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Man charged with arson in Roswell church fire


ROSWELL, Ga. -- Authorities have charged a man with arson in a suspicious church fire in Roswell.

The fire did major damage to part of the Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church on Old Alabama Road early Sunday.

While en route to the scene, a police officer spotted 24-year-old Juan Carlos Ramirez allegedly running down the street naked.

Ramirez was arrested on disorderly conduct charges. Once in custody, police said he confessed to starting the fire at the church, as well as three other blazes in the surrounding woods. No motive was given for the fires, police said.

Church members spent Sunday cleaning up the debris and salvaging what they could. A wall of the sanctuary is gone, and a number of things were damaged in the altar area. The pew cushions and carpet were saturated with soot and water.

North Fulton voters can vote absentee by mail for special election

North Fulton voters can vote absentee by mail for special election

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Some North Fulton County voters may prefer to vote absentee by mail for State House District 50.

To request an absentee ballot, registered voters may fax or mail a written request for an absentee ballot. Voters can vote absentee by mail for any reason. Citizens can request an absentee ballot through Friday, Jan. 2.

Election Day is Tuesday, Jan. 6. Requests for absentee ballots may be submitted now.

Absentee VOTE BY MAIL

Eligible voters (meaning registered voters) desiring to vote by mail may do so without providing a reason or identification if they mail in their application for a ballot. However, this does not apply to voters who registered for the first time in Georgia by mail and did not provide ID with their registration application.

Weekend roadwork: Once again, avoid I-20 on the west side

Weekend roadwork: Once again, avoid I-20 on the west side

(WXIA) -- Drivers are asked to avoid non-essential travel on Interstate 20 on Atlanta's west side this weekend.

Georgia Department of Transportation crews will perform several road projects on I-20 as well as other areas of metro Atlanta. Lane closures and delays are expected.

All work is weather permitting.

This weekend's work by county includes:

Cobb County
* Two northbound lanes of Cobb Parkway will be closed at the Chattahoochee River on Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon for pavement repairs.
* Two southbound lanes of Cobb Parkway will be closed at the Chattahoochee River on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. for pavement repairs.

Atlanta-area unemployment decreases in October

Atlanta-area unemployment decreases in October

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate fell again last month.

October's rate was 7.0 percent, down from September's 7.3 percent. It was 7.6 percent in October 2013.

Fulton County's unemployment rate was 7.9 percent last month.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the area added 18,800 jobs in October, which contributed to the rate decrease. Metro Atlanta has added nearly 58,000 jobs since October of last year. Fewer area residents filed for unemployment insurance last month too.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest October unemployment rate, at 5.4 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 9.3 percent.

Reward increased for info on Roswell officer attack


ROSWELL, Ga. -- CrimeStoppers is offering a $5,000 reward as part of their investigation into an attack on a Roswell police officer last month.

Officer John Lathem was patrolling the parking lot of Champion Green Apartments when he noticed two men acting suspiciously. When he approached them, they got into a scuffle.

One of the suspects reportedly cut Lathem in the face and on the arm with a knife.

Police released sketches of the suspects.

Anyone who recognizes them is asked to call Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-TIPS.


Last weekend of roadwork for a while

Last weekend of roadwork for a while

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Transportation has good news and bad news.

The bad news: Scheduled road maintenance will make weekend commutes difficult in several spots around Atlanta.

The good news: It's the last major construction weekend before workers take a break for Thanksgiving.

This weekend's projects include:

Clayton County
* 2 northbound lanes of I-75 will be closed at Highway 138 from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for concrete replacement.

Clayton/Henry counties
* 2 northbound lanes of I-75 will be closed between Hudson Bridge Road/Eagles Landing Parkway and Mount Zion Boulevard from 9 p.m. Friday to 9 p.m. Sunday for concrete slab replacement.

Jewish center mentioned in backpack bomb device


ROSWELL, Ga. (WXIA) -- The Marcus Jewish Community Center says it was been alerted by the FBI that a suspicious backpack found in Roswell two weeks ago contained some type of link to the Jewish Center.

ID=70029316

"The JCC's name was in that package," said Marcus Jewish Community Center Chief Executive Officer Gail Luxenberg.

A mother and daughter found the backpack near a walking trail in Vickery Creek Park. The FBI said the backpack contained bomb making materials.