County by county news for Friday

GA DOT sets toll road informational meeting

The Georgia Department of Transportation will host an informational session for residents 6 - 8 p.m.Aug. 28 at the Cobb Board of Commissioners meeting room, 100 Cherokee St., Marietta to discuss the Northwest Corridor Project.

The project proposes adding new toll lanes along Interstates 75 and 575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties to reduce traffic congestion. The new lanes would be reversible to accommodate the direction with the most traffic.

Project staff will answer questions and take comments. Information:; 770-528-1000. Janel Davis

American Legion hosts fundraising race

The North Cobb Post 304 of the American Legion is sponsoring a 5K Legion 304 Run, a fundraiser for veterans and youth in Cobb County, at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 18 at Dallas Landing in Acworth. Race day registration starts at 6:30 a.m.

Registration is available at Big Peach Running stores in metro Atlanta and due online at by 5 p.m. Aug. 17. Pre-registration fee is $20; $25 on race day. Information: David Burdette at Kenneth Musisi

Park wins grant in nationwide contest

Kennesaw plans to use a $15,000 grant from the Coca Cola Company to install exercise stations along park trails at Swift-Cantrell Park on Old US Highway 41. Recreation Division Manager Davie Pies said the park received almost 3 million votes in the nationwide contest to improve or add activity areas in public parks. The city should receive the America is Your Park grant in about two months. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Volunteers needed for board, tourist center

Marietta Power and Water is looking for city residents to serve on its board of directors. Candidates, who will be approved by City Council, should have a business background and knowledge of utility systems. Applications: The Marietta Visitors Bureau, 1 Depot St., Marietta is also looking for volunteers to work from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Information: 770-429-1115. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Cobb EMC annual meeting set

Cobb EMC will hold its annual members meeting 8 a.m. Sept. 15 at Piedmont Church, 570 Piedmont Road, Marietta. No directors will be elected, but proposed bylaw changes will be presented for a vote.

Members will be required to register with photo ID. A $500 electric bill credit and a quilt will be awarded in a door prize drawing. Proceeds from the prize ticket sales will help sponsor a youth trip to Washington, D.C.

Information: Janel Davis

Chattahoochee cleanup scheduled

Barefoot Wine and Surfrider Foundation's Atlanta chapter will host a river cleanup 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 25 at Chattahoochee River Park.

After the cleanup, participants age 21 and older are invited to celebrate their work at 2160 Briarcliff Road N.E., Atlanta.

The park is located at 3444 Cobb Parkway S.E., Vinings. Information:

Laurie Hoffman


County maintains top credit ratings

Three credit rating agencies have renewed their top ratings for Gwinnett County government.

Moody's, Standard and Poor's and Fitch Ratings recently gave the county top marks as it seeks to take advantage of low interest rates and refinance a 2003 bond used to pay for a jail expansion. Gwinnett could save $1.8 million in interest by refinancing.

Among other things, Moody's cited Gwinnett's ample reserves, conservative budget assumptions and diligent budget monitoring. Gwinnett has maintained its top credit rating since 1997. David Wickert

Groups object to school money use

Local citizen groups have stepped up a campaign against public funding for a county economic development program.

Gwinnett Citizens for Responsible Government and others have asked state education officials to determine whether the county school district can legally support the Partnership Gwinnett program, run by the Chamber of Commerce. The district pays $150,000 for salaries of two economic development strategists for the program.

School officials say they can legally pay the salaries because economic development efforts boost the property tax base, which increases district revenue. Critics say the money should pay for education, not economic development. David Wickert

Local group named finalist for awards

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Atlanta Women in Engineering was named a finalist in the first annual STEM Education Awards. The group, which works to recruit and retain women in technical career fields, was recognized for work with Ivy Prep Academy, a charter school. The winner will be named Sept. 14. Daarel Burnette II

Bank representative to visit Lilburn

Hugh Rowden, vice president of community and client relations at Wells Fargo Mortgage, will speak at a town hall meeting on home foreclosure 7 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Calvin Fitchett Municipal Complex, 76 Main St., Lilburn. Rowden tracks trends in Gwinnett foreclosures and works with residents to help them keep their homes. Information:, 770-921-2210. Michael Alpert for the AJC

