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Local restaurants make 5 Make-a-Wish dreams come true

Local restaurants make 5 Make-a-Wish dreams come true

(WXIA) -- Diners at two metro Atlanta-based restaurant chains had a hand in making wishes come true for five very special children.

Throughout March and April, J. Christopher's and Reveille Café customers donated more than $47,000 to the Make-a-Wish organizations in Georgia and Middle Tennessee. Make-a-Wish grants surprises to children living with life-threatening medical conditions.

Thanks to the diners' generosity, Make-a-Wish was able to send five kids on trips of a lifetime:

Andrea, age 3
Hematologic (blood) disorder
Andrea got to go to Disney World and meet her idols -- Mickey and Minnie; Peter Pan and Tinkerbell; Pluto and Goofy.

Bryce, age 4
Wilms' tumor (kidney cancer)
Bryce got to fly on a plane to Disney World, ride the rides and meet Mickey Mouse.

Elijah, age 8
Respiratory condition
Elijah took an "absolutely awesome" trip to Disney World.

Memorial Day traffic to be busiest since recession

Memorial Day traffic to be busiest since recession

(WXIA) -- Travel experts predict a new post-recession high for Memorial Day Weekend.

Mark Jenkins, spokesman for the AAA pointed to the long winter as one reason: "A long and unusually harsh winter game many Americans the travel bug." He says the rising temperatures and an improving economy mean a projected 36.1 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles Memorial Day Weekend.

The Memorial Day travel period is measured from Thursday, May 22 to Monday, May 26th. More than 8 in 10 will drive to their destinations. But the biggest increases came in other modes. Cruise, trains, and buses will see an increase of 6.5%.

Even though the numbers are up, more than half of people in the Southeast (57%) haven't made plans yet. "Hotel and car rental reservations are filling up fast for Memorial Day," AAA spokesman Jessica Brady said. She said making plans now will ensure you find a good price.

Atlanta-area unemployment rate drops to 6.5 percent

Atlanta-area unemployment rate drops to 6.5 percent

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment date declined again.

April's rate was 6.5 percent, down from 6.8 percent in March and 7.7 percent in April 2013.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said local employers created 18,000 new jobs last month. Over the past five years, metro Atlanta has gained an average of 13,000 jobs from March to April.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent, in April 2014. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 8.8 percent.

Cobb County's unemployment rate was 6.1 percent last month.

Classic Car Cruise returns to Acworth

Classic Car Cruise returns to Acworth

ACWORTH, Ga. -- Three times a year, classic cars line Acworth's Main Street for residents and visitors to admire.

The next Classic Car Cruise will be held Saturday, May 31 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There is no cost to attend. Those who want to enter cars in the show are asked to give a $2 donation to a local charity.

Visit acworthtourism.org for more information.

Students encouraged to read this summer

Students encouraged to read this summer

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Education has created a 2014 Summer Reading Challenge for students in all grades.

The program was announced Thursday at Timber Ridge Elementary School in Cobb County. Its goal is to close the achievement gap that widens during the summer months, when children often don't read.

"No student should have to start the school year having fallen behind," State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said. "That's what we know, and that's what we're committed to preventing, because that loss is preventable."

The challenge encourages students to read for at least 15 to 30 minutes every day. The GDOE outlined suggested summer goals for children based on their school years:

* K-2: 10 books
* 3-5: 8 chapter books
* 6-12: 5 fiction books and 5 nonfiction books

Pike Nurseries to host customer appreciation event

Pike Nurseries to host customer appreciation event

(WXIA) -- Atlanta-area Pike Nurseries locations will say thank you to their loyal customers this weekend with a special cookout.

On Saturday, May 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Pike will serve cold drinks and fresh grilled hot dogs to customers. Guests will also receive 20 percent off their entire purchases all day long.

Visit pikenursery.com to find your nearest Pike location.

'Don't go east, don't go west': Weekend construction alert

'Don't go east, don't go west': Weekend construction alert

(WXIA) -- "Avoid I-20 if you can." That warning, from Georgia Department of Transportation district construction engineer Shun Pringle, applies to Atlanta-area drivers this weekend.

Several road projects and lane closures will be in place along the east-west highway.

"We don't like to close lanes, but the work has to get done, and we have to take advantage of the good-weather weekends," Pringle said in a release.

Scheduled I-20 projects include:

* Two left eastbound lanes will be closed between Highway 138 (Rockdale) and Alcovy Road (Newton) from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for resurfacing.

* Two right westbound lanes will be closed between Bill Arp and Liberty roads (Douglas) from 8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday for resurfacing.

* Two right eastbound lanes will be closed between Liberty and Bill Arp roads (Douglas) from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for resurfacing.