CHRISTMAS TRAVEL- Today's national average price of gasoline is at the lowest level in five years and 72 cents lower than last year, a welcome gift for holiday travelers. Gas prices have fallen for 75 days in a row, helping to increase Americans' disposable income 3.5 percent from year-ago levels, which has had a positive effect on travel. According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase four percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $143 per night compared to $138 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen five percent with an average cost of $108 per night. Daily car rental rates will average $66, four percent higher than last year. Average discounted round-trip airfares across 40 top domestic routes are expected to fall seven percent this year, to $186. This is influenced by the availability of discounted rates from low-cost carriers in several top markets. AAA encourages travelers to consider the full cost of a ticket when purchasing air travel, as many airlines charge ancillary fees for checked bags, meals, priority boarding and seat assignments. AAA Alabama is offering a variety of travel package options for the approaching National Championship game in Arlington, TX. Packages can be booked immediately by contacting a AAA Travel Agent at any AAA Alabama office. Travel packages are available to both AAA members and non-members alike. If Alabama does not make it to the Championship Game, then full refunds will be given. For more information call your local AAA office, or visit www.aaa.com.
SUGAR BOWL POLICE OFFICER- UAB and Dr. Brent Ponce gave officer Brandon Smith two tickets to the Sugar Bowl. You see Smith played football at Ohio State from 2004-2008. On May 10th, an impaired driver hit Smith on Interstate 20/59. Smith had a bad leg and shoulder injury. He's had to learn how to walk again. The doctors at UAB grew close with Smith and when Ohio State and Alabama were announced to play in the Sugar Bowl, they came together to make sure he got good seats for the big game.
ZOO CREW- Mickey visited with Wes Garrison from the Birmingham Zoo to learn more about the gorilla. For more information, visit birminghamzoo.com.
GARDENING- Rip Weaver, Executive Director and Audrey Ann Wilson, Education Coordinator, from Aldridge Garden joined us with details on an upcoming class. At the Hands-On Floral Design Workshop you can learn how to use a small, store bought bouquet of flowers and some greenery from your yard to make a beautiful arrangement. Jean Ingram, experienced floral designer, will teach participants to use basic floral design techniques to make a centerpiece and how to adapt to different color schemes with the change of a few flowers. This workshop will include demonstration as well as hands-on instruction with personalized assistance from the instructor. Participants need to bring a small, low container, a bouquet of store-bought flowers, greenery from your yard in a bucket of water - such as pine, holly, magnolia, nandina, acuba, etc., and clippers. Oasis will be provided. Each participant will leave with a handsome, handmade centerpiece and the confidence to create additional floral arrangements. The cost of the class is $22 for members and $30 for non-members. The class is limited to 20 and preregistration is required. For more information, visit http://aldridgegardens.com/.