Berkeley Lake farmers' market expanded

Berkeley Lake's new Lakeside Market has been gradually expanding from a handful of vendors to over twenty offering everything from fresh produce to handmade art, as well as on-site BBQ. Volunteers from Gwinnett Master Gardeners are on hand each week to answer all types of gardening questions free of charge. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

GMC rehab center adding paintings

Glancy Rehabilitation Center in Duluth is adding paintings by community artists and hospital employees to patients' rooms as part of a Healing Art program. The artwork, chosen by a committee of experts in design, nursing, recreational therapy and hospital administration, will provide scenes to promote healing, reduce stress and pain. Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Cherokee schools make calendar switch

The Cherokee County School District has updated its 2012-2013 school calendar. Oct. 26, formerly listed as a furlough day, is now a school day, and Dec. 21 becomes a furlough day.

District officials say feedback from parents/guardians, staff and school board members indicated the December date was preferable due to the proximity of the winter break.

The district has scheduled eight furlough days this year.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Northside Hospital-Cherokee expands

Northside Hospital-Cherokee is expanding into Woodstock. Hospital officials this week announced plans for a four-story, 100,000-square-foot medical office building at I-575 and Towne Lake Parkway. The building will house a variety of outpatient services and medical practices and could be open for business as soon as August, 2013. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Free movie on tap in downtown Alpharetta

Alpharetta's Movies on Milton will present "The Princess Bride" at 8:30 p.m. Friday on Milton Avenue across from City Hall, 2 S. Main Street.

Participants can bring their own blankets or chairs to view the movie on a large inflatable screen.

Festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. with music, food and beverages. Parking is available at City Hall or Milton Center, 86 School Drive.

Information: 678-297-6000.

Patrick Fox

Girl Scouts to learn car maintenance

The Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta will participate in the "Ready, Safe, Drive!" program, a free car maintenance and safety workshop, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 18 at Cherokee Ford Lincoln, 1575 Mansell Road, Alpharetta. Mechanics will teach the young women how to diagnose and perform minor repairs, including changing a tire and checking fluids. The program was created by Ford Motor Company, in partnership with Safe Smart Women. Kenneth Musisi

Trolley Crawl features cultural variety

Guests can enjoy cultural food, libations and entertainment at Roswell's fourth annual Trilogy Trolley Crawl 7 - 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Historic Barrington Hall, Bulloch Hall and the Smith Plantation will "dress up" to offer food and entertainment found in San Francisco, Santa Fe and South Beach.

Parking is free, tickets are $40, which includes one drink ticket, food tickets as well as live entertainment and trolley shuttles. Information and tickets:

Patrick Fox

Senior fundraiser planned in Cherokee

The Cherokee County Volunteer Aging Council will hold its annual fundraising gala 6:30-10:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Conference Center, 1130 Bluffs Parkway, Canton.

Money raised by the dinner-dance event will benefit Cherokee County Senior Services programs such as Meals on Wheels.


Mark Woolsey for the AJC


Police: Crime drops in downtown Atlanta

Downtown Atlanta continues to see a reduction in overall crime, but there has been an increase in larcenies this year, Atlanta police said. The biggest concern is larceny from automobiles as visitors from out of town leave valuable items in plain sight. Larceny represents 75 percent of all downtown crime.

Police said they encourage visitors to keep valuables hidden. A small increase in robberies so far this year was mostly due to snatch robberies of cell phones, according to police. Burglaries and auto thefts are down. Jeremiah McWilliams

5K Run/Walk to benefit lung cancer

The Free to Breathe Atlanta Lung Cancer 5K Run/Walk will be held 7 a.m. Saturday at John Howell Park, Greencove and Virginia Ave. Race day registration is $30. Proceeds support the National Lung Cancer Partnership. Information:

Veronica Fields Johnson

Programs focus on Congo discussions

The film "Lumumba" and the video "Letter to Pauline" will be shown at 7 p.m. today at the Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural Center and Bookstore, 960 Ralph D. Abernathy Blvd.

"Why the Congo Matters" will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Auburn Avenue Research Library, 101 Auburn Ave. N.E. The event includes the film "Crisis in the Congo"; a Skype discussion with Congolese youth; the film "Once Upon a Time in the Congo" and a discussion about women in war.

