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Bone marrow drive for sick 12-year-old exceeds expectations

ATHENS, Ga. -- A sleepless 24-hours was worth it for friends and supporters of 12-year-old Kajal Patel as efforts to find a bone marrow match exceeded expectations.

PHOTOS | 24-Hour Bone Marrowthon

A 24-hour Marrow-thon began at 4 p.m. Tuesday and continued until 4 p.m. Wednesday, as friends of 12-year-old Kajal Patel worked to find a bone marrow donor.

Over 27-hundred cheek swab samples were collected in hopes of finding one person that might qualify as a donor. The odds of finding a bone marrow match for the sixth grader who has been hospitalized since February is one in 20-thousand.

11Alive was there throughout the entire 24-hours to document the effort with live reports through the day and night.

Organizers say the 27-hundred samples collected may be a world record for a 24-hour period.

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Metro unemployment exceeds Clarke rate in Feb.

Metro unemployment exceeds Clarke rate in Feb.

ATLANTA -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate declined to nine percent in February.

The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the preliminary unemployment rate is down one-tenth of a percentage point from a revised 9.1 percent in January.

In Clarke County, the jobless rate was 7.2 percent in February.

Statewide, Georgia's February seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined for the seventh consecutive month to 9.1 percent -- the lowest rate since March of 2009, when it was also 9.1 percent.

Metro Dalton had the state's highest area unemployment rate at 12.3 percent. Metro Athens had the lowest area rate at seven percent.

Hines Ward Attends UGA Spring Football Drills

ATHENS, Ga. -- The University of Georgia football team continued its spring drills on Tuesday afternoon, working out in shells at the Woodruff Practice Fields for two-and-a-half hours.

The defense prevailed once again, but head coach Mark Richt sees noticeable improvements on the offensive side of the ball.

"The defense won the day again," Richt said after practice. "Still the offense is making progress. We still have a ways to go, but I am reallypleased with everyone's efforts."

Assistant coach Scott Lakatos echoed Richt's sentiments, noticing improvement on both sides of the ball.

"Coming off a weekend, scrimmage-type practice, I thought the players came out focused," Lakatos said. "Once the guys got it rolling, they maintained the competitive nature that they have about them. We finished practice stronger than when we started, and we are looking to carry that forward as we go into Thursday."

What would you do with $500M?

What would you do with $500M?

ATLANTA -- We're still reeling over the Georgia Lottery's announcement that Friday's Mega Millions jackpot has reached a record $500 million.

RELATED | Check your tickets on 11Alive's lottery page

And it got us thinking -- what would you do with the money if you won? Half a billion dollars is almost unfathomable -- do you know what you'd do with all that money?

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ATHENS | UGA post office to close

ATHENS | UGA post office to close

ATHENS, Ga. -- The University of Georgia will close the post office in the Tate Student Center as the volume of mail has declined in recent years.

University officials say that the post office will close permanently on May 31.

Officials say the volume of mail on campus has declined by about 75 percent over the past decade.

Dwayne Weaver, manager of campus mail and central duplicating, says the volume has dropped from about eight to 10 million pieces per year in 2002 to between two and three million pieces now.

Officials say only 106 of the 1,078 post office boxes at the center are rented.

Weaver says UGA administrators decided to close the post office after U.S. Postal Service officials announced cuts for the postal service.

Gary Hilton pleads guilty to killing N.C. couple

Gary Hilton pleads guilty to killing N.C. couple

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- The man convicted of murdering University of Georgia graduate Meredith Emerson and a Florida woman accepted a life prison sentence without parole after pleading guilty in North Carolina to ambushing and killing an elderly couple hiking in a national forest.

U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins said 65-year-old Gary Michael Hilton pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing John and Irene Bryant in 2007.

Prosecutors said Hilton camped out waiting for victims before he encountered the Bryants, who were both in their 80s, as they hiked in the Pisgah National Forest in Transylvania County.