County by county news for Friday


Mableton coalition seeks new home for peacock

The Mableton peacock may have to move.

The Mableton Improvement Coalition is looking for a home for a peacock that has taken up residence in the Concord Road area of Mableton for the last few years. A new subdivision, Wilkins Walk, will be bounded by Floyd, Hicks and Concord Roads in the peacock’s neighborhood.

So far, many comments on the MIC Facebook page suggest animal rehabilitation center Noah’s Ark in Locust Grove as an alternative. Information:

or Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Austell schools benefit from railroad fund

Two Austell schools will benefit from $15,500 in interest earned this year on the city’s $5 million Norfolk Southern railroad settlement.

Garrett Middle School will receive $2,500 for its Truancy Program from the City Council.

Under a program started by Mayor Joe Jerkins, students receive help to improve their school attendance by meeting family needs and mentoring.

Austell Elementary School will be given $8,000 to help 200 students buy their required uniforms

An additional $5,000 will go to Austell Elementary to help pay for lunches and field trips for students.

Board members Ollie Clemons, Doc Frady, Dennis Perrin and Judy Still of the Austell Area Community Improvement Commission, or AACIC, recommend to the Council uses for the interest fund.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Kennesaw to hold parade, tree lighting

Kennesaw will hold a parade with floats and marching bands starting noon Saturday on Main Street. The holiday events will continue downtown with live music, entertainment and children’s activities. A tree lighting ceremony will be at 5 p.m. At 2828 Cherokee St. Information:

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Historic Mable House opened through Dec.14

The Historic Mable House will be open for tours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today through Dec. 14 at 5239 Floyd Road, Mableton.

Docents will lead visitors through the 170-year-old house and outbuildings, explaining life on this 19th-century farm that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Under lease to the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, the house is supported by Friends of the Mable House, a part of the South Cobb Arts Alliance.

Information:, or

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Austell Christmas tree lighting today

The City of Austell will hold its Christmas Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. Friday at Collar Park, 2625 Joe Jerkins Blvd. next to the City Hall/Police Department Complex.

Local school choirs will provide musical entertainment.

All free, hot dogs, hot chocolate and pastries will be served.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive on their sleigh, and everyone will have the opportunity to tell him their favorite Christmas wish.

Information: or 770-944-4309.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC


GSMST prepares for next freshman class

Registration information for Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology for the 2014-15 freshman class is now available. GSMST is a charter school, and enrollment for the ninth grade is open to all students who are residents of the Gwinnett County Public Schools attendance zone and have completed the eighth grade. GSMST will host Middle School Informational Meetings at 7 p.m. on the following dates: Tuesday for Berkmar, Collins Hill, Duluth,Norcross, and Peachtree Ridge clusters; and Jan. 14 for Brookwood; Grayson; Meadowceek; Parkview; and Shiloh clusters. Nancy Badertscher

Center offers senior computer classes

The Gwinnett SenioR Learning Center offers computer classes for adults age 50 and up covering basic and advanced computer skills, as well as Internet/e-mail, photo editing, etc. at Bethesda Senior Center in Lawrenceville and George Pierce Park in Suwanee.

Registration for the Winter Session will be held 9-11 am Jan. 8 at Bethesda Park and 10 a.m. - noon Jan. 9 at George Pierce Park.

Arlinda Smith Broady

Bridge classes offered in January

Learn to play bridge 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays at George Pierce Park, 55 Buford Hwy NE, Suwanee.

Classes begin Jan. 11 and run for six weeks.

Information: 678-277-0910.

Arlinda Smith Broady

Fire, EMS collecting heaters for seniors

Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services is accepting new portable electric heaters for seniors to be distributed through Project AWARE.

Drop off donations at fire stations until Feb. 28.

Monetary donations should be sent to Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services, P.O. Box 1680, Lawrenceville, GA 30046.

Information: 678-377-4150. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Gingerbread house competition begins

Entries are being accepted through Dec. 14 for the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center’s fourth annual Sustainable Gingerbread House Competition and Exhibit.


Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Animal shelter accepts goods for food banks

The Gwinnett animal shelter is collecting canned goods for local food banks through Dec. 31 by offering a $10 voucher for shelter fees for a five-item donation of such goods as peanut butter, dry beans, pasta, rice, cereal, toilet paper, diapers, soap, shampoo, deodorant and detergent.

Drop off donations to Gwinnett’s Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center, 884 Winder Highway in Lawrenceville.

Information: 770-339-3200 or Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Public input meetings on Ga. 20 improvements set

The Georgia Department of Transportation seeks public input on proposed improvements to Ga. 20 from I-575 in Canton to Ga. 400 in Cumming. Two meetings are set: 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at Calvary Baptist Church, 137 Hightower Road, Ball Ground and 5- 7 p.m. Thursday at Otwell Middle School, 605 Tribble Gap Road, Cumming. DOT officials say potential improvements include additional lanes and intersection upgrades.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Woodstock hosts Christmas event

Main Street Woodstock, Inc., will present “Christmas on Main” from 6-9 p.m. today as part of Friday Night Live series.

Downtown merchants will stay open late, live music and artist demonstrations will be featured and Santa will drop in at the Woodstock Visitors Center for free pictures.

Information: 770-924-0406.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Forsyth County launches web portal

The Forsyth County Water and Sewer Department has created a new web portal allowing customers to view a variety of account information, as well as view bills and more quickly make online payments.

Customers will be able to view their consumption history and look up previous bills, among other information.


Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Cherokee students excel on national test

Fifth and 8th-grade students in the Cherokee County School District continued to score well above average this year on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

Cherokee 5th-graders had a composite score of 68-18 points above the national average.

Eighth-graders scored a 66-16 points ahead.

The October exam covered reading, language arts, math, social studies, science and sources of information.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Woodstock trail completion delayed

Woodstock Parks and Recreation Director Preston Pooser says construction on the multi-use Noonday Creek trail, originally set for the fall, has been pushed back to January or February.

Pooser says the 1.5-mile, $1 million trail from downtown Woodstock to Ga. 92 near I-575 was held up by bad weather earlier this year.

He says one stretch has yet to be finished. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Cumming Christmas parade set for Saturday

The Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce and the Forsyth County Community Connection will hold a holiday celebration Saturday on Market Place Boulevard between Buford Dam Road and Ga. 20 in Cumming.

The Jingle Jog 5K race is set for 8:30 a.m., followed by the eighth annual Cumming Christmas Parade at 10:30 a.m.

Information: Woolsey for the Ajc


UGA receives political records grant

The University of Georgia’s Russell Library for Political Research and Studies received a $58,777 grant to process records from the state’s Democratic and Republican parties.

The one-year project is funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The grant will fund a professional archivist to complete the processing and preservation work. Information:

Janel Davis

Washington High gets intense mold cleaning

Atlanta’s school system is spending $264,000 to rid recurring mold from Booker T. Washington High School.

The city Board of Education voted to contract with Epic Response, which will wash and vacuum the school’s technology building.

The building, which was closed this fall because of the mold problem, is scheduled to reopen in January, said Alvah Hardy, executive director for facilities services for Atlanta Public Schools. Mark Niesse

City joins energy efficiency program

The city of Atlanta joined the Energy Department’s new Better Buildings Accelerators, which support ongoing state- and local government-led efforts to cut energy waste and eliminate market and technical barriers to greater building efficiency. Information: Arlinda Smith Broady

CAU reactivates honor society

More than 100 Clark Atlanta University students, faculty and administrators have been inducted into Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society, the only national honor society founded on the campus of a historically black college. The CAU chapter was installed in 1944. This is its first induction since 2001.

Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society is a general scholarship honor society open to junior and senior men and women in all academic areas who meet its membership requirements. Participants must have a 3.3 cumulative grade point average. Nancy Badertscher


Board still lukewarm towards committee

Decatur’s school board remains lukewarm toward a collective board/city commission “Blue Ribbon Committee initially proposed by Mayor Jim Baskett in August.

After a Wednesday work session board chairman Marc Wisniewski said, “We have to be much clearer on its scope, on its mission and rules of engagement.”

