The Great Attractor


Somewhere out in space, far across the universe, astronomers have discovered something mysterious that wants to eat us.
It is sucking us, and several hundred other nearby galaxies, down into an enormous gravitational hole no one understands. We are sliding across the Universe—headlong at 500 miles per second—toward this thing astronomers call “The Great Attractor.” It was only discovered in 1986. But relax; the Great Gulp is probably still tens of billions of years away. You have time for lunch.
Gravity is the greatest attractor we know. Sir Isaac Newton gave us the law a long time ago.
But gravity is only a brute force. It’s like some people I know, interesting, but no personality. It does fascinate scientists, though, and it tells you where to look in your pocket for loose change. But it doesn’t throw parties and it’s not a scenic attraction.
The kind of attraction I like is what the dictionary calls, “A thing or place that draws visitors by providing something of interest or pleasure.” It does not eat galaxies.
This week your Jamestown Gazette introduces us to Jamestown’s own Attractors. Our neighborhood, our entire region, is filled with attractions that draw people from near and far, some from as far away as across the country and around the world.
The Jamestown Attractors Group markets our attractions to the world. They promote tourist destinations that draw people here. They are our own Great Attractor.
But there’s more to the story, just like there’s more here than the attractions, as remarkable as they are. Whether the attractions are natural scenic beauty, intellectual pursuits, entertainment, or recreation, there is something more.
Jamestown is its people and its industry, its commerce and its businesses. It is a place where people live and work, worship and learn, grow and harvest. Our attractions bring people to our front door, then it’s our turn to bring them into our hearts and homes.
Visitors will take home their pictures and souvenirs, their credit card bills and great memories, but that’s not all. The most important thing they can take home will cost them nothing, if we give it to them. Hospitality and a friendly welcome are always the most memorable of all.
So, we ask you this week to support Jamestown’s Attractors, the historic and scenic, the entertaining and comic, the recreational, educational and inspiring.
The people of Jamestown and Chautauqua County are our own Great Attractor drawing visitors from across the country, if not quite yet from across the universe.

Enjoy the read.
Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.