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Learn to jam at arts academy




Instructor Mark Walker, right, at Artfest 2012 in an impromptu jam on Main Street at the CAPAA booth.


Submitted by Crystal Merrell of Creative and Performing Arts Academy


Are you ready to jam?  Or is the songbird in you ready to take flight?  The Creative and Performing Arts Academy (CAPAA) has an exciting offering for learning, expanding your skills, and having a great time.

  Instructor Mark Walker will lead weekly Thursday Night Jams at 7pm at the Academy.  These sessions are open to anyone, and drop-ins are welcome.  Mark will be available for guidance as needed, and support for those who want to learn to play well with others.  Experienced jammers are welcome also as this will be a encouraging setting for collaboration and trying new rifts and ideas.  Cost is $5 for the 1-hour+ time.

There will be no class on Valentine’s Day, Thursday the 14th

  If you would like even more personal instruction on joining a jam in a smaller setting, join Mark at 6pm for detailed guidance where you can go at your pace and ask as many questions as you need.  Mark is excited to provide a 'safe and encouraging place' where players can gain confidence, get positive feedback and encouragement.  The cost for the small group jam lesson is $15 and includes the 7pm Thursday Night Jam as well.  Space is limited for the 6pm lesson - sign up in advance by calling Mark Walker at 770-894-3211.   

Jasper man has lucky $28K Valentine’s lottery win




ATLANTA – A Jasper man is lucky and in love with a Valentine’s Day prize from the Georgia Lottery. James Payne, a construction worker, won a $28,888 top prize playing the instant game White Ice 8’s.


“It was just one of those days,” said Payne, 65. “I’d won $8, and then I went into the store and got this.”


The lucky winner claimed his prize Thursday at the Georgia Lottery’s District Office in Dalton.


Mountain Express #0090, 1757 Highway 53 W. in Jasper, sold the winning ticket.


“I looked at the ticket 15 times,” Payne said. “I shared the news with my wife, and she didn’t believe me.”


Married 41 years, the lucky winner and his wife, Jan, have two adult children.


“Valentine’s Day means a whole lot,” Payne said. “I’m going to buy my wife a new stove and refrigerator.”


Since its first year, the Georgia Lottery Corp. has returned more than $14 billion to the state of Georgia for education. All Georgia Lottery profits go to pay for specific educational programs, including Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship Program and Georgia’s Pre-K Program. More than 1.4 million students have received HOPE, and more than 1.2 million 4-year-olds have attended the statewide, voluntary prekindergarten program.


For more information on the Georgia Lottery Corp., please visit: and



Bojangles manager recovering after wreck

From building classrooms to building an orphanage, community shows outpouring

of support for man who helps others


    After a week delivering Christmas presents to an orphanage, Jasper Bojangles Manager Derek Key and his father were traveling through the Dominican Republic on their way home to the U.S. when a man driving a scooter without headlights pulled out in front of them.    

2014 cuts will impact schools


     “It’s like juggling chainsaws,” Superintendent Ben Desper said of the upcoming  FY 2014 budget process for local schools in an interview last week.
    With the school board and administration opening the budget process for next year with a finance workshop on February 26th, Superintendent Desper and Chief Financial Officer Amy Burgess said they are looking at the toughest year either has seen “trying to make all the pieces fit,” according to Desper.
    Burgess said there is no way they are going to satisfy all parents, students and employees in the face of continued rising costs and falling revenue. This is the first year where parents will likely see firsthand the results of budget cuts when students report for school next year. In fact parents are already seeing this at the high school where the request for an additional soccer coach to handle a high player turn-out was denied.

See our print or online editions for the rest of this story.


Call for Artists – ArtFest 2013 fast approaching


    Keith Sparks – driftwood. Collecting beautiful and solid pieces of driftwood floating about the southeastern waterways led his creative spirit to doing what he does today. ‘Driftwood Creations.’

By Ron Barnes
Artfest organizer

    We are counting down to Jasper ArtFest 2013, and there are only 71 days left!
    It’s hard to believe that we are into the 3rd Annual Jasper ArtFest, when it seems like just yesterday we had an idea to try a downtown art festival. It has been a somewhat surprising success from day one. Last year we had no luck with the weather, but managed to have a good turnout of artists and guests anyway.
    As always, we are trying a couple of new things this year to make it even better.
    Local artist Bob Jorns is organizing a plein aire art competition this year, featuring artists around the festival site actually painting the outdoors. For those not familiar with plein aire, it is a French expression meaning “in the open air.” Artists will complete their work during an allotted time on Saturday and the work will be judged that evening for selection of prize winners. Their work will also be available for sale through Sharptop Arts Association. If you happen to know an artist of this persuasion, tell them to contact Bob Jorns at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Another addition on Saturday is an outdoor celebration of food and beer (or wine if you prefer) at the Woodbridge Inn, hosted in part by Eagle Rock Distributing Company. In addition to food and drink there will be music across the bridge. “Novelty food” (shaved ice, kettle corn and so forth) will be offered in the food court, but for meals we encourage everyone to go to one of our participating restaurants who will be featured on our maps and in our Welcome Booth.
    We already have a record number of artists signed up to display and sell their original works. As usual, the work must be juried for admission and will not include crafts or resale. We do allow no more than two artists to share a booth so the $95 entry fee is very economical compared to most juried shows. Displaying artists will be judged for best booth prizes as well. There is no admission to the public, so we want everyone to come and enjoy the fun.
    We also have the return of the popular “Art of the Auto” display featuring Ford Model “A’s” on Saturday and the always popular “Big Rig” show of custom road tractors on Sunday. Both auto displays will begin at 11 and conclude by 3 on South Main.
    Of course, we really need the participation of volunteers and sponsors. Sponsor money is what makes this show happen. We do not seek to make a profit but there are still tons of expenses associated with this type of event. Any surplus we may have will be donated to a local cause. The available sponsor levels along with sponsor pledge forms can be found by going to
    This year we will be offering “Sponsor Wampum” in the form of a rebate for sponsors levels of $500 or more to be used during the show for art purchases (details are on the website). You will also receive more than your money’s worth in advertising.
    Show dates are April 20-21 from 10-5 on Saturday and 10-4  on Sunday.
    We want everyone to attend. You don’t have to leave town for a new experience! Come support our artists and local businesses, and help make Jasper the center of foothill art experiences!
    Ron Barnes is a director of the Jasper ArtFest Organizing Committee. More information can be obtained by visiting or by e-mailing JasperArtFest@gmail. com. All claims are believed to be accurate but are not warranted by JasperArtFest, LLC.