Information: 404-586-0460, Ext. 17. Laurie Hoffman

Braves to host youth baseball clinic

The Atlanta Braves and L.E.A.D (Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct) will host the Atlanta Youth Baseball Clinic and summit 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Turner Field. The clinic portion will feature Braves alumni -- Otis Nixon, Rick Camp and Greg McMichael as instructors. Summit speakers will share the impact of civil rights and success. L.E.A.D. is an instructional program for inner city youth. Kenneth Musisi


Winship renews cancer center designation

Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute renewed its National Cancer Institute cancer center designation status. Only 57 centers nationwide that provide care to adult cancer patients hold the NCI cancer center designation. Winship is the only NCI-designated cancer center in Georgia. Winship will get nearly $8 million in funding from the NCI over the next five years as part of the designation.

Emory said Winship's designation is the result of advances in lung cancer research, a world-class multiple myeloma program, the Southeast's largest head and neck cancer research effort and a broad portfolio of cancer clinical trials.

Carrie Teegardin

Dunwoody to offer government course

Dunwoody is offering an eight-week course called "Government 101."

The course, which runs Tuesdays beginning Sept. 25, is designed to enhance understanding of city government and teach residents how to get involved in local civic and community affairs.

The free sessions are open to residents over the age of 18.

Information:, or at City Hall. Deadline is Sept. 7. Patrick Fox

Atkinson to speak at Dunwoody High School

Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson is expected to update parents on school district news 8:45 a.m. Sept. 28 at Dunwoody High School.

The Dunwoody-Chamblee Parent Council brings parents, school officials and lawmakers together the first Wednesday of each month to discuss public education. Ty Tagami

Beacon Hill renovation to begin in January

Renovation of the old Beacon Hill/Trinity High school site, where Decatur's African-American schools operated from 1915 to the mid-1960s, will begin in January. Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon said recently the project's middle section, new home for the school system's central office, will be finished by May, 2014, at the earliest. A new gym will be constructed at one end of the complex, and a new police department and municipal courtroom at the other end. Total cost is expected to be $30 million, likely the city's most expensive municipal building project ever.

Bill Banks for the AJC

Dunwoody Chamber meeting Aug. 27

The Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce will continue its new speaker series 7:30 to 9 a.m. Aug. 27 at Ravinia Club, 2 Ravinia Dr., Suite 100, Dunwoody. Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, will discuss the top issues facing the state's business community and their direct impact on Dunwoody.

Information and registration: 678-244-9700 or Kenneth Musisi

Atlanta church to host tailgate event

Tailgate Sunday is set for 9:30 to 11 a.m. Sunday at Saint Philip AME Church, 240 Candler Road SE. Participants will wear their favorite team's jersey and cheer them on to a winning season.

Bring your own grill and food. The church will provide beverages.

Information: Rosie Austin at 404-371-0749. Kenneth Musisi


Missing Riverdale man, 61, found safe

A 61-year-old Riverdale man missing since Monday was located Thursday, police said.

Bennie Johnson, 61, who is believed to have Alzheimer's disease, was last seen around 12:20 p.m. in the 6700 block of Collier Way before he walked away.

Atlanta police found Johnson and transported him to a hospital for evaluation.


Coyotes seen in Hapeville

Hapeville officials said coyotes have been seen in the area around the Hapeville First Methodist Church on Atlanta Avenue and South Fulton Avenue.

The coyotes suspected of preying on smaller animals. Hapeville's leaders ask residents to keep a watchful eye on pets and bring them in each night. John Thompson for the AJC

Hapeville concert is Friday

Downtown Hapeville comes alive with live music and food vendors.

The concert features John Stringer and runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday in the Jess Lucas Y-Teen Park at 680 South Central Ave., Hapeville.

John Thompson for the AJC

Farmers' market is Saturday

Folks interested in seeing fresh grown produce, along with hand-crafted food products should head to East Point for the monthly farmers' market.

The market runs from 9 noon Saturday at the East Point Commons, 2757 East Point St.

John Thompson for the AJC

Friday night flicks resumes tonight

East Point's "Friday Night Flicks" features the quintessential summer movie "Grease" tonight.

The movie starts at dusk at East Point Commons, 2757 East Point St., East Point.

Admission and parking are free and light concessions will be available for purchase.

John Thompson for the AJC

Fire department staging open house

The East Point Fire Department is hosting its first open house 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Fire Station No.1 at 2757 East Point St.

Events include free blood pressure and glucose screening, fire prevention tips and activities for children.

John Thompson for the AJC

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