County by county news for Friday


Citizens panel squeezed by short schedule

A report and recommendations on the county’s spending and budget priorities from a citizens oversight committee in Cobb County is scheduled for June 28, and some members are concerned that they won’t meet the deadline.

During a meeting Wednesday, former Congressman and committee member Bob Barr called the timetable “ridiculous,” and said it doesn’t allow time to provide meaningful impact . The panel’s chairman will discuss the deadline and workload with county officials. The committee is scheduled to be disbanded Dec. 31, unless extended by commissioners. Janel Davis

Chamber pick 25 top small businesses

The Cobb Chamber of Commerce has selected the top 25 small businesses of the year.

Companies include Smyrna dog training business, K-9 Coach and flag retailer, The Flag Company Inc. in Acworth.

The overall small business of the year will be selected from the top 25 at the chamber’s First Monday Breakfast on June 6. The breakfast will also kickoff Small Business Month.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is a 2011 Small Business of the Year sponsor.

Information: find the full list at, Janel Davis

Powder Springs court fines down $90,000

Municipal court fines in Powder Springs are down by nearly $90,000 for this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

City Manager Rick Eckert said Monday this fact dispels the city’s perception.

“We don’t want to be known as a speed trap,” Eckert said.

“With the gas prices up, I think people are driving slower and better to avoid the fines. I know I am,” Eckert said.

Travel in the city’s downtown district is restricted to 25 mph with police monitoring. Carolyn Cunningham

100,000 expected at Taste of Marietta

Marietta expects more than 100,000 people to attend the Annual Taste of Marietta, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., May 1 on streets around the city square.

Local restaurants will sell samples from menus from 50 cents to $4.

Family activities, cooking demonstrations and a sunset concert with Banks & Shane are also planned.

Free parking will be available in lots around the square and the Cobb County parking garage off Lawrence Street.

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Hearing on Atlanta Road work next week

A public information meeting for the Atlanta Road median and streetscape is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 26 at Brawner Hall at Taylor-Brawner Park, 3180 Atlanta Rd., Smyrna. A concept plan will be presented and remarks and other input from residents are welcome. Rich McKay

Little league host family fun day in Austell

Milford Little League will host a Family Fun Day on Saturday in Austell.

This event will last from 10 to 3 at Milford Park, 2980 Hicks Road.

Cost is $5, including games, prizes, inflatables and obstacle courses.

Dunk tickets are $1 extra. Info:

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC


School counselors win national recognition

Seven Gwinnett County Schools’ counselors have earned national recognition for their campuses.

The American School Counselor Association recently presented six Gwinnett schools with a quality credential and recertified another campus. The endorsement, “Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) Designation” is awarded to schools that offer data-drive comprehensive counseling services.

The schools recognized are: Annistown, Bethesda, Grayson, Peachtree, Magill and Mason elementary schools and Jones Middle. D. Aileen Dodd

Duluth music teacher wins national award

A Duluth High music teacher has received a national award from Yale University.

The fine arts teacher, Peter Lemonds, was recently presented with the Yale Distinguished Music Educator award for serving Gwinnett County Schools for more than a decade.

He is one of nearly 50 fine arts teachers nationwide to receive the honor. As an honoree, Lemonds has been invited to attend the 2011 Symposium on Music in Schools in Connecticut where he will participate in a workshop conducted by world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma. D. Aileen Dodd

School transportation workers honored

Three top transportation employees were recently honored for their commitment to serving public school students in Gwinnett County.

The winners are: Mariea Pettaway, 2011 Regular Education Bus Manager of the Year; Robert Bodemuller, 2011 Special Education Bus Manager of the Year; and Tabatha Massey, 2011 Special Education Bus Monitor of the Year. D. Aileen Dodd

Health and Fitness expo Saturday in Suwanee

The Blimpie Health and Fitness Expo will be held Saturday in Suwanee’s Town Center Park. The expo is scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. Information: JOEL ANDERSON

Lymphoma benefit walk next week

A 5k non-competitive walk to benefit the Lymphoma Research Foundation will be held at 10 a.m. April 30 at Wesleyan School, 5405 Spalding Drive, Norcross.

The event offers survivors, family, friends and corporate teams an opportunity to walk in honor and in memory of those whose lives have been touched by lymphoma.

The walk will be held at the Davidson Natatorium on campus. Registration begins at 9 a.m.

There is no fee or required donation to participate. Information: or 404-406-8939. David Wickert

Lawrenceville streetscape work starts

Construction started this week on the West Lawrenceville Streetscape project in Duluth, the city said.

The project includes new five feet wide sidewalks on each side of the street and resurfacing and restriping of the asphalt roadway.

