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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.

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Folks Chowed Down At Macon's First 'Levee Fest'

Some folks got the chance to chow down on tasty barbecue at Macon's first "Levee Fest" Saturday. 

The Cherry Blossom Festival Committee presented its new festival at Central City Park Saturday. Gates opened at 11 a.m. 

Committee member Stacy Campbell says they hope the fall event attracts tourists to Macon, outside of their annual March festival.

"We'd like to create a sense of place and an event that Macon likes to call their own," Campbell said. "They've done that with the Cherry Blossom Festival, they've done that with Bragg Jam."

This year, the one-day event features a barbecue cook-off among fifteen teams, including "backyard cookers" and professional teams, Campbell said.

Musician Corey Smith headlined the festival with a concert at 8 p.m.

The event wraps up with a fireworks show at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults.

Macon Woman and Nephew Charged With Selling Crack

Macon police say they discovered $500 worth of crack cocaine at a "shot house" where two people were illegally selling alcohol out of their apartment, according to a news release. 

The Macon Police Narcotics Unit and Strike Team found the crack cocaine Friday at 7 p.m. at an apartment on Ferguson Street,  police say. That's near Vineville Avenue in Macon's Pleasant Hill neighborhood.

Mary Sanders, 64, and her nephew, Quartez Johnson, 22, were arrested and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, said the release. 

 

Smell Traced to Macon Paper Mill

Macon-Bibb County emergency crews have determined the cause of a mystery odor, which led dozens to call 911 and some to go to the hospital.

 

Since early Sunday morning, Maconites have complained of a distinct, pungent smell near downtown. Battalion Chief Donny Mercer says they've pinpointed it to the Graphic Packaging paper mill in South Macon.

The source, but not the odor, had eluded many since the wee hours of the morning.

"It's not so much a septic smell, but it has that after-odor," says Shawn Williams says, who caught a whiff on his way to work around 6 a.m.

Williams says he's smelled it before, but not at that magnitude.

Other travelers downtown say they suspected a paper mill was the cause, but described the odor as having a "sulfur-like" or a "trash" smell to it.