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Keeping kids’ minds sharp over winter break

Keeping kids’ minds sharp over winter break

By Megan Nellen, Lower School Principal at The Walker School

1. Community Service: Use the break to plan community service ideas for the coming year. Kids can write flyers and notes asking neighbors to save and donate any holiday décor they plan on tossing out to be used next year for a family without a tree or decorations. Children of all ages can help make and deliver sandwiches for a homeless mission or shelter or make cards and pictures for a local nursing home.

2. Reuse, Recycle, Entertain: Collect leftover boxes, ribbons and paper and have your kids use them to build a robot or make a game. Each year at The Walker School second graders use cardboard to make arcade games.

Last weekend of roadwork until 2015

Last weekend of roadwork until 2015

(WXIA) -- Drivers in the Atlanta area: Just make it through this weekend, and then you'll get a much-needed break.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said it will suspend all construction-related lane closures from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2.

Until then, many of the usual areas will see crews hard at work through next Monday morning.

As always, all work is weather permitting. A complete list of closures and possible delays can be found at 511ga.org.

Cobb/Fulton counties
* Two eastbound lanes of I-20 will be closed for about one mile past Six Flags Parkway from 9 p.m. Friday to 9 p.m. Saturday for bridge joint and header replacement.

Coweta County
* One northbound lane of I-85 will be closed between two miles south of Highway 14 and McCollum-Sharpsburg Road from 8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for barrier wall setting.

DeKalb schools show growth on CCRPI

DeKalb schools show growth on CCRPI

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- DeKalb County's public school students are prepared for life after graduation.

According to the recently released College & Career Ready Performance Index, many of the county's elementary, middle and high schools demonstrated growth over last year.

The county's most improved schools include:

Elementary
* Indian Creek (+22.7 percentage points)
* Briar Vista (+22)
* Pleasantdale (+21.7)
* Chapel Hill (+19)
* Wynbrook (+14)

Middle
* Stephenson (+15.7)
* Columbia (+14.5)
* Salem (+7.8)
* Cedar Grove (+6.7)
* Druid Hills (+6.6)

High
* Towers (+8.1)
* Lakeside (+6.5)
* Lithonia (+6)
* Redan (+3.5)
* Chamblee (+1)

By comparison, Georgia's elementary schools saw a decrease of 5.2 percentage points, the state's middle schools saw a decrease of 1.4, and high school decreased by 3.4 points.

Weekend roadwork: Once again, avoid I-20 on the west side

Weekend roadwork: Once again, avoid I-20 on the west side

(WXIA) -- Drivers are asked to avoid non-essential travel on Interstate 20 on Atlanta's west side this weekend.

Georgia Department of Transportation crews will perform several road projects on I-20 as well as other areas of metro Atlanta. Lane closures and delays are expected.

All work is weather permitting.

This weekend's work by county includes:

Cobb County
* Two northbound lanes of Cobb Parkway will be closed at the Chattahoochee River on Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon for pavement repairs.
* Two southbound lanes of Cobb Parkway will be closed at the Chattahoochee River on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. for pavement repairs.

Suspect in MARTA bus stop shooting linked to other crimes


TUCKER, Ga. – Authorities say the suspect in the shooting death of a woman at a MARTA bus stop station could be connected to other crimes.

According to the DeKalb County Police Department, Marcaysia Dawkins was fatally shot at the MARTA stop on Farington Road on the morning of Nov. 23.

Detectives arrested 18-year-old Christopher Merritt at a vacant apartment on Friday, according to the DeKalb County PD.

Police say Merritt is a suspect in several sexual assaults and armed robberies. According to arrest warrants, Merritt allegedly forced the women in all three cases to have sex with him by "placing a gun to the victim's head."

Physical evidence discovered at the murder scene linked Merritt to the sexual assaults, according to police.

Santa Photo Experience at Atlanta-area Simon malls

Santa Photo Experience at Atlanta-area Simon malls

ATLANTA -- Eager children and their families can experience the joy and magic of the holiday season with a visit to the Simon Santa Photo Experience at Lenox Square, Mall of Georgia, North Georgia Premium Outlets, Northlake Mall and Town Center at Cobb.

Atlanta-area unemployment decreases in October

Atlanta-area unemployment decreases in October

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate fell again last month.

October's rate was 7.0 percent, down from September's 7.3 percent. It was 7.6 percent in October 2013.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate was 7.3 percent last month.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the area added 18,800 jobs in October, which contributed to the rate decrease. Metro Atlanta has added nearly 58,000 jobs since October of last year. Fewer area residents filed for unemployment insurance last month too.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest October unemployment rate, at 5.4 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 9.3 percent.