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T.MAC raises money for Christopher Sparkman

T.MAC raises money for Christopher Sparkman

(WXIA) -- All 22 Atlanta-area T.MAC restaurants will raise money for Christopher Sparkman this week.

Sparkman was working as a security guard at a Kennesaw FedEx facility last April when he was shot in the abdomen. Since the shooting, Sparkman has undergone more than 30 surgeries. His wife Jamie Lynn quit her job to help take care of him.

Read more about Chris Sparkman's recovery

The Sparkman family faces enormous medical bills; Jamie Lynn has spoken publicly about the need for financial assistance.

T.MAC customers who want to help Sparkman pay for his treatment can do so on Thursday, Apr. 2. Diners can drop their receipts in designated collection boxes; 10 percent of their bills will be donated to the Sparkman family.

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.

Gwinnett County's unemployment rate was 5.5 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.

Ga. health rankings: Gwinnett County

Ga. health rankings: Gwinnett 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.

Gwinnett is Georgia's 2nd healthiest county, according to the data. It ranks 4th for quality of life, 7th for health behaviors (such as smoking and obesity), 32nd for clinical care, 15th for social and economic factors (like graduation rates and violent crimes), and 142nd for physical environment.

Here are some interesting takeaways about Gwinnett County:

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.

Pike Nurseries to Host ‘Super Strawberry Saturday’ on March 14

Pike Nurseries to Host ‘Super Strawberry Saturday’ on March 14

 With spring comes the start of strawberry planting season!Pike Nurseries is gearing up to host its annual Super Strawberry Saturday event at all store locations on March 14 to celebrate this famed fruit. During the devoted day, customers can enjoy complimentary strawberry lemonade and samples of McCutcheon's Jalapeno Strawberry BBQ Sauce while supplies last. Guests will even receive a FREE bareroot strawberry plant of their own to take home and harvest!

Area unemployment rate climbs in January

Area unemployment rate climbs in January

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate climbed to 6.2 percent in January.

That's up from December's 6.0 percent, but considerably lower than the 7.1 percent in January 2014.

Gwinnett County's unemployment rate was 5.5 percent this January.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the rate increased because of the loss of about 35,100 jobs, mostly seasonal positions.

But the Atlanta area had the largest January-to-January job growth ever recorded, adding 104,400 jobs over the course of the year.

The metropolitan Atlanta area consists of 29 counties, including the recently added Morgan County.

Metro Gainesville had January's lowest jobless rate, at 5.2 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 8.3 percent.

Gwinnett County Schools to hire 800 teachers

Gwinnett County Schools to hire 800 teachers

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- Gwinnett County Public Schools plans to hire 800 new teachers for the 2015-2016 school year.

The state's largest school system will hold a Certified Teacher Career Fair on Saturday, March 28 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.

To attend, register at gcpsjobs.org. A limited number of interview times are available. Those selected for an interview will receive email confirmation, the school district said.

At this year's Career Fair, GCPS is searching for "highly qualified educators" who hold certificates or will be certified by the fall of 2015 in: