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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.

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.

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.

357 dogs seized from Cherokee County home


CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. -- The Cherokee County Animal Shelter is back open after taking in more than 350 dogs from a suspected puppy mill.

Joy Wise, the owner of Heavenly Kennels in Cherokee County, is charged with 264 counts of animal cruelty.

Officials say the dogs were being kept in unsanitary conditions, without adequate living space.

The shelter actually had to shut down on Wednesday to accommodate the large number of dogs and puppies.

The public wasn't allowed to see the dogs on Thursday, but that didn't stop them from flooding in with donations.

Chick-fil-A makes 5,900 meals for kids who receive free, reduced school lunch

Chick-fil-A makes 5,900 meals for kids who receive free, reduced school lunch

(ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE) -- The owners of 60 metro Atlanta Chick-fil-A restaurants provided 5,900 lunches Wednesday to children in seven counties who typically receive free and reduced lunches at school, reports Marietta Daily Journal.

The food made its way to children through MUST Ministries, whose summer lunch program has been around for 19 years. Program volunteers meet at churches in Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Forsyth, Gwinnett, north Fulton, Paulding and Pickens counties five days a week to make, pack and deliver lunches to nearly 6,000 children across eight counties for 10 weeks during the summer.