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Ga. Connections Academy graduates Class of 2014

Ga. Connections Academy graduates Class of 2014

(WXIA) -- Georgia Connections Academy recently held a graduation ceremony for its Class of 2014.

Many classmates met for the very first time during the event at the Gwinnett Center.

"We are very proud of our graduates," GCA lead principal Heather Robinson said in a release. Altogether, the Class of 2014 secured $1.33 million in college scholarship offers.

Emily McClure of Columbus is GCA's valedictorian. She will attend Georgia College and State University on the Zell Miller Scholarship in the fall.

Learn more about Georgia Connections Academy, the state's free virtual charter school for students in grades K-12, at georgiaconnectionsacademy.com.

RELATED | Georgia Cyber Academy graduates first class

Public invited to Rockdale Coalition of Homeowners & Civic Associations meeting

Public invited to Rockdale Coalition of Homeowners & Civic Associations meeting

CONYERS, Ga. – The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners invites citizens to attend the upcoming meeting of the Rockdale Coalition of Homeowners & Civic Associations (RCHCA) on Tuesday, June 24 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the J.P. Carr Services Center, 981 Taylor Street.

The meeting will bring together the leaders of local homeowner associations and civic groups, as well as interested citizens, from across Rockdale to share news and information and learn about County projects and initiatives. Agenda items for this meeting include a Neighborhood Stabilization Program update, information from the Sheriff’s Office about how to start a Neighborhood Watch and a new crime mapping tool.

There also will be information tables offering helpful handouts, brochures, etc., for residents to take and distribute through their association networks.

Panera swears off artificial ingredients

Panera swears off artificial ingredients

NEW YORK -- Panera says it will remove artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives from its food by 2016, a reflection of the growing distaste people are showing for such ingredients.

The chain of bakery cafes, which has about 1,800 U.S. locations, is making the pledge as part of a "Food Policy" it is unveiling Tuesday that outlines its commitment to "clean" and "simple" ingredients.

The announcement comes at a time when Panera Bread Co. is facing slowing sales growth and working to jumpstart its business.

It also underscores how positioning foods as natural has become a marketing advantage, regardless of whether it brings any nutritional benefits.

I-20 construction resumes this weekend

I-20 construction resumes this weekend

(WXIA) -- The three Interstate 20 construction projects that have plagued drivers for several weekends will continue.

As long as the weather cooperates, crews will work on the following stretches of I-20 this weekend:

Atlanta
Three eastbound lanes will be closed between Windsor Street and Boulevard from 8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday, and from 8 p.m. Saturday to 6 am. Sunday.

Douglas County
Two lanes in both directions will be closed between Bill Arp and Liberty roads from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

Newton County
Two eastbound left lanes will be closed between Almon and Alcovy roads from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has smaller projects scheduled in Cobb County:

I-285
Two northbound lanes will be intermittently closed at South Cobb Drive for overhead sign work; two lanes will always remain open.

Ga. Cyber Academy graduates first class

Ga. Cyber Academy graduates first class

(WXIA) -- The Class of 2014 is the very first class to graduate from Georgia Cyber Academy, the state's free online public school.

The school will hold a graduation ceremony at noon on Saturday, May 31 at the Gwinnett Center. More than 300 graduating seniors are scheduled to walk across the stage.

"We're so proud of each of our graduates, all of whom have taken the individualized learning that comes with GCA's online curriculum and worked with GCA's world-class teachers to adapt it to best serve and support their own academic successes," GCA head of school Matt Arkin said in a release.

Members of GCA's Class of 2014 were accepted to some of the country's top colleges and universities, including Cornell University, Georgia Tech, the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia.

IHOP rolls out summer menu items

IHOP rolls out summer menu items

(WXIA) -- IHOP is celebrating the start of summer with new pancake recipes, lemonades, salads and sandwiches.

The chain's signature pancakes can now be ordered in three summer fruit varieties -- strawberry banana cream pie, raspberry peach and blueberry cannoli cream.

New lemonade flavors on IHOP's menu include iced tea, orange tangerine iced tea and cherry blackberry. The summer lemonades are available through July 20.

IHOP has also added menu items to its lunch and dinner offerings, including:

Citrus Chicken Pecan Salad
Grilled chicken, orange segments and candied pecans on a bed of mixed greens, tossed in orange vinaigrette dressing

Crispy Chicken Cobb Salad
Crispy chicken, bacon, hard-boiled egg, tomatoes and crumbled Blue cheese on a bed of mixed greens and tossed in ranch dressing; also available with grilled chicken

Public invited to trailhead events, ribbon cutting ceremony

Public invited to trailhead events, ribbon cutting ceremony

CONYERS, Ga. The Rockdale County Parks & Recreation Division is hosting free public events in June to celebrate new recreational features and facility improvements to its trails and at the Earl O’Neal Sports Complex.

On Saturday, June 14 from 8 a.m. to noon, the county encourages residents visit the various trailheads. For instance, visitors can start the trail at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit and ride their bikes the entire way, or take a leisurely walk along the path, Jackie Lunsford, Director of the County’s Recreation and Maintenance department, said.

“Right now we want everyone to save the date and make plans to come out and join us for what I’m sure will be a fun, relaxing day,” Lunsford said.

No registration is necessary.

Below is a full list of Try the Trail activities at trail sections in Rockdale on Saturday, June 14: