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Updated: 5:53 p.m. Thursday, March 24, 2011 | Posted: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24, 2011

County by county news for Friday

By Bob Howard

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Citizens oversight committee activated

Cobb Commissioners voted 4 to 1 on this week to activate a citizens oversight committee to begin work on analyzing the county’s spending. Commissioners approved the panel in December before agreeing to call for the recently passed local sales tax referendum. Commissioner Bob Ott voted against activating the long-delayed board, saying it was “pointless” to have the panel begin work on the current budget halfway into the fiscal year. The 11-member panel will meet with the county manager by March 31, and work on 2012 and 2013 budget options. The panel’s initial recommendations are due June 28. Janel Davis

Man dies from injuries in March 6 wreck

A Cartersville man has died from injuries he sustained in a single-vehicle crash on March 6 in Powder Springs.

Cobb County Police said Jimmy Adam Thomason, 43, was driving a 1978 Ford truck on Midway Road when he lost control, veered off the road and slammed into a tree. Thomason was transported to Atlanta Medical Center, where he died on Tuesday.

A front seat passenger, Anna Maria Antigua, 44, of Kennesaw, also was hurt. Neither occupant was wearing their seat belt. Alcohol is suspected to be a contributing factor in this crash, Cobb police said.

Spring Fling for businesses next week

The Cobb Chamber of Commerce and local business associations will hold an AfterHours Spring Fling on Wednesday evening. Catered by Mother’s Finest Catering of Mableton, the 5:30 p.m. event will be held at Entertainment Design Group, Inc., 7115 Oak Ridge Parkway, Austell.

Information: South Cobb Business Association President Wayne Dodd at 770-944-7433. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Art show to benefit museum of art

The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art will benefit from a Art and Design Show House opening May 7-22, 21 Whitlock Dr., Marietta. A 16-room house off Whitlock Avenue will show the work of southern artists and 21 interior designers. An art and jewelry gallery in the adjacent Lawrence house will feature work by regional artists.

There is a April 1 deadline for artists interested in participating in the event.

Information: www.artanddesignshowhouse.com.

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Marietta farmers market begins April 2

The Marietta Square Farmers Market will open 9 a.m. to noon, April 2 through Nov. 19 on North Park Square between Shillings and the Earl Smith Strand Theatre.

Information:www.mariettasquarefarmersmarket.net. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Cobb Youth Leadership deadline is April 29

The Leadership Cobb Alumni Association is accepting applications from rising high school juniors to participate in the Cobb Youth Leadership program this fall.

The deadline to apply is April 29.

Youth can apply online at www.cobbchamber.org. Program tuition is $400, and one scholarship is provided for a participant needing financial assistance.

Information: Caitlin Crowley at 770-859-2359 or ccrowley@cobbchamber.org. Janel Davis


Search challenged in Strube murder case

A motions hearing is set for todayfor Joanna Hayes, a Luthersville woman accused of donning a wig-and-mustache disguise to gun down her daughter-in-law in a busy parking lot in 2009.

Attorneys for Hayes are challenging the legality of the search warrant obtained by Snellville police. The hearing is at 9 a.m. in front of Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Warren Davis. A trial is scheduled for May 2.

Hayes is being held without bond at the Gwinnett jail on murder charges in the April 26, 2009, shooting death of Heather Strube, 25. Andria Simmons

John Barge visits schools in Norcross, Lilburn

Georgia Schools Superintendent John Barge visited Parkview High in Lilburn and Simpson Elementary in Norcross to celebrate their record of improved test scores.

The campuses were recently named as “Georgia Schools of Excellence” for the work they have done to boost student achievement. Both campuses rank in the top 10 percent of Georgia schools for performance on standardized exams in reading and math. D. Aileen Dodd

Tyson Foods donates to help families

Financially struggling families in Gwinnett County Schools may qualify to share in a hefty donation from Tyson Foods.

The food giant is donating 29,000 pounds of protein today to the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta as part of the Tyson “KNOW Hunger” campaign to aid the needy.

Gwinnett County Schools officials worked to steer the donation to the United Way.. Information: dgraves@unitedwayatlanta.org D. Aileen Dodd

Brookwood science teacher receives honor

A Brookwood High School teacher has received a national recognition for excellence in science.

Jonathon Wetherington, who teaches biotechnology and anatomy/physiology at Brookwood in Snellville, was selected from a pool of teachers in 42 states to receive a fellowship from the Society for Science & the Public.

He is among 10 teachers who will join 20 fellows from the classes of 2010 and 2009.

Wetherington will also receive $8,500 as a fellow. D. Aileen Dodd

Chamber launches business institute

The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce is launching a business institute to help business owners and managers develop strategies to succeed.

The first forum, “Selling When Selling is Tough,” will be at 8:30 a.m. April 20 in the Gwinnett Chamber Education Room, 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. The cost is $45 for chamber members and $55 for nonmembers. To register: www.gwinnettchamber.org/events. David Wickert

‘Toy Story 3’ for movie night April 2

Gwinnett County will sponsor a movie night at 6:30 p.m. April 2 at the Best Friend Park gym, 6224 Jimmy Carter Blvd., Norcross.

The movie will be “Toy Story 3.” Children age 3 and under will be admitted free. Information: 770-417-2212. David Wickert


Anti-Semitic graffiti, threats lead to juvenile

The Anti-Defamation League today commended the Holly Springs Police Department for its swift arrest of a 16-year-old suspected of painting anti-Semitic graffiti at a Jewish family’s home.

The graffiti included threats, Nazi SS lightening bolts and Swastikas, symbols that evoke the Holocaust. The suspect’s name is being withheld because he is a juvenile, said Holly Springs Police.

The teenager has been charged with terroristic threats, interference with government property and criminal trespass. Andria Simmons

Family Earth Day in Johns Creek April 22

The Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center in Johns Creek will host a family Earth Day celebration from 7 to 10 p.m. April 22. The program will include organic snacks, drinks and a marshmallow roast.

Also on the program will be talks on the frogs and toads of Georgia and amphibians of the Chattahoochee River Watershed in the Johns Creek area. Participants can look and listen for frogs near the lake and stream or venture out on a nighttime safari listening for the nocturnal creatures. The program is free, but registration is required. Call 678-538-1200. Patrick Fox

Signal work to impact traffic in Alpharetta

The Georgia DOT is replacing traffic signals along Mansell Road between Kingswood Road and North Point Parkway in Alpharetta between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. today.

Lanes will close at each intersection while work is in progress. Fulton County police officers will be directing and controlling traffic. Haynes Bridge Road has been identified as an alternative route. Patrick Fox

Forsyth to upgrade time clocks for payroll

The Forsyth County Commission moved in a 5-0 vote at Tuesday’s work session to spend $128,000 to upgrade the time clocks and software the county uses to calculate payrolls and other time sensitive matters.

According to the three year lease agreement with Kronos time management company, the system, replacing 65 time clocks now used by the county, will be paid for in installments over three years, and then the county will own it.

Jeffry Scott

Flowery Branch man wins $1 million

A Flowery Branch man has won $1 million in the Georgia Lottery’s Maximum Green game, lottery officials announced Thursday. Hunter King bought the winning ticket at the Publix Super Market at 5900 Spout Springs Road in Flowery Branch. The game offers $5 million top prizes and $1 million second prizes. Ty Tagami

Woodstock holds Streetfest on Saturday

Bands, sporting competitions, arts, activities for children and foods will be part of Woodstock’s Streetfest Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.

The downtown festival’s music starts at 12:30 p.m. with Marc Lawson, 2 p.m. Brent McDonald, 3:30 Scott Puckett Band, 5 p.m. The Vibes, and Drivin’ N Cryin will play at 7 p.m. Information at http://greenprintsalliance.org/?p=317 Christopher Quinn


Tax protester convicted; to be sentenced June22

An Atlanta jury has convicted a tax protester who refused to file his federal income tax returns from 2003 through 2006.

Jeff Guinn, a 45-year-old plumber from Monroe, was a member of the “American Rights Litigators” protest group, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Evidence presented during a three-day trial this week showed that Guinn did not file the returns because he believed the Internal Revenue Code did not apply to him and he believed he could keep all his income, the office said. Guinn, who was found guilty Wednesday, is to be sentenced June 22. Bill Rankin

Foundation to honor GBI director

The Georgia First Amendment Foundation plans to honor GBI Director Vernon Keenan with its top open government award.

Keenan will be presented the 10th Charles L. Weltner Freedom of Information Award at a fundraiser on April 12 at the Woodruff Arts Center. The award is named after the late Weltner, who served as a congressman and chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Bill Rankin

Friday Urban Picnics out of hibernation

After a winter hibernation, Friday Urban Picnics will return to the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, 209 Edgewood Ave., SE, in downtown Atlanta today.

Street vendors including the Good Food Truck, Grace’s Goodness, King of Pops, Westside Creamery and Yumbii will pull along the market sidewalk around 11 a.m. and serve until 2 p.m. Most vendors take cash only. Johnny Edwards

TV, film careers workshop Saturday

Members of the Atlanta City Council and 22 industry leaders will host a seminar, “BEHIND THE SCENES: South Atlanta Film and TV Careers Workshop” on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Atlanta Technical College’s Academic Complex, 1560 Metropolitan Ave. S.W.

Information: 404-330-6053 or 404-695-8911. www.southatlantafilm.com. Ernie Suggs


Assistant principal jailed on fraud charges

A DeKalb County assistant principal Derrick Wooten, 33, who was indicted for altering attendance records, was booked into the DeKalb County jail on Thursday.

A grand jury indicted Wooten Tuesday on four counts of public record fraud, four counts of criminal attempt to commit a felony and one count of computer forgery. Megan Matteucci

Police expect accreditation renewal

DeKalb County Police expect to have their accreditation renewed Saturday, officials said Thursday.

Chief William O’Brien travelled to Maryland Thursday to meet with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The chief will answer questions and a final vote is scheduled for Saturday, Major James Conroy said.

The department has been accredited since 1991, but is required to be re-assessed every three years, police said. Megan Matteucci

School board discusses cell phone tower

DeKalb school board members are discussing a proposal that would allow cell phone towers on school campuses. The idea was discussed this week at a budget committee meeting to generate more money for schools. The whole board would have to approve the policy before it is final. According to spokesman Walter Woods, the district has one tower on the Fernbank campus from a contract dating back several years. Jaime Sarrio

Emory praised for being bike-friendly

Emory University won kudos for a non-academic endeavor this year. The League of American Bicyclists named it one of the nation’s most bicycle friendly universities. The bronze ranking makes the school stand out in a state the league ranks as 35th and in which it lists no city as bike friendly. The only business with points is BikeAthens, a nonprofit. Shops, eateries and taverns in Atlantic Station, Midtown, Virginia-Highland and Buckhead apparently aren’t peddling enough to the spandex crowd or else they aren’t blowing their horn enough about it. Steve Visser

Debris backup blame for raw sewage spill

DeKalb County officials say a back up of debris is to blame for 4,675 gallons of raw sewage spilling into the North Fork of the Peachtree Creek.

The spill was reported Wednesday in the 2100 block of Jonathon Lane near Briarwood Park, according to county water reports.

DeKalb plans to start $1.35 billion in water and sewer system upgrades this spring to meet a federal Environmental Protection Agency consent decree. Megan Matteucci

Avondale Estates mayor list city’s priorities

During his annual state of the city address, Avondale Estates Mayor Ed Rieker named two projects high on the city’s to-do list for 2011. First is a three-quarters acre dog park across from the city lake, and second a “refreshing” and re-landscaping of Willis Park, near the pool. Rieker also told residents that taxes won’t be increased this year, and that the city’s 2010 “revenue and expenses [were] balanced around our typical annual budget of $3 million.” Bill Banks for the AJC


Henry officers honored for saving woman’s life

Henry County Police Officers Eric Luciano and Damisi Gray were recently awarded Life Saving Medal Awards for their quick thinking and heroic actions in connection with an incident last May at a local restaurant when a 65-year-old female patron experienced cardiac arrest.

The officers were commended for their ability to remain calm under pressure while performing lifesaving procedures, which were critical in saving this woman’s life. Monroe Roark

Tri-Cities High presents ‘West Side Story’

East Point’s Tri-Cities High School’s staff and students are celebrating the 20th anniversary of its visual and performing arts magnet program with a production of a cherished musical, “West Side Story.” The production runs through March 30, and to cap off the celebration, the school is hosting a star-studded fundraising gala April 1 featuring successful Tri-Cities celebrity alumni. Information: 404-669-8200. John Thompson for the AJC

East Point OKs grant for fingerprinting system

The city of East Point approved Monday night a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. The grant enables the city to move forward with participating in a biometric fingerprinting identification system. John Thompson for the AJC

Henry courts closed Monday for furlough

Henry County officials announced that the State Court, Magistrate Court, and Solicitor’s Office will be closed Monday due to a Henry County employee furlough day. Monroe Roark

Baseball tournament boosted Henry economy

A national baseball tournament held in Henry County over the weekend added more than $1.6 million to the local economy in direct spending, county officials report. Some 335 teams participated in The United States Speciality Sports Association (USSSA) Atlanta Super NIT event.

In addition to the direct spending, county officials estimate the event injected $50,000 in tax revenues into the SPLOST, E-SPLOST and LOST coffers. Henry County is slated to host 43 sports tournaments this year. Tammy Joyner

Birdwatching field trip to be April 16

Clayton County Water Authority’s Newman Wetlands Center will host an Atlanta Audubon Society birdwatching field trip from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. April 16. The wetlands center is at 2755 Freeman Road in Hampton. The authority’s forests, wetlands, reservoirs and wastewater holding pools are considered among the best bird sites in metro Atlanta. Details: 770- 603-5606. Tammy Joyner

College Park launches shop local campaign

College Park has launched a shop local campaign to encourage people to purchase local goods and services. The campaign covers dining, hotels and hospitality, local grocers and clothing and retail merchants. The event encompasses Main Street and Virginia Avenue through downtown to the Old National Highway corridor. John Thompson for the AJC

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