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Reed: State Should Slim Down Workforce

ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says that the state should eliminate another 10 to 15 percent of its workforce over the next 36 months.

Reed on Wednesday told a panel weighing an overhaul to the Georgia's tax code that the recesssion-wracked state must continue to reduce the number of state jobs in "a drastic and politically painful fashion."

The Democrat made the remarks in front of Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue who noted that Georgia's workforce has shrunk to roughly the same size as it was in 1999.

Reed said the city of Atlanta has shed 25 percent of its workforce since 2008 and more cuts could be needed.

Reed urged the tax panel to consider eliminating may special interest tax exemptions, some of which he voted for as a state senator.

Metro Atlanta Armyworm Invasion Could Be Worst in 30 Years

ATLANTA -- Homeowners all over Metro Atlanta are watching their lawns go brown, unaware that the culprit is a fast and furious army busy feeding on their fescue.

In Douglas County, Vernon Pigg assumed the dry brown patches that have scorched his backyard were all the result of the brutally hot weather. One evening, he saw his grass tremble.

"The wind wasn't blowing, but you could see the blades moving," said Pigg. "Then you get to looking closer and you could find the worms."

What he found chewing on his yard were hundreds of armyworms. Despite the name, they aren't really worms at all. They're actually caterpillars that eventually become moths, not until they've done their damage.

Gibbs Landscape was called out to treat Buckhead lawn that is bristling with brown.

"The damage happened in the course of one night," said Gibbs Landscape General Manager Hugh Cooper.

Homeowners Vent on Water Bill & Service

ATLANTA -- Homeowners from seven Buckhead communities, frustrated with high water bills, and issues with customer service met face-to-face late Monday with Atlanta's Watershed Commissioner Rob Hunter for more than two hours, trying to get answers.

The meeting was put together by 11Alive's Bill Liss along with Wildwood community homeowner Bill Lucas.

Hunter led off the meeting with an assurance that customer service representatives who don't make the grade won't stay on the payroll.

"Every call that is made is recorded. If you call, we will go back and review that tape. We not only discipline people, we fire people," Hunter said.

One angry homeowner, Kevin Wade, says his family was away for 10 days, but that the resulting water bill for that particular month added up to more than $300.

Frustrated Pedestrian Tired of Drivers Honking at Him.

Randy Prophater isn't a prophet, just a frustrated pedestrian trying to get to work safely.

Truck Crashes Into Buckhead Building

ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta police are investigating an accident that sent a box truck crashing into a Buckhead building.

Police say the truck and a 1993 Toyota Camry were involved in the wreck around 7 a.m. Monday.

Hannah Carraway, who was driving the Camry, said the two vehicles collided in an intersection.

Several businesses were damaged by the truck's impact.

Atlanta police spokesman Otis Redmond says the truck driver, whose name hasn't been released was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. He was in stable condition with injuries that aren't expected to be life-threatening.

Carraway was treated at the scene.

It's the Last Day for the Varsity Jr.

ATLANTA -- After 45 years in business, Sunday is the last day for the Varsity Jr. on Lindbergh Drive.

It's closing and moving because of a zoning dispute with the city of Atlanta.

"It's sad," said customer Robin Kempf. "But what are you going to do? That's the city of Atlanta."

The restaurant was packed on Saturday with loyal customers eager to place their final order of chili dogs and onion rings. They also wanted a chance to say "goodbye."

Elaine Beavers started going to the Varsity Jr. when she was 15 years old.

"After church, it was like a special thing, like a treat, coming over here and getting a good hot dog," Beavers said.

Her husband remembers going to the Varsity Jr. after football games at Druid Hills High School.

Steering Clear of Weekend Road Work

ATLANTA -- You spend enough time sitting in traffic on the way to work. Avoid getting caught it in this weekend as construction projects pick up around Metro Atlanta, weather permitting.

Buckhead: Piedmont Avenue

Saturday 7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.: One lane of Piedmont Road Southbound will be closed at East Wesley Road for repairs to the water main.

Piedmont Road Alternate (If traffic backs up to North Hills Drive): Take a right onto North Hills. Then go left on Alpine Road to get back to Piedmont, past the point of construction.

If the back up gets really bad on Piedmont Road Southbound: Take a right on Pharr Road and follow it over to Peachtree Road. Go left on Peachtree and follow it to Lindbergh Drive. Take a left on Lingbergh and follow it back to Piedmont.