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Area unemployment rate climbs in January

Area unemployment rate climbs in January

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate climbed to 6.2 percent in January.

That's up from December's 6.0 percent, but considerably lower than the 7.1 percent in January 2014.

Fulton County's unemployment rate was 6.5 percent this January.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the rate increased because of the loss of about 35,100 jobs, mostly seasonal positions.

But the Atlanta area had the largest January-to-January job growth ever recorded, adding 104,400 jobs over the course of the year.

The metropolitan Atlanta area consists of 29 counties, including the recently added Morgan County.

Metro Gainesville had January's lowest jobless rate, at 5.2 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 8.3 percent.

Several surface streets impacted by weekend roadwork

Several surface streets impacted by weekend roadwork

(WXIA) -- Interstate 20 will bear the brunt of this weekend's roadwork, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Drivers are asked to avoid nonessential travel on I-20, as road projects will require lane closures that will likely result in delays.

A number of surface streets will also be impacted by construction crews.

As always, all work is weather permitting. Get this weekend's forecast.

Cobb/Fulton counties: I-285
2 northbound lanes will be closed between Bolton and South Atlanta roads from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for concrete rehabilitation.

Coweta County: I-85
1 southbound lane will be closed at Sharpsburg-McCullum Road from 9 p.m. Friday to 12 p.m. Monday for barrier wall installation.

Teacher accused of student abuse may not face trial


FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- A former special education teacher who was indicted for abusing her students may not face trial.

The 2012 indictment charged Hopewell Middle School teacher Melanie Pickens of nine counts of cruelty to children, and false imprisonment.

The parents of five special needs children at the north Fulton County school reported Pickens slammed them against lockers and walls, restrained them alone in the dark, and screamed and used foul language in 2006 and 2007.

Citizens’ University to kick off for 11th year

Citizens’ University to kick off for 11th year

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Fulton County’s Citizens’ University begins April 2 for the 11th consecutive year.

The 12-week intensive training program provides citizens with a close-up view of how their local government works. Participants can gain a better understanding of County government, the available services and the role of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.

Commissioner Joan Garner, District 4, has taken the lead in continuing Citizens’ University, which is an initiative originally led by former Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards.

Citizens’ University students learn how laws are proposed, passed and amended and they personally interact with key management personnel. Participants are urged to take what they learn back to their communities to strengthen ties between communities and their government and encourage more collaboration to enhance the quality of life in Fulton County.

Alpharetta blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

Alpharetta blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

ATLANTA (WXIA) -- An Alpharetta man was hacked to death in Bangladesh's largest city -- apparently an act of retaliation for a blog he wrote from his home.

Avijit Roy was from Bangladesh but has lived in Alpharetta for years. He wrote a blog in Bengali and in English which used science to debunk some of the doctrine of Islam. Islam is the official religion of Bangladesh -- and its extremist elements have become more visible and violent in recent years.

Thursday on a university campus in Bangladesh's largest city, men with meat cleavers attacked and killed Roy in front of countless onlookers. Friday his Atlanta area admirers are grieving.

"It is scary and especially in the place that this happened," said Jashim Uddin of the Bangladesh American Association of Georgia. "As a community, we condemn these kinds of acts, the barbarous and heinous act that was done by some miscreant in Bangladesh."

Weekend roadwork: More sign and bridge work

Weekend roadwork: More sign and bridge work

(WXIA) -- Once again, drivers in the Atlanta area are asked to avoid non-essential travel on Interstate 285 this weekend.

Georgia Department of Transportation road crews will work on several stretches of roads and highways throughout the area Friday night through Monday morning. Many of the projects will require lane closures, which could result in delays.

As always, all work is weather permitting. See this weekend's forecast.

Scheduled projects include:

Coweta County
1 southbound lane of I-85 will be closed at Sharpsburg-McCullum Road from 9 p.m. Friday to 12 p.m. Monday for barrier wall installation.

DeKalb County
2 northbound lanes of I-285 will be closed between Covington Highway and I-20 from 7:30 p.m. Saturday to 7:30 a.m. Sunday for sign structure work.

$100M hotel, conference center planned for Avalon


(Atlanta Business Chronicle) A more-than-$100 million hotel and conference center could anchor the second phase of Alpharetta's Avalon development, providing a needed amenity for the more than 600 tech companies clustered in the affluent city.

Atlanta-based Stormont Hospitality Group LLC has teamed up with Avalon developer North American Properties to propose the Alpharetta Conference Center and Hotel Avalon.