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Posted: 5:08 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, 2013

County by county news for Wednesday

County by county | Email newstip@ajc.com
County by county | Email newstip@ajc.com


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


CVS store in Austell robbed on Monday

Two men robbed a CVS pharmacy Monday evening in Austell.

One of the men acted as a lookout while the other took cash that the employee handed over from the register. The two fled northbound in a silver sedan that investigators believe was parked behind the business. The suspect who carried the handgun is described as a thin black male in his late teens to mid 20s, 6 feet 2 inches tall and wearing a gray bombardier-style winter hat with ear flaps. The other was a thin black male of the same age range, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, last seen wearing all black clothing and a hooded sweatshirt. Andria Simmons

Sikh exhibition coming to Norcross

Gurudwara Guru Nanak Mission Society in Norcross aims to create awareness of the historical significance of the Sikh community and its legacy through an upcoming exhibition featuring a rare collection of personal belongings of Sikh Gurus.

Hundreds of rare art and artifacts of Sikh heritage will be on display from April 1-20 at the Sikh temple at 1158 Rock Bridge Road in Norcross, including paintings, photographs, manuscripts and other relics. The event is being hosted in cooperation with the Consulate General of India in Atlanta.

The Sikh religion is about 500 years old and founded in Punjab, India by Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji. Its teachings are based on the philosophy of total equality of religion, race, gender, color and nationality. Andria Simmons

Man convicted in baseball bat beating

A Cobb County jury convicted Jesus Hernandez Perez, a Mexican national Monday of murder in the 2010 beating death of a 27-year-old Boydrick Powell of Marietta

Prerz, 31, could face life in prison without the possibility of parole for the killing, which investigators said was prompted by a drug deal. His sentencing is scheduled for today.

Perez, who goes by the alias of “Chewy,” was convicted of participating in the robbery and beating death on Sept. 18, 2010. Prosecutors contend Perez and a co-defendant, Jose “Gordo” Marcelino Badillo, beat Powell to death with a baseball bat before throwing him off a balcony at the Autumn View apartment complex on Franklin Road in Marietta.

Perez remains in the Cobb County jail awaiting sentencing. He is also suspected of being in the country illegally, jail records show. Alexis Stevens

Marietta looking to fill firefighter/EMT slots

The Marietta Fire Department, 112 Haynes St., is taking applications through April 1 to fill six firefighter/EMT positions. The department has six stations and 132 uniformed firefighters. Applicants have to be at least 18 years-old, a high school or GED graduate and have a good driving record and ability to meet the demands of the job. Information: www.joinmariettafire.com. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Commissioner seeks applicants for boards

Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who serves south Cobb, is accepting applications until April 5 from residents in District 4 to serve on a county board or authority.

Applications are available at www.cobbcounty.org/cupid or county facilities in south Cobb.

Information: 770-528-3311 Saleemah.Johnson@cobbcounty.org. Jaime Sarrio


Resident loses suit against waste collection fee

The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled against a Gwinnett County man who claimed the county was illegally charging residents a fee for waste collection services provided by private contractors.

After receiving a $321 bill for solid waste collection, Robert Mesteller sued the county and its Board of Commissioners, alleging the assessment and collection of the fee was unconstitutional.

On Monday, the state Supreme Court disagreed, upholding a judge’s ruling to dismiss Mesteller’s suit. Bill Rankin

Sweetwater team attempts record

A team from Sweetwater Middle could set a national record by becoming two-time WordMasters Challenge national champions. They have placed first twice during the first two rounds of the vocabulary competition. The WordMasters Challenge is a national competition for students in grades 3-8 that encourages growth in vocabulary and verbal reasoning Coached by Sweetwater Middle teacher Lois Bean, the team scored a perfect 200 points for each round. Nancy Badertscher

Peachtree Corners to discuss city plan

The Peachtree Corners Business Association will discuss a comprehensive city plan at a roundtable luncheon noon to 1 p.m. Monday at Peachtree Corners Baptist Church. Registration: membership@peachtreecornersba.com. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Artist studio, theatre face eviction

Norcross has terminated Kudzu Art Zone’s rental negotiations and posted a public notice in front of their location at 116 Carlyle Street announcing an open bid opportunity for prospective tenants. This same notice has been placed on the building occupied by the Lionheart Theatre. Each existing tenant has an opportunity to bid on the building it currently occupies, but the city is entitled to decline these bids. Occupants could be asked to vacate as soon as May 1. Kudzu Art Zone is asking supporters to write or call Norcross city officials to encourage the preservation of these artistic endeavors and their economic impact on the community. www.kudzuartzone.org. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Duluth selects artist for public art project

Duluth has selected Michael Dillon as the local artist for the Gateway Art Project to design the city’s first piece of public art. The design will be a permanent piece at the intersections of West Lawrenceville Street, McClure Bridge Road and Irvindale Road. Dillon has been creating art for 20 years. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Homestead exemption deadline is Monday

The application deadline to file for homestead exemption to reduce property taxes is Monday. Apply online or contact the Property Tax Department for an application. Once granted, the homestead exemption is automatically renewed each year. Information: www.GwinnettTaxCommissioner.com or tax@gwinnettcounty.com or 770-822-8800. Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Cherokee schools exploring privatization

The Cherokee County School District is considering privatizing 239 custodial and ground services jobs to help close next year’s budget gap.

The district will seek bids from interested firms. Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo says if bids show potential significant cost savings, privatization could start in January of 2014.

Information: www.cherokee.k12.ga.us. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Forsyth public hearing scheduled

The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to the Unified Development Code at 5 p.m. April 4 at the county’s administration building, 110 E. Main St., Cumming. The hearing will address the rezoning application process and vesting rights and seek public comment. Information: 770-781-2115. Michael Alpert for the AJC

Forsyth schools set budget timeline

The Forsyth County Board of Education has adopted a timeline for consideration of the 2014 budget. Chief financial officer Dan Jones says initial budget recommendations will be presented May 9, with tentative approval May 16. Final approval is set for June 20. The fiscal year begins July 1. Last year’s budget was $270,523,482. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Woodstock seeks light at mall intersection

The city of Woodstock has applied to Georgia DOT for traffic signal installation at Interstate 575 and Ridgewalk Parkway, adjacent to the Shoppes at Atlanta. City Manager Jeff Moon says the light on the east side of the interstate, closest to the mall, will be installed before the mall opens July 18. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Marble industry exhibition offered

A free marble industry exhibition will be featured at the Cherokee County History Museum and Visitor’s Center through May 15 featuring photographs, documents, and artifacts from the Cherokee County Historical Society’s collection. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the museum, 100 North St., Suite 140, Canton.

Information: 770-345-3288, or www.rockbarn.org. Mea Watkins

Historical society hands out honors

The Cherokee County Historical Society lauded owners of Edgewater Hall and Southview Cemetery in Canton, the Frances Purcell House in Free Home and the A.W. Roberts and sons General Store in Ball Ground for preservation and restoration efforts on their properties at its recent banquet. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Cherokee education group seeks donations

The Cherokee County Educational Foundation has launched its inaugural fundraising campaign. Businesses and individuals who donate more than $100 will become Founding Partners and will get special recognition.

Donations: CCEF, PO Box 4754,Canton, or cceducationalfoundation@gmail.com. Mark Woolsey for the AJC


Pellet gun shooting injures girl

An eighth-grade boy who brought a pellet gun aboard a school bus headed to Sutton Middle School and shot three students with plastic bullets on March 19 has been suspended and charged with aggravated assault, according to the Atlanta school district.

An eighth-grade girl, who was hit below her eye was injured, said an APS spokesman said. He added two sixth-graders also were shot. Mark Niesse

Man with gun reported near school bus

Students aboard a school bus said they saw a man with a gun approach the bus while it was on its way to Maynard Jackson High School in east Atlanta on Monday morning, according to a school district spokesman.

The man arrived in a car with the mother of three students who were on the bus, and those students left the bus by its back door. The incident likely stems from a fight among students that occurred off-campus last week. Atlanta police and the school district were investigating the incident. Mark Niesse

Atlanta lawyer surrenders law license

The Georgia Supreme Court has accepted Thomas W. Dickson’s voluntary surrender of his license to practice law. On Monday, the court said Dickson admitted repeatedly directing his law firm’s accounting department to transfer funds from its trust account to his personal account, when he did not have the firm’s or his clients’ permission to do so. Dickson also failed to properly account for the transfers. Dickson’s surrender of his license is the same as being disbarred. Bill Rankin

Abandoned office building caught fire

Several downtown streets were blocked during Tuesday’s morning commute as firefighters doused a blaze in an abandoned building near the Five Points MARTA station.

The fire broke out shortly before 8 a.m. in the old Georgia Power building at the corner of Forysth and Alabama streets.

No injuries were reported.

