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Hail Mary Monday for the Autism Bill


ATLANTA, Ga. -- Melissa Solares holds her 14-month-old sleeping daughter, rocking back and forth, as she explains to the lawmaker she has stopped in the hallway, that the autism insurance bill has the support of the Surgeon General.

It's Hail Mary Monday at the capitol.

MORE | Continuing coverage of the Autism Gap: The fight for insurance 

"Yeah. This is it. Yeah." Anna Bullard knows it is no longer a fight to get the autism insurance bill to a vote. That fight is over. The fight now is to simply get a hearing before it goes to the insurance mandate commission, where it will sit until next year.

Of the three bills going to the commission, the autism bill is the only one not to get a hearing.

Bullard says, "I've voted republican my whole life."

The lawmakers not supporting the bill are people for whom Anna Bullard voted.

Pike Nurseries hiring 200 seasonal employees

ATLANTA -- Pike Nurseries is hiring about 200 people to work in its Atlanta-area stores during the busy spring planting season.

RELATED | Hiring Our Heroes returns to Atlanta

The chain is looking for managers, sales associates, cashiers and maintenance/loaders. Pike Nurseries spokeswoman Chelsea Curtis said the ideal employee must be prepared to answer difficult garden questions, engage customers, load purchases into cars and care for the plants in the store.

Those who are interested are invited to apply at any Pike location, including the newest store in Greensboro, Ga.

Applications can also be submitted on the Pike Nurseries career page.

Fayette County to host "March for Meals" benefit

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. -- For more than 30 years, Fayette Senior Services (FSS) has been making a difference in the welfare of seniors in the area -- and this year isn't different. 

FSS is inviting everyone to participate in various March for Meals events happening during the month of March.

The Music for Meals event is a night of music and food to benefit the March on Wheels program and the Mayors for Meals program, which both deliver meals to home-bound seniors with FSS volunteers. 

Music for Meals will be held on March 20 at the Fayette Senior Services Life Enrichment Center for $15. Tickets can be purchased at both Fayette Senior Services locations. 

The Fayette Senior Services Life Enrichment Center is located at 4 Center Drive in Fayetteville. 

The Autism Gap: The fight for insurance

The Autism Gap: The fight for insurance

ATLANTA -- Eight year old Ava Bullard is playing with her sisters, riding their bikes on their long country driveway. It is a simple act that defies those who said she would never talk, those who said she wouldn't function in the real world.

Ava was not a typical baby, or toddler.

Her mother Anna says, "You couldn't interact with her."

MORE | Complete coverage of The Autism Gap

Ava did not play with toys. Did not speak. Could not dress herself. Did not interact with her parents or sisters. Slept two hours a night. She was in her own world.

Anna says, "It's like she looked straight through me. She would just...it's like you weren't there, if you were in the room with her."

Anna Bullard took Ava from doctor to doctor for months. One doctor told the family Ava was 'just weird.'

AARP offering tax help for seniors

AARP offering tax help for seniors

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. -- The AARP will be holding free tax help sessions for senior citizens through Tax Day.

The sessions are held every Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Peachtree City United Methodist Church.

Attendees are seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

Peachtree City UMC is located at 225 Robinson Road. The help sessions are held in Rooms 120-122.

Atlanta recruiting 5,000 volunteers for cancer study

Atlanta recruiting 5,000 volunteers for cancer study

ATLANTA -- Sixty years ago, 1 million men and women signed up for the first-ever Cancer Prevention Study. They filled out surveys every few years. And the information from those million Americans led to a dramatic discovery.

Doctor Alpa Patel with the American Cancer Society is the lead researcher on CPS3, the third generation of the cancer prevention studies.

MORE | Join the Cancer prevention Study 3

"The first study was actually set up to specifically address the question of whether not smoking caused lung cancer, and it provided the first evidence that in fact smoking is what was the causal fact, causal factor with the increase rise in lung cancer death rates we were seeing in men at that time," she said.

Fayette County latest to look at closing some schools

Fayette County latest to look at closing some schools

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. -- Like many other metro Atlanta area school systems, Fayette County's says it needs to close several schools.

Not too many years ago it was getting several hundred new students each year.

But now it's losing about 500 students annually, partly due to a sagging economy and partly to an aging population.

The system says it needs to close four of its 30 schools and eliminate about 250 jobs to save around $15 million in next year's budget.

Closing the four schools, without eliminating any jobs, would save about $3 million of the $15 million.

One of those schools could be Tyrone Elementary, which is sad news to parent Tamara Dixon who transferred her son there thanks to its good reputation.

"This was actually his first year here; he's a first grader," she told 11Alive News on Monday.

"So if it closes, we're going to be very sad about this," Dixon added.