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Around the Region: Busy Robber, Taped Kindergartner and Roaming Bear

A gun-wielding East Lake robber attacked three groups of people in a half-hour crime spree.

Robber Attacks Three Groups in Half Hour Crime Spree

Between about 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on Friday night, an East Lake thief in a single neighborhood kidnapped and robbed three teens, threatened five other people with robbery and attempted to steal a push-button Toyota Prius he couldn't operate, all in search of $600.

The attack began as three teens piled into a car in the Dancing Fox Road neighborhood. As the three got into the car, a fourth person -- the robber -- hopped into the back seat.

The robber forced the teens at gunpoint to drive him to an ATM. One of the teens emptied his account -- all $40 of it -- on the robber’s orders.

The robber then had the teens drive him back to the neighborhood parking lot where the robbery began.

When they returned to the parking lot, another resident was passing in his car and slowed to say hello to the teens. The robber jumped out and demanded money of that driver and his passenger.  Not satisfied with that, the robber demanded the man and passenger get out of their Toyota Prius.

A short time later, the robber happened upon three pedestrians and, still waving a gun, demanded their money. One of the victims handed over her purse and the robber took off towards a dead end parking lot in the community.

On the way, he flattened a speed limit sign, hit a parked car (also a Prius) and fled on foot.

The case is under investigation.

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Athens Kindergartener Silenced with Masking Tape?

A teacher’s aide at Whitehead Road Elementary School in Athens has been accused of putting a piece of masking tape over the mouth of a 6-year-old student.

The aide has been placed on administrative leave while the school system investigates the incident. The mother is considering suing over the incident. 

officials have said that taping a student’s mouth is never appropriate.

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Duluth Fall Festival Draws Thousands

A sea of people flooded the Town Green, Main Street and West Lawrenceville Street in downtown Duluth for the Duluth Fall Festival. The Duluth Fall Festival Committee isn't sure how many came out for the festival during last weekend's beautiful fall weather. Even as the two-day Sept. 24-25 festival wound to a close Sunday afternoon, folks were arriving.

Vendors offered arts and crafts, food, and more during the festival. Continuous entertainment filled the Festival Center Center Stage and the Gazebo. Even 'Elvis' made an appearance onstage. By Monday, almost all evidence of the festival will be gone, but memories of festival fun remain. Festival attendance was estimated at 80,000 to 100,000.

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Black Bear Spotted in Alpharetta Saturday Night

An eyewitness says a black bear was spotted in Alpharetta on Saturday around 9:45 p.m.

Taylor Atkinson of Wills Common subdivision said he was among a group of motorists to spot the bear.

"I was driving down Old Milton passing Wills Park on the right, and the people in the oncoming lane just slammed on the breaks. This bear comes barreling out from the little daycare place on Marietta Street," he said.

"I said, 'That's a huge dog-wait, it's a bear!’," Atkinson said. "It came out like a huge puppy dog."

When he called Alpharetta police, he said they told him unless the bear is attacking, there is nothing they can do.

"I've been in the mountains a bunch, and I've never seen a bear in the mountains," Atkinson said. "I was really caught off guard. Wow, a bear in Alpharetta."

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Defense Leaders Say DADT Repeal Reflects 'Values That America's All About'

Tuesday was officially the end today of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law that reflects the American values that military members uphold, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said today.

"Thanks to this change, I believe we move closer to achieving the goal at the foundation of the values that America's all about -- equality, equal opportunity and dignity for all Americans," he told reporters during a Pentagon news briefing.

Panetta reaffirmed his dedication to all who are serving and ensuring everyone who wishes to serve has the opportunity to do so regardless of sexual preference.

"As secretary of defense, I am committed to removing all of the barriers that would prevent Americans from serving their country and from rising to the highest level of responsibility that their talents and capabilities warrant," he said. "These are men and women who put their lives on the line in the defense of this country, and that's what should matter the most."

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