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Atlanta-area unemployment drops to 7.3 percent

Atlanta-area unemployment drops to 7.3 percent

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate fell seven-tenths of a point in September.

Last month's rate was 7.3 percent, well below August's 8.0 percent. The unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in September 2013.

Carroll County's unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in September.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said there were nearly 20,000 fewer unemployed people in Atlanta last month, and companies reported fewer layoffs. Industries that added jobs in September include government; education and health services; construction; and trade and transportation.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest unemployment rate in September, at 5.7 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 9.5 percent.

Weekend roadwork: The I-285 debacle continues

Weekend roadwork: The I-285 debacle continues

(WXIA) -- It's going to be another messy weekend on metro Atlanta's highways.

The Georgia Department of Transportation encourages drivers to stay off Interstates 20 and 285 if they can.

As always, all work is weather permitting.

Scheduled construction projects include:

Bartow County
* 1 northbound lane of I-75 will be closed between two miles north of Glade Road and one mile south of Allatoona Road from 9 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday for bridge maintenance.
* 1 northbound lane of I-75 will be closed between two miles north of Glade Road and one mile south of Allatoona Road from 7 a.m. Saturday to 5 p.m. Sunday for bridge maintenance.

Cobb County
* 1 lane of the I-75 southbound exit ramp to I-285 west will be closed from 9 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday for work on the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes project.

Factory offers teens school and job skills


CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. (WXIA) -- One Georgia company is not only turning around the high school dropout rate in the area, it's also preparing students for jobs as soon as they get a diploma.

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The program is called 12 For Life – to stress that the first 12 years of school are critical to everyone's future.

It looks like no other high school you've ever seen – outside and in, by design. It's part workplace, with plenty of classroom space.

"We have a factory and we built a schoolhouse inside the factory," said Stu Thorn, president and CEO of Southwire.

Weekend roadwork: Lots of projects on the schedule

Weekend roadwork: Lots of projects on the schedule

(WXIA) -- A major project on a heavily traveled interchange is bound to cause some headaches for Atlanta-area drivers this weekend.

It's just one of several scheduled construction sessions throughout the area. All work is weather permitting.

Crews will be hard at work on the Kennedy Interchange in Cobb County much of the weekend. The Kennedy Interchange is where Interstate 75 meets Interstate 285 in the Cumberland area.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said sign installation will require multiple lane closures on the Outer Loop of I-285 just before the exit ramp to Cobb Parkway and I-75 north. Two right lanes will close at 9 a.m. Saturday; that will expand to three lanes between 11 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday. Outer Loop traffic will also be paced in the area beginning at around 2 a.m. Sunday.

Other weekend road projects include:

Community pays tribute to Nizzear Rodriguez


CARROLLTON, Ga. -- For many people in Carrollton, Ga., the name "Nizzear" is becoming synonymous with change.

Nizzear Rodriguez had just turned 13 when he was shot to death while sleeping in his own bed.

Five people have been charged in the crime, but the community is now focusing on healing.

A once-dilapidated playground in Carrollton has undergone a makeover and now has a new name: The Nizzear Rodriguez Memorial Park.

Unemployment up slightly in August

Unemployment up slightly in August

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate climbed again in August.

The rate was 8.0 percent, up slightly from July's 7.9 percent. It was also 7.9 percent in August 2013.

Carroll County's preliminary unemployment rate was 9.0 percent last month.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said despite the rate increase, metro Atlanta added nearly 6,000 jobs in August, mostly in government; education and health services; manufacturing; and construction. Fewer Atlanta-area residents also filed for unemployment insurance in August than in July.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest August unemployment rate at 6.4 percent. Metro Dalton's was the highest at 10.7 percent.

Doctor sues Tanner Medical Center, alleges false billing

Doctor sues Tanner Medical Center, alleges false billing

VILLA RICA, Ga. -- Psychiatrist Randy Warner has sued Tanner Medical Center Inc. of Villa Rica, Ga., alleging Tanner falsely billed Georgia Medicaid for professional services he performed.

The lawsuit details 534 alleged false billing instances, from 2009 to 2012 that involved 178 indigent patients Tanner billed Medicaid for services Warner rendered. Civil penalties and damages are estimated to exceed $5 million.

Warner claims Tanner billed Medicaid and got payments for services he rendered at its Willowbrooke facility, even though he was not a Tanner employee. The medical facility had no authority to bill Medicaid but its actions consequently caused Warner’s legitimate billings to Medicaid to be denied, the suit alleges.