County by county news for Friday


Marietta to slow speeders near schools

Marietta will reduce speed limits and add driver feedback signs to slow traffic on streets around two city schools off Polk Street. The city council approved the speed -slowing measures after parents complained of safety issues. The speed limit will drop from 30 mph to 25 mph on Maple Avenue and two flashing signs that display a driver’s speed will be placed near Marietta Middle School.

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Money added to park building renovation

The Marietta City Council Wednesday approved adding $1.18 million to a $2.6 million renovation of a recreation building at Custer Park off Fairground Street. The project includes doubling gymnasium space, adding workout and classroom space and improving the driveway and parking lot. Funds will come from a city parks and recreation bond approved by voters in 2009. The project should be finished next year.Information;

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Property owners to clean detention ponds

Powder Springs property owners now will have to clean their detention ponds, a task that had been done by the city and at costs that can vary from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

Cornelius and Janet Savage appealed to the Powder Springs City Council this week to help them since they do not have the money to clean their detention pond and now have received a municipal court citation with a $100 fine for failure to appear.

When the Savages commented they could fill their detention pond with dirt instead of spending hundreds to maintain it, Councilman Chris Wizner told them they are not allowed to do that.

If the City Council changes the ordinance for these property owners, Mayor Patricia Vaughn suggested the city might have a moratorium on citations and fines until a decision is made.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

South Cobb council meets Tuesday

The South Cobb Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at Presbyterian Village, 2000 East-West Connector, Austell.

Among the panelists will be Powder Springs Mayor Patricia Vaughn and Austell Councilwoman Suzanne Thomason.

Also, public safety officials, Teachers of the Year and Partners in Education will be honored during this last meeting of the year.

Friday noon is the online registration and refund deadline.


Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Tree keepers to start season

The Marietta Tree Keepers will start its season with maintenance work at Hill Pocket Park 9-11 a.m. Saturday at 144 Lemon St. Volunteers of all ages can register starting 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Lemon and Waddell Streets. Refreshments and tools will be provided. Information:

Tucker McQueen for the AJC


Stream restoration improves water quality

County commissioners have approved the second phase of a 3.8-acre stream restoration near Allenhurst Drive in the Peachtree Station and River Valley Estates subdivisions in Peachtree Corners. The project will stabilize 2,100 feet of stream banks, using natural channel-design techniques to reduce erosion and improve water quality and habitat. The first phase was completed in 2010. Funding for the $923,807 project comes from the water and sewer renewal fund.

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Norcross schools to benefit from festival

Norcross Cluster Schools Partnership will be selling books Saturday and Sunday at the Norcross Art Fest near the railroad tracks and Thrasher Park in downtown Norcross. Proceeds will be used for providing school supplies and funding grants. Information: or

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Lawrenceville launches new event policy

With completion of the Lawrenceville Lawn, the Lawrenceville City Council has approved a new Special Event Policy, effective immediately, for all events taking place beginning in 2015. The new policy will be in effect for use of the Lawrenceville Lawn, road closures due to rental of the Historic Gwinnett County Courthouse Grounds and pre-approved parade routes, 5K or 10K run/walk events. During this first year only, as the new policy is implemented, the application process for any event will be rolled out in three phases through July 31, 2015. Once the City’s event calendar for the year has been established, no events will be added or road closures granted. Details: Information: or 678-407-6598.

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Free interviewing skills workshop

Gwinnett Health and Human Services will host a interviewing skills workshop 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at Buford Human Services Center, 2755 Sawnee Avenue in Buford. This program is open to all individuals, including the under employed or unemployed interested in career development and job readiness. Information: Lift Up Atlanta at 404-547-1472 or 678-225-5360.

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Poll workers still needed for Nov. elections

The Gwinnett Voter Registrations and Elections Division needs dedicated citizens to serve as paid poll officials for the upcoming elections. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and residents of Gwinnett County, at least 16 years old, and able to read, write, and speak English. Those who were convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude or judicially determined to be mentally incompetent are not eligible to serve as a poll official. Applications:



Cherokee approves 2015 budget

The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners gave final approval to the county’s $195.7 million 2015 budget this week, an increase of $21.4 million from the 2014 plan. The budget carries an operating increase of $8.2 million, which includes salary adjustments and money for 35 new employees. Capital expenditures will increase $13.9 million.That figure includes $6.6 million in SPLOST projects, among them improvements at the Cherokee County Regional Airport. The budget also earmarks $5.4 million for projects under the county’s parks bond.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

No-cost flu shots for Forsyth schoolkids

Forsyth County Schools will offer no-cost flu shots and flu mist for the district’s school-age children as part of the Student Wellness Expo. Times and dates: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at Otwell Middle School, 605 Tribble Gap Road, and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at Piney Grove Middle School, 8135 Majors Road. Forms and insurance cards should be brought, but if the child has no insurance, the vaccine will be given free of charge. Information:

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Early/advance voting set in Cherokee

Cherokee County Elections and Voter Registration officials have posted early/advance voting times and locations for the Nov. 4 election. Early voting is set for 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13-17 and Oct. 20-24 at the Cherokee County Elections Office, 400 E. Main St., Canton. Advance voting is set for Saturday, Oct. 25 and Oct. 27-31 at the elections office and at four county library branches. Information:

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Roswell marketer named to national post

City of Roswell community relations manager Julie Brechbill has been named president of the City-County Communications and Marketing Association, a 700-member national group of government communicators and marketers.Brechbill has been with the city for 11 years, and oversees the city’s website, social media efforts, television operation, publications and media relations.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Basford services rescheduled

Funeral services have been rescheduled for Woodstock City Council Member Mary Theresa “Tessa” Basford, who died early Monday. The funeral is now set for 1 p.m. Saturday (an hour earlier than first reported) at Lakeside Funeral Home, 121 Claremore Drive, Woodstock. Visitation is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the home.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC


Southside non-profit plans beautification project

Atlanta Southside Up! will hold neighborhood beautification projects 8 a.m.-noon Saturday and Oct. 18 at the intersection of University Avenue and Pryor Road.

