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Sheriff, commissioners clash over requested $1M increase

        budget Showdown Brewing? Sheriff Donnie Craig and employee Miranda McDowell square off against County Finance Director Faye Harvey and commissioners Becky Denney, Rob Jones and Jerry Barnes over the proposed increase in the law enforcement agency’s budget for next year.


        The Progress staff attended several of the county budget hearings of individual department heads last week. Currently, the proposed 2019 budget is $26.2 million. The majority of departmental budgets were flat, with no significant changes from last year. 

The sheriff and fire operations saw the largest increase due to the number of employees in those

Read more: Sheriff, commissioners clash over requested $1M increase

There is now something for kids to do in Jasper

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Dan Pool / Photo

In the laser-tag arena, owners Kevin (l) and Ryan O’Dea. The brothers have created an entertainment mecca with games, a rage room and escape rooms on E. Church Street.


From laser tag in a post-apocalyptic setting to free-roam virtual reality games to escape rooms, no longer can people say there’s nothing for kids to do in Jasper.

There is also plenty for adults with the escape rooms, and who couldn’t use some time in a Rage Room after a long day at the office?

Escape and Evade officially opened October 20 at 934 East Church Street (former Save-A-Lot area) in a spacious 26,000 square foot space, bringing entertainment options for people of all ages.

Read more: There is now something  for kids to do in Jasper

The Old Tate Gym - A happening place on Tate Day

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By Lawton Baggs


The Old Tate Gym, now on the National Registry of Historic Places, was built in 1925. For many years, the gym served Tate school, and the community, as a recreation center. Later, the board of education deeded the gym and the property on which it sits to the Marble Valley Friends historic preservation organization. MVF now maintains the gym as a viable community resource. Appropriately, during the Tate Day Festival each November, the Old Tate Gym is again a center of activity.

Read more: The Old Tate Gym - A happening place on Tate Day

Teachers of the Year honored at banquet; PHS’s Kanyon Petti named 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year

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       Teacher of the Year: (l to r) Janice Champion, PJHS; Cristy Jacobs, JMS; 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year Winner Kanyon Petti, PHS; Whitney Heath, HES; Michele Moore, TES; Ashley Cagle, HCES.


Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson opened the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year banquet with a poignant real-life story about a boy named Steve who grew up in home with alcoholic parents. His school life reflected his home life - chaotic and unstable. His grades and relationships suffered, but one of his teachers, Mrs. White, believed in him. Her faith changed the course of his life. 

“Someone for the first time cared about him,” Dr. Wilson told attendees. “That’s when his world changed.” 

Read more: Teachers of the Year honored at banquet; PHS’s Kanyon Petti named 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year

Woman shot seven times plans 12 half-marathons


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Tina Davis stood up from her wheelchair to walk across the finish line at Saturday’s 5K with the assistance of her two sons, Mason and Mark. “The amount of love and support was so overwhelming and I thought I can never pay it back so I can only pay it forward.”


     Tina Davis may be confined to a wheelchair with no feeling at all in her right leg below her knee, but the doggedly-determined former fitness instructor says she is planning to run 12 half marathons in 2020 - and she already has them picked out.

Read more: Woman shot seven times plans 12 half-marathons