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This Hour: Latest Georgia news, sports, business and entertainment

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GEORGIA UNEMPLOYMENT

Georgia jobless rate drops to 7 percent

ATLANTA (AP) - State labor officials say Georgia's unemployment rate has dropped to 7 percent, the lowest rate since September 2008.

The Georgia Department of Labor announced the new seasonally adjusted jobless rate on Thursday.

The rate is down from 7.1 percent in February and 8.4 percent in March a year ago.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the new number represents the ninth consecutive month that Georgia's unemployment rate has dropped.

He said the rate went down because employers are creating more jobs and laying off fewer workers.

Butler said the state added 27,400 jobs --- the most February-to-March job growth Georgia has seen in 10 years.

TURNER FIELD GUNS

Atlanta Braves change policy on guns in stadium

ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Braves will no longer allow some off-duty police officers to carry guns at Turner Field, which has prompted objections.

Under the team's new policy, off-duty officers from jurisdictions that don't include Turner Field will no longer be allowed to bring firearms into the stadium.

Tyrone Police Chief Brandon Perkins tells WSB-TV that the policy change will make the ball games less safe, adding that "armed good guys stop armed bad guys."

Jerry Henry, of the gun owner advocacy group Georgiacarry.org, called the new policy ridiculous.

The Braves said off-duty officers from departments in the stadium's jurisdiction, such as Atlanta police officers and Fulton County sheriff's deputies, may still bring weapons to games if they register them first with Atlanta police.

ISLAND LABORATORY

Old meat processing site now island research lab

OSSABAW ISLAND, Ga. (AP) - A former meat processing plant on a Georgia island has been transformed into a laboratory for scientists and students at Armstrong State University.

WSAV-TV reports that renovations to the 400-square-foot building on Ossabaw Island were recently completed by the Ossabaw Island Foundation.

Armstrong State officials say the new Ossabaw Field Lab grew out of a recommendation at a 2012 community meeting regarding ways to accommodate visits to the island by the university's biology students.

Armstrong intends to offer a coastal ecology class soon, utilizing the field lab and the island.

Biologists will be able to analyze their findings and extract DNA from plants and archaeologists will be able to clean and classify artifacts.

Ossabaw Island is a barrier island seven miles south of Savannah.

GAS STATION KILLING

Man killed, woman wounded in Union City shooting

UNION CITY, Ga. (AP) - Police southwest of Atlanta are investigating a shooting outside a gas station that left a man dead and a woman wounded.

The gunfire happened shortly after 10:15 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of a Chevron Station on Buffington Road in Union City.

Police tell CBS Atlanta that officers responding to a 911 call found the man dead and the woman shot multiple times. She was taken to a local hospital.

Few other details were available early Thursday morning.

Union City is 20 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta.

PEPPER SPRAY-STUDENTS

School officials ID 3 students in pepper spraying

DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. (AP) - Three Douglas County High School students are facing possible disciplinary action after school officials say they took turns releasing pepper spray from a can inside the school.

Douglasville police spokesman Maj. G. Graff says 75 to 100 students complained about itchy eyes and noses after the spray was set off Wednesday morning.

Douglasville Police Capt. J.R. Davidson tells the Douglas County Sentinel that authorities reviewed surveillance video to determine who was responsible. Douglas County Principal Tim Scott said tips from students assisted in confirming their identities.

Scott said the students would face a tribunal through the Board of Education and that any punishment by the school system would be determined using board policy.

GEORGIA UNEMPLOYMENT

Georgia jobless rate drops to 7 percent

ATLANTA (AP) - State labor officials say Georgia's unemployment rate has dropped to 7 percent, the lowest rate since September 2008.

The Georgia Department of Labor announced the new seasonally adjusted jobless rate on Thursday.

The rate is down from 7.1 percent in February and 8.4 percent in March a year ago.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the new number represents the ninth consecutive month that Georgia's unemployment rate has dropped.

He said the rate went down because employers are creating more jobs and laying off fewer workers.

Butler said the state added 27,400 jobs --- the most February-to-March job growth Georgia has seen in 10 years.

ATLANTA FIREFIGHTER FUNERALS

Funerals scheduled for 2 Atlanta firefighters

ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta Fire Rescue officials say they're preparing for the funerals of two firefighters who died recently.

Department spokeswoman Janet Ward says the funeral for 36-year-old Sgt. Frank Guinn is set for Thursday afternoon at the Peachtree Road Presbyterian Church. Guinn was training for a triathlon in New Orleans when he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle.

Ward says services for 24-year-old Jermaine Hall are scheduled for Friday morning at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia. Hall died of a brain aneurysm.

CULTURAL AFFAIRS-JAZZ

Atlanta to host jazz concert, party in cemetery

ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta city officials say they'll celebrate the 40th anniversary of the city's Office of Cultural Affairs with a jazz concert and party in one of the city's most famous cemeteries.

Director of the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs Camille Russell says aside from honoring the department's 40th anniversary, the May 4 festival at Oakland Cemetery will also honor former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson - who founded the Office of Cultural Affairs and the Atlanta Jazz Festival.

Jackson is buried in Oakland Cemetery along with another former mayor, Ivan Allen Jr., "Gone With The Wind" author Margaret Mitchell and golfing great Bobby Jones.

The event is also expected to feature a multimedia exhibition, which is being presented in partnership with the Atlanta University Center.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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