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Victim whose car went into pond was Fulton Co. teacher


PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga. -- The Gwinnett medical examiner has identified the woman who died after her car plunged into a pond Wednesday morning.

According to a Gwinnett County press release, it happened around 7:30 a.m.

53-year-old Laura Jones Tavel from Duluth was driving east on Peachtree Corners Circle (between Peachtree Parkway and Medlock Bridge Road) when she went off the road around a curve and into a retention pond.

Tavel was a teacher at River Trail Middle School in Fulton County.

Thursday the school issued the follow statement:

Fulton County Schools and River Trail Middle School express their deepest condolences to Mrs. Tavel's family. She was a seventh grade social studies teacher since the school opened in 2001 and had developed many caring relationships with students, parents and coworkers.

Neighbor saves man from Norcross house fire

Neighbor saves man from Norcross house fire

NORCROSS, Ga. -- No one was hurt when a fire broke out at a single-story house in Norcross Wednesday night.

Crews responded shortly after 9 p.m. to the home in the 5700 block of Hammond Drive.

Gwinnett County Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said the house was fully involved when firefighters arrived. In addition to the engulfed house, a car inside the attached garage caught fire, and an electrical service line came down in front of the structure. A second car parked in the driveway was also heavily damaged.

Rutledge said the homeowner was asleep inside the house when the fire began. A neighbor who was changing a tire in his driveway spotted smoke pouring from the garage and banged on the house's door until the man awoke.

No one was hurt, but two adults were displaced by the blaze. Rutledge said they will be helped by family members.

The house is a total loss.

Norcross girl recounts harrowing trip from Guatemala


NORCROSS, GA -- Until six years ago, her home was Guatemala. That's when then-seven year old Nora Colocho left her home with a smuggler who took her into the southern border of the US.

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"Someone brought me here," the 13 year-old said in her Norcross home. "We got caught by the police. They separated me from him, and then I went to the jail."

As has been the case with countless unaccompanied minors from central America, Nora ended up in the custody of the US government -- and spent several frightening weeks in a detention center.

'Fragments of Time' to open at Kudzu Gallery

'Fragments of Time' to open at Kudzu Gallery

NORCROSS, Ga. -- "Fragments of Time," the next exhibit at Gwinnett County's Kudzu Gallery and Art Zone, opens Friday, Aug. 8.

Works in the collection show the artists' interpretations of moments in time. A variety of styles and media will be featured in "Fragments of Time."

An opening day reception will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The show closes Saturday, Sept. 6.

Kudzu Gallery and Art Zone is located at 116 Carlyle Street in Norcross. Visit kudzuartzone.org for more information.

Thousands enroll in Ga. Pre-K Program

Thousands enroll in Ga. Pre-K Program

(WXIA) -- More than 80,000 Georgia children are enrolled in the state's Pre-K Program for the 2014-15 school year.

Pre-K is open to all 4 year olds, regardless of household income. Assistant commissioner Susan Adams said that it is the first school experience for many children.

"For this reason, we take our roles very seriously, and we work really hard to provide Georgia's children with positive and meaningful experiences," Adams said in a release.

In Pre-K, students study language, literacy and math while making new friends and building foundations for lifelong learning. The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning recommends parents visit their children's classrooms in advance to familiarize them with their new surroundings, and dress them in comfortable clothes and shoes every day. If students have a tendency to feel lonely, parents can send them to school with family photos to cheer them up, and blankets or stuffed animals to snuggle at naptime.

Atlanta-area unemployment jumps in June

Atlanta-area unemployment jumps in June

(WXIA) -- The unemployment rate in metro Atlanta climbed again last month.

June's rate was 7.6 percent, up from 7.2 percent in May, but much lower than last June's 8.6 percent.

Gwinnett County's unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in June.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the increase is due to end-of-summer job loss among non-contract school workers, an influx of graduates and students entering the workforce, and temporary layoffs in manufacturing.

So far, metro Atlanta has gained slightly more than 58,000 jobs in 2014 -- a good sign for those who are looking for work.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest June unemployment rate, at 6.3 percent. The highest was 10.4 percent, in the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region.

Man charged with felony murder in death of girlfriend's son


NORCROSS, Ga. -- Police have charged a 23-year-old man with felony murder in the death of his girlfriend's son in Gwinnett County.

Police spokesperson Cpl. Jake Smith says officers responded to an apartment home on Graves Road in unincorporated Norcross Monday. They found 16-month-old Noah Nolan not breathing and took him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police arrested Cody Williams, the mother's boyfriend.

According to the arrest warrant, Williams struck the child in the face twice with the heel of his hand and shook the child roughly. When 911 was called, the child was no longer breathing. Police say Williams was watching his girlfriend's son and his older sister at the apartment where they all lived. Williams was originally charged with child cruelty, but that charge was upgraded to murder late Tuesday afternoon.