The board is now aiming toward next June in getting the committee formed, and next November for getting a bond referendum on the ballot that would finance additions to Renfroe Middle and Decatur High Schools. Bill Banks for the AJC

Decatur to replace parking meters

Given a city commission vote, which should come Dec. 16, Decatur will replace all of its approximately 300 downtown parking meters next February or March.

All the new meters will take cash, credit, debit card or allow customers to pay by cell phone.

Some will be single-head meters and others – where multiple spaces are crammed into tight areas—will be solar-powered kiosks providing, among other things, time remaining via text message.

Most of the city’s current meters are over a decade old.

Bill Banks for the AJC

Dunwoody group to discuss city schools

A Dunwoody group will meet to discuss a proposal to carve a city school system from the DeKalb County School District.

The Dunwoody Parents Concerned about Quality Education will review a report, commissioned by the City of Dunwoody, that assesses whether county educational services could be provided more efficiently by an independent city school district.

The meeting is 2 p.m. Dec. 15 in the Great Hall of St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church, 1978 Mt. Vernon Road, Dunwoody.

Information: Ty Tagami

State ed board to hear public comments

The Georgia Board of Education will hold a public hearing about education at Tucker High School.

The purpose is to gather comments about public education in the Sixth Congressional District, which includes northern DeKalb County and other portions of northern metro Atlanta.

The hour-long meeting is 7 p.m. Monday at the high school, 5036 Lavista Road, Tucker.

It will be hosted by state board member Barbara Hampton.

Information: 404-657-7410. Ty Tagami

A last dance for an old school building

Chamblee Charter High School is sponsoring a dance to commemorate the old school building before it is demolished, and to raise money for the new.

The “Last Dance,” as the event is being called, is 8 to 11:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the campus, 3688 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. It will be preceded by a “jazz cafe” at 6:15 p.m.

Proceeds will go towards equipment and supplies for the new building, opening in January.

Tickets: Ty Tagami


Macy’s funds Peachtree City Christmas play

A grant from Macy’s is funding production of the “Yes, Virginia: The Musical” play at Crabapple Lane Elementary School in Peachtree City. The school is one of only 100 in the country and the only public school in metro Atlanta to receive the funding, which is part of a national charitable campaign. The musical will be performed at 7 p.m. on Dec. 12 at the school.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Project Harvest Accepting donations

Project Harvest is collecting nonperishable items through Dec. 16. Donations can be made at: Frank Bailey Senior Center, 6213 Riverdale Road, Riverdale; J. Charley Griswell Senior Center, 2300 Hwy 138 SE, Jonesboro and Clayton County Board of Commissioners, 112 Smith Street, Jonesboro.

Information: Aging Program at 770 603-4050.Tammy Joyner

Busy holiday weekend on McDonough square

McDonough’s Holiday Downtown Christmas Kickoff Party is 6-9 p.m. today. The Kids Downtown Shop Around is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Free for 13 and under. The Christmas Parade begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, with the tree lighting and Christmas concert at 4 p.m. Santa Saturdays on the Square are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each of the three remaining Saturdays before Christmas.

Information: Monroe Roark for the AJC

Rooks to host community forum

Clayton County Commissioner Shana Rooks will hosta community meeting 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the South Clayton Recreation Center, 1837 McDonough Road, Hampton. Rooks will hold similar quarterly meetings next year on the first Saturday of January, May, September and December.

Tammy Joyner

Yule Log festival Saturday

The Reynolds Nature Preserve is holding its Yule Log Celebration this Saturday at 7 p.m. The preserve is at 5665 Reynolds Road in Morrow. The free event includes a bonfire, storytelling, music, refreshments and a shuttle service from Babb Middle School. Details: 770 477-3766 or go online to

Tammy Joyner

Peachtree City starts Santa Run

Peachtree City’s annual Santa Run will be held Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 22. Santa will ride atop fire trucks through the city’s neighborhoods to collect donations of nonperishable food and Toys for Tots. Schedules are posted at

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

‘An Atlanta Christmas’ coming to Stockbridge

The Academy Theatre and Atlanta Radio Theatre Company bring their annual holiday show, “An Atlanta Christmas,” to the Stockbridge Community Arts Center this weekend.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The center is at 146 Burke St., Stockbridge. Info: Monroe Roark for the AJC