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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.

Atlanta Police Department gains 24 new officers

Atlanta Police Department gains 24 new officers

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Police Department will graduate Class #237 Tuesday evening.

The class of brand new officers consists of 21 men and three women. All 24 graduates concluded 22 weeks of training at the Atlanta Police Academy -- including arrest techniques, physical fitness and classroom courses -- and 12 weeks of field training with veteran officers.

They will officially become members of the Atlanta Police Department during a ceremony at 7 p.m. in the Atlanta City Hall Atrium. Robin Loudermilk Jr., CEO of the Loudermilk Companies, will be the keynote speaker.

Three of the graduates have military backgrounds, while nine have college degrees, according to the Atlanta Police Department.

Fulton County Fire Rescue provides guidelines to prevent holiday fire hazards

Fulton County Fire Rescue provides guidelines to prevent holiday fire hazards

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- As residents string up the lights and ignite the candles, the Fulton County Fire Rescue Department encourages everyone to keep fire safety in mind.

According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), fires involving Christmas trees caused more than $16 million in property damage per year between 2004 and 2008. Holiday lights and other decorative lighting caused more than $8 million dollars in property damage per year over that same time period.

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.

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.

Fulton County's unemployment rate was 7.9 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.

Personal Safety Tips

Personal Safety Tips

By Greg Norred, CEO, Norred & Associates

Over the course of your life, the chances of being the victim of a crime are at least one in three, higher if you live in a large city, and higher still if you’re a woman. The criminal’s objective is to maximize gain and minimize risk, and he’ll usually pick the easiest target with the most to offer. Given these odds, it pays to take precautions by following some basic safety rules: