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Opening statements begin in trial of former UGA coach

ATHENS, Ga. -- Opening statements began in the trial of former University of Georgia football coach Jim Donnan on Tuesday.

Donnan is accused of bilking investors out of millions of dollars in what federal prosecutors call a Ponzi scheme.

Prosecutors said Donnan took advantage of wealthy friends, football players and coaches he'd connected with during his career as a college coach and sports commentator. Donnan was UGA's head coach from 1996 to 2000.

In just three years, prosecutors say Donnan's scheme took in $81 million in investments. Donnan is accused of using a small salvage business in West Virginia as front, promising returns from 50 to 200 percent and keeping millions for himself.

Trial begins for ex-UGA coach indicted in Ponzi scheme

MACON, Ga. -- Trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday for former University of Georgia football coach Jim Donnan, who is accused of bilking investors out of millions of dollars in what federal prosecutors say was a Ponzi scheme, reports the Athens Banner-Herald.

The Securities and Exchange Commission in 2012 charged Donnan with running with an Ohio man an $80 million Ponzi scheme that included other college coaches and former players among its victims.

Donnan was UGA's head football coach from 1996 to 2000. He's accused of using his influence and connections to convince big names to invest, promising them returns of anywhere from 50 to 200 percent.

Valerie Fennell says she and her late husband were not famous, but they were victims, investing some $450,000.

Weekend construction: Avoid I-20 if you can

Weekend construction: Avoid I-20 if you can

(WXIA) -- Drivers who plan to use Interstate 20 this weekend are encouraged to find alternate routes.

The Georgia Department of Transportation will work on several major projects this weekend on the interstate that cuts across Atlanta.

"We have three projects with significant lane closures on I-20 this weekend," GDOT District Construction Engineer Shun Pringle said in a release. "We are expecting long delays, particularly in Douglas and Rockdale counties, during the daytime hours on Saturday and Sunday."

This weekend's road projects, many of which come with heavy delays, include:

Tree kills Athens man during storm

ATHENS, Ga. -- Police blame a storm packing powerful winds for the death of a man in Athens. It happened around 7:20 Wednesday morning.

Athens-Clarke County Police Maj. Mike Hunsinger says strong winds Wednesday morning pushed over a tree that crashed atop a car, killing the driver. 39-year-old Pedro Gerosquieta was driving through the Pinewood Mobile Home Park on Highway 29 when the tree fell. He was alone in the car.


The National Weather Service says between 7-7:30 a.m. in Athens sustained winds were 22 m.p.h. with gusts up to 43 m.p.h.

Beautiful weekends and road projects go hand in hand

Beautiful weekends and road projects go hand in hand

(WXIA) -- It's going to be a perfect weekend, weather-wise -- 11s on the WIZometer on Saturday and Sunday.

However, pretty weekend weather in metro Atlanta comes with a slight drawback: nighttime traffic projects.

"We are doing our best to limit daytime lane closures if possible in order to minimize the inconvenience to motorists," Georgia Department of Transportation engineer Shun Pringle said. "However, some work just has to be done during the day."

One brief closure will be the loop ramp from Northside Drive north to Interstate 75 south in northwest Atlanta. It will be shut down Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. so crews can repair a guardrail. Drivers are asked to use Howell Mill Road to access I-75 south during that hour.

Peeping Tom arrested at Athens Technical College

ATHENS, Ga. -- Athens-Clarke County Police have arrested a suspected Peeping Tom at Athens Technical College.

Charles Tyron Hill, 24, was taken into custody Thursday morning.

Police said Hill is accused of looking at a victim over a stall wall in a bathroom at the college. The victim provided police with a description of the suspect.

Thursday, a security officer at the college spotted Hill on campus and called police, which led to the suspect's arrest.

Hill is being held without bond in the Athens-Clarke County Jail. In addition to the Peeping Tom count, he was also charged with violating his probation.

Unemployment rate decreases in March

Unemployment rate decreases in March

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta's unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in March, down slightly from February's 6.9 percent. The rate was 8.0 percent in March 2013.

Clarke County's unemployment rate was 5.4 percent this March.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said local employers created more jobs and laid off fewer workers. The number of new positions increased by 51,500 last month.

Metro Athens had Georgia's lowest unemployment rate in March 2014 at 5.1 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 9.4 percent.