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Gwinnett County Fire adding body armor

Gwinnett County Fire adding body armor

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- In response to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a local fire and emergency department is adding some major safety equipment.

The Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services is adding body armor and quick response field medical kits to their equipment.

Firefighters want to be first responders and the first ones in the building during dangerous situations, but without the right equipment, it's just not safe.

Gwinnett County of Fire and Emergency Services is investing more than $300,000 to make sure they're employees are prepared and protected to run in to active shooter scenarios.

The money comes from the department's operating budget, and was just approved Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters are already using new and improved field medical kits, which weigh just a pound and a half. Their day-to-day bags weigh more than 40 pounds.

Ga. Connections Academy graduates Class of 2014

Ga. Connections Academy graduates Class of 2014

(WXIA) -- Georgia Connections Academy recently held a graduation ceremony for its Class of 2014.

Many classmates met for the very first time during the event at the Gwinnett Center.

"We are very proud of our graduates," GCA lead principal Heather Robinson said in a release. Altogether, the Class of 2014 secured $1.33 million in college scholarship offers.

Emily McClure of Columbus is GCA's valedictorian. She will attend Georgia College and State University on the Zell Miller Scholarship in the fall.

Learn more about Georgia Connections Academy, the state's free virtual charter school for students in grades K-12, at georgiaconnectionsacademy.com.

RELATED | Georgia Cyber Academy graduates first class

Panera swears off artificial ingredients

Panera swears off artificial ingredients

NEW YORK -- Panera says it will remove artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives from its food by 2016, a reflection of the growing distaste people are showing for such ingredients.

The chain of bakery cafes, which has about 1,800 U.S. locations, is making the pledge as part of a "Food Policy" it is unveiling Tuesday that outlines its commitment to "clean" and "simple" ingredients.

The announcement comes at a time when Panera Bread Co. is facing slowing sales growth and working to jumpstart its business.

It also underscores how positioning foods as natural has become a marketing advantage, regardless of whether it brings any nutritional benefits.

Pay n Go Peach Passes now available

Pay n Go Peach Passes now available

(WXIA) -- Drivers who use the toll lanes on Interstate 85 now have more ways to obtain their Peach Passes.

Starting Monday, local Walgreens and CVS locations will begin selling Pay n Go passes. Customers have the option of purchasing a starter kit -- which includes a fully activated transponder and reload card -- or just the card.

Peach Pass users can also reload their cards at participating retailers in any amount from $20 to $500.

"The Pay n Go Peach Pass provides drivers with more payment options to enjoy a reliable commute with the flexibility to open or add funds to their account with the amount that they choose," SRTA executive director Christopher Tomlinson said in a release.

The passes are active and ready to use upon purchase. Learn more at peachpass.com.

Car crushed by tree, driver trapped inside

Car crushed by tree, driver trapped inside

DULUTH, Ga. -- A tree fell on a moving car and pinned the driver inside in Gwinnett County Friday morning.

The tree came down at around 10:30 a.m. while 50-year-old Amit Arora of Johns Creek was driving down Abbotts Bridge Road in Duluth.

"This is a driver who is driving into town, unsuspecting. This large tree comes down," said Capt. Tommy Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett Co. Fire Department. "It's one of those freak situations that happens.

Pinned inside the vehicle, investigators say the driver was still able to reach his cell phone and call 911. When rescuers arrived, the toppled tree was also entangled in power lines. It took them more than an hour to pull the driver out of the crushed vehicle.

I-20 construction resumes this weekend

I-20 construction resumes this weekend

(WXIA) -- The three Interstate 20 construction projects that have plagued drivers for several weekends will continue.

As long as the weather cooperates, crews will work on the following stretches of I-20 this weekend:

Atlanta
Three eastbound lanes will be closed between Windsor Street and Boulevard from 8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday, and from 8 p.m. Saturday to 6 am. Sunday.

Douglas County
Two lanes in both directions will be closed between Bill Arp and Liberty roads from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

Newton County
Two eastbound left lanes will be closed between Almon and Alcovy roads from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has smaller projects scheduled in Cobb County:

I-285
Two northbound lanes will be intermittently closed at South Cobb Drive for overhead sign work; two lanes will always remain open.

Lottery ticket worth $1M sold in Gainesville

Lottery ticket worth $1M sold in Gainesville

ATLANTA – A Georgia Lottery instant ticket worth $1 million was sold in Gainesville. Texaco Food Mart, located at 1860 Atlanta Highway, sold a Georgia Lottery’s 20th Anniversary Extravaganza instant ticket with a $1 million top prize.

The winner is Rafiqul Bhuiyan of Lawrenceville, who claimed his prize at the Georgia Lottery District Office in Duluth.

The instant game Georgia Lottery’s 20th Anniversary Extravaganza is loaded with cash prizes, including top prizes of $1 million and $5 million.

Players can enter non-winning tickets into the 20th Anniversary Extravaganza Extra Chance Promotion for an extra chance to win $5 million. For more information, visit www.galottery.com.