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GDOT to limit roadwork for 2 weekends

GDOT to limit roadwork for 2 weekends

(WXIA) -- Here's some good news for spring breakers and Atlanta Braves fans: road construction will be limited for the next two weekends.

The Georgia Department of Transportation announced Wednesday it will close fewer interstate lanes than usual from midnight on Friday, Apr. 3 to 5 a.m. on Monday, Apr. 6. The construction break is meant to accommodate drivers who are heading into or out of Atlanta for spring break and Easter weekend.

Lane closures will also be limited from 10 p.m. on Friday, Apr. 10 to 5 a.m. on Monday, Apr. 13, for the Braves' opening weekend at Turner Field.

Traffic throughout Georgia is expected to be heavy both weekends, and drivers are asked to be cautious.

"Also, incident management or emergency maintenance-related lane closures could become necessary on any time on any route," GDOT director of construction Jeff Baker said.

Acclaimed author to read at A Cappella Books

Acclaimed author to read at A Cappella Books

ATLANTA -- Author James Hannaham will visit Atlanta next month to promote Delicious Foods, his second novel.

Hannaham is the author of God Says No and a co-founder of the performance group Elevator Repair Service. He has an MFA from the Michener Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Hannaham lives in Brooklyn and teaches creative writing at the Pratt Institute.

He will read from, discuss and sign copies of Delicious Foods on Sunday, Apr. 12 at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

A Cappella Books is located at 208 Haralson Avenue NE. The bookstore provided a synopsis of Delicious Foods:

Held captive by her employers -- and by her own demons -- on a mysterious farm, a widow struggles to reunite with her young son in this uniquely American story of freedom, perseverance and survival.

Fulton County Police Chief to retire after 35 years of service

Fulton County Police Chief to retire after 35 years of service

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Fulton County Police Chief Cassandra Jones has announced her retirement effective April 7, 2015. 

“Chief Jones will be greatly missed. Her work was a key part of our crime prevention efforts in this county,” says Chairman John H. Eaves.  “Due to her emphasis on community oriented policing, burglaries in our unincorporated area decreased by more than 22 percent during her tenure.”

Chief Jones has served with the Fulton County Police Department since December 17, 1979. She has served as Police Chief since October 9, 2007.  She is the only female to serve as Fulton County Police Chief.

“We thank Chief Jones for her 35 years of service to the citizens of Fulton County, and extend best wishes to her on her retirement,” said County Manager Dick Anderson.

Assistant Police Chief Gary D. Stiles will serve as Interim Chief until a permanent replacement is named.

Metro Atlanta unemployment drops to 6.1 percent

Metro Atlanta unemployment drops to 6.1 percent

(WXIA) -- The Atlanta area's unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in February, down from January's 6.2 percent. It was also down a full point from the rate of 7.1 percent in February 2014.

Fulton County's unemployment rate was 6.5 percent last month.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the drop was due to fewer layoffs and more new jobs. Many of the gains came in business, construction, education, government, and leisure and hospitality.

Nearly 39 percent fewer new claims for unemployment insurance were filed in February as well.

Metro Gainesville had Georgia's lowest February unemployment rate, at 5.1 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 8.1 percent.

Ga. health rankings: Fulton County

Ga. health rankings: Fulton County

(WXIA) -- A new report offers detailed health statistics for each of Georgia's counties.

The findings, which are posted at countyhealthrankings.org, determined that Forsyth is Georgia's healthiest county. Early is the least healthy.

Fulton is Georgia's 20th healthiest county, according to the data. It ranks 24th for quality of life, 6th for health behaviors (such as smoking and obesity), 14th for clinical care, 60th for social and economic factors (like graduation rates and violent crimes), and 156th for physical environment.

Here are some interesting takeaways about Fulton County:

Gardening tips available at Fulton County Extension Offices

Gardening tips available at Fulton County Extension Offices

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Spring is the optimum time for planting a variety of shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials and seeds but, before tilling the earth, it is important to consider your specific plant needs and your area's climate. Fulton County Cooperative Extension Agents are available to provide guidance to assist residents with growing successful gardens and beautifying their yards.

The University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (UGA CAES) provide helpful tips on line to help you get started.

“Spring is one of our favorite seasons simply because we get to help budding gardeners achieve their dreams of producing a successful garden,” states Menia, Director of Fulton County Cooperative Extension. “Whether it’s a flower garden or vegetable garden, our extension agents are able to provide expert guidance to county residents.”

Weekend roadwork: The usual suspects

Weekend roadwork: The usual suspects

(WXIA) -- It's going to be "more of the same" on the Atlanta area's highways and interstates this weekend, as Georgia Department of Transportation crews take to the streets.

Drivers are asked to avoid travel on interstates 20 and 285, if possible. GDOT will close lanes in several areas, which could result in lengthy delays.

As always, all work is weather permitting.

Interstate 20

Three eastbound lanes will be closed between Langhorn and McDaniel streets from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.

Two westbound lanes will be closed between the Downtown Connector and Langhorn Street from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.

Two westbound lanes will be closed between Fulton Industrial Boulevard and I-285 from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.