The building, built in 1947, originally housed the Atlanta Constitution. Mike Morris


Pimp gets 40 years in prison

Convicted pimp Darryl Bearnard Curry was sentenced Tuesday to 40 years in prison and an additional 20 years of probation for prostituting a pair of teens. Curry was convicted for keeping two girls – ages 16 and 17 at the time – in a house near Decatur between Sept. 17 and Oct. 8, 2011, and pimping them out during that time. Marcus K. Garner

Avondale grant to fund intersections

A $26,000 Lifelong Communities Grant will fund the crosswalk striping of four Avondale Estates intersections on North Avondale Road from downtown to Sams Crossing, including construction of two concrete aprons for strollers and handicap accessibility. The grant money is also funding a walkability study that the city began three weeks ago, along with an examination of zoning ordinances to help creative incentives for senior housing. City Planner Keri Stevens said the LCG-related work and studies should be finished by July. Bill Banks for the AJC

Brookhaven hires first finance director

A certified public accountant who has worked in various government jobs in Georgia will soon take over as Brookhaven’s first finance director.

Bonnie Kline begins work in the city Friday, managing the city’s proposed $25 million budget and setting budget policy. Kline had previous served as finance director in McDonough and Tybee Island and also worked as accounting director for the state Department of Community Affairs.

Kline will earn $100,000 in the role. April Hunt

DeKalb School of the Arts to host “Chicago”

DeKalb School of the Arts will present its Spring musical, “Chicago” at 8 p.m. Thursday - Saturday and April 4-6 at the school, 1192 Clarendon Ave., Avondale Estates. The musical, set in Prohibition Era Chicago, is based on a 1926 play of the same name by reporter Maurine Dalla Watkins about actual criminals and crimes she reported on. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students. Reservations: 678-676-2552 or dsa-box-office@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us. Mea Watkins

Volunteers needed for cleanup in DeKalb

Keep DeKalb Beautiful is accepting volunteers to help with the local effort in the Great American Cleanup.

Last year, more than 80 groups of volunteers removed more than 25,000 pounds of litter from 168 miles of county roadways in the one-day event.

The cleanup will take place on April 27. Volunteers must register by April 5.

Registration/information: 404-371-2654 or www.keepdekalbbeautiful.org. April Hunt

Emory launches free legal clinic for vets

A new student-founded clinic at Emory University School of Law has begun providing free legal services to Georgia veterans.

The Emory Law Volunteer Clinic for Veterans offers free legal assistance for disability benefit claims and appeal hearings.

Students will also work with experienced attorneys on legislation and other initiatives to create an alternative court for state veterans involved in criminal proceedings, the school said. Bill Rankin


Morrow High evacuated because of smoke

Morrow High School was evacuated Tuesday morning while school officials tried to determine the source of smoke inside the building. The school on Old Rex Road is undergoing renovations, “and switched from an old heating system to a new system,” a Clayton County schools spokesman said. Arriving students were diverted to the Elite Scholars Academy next door. Just before 9 a.m. that the fire marshal had just cleared the building for students to return. There were no injuries reported, and no damage to the building. Mike Morris

Peachtree City Fire gets safety grants

Two recent donations will help the Peachtree City Fire Department buy new safety equipment. A grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation will provide more than $20,000 worth of Water Rescue Dry Suits to the Swift Water Rescue Team, while another grant of $7,855 from the Clothes Less Traveled thrift store will fund materials to teach fire and safety programs to local schools and businesses. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Fayette poised to cut fifth-grade bands

Fayette County’s school budget crisis might be the swan song for fifth-grade band and orchestra programs. The Board of Education got an update on proposed staffing and program cuts Monday night but won’t vote on the measures until May. Middle school athletics would also be reduced. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Riverdale Community Yard Sale Saturday

The 2013 Riverdale Community Yard Sale is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at The Riverdale Town Center, 7210 Church St. Information: 770 909-5300 or www.riverdaleculture.com. Tammy Joyner

Commissioner touts youth program

The Fayette County Commission is encouraging rising high school sophomores and juniors to apply to the Model Atlanta Regional Commission. Steve Brown, commision chair is offering to write recommendations. The program includes six months of study, debate and activities related to area issues. Information: Floyd Jones at fjones@fayettecountyga.gov by Friday. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Free CPR/AED training in College Park

College Park’s Fire & Emergency Medical Services is offering two free CPR/AED courses 9 a.m. - noon and 1 - 4 p.m. Saturdays and Wednesdays through April 27 in the College Park Public Safety Building, 3737 College St. The course will focus on situations for work and home, covering the standards of the American Heart Association. Information: 404-766-8248; tinyurl.com/b5mo9ze. Lisa Gibson for the AJC

State parks offer exercise for pets

Panola Mountain State Park in Stockbridge is offering Pets RXercise, aimed at preventing obesity in pets and their owners. Through the program, veterinarians can give a “prescription” for free parking at a Georgia state park. Park admission and hiking are free. Information: GeorgiaStateParks.org/petsrxercise. Kenneth Musisi

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