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Big Drop at the tank, gas prices fall more than 10 cents per gallon

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Georgia, September 26- Average retail gasoline prices in Georgia have fallen 10.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.33/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 7.1 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.53/g, according to gasoline price website GeorgiaGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Georgia during the past week, prices yesterday were 77.1 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 19.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 7.2 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 82.9 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

New Progress column looks at plants of the Southeast

Water-shield,” Brasenia schreberi

By John Nelson, curator

A.C. Moore Herbarium, South Carolina

Frequently the leaves and stems of a plant will prove to be just as fascinating as its flowers. This is a plant like that, and it is a native, aquatic species.

Except for its leaves, the entire plant grows below the surface of water, most often in quiet lakes and millponds or sometimes creeks. In the Southeast, it is most commonly seen in ponds on the coastal plain and in the sandhills, but it also grows in the mountain lakes. This species is actually quite common in many places around the world now. You generally need to do some wading to get up-close and personal with it, unless you have a canoe or kayak.

The leaf blades, dark green or sometimes purplish, are shaped like little footballs with rounded ends. Each blade is attached to a very long leaf stalk at its center, rather than at its edge, and botanists say that the leaf is thus “peltate,” in architecture something like an umbrella with its handle. What is more interesting is that the lower surfaces of the leaves, and for that matter, all the submersed parts of the plant, are thickly coated with a crystal-clear, mucilaginous jelly. Because of this, it is something of a challenge to handle the plants: they are really quite slippery. This mucilage on the stems and leaves may serve some purpose, but we don’t exactly understand what it might be.

A mean, green, edible gardening machine

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ediblejasperFrom age three to  retirement age and everywhere in between, Sustainable Pickens saw its largest group of participants yet at their most recent get-your-hands-dirty project.

Last Wednesday, Sept. 14, over 15 people geared up to play in the dirt as downtown Jasper’s edible gardens underwent expansion.

The edible gardening initiative, called Edible Jasper, is a collaborative effort between several local groups looking to landscape downtown Jasper with edible, medicinal or native plants. Edible Jasper is one of the pilot projects of Sustainable Pickens, which was formed in 2010.

Organizers polishing up 2011 Marble Festival

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      Visiting students from Pickens High School jot notes as contributing artist to the 31st annual Marble Festival Fine Arts Competition Show, Dee Ann Boggus (far right), explains the clay model of her own making. Sharptop Arts Association is organizing this year’s show which exhibits an array of techniques and styles from photography to marble sculpture. If you would like an early viewing of the juried art at the  Marble Festival Fine Arts Competition, visit the Chamber of Commerce at 500 Stegall Drive in Jasper, Friday, September 23, from 4 to 8 p.m. or Saturday, September 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. During this special sneak preview you will be able to take your time viewing or purchasing artwork in a spacious, comfortable environment before the festival crowds.

Every year on the first weekend in October, the Chamber of Commerce celebrates one of the most prized natural resources in the world by hosting the Pickens County Georgia Marble Festival.

Thousands of Pickens residents and tourists come to town for a weekend of events, from the popular quarry tours to the juried fine arts reception, from the parade to the children’s area, to food and craft vendors and much more.

Five things you didn't know about Casual Classics Concert Series

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Above, Montana Skies, who will launch this season of the Casual Classics Concert Series in Jasper. Learn more about Montana Skies at http://montanaskiesmusic.com

Next Monday, Sept. 26 the Classic Concert Series is kicking off its sixth, and perhaps most powerful season with the unique cello/guitar duo Montana Skies (pictured to the left). 
According to concert manager Suzanne Shull, there is now a growing interest in the series. Shull says an average crowd at the New Lebanon Presbyterian Church on Bent Tree Drive falls between 100 and 150, and the patron-base for the series has widened significantly.