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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.

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.

Thieves target Nike store at new outlet mall

Thieves target Nike store at new outlet mall

WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- The Nike store at the new Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta in Woodstock was robbed overnight.

Police were dispatched to the outlet mall at around 1:15 a.m. Thursday. Responding officers found shattered glass from a window on the ground outside the store.

Surveillance cameras inside the store captured images of five people in hooded sweatshirts. They entered the store through the broken window and left with several items. There was no immediate word on how much money and merchandise was stolen.

Police believe the suspects arrived and left in two cars -- a dark-colored car and a light-colored mid-size car.

Anyone with information in this case is asked to call Woodstock police at 770-592-6021.

Woman killed in single-car accident

Woman killed in single-car accident

WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- A 43-year-old woman was killed when her SUV hit a tree in Woodstock Tuesday evening.

The accident happened shortly after 7 p.m. on Towne Lake Parkway, just east of Running Deer Parkway.

Cherokee County Sheriff's Lt. Jay Baker said the Lexus SUV ran into a tree in the median. Its driver, Cindy Lucas, was killed. She was alone in the vehicle.

Witnesses told police the SUV was driving erratically just before the crash. Baker said a medical condition may have contributed to the accident. Investigators also believe Lucas was not wearing a seat belt.

The wreck is under investigation.

The weekend roadwork is spreading

The weekend roadwork is spreading

(WXIA) -- As 2015 rolls on, Georgia Department of Transportation crews will roll too -- to sites across metro Atlanta, where they will work on weekend road projects. (At least it will be sunny!)

This weekend, drivers are encouraged to avoid travel on the west side of Interstate 20 and the east side of I-285, if possible. Delays and lane closures are expected in both areas. All work is weather permitting.

Some of the scheduled projects include:

Cobb County
* 2 eastbound lanes of I-285 will be closed at I-75 Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. for bridge joint repairs.

DeKalb/Fulton counties
* 3 northbound lanes of I-285 will be closed between I-20 and Ga. 400 from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for sign structure work.