For nearly 40 years, Kevin and Sam McAvoy have lugged Christmas with them as they trotted from Heidelberg, Germany, to Miami to El Paso, Texas, and finally to North Hall. Kevin McAvoy, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, has lived with his wife, Sam, on Shoreline Drive off Mount Vernon Road for 18 years. The couple is often responsible for igniting the Christmas spirit in the neighborhood, and Kevin McAvoy dresses as Santa on Christmas Eve - just as he has done for the past 39 years.
GAINESVILLE - Lorena Mosqueda knows she better be in school. "If I don't, Ms. Reed will come pick me up," said the 14-year-old eighth-grader of East Hall Middle School's graduation specialist, Anne Reed.
This Christmas shopping season, some parents and grandparents could be seen nervously perusing the toy aisles, picking up boxes and looking for the country of origin. If they saw the words "Made in China," the box went back on the shelf.
Hall County Fire Services is investigating a fire that destroyed a mobile home early Friday.
After the gifts have been opened and dinner has been eaten, there's not much to do on Christmas except go to the movies. That's what the Georgia Department of Human Resources is counting on.
After dark, anyone driving down Lights Ferry Road in Flowery Branch can see the 'Merry Christmas' message beaming from Tommy Tallent's yard. It took Tallent two full days to craft the 25-foot-long message out of white Christmas lights and neatly border the nearly 6-foot-high letters standing against his fence with red bulbs.
GAINESVILLE - Hang your stockings and say your prayers, because Santa Claus comes tonight. But the jolly old elf already has been spotted in town, as Gainesville's real Santa has been making numerous visits in Northeast Georgia and has seen hundreds of children. He took a few minutes from visiting with children Friday at Peach State Bank in Gainesville to give The Times some insight into the life of Santa.
FLOWERY BRANCH - As children are shuffled between choir practice and Santa's lap, many shoppers scramble for last-minute gifts at the new Stonebridge Village shopping center. The November opening of Kohl's department store and The Home Depot has provided local procrastinators a little more convenience this year. Many shoppers have foregone a trip to the Mall of Georgia in Buford and instead have found gifts at the new development.
Days before Christmas, homeless animals were treated to a little holiday cheer Saturday at the Hall County Humane Society. Andrea Chandler and Christina Jones, employees at the Gainesville office of A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc., treated the pets to play time and toys with the help of other volunteers. Chandler and Jones both said they are animal lovers and felt that those at the Humane Society deserved a Christmas treat as well.
If you dump your garbage outside a Hall County compactor site on Christmas morning, not only will Santa put you on his naughty list for next year, you also may get a ticket.
Gainesville Police Sgt. Dean Staples calls December "the deadliest time of the year" on local roads. It's a time when holiday parties and their festivities can mean more drunk driving accidents, more injuries and more deaths than any other time, officials say.
In 1980, Doug Derrer was driving down U.S. 129 in Hall County when he looked to his right and saw a field blanketed with freshly fallen snow. The young Miami-Dade police officer pulled his car to the highway shoulder and stepped out onto the icy asphalt. "I had never seen snow falling," Derrer said, "and I pulled off and thought, 'This is where I want to be.'"
When Jack Hoffman joined the Air Force in 1958, he was assigned to a unit which maintained electronic navigation equipment. It was an ironic assignment for a young man who grew up in a rural Rabun County home where electricity was not available. For the past half-century, he has worked on a wide array of electronic devices, from antennas to Christmas tree angels.
Saturday, some South Hall officers made Christmas a little brighter for the kids in their jurisdiction. The Flowery Branch Police Department held its first "Shop with a Cop" event at the Wal-Mart in Oakwood.
Some state officials may be on the road to booting Mike Evans from his post on the Georgia Department of Transportation board, but the Gainesville City Council wants to push them down a different path. Earlier this month, the City Council sent a letter to all members of Hall County's state legislative delegation voicing support for Evans' re-appointment to the DOT board.
While grandchildren may not always take advice from their grandparents, seniors are taking a cue from the younger generations at least when it comes to technology.
A Hall County grand jury dismissed charges against Dustin Gold, a talent manager who was charged with aggravated assault, according to District Attorney Lee Darragh.
Fourth-grade students at Lakeview Academy recently learned that cooking the first Thanksgiving wasn't quite as simple as it can be today.
Holidays are a time of giving, but they can be a time of taking for opportunistic criminals, law enforcement officials say.
The year's busiest travel day finds motorists in North Georgia fighting nasty weather to reach their Thanksgiving destinations.
There might be a lot of leftover turkey this year. Some of the relatives may not make it for Thanksgiving.
There's no need to drive to Atlanta or another major city to view dinosaur fossils; the Mesozoic Era is officially here in Hall County.
Three speakers will help close out the college careers of University of North Georgia seniors graduating this December.
Buford High School senior Christana Landress has her marching orders. Landress was chosen to be in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Fire officials are warning residents not to let food and fun distract them from keeping an eye on the fire hazards that come with cooking the turkey.
A state public health team is set to visit Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville next week, as the hospital moves closer to a trauma care designation.
Before Black Friday, North Georgia might see a White Wednesday.
Country music singer John Berry will be playing next Tuesday at Riverside Military Academy in his annual Christmas concert benefiting local nonprofit Challenged Child and Friends Inc.
The University of North Georgia's Gainesville campus is going through a face-lift, with more than $2 million in total renovations scheduled to be complete in the first part of 2014.
Success has eluded several businesses at the Gainesville location - much like the shifty quarterbacks Donnell Thompson used to face in the NFL.