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Back to school surprise: Weekend roadwork canceled

Back to school surprise: Weekend roadwork canceled

(WXIA) -- This weekend will be a holiday for Georgia families in more ways than one.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has suspended construction-related lane closures on all major interstates and highways within five miles of malls and shopping districts.

This will allow parents and students to enjoy the tax-free shopping weekend without the added stress of road delays.

"The sales tax holiday is an opportunity for Georgians to save a little money during these challenging economic times," GDOT Commissioner Keith Golden said. "The department is glad to offer some relief from lane closures as families prepare for school."

11Alive Ways to Save reporter Valerie Hoff has some of the best tax-free weekend deals. Find out how to get the most bang for your buck.

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Paying respects to the last member of Enola Gay crew


STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- The last member of the Enola Gay crew, a Georgia man who lived in Stone Mountain, passed away Tuesday

The manager at the Park Springs Retirement Community confirmed Theodore "Dutch" VanKirk passed away Tuesday. He was 93 years old.

VanKirk was the navigator aboard the Enola Gay, the B-29 bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Maj. VanKirk had no second thoughts about one of the seminal moments of American history. Back in 2010 he sat down exclusively with 11Alive's Jeff Hullinger.

Van Kirk said, "You have to understand the Japan we fought was significantly different from the Japan in later years. I don't know how they did it."

DeKalb police chief honored

DeKalb police chief honored

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander has been recognized for his many achievements over his three-decade law enforcement career.

Alexander was presented with a resolution by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police during its 2014 conference.

"It is an honor and a privilege to receive this recognition from the Georgia Chiefs Association," Alexander said in a release. "It's always humbling to get recognized by your peers."

Alexander has served as DeKalb's police chief since April 2013 and is also president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

Thousands enroll in Ga. Pre-K Program

Thousands enroll in Ga. Pre-K Program

(WXIA) -- More than 80,000 Georgia children are enrolled in the state's Pre-K Program for the 2014-15 school year.

Pre-K is open to all 4 year olds, regardless of household income. Assistant commissioner Susan Adams said that it is the first school experience for many children.

"For this reason, we take our roles very seriously, and we work really hard to provide Georgia's children with positive and meaningful experiences," Adams said in a release.

In Pre-K, students study language, literacy and math while making new friends and building foundations for lifelong learning. The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning recommends parents visit their children's classrooms in advance to familiarize them with their new surroundings, and dress them in comfortable clothes and shoes every day. If students have a tendency to feel lonely, parents can send them to school with family photos to cheer them up, and blankets or stuffed animals to snuggle at naptime.

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Your Local, Dekalb County State Farm Agent.

Atlanta-area unemployment jumps in June

Atlanta-area unemployment jumps in June

(WXIA) -- The unemployment rate in metro Atlanta climbed again last month.

June's rate was 7.6 percent, up from 7.2 percent in May, but much lower than last June's 8.6 percent.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in June.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the increase is due to end-of-summer job loss among non-contract school workers, an influx of graduates and students entering the workforce, and temporary layoffs in manufacturing.

So far, metro Atlanta has gained slightly more than 58,000 jobs in 2014 -- a good sign for those who are looking for work.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest June unemployment rate, at 6.3 percent. The highest was 10.4 percent, in the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region.

2 shot in DeKalb County

2 shot in DeKalb County

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Two young men were wounded in a shooting in DeKalb County Monday morning.

It happened shortly after midnight in the 2000 block of East Scarbrough Trail, a cul-de-sac near Covington Highway.

DeKalb County Police Sgt. Steven Dean said one victim, believed to be in his late teens, was found at Covington Highway and Scarbrough Drive. He had been shot more than once and was taken to a nearby hospital.

The second victim was dropped off at the hospital by friends, according to Dean. That victim appears to be in his early 20's. No names were released.

Police are investigating the shooting.

Visit 11Alive.com/Crime to track crime in your neighborhood.

Dogs make splash at Stone Mountain Park


STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- More than 150 dogs made a splash at Stone Mountain Park on Friday.

The canines are competing for a chance to qualify for the "Dock Dogs" World Championship in November.

The dogs run down a platform and leap into the 40 foot pool. They are judged on distance, height, and speed.

The event will continue through Sunday on Memorial Lawn.