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Deaths decline on Ga. highways

Deaths decline on Ga. highways

(WXIA) -- The number of fatalities on Georgia's highways fell in 2013.

The Georgia Department of Transportation announced Monday that 1,186 people were killed in car crashes on state roads last year, 13 fewer than in 2012. It's the eighth year in a row the total number of deaths has fallen.

"The reduction in fatalities over eight years means that more than 500 additional persons will get to celebrate the life events that are special to us all," Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood said in a release. "We must continue to work toward reducing injuries and death on Georgia roads."

Georgia's worst year on record for highway fatalities is 2005, when 1,748 people died.

Nation statistics are not yet available. In 2012, the number of fatalities increase about 5 percent to 36,200.

Weekend traffic: All delays are weather permitting

Weekend traffic: All delays are weather permitting

(WXIA) -- Crews will continue working on the usual road projects this weekend -- as long as the weather cooperates.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is also warning drivers of heavier traffic than normal, due to school systems beginning their spring breaks.

"We apologize for the delays, and there will be big delays," GDOT District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said in a release. "We understand that this is a spring break for some folks, but so are the next three or four weekends."

Weekend work begins at 10 p.m. Friday on the Interstate 85/Georgia 400 Interchange. Four left lanes of I-85 south from a half-mile north of Clairmont Road to North Druid Hills Road will be closed between midnight and 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and from midnight to 5 a.m. Monday.

Pringle said all lanes will reopen Monday at 5 a.m. The closures are due to overhead sign replacements.

Unemployment rate drops to 6.9 percent

Unemployment rate drops to 6.9 percent

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in February.

That's down from 7.1 percent in January and 8.4 percent in February 2013.

Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the decrease was due to fewer layoffs. However, the area still lost nearly 2,000 seasonal jobs last month.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate was 7.2 percent in February.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest unemployment rate, at 5.1 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 9.7 percent.

Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

(WXIA) -- The U.S. Department of Education recently released its "Year Three" Report for the 12 states participating in the Race to the Top grant initiative.

Educational practices and successes in Georgia were highlighted throughout the report.

"We have taken on some major initiatives and our success is a direct reflection of the collaborative efforts between our department, other education agencies and the hundreds of participating teachers, principals and district leaders around our state," Dr. Susan Andrews, Deputy Superintendent of Race to the Top Implementation in Georgia, said in a release.

"While educational reform work is never easy, we are pleased with the significant progress that our state has made as reflected in this report," Andrews added.

Some highlights from the report include:

* Nearly 300 Georgia teachers were placed in state public schools from alternative certification programs.

Expect heavy spring break traffic this weekend

Expect heavy spring break traffic this weekend

(WXIA) -- Many colleges and universities will begin their spring breaks this weekend, which may contribute to heavier traffic than usual on metro Atlanta roads.

In addition to more people on the road, Georgia Department of Transportation crews will be out and about, working on scheduled projects.

GDOT engineer Shun Pringle said the largest project will be sign installation on Georgia 400 south between Peachtree Road and Sidney Marcus Boulevard. One right lane will be closed daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Work will also continue on the Ga. 400/Interstate 85 Interchange project. Several roads will be affected all weekend, including Cheshire Bridge Road, Sidney Marcus Boulevard and the Buford-Spring Connector.

From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly, three lanes in both directions of I-285 will be closed for sign replacements between Riverside Drive and Peachtree Dunwoody Road.

Google Fiber not a sure thing for College Park after all

Google Fiber not a sure thing for College Park after all


COLLEGE PARK, Ga. -- Google Fiber is not a sure thing for College Park after all.

City officials say they prematurely announced on Tuesday that the south Fulton County city was selected for the high-speed Internet service. College Park and eight metro Atlanta cities are still in the running for Google Fiber.

Google Fiber delivers Internet speeds of one gigabit per second -- up to 100 times faster than basic broadband.

Other cities being eyed by Google are Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville, Sandy Springs and Smyrna. Google is expected to make an announcement by the end of 2014.

Random Act of Kindness: Kaye Graves

ATLANTA -- Kaye Graves, also known as Nurse Graves to the students at Drew Charter School, was nominated for a Random Act of Kindness by third grade student Haven Ward.

Haven was recently diagnosed with asthma, and Nurse Graves has helped her to easily manage her diagnosis while at school.  Kaye shows compassion and warmth for not only students, but the entire staff at Drew Charter School.

Villas by the Sea Resort in Jekyll Island, surprised Kaye with a two-night stay at one of their two bedroom ocean-side villas, plus complimentary golf, mini-golf, tennis, bicycle rentals and a visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.  Kaye and her husband will be able to take a much-needed mini vacation, thanks to Villas by the Sea!