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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.

Newton County's unemployment rate was 8.1 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.

AP exam participation: Newton County

AP exam participation: Newton County

(WXIA) -- More Georgia high school students are taking -- and passing -- Advanced Placement exams.

Last school year, 89,806 Georgia students took 154,176 AP exams. That's an 8 percent increase in the number of participants and almost a 9 percent increase in the number of tests.

AP exams are graded on a scale of 1 to 5. Passing scores of 3, 4 or 5 often allow the test-takers to earn college credit.

Georgia's seniors earned 86,075 passing scores on their AP exams in 2014, a 9.6 percent increase over 2013.

English Language and Composition was the state's most popular AP exam, followed by U.S. History and World History.

In Newton County, 485 students took 775 AP exams in 2014, and 323 of those exams earned passing scores.

Here are the AP exam breakdowns for each Newton County public high school:

Alcovy HS
158 students took 263 exams
97 passing scores

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:

2014 SAT scores: Newton County

2014 SAT scores: Newton County

(WXIA) -- Georgia's 2014 SAT scores were released Tuesday morning.

About 77 percent of the state's high school seniors took the test in 2014. Mean scores include:

State of Georgia
Critical Reading: 488
Math: 485
Writing: 472

In Newton County, 576 students took the SAT in 2014. Mean scores include:

Newton County
Critical Reading: 458
Math: 442
Writing: 446

Here are the SAT breakdowns for each Newton County public high school:

Alcovy HS
219 test-takers
Critical Reading: 443
Math: 424
Writing: 431

Eastside HS
184 test-takers
Critical Reading: 482
Math: 468
Writing: 470

Newton HS
173 test-takers
Critical Reading: 452
Math: 438
Writing: 441

Teacher accused of inappropriate relationship with student

Teacher accused of inappropriate relationship with student

NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. – A Newton County teacher is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old student.

According to the Newton County Sheriff's Office, Victoria Tatum, 24, was arrested Tuesday on charges of aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, sexual assault and enticing a child for indecent purposes.

Newton County School System spokesperson Sheri Davis-Viniard said that Tatum was a math teacher at Newton High School. A background check came back negative for charges when Tatum was hired in July.

Tatum has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation of the sheriff's office and the school system, Davis-Viniard said.

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.

Newton County's preliminary unemployment rate was 8.8 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.