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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.

Fulton County's unemployment rate was 8.2 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.

Police release video of smash and grab burglaries


SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. (WXIA) -- It has been more than a week since two men burglarized eight businesses on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs. They smashed their way into each business through the front door.

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On Tuesday Sandy Springs Police released surveillance video from two of the burglaries, in hopes of finding out who did it.

The video shows the suspects smashing the front doors to the businesses and jumping the counters to get at cash registers. They try to smash open the cash registers and if they can't, they take them with them.

Police capture suspected jewel thief


SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. (WXIA) -- Police believe they've busted a jewel thief who was stealing from homes across Metro Atlanta. They say this is a thief who had it easy – the homeowners were actually letting her inside.

Police say the jewel thief they arrested is a house cleaner. She would come into the homes to clean, and then clean the jewelry out.

Police say the jewel thief worked for at least two house-cleaning businesses.

They say while she was inside the homes in parts of Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Atlanta and Cobb County, she would steal all the jewelry she could find. More than $60,000 worth of stolen jewelry has been linked to her so far.

Police arrested suspect Rosa Umana, who turns 22 this week, along with her husband.

Fulton County offers 2 early voting weekends

Fulton County offers 2 early voting weekends

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Fulton County registered voters will have the opportunity to vote on Saturday and Sunday for the next two weekends.

During the weekend of Oct. 18 -19, seven Fulton County locations will be open for early voting.

During the weekend of Oct. 25 – 26, 19 Fulton County locations will be open for early voting.

Fulton County is offering more weekend voting opportunities than any other Georgia County. Residents are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the early voting period, including weekend voting.

“We hope that our expanded dates and locations for early voting will encourage more Fulton County registered voters to cast their ballots,” said Richard L. Barron, Director of the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections. "Voting early reduces lines on Election Day and is more convenient for voters."

Fulton County Early Voting Locations

Monday, October 13 - Friday, October 31

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.

Doctor gets 25 years for child molestation


SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- A Sandy Springs doctor accused of child molestation accepted a plea deal Monday morning in Fulton County court.

Kelly Thrasher pleaded guilty to child molestation and aggravated sexual battery. A judge sentenced him to 25 years in prison and life on probation.

Thrasher, 41, used a legal maneuver to plead guilty because it is in his best interest, not because he is, in fact, guilty.

Investigators said Thrasher molested his daughter's best friend during a slumber party at his home in November 2012. He was also accused of sexually assaulting a woman in her 30's, but that charge was dropped as part of his plea deal.

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: