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Flat Lottery, Too Many Students, Even Snow Mean HOPE Cuts

Flat Lottery, Too Many Students, Even Snow Mean HOPE Cuts

ATLANTA -- Most of them know the bad news is coming.

Most of Georgia's more than 300,000 state college students know they'll see even higher tuition next year and even fewer benefits from the HOPE Scholarship.

"I'm gonna have to find alternative ways to finance my coming here," Georgia State University freshman Kenja McNeil said, adding that those will probably include, "loans, scholarships, more scholarships and more scholarships."

Lottery proceeds have poured about $15 billion into the HOPE and pre-kindergarten programs since they began 17 years ago.

Right now, about 200,000 state college students receive HOPE benefits.

But lottery sales have flattened out, according to Margaret DeFrancisco, CEO of the Georgia Lottery Corporation.

Wednesday morning she told the University System's State Board of Regents that's thanks to the recession, growing competition from other states...and even January's winter storm.

Ambulance Fees Rise in Gwinnett

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA -- It's not a limousine, but a ride in the back of a Gwinnett County ambulance can be quite costly, and the price has gone up.

Following a vote of Gwinnett County commissioners, patients will now pay $975 for transport on one of the county's 23 ambulances. County residents were paying $750 a ride.

The move is an effort to keep up with the rising cost to staff and equip an ambulance.

"When we reviewed the market in the greater Atlanta area and the cost of making the transport, it just made sense to adjust the transport fee," said Gwinnett Fire Chief Bill Myers.

While insurance typically pays for most if not all of an ambulance fee, it's a concern for Angie Major. Her daughter has chronic asthma. Angie's insurance paid for ambulance rides before, but she lost her job and insurance.

Teacher Encourages Reader's Theater Performances

Lilburn - Susan Pernett knows how to create book lovers in the very young. She gets them to feel a part of the stories, by encouraging involvement in things such as Readers Theater.
"Alright we're ready to go," she told a group of second graders as they sat in a circle.

The scene in the classroom appears similar to a script reading for a Broadway play or sitcom. The story they're "acting out" is Tacky the Penquin.

With lessons like this, Pernett gets the students at St. John Neumann Regional Catholic School to love the stories so much, they don't realize they're learning to read.

She's an enthusiastic reading specialist who spent 10 years as a kindergarten teacher. Now she's passionate about getting kids to enjoy books

"So they can kind of go anywhere in the world that they want to go in their minds," she said.

Gwinnett College Test their Tornado Sirens this week

Gwinnett College Test their Tornado Sirens this week

Gwinnett County, GA--  Residents within Gwinnett County are being advised that the Tornado Warning System is being tested all week, and that residents should not be overly alarmed by the noise.

The testing is at random times and intervals and is occuring on the campus of Georgia Gwinnett College.  Previous reports were that the testing was onlu occurring on 1 specific day, but the fact is that there will be a rolling testing schedule and residents may here the sirens at different points of the week.

The Tornado Siren system is a complex network of sirens that give residents in the area clear warnings that a Tornado is present and that people should take immediate cover.


Forecast: $3.75 per Gallon Gas Prices by Spring

DEKALB COUNTY, GA -- New forecasts on Friday predicted that gasoline prices could reach $3.75 per gallon by spring.

As it is, Metro Atlanta's gas prices have already risen about five percent since last month.  According to AAA, on Friday, Jan. 21 the average price per gallon for regular in Metro Atlanta was $3.03.  It was $2.899 a month ago.

An increase to $3.75 a gallon would be a 25 percent jump.

FIND: Metro Atlanta's Lowest Gas Prices

Part of the reason is that worldwide consumption of gasoline rose to a record level in 2010, including in China; another reason is that OPEC is holding down supplies.

Reminder for Lilburn Businesses: It is Time to Renew Your Occupation Tax Certificates

Reminder for Lilburn Businesses: It is Time to Renew Your Occupation Tax Certificates

Lilburn, GA--  (submitted by the City of Lilburn)

It's that time of year again!  If you are a City of Lilburn business owner, your Occupation Tax Certificate (business license) will expire on January 31, 2011. 

For 2011, newly designed renewal packets now can be downloaded from the Business Development section.  This new section of the website was designed to assist City businesses with questions that may arise related to establishing and maintaining a business in Lilburn. 

If you need additional assistance with your 2011 Occupation Tax Certificate, please visit the First Avenue Annex, located at 98 First Avenue, or call Victoria Dufresne at 770-921-2210. 

Coast Not Quite Clear - Watch for Black Ice

ATLANTA -- Mother Nature gave Metro Atlantans a bit of a break Friday, with the longest stretch of above-freezing temperatures since Sunday's storm. 

Temperatures will get back above freezing by midday Saturday, allowing road conditions to continue to improve. Daytime temps will go well into the 40s for Saturday and Sunday, while lows Saturday night will only briefly drop below freezing.

The Georgia Department of Transportation says most main roads and highways in North Georgia are now passable, but icy patches remain, particularly on side streets and in neighborhoods. To report hazardous road conditions or traffic signal problems within the City of Atlanta, call 404-546-2615 or 404-853-3200.