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Gwinnett County Schools Win $1M in Scholarship Monies

GWINNETT COUNTY, GA -- Something we hear every day: budget cuts, teacher furloughs, and lack of funding for many of our school programs. That wasn't the case for Gwinnett County Public Schools, as they were awarded the largest education award in the country.

The county will receive $1 million worth of scholarships for their graduating seniors from the Broad Foundation.

Five counties across the nation were listed as finalists for the Broad Prize. Four would get $250,000 worth of scholarships, but only one would get the grand prize, $1 million in college scholarships.

The Broad Foundation is a private foundation out of California, established by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad. Their education initiative focuses on dramatically improving K-12 education through better governance, management, and labor relations.

Buford Woman Dies In Second Fire

BUFORD-- A house fire on Danube Trail in Buford has taken the life of a Gwinnett County woman. Firefighters gained access to a bedroom in the burning home, after they were told by two Gwinnett County police officers that a woman was believed to be trapped inside. The officers, who were the initial responders, were only able to get several feet inside the home, before being forced out by heat and smoke.

Firefighters found the woman badly burned and still in her bed. She was pronounced dead at the scene. It is the second fire at the residence in six months.

The woman is described as being in her late-40s.  Her body has been turned over to the county medical examiner for positive identification and to determine exact cause of death.

Raw Video: Destruction of Gwinnett Water Tower

The Gwinnett County water tower was taken down this week. Here's live video of the event.

Bannister Resigns From Gwinnett Commission

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister resigned his post Friday morning, Gwinnett County officials confirmed to 11Alive News.

Bannister released the following statement about his resignation:

"It is with deep regret that I announce my immediate resignation as Chairman of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.

"While I am proud of Gwinnett County Government's many accomplishments over the past six years and had hoped to guide more of this Board's work to completion, I find myself near the end of an extremely trying year that has placed an undeserved strain on my family and has threatened my own health.

"I believe that stepping down at this time is necessary to preserve my family's well-being and will allow the important business of Gwinnett County to move forward without further distraction."

Mega Mart Opens Friday in Gwinnett Place Mall

DULUTH, Ga. -- A major international corporation is betting that Metro Atlanta's economy will bounce back.

Friday morning, the Korea-based "Mega Mart" will officially open its first U.S. store, and it's in Gwinnett Place Mall.

There is nothing like Mega Mart inside any other Metro Atlanta mall; and Gwinnett Place Mall is hoping that Mega Mart -- filling the old anchor store space once occupied by Macy's prior to its merger with Rich's -- will fill up the mall's empty parking spaces, and keep them filled.

"It's been a long journey to get here over the past couple of years and it feels like Christmas is coming early," said Shelley Korenbrot, Gwinnett Place Mall's director of marketing and business development. "And it fills our fifth anchor, again. So we're very excited about that."

8-Year-Old Burn Victim Out of Hospital and Back Home

GWINNETT COUNTY, GA -- After nearly eight months in the burn unit of a Cincinnati hospital, Alfred Real is finally back home in Georgia.

For the 8-year-old, walking down a flight of stairs is a struggle, and that's the easy part of his day. Before he can go outside for a walk, the third grader has to get dressed and endure therapy, a process that can take up to four painful hours.

"He had to learn to walk again, and get out of the bed and learn to go to the bathroom again," said Alfred's father Zac Real. "He had to relearn everything from scratch, like a baby almost."

On June 7, Alfred was rushed from his Gwinnett County home to Grady Hospital, then to Shriners Hospital for Children in Cincinnati. Doctors weren't sure if he would survive. Most of his tiny body was covered with third degree burns. Alfred had to endure more than a dozen rounds of surgery.

Georgia-Based Team Seeks to Impress at Petit Le Mans

BRASELTON, GA -- For husband and wife, Dave and Andrea Robertson, motorsports are a passion that started as a hobby and have grown into a full-time, competitive racing team.

"We both have been enthusiasts for a long time," Dave Patterson said from his team's garage Wednesday.

"We live it, think it, breath it, eat it you name it," Andrea Robertson said. "Never a day goes by that we're not thinking or talking about the car."

The Robertsons make their home in Michigan. But their American Le Mans Series team, Robertson Racing, is headquartered just outside the gates of Road Atlanta. At this weekend's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, the Robertsons are fielding two Ford GT's.

"I've loved the Ford GT since the '60s. They're beautiful," Dave Robertson said. "They're an important part of American racing history."