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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.

Hall County's December unemployment rate was 5.2 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.

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.

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

Tips for cold weather plant protection

Tips for cold weather plant protection

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- When the weather report calls for freezing temperatures overnight, you do not want to be rushing outside in the dark to cover cold-sensitive plants.

According to University of Georgia experts, protect plants in containers either by placing them inside a protective structure (house, garage, greenhouse or shed) or by placing a protective covering over them.

“People put a lot of time and expense in caring for their plants,” states Menia Chester, Director of Fulton County Cooperative Extension. “It is important for them to know how to protect their investments to nurture them for growth when the weather is cold.”

Container plants are especially susceptible to cold temperatures; their roots are more exposed because they are above ground. Plants with roots that are damaged by cold temperatures may not show immediate signs of damage; these plants will show signs of stress when temperatures rise and the demand for water from the roots are greater.

Weekend roadwork resumes on I-20, I-285

Weekend roadwork resumes on I-20, I-285

(WXIA) -- Weekends in metro Atlanta guarantee one thing: construction projects on highways and major roads.

Georgia Department of Transportation crews will be hard at work on several streets, mostly in Fulton County.

Drivers are asked to be courteous and cautious when traveling through impacted areas. As always, all work is weather permitting.

Scheduled projects include:

I-20
* Two westbound lanes will be closed between McDaniel and Langhorn streets from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.
* One eastbound lane will be closed between Fulton Industrial Boulevard and I-285 from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.

I-285
* Two northbound lanes will be closed between I-85 and Washington Road from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for sign structure work.

Weekend roadwork gets off to slow start in 2015

Weekend roadwork gets off to slow start in 2015

(WXIA) -- The end of the holiday season means the start of another year of construction on metro Atlanta roads and highways.

Next week, drivers are asked to avoid Interstate 285 north in Cobb County if possible. Projects and lane closures in the area are expected to cause delays.

As in 2014, all roadwork is weather permitting.

Here are some of the projects scheduled for the first weekend and full week of the new year.