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Ga. Cyber Academy graduates first class

Ga. Cyber Academy graduates first class

(WXIA) -- The Class of 2014 is the very first class to graduate from Georgia Cyber Academy, the state's free online public school.

The school will hold a graduation ceremony at noon on Saturday, May 31 at the Gwinnett Center. More than 300 graduating seniors are scheduled to walk across the stage.

"We're so proud of each of our graduates, all of whom have taken the individualized learning that comes with GCA's online curriculum and worked with GCA's world-class teachers to adapt it to best serve and support their own academic successes," GCA head of school Matt Arkin said in a release.

Members of GCA's Class of 2014 were accepted to some of the country's top colleges and universities, including Cornell University, Georgia Tech, the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia.

Raise Your Voice: Burned down Atlanta house


ATLANTA -- "The last time that I remember somebody actually lived here was 2008," Jim Kulstad said.

The northeast Atlanta resident was convinced someone would take care of a house in his neighborhood before the property became a skeleton of charred remains. But no one ever did.

"I've got photos where you can actually see the back half start to fold into the yard," Kulstad said.

But in 2012, he gave up on the abandoned house and asked the city to have it boarded. Again, nothing happened.

In January, he called 911 after seeing squatters inside the house. He warned the dispatcher that the squatters were setting a fire, and that the cold weather could cause the blaze to spread to adjacent houses. But Kulstad's warning was ignored.

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.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate was 6.8 percent last month.

DeKalb Fire to participate in World CPR Challenge Day

DeKalb Fire to participate in World CPR Challenge Day

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Wednesday, May 21 is World CPR Challenge Day, and DeKalb County Fire Rescue is offering residents a chance to learn this lifesaving skill for free.

The department has teamed up with American Medical Response to host CPR clinics at locations across the county. AMR technicians will teach compression-only CPR (set to the beat of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive") from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Visit amr.net to find your nearest location. Sites holding alternate hours include:

* DeKalb County Public Safety Complex (1950 West Exchange Place, Tucker), 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* The Mall at Stonecrest, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
* Enzo's Pizzeria (4487 Hugh Howell Road, Tucker), 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Gato, A Cappella Books celebrate Ga. farms

Gato, A Cappella Books celebrate Ga. farms

ATLANTA -- The author of Farm Fresh Georgia will visit Atlanta later this month.

Jodi Helmer exhaustively researched attractions, dining trends and farms throughout the state's six regions -- Appalachian, Atlanta Metro, Blue Ridge, Lower Coastal Plain, Piedmont and Upper Coastal Plain -- to write Farm Fresh Georgia: The Go-To Guide to Great Farmers' Markets, Farm Stands, Farms, U-Picks, Kids' Activities, Lodging, Dining, Dairies, Festivals, Choose-and-Cut Christmas Trees, Vineyards and Wineries, and More.

She will visit the Freedom Farmers' Market at the Carter Center on Saturday, May 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Shoppers can meet Helmer at the community table. The Carter Center is located at 453 Freedom Parkway NE.

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