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Weekend traffic: All delays are weather permitting

Weekend traffic: All delays are weather permitting

(WXIA) -- Crews will continue working on the usual road projects this weekend -- as long as the weather cooperates.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is also warning drivers of heavier traffic than normal, due to school systems beginning their spring breaks.

"We apologize for the delays, and there will be big delays," GDOT District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said in a release. "We understand that this is a spring break for some folks, but so are the next three or four weekends."

Weekend work begins at 10 p.m. Friday on the Interstate 85/Georgia 400 Interchange. Four left lanes of I-85 south from a half-mile north of Clairmont Road to North Druid Hills Road will be closed between midnight and 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and from midnight to 5 a.m. Monday.

Pringle said all lanes will reopen Monday at 5 a.m. The closures are due to overhead sign replacements.

Unemployment rate drops to 6.9 percent

Unemployment rate drops to 6.9 percent

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in February.

That's down from 7.1 percent in January and 8.4 percent in February 2013.

Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the decrease was due to fewer layoffs. However, the area still lost nearly 2,000 seasonal jobs last month.

Clarke County's unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in February.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest unemployment rate, at 5.1 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 9.7 percent.

Richt mulling over discipline for players


ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia coach Mark Richt says he's still deciding how to discipline four players arrested last week on charges of illegal check-cashing.

The players, including starting safety Tray Matthews, continue to work with the team in spring practice. Richt says that does not mean he has ruled out dismissals for the four, including defensive linemen Jonathan Taylor and James DeLoach and wide receiver Uriah LeMay.

Richt said Tuesday the four, who received double payments for checks of $71.50 issued by the Georgia athletic department, have been assigned extra work, including early morning running. Richt says there will be more punishment and says "I'm just thinking it through real good."

Following the arrests by University of Georgia police, the four face misdemeanor charges of theft by deception.


Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

Ga. Race to the Top 'Year Three' Report

(WXIA) -- The U.S. Department of Education recently released its "Year Three" Report for the 12 states participating in the Race to the Top grant initiative.

Educational practices and successes in Georgia were highlighted throughout the report.

"We have taken on some major initiatives and our success is a direct reflection of the collaborative efforts between our department, other education agencies and the hundreds of participating teachers, principals and district leaders around our state," Dr. Susan Andrews, Deputy Superintendent of Race to the Top Implementation in Georgia, said in a release.

"While educational reform work is never easy, we are pleased with the significant progress that our state has made as reflected in this report," Andrews added.

Some highlights from the report include:

* Nearly 300 Georgia teachers were placed in state public schools from alternative certification programs.

Georgia's new QB studies Tom Brady


ATHENS, Ga. -- Hutson Mason has some big shoes to fill in his lone season as Georgia's starting quarterback.

So he's trying to pick up a few pointers from an even bigger name.

Before spring practice opened this week, the senior watched lots of film on three-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady - mainly, his footwork in the pocket. Mason is hoping to learn some things that will help ease the transition from longtime starter Aaron Murray.

The Bulldogs will start the season with a new quarterback for the first time since 2010, when Murray won the job as a redshirt freshman. He wound up staying four more years, meaning Mason had to take a redshirt right in the middle of his career just to make sure he got one year as starter.


Isakson to deliver UGA commencement address


ATHENS, Ga. -- U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., will deliver the commencement address for The University of Georgia undergraduates on May 9.

"Sen. Isakson is a great public servant and a statesman, and he has been a strong advocate for the value of public education, from kindergarten through college and beyond," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead, in a statement, "As an alumnus, he has brought honor and recognition to his alma mater. I am very grateful to him for agreeing to speak to the Class of 2014."

Isakson served 17 years in the Georgia General Assembly in both the House of Representatives and Senate and as chairman of the Georgia Board of Education. He was elected in 1999 to the U.S. House of Representatives for the first of three terms and in 2004 to the U.S. Senate. He is currently in his second term as a U.S. senator.

4 UGA football players arrested on theft charges


ATHENS, Ga. -- Four University of Georgia football players were arrested on multiple counts of theft by deception on Monday.

According to the Athens-Clarke County Sheriff's Office, Tray Matthews, Jonathan Taylor, James DeLoach and Uriah LeMay were booked at Clarke County Jail and released on Monday night.

According to the police report, 11 student tuition checks drawn on the UGA Athletic Association account had been presented for deposit or cashed twice. Seven of the checks were deposited into three different Wells Fargo accounts, while the remaining four were deposited into a JPMorgan Chase account and then presented for cash or deposit through a Wells Fargo account. Each check was worth $71.50.

Head coach Mark Richt issued the following statement: