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Participants needed for youth birding competition t-shirt art contest

sports 2018 winner Great horned owl Alston Li SKA Academy

       Hey kids. Do you enjoy nature as well as creating artwork? Georgia’s 14th annual Youth Birding Competition invites resident children and teens to celebrate birds through a T-shirt Art Contest. 

Many famous ornithologists were bird artists when they were young, so perhaps you could be the next John James Audubon, Roger Tory Peterson or David Allen Sibley.

Read more: Participants needed for youth birding competition t-shirt art contest

Election board meeting gets deep on ballot requirements

election board

More important than a credit card – Election board member William Bell shows his voter registration card, which he carries everywhere, to fellow board members (sitting l-r) Tara Canon, Sheralee Brindell, Jack Barnes and Election Supervisor Julianne Roberts standing. Not shown, board member Paul Lindsey out of frame at far end of table.

The board of elections held a detailed, deep and somewhat heated discussion regarding voter purges and the amount of leeway they might exercise with absentee ballots Tuesday (January 8th).

Adriana Gutierrez, a member of the public, encouraged the local elections board to go above and beyond state requirements to not turn voters away due to minor issues.

Read more: Election board meeting gets deep on ballot requirements

“They’ve all drank the Kool-Aid,” Jasper mayor says of council

     Monday’s Jasper council meeting showed a continued strain between the mayor and most council members, with fur flying over the mayor’s annual board appointments and a proposed apartment complex tentatively approved for rezoning last month.  

        See full story from this month's Jasper council meeting and later comments from city officials in this week's print or online editions

Commercial projects still coming along

building revolution church site

Damon Howell / Photo

What a muddy mess — Although construction is underway at the site of the future Revolution Church north of town, rainy weather has delayed the project by weeks.


Revolution Church - Construction at Revolution Church’s Jasper campus has moved slower than expected, with original plans to open by the end of 2018 - but church leadership says weather permitting they will be in their new building by summer of 2019. 

“Honestly, we’ve just had a tough time with the weather,” said Chad Elliott, the Jasper campus pastor. “Every time we try to get going it’ll rain, then take two or three days to dry out.”

Elliott said the delay has done more good than bad in his eyes, and will help strengthen the church’s place in the community in the long run.

        See more about Revolution Church and several other commercial endeavors in this week's print or online editions. 

2019 gas prices to surge from current lows, says GasBuddy


     BOSTON (January 2, 2019) - GasBuddy, the only company connecting drivers with their Perfect Pit Stop, today predicts that 2019 will feature a yearly national average of $2.70 per gallon, representing a 3 cent drop versus 2018, but warns that the national average could surge to over $3 per gallon as soon as May.


Some highlights from GasBuddy’s 2019 Fuel Price Outlook include: 


• The nation’s yearly gasoline bill will fall to $386 billion dollars, a drop of $2.5 billion over last year as the average household sees their annual gasoline spending fall slightly to $1,991, down $25 from 2018. 

• The national average is forecast to rise as much as $1 per gallon from a low in January to a possible peak in May, but economic jitters could weigh heavily on where gas prices go in 2019. 

• Over 90% of the country’s largest metro areas are at risk for seeing average prices hit $3 per gallon, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. 

• How accurate was GasBuddy’s 2018 Forecast? Assembled in late 2017, the forecast called for a yearly national average of $2.57 per gallon with a peak of $2.89 per gallon in April. 2018 ended with a yearly national average of $2.73 per gallon with a peak of $2.98 per gallon on May 24.

     “While the bargain basement gas prices we’ve been seeing in areas across the country have been terrific and most welcomed, the party at the pump will likely wrap up in the next month or two, and prices will begin to rally as OPEC production cuts and a strong U.S. economy push gas prices back up. While the national average failed to hit $3 last year, we have an even stronger possibility of seeing that ugly possibility, which would push prices in some places from $1.99 today to over $3 this spring- which would be an impressive and shocking turnaround in just a few months,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “One caveat however, that may have motorists unexpectedly spending less- is what happens in the White House. Should all the darkest realities come to fruition, it could lead to slow down in the economy and take gas prices right along with it. As goes the economy, as go gas prices in the year ahead. Buckle up for the extra volatility we’re going to see- it could be nauseating.”

     For those making resolutions, GasBuddy suggests shopping around at the pump and driving less aggressively: the savings could add up to $477 per year, or roughly $10 per tank. In addition, motorists can use GasBuddy’s in-app Drives feature to help reduce their yearly fuel bill by showing them how their driving style stacks up.