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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.

Community Sponsors

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.

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.

Community Sponsors

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.

Joshua Mikel wins Essential Theatre Playwriting Contest

Joshua Mikel wins Essential Theatre Playwriting Contest

ATLANTA -- Joshua Mikel's new play Lillian Likes It is the winner of the 2015 Essential Theatre Playwriting Contest.

The annual competition gives Georgia playwrights the opportunity to have their work produced. Lillian Likes It will receive a full production in this summer's Essential Theatre Festival. Mikel also received a cash prize.

"Getting a piece through Essential has become sort of a rite of passage for the Georgia playwright, I think," Mikel said. "I'm equal parts anxious and excited. It's a great opportunity, but I know there's a lot of work to be done between now and then ... I'm hyper excited to see this performed with seasoned actors. It's going to be fun. I'm thrilled!"

Mikel is a six-time published playwright, as well as an actor and music video director. He is a graduate of Florida State University's Theatre and Creative Writing programs. Mikel lives in Conyers.

Sonny's BBQ guests to decide Pitmaster Showdown winner

Sonny's BBQ guests to decide Pitmaster Showdown winner

(WXIA) -- Sonny's BBQ customers will help decide the restaurant chain's next menu item.

Three people have made the finals in this year's Sonny's BBQ Pitmaster Showdown. The winner will have his or her sandwich added to the menu.

Guests are invited to sample each creation and then vote for a winner at sonnysbbq.com. The contest ends Sunday, Feb. 22.

This year's finalists include:

The B.O.M.B.
Jason Bowmar, Richmond, Ky.
B.O.M.B. stands for brisket, onion straws, mac & cheese and BBQ sauce. $9.99

The Lucille
Gene Upshaw, Orlando, Fla.
Turkey and thick-cut bacon topped with lettuce, tomato, mayo and bacon jelly. $8.99

The Whole Hog
Josh McCall, Ocala, Fla.
Slow-smoked sliced pork, pulled pork and jalapeño-cheddar hot links. $7.99