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Ga. offering smartphone app to cut drunk driving

Ga. offering smartphone app to cut drunk driving

ATLANTA -- State officials say they've developed a new smartphone application designed to cut down on drunken driving during upcoming New Year's Eve celebrations.

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety announced that a list of free sober ride programs is available in an app called Drive Sober Georgia.

Georgia Office of Highway Safety director Harris Blackwood said authorities sought to make it as easy as possible to get a ride, so the application was developed after consulting with its partners who deal with road safety.

Drive Sober Georgia is available for free download on the iPhone and Android markets. The information can be viewed at www.drivesobergeorgia.com.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

FEMA encourages Chattahoochee-area residents to learn flood risks

FEMA encourages Chattahoochee-area residents to learn flood risks

ATLANTA -- As 2011 draws to a close, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages all Americans to understand the risks that surround them -- and for residents of the Upper Chattahoochee River Region, those risks include the possibility of flooding.

FEMA worked with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to create maps of the 107-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River between the Buford Dam and Coweta County, which includes Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.

These updated maps detail flood hazard and risk data with the ultimate goal of protecting homeowners from flooding.

Maps for those who live in the Chattahoochee flood region are available at www.georgiadfirm.com. Learn more about steps to prevent flood damage at www.ready.gov/floods.

Probation officers walk hallways in DeKalb schools

Probation officers walk hallways in DeKalb schools

DECATUR, Ga. -- Public schools in DeKalb County are allowing probation officers into the schools and giving them office space in some cases so they can monitor students who have been in trouble with the law.

According to reports about 15 probation officers visit the county's middle and high school an average of three days a week.  

They monitor 386 students who have been to juvenile court for everything from minor violations such as truancy to serious crimes such as assault, burglary or possession of illegal drugs.

Sutton Peagler, DeKalb County's chief juvenile court judge, says the goal is to monitor compliance of students with court orders and make sure they stay in school.

The Journal-Constitution reports that more than one-third of Georgia's school systems have school-based probation programs.

'Mega Monday' expected to set records for shopping, returns

ATLANTA -- It's the biggest gift return day of the season, and experts predict "Mega Monday" could be as big as Cyber Monday or Black Friday.

Retailers slashed prices to entice customers already heading to stores to exchange gifts and hunt for after-Christmas bargains.

"Thirty-five percent more people will be returning this year, than last year," said Janice Lieberman, Consumer Correspondent for the Today Show. "For every dollar spent during the holiday, almost ten cents of it is returned." 

Some store make returns much easier than others. 

Sears may be the number one easy return store because they not only readily accept returns, but they extended their return window to 120 days through this holiday season.

Traffic fatalities in Georgia continue to decline

Traffic fatalities in Georgia continue to decline

ATLANTA (AP) - Federal and state authorities say Georgia highway fatalities dropped substantially last year for the fifth year in a row.

Statistics finalized and published this month show a total of 1,244 people died on Georgia highways in 2010. That's a decline of 3.7 percent, or 48 deaths, from the 2009 total of 1,292. It continues a trend in decreased highway deaths that began in 2006.

Traffic fatalities reached a record 1,744 in 2005.

The Georgia Department of Transportation says that as of Monday, 2011 fatalities were on track to decrease from 2010 with 62 fewer than that date a year ago.

Stories of the Heart

ATLANTA -- At 11Alive, we pride ourselves in being a team of journalists who help you.

We always seek the truth, take action, and look for solutions on issues at the heart of our community.

It's that heart that we're celebrating this Christmas.

WATCH | Stories of the Heart

Merry Christmas from Gov. Deal

Merry Christmas from Gov. Deal

ATLANTA -- Governor Nathan Deal issued a special holiday greeting for Georgia residents on Friday.

As Christmas nears, I wanted to wish every Georgian a merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

Christmas has a special way of reminding us what is really important: our faith in God, family and the well-being of our fellow man.

But Christmas is not limited to a single season or date on a calendar. These feelings of peace and love are always with us throughout our lives. For many, Christmas serves as a rejuvenation of these values and ideals.

After the gifts are all unwrapped and the candles begin to dim, our spirits will once again be enriched and fully restored.

As we reflect on all we have been able to accomplish this past year, we will cary this rejuvenated spirit to achieve all the goals that we have set for the coming years.