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Atlanta-area Simon malls ring in holidays with festive fun

Atlanta-area Simon malls ring in holidays with festive fun

ATLANTA -– The most wonderful time of the year is right around the corner! To help families get in the "ho-ho"-holiday spirit, Atlanta-area Simon malls are hosting a variety of festive activities and special entertainment all November and December long! With Giving Tuesday, Macy’s Great Tree Lighting, Santa’s Arrival celebrations, local choir performances, photos with Santa and more, Lenox Square, Mall of Georgia, Northlake Mall, Phipps Plaza and Town Center at Cobb offer a magical holiday experience that is enjoyable for the entire family!

Community Sponsors

Nordstrom closing Mall of Georgia store


BUFORD, Ga. -- Upscale fashion retailer Nordstrom announced Wednesday that it will close its department store at the Mall of Georgia.

Nordstrom, which opened at Mall of Georgia in 2000, has set Feb. 28 as its last day in business. About 175 non-seasonal employees will be affected, according to the company.

"We have a great team at the Mall of Georgia ... but despite our team's best efforts, the bottom line is that we simply don't do enough business here to continue operating the store into the future," Jamie Nordstrom, president of stores for the company, said in a Wednesday announcement. "We had the opportunity to end our lease and in looking at our options, it made the most sense for our business to make the decision to close the store."

Atlanta-area unemployment drops to 7.3 percent

Atlanta-area unemployment drops to 7.3 percent

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate fell seven-tenths of a point in September.

Last month's rate was 7.3 percent, well below August's 8.0 percent. The unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in September 2013.

Gwinnett County's unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in September.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said there were nearly 20,000 fewer unemployed people in Atlanta last month, and companies reported fewer layoffs. Industries that added jobs in September include government; education and health services; construction; and trade and transportation.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest unemployment rate in September, at 5.7 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 9.5 percent.

Weekend roadwork: The I-285 debacle continues

Weekend roadwork: The I-285 debacle continues

(WXIA) -- It's going to be another messy weekend on metro Atlanta's highways.

The Georgia Department of Transportation encourages drivers to stay off Interstates 20 and 285 if they can.

As always, all work is weather permitting.

Scheduled construction projects include:

Bartow County
* 1 northbound lane of I-75 will be closed between two miles north of Glade Road and one mile south of Allatoona Road from 9 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday for bridge maintenance.
* 1 northbound lane of I-75 will be closed between two miles north of Glade Road and one mile south of Allatoona Road from 7 a.m. Saturday to 5 p.m. Sunday for bridge maintenance.

Cobb County
* 1 lane of the I-75 southbound exit ramp to I-285 west will be closed from 9 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday for work on the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes project.

Community Sponsors

Simon Kidgits Club hosting Halloween parties at Atlanta-area malls

Simon Kidgits Club hosting Halloween parties at Atlanta-area malls

(WXIA) -- Mall of Georgia, Northlake Mall and Town Center at Cobb will offer  Atlanta-area children a safe place to take part in Halloween activities, as the Simon Kidgits Club presents its annual Halloween events! The spook-tacular event schedule for families includes:

Saturday, October 18
Simon Kidgits Club Fall Festival at Mall of Georgia
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Saturday, October 25
Simon Kidgits Club Boo Bash at Town Center at Cobb
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Thursday, October 30
Simon Kidgits Club Boo Bash at Northlake Mall
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

AP exam participation: Gwinnett County

AP exam participation: Gwinnett County

(WXIA) -- More Georgia high school students are taking -- and passing -- Advanced Placement exams.

Last school year, 89,806 Georgia students took 154,176 AP exams. That's an 8 percent increase in the number of participants and almost a 9 percent increase in the number of tests.

AP exams are graded on a scale of 1 to 5. Passing scores of 3, 4 or 5 often allow the test-takers to earn college credit.

Georgia's seniors earned 86,075 passing scores on their AP exams in 2014, a 9.6 percent increase over 2013.

English Language and Composition was the state's most popular AP exam, followed by U.S. History and World History.

In Gwinnett County, 13,913 students took 26,361 AP exams in 2014, and 14,809 of those exams earned passing scores.

Here are the AP exam breakdowns for each Gwinnett County public high school:

Archer HS
814 students took 1,498 exams
716 passing scores

Weekend roadwork: Lots of projects on the schedule

Weekend roadwork: Lots of projects on the schedule

(WXIA) -- A major project on a heavily traveled interchange is bound to cause some headaches for Atlanta-area drivers this weekend.

It's just one of several scheduled construction sessions throughout the area. All work is weather permitting.

Crews will be hard at work on the Kennedy Interchange in Cobb County much of the weekend. The Kennedy Interchange is where Interstate 75 meets Interstate 285 in the Cumberland area.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said sign installation will require multiple lane closures on the Outer Loop of I-285 just before the exit ramp to Cobb Parkway and I-75 north. Two right lanes will close at 9 a.m. Saturday; that will expand to three lanes between 11 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday. Outer Loop traffic will also be paced in the area beginning at around 2 a.m. Sunday.

Other weekend road projects include: