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Macon Transit Authority Lowers Fares for Some

The Macon Transit Authority announced it will increase the hours that senior citizens, disabled and student riders can receive discounted fares. CEO and General Manager Rick Jones says changes will take effect Friday.

Currently senior and disabled riders are allowed to ride for 65 cents, while students (K-12) are allowed to ride for 75 cents during peak hours.

Peak hours are Monday through Friday form 6 a.m to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Students are only allowed to ride for these prices during the school year.

60-year old James Digby says he doesn't use a senior pass, but might consider getting one now, with the change.

"Yeah, I'm quite sure I'd be interested in it," he said.

The new change taking effect on Friday will allow seniors, mobility impaired and student riders to ride at these discounted rates during all regularly scheduled hours.

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Man Robs East Macon Drugstore

A man with a gun robbed a Walgreens in East Macon early Thursday, police said.

A Macon police news release said a man entered the store at 1:30 a.m., pulled out a pistol and demanded that a clerk fill a bag with cash. He took the money and was last seen walking south on Gray Highway.

If you have any information on this crime, call the police at (478) 751-7500 or Crimestoppers at 1-877-68 CRIME. All tips are confidential.

Westside HS Students Getting Netbook Computers

Bibb County students and teachers discussed the importance of integrating technology in schools during a Skype conference call with state officials on Thursday.

Students answered questions about why they like using certain technology, like laptop and netbook computers.

At Westside High School, the district plans to make classrooms more tech-friendly this school year by supplying all ninth and tenth grade students with netbook computers.

So far, the district says more than 600 of the school's approximate 700 ninth and tenth grade students have received the computers. They hope to distribute the remaining computers, which will be on loan until the end of the school year, by the end of the month.

Westside High School is one of two schools in Georgia to receive federal 'blended learning' grant funds, to integrate technology in its classrooms.

UnitedHealthcare Again Covering Medical Center

UnitedHealthcare has resumed covering patients at the Medical Center of Central Georgia, according to the insurer and the Medical Center.

In a statement, UnitedHealthcare said that since Monday, the Medical Center is again a "participating facility" for policyholders.

"We are extremely pleased that a new agreement has been reached between UnitedHealthcare and the Medical Center of Central Georgia, including its urgent care centers and other ancillary facilities," according to the statement e-mailed to us by Tracey Lempner, the public-relations director for UnitedHealthcare's southeast region.

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Bibb Commissioners Discuss Job Cuts

Bibb County commissioner Lonzy Edwards thinks he may have a key ingredient to budgeting success for next year.

"Make sure that we have gotten all the fat out of our budget and if we have more people than we need to, we'll need to deal with that as well," said Edwards. 

Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart says they'd look at possibly reorganizing some job responsibilities, offering early retirement, and closing positions when they become vacant. 

 

Edwards suggested the county look at zero-based budgeting as well.

Monday, commissioners along with elected leaders and department heads, listened to a presentation outlining what that budgeting system would require.

Under that system, the county would first decide which programs and services they want to offer for the upcoming year, then budget the money for them.

 

Anderson Foundation Donates $1.5 Million to Promote Macon

The Peyton Anderson Foundation is making a big donation to promote the City of Macon.

The foundation is giving NewTown Macon about $1.5 million to promote Macon to outside communities through a new program they are calling The Gateway Initiative.

Beth Dunwody is the Project Director for The Gateway Initiative, and she says the program will be reaching out to regional, state, and national communities to promote Macon.

Dunwody says they will be doing this through on-line applications, commercials, music videos, billboards, and kiosks throughout the state.

She says, they are hoping to reach a younger audience and attract people to downtown Macon.

Folks Flock to Friday Fest

People in Macon headed downtown to celebrate the newly-named Friday Fest.

They enjoyed live music at Third Street Park, including the band Gertrude's Mojo.

Drinking laws are relaxed for Friday Fest and people can carry specially-marked cups with a logo from vendor to vendor.

Jenny Carter says she's enjoying the expansion of First Friday and plans to check it out more often.

"I liked the amount of people on the street, the weather is great, and the things going on like the concert really helped," she said.  "Seems like a lot more businesses are doing things that are catering to it, so it's really even fun."

Friday Fest kicks off every week at 5 p.m. in downtown Macon.