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House Fire in Twiggs County

Members of the Brown family said they were using an oven to heat their Dry Branch home last night. They believe the heat from the oven caused a pot of grease on the stove to ignite.

"We've seen a lot of kitchen fires in the last few months I would say...a lot of grease fires," said Red Cross volunteer Sandra Murphy.

Within half an hour the house was engulfed in flames.

Twiggs County EMA Director Sammy Stokes says the local volunteer-based fire department took an hour to respond.

Now all that's left standing is the chimney.

Stokes says there are only about 25 firefighters, and they're all volunteers.

He says about 5 were able to respond last night. Stokes says when overnight fires happen trying to reach volunteer first responders is a common challenge.

Parade routes through Central Georgia

Parade routes through Central Georgia

Santa will have a busy weekend! He's coming to town in the parade.

Find out when and where to greet him in your neck of the woods on his parade route.

Macon: Sunday at 3 p.m. on Cherry Street

Warner Robins: Saturday at 10 a.m. down Watson Blvd. (Al Roker and his wife will grand marshal.)

Perry: Saturday, 4 p.m. on General Courtney Hodges Blvd.

Centerville: Lighted parade at 7 p.m. Saturday

Forsyth: Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.

Rhine: Saturday at 3 p.m.

Bolingbroke: Saturday at 3 p.m. downtown

Milledgeville: 3 p.m. Sunday, downtown

Gray: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.

Byron: Saturday, 1 p.m.

NORAD: No fighter escorts for Santa this year

NORAD: No fighter escorts for Santa this year

As it has every year since 1955, the North American Aerospace Defense Command will be tracking Santa on his whirlwind journey to deliver presents to all the good little boys and girls around the world.

But he won't be escorted by armed fighter jets.

When NORAD recently launched its yearly online Santa tracker, the site featured a video showing the jolly old elf being escorted by U.S. fighter jets "bristling with missiles," as the Boston Globe put it.

That caused a minor earthquake in the Twitterverse about why Santa would need an armed escort. The answer: Russia.

But a NORAD spokesman confirmed to Military Times that the "missiles" are actually fuel tanks.

200 acre solar panel project could be coming to Twiggs County

It would be located just off of Old Richland Church Road, near I-16.

The proposed Richland Solar Center would be 200 acres and between 15 and 20 feet high. Director of Operations Andrew Foukal said the project would bring between 170-200 temporary construction jobs to the area and generate $4 million over 25 years.

He also said it could generate electricity for 4,600 homes, just over half of the county.

After 25 years, the panels could be removed, and the area could be used as farmland again. Foukal said HelioSage is looking to finalize a contract within a month, and that, if approved, construction would begin in the summer of 2014.

Watson says he'd like to have the project in Twiggs County but has several unanswered questions.

"My concern is that they're trying to set it up to pay no taxes and I'm not saying they are. I'm concerned that we do need to know the full scope of their intentions regarding local tax abatement," Watson said.

Twiggs business seeks to improve literacy

In a little yellow house across from Twiggs County's Library sits another source of knowledge with almost as many books.

"Students, whatever their area of interest need to know how to read," Hawthorne said.

Sarah Hawthorne came to Twiggs County to teach 9th graders but discovered many of them were illiterate.

"And I knew how to teach them to read. We used a lot of different things. We used the driver's manual, and the fishing license manual and lots of things that interested them. "

Twiggs County's adult literacy rate is 75%, 22 points below the national average.

So Hawthorne created Alpha Skills, a company that provides interactive lesson plans. And Hawthorne doesn't just write the curriculum.

She trains teachers, parents who home school and works with adult and family literacy . She started with five Georgia elementary schools.

She now works with 150 different schools, from Pre-K to 9th grade.

Central Georgia Christmas tree farms to open

Central Georgia Christmas tree farms to open

It's almost that time of year again: Christmas tree time!

Make a day of it with the family and head out to a local Christmas tree farm to pick out the perfect addition for your holiday decor.

Roberts Christmas Tree Farm in Byron:
Opens Nov. 25- Dec. 22
10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. daily
located at 9247 Peach Parkway on Hwy 49.
478-956-5325

Double B Farms in Lizella:
Opens Thanksgiving Day-Dec. 24
10 a.m. - dark
located at 8511 Knoxville Road, Lizella.
478-935-8742

Twiggs board plans to meet again on library funds

The meeting is now posted at the Twiggs Courthouse, and library officials say they've received an invitation to the meeting.

The new library opened just two weeks ago with great fanfare with a ribbon cutting that included Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal.

But the board of commissioners voted Tuesday to not fund the library, and it closed the next morning.

The library is not expected to reopen until county officials decide to fund it.

Library officials say that will cost about $45,000, which is mostly the salaries of the three part-time workers.

But commissioners say they haven't got enough details on how the money will be spent.