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FLOWERY BRANCH| Weems signs 3-year deal with Chicago

FLOWERY BRANCH| Weems signs 3-year deal with Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - The Chicago Bears have agreed to a three-year contract with special teams star Eric Weems.

Weems spent his first five seasons with Atlanta and was the NFC's special-teams selection for the Pro Bowl in 2010.

Signing Weems could help ease the loss of Pro Bowl gunner Corey Graham if he does not re-sign and it adds depth to the return game, with Devin Hester hobbled at times by injuries last season and Johnny Knox recovering from spinal surgery.

Weems has 41 career special-teams tackles, 77 punt returns for 815 yards and 113 kickoff returns for 2,896 yards. He also has 24 receptions for 205 yards.

He joined the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2007, when new Bears general manager Phil Emery was Atlanta's director of college scouting.

Merry Christmas from Gov. Deal

Merry Christmas from Gov. Deal

ATLANTA -- Governor Nathan Deal issued a special holiday greeting for Georgia residents on Friday.

As Christmas nears, I wanted to wish every Georgian a merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

Christmas has a special way of reminding us what is really important: our faith in God, family and the well-being of our fellow man.

But Christmas is not limited to a single season or date on a calendar. These feelings of peace and love are always with us throughout our lives. For many, Christmas serves as a rejuvenation of these values and ideals.

After the gifts are all unwrapped and the candles begin to dim, our spirits will once again be enriched and fully restored.

As we reflect on all we have been able to accomplish this past year, we will cary this rejuvenated spirit to achieve all the goals that we have set for the coming years.

ASO to honor Metro Atlanta music teachers

ASO to honor Metro Atlanta music teachers

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will hold an appreciation ceremony for more than 180 Atlanta-area music teachers Friday evening.

The teachers will be recognized at 7 p.m. by ASO president Stanley Romanstein. Afterward, the instructors will attend the evening's concert featuring the music of Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninov and Mussorgsky.

ASO cellist Joel Dallow will also receive a special award from Romanstein for his arts education advocacy work throughout Georgia.

Both the 8 p.m. concert and the preceding reception will take place at the Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Midtown.


Falcons Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar Party


The Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders introduce their new swimsuit calendar at private roof-top party at Ventanas.


Hall County welcomes new finance director

Hall County welcomes new finance director

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Vickie Neikirk was hired Monday as Hall County's new director of financial services.

Neikirk comes to Hall from the city of Toccoa, where she began serving as finance director in May 2010. She has also worked as the CFO of White County.

"Vickie's experience and guidance will enhance the capabilities of the strong finance team currently in place, and she will be a tremendous asset to the entire organization," Hall County administrator Randy Knighton said. "Creating a secure budget and sound financial future is a primary concern for the county, and we are in a better position to do that with Vickie on board."

Neikirk lives in Gainesville. She will begin working for the county in mid-November.

Benefit Event for Hall County Sheriff’s Deputy

Benefit Event for Hall County Sheriff’s Deputy

Lanier Partners of North Georgia, Inc., a Georgia non-profit organization, in association with a local donor, will hold a raffle drawing on September 11th to benefit Hall County Sheriff’s Deputy and his family.

The prize is an Official NASCAR Hood from Turner Motorsports belonging to the #38 Great Clips car. Raffle tickets may be purchased online at http://www.lanierpartners.org or in person at The Tilted Kilt Restaurants. The raffle tickets will only be $20.00 each and you can buy as many as you like.

The proceeds of the raffle will benefit a Hall County Sheriff’s Deputy who has demonstrated not only excellence in the field and in serving Hall County, but whose family has faced one of life’s greatest challenges.

Sheriff’s Deputy Joey Haban and his wife Kristina were expecting the birth of their daughter to be a joyous occasion. The difference is that she was born at only 24 weeks and weighed a mere 15 ounces.

7 named to Deal's immigration review board

7 named to Deal's immigration review board

ATLANTA -- Seven people have been appointed to a newly created board to look into complaints about state and local officials failing to comply with state laws related to immigration.

The Immigration Enforcement Review Board was created by the state's tough new law targeting illegal immigration.

Appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal are Americans for Immigration Control spokesman Phil Kent, former Fulton County GOP chairman Shawn Hanley and lawyer Ben Vinson. Appointed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle are Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin and Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager. Appointed by House Speaker David Ralston are lawyer Robert Mumford and Colquitt County Commissioner Terry Clark.

The board will have the power to investigate complaints, hold hearings, subpoena documents and witnesses, and take disciplinary action.