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macon.com Midday Update: Ga. launches campaign to promote exercising outside; Atlanta area under first smog alert of year; oil prices fall as demand dips

Gov. Sonny Perdue wants you to go outside.

The state’s new ‘‘Get Outdoors Georgia’’ campaign is promoting state parks as an ideal place to exercise for people looking to avoid the monotony of the gym.

Perdue launched the campaign this week in Savannah, just in time for summer vacation for most students across the state.

Kim Hatcher, spokeswoman for Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites, says the state wants residents to use state parks the way they would a YMCA or local community center.

As part of the launch, admission to Georgia’s 45 state parks will be free June 14. The campaign highlights parks ideal for hiking, biking and playing through its Web site www.getoutdoorsgeorgia.org.

Associated Press

Atlanta area under first smog alert of year

The metro Atlanta area is under a smog alert.

The code orange smog alert issued for today means the air quality is not good for people who have breathing and heart problems.

People are advised to limit outdoor time to early in the morning.

The National Weather Service is calling for temperatures in the mid 90s Wednesday and the rest of the week.

People are advised to drink plenty of water and to give their pets fresh drinking water.

Associated Press

Oil falls after government says gas demand is down

Oil prices fell below $123 today after the Energy Department said gasoline demand fell sharply last week while fuel inventories jumped more than expected.

Retail gas prices, meanwhile, rose to a new record above $3.98 a gallon and are likely to hit $4 in coming days although oil prices have retreated more than $10 from last month’s record levels.

In its weekly inventory report, the department’s Energy Information Administration said demand for gasoline fell by 1.4 percent over the last four weeks. Meanwhile, gasoline inventories rose by 2.9 million barrels last week, more than three times the increase analysts polled by energy research firm Platts had expected.

At the pump, meanwhile, the national average price of a gallon of regular gas rose half a cent overnight to $3.983, according to a survey of stations by AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Prices are likely to reach $4 for the first time regardless of what happens with oil prices, said Fred Rozell, retail pricing director at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, N.J.

‘‘I think there’s enough momentum that we’ll hit it,’’ Rozell said.

Associated Press

WHAT'S COMING UP ON MACON.COM

— Macon will be trying to promote its own tourism Friday night with Be a Tourist In your hometown, providing a lot of free attractions for Maconites in cash-strapped times. We'll give you details about what's going on and where.

— Like most recent high school graduates, Onica Matsika is ready to take on the world. The only difference is she really means it and her former teachers at Houston County High School expect she will. We'll tell you more about Matsika.

VISIT US AGAIN SOON

We invite you to check out our Web site again tomorrow for the Midday Update. Monday through Friday, Online Editor Beth MacFadyen will bring you timely information about what Telegraph staffers are working on, plus news we think you need to know immediately. Send feedback to bmacfadyen@macon.com

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