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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.

Hall County participates in Bring One for the Chipper

Hall County participates in Bring One for the Chipper

HALL COUNTY, Ga. -- Hall County will participate in this year's Bring One for the Chipper Christmas tree recycling program.

Residents are encouraged to bring their natural Christmas trees to the Hall County Recycling Center or any of the county's 12 compactor sites now through Saturday, Jan. 31. Trees must not be decorated. Artificial trees will not be accepted.

Curbside tree pick-up will be available for city of Gainesville residents.

Hall County residents may also bring their trees to the caboose on Railroad Avenue in Flowery Branch through Friday, Jan. 9, or to the corner of Railroad and Allen streets in Oakwood.

Free mulch created from the chipped trees will be available at the Hall County Recycling Center beginning Monday, Jan. 5, while supplies last.

The Hall County Recycling Center is located at 1008 Chestnut Street in Gainesville.

Metro Atlanta unemployment plunges to 6.5 percent

Metro Atlanta unemployment plunges to 6.5 percent

(WXIA) -- The unemployment rate in metro Atlanta dropped to 6.5 percent in November.

That's down five-tenths of a percentage point from October's 7.0 percent. The rate was also 7.0 percent in November 2013.

Hall County's November unemployment rate was 5.3 percent.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the Atlanta area added nearly 18,000 jobs in November. Many of the new jobs are in transportation, administrative services, health care, food service, finance and manufacturing, according to data from the Georgia Department of Labor. Unemployment insurance claims also dropped last month.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest November unemployment rate, at 5.0 percent. The highest was 9.0 percent, in the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region.

Keeping kids’ minds sharp over winter break

Keeping kids’ minds sharp over winter break

By Megan Nellen, Lower School Principal at The Walker School

1. Community Service: Use the break to plan community service ideas for the coming year. Kids can write flyers and notes asking neighbors to save and donate any holiday décor they plan on tossing out to be used next year for a family without a tree or decorations. Children of all ages can help make and deliver sandwiches for a homeless mission or shelter or make cards and pictures for a local nursing home.

2. Reuse, Recycle, Entertain: Collect leftover boxes, ribbons and paper and have your kids use them to build a robot or make a game. Each year at The Walker School second graders use cardboard to make arcade games.