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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.

Veterans memorial tiles taken by thieves

SNELLVILLE, Ga. -- This weekend - the city of Snellville is set to dedicate its brand new Veterans Memorial Wall. It's a tribute more than three years in the making; but now, an overnight crime may cast a shadow on the big celebration.

There are 373 tiles on the wall -- each with the name of a soldier; a man or woman who served this country. Now, nine of those names are missing.

Reward increased in Gwinnett shooting death

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- It has been seven months of grief for the mother of a man who was murdered during a home invasion robbery in Snellville, seven months of not knowing who killed her son.

Now she's hoping a Crime Stoppers reward that she has contributed to, will help her find answers.

Antonio Macklin, 35, was shot and killed during a struggle with a gunman during the robbery. Macklin was married and had six children. His mother, who did not want to be named, said his children spent their first Christmas without their father. "It's very hard, they miss their dad," she said. "They want to see their dad, they want to be with their dad."

'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.

Gwinnett house fire caused by lightning

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- A lightning strike sparked a house fire in Gwinnett County overnight.

Fire crews responded to the house on Thornapple Trail shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday.

Gwinnett County Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said the fire started in the attic of the single-story home. The intense heat and flames forced crews to battle the blaze from outside. Firefighters also worked to prevent neighboring houses from being damaged by smoke and embers.

The house and its contents are a total loss. Rutledge said a woman lived there and escaped unharmed. She is being assisted by family members and neighbors.

Gas main break near Gwinnett Braves stadium fixed

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- Gwinnett County Fire crews have repaired a gas main break near Coolray Field, the Gwinnett Braves' stadium.

The leak was reported Wednesday morning by a passerby. Gwinnett County Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said a utility crew caused the break while boring near Buford Drive in front of the stadium.

Buford Drive was shut down between Old Peachtree Road and Tech Center Drive as crews stopped the leak. Rutledge said the road was reopened shortly after 11:30 a.m.

About 15 people at Coolray Field were asked to take shelter in place until the leak was under control. No one was in danger, Rutledge said.

For the latest traffic conditions in metro Atlanta, visit 11Alive.com/Traffic.