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Gwinnett Tech Posting Record Enrollment Growth for Academic Year

LAWRENCEVILLE - With college students just settling back into classes for Spring Semester, it's clear that Gwinnett Tech is in the midst of a record year for enrollment growth.

The Technical College System of Georgia has released final numbers for fall term, the first half of this academic year, reporting that Gwinnett Tech's enrollment increase of 7.4 percent was the largest in the state.

Fall enrollment at GTC reached an all-time record for the college with 7,180 students registered for classes. The college also posted a 5.7 percent increase in credit hours taken. Gwinnett Tech's enrollment is now double what it was in the fall of 2000.

While not yet final, enrollment numbers for Spring Semester 2014, which began Jan. 6, are keeping pace. After an additional registration period for Term C later this semester, enrollment is projected to remain about 7,000 students.

Key enrollment trends at Gwinnett Tech for the 2013-2014 academic year:

Bats drive residents from Lawrenceville home

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- At first glance, it looks like a normal house on a nice street.

But taped on the door is a sign from the Gwinnett County Health Department, labeling the home an imminent health hazard.

It's because the house is full of bats, dozens of them, that likely won't be leaving anytime soon.

For six months, the house on Hidden Valley Drive was Joel Johnson's home. He rented the property, living there with his fiancee and two young boys until one day, several days before Thanksgiving, he noticed a bat flying in the upstairs hallway. He immediately tried to capture it and send it outside.

"When I went into the room where I thought it went, I noticed that there were more bats than one," Johnson told 11Alive's Blayne Alexander.

Gwinnett County Animal Control came and removed the bats, but Johnson knew the ordeal was not over; he still heard the scratching noises.

Lawrenceville Highway traffic diverted by gas leak

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Traffic was being diverted around a natural gas leak near the intersection of Lawrenceville Highway and DeKalb Industrial Way late Wednesday afternoon.

Officials said a backhoe accidentally cut a 2-inch gas line, which forced crews to divert traffic along Lawrenceville Highway at that intersection.

Motorists are advised to avoid that intersection and to find alternate routes if possible.

For traffic maps and reports, visit our traffic page at http://11Alive.com/traffic.

'Rolling quorum' helps local governments skirt open meetings laws

(WXIA) -- When the powerful meet in secret, it makes it doubly difficult for the public to hold them accountable. One method they're using is what's called a rolling quorum -- where members of a city council or county commission meet -- but one or members listen from another room.

The state open meeting laws explicitly require that meetings of city councils and county commissions give notice of their meetings. But when members don't want the public there -- here's one way around it.

Soldier returns home and makes 2 surprise stops at schools

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- For Army Capt. Robert Abrams, after a year of dedication to country, he can now give way to devotion to family.

Monday he returned from his second tour overseas, and showed up at Creekland Middle School to surprise his 6th grade daughter, Lexi.

She thought everyone gathered to hear her class read poems about military service.  She was up first, when her dad walked in.

Before taking his daughter home to celebrate, they made another surprise stop, this time picking up Abrams' 7-year-old son Preston.

Man killed in Snellville house fire

SNELLVILLE, Ga. -- A man was killed in a fire that broke out in the Gwinnett County house where he was staying.

The fire started at around 1:45 a.m. Friday at a house in the 800 block of Lake Drive SW in Snellville.

Gwinnett County Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said the single-story wood house was fully involved when crews arrived. The flames were moving very close to the house next door as well as live electrical lines overhead.

Three people were inside the house. The man and woman who owned the home suffered minor injuries but managed to escape; a relative who was sleeping in their basement did not.

The victim's body was found at around 8:30 a.m. Rutledge said firefighters discovered the remains while digging through debris.

No names have been released. The body has been turned over to the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

USA Today Metro Atlanta Super 25 Boys Poll

ATLANTA -- The first USA Today Metro Atlanta Super 25 Boys Basketball Poll for 2013-14 season is here. A number of defending state champions are listed , and one of them tops the charts.

The Spartans of Greater Atlanta Christian won the Class AA Championship last season and started this season on an 18 game winning streak. The Spartans are still unbeaten and they are in the top spot.

Allatoona, Columbia, Wheeler, and North Gwinnett complete the top 5.

 Tucker, Norcross, Miller Grove, Fayette County, and Walton complete the top ten.

The Metro Atlanta Super 25 Boys Basketball Poll is computer generated and produced exclusively by USA Today High School Sports for 11Alive News and 11Alive.com