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Labor Day treat: No roadwork this weekend

Labor Day treat: No roadwork this weekend

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Transportation has a surprise for drivers who plan to visit Atlanta over the Labor Day weekend.

All construction-related road closures in metro Atlanta will be suspended from Friday at noon to Tuesday at 9 a.m. GDOT said while some long-term closures may remain in place for safety reasons, no new ones will be added unless there is an emergency.

Traffic is expected to be heavy throughout the area, thanks to a number of major Labor Day events:

* Dragon Con
* AJC Decatur Book Festival
* Black Gay Pride
* Oral-B USA 500 (Atlanta Motor Speedway)
* Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game (Georgia Dome)
* Braves v. Marlins/Phillies (Turner Field)
* Celebrate Freedom (Marietta)

Race this Weekend: Celebrate Freedom

Race this Weekend: Celebrate Freedom

MARIETTA, Ga. -- The Celebrate Freedom Festival will kick off this year's event with a 5K and 10K race in Marietta.

Both events will be held Saturday, Aug. 30 at Jim R. Miller Park. Registration opens at 6 a.m., with the 10K scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. The 5K will be off and running at 7:40 a.m.

Awards will be given to the first finishers overall, the first masters finishers and the top runners in each age group. All participants will receive T-shirts, goodie bags and two tickets to Celebrate Freedom, a free Christian music festival featuring such artists as Steven Curtis Chapman, Montell Jordan and Tenth Avenue North.

The 5K costs $30 in advance, while the 10K is $35. The prices go up to $40 for the 5K and $45 for the 10K on race morning.

Visit rungeorgia.com for more information and to sign up.

Taste of Atlanta announces 2014 restaurant lineup

Taste of Atlanta announces 2014 restaurant lineup

ATLANTA –- More than 90 of Atlanta’s most notable and on-the-rise restaurants have signed on to participate in this year’s Taste of Atlanta, which will take place October 24-26 in Midtown at Tech Square.

With eateries featured from both inside and outside the Perimeter, festival-goers will be able to savor truly authentic flavors that represent every corner of the city.

New this year, to help attendees pinpoint their local favorites or discover new dining treasures during Taste of Atlanta, the festival will take food lovers on a culinary tour through the city’s many diverse neighborhoods.

Aging Cobb County shopping center to be remade into mixed-use project

SMYRNA, Ga. -- Almost eight years ago, Atlanta developer Halpern Enterprises hoped to remake its aging Belmont Hills Shopping Center in Cobb County.

Plans called for nearly 300 apartments, more than 150 condos, 300-plus townhomes and about 100,000 square feet of office space. One year later the deepest economic recession to hit the United States was underway and plans for the redevelopment were shelved.

Now, in another sign of a rebounding economy, the project is breaking ground Aug. 28 — a 48-acre mix of restaurants, stores, single-family homes and apartments. The site is already home to Smyrna Elementary School, which has more than 900 students and opened last year.

Here is a look back at Belmont Hills over the years and a glimpse of what Halpern Enterprises and other developers will build there today.

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Man gets 20 years in prison for tax fraud

Man gets 20 years in prison for tax fraud

SMYRNA, Ga. -- A Smyrna man has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for filing thousands of fraudulent tax returns, illegally netting more than $5 million in the process.

Mauricio Warner, 38, was convicted in April of 16 counts each of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and filing false claims, and two counts of money laundering. Several people whose identities he stole testified against him.

As part of his sentence, Warner must also pay $5,041,869 in restitution and spend three years on supervised release after getting out of prison.

From January 2011 to April 2012, Warner filed more than 5,000 false tax returns. The U.S. Attorney's Office called it one of the largest tax fraud cases it had ever seen.

Continue to avoid the Perimeter this weekend

Continue to avoid the Perimeter this weekend

(WXIA) -- This weekend is expected to be hot, and the Georgia Department of Transportation will take advantage of the weather by using Friday, Saturday and Sunday to work on some much-needed road improvements.

WEATHER | 11Alive meteorologist Chesley McNeil has your weekend forecast

Like last weekend, drivers are asked to avoid Interstate 285 if possible. Lane closures will result in major delays.

Scheduled I-285 projects include:

Unemployment climbs again in July

Unemployment climbs again in July

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate was 8.0 percent in July, up from 7.5 percent in June. The rate was 8.3 percent in July 2013.

Cobb County's unemployment rate was 7.2 percent last month.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the increase was due to seasonal layoffs in manufacturing and education. Many of those workers have since returned to their jobs.

In addition, metro Atlanta's private sector created 8,900 jobs in July. Most of the positions were in business; trade and transportation; finance and information services; leisure and hospitality; and construction.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest July jobless rate at 6.6 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 11.4 percent.