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Lilburn teen gets surprise graduation gift


LILBURN, Ga.-- Annie Cusack, 18, had been looking forward to her high school graduation from the George Walton Academy all year.

"I really wanted my parents, especially my dad, to see my walk across that stage," said Annie Cusack.

Unfortunately, Annie came down with kidney stones Saturday morning and never attended the ceremony. It was a devastating blow, considering what her family has endured this year.

Just as she was beginning her senior year, Annie's father was diagnosed with colon cancer. Her mother, Kathy, said that took its toll on her daughter.

"It was really hard for Annie to see her daddy sick. The staff at George Walton Academy really took her under their wing and would ask her often how she was doing," said Kathy Cusack.

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.

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.

Gwinnett County's unemployment rate was 5.8 percent last month.

'Don't go east, don't go west': Weekend construction alert

'Don't go east, don't go west': Weekend construction alert

(WXIA) -- "Avoid I-20 if you can." That warning, from Georgia Department of Transportation district construction engineer Shun Pringle, applies to Atlanta-area drivers this weekend.

Several road projects and lane closures will be in place along the east-west highway.

"We don't like to close lanes, but the work has to get done, and we have to take advantage of the good-weather weekends," Pringle said in a release.

Scheduled I-20 projects include:

* Two left eastbound lanes will be closed between Highway 138 (Rockdale) and Alcovy Road (Newton) from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for resurfacing.

* Two right westbound lanes will be closed between Bill Arp and Liberty roads (Douglas) from 8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday for resurfacing.

* Two right eastbound lanes will be closed between Liberty and Bill Arp roads (Douglas) from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for resurfacing.

I-20 construction continues through the weekend

I-20 construction continues through the weekend

(WXIA) -- The Interstate 20 delays that plagued metro Atlanta commuters last weekend will return.

Georgia Department of Transportation district construction engineer Shun Pringle said backups are expected in Douglas, Newton and Rockdale counties as crews work to complete some major road projects.

"Please do what you can to avoid these project areas. Plan ahead, look for alternate routes or call 511," Pringle said in a release. "We want everyone to enjoy the weekend, and I'm sure that doesn't include sitting in traffic backups."

Several events may also cause delays on Atlanta's roads. From 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, State Route 9 near Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza will be closed for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Pringle said traffic in the area will be detoured.

Weekend construction: Avoid I-20 if you can

Weekend construction: Avoid I-20 if you can

(WXIA) -- Drivers who plan to use Interstate 20 this weekend are encouraged to find alternate routes.

The Georgia Department of Transportation will work on several major projects this weekend on the interstate that cuts across Atlanta.

"We have three projects with significant lane closures on I-20 this weekend," GDOT District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said in a release. "We are expecting long delays, particularly in Douglas and Rockdale counties, during the daytime hours on Saturday and Sunday."

This weekend's road projects, many of which come with heavy delays, include:

Beautiful weekends and road projects go hand in hand

Beautiful weekends and road projects go hand in hand

(WXIA) -- It's going to be a perfect weekend, weather-wise -- 11s on the WIZometer on Saturday and Sunday.

However, pretty weekend weather in metro Atlanta comes with a slight drawback: nighttime traffic projects.

"We are doing our best to limit daytime lane closures if possible in order to minimize the inconvenience to motorists," Georgia Department of Transportation engineer Shun Pringle said. "However, some work just has to be done during the day."

One brief closure will be the loop ramp from Northside Drive north to Interstate 75 south in northwest Atlanta. It will be shut down Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. so crews can repair a guardrail. Drivers are asked to use Howell Mill Road to access I-75 south during that hour.