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Memorial Day traffic to be busiest since recession

Memorial Day traffic to be busiest since recession

(WXIA) -- Travel experts predict a new post-recession high for Memorial Day Weekend.

Mark Jenkins, spokesman for the AAA pointed to the long winter as one reason: "A long and unusually harsh winter game many Americans the travel bug." He says the rising temperatures and an improving economy mean a projected 36.1 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles Memorial Day Weekend.

The Memorial Day travel period is measured from Thursday, May 22 to Monday, May 26th. More than 8 in 10 will drive to their destinations. But the biggest increases came in other modes. Cruise, trains, and buses will see an increase of 6.5%.

Even though the numbers are up, more than half of people in the Southeast (57%) haven't made plans yet. "Hotel and car rental reservations are filling up fast for Memorial Day," AAA spokesman Jessica Brady said. She said making plans now will ensure you find a good price.

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Atlanta-area unemployment rate drops to 6.5 percent

Atlanta-area unemployment rate drops to 6.5 percent

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment date declined again.

April's rate was 6.5 percent, down from 6.8 percent in March and 7.7 percent in April 2013.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said local employers created 18,000 new jobs last month. Over the past five years, metro Atlanta has gained an average of 13,000 jobs from March to April.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent, in April 2014. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 8.8 percent.

Clarke County's unemployment rate was 5.2 percent last month.

Krispy Kreme debuts batter doughnuts

Krispy Kreme debuts batter doughnuts

(WXIA) -- Batter is the best part of a recipe, right?

Krispy Kreme certainly thinks so. The doughnut chain has unveiled two new fresh-from-the-spoon confections inspired by batter.

Participating Krispy Kreme locations will serve these two treats for a limited time:

Birthday Cake Batter Doughnut
A blend of Kreme and birthday cake batter filling in a yeast shell, topped with yellow icing and bright confetti sprinkles

Brownie Batter Doughnut
Chocolate yeast shell with a rich brownie batter filling, topped with chocolate icing and mini chocolate chips

Visit krispykreme.com to find your nearest location.

Canton tops list of 10 Best Places in Ga.

Canton tops list of 10 Best Places in Ga.

CANTON, Ga. -- Life is good in Canton. The Cherokee County city tops Movoto's recent list of the Best Places in Georgia.

The real estate blog examined all of Georgia's cities with a population of at least 10,000 before narrowing it down to 11 (nine of which are in metro Atlanta; two cities tied for 10th place). It used such statistics as amenities, cost of living, median household income, crime, tax and unemployment rates, and commute times to determine the ranking.

The top 10 include:

1. Canton
Perks: great community events, low unemployment rate (7.7 percent), low crime rate, low sales tax (6 percent), good weather

2. Peachtree City
Perks: high median household income ($92,647), low crime rate, multi-use paths!

3. Athens
Perks: proximity to the University of Georgia, low unemployment rate (8 percent), low average commute time (21 minutes), low student-teacher ratio (13 to 1)

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1 killed in Athens hotel fire

1 killed in Athens hotel fire

ATHENS, Ga. -- One person died Monday and another was in jail after a fire broke out, overnight, at an Athens motel, America's Best Inn, at 2715 Atlanta Highway, west of downtown Athens.

Motel guests awoke just before 1:00 a.m. Monday to the smell of smoke, the sight of flames shooting out of Room 211, the sounds of alarms and sirens.

And they soon learned that the fire killed the woman who was staying in room 211.

The woman was Anita Dantzer Watson, 34, mother of four, who grew up on a farm a few miles away. She was always known as Dantzer as she rode horses across the fields, attended church functions, enjoyed friends and school.

Students encouraged to read this summer

Students encouraged to read this summer

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Education has created a 2014 Summer Reading Challenge for students in all grades.

The program was announced Thursday at Timber Ridge Elementary School in Cobb County. Its goal is to close the achievement gap that widens during the summer months, when children often don't read.

"No student should have to start the school year having fallen behind," State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said. "That's what we know, and that's what we're committed to preventing, because that loss is preventable."

The challenge encourages students to read for at least 15 to 30 minutes every day. The GDOE outlined suggested summer goals for children based on their school years:

* K-2: 10 books
* 3-5: 8 chapter books
* 6-12: 5 fiction books and 5 nonfiction books

Jim Donnan found not guilty on all counts

ATHENS, Ga. -- A jury has found former University of Georgia football head coach Jim Donnan not guilty on all 41 counts he faced.

Donnan, 69, was accused of bilking investors out of millions of dollars in a pyramid scheme. Prosecutors claim Donnan scammed people out of nearly $23 million.

"I feel like I've been vindicated and hope to get my life back together," Donnan said.

Closing arguments were delivered on Wednesday, and the jury reached its verdict shortly before 2 p.m. Friday.

When the verdict was read, Donnan dropped his head in his hands and appeared emotional. He then stood and hugged his attorneys.