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First Data: Consumers held back on spending until end of Nov.

First Data: Consumers held back on spending until end of Nov.

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- Consumers knew better deals were coming on Black Friday and held back on spending until the end of November, according to First Data's latest SpendTrend report.

VIDEO: Black Friday brawl at Ellijay Walmart

The privately held Sandy Springs-based electronic payments company reported year-over-year dollar volume growth was up 7.3 percent in November, down from October's 9.4 percent jump.

Dollar volume growth was 8.1 percent, while transaction growth was 6.1 percent in November.

Magnolia Stroll to support colon cancer treatment

Magnolia Stroll to support colon cancer treatment

ROME, Ga. -- The northwest Georgia-based Magnolia Foundation will host a food, wine and beer tasting in Rome to raise money for colon cancer treatment.

This "Magnolia Stroll" will be held Thursday, Dec. 15. Participating restaurants include 333 on Broad, 400 Block Bar, Harvest Moon Café, Jefferson's, Johnny's New York Style Pizza, Old Havana City Club and Schroeder's New Deli.

All proceeds benefit the Magnolia Foundation, which provides free colonoscopies for high-risk, under-served and uninsured men and women; raises awareness of colon and colorectal cancer; and acts as an advocate for coverage colonoscopy testing through insurance.

"Early diagnosis of colon and colorectal cancer is directly linked to better survival rates, but only 41 percent of colorectal cancers are diagnosed early," said Lisa Smith, founder of the Magnolia Foundation, which has provided over 100 colonoscopies to patients in Chattooga, Floyd and Polk counties over the past two years.

Where can I buy a Christmas tree in the mountains?

Where can I buy a Christmas tree in the mountains?

ATLANTA -- The Christmas shopping and decorating season is in full swing, and many Metro Atlanta families have begun searching for the perfect Christmas tree.

So where's the best place to find a live tree in the North Georgia Mountains?

CommunityWalk Map - Where to buy a Christmas tree in the N GA mountains

DEALCHICKEN: $69.99 for $167 from Omaha Steaks

DEALCHICKEN: $69.99 for $167 from Omaha Steaks

ATLANTA -- Omaha Steaks is legendary for its gourmet beef, which is a must-have for the holidays.

Fortunately, this weekend's DealChicken Atlanta deal can help members pay much less for a delicious package of top-of-the-line meats and sides.

Pay only $69.99 for a $167 Perfect Pleasers Pack, filled with four filet mignons, four boneless pork chops, eight Omaha Steak burgers, eight servings of potatoes au gratin and four caramel apple tartlets.

If this package doesn't appeal to you, don't worry -- there are five other options created especially for DealChicken members. To further sweeten the deal, shipping is free on all of them.

Get Together Pack
$49.99 for $114

Four top sirloins, four boneless pork chops, six Omaha Steak burgers, four stuffed baked potatoes

Rome CVB names first 'Superstar of Service'

Rome CVB names first 'Superstar of Service'

ROME, Ga. -- The Greater Rome Convention & Visitors Bureau has rolled out a new program to recognize and reward the very best in customer service.

The "Superstars of Service" program will choose four winners every year from the many Floyd County workers who go above and beyond the expectations of visitors and residents.

"We want to recognize the very best in service across the county and have our front-line employees raise their standards to compete for this award," said Lisa Smith, executive director of the GRCVB.

The inaugural recipient is Bridgett Montgomery, director of sales and marketing at Hawthorn Suites in downtown Rome.

Man sacks $108K Halloween treat

Man sacks $108K Halloween treat

ROME, Ga. -- Halloween was a dream for one lucky Georgia Lottery winner, who scored a huge prize and claimed it on his birthday.

Thomas McIemore matched all five winning numbers in the Oct. 31 Fantasy 5 drawing, scoring a $108,038 jackpot prize.

He claimed the money on Nov. 1 -- his 54th birthday.

"I found out [Tuesday] morning," he said. "I got an email from the lottery with the winning numbers on my cell phone . . . I feel great. I woke up my wife and told her. She's the one who screamed."

The manufacturing manager and his wife, Melinda, live in Fort Payne, Ala. They plan to pay off bills with their winnings.

McIemore furthered his birthday celebration by having dinner with his in-laws.

The winning numbers from the Oct. 31 drawing were 11-16-29-32-34. The lucky ticket was sold at U.S. Food Mart on Alabama Highway in Rome.

Belk Charity Sale to take place this weekend

Belk Charity Sale to take place this weekend

ATLANTA -- When the Belk Charity Sale returns to Metro Atlanta, everybody wins.

Bargain hunters love the annual event because it allows them to take advantage of some great pre-holiday shopping deals, and the community benefits because money raised by the event goes directly to local charities and schools.

The Belk Charity Sale is a four-hour in-store event offering discounts of 20 to 70 percent off certain items. It will take place on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

"Belk is committed to being involved in our communities and supporting causes important to our customers," said Jessica Graham, vice president of communications and community relations for Belk. "Each Belk Charity Sale offers us the opportunity to reach thousands of nonprofits across our footprint and to help them raise much-needed funds."