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Wilcox County Man Brightens Christmas for Kids With Cancer

People from Wilcox County brought Christmas to gifts to kids at Children's Hospital in Macon.

He may not ride a big red sleigh, but for kids at the Children's Hospital in Macon, you might call Andy Munden Saint Nick.

He wheeled in hundreds of gifts for kids with pediatric cancer because he knows what it's like to be in their shoes.

He had pediatric cancer at age four.

He wanted to make this holiday a little brighter for some kids spending it away from home.

Angelica Rios, 17 years old, has called the hospital home since May.

"You wouldn't really imagine that happening to you. I always thought it was a cramp in my side, but it wasn't," she says.

A seven-month battle, Rios says, she's won.

"Today is my last chemo, and I get to go home tomorrow, and I don't have to do chemo anymore."

But for other kids who'll spend the holidays fighting, they've got they're own Santa bringing christmas to their room.

Georgia's Unemployment Rate Drops to 9.9 Percent

Georgia's Unemployment Rate Drops to 9.9 Percent

Georgia's unemployment rate saw the biggest one month drop in 34 years in November.  

A Georgia Department of Labor news release says the jobless rate sits at 9.9 percent.

That's three tenths of a percentage point lower that the 10.2 percent rate in October.

One year ago, the unemployment rate for the state of Georgia hovered around 10.4 percent.

Warner Robins saw a loss of 500 jobs from November of last year to November 2011, while the Macon area added 1,100 jobs in the past year.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler credits retail hiring and more jobs in the financial and business sectors for the rise.

He says the number of jobs in the state rose to 3.8 million in November, and jobs in education and health care increased as well.

Georgia still has about 20,000 fewer jobs than it did in November of last year.

Late Basket Lifts Bleckley to Split at Northside

Late Basket Lifts Bleckley to Split at Northside

The Lady Royals trailed 36-19 going into the fourth quarter of Tuesday's game at Northside.  Bleckley staged  a rally, getting within six points with about a minute left.  But it would be a case of "too little, too late" as they lost 49-43.  Tia Troup and Cam Tillman both scored 12.  BCHS shot 37 percent (6 of 16) from the free throw line. 

Tied at 41 to begin the fourth, the Royals three-point lead was their first advantage since the first quarter.  Northside went ahead with under two minutes remaining.  Rydealous Taylor's third three of the game with 1:05 left tied the score.  Taylor would hit another game-tying shot in the final minute. 

Tied at 57 with five seconds left, Savon Walters hit a short jumper to put BC ahead.  A last-second heave by Northside was just short as the Royals won 59-57.

I-75 Southbound Reopens After Multi-Vehicle Crash

A Georgia State Patrol dispatch operator says southbound lanes of Interstate 75 have reopened after a multi-vehicle crash blocked traffic. 

The operator said the crash was located near milepost 127, less than ten miles south of Perry.

A viewer in a car on I-75 in Perry said southbound traffic started moving again around 2 p.m.

The accident involved four tractor-trailers and a passenger car and left one person injured, according to the Houston County Fire Dept.

The State Patrol operator said the injured victim was taken to a hospital.

The accident happened at 11:20 a.m.

Officials diverted traffic onto Highway 41 until the roadway was cleared.


Meet 13WMAZ's Blogger of the Week

Where You Live blogger of the week, Kimberly Harrington, joined us in the studio to talk about the family-friendly events she posts to WMAZ's Where You Live sites.

If you'd like to contribute information to 13WMAZ's Where You Live sites, email whereyoulive@13wmaz.com

State: Exit 24 Off I-16 E To Close For Paving

State: Exit 24 Off I-16 E To Close For Paving

The Georgia Department of Transportation says it will temporarily close Exit 24 off I-16 eastbound for paving work.

The scheduled closures are:

Tuesday, Dec. 13: 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

12:00 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14 to 12:00 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 15.

According to the DOT, the contractor is performing concrete pavement rehabilitation on I-16 on all lanes in each direction beginning at SR 96 (Exit 24) in Twiggs County, continuing through Bleckley County to a point east of SR 278 in Laurens County.

Georgia DOT urges travelers to call 511 for updated information about this or any other construction project on interstates and state routes.

Dash Through Dodge Event Encourages Shopping Locally

A local program called Dash through Dodge in Eastman is hoping to get you to do some of your holiday shopping in locally-owned stores.

Shoppers went to one of the ten participating stores to pick up a what they call a passport and got it stamped.

Shoppers have to go to all ten stores to be able to enter into a $500 shopping spree at the end of the day.

Some local businesses who are involved said that this program is bringing more people into their stores and they are hoping those customers will stay and shop around.

"There's a lot of people vying for those dollars," said Marlas Williamson, owner of Southern Accents and Dirty Dawgz Pet Salon. "We wanna encourage people---hey, there's a lot of cool stores in Eastman, Georgia and we want your business."