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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.

Fulton County's unemployment rate was 6.5 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: Fulton County

Ga. health rankings: Fulton 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.

Fulton is Georgia's 20th healthiest county, according to the data. It ranks 24th for quality of life, 6th for health behaviors (such as smoking and obesity), 14th for clinical care, 60th for social and economic factors (like graduation rates and violent crimes), and 156th for physical environment.

Here are some interesting takeaways about Fulton County:

911 recording from train fatality released


ATLANTA – The death of a local fitness expert by a freight train was addressed at a National Transportation Safety Board hearing on Tuesday.

Achilles Williams died after being struck by a train on March 16.

Investigators say Williams was not on the tracks, but was close enough to them to be struck as the freight train went by. They say he apparently misjudged the width of the train in relation to the size of the tracks.

Gardening tips available at Fulton County Extension Offices

Gardening tips available at Fulton County Extension Offices

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Spring is the optimum time for planting a variety of shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials and seeds but, before tilling the earth, it is important to consider your specific plant needs and your area's climate. Fulton County Cooperative Extension Agents are available to provide guidance to assist residents with growing successful gardens and beautifying their yards.

The University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (UGA CAES) provide helpful tips on line to help you get started.

“Spring is one of our favorite seasons simply because we get to help budding gardeners achieve their dreams of producing a successful garden,” states Menia, Director of Fulton County Cooperative Extension. “Whether it’s a flower garden or vegetable garden, our extension agents are able to provide expert guidance to county residents.”

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Man given life sentence in Atlanta rape, carjacking


ATLANTA (AP) - Fulton County prosecutors say a man has been given a life sentence for raping a woman in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood in March 2013.

Prosecutors said Monday that 20-year-old Torrance Hambrick was sentenced on charges of rape, aggravated sodomy, kidnapping, hijacking a motor vehicle and weapons charges.

Prosecutors say Hambrick was in a group of men who forced their way into the victim's car at a stoplight and pulled a gun on her. Prosecutors say Hambrick and accomplice Willie Tims took turns sexually assaulting the woman in the backseat.

Authorities have said two weeks after the attack, Tims called the victim and was arrested after texting a picture of himself to her. Tims was given two life sentences plus 70 years.

A third defendant, Steven Brown, was sentenced to 30 years.

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.

Railroad company: Trainer was trespassing when struck


ATLANTA -- A railroad company says a popular trainer was trespassing when he was struck and killed Tuesday in Buckhead.

Norfolk Southern Railroad is still investigating the accident that killed Achilles Williams at the train tracks near Roxboro Road and East Paces Ferry Road. The company said that Williams and a friend were on the property without their permission while they shot a YouTube video.

The company said the operator of the train repeatedly sounded his horn and bell before striking the 30-year-old fitness expert.