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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.

Fayette County Bar Association collects toys for foster children

Fayette County Bar Association collects toys for foster children

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga. -- The Fayette County Bar Association is doing its part to spread holiday cheer to the county's foster children.

The group recently collected 65 toys for Bloom Our Youth, a non-profit that cares for local abandoned, abused and neglected children.

Fayette County attorneys plan to distribute the donated toys to foster children and families in need.

Bloom Our Youth runs the Friday-Johnson House, a residential children's home in Brooks, and a clothing resource center called the Bloom Closet. Learn more at bloomouryouth.org.

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.

Piedmont's medical community supports Toys for Tots

Piedmont's medical community supports Toys for Tots

NEWNAN, Ga. -- This holiday season, Piedmont Newnan Hospital is teaming up with Piedmont Fayette Hospital and physician practices in Coweta and Fayette counties to support the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

Piedmont “elves” have been busy delivering collection boxes throughout the two counties. So far, more than 100 boxes have been distributed to 70 locations where toys will be collected through December 16.  Toys for Tots is collaborating with local organizations in Coweta and Fayette to ensure these toys are distributed to local families in need.

“We’re excited to see our caregivers in Coweta and Fayette counties embrace the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. We’re especially grateful that all of the donations made at our hospitals and physicians offices will help provide a better Christmas for children right here in our own communities,” said Julie Hanson, manager of physician outreach at Piedmont Fayette Hospital and Piedmont Newnan Hospital.   

Fayette County couple killed in house fire


FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga. -- A Fayette County couple was killed in a house fire early Friday morning.

Robert and Susie Ison died in a blaze at their home on Grant Road in Brooks, Ga.

One of the couple's daughters, Rebecca Ashmore, said that she had just left the home to take a group of children to school.

"My brother pulled my mom's air conditioner unit out of her window trying to get in there and couldn't," Ashmore said. "They were yelling for them, nobody answered. It was just really, really, really bad."

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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.

Fayette County's unemployment rate was 6.3 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.