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Hall Co. expected to approve farm wineries, tastings rooms

Hall Co. expected to approve farm wineries, tastings rooms

HALL COUNTY, Ga. -- Hall County officials are expected to amend that county’s beverage codes to allow farm wineries, as well as on-premises tastings rooms at the sale of bottled wine for later consumption, reports the Gainesville Times.

The county has defined a farm winery as one that makes at least 40 percent of its annual production from agricultural produce grown in the state, the newspaper reports.

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Puppies to help Brenau students study for finals

Puppies to help Brenau students study for finals

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Brenau University students get to take advantage of some adorable relief while studying for final exams this week.

The Hall County Animal Shelter will bring puppies to the Gainesville school, providing a pick-me-up for stressed students.

"Taking the puppies to campus serves as a stress reliever for the students, and it gives the puppies a chance to socialize," Hall County Animal Shelter program coordinator Cindy Langman said.

Langman added she hopes playing with the puppies will encourage students to volunteer at the shelter.

Weekend roadwork lessens for Easter weekend

Weekend roadwork lessens for Easter weekend

(WXIA) -- Only one major daytime closure will affect drivers on Atlanta's highways this weekend.

The leftmost lane on I-285 north will be closed between I-20 and Ga. 400 on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Crews must close the lane to remove a barrier wall.

"With only that one closure on I-285, everyone should have an easier time getting to their destination," Georgia Department of Transportation District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said in a statement.

Nighttime closures will still occur in a handful of locations.

Three right lanes of I-20 west between Wesley Chapel and Candler roads will be closed for striping every night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Two left lanes of I-285 north between I-20 and Peachtree Dunwoody Road will be closed nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Crews will work to replace a barrier wall in that location.

Other scheduled closures for sweeping, drain cleaning and slab replacement include:

5 Hall high schools among America's Most Challenging

5 Hall high schools among America's Most Challenging

(WXIA) -- The Washington Post has unveiled its 2014 list of America's Most Challenging High Schools.

The newspaper determines the annual rankings through a ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests a school gives each year, divided by the number of graduating seniors.

Five Hall County schools made the list, which features more than 2,000 high schools across the country. The listed numbers are each school's national ranking.

904. Flowery Branch HS
1078. North Hall HS
1238. Chestatee HS
1416. East Hall HS
1552. West Hall HS

Additionally, Gainesville High School, which is part of a charter system, is No. 1969 on the list.

See the full list at washingtonpost.com.

Weekend construction to continue despite rain

Weekend construction to continue despite rain

(WXIA) -- Rain is in this weekend's forecast, but that won't stop Georgia Department of Transportation from working on scheduled road projects throughout the area.

GDOT District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said the department expects more people than usual on the road, as school districts begin and end their spring breaks.

"Call 511 or look at a mapping website before you leave home," Pringle said in a statement. "Motorists, including spring breakers ... need to plan ahead to avoid delays."

The new flyover ramps on the Interstate 85/Georgia 400 Interchange project are open, but crews still need to perform a little last-minute work on them. Lanes will be closed in places.

2014 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

2014 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

(WXIA) -- The nominees for this year's Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards, known casually as the Shuler Hensley Awards, were revealed Wednesday.

The awards program celebrates some of the best high school musical theater productions in the state. The award is named for metro Atlanta native Shuler Hensley, a seasoned Broadway performer who originated the role of the Monster in Young Frankenstein and won a Tony Award for playing Jud Fry in the revival of Oklahoma!

Sixty-one public and private high schools from 24 counties are vying for this year's awards. The winners will be announced on Thursday, Apr. 17 during an awards ceremony at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $23 for the general public and can be purchased at shulerawards.org.

Some of this year's notable nominees include:

Atlanta Track Club launches scholarship program

Atlanta Track Club launches scholarship program

(WXIA) -- Youth running groups, rejoice -- the Atlanta Track Club has created a scholarship program just for you.

The Peachtree Jr. Participant Challenge will award scholarships to the three organizations that have the most children registered for the 2014 Peachtree Jr. or Lil' Peach Dash.

The first place team will be given a $1,500 scholarship, a $1,250 cash donation from the Atlanta Track Club and $250 in Sports Authority store credit. Two runners-up will each get $750 scholarships, $500 donations and $250 in Sports Authority credit.

"Through the Peachtree Jr. Participant Challenge, we are able to give back to organizations that share our goal of inspiring children to be healthier and more active," Atlanta Track Club Executive Director Rich Kenah said in a release. "Atlanta Track Club is proud to partner with Sports Authority to offer these scholarships to provide extra motivation to keep kids moving."