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Ga. Department of Education names Student Advisory Council members

Ga. Department of Education names Student Advisory Council members

(WXIA) -- State School Superintendent Richard Woods has named the 64 young Georgians who make up his 2015 Student Advisory Council.

The council is composed of middle and high school students who meet periodically throughout the school year to discuss the impact of state politics in the classroom.

More than 1,000 students statewide applied to join the council. The members were chosen on a series of essays that focused on public education.

"It is essential, as we work to develop child-focused, classroom-centered policies, to hear directly from students," Woods said. "These students feel the impact of our decisions every day and, if we're going to improve their educational experience, we have to bring them to the table."

The Student Advisory Council will meet Feb. 27, Mar. 11 and Apr. 28 at the Georgia Department of Education office in Atlanta.

Several members are from metro Atlanta, including:

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Conviction upheld for Conyers man who killed baby son

Conviction upheld for Conyers man who killed baby son

CONYERS, Ga. -- The Supreme Court of Georgia has rejected an appeal from a Rockdale County man who was sentenced to life in prison for killing his 5-month-old son.

William Grant Stewart asked the state's high court to review his case, saying his trial should have been severed from his wife's. The wife, Matea Mendez Stewart, was convicted as well in the baby's death.

Grant Stewart also contended that the trial court should not have been shown post-autopsy photographs of his son's brain injuries, but the Supreme Court of Georgia countered that the pictures were necessary to the prosecution's case, as "the victim died from the injuries to his skull and brain."

Weekend roadwork: Lane closures galore

Weekend roadwork: Lane closures galore

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Transportation has a number of Atlanta-area construction projects on its schedule this weekend.

Drivers are asked to avoid traveling on certain stretches of Interstate 285, as lane closures are expected to result in long delays.

As always, all weekend work is weather permitting.

Scheduled projects include:

Cobb County
2 northbound lanes of I-285 will be closed between Paces Ferry Road and Cobb Parkway from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday for sign structure work.

DeKalb County
2 westbound lanes of I-285 will be closed between Northlake Parkway and Chamblee Tucker Road from 7:30 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for sign structure work.

Fulton County
2 lanes in each direction of I-285 will be closed between Cascade Road and the I-20 interchange from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for sign structure work.

Unemployment rate didn't change in December

Unemployment rate didn't change in December

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate went unchanged last month. The rate was 6.4 in December 2014, the same as it was in November 2014. It was 6.8 percent in December 2013.

Rockdale County's December unemployment rate was 7.4 percent.

While the unemployment rate didn't budge, the Atlanta area gained 64,700 jobs last year, the largest December-to-December job growth in nearly 10 years. Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said many of the new positions were in trade and transportation; business services; leisure and hospitality; financial services; manufacturing; education and health care; government; and construction.

Butler said Georgia has been in the top 10 states for job creation every month since October 2012.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest December unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 8.8 percent.

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Weekend roadwork: Sign structure and bridge repairs

Weekend roadwork: Sign structure and bridge repairs

(WXIA) -- Drivers in the Atlanta area are asked to avoid the southwest side of Interstate 285 this weekend, as construction crews will complete road projects in the area.

Weekend roadwork will take place on several other stretches of highway and interstate throughout metro Atlanta as well. The rainy weather may delay some projects.

Planned work includes:

Coweta County
* 1 northbound lane of I-85 will be closed between two miles north of Highway 34 and McCollum-Sharpsburg Road from 8 a.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for sweeping.

Teen ties up mother to steal her guns

Teen ties up mother to steal her guns

CONYERS, Ga. -- Three Rockdale County teens were arrested last week after tying up one suspect's mother and trying to steal her firearms.

Joseph Tod Coddington Jr. and Quenton Lee Harris, both 17, face several charges, including kidnapping, burglary, false imprisonment, obstruction and criminal property damage. The third suspect, a 14-year-old girl, was not identified because of her age.

The incident began at around 2 p.m. Friday, when police were dispatched to Coddington's house in the 3300 block of Squire Lane in Conyers. Responding officers entered the house and found the victim, Regina Coddington, in a bedroom. Her hands and feet were tied behind her back with purple rope.

The weekend roadwork is spreading

The weekend roadwork is spreading

(WXIA) -- As 2015 rolls on, Georgia Department of Transportation crews will roll too -- to sites across metro Atlanta, where they will work on weekend road projects. (At least it will be sunny!)

This weekend, drivers are encouraged to avoid travel on the west side of Interstate 20 and the east side of I-285, if possible. Delays and lane closures are expected in both areas. All work is weather permitting.

Some of the scheduled projects include:

Cobb County
* 2 eastbound lanes of I-285 will be closed at I-75 Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. for bridge joint repairs.

DeKalb/Fulton counties
* 3 northbound lanes of I-285 will be closed between I-20 and Ga. 400 from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for sign structure work.