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Help for GA Farmers Suffering from Drought

Farmers in nearly 50 south Georgia counties can apply for financial aid from the Small Business Administration.

The administration is now offering loans to help farmers who have suffered from the drought that they say started December of last year.

Randy Dodson, a farmer from Pulaski County, says he has had trouble keeping his crops growing with such little rainfall.

He says, "We have had rainfalls, and we would get two tenths, which is enough to just sprout that seed and then in dry out and not emerge."

Farmers can apply for loans up to $2 million with interest rates between three to four percent.

Dodson says he hopes the loans will help help farmers stay in business for another year.

For more information, you can contact the Small Business Administration at 800-659-2955.

Hawkinsville Park Named for City Commissioner

A park in Hawkinsville got a new name today in honor of a long-time public servant.

During a dedication ceremony, the Sixth Street Recreation Center was renamed James A. Colson Park in honor of city commissioner James Colson.

He said, "I really appreciate that."

Colson's served for the past 30 years in the position and as an educator for 42 years.

Several people came out for the ceremony including State Senator Ross Tolleson.

Colson says he's proud he has something to pass on to his family for generations to come.

He said, "That is going to be history for my grand children and for all of the children that come along, especially the ones that I taught."


Colson and his family live across the street from the park.

Accused Cochran 'Towel Robber' Now in Jail

A woman accused of trying to rob a Cochran bank last week is now in the Bleckley County jail.

Cochran police Lt. Key McGuire says she is 40-year-old Kerry Leighann Bonner of Perry.

He said she was arrested Saturday after officers staked out her mother's home in Perry. He said Bonner tried to run and was caught after a brief chase, during which she shot herself in the hand.

He said Bonner won't talk to investigators and hasn't said whether the shooting was an accident.

Bonner was taken to the Medical Center of Central Georgia and was charged after being released Wednesday.

She faces one count of armed robbery.

Police believe Bonner is the woman who tried to cover her face with a towel while trying to rob a bank last month.

NAACP Holds Rally at Dodge Courthouse

Macon's NAACP is continuing its protest against a Confederate flag outside the Dodge County courthouse. Tuesday evening, they took their concerns to the county commission.

The organization held a rally in front of the courthouse.

Those who attended called for Dodge County commissioners to remove the flag, which flies above a Civil War memorial.

Macon-Bibb NAACP chapter president David Booker also read letters to commissioners from Macon mayor Robert Reichert and city councilman Tom Ellington.

People who attended the rally said it's time for commissioners to listen to their concerns about the flag.

"We don't want our children to come up and have that legacy on what's up on that flag," says Harry Hand. "We want them to feel unity and love."

"It's sad, you know, that people can't come together and agree on something I think is important," says Sandra Northcutt.

Dodge County Small-Plane Crash Injures 84-Year-Old

An 84-year-old Georgia man was injured when a small ultralight plane crashed in treetops near the Dodge County community of Dubois.

Capt. Tony Winborn of the sheriff's office says James Spletstoser had just taken off from a small private air strip on his property when the one-person plane crashed in the woods.

It happened around 8 a.m. near the intersection of Dubois Church Road and Hardy Road. Dubois is north of Eastman on highways 23 and 87.

13WMAZ's Candace Adorka reports that the plane was lodged in the trees about 60 feet off the ground and suffered heavy damage.

Winborn said Spletstoser was flown to an area hospital, but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Spletstoser is an Vietnam veteran who flies as a hobby, Winborn said. His son witnessed the crash.


(Our original story reported the pilot's age incorrectly. He is 84 years old.)



Cochran Police Say Towel Didn't Shield Bank Robber

COCHRAN, Ga. -- Cochran police say a woman tried to rob a bank while using a towel to hide her face -- but the towel dropped.

They released photos of a woman at the bank's drive-through window. Police say she was passing notes through the window.

Cochran Detective Key McGuire says it happened at the Citizens Bank of Cochran Tuesday morning around 11:40.

In a news release, McGuire said a woman driving a white, four-door Ford pickup stopped at the drive-through window.

The woman, about 55 years old with reddish hair, leaned out of the driver's side window and, police say, passed a plastic bag and a note to the teller.

McGuire said the note read, "Put $10,000 in bag. Do not call police for 10 minutes, or a bomb will go off."

The teller didn't comply, McGuire said. The woman drove off leaving the note and bag.

GBI Says Hawkinsville Teen Shot By Ex-Boyfriend

The family of an 18-year old Hawkinsville girl is mourning her death after a Saturday morning shooting.

According to Todd Lowery with the Eastman GBI office, 33-year-old Birago Blackshear is charged with the murder of Ashton Bartlett.

Her family says Blackshear was a former boyfriend, and they tried to warn her about signs of trouble.

Showing pictures of her daughter's life, Michelle Bartlett says they show her daughter's beauty, but not her whole story.

She said, "She was planning on going to school. She was supposed to go take her test this morning."

The test she was set to take Monday, would let her study to be a radiologist.