Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.” There will also be an exhibit at the Arts Center on the 16th and 17th. For more information, Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association, 706-632-2144.

Next Saturday is also the Adventure Race. The festivities feature a new course with the finish line at Mercier’s Orchards. This year, the Benton McKaye Trail Association is sponsoring a celebration at the finish line in honor of Blue Ridge being designated an official Trail Town. There will be booths from various outdoor organizations, and some other activities. It’s always a pretty good time at the finish line, and I expect this year to be even better than usual.

There is also a new kid’s event the following day. Here’s the official announcement:

“It’s time to kick it up a notch in this year’s Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race on April 13, 2013. This year there is only one Elite “real deal” adventure race, but it will have a few new twists, surprises, beautiful scenery and challenges in the mountains of north Georgia. We are planning some excitement and fun at the finish line, along with a new Kid’s Race on Sunday, April 14 from 10 to 1 p.m. What’s New? * A new course with the finish line at Mercier Orchards! * New venues and scenery all the way! * New challenges — lots of surprises! * Benton MacKaye Trail Town Celebration at the Finish. * Kid’s race on April 14th. Trail Town Celebration at the Finish The Benton MacKaye joins us at the finish line at Mercier Orchards for the first annual Blue Ridge Trail Town Celebration, beginning with a Trail Town Dedication at 10 a.m. There will be booths from outdoor organizations, including Blue Ridge Trout Unltd., Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia Hemlocks Assn. and lots of others.

“Kid’s Race Sunday April 14 Kids grab your favorite adult and join us in the first annual Blue Ridge Kid’s Adventure Race. The event will include running, biking, archery and paddling along with some other challenges designed just for you, your Mom or Dad. Required equipment includes an adult (18 and over) who is willing to undergo this adventure with you, a bicycle, ANSI approved cycling helmet, life jacket and a desire to have fun. Kids 7 – 12 years can race with an adult (max of two kids per adult, but one kid per adult is preferred). Kids under 7 will have fun activities as well, even if they can’t race. Cost is $10 per child.” For more information, Elaine Dilbeck, 706.632.5680.

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