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Metro Atlanta unemployment drops to 6.1 percent

Metro Atlanta unemployment drops to 6.1 percent

(WXIA) -- The Atlanta area's unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in February, down from January's 6.2 percent. It was also down a full point from the rate of 7.1 percent in February 2014.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate was 6.6 percent last month.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the drop was due to fewer layoffs and more new jobs. Many of the gains came in business, construction, education, government, and leisure and hospitality.

Nearly 39 percent fewer new claims for unemployment insurance were filed in February as well.

Metro Gainesville had Georgia's lowest February unemployment rate, at 5.1 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 8.1 percent.

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Ga. health rankings: DeKalb County

Ga. health rankings: DeKalb County

(WXIA) -- A new report offers detailed health statistics for each of Georgia's counties.

The findings, which are posted at countyhealthrankings.org, determined that Forsyth is Georgia's healthiest county. Early is the least healthy.

DeKalb is Georgia's 19th healthiest county, according to the data. It ranks 25th for quality of life, 8th for health behaviors (such as smoking and obesity), 8th for clinical care, 64th for social and economic factors (like graduation rates and violent crimes), and 128th for physical environment.

Here are some interesting takeaways about DeKalb County:

Weekend roadwork: The usual suspects

Weekend roadwork: The usual suspects

(WXIA) -- It's going to be "more of the same" on the Atlanta area's highways and interstates this weekend, as Georgia Department of Transportation crews take to the streets.

Drivers are asked to avoid travel on interstates 20 and 285, if possible. GDOT will close lanes in several areas, which could result in lengthy delays.

As always, all work is weather permitting.

Interstate 20

Three eastbound lanes will be closed between Langhorn and McDaniel streets from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.

Two westbound lanes will be closed between the Downtown Connector and Langhorn Street from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.

Two westbound lanes will be closed between Fulton Industrial Boulevard and I-285 from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.

DeKalb DA seeks death penalty in bus stop murder

DeKalb DA seeks death penalty in bus stop murder

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James announced Thursday that he plans to seek the death penalty for the man accused of shooting a woman to death at a bus stop.

Christopher Merritt, 18, was indicted last month for killing Marcaysia Dawkins. The 19-year-old victim was murdered Nov. 23, 2014 at the MARTA bus stop on Fairington Road in Lithonia. Investigators said Merritt approached Dawkins and tried to steal her purse. She fought back, prompting Merritt to shoot her twice.

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Stone Mountain toddler found walking in middle of street


STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- Tina Luster and her husband say they were on their way to work when they saw a 2-year-old child wandering in the middle of a busy residential street, alone.

Luster said they called 911 then started asking the boy questions, trying to learn anything they could about where he might live. She said the boy didn't have shoes, just a T-shirt and a dirty diaper. She wrapped a jacket around him.

"No sight of how he got out and no sight of any individual looking for him," said Luster.

She said it took two phone calls and about 30 minutes for DeKalb County police to arrive. In that time, all she was able to figure out was that he was cold and probably hungry.

Police were able to go door-to-door and quickly identify his mother. Police say she was upstairs and believed the child was downstairs watching TV. There's still no word on how the toddler got outside.

Pike Nurseries Becomes an Employee-owned Company

Pike Nurseries management is pleased to announce the company has combined with Armstrong Garden Centers, its sister corporation in California, to operate under an established Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). The plan transfers ownership to Pike Nurseries and Armstrong Garden Centers employees through a defined contribution benefit program. 

 

“The ESOP program allows us to reward our employees for their hard work and longevity with the company,” said Mike Kunce, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Pike Nurseries and Armstrong Garden Centers. “This structure not only enables management continuity, but also ensures the employees who have built and sustained Pike Nurseries and Armstrong Garden Centers play an integral part in the future success of the business.”

 

Ephren Taylor sentenced to 20 years in prison for church swindling


ATLANTA (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a businessman accused of swindling churchgoers in an investment scheme has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison.

Authorities say 32-year-old Ephren Taylor II of Overland Park, Kansas was sentenced Tuesday to 19 years and seven months.

Prosecutors have said Taylor, former chief executive of North Carolina-based City Capital Corporation, convinced members of mostly African-American churches across the country to invest in small businesses and used their money to pay personal expenses. Prosecutors say more than 400 people invested more than $16 million in the scheme.

Taylor's accomplice, 46-year-old Wendy Connor of Raleigh, North Carolina has also been sentenced to five years in prison.

Taylor is ordered to pay more than $15.5 million in restitution. Connor is ordered to pay more than $5.8 million in restitution.