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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."

Weekend roadwork: Sign structure and bridge repairs

Weekend roadwork: Sign structure and bridge repairs

(WXIA) -- Drivers in the Atlanta area are asked to avoid the southwest side of Interstate 285 this weekend, as construction crews will complete road projects in the area.

Weekend roadwork will take place on several other stretches of highway and interstate throughout metro Atlanta as well. The rainy weather may delay some projects.

Planned work includes:

Coweta County
* 1 northbound lane of I-85 will be closed between two miles north of Highway 34 and McCollum-Sharpsburg Road from 8 a.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for sweeping.

Pike Nurseries to host free 'Houseplants for a Healthy 2015' class

Pike Nurseries to host free 'Houseplants for a Healthy 2015' class

ATLANTA -- Not only do houseplants bring in much needed color during the bare winter months, but they also play an important health role by improving air quality! Research has revealed that certain common houseplants can actually create a cleaner environment by releasing oxygen and removing contaminants – like formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia – from a room’s air efficiently.

To help customers create a cleaner, greener and healthier home, Pike Nurseries is hosting a FREE “Houseplants for a Healthy 2015” customer class at all garden center locations onSaturday, Jan. 24 at 9 a.m.

During the informational seminar, guests will learn about houseplant health benefits, popular plant options and proper care guidelines. With expert tips from Pike Nurseries, guests can keep their homes healthy and “green” all year-round!

SPLOST funds help firefighters buy new thermal imaging cameras

SPLOST funds help firefighters buy new thermal imaging cameras

COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- Cobb County Fire & Emergency Services recently purchased 60 new thermal imaging cameras. The cameras will replace 42 old ones.

Firefighter Denell Boyd said the cameras help fire crews find victims in smoky structures with little to no visibility. They also allow firefighters to discover hot spots and hidden fires behind walls and ceilings.

The new cameras use advanced technology to produce sharper and brighter images than the old ones, according to Boyd.

The fire department used 2011 SPLOST funds to pay for the cameras.

10 north Ga. students chosen for Disney Dreamers Academy

10 north Ga. students chosen for Disney Dreamers Academy

(WXIA) -- Ten high school students from the Atlanta area are among only 100 teens nationwide to be selected for the 2015 Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine.

The winners were selected from among nearly 10,000 applicants nationwide. They will travel to Walt Disney World Resort in March to participate in a prestigious educational and mentoring program.

Dreamers, as program participants are called, will learn life skills such as communication techniques and networking, and will explore possible career paths.

Visit disneydreamersacademy.com for more information.

Metro Atlanta's Dreamers include: