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Unemployment rate didn't change in December

Unemployment rate didn't change in December

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate went unchanged last month. The rate was 6.4 in December 2014, the same as it was in November 2014. It was 6.8 percent in December 2013.

Cherokee County's December unemployment rate was 5.2 percent.

While the unemployment rate didn't budge, the Atlanta area gained 64,700 jobs last year, the largest December-to-December job growth in nearly 10 years. Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said many of the new positions were in trade and transportation; business services; leisure and hospitality; financial services; manufacturing; education and health care; government; and construction.

Butler said Georgia has been in the top 10 states for job creation every month since October 2012.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest December unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 8.8 percent.

Cherokee court reporters convicted of racketeering

Cherokee court reporters convicted of racketeering

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. -- Three former Cherokee County court reporters will spend time in jail after pleading guilty to stealing from the county.

All three women were convicted Tuesday of racketeering. They were sentenced in Cobb County Superior Court.

Betty Petersen, Kimberly Probst and Tammy Stine were arrested last September after an investigation by the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. Police learned that since 2006, the three had billed the county for court transcripts that did not exist. They also expanded the spacing in their reports to increase the number of pages transcribed.

Woodstock Police locate missing teen

WOODSTOCK, GA (WXIA) -- Woodstock Police said they found 16-year-old Zahra Awan late Tuesday evening.

They had earlier asked for the public's help locating the teen, who they said had been missing from an area near South Cherokee Lane.

Police said they thank the public for looking out for her.

Super speller wins third Cherokee County bee

Super speller wins third Cherokee County bee

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. -- She's a C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N -- again.

Last week, Mill Creek Middle School seventh grader Sathvika Narasimhan won the Cherokee County Spelling Bee for the third consecutive year. She was also runner-up at last year's state spelling bee.

Julia Barfield, who's in fifth grade at Macedonia Elementary, placed second in the county-level bee. Freedom Middle School eighth grader Sam Rowe came in third. All three students will represent Cherokee County at the district spelling bee in Cobb County on Feb. 28.

PHOTOS | Cherokee County Spelling Bee participants

More than 30 Cherokee County students participated in last Thursday's bee, attempting to spell 80 tricky words such as "pusillanimous," "jocularity" and "berserk."

Weekend roadwork: Sign structure and bridge repairs

Weekend roadwork: Sign structure and bridge repairs

(WXIA) -- Drivers in the Atlanta area are asked to avoid the southwest side of Interstate 285 this weekend, as construction crews will complete road projects in the area.

Weekend roadwork will take place on several other stretches of highway and interstate throughout metro Atlanta as well. The rainy weather may delay some projects.

Planned work includes:

Coweta County
* 1 northbound lane of I-85 will be closed between two miles north of Highway 34 and McCollum-Sharpsburg Road from 8 a.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for sweeping.

Pike Nurseries to host free 'Houseplants for a Healthy 2015' class

Pike Nurseries to host free 'Houseplants for a Healthy 2015' class

ATLANTA -- Not only do houseplants bring in much needed color during the bare winter months, but they also play an important health role by improving air quality! Research has revealed that certain common houseplants can actually create a cleaner environment by releasing oxygen and removing contaminants – like formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia – from a room’s air efficiently.

To help customers create a cleaner, greener and healthier home, Pike Nurseries is hosting a FREE “Houseplants for a Healthy 2015” customer class at all garden center locations onSaturday, Jan. 24 at 9 a.m.

During the informational seminar, guests will learn about houseplant health benefits, popular plant options and proper care guidelines. With expert tips from Pike Nurseries, guests can keep their homes healthy and “green” all year-round!

$5 Blueberry Crunchcakes at J. Christopher's

$5 Blueberry Crunchcakes at J. Christopher's

(WXIA) -- Wednesday, Jan. 28 is National Blueberry Pancake Day. All Atlanta-area J. Christopher's restaurants will celebrate the beloved holiday with a special on the chain's signature Blueberry Crunchcakes.

From Jan. 26-30, J. Christopher's will offer a short stack of Blueberry Crunchcakes for only $5.

Blueberry Crunchcakes are blueberry pancakes topped with fortified granola and more blueberries.

Visit jchristophers.com to find a location.