Volunteers will cleanup litter on the first Saturday, and plant flowers and shrubs the following week.

The non-profit recently received a $1,000 mini-grant for streetscape and beautification at the southside intersection.

Keep Georgia Beautiful, Trees Atlanta and Community Grounds Coffee are among the organizations and businesses lending their support.


Adrianne Murchison for the AJC

Technical College open house

Atlanta Technical College will hold an open house for prospective students 10 a.m., Oct. 17, 1560 Metropolitan Parkway SW.

The event includes campus tours, financial aid information and presentations on the administration process and college experience.

The college offers associate degree and certificate programs in areas ranging from culinary arts to paralegal studies and industrial systems technology.


Adrianne Murchison for the AJC

Helene Mills Senior Center celebrated

A semi-formal evening of dinner and dancing will celebrate Helene Mills Senior Center 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Royal Peacock, 186 Auburn Ave.

“Evening in Black and White at the Royal Peacock,” is hosted by Friends of Mills, Inc. to honor the 12th anniversary of the opening of the multipurpose senior facility at 515 John Wesley Dobbs Ave., Atlanta.

Tickets are $50.

Reservations: 404-523-3353.

Adrianne Murchison for the AJC


Charter district petition vote delayed

An application to convert the DeKalb County School District into a “charter” system was tabled Wednesday amid public criticism.

The school board voted to remove the 49-page application from the evening’s agenda after a public hearing brought complaints from parents, teachers, a student and others. Most of the 11 speakers said the proposal to innovate improved service for low-income students and those who speak limited English was short on specifics. Some also worried about how the district would use requested waivers from state requirements that dictate maximum class sizes, minimum teacher pay, teacher credentials and other standards. The state granted some waivers during the recession when districts had financial reasons to cut teachers and increase class sizes, but a new law would eliminate waivers for districts that do not move to alter their governance by 2015. The law envisions pushing more decisions from the central office to the school level.

DeKalb Superintendent Michael Thurmond asked that his district’s petition be withdrawn and addressed at a meeting to be called later this month. The charter petition is available on the district website:

Ty Tagami

Decatur High SAT scores soar

Last year’s Decatur High seniors scored a composite 1583 (mathematics, critical reading and writing) on the Scholastic Aptitude Test according to a recent announcement, the highest system-level score in the state, though City Schools Decatur has only one high school. Individually, Decatur High ranked 30th in the state among 414 schools, or upper seven percent, and had a 98 percent participation rate. Both the score and participation are high-water marks for the school

Bill Banks for the AJC


Woman escapes when alleged kidnapper falls asleep

A woman was taken from her Forest Park home on Murray Lake Court to a home in Southwest Atlanta by her ex-boyfriend on Monday. She was held in a house in the 200th block of Fletcher Street until Wednesday. She said her captor fell asleep and before fleeing, she was able to text her current boyfriend, who alerted her mother, who then contacted Clayton police.

The Atlanta Police Department’s SWAT team and the Clayton County police arrived at the home shortly after the woman escaped. After executing a search warrant, officers arrested Jawaski Antwon Cross on kidnapping charges.

Clayton Police detectives are still investigating the incident.


Fairburn special election opens door for redevelopment

The city of Fairburn will hold a special election Nov. 4 on a referendum seeking approval to act on the Redevelopment Powers Law. Approval would give Fairburn the authority to sell bonds to finance redevelopment in certain areas - tax allocation districts.

City officials say there are no current plans for tax allocation districts.

The ballot question will read, “Shall the Act be approved which authorizes the City of Fairburn to exercise redevelopment powers under the ‘Redevelopment Powers Law,’ as it may be amended from time to time.”


Adrianne Murchison for the AJC

Fayette SAT scores rise

For the second consecutive year, SAT scores for Fayette County students increased in 2014. A report from the Georgia Department of Education shows that the county ranks sixth in the state and fourth in metro Atlanta with a composite score of 1561, up 7 percent from last year. Sandy Creek and Whitewater high school students made the greatest gains, while Starr’s Mill and McIntosh scored in the top 5 percent in the state.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Commission addresses timber harvesting

Complaints about large-scale timber harvesting in unincorporated Fayette County led the Board of Commissioners to vote 5-0 Thursday in favor of developing specific regulations. County representatives have met with the Georgia Forestry Commission and residents to address disputes involving hundreds of trees being cut in residential areas. Commissioner David Barlow noted the need to balance property rights versus property values concerns among neighbors.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Retired educators’ group to meet

The Henry County Retired Educators Association will meet at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, in the community room of the county annex on Zack Hinton Pkwy. in McDonough. The program will include a genealogy presentation by Sara Jane Overstreet. Lunch will be provided by Chick-fil-A. Cost is $7 and you can pay at the door. Information: Kathy Hill, 404-310-7112 or

Monroe Roark for the AJC