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CUMMING | Man sentenced in 4 Forsyth County, Ga. killings

CUMMING, Ga. (AP) - A man charged in the killings of killing four people and injuring several others at a farmhouse in south Forsyth County has pleaded guilty.

The Times newspaper of Gainesville reports that Superior Court Judge David L. Dickinson sentenced 31-year-old Jason Samuel McGhee to serve four consecutive life sentences plus 100 years without the possibility of parole.

Forsyth County District Attorney Penny Penn said that had McGhee's case gone to trial she thinks evidence would have shown he was the one who stabbed and shot the victims on March 19, 2006. The guilty pleas mean McGhee avoids a possible death penalty.

McGhee has agreed to testify against Frank Ortegon and Marcin Sosniak, who also have been charged in the attack.

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CUMMING | Man charged with cutting ankle monitor

ATLANTA -- Federal prosecutors have charged a man with cutting his ankle monitor and fleeing Georgia to avoid sex charges.

A federal affidavit filed this month says 40-year-old Marcus Tillman fled Forsyth County in February 2009 while he was on trial on charges that he molested his two young sons.

Tillman was later convicted in absentia and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Prosecutors say he opened a bank account in Atlanta and used money from it at a bus terminal in California in October 2009.

BUCKHEAD | Ga. 400 tolls paid by Hawks Tuesday

BUCKHEAD | Ga. 400 tolls paid by Hawks Tuesday

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks spread holiday cheer to Ga. 400 commuters on Tuesday.

The team paid all drivers' tolls, both northbound and southbound, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

In addition, Hawks forward Dominique Wilkins, mascot Harry the Hawk and the Hawks cheerleaders were on-hand to give away team swag, include $50 holiday cards that can be used to purchase tickets to home games.

"The entire Hawks organization wants to say 'thank you' to the city and our fans for their support by paying their toll, giving them some Hawks goodies and setting the tone for a great day," Philips Arena president Bob Williams said in a statement.

Toys for Tots short on toys

Toys for Tots short on toys

SUWANEE, Ga. -- At Thanksgiving, 11Alive News reported that Toys was short on donations this year. Now less than a week before Christmas, it looks like some boys and girls will just have to go without. 

"We basically have no new influx of toys coming in right now," said Theresa Wilhite, assistant coordinator for Atlanta Toys for Tots.

The U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Charity has been giving toys to needy children since 1947. Atlanta Toys for Tots gives toys to agencies in 17 Metro Atlanta counties. 

Many of the bins at their Suwanee warehouse, which are usually filled with toys from drop-off locations around the region, are empty or near empty.

"The difference this year is the demand for toys is much greater," Wilhite said.

She said more than 1,000 agencies have requested toys this year. Last year 800 agencies were given toys. 

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School Break Survival Guide: Top 10 Things to do in Cumming GA

School Break Survival Guide:  Top 10 Things to do in Cumming GA

Forsyth County Schools are closed for 11 days over the Winter / Christmas / Holiday Break.  When you add the weekends in, it means the kids will be home 15 days straight.

I am completely thrilled to have my kids at home for such a long period.  The days will be filled with staying up late, sleeping in (hopefully) and we’ll be so busy with family fun & activities that those 15 days will seem more like just a few!  But the truth is – they’ll also get bored.  They’ll start to fight with each other.  And on December 27th, they’ll likely complain that they have nothing to play with.  Sound familiar?

If you have extended family in town or if you’re just looking to explore some fun things with you friends and immediate family, it might be a great time to check out some fun things right here in town.

ADOPT A PET: Meet Buster Brown

ADOPT A PET: Meet Buster Brown

 

ATLANTA - If you dream of coming home to a wet nose, wagging tail and tons of kisses (in addition to, perhaps, a half-chewed shoe or an overturned trashcan) adopt a puppy from your local Humane Society. According to the ASPCA, approximately 5 million to 7 million domesticated animals enter animal shelters nationwide, every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized. However, you can change those numbers but adopting a companion for yourself or your family. Pets are an investment but, in our opinion, an investment well worth the money.

HALL | Lake Lanier bridges starting to show age

HALL | Lake Lanier bridges starting to show age

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Bridges built as Lake Lanier sprung up are starting to show their age.

A report by the Gainesville Times found that of the 12 bridges over Lanier, four have a sufficiency rating below 40 on a 0-100 scale that measures structural integrity and other factors. Three rated between 40 and 60.

At 50, a bridge is considered structurally deficient. At 40, it begins to work its way into replacement plans.

The newspaper studied of a Georgia Department of Transportation bridges database.

A state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Teri Pope said the "we must replace these aging structures as needed" but also noted funding is at an all-time low.

The federal government began building Lanier in 1950s. It is now the main water source for the metro-Atlanta area.