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No foul play suspected in death of Mineral Springs man



Jasper police officers found the body of a 69-year-old Mineral Springs Road resident in his home Sunday after relatives from out of the area called with concerns that they had not been able to get in touch with him.


Police Chief Greg Lovell said Monday they had sent the body to the crime lab as a standard procedure, but officers feel confident it was a medical condition that killed James Wall.

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School Superintendent Desper announces retirement



[UPDATED: The school board held a called meeting Thursday. Following a lengthy executive session, it was announced that their attorney would handle details involved in finding an interim-superintendent who could quickly assume the top position in the system and the board would begin planning a search for a permanent replacement.]


In an e-mail to school board members yesterday, Superintendent Ben Desper announced his retirement, effective at the end of June.

            He was wrapping up his second year serving as the superintendent for Pickens schools (see Progress story when he was hired). His contract had been extended for several additional years last year.

            School board chair Wendy Lowe confirmed that the superintendent had announced his retirement in a brief interview Wednesday. She said it did not come as a complete surprise to board members but there were issues that will be discussed in a meeting later this week.

            Lowe said the board will need to decide how to proceed but she anticipated they would follow the same procedure as when Desper was hired – to first name an interim and then conduct a search for a replacement.


            With the budget not finalized for this year, Lowe said it is important to have someone in the office to keep things moving, but she noted that with an experienced finance director, they shouldn’t have any added difficulties wrapping up the budget process.



See complete story in next week's print edition.




Ga. gas prices up; national average down


Average retail gasoline prices in Georgia have risen 3.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.48/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 5,883 gas outlets in Georgia. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.65/g, according to gasoline price website 


Including the change in gas prices in Georgia during the past week, prices yesterday were 9.6 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 11.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 16.8 cents per gallon during the last month and stands  unchanged compared to this day one year ago. 


"Memorial Day weekend is now over, and believe it or not, many areas saw gasoline prices declining ahead of the long weekend," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "The U.S. national average dropped nearly three cents per gallon in the last week, while some areas saw an even bigger decline. The best news for motorists is that June typically brings some relief at the pump compared to where prices peaked in May, so for many areas across the country, prices will likely continue to decline," DeHaan said.


About GasBuddy


GasBuddy operates and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 25 million times to help motorists find the lowest gasoline prices in their area.

Win lifetime hunting and fishing rights





 It’s the sporting opportunity of a lifetime.
Georgians can win the right to hunt and fish for free for life statewide in a new contest sponsored by the Georgia Natural Resources Foundation.
Visitors to the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division’s Facebook page  can enter the Labor Day drawing for two lifetime sportsman licenses – one for an adult and one for a participant younger than 16. Also, drawings for four more lifetime licenses are planned later in 2013 and 2014.
From hunting Georgia’s trophy whitetails to casting for lunker largemouths, a lifetime sportsman license covers all state paid hunting and fishing license requirements for the life of the holder. The younger the recipient, the greater the savings – more than $2,600 over a lifetime!
Natural Resources Foundation Chairman Steve Levetan said the lifetime license giveaway is one of the first projects funded by the foundation and “a great example of the unique funding opportunities made possible by our organization and our contributors who support us.”
“Additionally, it is extremely gratifying to see a funded project go from conception, through the grant process and now into a successful project,” Levetan said. “We look forward to more opportunities such as this so that the Georgia Department of Natural Resources can continue to foster and grow Georgia’s great hunting and fishing traditions.”

The contest begans May 17. Only people who have been Georgia residents for at least 12 months before Sept. 2, 2013, are eligible. Enter by messaging the Wildlife Resources Division via Facebook with the information required. The drawing will be held on Labor Day, Sept. 2, just in time for fall hunting and fishing.
Adult sportsman licenses are for ages 16-64; the youth licenses for 15 and younger. Lifetime licenses ( include hunting, big game, wildlife management area, alligator, Georgia waterfowl conservation, salt and freshwater fishing and mountain trout licenses. Georgia residents 65 and older are already eligible for free lifetime sportsman licenses.
Contest details at <> .
Wildlife Resources is a division within Georgia DNR.
The mission of the Natural Resources Foundation is to support DNR efforts to sustain, enhance, protect and conserve the state’s natural, historic and cultural resources. The foundation’s focus includes recognizing the importance of promoting the development of commerce and industry that use sound environmental practices. Learn more at  . Also check out the foundation on Facebook,  <> .

Even Georgians who buy a lifetime sportsman license are getting a deal, and one that benefits wildlife and all who enjoy the outdoors.
Prices are set by age group:

  • The best bargain is for children: $200 for younger than 2 and $350 for ages 2-15. That’s a potential savings of more than $2,600 over a lifetime.
  • The price for ages 16-59 is $500. Military veterans can purchase a lifetime license for $400.
  • Discount lifetime licenses for resident adults age 60-64 are $95.

Residents 65 and older can receive a free lifetime license, with an option to pay a one-time fee of $10 for a durable, commemorative plastic card. There’s even a provision for non-resident grandchildren of Georgians!
Applications and more details are at <> , or call 1-800-366-2661.
A lifetime license not only provides access to the great outdoors, proceeds support Georgia wildlife and state-managed lands.
DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division uses hunting and fishing license sales to fulfill its wildlife mission. Yet sales of lifetime sportsman and other licenses are also a key measure through which states receive Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funding.
The federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program channels dedicated excise taxes on sporting equipment to states for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife, their habitats and the hunting, fishing and other recreational opportunities they provide. Funding since the program began in 1937 has topped $14 billion nationwide.
The Wildlife Resources Division uses its share of federal funds for efforts such as providing public fishing areas and managing the state’s 1 million-strong deer herd.
It’s also worth noting that Georgia receives federal funds only for paid licenses. Avid hunters and anglers who buy a discount lifetime license ($95) at age 60, rather than waiting for a free lifetime license at age 65, ensure that their excise taxes are returned to Georgia for the rest of their life.