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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.

Paulding County's December unemployment rate was 5.9 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.

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Missing Paulding teen found safe

Missing Paulding teen found safe

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. -- A Paulding County teen who went missing while riding his four wheeler has been found safe.

Holden Michael Astrachan, 17, disappeared Wednesday afternoon in the Victoria Heights subdivision off Ivey Gulledge Road, just north of Dallas.

Police said Astrachan experienced a mechanical problem with his green Honda four wheeler. He left it behind and tried to walk home, but got lost. He was found at around 9 a.m. Thursday, and was reportedly in good health.

Investigators began searching for him at around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, when his friends first reported him missing.

Paulding teen wins $350K lottery prize

Paulding teen wins $350K lottery prize

ATLANTA – One lucky Paulding County man has amassed an ample prize from the Georgia Lottery. Justin Kennedy Jr. of Dallas played the sports-themed Atlanta Falcons Player Payday instant ticket, winning a $350,000 top prize.

The 19 year old purchased his winning ticket at Coastal Food Mart, 250 Merchants Drive in Dallas.

Kennedy claimed his prize Jan. 23 at Georgia Lottery headquarters in Atlanta.

“I chose this ticket because I win something just about every time,” he explained. “I scratched this ticket from the bottom to the top and saw the matching No. 9.”

While in the store’s parking lot, Kennedy shouted.

“I said, ‘Dude, I just won,’ ” he recalled. “I was too excited.”

With his windfall, Kennedy anticipates purchasing a new house and car.

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.

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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.

Local teen dreams of ending world poverty

Local teen dreams of ending world poverty

DALLAS, Ga. – A local teen is front and center in the fight to end world poverty.

Isabella Faucett, a 15-year-old from Dallas, Ga., joined two dozen other teens in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to meet with State Department officials to share their thoughts on how to change the future.

Faucett wants to be a neo-natal surgeon and perform stand-up comedy on the side.

East Paulding HS to retire Zack Wheeler's jersey

East Paulding HS to retire Zack Wheeler's jersey

DALLAS, Ga. -- East Paulding High School will retire alumnus and professional baseball player Zack Wheeler's jersey this weekend.

Wheeler graduated from East Paulding High in 2009 and was the sixth overall pick in that year's MLB draft. He was selected by the San Francisco Giants, then was traded to the New York Mets in 2011.

Wheeler made his major league debut on June 18, 2013, against the Atlanta Braves. He is currently a starting pitcher for the Mets.

The jersey retirement ceremony will be Saturday, Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m., in the East Paulding High gymnasium. While playing for the Raiders, Wheeler compiled a 95-36 record and was named the 2009 Gatorade High School Baseball Player of the Year for Georgia.

Wheeler's jersey will be retired during halftime of Saturday's varsity basketball game.