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APS associate superintendent Steve Smith resigns

APS associate superintendent Steve Smith resigns

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Public Schools associate superintendent Steve Smith has resigned, effective June 30.

Smith is leaving the school system to return to the private sector, according to a release from Atlanta Public Schools. He has served in his position since 2011, when Erroll Davis was appointed interim superintendent.

"As my right hand, Steve has helped to shepherd Atlanta Public Schools through a difficult transition," Davis said in a statement. "As he returns to the private sector, I am confident that he will continue to be an asset to APS and a champion for education."

During his time with APS, Smith managed the district's recent redistricting, created an innovation office that led to the school board's approval of three new charter schools, and provided executive oversight of daily operations. Before joining the school system, he served as vice president of corporate responsibility for Turner Broadcasting System.

Panera swears off artificial ingredients

Panera swears off artificial ingredients

NEW YORK -- Panera says it will remove artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives from its food by 2016, a reflection of the growing distaste people are showing for such ingredients.

The chain of bakery cafes, which has about 1,800 U.S. locations, is making the pledge as part of a "Food Policy" it is unveiling Tuesday that outlines its commitment to "clean" and "simple" ingredients.

The announcement comes at a time when Panera Bread Co. is facing slowing sales growth and working to jumpstart its business.

It also underscores how positioning foods as natural has become a marketing advantage, regardless of whether it brings any nutritional benefits.

I-20 construction resumes this weekend

I-20 construction resumes this weekend

(WXIA) -- The three Interstate 20 construction projects that have plagued drivers for several weekends will continue.

As long as the weather cooperates, crews will work on the following stretches of I-20 this weekend:

Atlanta
Three eastbound lanes will be closed between Windsor Street and Boulevard from 8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday, and from 8 p.m. Saturday to 6 am. Sunday.

Douglas County
Two lanes in both directions will be closed between Bill Arp and Liberty roads from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

Newton County
Two eastbound left lanes will be closed between Almon and Alcovy roads from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has smaller projects scheduled in Cobb County:

I-285
Two northbound lanes will be intermittently closed at South Cobb Drive for overhead sign work; two lanes will always remain open.

Piedmont Park hosting 2-day wedding marathon


ATLANTA -- Piedmont Park is hosting a marathon of weddings and you can take part!

It's a chance to open your heart without emptying your wallet. This opportunity is not for everyone. Here's what you need to know about the Say I Do event at Piedmont Park June 21 and 22.

If you want to save money, this is the event for you. It costs between six and eight hundred dollars with everything you need: flowers, photos, minister, and music. The lake venue usually starts at $1,200.

If you want to take your sweet time, this is not the wedding for you. Each ceremony is 45 minutes, that's what allows them to do a marathon of weddings over two days.

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Ga. Cyber Academy graduates first class

Ga. Cyber Academy graduates first class

(WXIA) -- The Class of 2014 is the very first class to graduate from Georgia Cyber Academy, the state's free online public school.

The school will hold a graduation ceremony at noon on Saturday, May 31 at the Gwinnett Center. More than 300 graduating seniors are scheduled to walk across the stage.

"We're so proud of each of our graduates, all of whom have taken the individualized learning that comes with GCA's online curriculum and worked with GCA's world-class teachers to adapt it to best serve and support their own academic successes," GCA head of school Matt Arkin said in a release.

Members of GCA's Class of 2014 were accepted to some of the country's top colleges and universities, including Cornell University, Georgia Tech, the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia.

Raise Your Voice: Flooded Midtown Atlanta street


ATLANTA -- At Cafe Mezo in Midtown Atlanta, owner Kemal Karsli said even a little bit of rain can cause big, big problems.

"Any rain and it's like a lake," he said.

He has the pictures and video to prove it, and has tried to report the constant street flooding, but his calls were ignored by Atlanta City Hall.

"They haven't shown up yet. We've called them a couple of times," he said.

Karsli decided to "raise his voice" and get 11Alive News involved. We contacted Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, who represents Midtown.

"We are aware of the problem now, and we are committed to solving it," Hall said.

Within days of contacting Hall's office, the Department of Watershed Management sent several crews to the intersection of Juniper and 5th streets to clear away debris and improve drainage.

"I was so, so happy," Karsli said. "This was a good response."

Seniors tour Wheat Street Gardens during 'Celebrating Seniors Garden Party'

Seniors tour Wheat Street Gardens during 'Celebrating Seniors Garden Party'

ATLANTA -- Fulton County Seniors from senior centers across Atlanta and Fulton County enjoyed a “Celebrating Seniors Garden Party” as May Older Americans Month activities continued on Thursday, May 22.

The “Garden Party” featured lunch, games, healthy cooking demonstrations and tours of Wheat Street Gardens, a beautiful network of flower and vegetable gardens. The party was hosted by Open Hand and Truly Living Well and supported by Fulton County District 6 Commissioner Joan P. Garner, Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall, State Senator Nan Orrock and local businesses.

Open Hand provides congregate and home-delivered meals along with nutrition education to Fulton County seniors through the Housing and Human Services Department, Office of Aging.

For more information about services available to seniors in Fulton County, call the STARline at 404-613-6000.