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NASA and Atlanta schools await GRAIL mission's lunar arrival

NASA and Atlanta schools await GRAIL mission's lunar arrival

MARIETTA, Ga. -- Two NASA spacecraft designed to study our earth's moon from crust to core will arrive in lunar orbit as America ushers in the new year this weekend.

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GAINESVILLE | Rains help Lake Lanier rebound

GAINESVILLE | Rains help Lake Lanier rebound

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Recent rains have helped to replenish the water level at Lake Lanier.

As of Tuesday morning, the lake's water level is reportedly the highest it has been since early November.

Authorities say the lake had been dropping by nearly a foot and a half every two weeks. It has dropped to 1,057.91 feet above sea level on Nov. 14, the lowest it had been since March 2009 during the drought that started in 2007.

NOV. 14 PHOTO GALLERY: Lake Lanier looks very dry

But the rains have helped to reverse the lake's downward course.

Lake Lanier's water level Monday was 1,059.22 feet -- still nearly 11 feet below the winter full pool of 1,070 feet.

Ga. offering smartphone app to cut drunk driving

Ga. offering smartphone app to cut drunk driving

ATLANTA -- State officials say they've developed a new smartphone application designed to cut down on drunken driving during upcoming New Year's Eve celebrations.

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety announced that a list of free sober ride programs is available in an app called Drive Sober Georgia.

Georgia Office of Highway Safety director Harris Blackwood said authorities sought to make it as easy as possible to get a ride, so the application was developed after consulting with its partners who deal with road safety.

Drive Sober Georgia is available for free download on the iPhone and Android markets. The information can be viewed at www.drivesobergeorgia.com.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

FEMA encourages Chattahoochee-area residents to learn flood risks

FEMA encourages Chattahoochee-area residents to learn flood risks

ATLANTA -- As 2011 draws to a close, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages all Americans to understand the risks that surround them -- and for residents of the Upper Chattahoochee River Region, those risks include the possibility of flooding.

FEMA worked with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to create maps of the 107-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River between the Buford Dam and Coweta County, which includes Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.

These updated maps detail flood hazard and risk data with the ultimate goal of protecting homeowners from flooding.

Maps for those who live in the Chattahoochee flood region are available at www.georgiadfirm.com. Learn more about steps to prevent flood damage at www.ready.gov/floods.

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Tornadoes confirmed in three Georgia counties

ROME, Ga. -- The violent storms that tore through North Georgia Thursday night spawned at least three tornadoes.

The National Weather Service on Friday confirmed an EF 2 in the Rome area of Floyd County. An EF 1 tornado hit the Moreland area of Newnan County. An EF 3 pounded the Calhoun area of Gordon County.

Winds in Gordon County reached speeds of up to 150 miles per hour and damage spanned between a quarter of a mile and a half a mile wide. 

PHOTOS | North Georgia storm damage
Send your storm photos to photos@11alive.com

Gordon County declared a local state of emergency and enacted a curfew after winds whipped through Thursday night. One Calhoun home was ripped right off its foundation.

'Mega Monday' expected to set records for shopping, returns

ATLANTA -- It's the biggest gift return day of the season, and experts predict "Mega Monday" could be as big as Cyber Monday or Black Friday.

Retailers slashed prices to entice customers already heading to stores to exchange gifts and hunt for after-Christmas bargains.

"Thirty-five percent more people will be returning this year, than last year," said Janice Lieberman, Consumer Correspondent for the Today Show. "For every dollar spent during the holiday, almost ten cents of it is returned." 

Some store make returns much easier than others. 

Sears may be the number one easy return store because they not only readily accept returns, but they extended their return window to 120 days through this holiday season.

ADOPT A PET: Meet Miranda

ADOPT A PET: Meet Miranda

 

ATLANTA - If you dream of coming home to a wet nose, wagging tail and tons of kisses (in addition to, perhaps, a half-chewed shoe or an overturned trashcan) adopt a puppy from your local Humane Society. According to the ASPCA, approximately 5 million to 7 million domesticated animals enter animal shelters nationwide, every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized. However, you can change those numbers but adopting a companion for yourself or your family. Pets are an investment but, in our opinion, an investment well worth the money.

According to the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, Miranda is an eight-month-old and she’s available for adoption at the Humane Society. She is a large, black Shepherd/Retriever mix and is average sized for his breed. Expect him to be very active and, somewhat, destructive until he matures or is trained.