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Teen critical after Decatur house fire, neighbor gets family out


DECATUR, Ga. -- A 17-year-old boy is in critical condition after a Decatur house fire this morning.

According to DeKalb Fire Capt. Eric Jackson, the fire started around 7:45 a.m. on Bluebird Lane.

Four people were in the home at the time: a mother and her three kids, ages 3, 10 and 17.

Capt. Jackson told 11Alive's Blayne Alexander, the two youngest children and mother suffered only minor injuries. The 17-year-old was conscious when removed from the house. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital.

Firefighters are crediting a neighbor, Eddie Hamilton, with saving the children. According to firefighters, Hamilton ran to the home and broke out a front window, jumped in and pulled the 17-year-old through the smoke to a window, where firefighters removed him from the house.

Secretary sentenced for stealing from VA

Secretary sentenced for stealing from VA

ATLANTA -- A former secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs has been sentenced for stealing from the agency.

Zerry Feaster pleaded guilty in June to seven counts of theft of government funds and five counts of making false statements.

A federal judge sentenced Feaster, 46, of Ellenwood to one year and one month in prison followed by three years of supervised release. She must also pay $88,264.47 in restitution.

Feaster worked in Police Services at the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur. Between 2010 and early 2012, she used her government-issued credit card to buy prepaid gift cards, which she used to pay for jewelry and accessories. She also used the cards for gambling.

"Rather than supporting the men and women who have served our country honorably, Ms. Feaster stole from the VA to gamble and buy herself luxury goods at Coach and Tiffany," said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.

DeKalb court under fire for false arrests, imprisonment


DECATUR, Ga. (WXIA) – The DeKalb County Recorder's Court is under fire for problems tied to the arrest of several innocent people – and they may be responsible for placing an unknown number of other people at risk.

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A lawsuit was scheduled to be filed in DeKalb County on Friday. Among the allegations – innocent people arrested, innocent lives shattered, constitutional rights violated.

For TeReon Kelsey, the act of getting behind the wheel of a car takes an act of personal courage. Driving is what led to one of the worst days in her life.

Continue to avoid the Perimeter this weekend

Continue to avoid the Perimeter this weekend

(WXIA) -- This weekend is expected to be hot, and the Georgia Department of Transportation will take advantage of the weather by using Friday, Saturday and Sunday to work on some much-needed road improvements.

WEATHER | 11Alive meteorologist Chesley McNeil has your weekend forecast

Like last weekend, drivers are asked to avoid Interstate 285 if possible. Lane closures will result in major delays.

Scheduled I-285 projects include:

Unemployment climbs again in July

Unemployment climbs again in July

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate was 8.0 percent in July, up from 7.5 percent in June. The rate was 8.3 percent in July 2013.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate was 8.3 percent last month.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the increase was due to seasonal layoffs in manufacturing and education. Many of those workers have since returned to their jobs.

In addition, metro Atlanta's private sector created 8,900 jobs in July. Most of the positions were in business; trade and transportation; finance and information services; leisure and hospitality; and construction.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest July jobless rate at 6.6 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 11.4 percent.

Weavers rebuild their lives, one creation at a time


(WXIA) -- "Magic happens in here," Lisa Wise said from inside a low-slung building at the back of a gravel drive on the outskirts of Decatur.

Wise is executive director at Initiative for Affordable Housing. The magic she is talking about involves a rhythm made by pedals, pushing, pulling and patience.

"Weaving has been around since the beginning of time," Wise said. "It's an old, old craft. It's very tactile."

Discarded and landfill-bound fabrics line the shelves inside this little shop. Plastic bags from Target, Kroger and Publix get permanent second lives as they are made into rugs and even purses.

Faye Rutledge puts something else into everything she makes -- herself.

"Every product I did was a therapy session," she said. "You bang as hard as you want, and you just bang it all out."

Antionette Tuff reflects on 1 year since McNair Shooting


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ATLANTA -- It's been one year since Antoinette Tuff talked down a gunman in the lobby of the McNair Learning Academy. Today, Tuff is still working at the DeKalb County school and running her non-profit.

On August 20, 2013, Michael Brandon Hill walked into McNair Learning Academy with an assault rifle. Once inside, he held school employees hostage and fired at responding officers. They fired back and he eventually dropped his weapon.

One of those employees was Antoinette Tuff, the school bookkeeper.