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Emory, WellStar in talks to create unified health system

Emory, WellStar in talks to create unified health system

ATLANTA -- WellStar Health System and Emory University have begun formal discussions about the possibility of creating a new, unified health system.

WellStar spokesperson Tyler Pearson said the new system would be formed by combining Emory Healthcare and WellStar Health System. Discussions will continue for next 45 days, with a goal of creating an environment with the best of both community-based care and academic medicine.

"Our shared vision is to design one of the best health systems in the nation to serve local communities, the state of Georgia and beyond," WellStar Health System CEO Reynold J. Jennings said in a release. "The new system will be one of the most innovative and transformational healthcare systems in the industry."

A multi-step design process for the new health system will take about a year to complete.

Weekend roadwork: More of the same

Weekend roadwork: More of the same

(WXIA) -- Georgia Department of Transportation crews will work in all the usual problem areas this weekend.

Drivers are asked to avoid Interstate 285 if possible, as construction projects will be performed on several stretches of that road.

As always, all weekend roadwork is weather permitting.

Scheduled projects include:

Cobb County
2 northbound lanes of I-285 will be closed between Paces Ferry Road and Cobb Parkway from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday for sign structure work.

Cobb/Fulton counties
3 westbound lanes of I-285 will be closed between New Northside Drive and I-75 from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday for sign structure work.

Cobb/Fulton counties
2 northbound lanes of I-285 will be closed between Bolton Road and South Cobb Drive from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for concrete rehabilitation.

Chick-fil-A to host Daddy-Daughter Date Night

Chick-fil-A to host Daddy-Daughter Date Night

(WXIA) -- Chick-fil-A will bring back its popular Daddy-Daughter Date Night this weekend.

The fifth annual event will be Saturday, Feb. 7 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at participating restaurants.

Daddy-Daughter Date Night encourages fathers and their little girls to spend time together. Every "couple" will receive take-home booklets featuring conversation starters and ideas for future outings.

Attendees will also be treated to tableside service, limousine and trolley rides, and other surprises.

Daddy-Daughter Date Night is free, except for the cost of food. Seating is available every hour; fathers and daughters are encouraged to call their local Chick-fil-A locations in advance to reserve a time.

Blood donation opportunities: Cobb County

Blood donation opportunities: Cobb County

(WXIA) -- The American Red Cross needs blood donations and has provided healthy metro Atlanta residents with several opportunities to give.

Inclement weather and widespread flu have prevented many usual donors from giving, according to Red Cross spokesperson Kristen Stancil. Several blood drives will be held throughout the area this month to make up the difference.

The Red Cross especially needs blood types O negative, A negative and B negative.

Visit redcrossblood.org for more information.

Here are some upcoming blood drives in Cobb County:

Monday, Feb. 16
Cobb Donor Center, 2145 Roswell Road, Suite 205, Marietta
7:45 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 17
WellStar Health Park, 4550 Cobb Parkway NW, Acworth
1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Weekend roadwork: Lane closures galore

Weekend roadwork: Lane closures galore

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Transportation has a number of Atlanta-area construction projects on its schedule this weekend.

Drivers are asked to avoid traveling on certain stretches of Interstate 285, as lane closures are expected to result in long delays.

As always, all weekend work is weather permitting.

Scheduled projects include:

Cobb County
2 northbound lanes of I-285 will be closed between Paces Ferry Road and Cobb Parkway from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday for sign structure work.

DeKalb County
2 westbound lanes of I-285 will be closed between Northlake Parkway and Chamblee Tucker Road from 7:30 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for sign structure work.

Fulton County
2 lanes in each direction of I-285 will be closed between Cascade Road and the I-20 interchange from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for sign structure work.

Unemployment rate didn't change in December

Unemployment rate didn't change in December

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate went unchanged last month. The rate was 6.4 in December 2014, the same as it was in November 2014. It was 6.8 percent in December 2013.

Cobb County's December unemployment rate was 5.9 percent.

While the unemployment rate didn't budge, the Atlanta area gained 64,700 jobs last year, the largest December-to-December job growth in nearly 10 years. Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said many of the new positions were in trade and transportation; business services; leisure and hospitality; financial services; manufacturing; education and health care; government; and construction.

Butler said Georgia has been in the top 10 states for job creation every month since October 2012.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest December unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 8.8 percent.

Super speller wins third Cherokee County bee

Super speller wins third Cherokee County bee

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. -- She's a C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N -- again.

Last week, Mill Creek Middle School seventh grader Sathvika Narasimhan won the Cherokee County Spelling Bee for the third consecutive year. She was also runner-up at last year's state spelling bee.

Julia Barfield, who's in fifth grade at Macedonia Elementary, placed second in the county-level bee. Freedom Middle School eighth grader Sam Rowe came in third. All three students will represent Cherokee County at the district spelling bee in Cobb County on Feb. 28.

PHOTOS | Cherokee County Spelling Bee participants

More than 30 Cherokee County students participated in last Thursday's bee, attempting to spell 80 tricky words such as "pusillanimous," "jocularity" and "berserk."