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Back to school: Free and reduced-price lunch guidelines

Back to school: Free and reduced-price lunch guidelines

(WXIA) -- Thousands of Georgia students return to the classroom this week, and many of them meet the requirements for free and reduced-price meals during the school day.

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"It is important to provide our students with healthy, nutritious meals to help improve their chances of success and increase their learning opportunities," Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Director Nancy Rice said in a statement. "Research indicates that eating habits affect learning. We want to ensure all our children are well nourished and ready to learn."

Families that qualify for free and reduced-price lunch will get applications from their children's schools.

Students can receive the meals if:

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.

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.

Rockdale County's unemployment rate was 8.5 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.

Conyers PD warns about tailgate thieves


ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. -- The Rockdale County Sheriff's office and Conyers police department say thieves have been taking tailgates in recent weeks.

This crime is new to the Conyers area, but the theft of Ford tailgates has been a nationwide problem for years.

Thieves are able to remove a trucks tailgate in less than a minute.

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Police jail two suspects for alleged road rage in Conyers involving a BB gun


CONYERS, GA -- Police say two Conyers residents are behind bars after a road rage incident along Interstate 20 last week.

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911 dispatchers received a frantic call July 14 at around 7 a.m. The victim said a driver next to her had fired shots of some kind at her.

"They wouldn't let a female motorist over into their lane, they flipped her off then fired a BB gun at her car," said Conyers Police Officer Kim Lucas.

The caller said they continued to follow the suspects and relayed a license tag number.

Teen charged in heart attack death


CONYERS, GA – A 16-year-old Rockdale County boy is behind bars, charged in the death of a 53-year-old man who died of a heart attack.

Rockdale County Sheriff investigators say the incident happened Friday night around 9 when the man's son was shooting basketball hoops in his driveway with some other teens.

The man, Michael Henderson, heard what sounded like a basketball hitting the side of the house and went outside to see what was happening.

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