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Back to school surprise: Weekend roadwork canceled

Back to school surprise: Weekend roadwork canceled

(WXIA) -- This weekend will be a holiday for Georgia families in more ways than one.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has suspended construction-related lane closures on all major interstates and highways within five miles of malls and shopping districts.

This will allow parents and students to enjoy the tax-free shopping weekend without the added stress of road delays.

"The sales tax holiday is an opportunity for Georgians to save a little money during these challenging economic times," GDOT Commissioner Keith Golden said. "The department is glad to offer some relief from lane closures as families prepare for school."

11Alive Ways to Save reporter Valerie Hoff has some of the best tax-free weekend deals. Find out how to get the most bang for your buck.

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Thousands enroll in Ga. Pre-K Program

Thousands enroll in Ga. Pre-K Program

(WXIA) -- More than 80,000 Georgia children are enrolled in the state's Pre-K Program for the 2014-15 school year.

Pre-K is open to all 4 year olds, regardless of household income. Assistant commissioner Susan Adams said that it is the first school experience for many children.

"For this reason, we take our roles very seriously, and we work really hard to provide Georgia's children with positive and meaningful experiences," Adams said in a release.

In Pre-K, students study language, literacy and math while making new friends and building foundations for lifelong learning. The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning recommends parents visit their children's classrooms in advance to familiarize them with their new surroundings, and dress them in comfortable clothes and shoes every day. If students have a tendency to feel lonely, parents can send them to school with family photos to cheer them up, and blankets or stuffed animals to snuggle at naptime.

Atlanta-area unemployment jumps in June

Atlanta-area unemployment jumps in June

(WXIA) -- The unemployment rate in metro Atlanta climbed again last month.

June's rate was 7.6 percent, up from 7.2 percent in May, but much lower than last June's 8.6 percent.

Forsyth County's unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in June.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the increase is due to end-of-summer job loss among non-contract school workers, an influx of graduates and students entering the workforce, and temporary layoffs in manufacturing.

So far, metro Atlanta has gained slightly more than 58,000 jobs in 2014 -- a good sign for those who are looking for work.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest June unemployment rate, at 6.3 percent. The highest was 10.4 percent, in the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region.

Deputy honored for actions in attempted Forsyth Co. courthouse attack


FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. – A deputy shot by a man attempting to attack a Forsyth County courthouse has been honored by the Georgia Sheriffs' Association.

Deputy Daniel Rush was selected at "Deputy Sheriff of the Year Award of Valor" for his actions on June 6.

Rush was shot by Dennis Marx, a man who scheduled to go to court the morning of June 6 for a plea deal. Instead, officials say Marx drove his SUV up on the sidewalk and started shooting. Marx was killed by deputies returning fire.

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Primary runoff election results

Primary runoff election results

For complete election results visit www.11alive.com/elections

Roadwork this week: Forsyth, Gwinnett, Hall

Roadwork this week: Forsyth, Gwinnett, Hall

(WXIA) -- Be careful, drivers -- Georgia Department of Transportation crews will be mowing in several areas of metro Atlanta this week.

Mowing typically only requires shoulder and median closures. However, workers will also patch asphalt on certain streets; patching involves a flagman or pilot vehicle directing cars through the work zone.

All projects will take place Monday, July 21 through Friday, July 25 from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, weather permitting.

These projects are scheduled to take place in Forsyth, Gwinnett and Hall counties:

Forsyth County
* Mowing alongside Keith Bridge and Browns Bridge roads
* Asphalt removal and repair on Buford and Browns Bridge roads

Gwinnett County
* Mowing alongside Buford Highway
* Roadside litter pickup throughout the county

Rain could cancel road projects for the weekend

Rain could cancel road projects for the weekend

(WXIA) -- The threat of rain this weekend could provide some welcome relief for Atlanta-area drivers.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has already postponed a handful of road projects, thanks to the weather.

WEATHER | 11Alive meteorologist Tracy Humphrey has your weekend forecast

Resurfacing on Interstate 20 in Rockdale and Newton counties, and concrete replacement on the west side of I-285 have been canceled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

GDOT said it plans to move ahead with scheduled resurfacing on I-20 between Douglasville and Villa Rica, as it is very close to finishing the work -- well ahead of its projected November completion date. However, rain may briefly halt crews.