Chattahoochee Chatter: Paying for it at the pump

April 10, 2014 

Tightening gasoline supplies and increasing demand are putting the squeeze on motorists around the country. And Columbus, naturally, is no exception.

The price per gallon of regular unleaded Wednesday in the city was just under $3.54, which is more than a dime higher than a week ago, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge report. A year ago, it was just under $3.50 per gallon.

"Prices may move a little higher in the coming weeks," Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for the auto club known as AAA, said earlier this week. "However, the end is likely in sight for many drivers across the country. The exception to this trend could be motorists in regions where unexpected refinery or distribution issues cause prices to temporarily spike."

Seasonal maintenance and a federally required switch to a summer blend of fuel at U.S. refineries by June 1 is an oft-cited reason by the gas industry for the surge in prices.

At least that's the industry's story, and they're sticking with it.

For a historical perspective, the all-time high for gas in Columbus came on Sept. 18, 2008, when a price of regular unleaded hit nearly $4.21 per gallon.

So, you Chatterlings out there should count your lucky blessings prices aren't approaching $4 per gallon. And don't even get us started on food-price inflation!

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Something that probably isn't inflated the week after spring break is your wallet.

And while we noticed a lot of you left us for the beach, one man used his son's spring break for some good.

In this era of too many absentee fathers and too many kids wasting their free time, Chatter praises Herbie Jack, a Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy PTA member.

During last week's spring break, Jack created a study group for his son and six other fifth-graders to prepare for the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, the state's standardized exams. He took them to the Columbus Public Library for two sessions: math, English language arts and reading Monday; and science, social studies and more reading Tuesday. He downloaded practice tests from the Georgia Department of Education website. And he rewarded the students for their good work and good attitudes with pizza and games across the street at Chuck E. Cheese's.

"I feel a deep sense of satisfaction about what was accomplished during both study sessions," Jack wrote in an email, "because although Spring Break is a time of relaxation and fun for most students, it is also

imperative that a proper balance of fun and study is maintained especially because of the imminently approaching CRCT exams. … The parents were very supportive of this venture. I am hoping next time to make this a bigger event involving many more kids and parents to assist (especially fathers)."

We hope so too.

•••

Since we started this Chatter off with some (obvious) bad news. We'll end it with what appears to be a well-deserved award …

Efforts by Edward DuBose to oppose the death penalty for Troy Davis and seek justice for Kenneth Walker have earned the Columbus resident an award from Georgians For Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

DuBose has been selected to receive the MaryRuth Weir Human Rights Award during a 7 p.m. dinner on May 15 at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. Weir dedicated her life shining a light on the injustices of the death penalty.

"In your role as president of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, you elevated the voices of many communities in the rising opposition to the death penalty and showed true leadership in the campaign to stop the execution of Troy Davis," a spokeswoman for the board of directors said of DuBose.

DuBose opposed the death penalty for Davis who was executed Sept. 21, 2011, for the 1989 slaying of off-duty police officer and Columbus native Mark MacPhail. Davis said he was innocent and supporters said several of the witnesses disputed all or parts of their testimony.

In his selection for the award, DuBose also was cited for pulling together a rally with more than 15,000 people calling for justice for Walker. The 39-year-old man who was unarmed when a Muscogee County sheriff's deputy shot him twice in the head during a drug investigation in December 2003 on Interstate 185.

DuBose left his position with the Georgia conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in October, but he still serves on the national board four times a year.

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