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Plein Air contest to bring live, outdoor painting to ArtFest



Artist applications now being accepted 




By Angela Reinhardt

staff writer

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Jasper ArtFest organizers are breathing new life into this year’s event with the addition of an outdoor painting competition on Main Street in Jasper. 

“En Plein Air” is a French expression that translates to “in the open air.” In the art world it quite simply means painting outdoors, on location. 

ArtFest organizers added the Plein Air Paint Out Celebration in hopes of bringing an exciting element for event-goers, and to encourage more artists to get involved. 


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.   

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.


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.