County by county news for Saturday


Man gets 50 years for enticing, molesting girl

Jorge Renberto Ventura, 28, of Marietta, was sentenced to 50 years, including 30 in prison Thursday afternoon on two counts of child molestation and one count of enticing a child for indecent purposes. The girl testified that she met Ventura through Facebook, and that about 6 p.m. on Aug. 5, he came to her house and forced her into her bedroom, where he touched her inappropriately. The girl was 13 at the time. Ventura ran out the back door when the girl’s father got home, according to prosecutors. Ventura was arrested Aug. 14 and has been held in the Cobb jail since then, booking records show. Alexis Stevens

Council says no to trip for mayor

The Kennesaw City Council this week voted 3 to 2 against paying $2,500 to send Mayor Mark Matthews to Dallas Aug. 24-27 for an economic development conference. Council members Chris Welsh, Debra Williams and Jim Sebastian, who voted against, said the Cobb Chamber and Cobb’s Competitive Edge trip was too expensive.

Tim Killingsworth and Leonard Church voted in favor. Information: McQueen for the AJC

Marietta to hold cemetery tours Sunday

Volunteers will lead tours and tell the history behind the Marietta and Confederate Cemeteries 1-4 p.m. Sunday at 395 Powder Spring St. Some 3,000 Confederate soldiers are buried there.

The event is part of the city’s 150th commemoration of the Civil War. Tickets are $7-10. Information: Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Citizen committees meet Thursday

One will meet downstairs and one upstairs, both at the same time on Thursday, for their first public meetings.

The new Citizen Steering Committee for the Paulding County Airport Authority will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Watson Government Complex, Administration Building, first floor cafeteria, 240 Constitution Blvd., Dallas.

Also, the new Citizen Steering Committee for the Paulding County Industrial Building Authority will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday in the second floor commissioners’ meeting room.

Information: and 533. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Free canning, freezing class on Wednesday

“Preserving the Harvest: Canning and Freezing Basics” will be offered by the University of Georgia Extension Service at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at Dog River Library, 6100 Ga. Hwy. 5, Douglasville.

While the class is free, reservations are required.

Information: or 770-577-5186.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Food truck Tuesdays through fall in Smyrna

Food trucks will return to Smyrna this week 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Sept. 30 at Taylor-Brawer Park, 3180 Atlanta Road. More than a dozen food trucks will set up each Tuesday in the park’s lower parking lot adjacent to the playground.

The event will include live music.


Tucker McQueen for the AJC


Local farmers markets on agriculture chief’s tour

State Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black will promote the growth of farmers markets across the state, while encouraging people to purchase locally. In recognition of Farmers Market week he will be at the Snellville Farmers Market, 2342 Oak Road today, followed by a stop Mondayat the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, 209 Edgewood Ave. SE, Atlanta.

Other stops include markets in Milledgeville, Athens, Warner Robins and Gainesville before concluding June 28 at the Atlanta State Farmers Market, 16 Forest Parkway, Forest Park.

Information: Kent A. Miles for the AJC

Suspect named in hotel shooting

Paris Brown, 23, died after a June 11 shooting at Quality Inn on Venture Parkway. Detectives have obtained warrants charging Cory Marzette, 22, with aggravated assault and murder. The shooting occurred during a party at the hotel, and detectives believe that Marzette had an ongoing dispute with attendees.Marzette and an unknown suspect fired into the crowd.

Anyone with information should call 770-513-5300 or Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477. Crime Stoppers tipsters are eligible to receive a reward of up to $2,000.Mike Morris

Berkeley Lake to charge sales fee

The Berkeley Lake City Council voted Thursday to require a $75 permit for door-to-door solicitation.

Applicants must also submit to a criminal background check and be fingerprinted to obtain the permit.

Applicants are responsible for all fees associated with the fingerprinting process through the Georgia Applicant Processing Service. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Quilts of Valor exhibit to stop in Snellville

More than a dozen quilts, which will eventually find themselves comforting U.S. soldiers, will be on display 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 1 through August at Snellville City Hall, 2342 Oak Road.

Quilts of Valor, a non-profit organization founded in 2003, will display the lap-sized quilts to later be sent to troops serving across the world. Information:

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Butterflies gardeneing class offered

The Gwinnett County Cooperative Extension is offering a free class on Butterfly Gardening noon to 1 p.m. July 1 at 750 South Perry Street in Lawrenceville. Pre-registration required by Friday, June 27.

Information: Timothy Daly at 678-377-4010 or

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Learn all about rain barrel maintenance

The Sustainable Norcross Commission will host gardening experts Jim and Barbara Renz as they discuss how to get the most out of your rain barrel while keeping it in tip-top shape at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Norcross Welcome Center, 189 Lawrenceville St. Free.

Information: Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Family escapes injury in mobile home fire

Three people escaped injury early Friday when fire heavily damaged a mobile home in Northeast Cherokee County. The 46-year-old woman occupant told firefighters she awoke to a loud “boom” and heavy smoke around 3:45 a.m. She, her 47-year-old ex-husband and her 29-year-old son quickly got out. Authorities didn’t release names. The double-wide on Conns Creek Road was extensively damaged by smoke and flames. There’s no word on the cause. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Cherokee school board appoints new rep

The Cherokee County Board of Education Thursday appointed Kyla Cromer as interim District 1 representative. Cromer replaces Kelly Marlow, who resigned earlier this year following her criminal conviction. Cromer, a longtime volunteer in the district, will be sworn in at the July 23 meeting and will serve until the winner of a special Nov. 4 election is sworn in. Cromer has said she will run for the seat. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Milton to renovate historic home

Restoration of a historic city property will get underway in Milton. The city council approved a $632,000 contract with Headley Construction Corp. for restoration of the Hopewell House, which dates back to at least 1865. The project will bring the property up to code while preserving its historic character. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Forsyth sheriff starting special needs program

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office is starting a program called Special Needs Awareness of Public Safety. SNAPS will offer people with special needs personal interaction with law officers through classes, scenarios and simulations. The first event featuring the sheriff’s office, fire department, 911 and EMS is 4-6 p.m. Saturday at Cumming First United Methodist Church, 770 Canton Highway. Meetings will begin at 5 p.m. July 9 at 3520 Settingdown Road, Cumming. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Northside 911 seeks accreditation

The Chattahoochee River 9-1-1 Authority, which provides service to Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Dunwoody and Brookhaven, is seeking accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. City employees and the public can offer comment by phone from 1 to 3 p.m. July 21 at 404-843-6615. Written comments can be sent to CALEA, 13575 Heathcote Blvd., Suite 320, Gainesville, VA, 20155. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Johns Creek will open amphitheater

The Johns Creek Newtown Park Amphitheater will officially open with a 7:15 p.m. June 28 ribbon cutting at 3150 Old Alabama Road. The 10,600-square-foot open-air facility is made of stacked stone and southern pine and is designed to seat up to 440 people under cover, and another 1,000 on terraced grass. The Johns Creek Symphony will play an opening-night concert the same night at 7:30 p.m. It’s the first of three events in the city’s summer concert series. Mark Woolsey for the AJC


APS announces new principal hires

The Atlanta Board of Education approved the hiring of four new principals Thursday night: Tony Burks II, Douglass High; Tasharah Wilson,Washington High; Camisha Perry, Deerwood Academy; Dawn Parker, Crim Open Campus. Principals start work July 1. Molly Bloom

Atlanta fire stations to welcome visitors

The Atlanta Fire Rescue Department is opening its fire stations 10 a.m. today. Fire Station 25, 2349 Benjamin E. Mays Drive SW, will serve as the primary open house station, and food, entertainment and preventive health care vendors will be at the location.

Other stations open to visitors: Station 18, 2007 Oakview Road SE; Station 19, 1063 N. Highland Ave. NE; Station 20, 590 Manford Road SW; Station 27, 4260 Northside Drive NW; and Station 28, 1925 Hollywood Road NW.


Kent A. Miles for the AJC

Advocacy groups discuss reading challenges

Voices for Georgia’s Children and Georgia Children’s Advocacy Network will host a free panel discussion entitled ‘Learning Differences and Obstacles: What gets in the way of reading?’ 1 to 3 pm Tuesday, June 24 in the Blue Room of the Freight Depot, 65 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive SE.

Q&A to follow discussion. Information: Polly Mckinney,

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Hammonds House to host musical event

The Hammonds House Museum and the Auburn Avenue Research Library will hold a Juneteeth outdoor celebration featuring WRFG, 89.3 FM host and musicologist DJ Ausar, 7 p.m. today at Hammonds House Museum, 503 Peeples St. SW, Atlanta.

The community listening event is free and open to the public.

Information: Kent A. Miles for the AJC


Meter installation begins Monday

Decatur will install its new “smart meters” Monday through Thursday.

A total 35 multi-space pay kiosks and another 48 single-head meters – used in blocks of low-volume parking – will cover Decatur’s 315 on-street downtown parking spaces. All meters take debit, credit and coins.

Though not official the city’s considering Saturday enforcement.

With an estimated $264,000 increase in parking revenue due to new meters, the city will hire a full-time parking attendant next month. Bill Banks for the AJC

City properties gain ‘phenomenal’ value

Properties in DeKalb County’s cities are gaining far more value than those in unincorporated areas, according to the county’s mid-year budget.

The taxable value of city properties is expected to increase 13.1 percent this year, while the taxable value of unincorporated properties is up only 0.6 percent. Countywide, taxable property values are growing 5.9 percent this year.

Mark Niesse

Police crack down on crosswalk violators

Dunwoody police issued six tickets this week to motorists who failed to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk on Mount Vernon Road.

The department placed a plainclothes officer at the crosswalk on WednesdayJune 18, following complaints that drivers were failing to stop for pedestrians. The officer used the crosswalk 26 times, each time activating the flashing yellow lights. The motorists that failed to yield to the officer were issued citations.

Under Georgia law, drivers must stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the road within a crosswalk.

“One accident involving a car and a pedestrian or cyclist is too many and could have catastrophic results,” Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan said in a statement. Kent A. Miles for the AJC

Healthy Life Expo in Decatur

The third annual Healthy Life Expo, a community event promoting healthy eating and active living, will take place at 5 p.m. June 28 at the field behind Peace Lutheran Church, 1679 Columbia Drive, Decatur.

There will be tours of the community garden, a food sampling table and a produce sale, along with activities for children, exercise demonstrations and health screenings. The event is free to the public and guests are asked to bring a can of nonperishable food for donation to homeless veterans.

Partners in Action for Healthy Living Inc. is hosting the event.

Information: or 404.996.6324. Kent A. Miles for the AJC

Hidden Hills residents invited to meeting

A meeting of residents and business owners in the Greater Hidden Hills community will take place 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Hairston Crossing Library, 4911 Redan Road, Stone Mountain.

Leaders of the Main Street Tucker Alliance will be present to share advice on how to turn the Greater Hidden Hills district into a vibrant community that promotes redevelopment and enhances the quality of life.

Information: Kent A. Miles for the AJC


Peachtree City revising budget plans

Peachtree City’s administrative staff is revising its FY2015 budget proposal based on discussions at two recent workshops. As outlined at Thursday’s city council meeting, the plan includes addressing a backlog of road, bridge and golf cart path maintenance using a combination of a 1-mill tax increase and cash reserves. A final proposal will be published before public hearings are held in July. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Community Gardens fundraiser Saturday

Community Gardens of Henry hosts Love and Homegrown Tomatoes Party 6-9 p.m. today at Heritage Village Garden, 101 Lake Dow Road, McDonough as a fundraiser for charitable donation gardens at Wesley Way Helping Harvests in McDonough, the Helping Harvests at the Cubihatcha Outdoor Center in Locust Grove, and the community gardening program in Henry County.

Tickets: $10, adults; $5, children under 16; children under 3 are free.

Information: Monroe Roark for the AJC

Summer concert at McDonough Square

McDonough Main Street kicks off the Sounds on the Square summer concert series at 7 p.m. today with a performance by the Mackie Creek Band at McDonough Square.


Kent A. Miles for the AJC

Fayette park committee meeting

The next meeting of the Fayette County Justice Park Committee is 7 p.m. Wednesdayat the Administrative Complex meeting room, 140 Stonewall Ave. West in Fayetteville.

The volunteer group is working on developing a park near the county justice center.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Piedmont Henry offers kids food/fitness camp

Kids 11-14 years old can participate in the Ignite food and fitness camp being offered this summer by Piedmont Henry Hospital. It is July 28-Aug. 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Momentum Christian Church’s Eagle’s Landing campus, 1120 Village Business Pkwy. in Stockbridge. Hospital dietitians will work with fitness instructors to help kids learn about nutrition, engage in exercise sessions, take part in cooking demonstrations and gain confidence in making healthy food choices. Camp is $60 per person and registration is required as space is limited. To register: 678-604-5106. Monroe Roark for the AJC

Piedmont Henry sets ‘Walk with a Doc’

Piedmont Henry Hospital is coordinating “Walk with a Doc” events at 8:30 a.m. the fourth Saturday of each month through July at Heritage Park in McDonough.

A different physician will be participating each month and available to answer general health questions.

Each participant will receive a free pedometer and T-shirt.

Register at under the “Search Classes & Events” tab or by phone at 1-877-527-3712. Monroe Roark