Construction is expected to last until June 30.

Information: 770-476-1790. Joel Anderson


Forsyth planners volley harsh words at meeting

At the Tuesday meeting of the Forsyth County Planning Commission, District 5 Commissioner Dr. Joe Moses confronted chair Pam Livesay for failing to follow state open meetings laws by posting required public notice. Livesay said any mistakes were “out of ignorance, and nothing else.” District 4 Commissioner Matt Murphy then commented on Roswell activist and blogger Nydia Tisdale whose complaint forced cancellation of last month’s meeting. “You had your little Nazi agent over there put it in her little blog,” Murphy told Moses as he pointed at Tisdale. Jeffry Scott

Alpharetta applies for road work grant

Alpharetta officials have agreed to apply for a $218,000 Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant from the Georgia DOT to help fund intersection improvements at Ga. 400 at Old Milton Parkway and Morris Road.

The project, estimated at $1.9 million, will add turn lanes to the northbound exit. The grant money will be rolled into succeeding years’ grants until the project can be fully funded with a 10 percent local match, city officials said. Patrick Fox

Touch-A-Truck in Alpharetta April 30

Alpharetta Parks is sponsoring the 13th annual Touch-a-Truck from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 30 at North Park, 13450 Cogburn Road. A variety of vehicles, including fire engines, race cars, construction equipment, military vehicles and buses will be on hand. Other activities include inflatables, face painting and animal balloons.

Information: 678-297-6133 or email In case of inclement weather, call 678-297-6130. Patrick Fox

Cumming gets a clean fiscal bill of health

The city of Cumming is in good fiscal health, an independent auditor told the mayor and city council Tuesday night. The audit, by Cumming accounting firm, Leroy, Cole and Stephens, LLC, found that as of December 31, 2010, Cumming had $207 million in assets and $6 million in liabilities.

The city had $9.5 million in general fund revenue and expenditures of $8.2 million, with capitol expenditures last year of $10.4 million. Most of that -- $7.8 million -- went to build the aquatic center scheduled to open in June. Jeffry Scott

Roswell gears up for Cycling Festival

Roswell will have its annual Cycling Festival, April 30-May 1.

Opening events include a bicycle art display and a pump track grand opening at Big Creek Park. On Sunday, Mayor Jere Wood leads the annual “Mayor’s Ride,” featuring three levels of endurance.

Registration is required for the 20- and 40-mile rides. Visit by April 29. Patrick Fox

Teens can get advice on finding a job

Teens can get pointers on landing a summer job, such as what bosses look for and how to present themselves, in a class at the East Point Branch library, 2757 Main Street, on Friday. “Getting That Summer Job” starts at 2:30 p.m.

Reservations: 404-762-4842. Johnny Edwards


APS deputy gets top job in Texas

The top deputy to Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall has been named a lone finalist to lead the suburban DeSoto Independent School District in Texas.

Kathy Augustine, Atlanta’s deputy superintendent for instruction, came to the city system in 2000 to help Hall reform the academically troubled school system. She met largely with success, although some of those gains have now been called into question amid ongoing test cheating investigations. Kristina Torres

GSU picks founding dean for Honors College

Georgia State University officials moved ahead with a plan to create an Honors College by selecting a founding dean.

Larry Berman, a political science professor at the University of California-Davis, will serve as dean effective Jan. 3, 2012. Georgia State is transforming the current honors program into a college to provide accomplished students with more opportunities for research and other challenges. Laura Diamond

Man indicted in health care fraud scheme

A man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Atlanta for carrying out a health care fraud scheme, even though he was not licensed in Georgia as a physician, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Matthew Paul Brown, 29, of Nashville, Tenn., allegedly approached a number of doctors in the Atlanta area and persuaded them to bill Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers for allergy-related care.

The doctors agreed to pay Brown between 50 percent and 85 percent of the $1.2 million they received in health care benefits, prosecutors said. Bill Rankin

Road opened, damaged after main break

City workers stopped water from spewing from a ruptured aging pipe near Atlanta’s Candler Park Golf Course early Thursday and the road is open again, though it has significant damage, according to the city.

The burst pipe was a 6-inch main that was installed in 1929. Rhonda Cook


200,000 gallons of sewage spills into water

Nearly 200,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into DeKalb County waterways, over a 30-hour period, according to the watershed management department. County water reports show a 195,300-gallon spill into North Fork Peachtree Creek from the 2500 block of Peachwood Circle in Atlanta. The spill was reported around 9 a.m. Monday and corrected around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

In December, the federal Environmental Protection Agency mandated the county upgrade its sewage system after more than 800 spills were reported in five years. Michelle Shaw

Judge to speak at Power Breakfast

The Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) is hosting its 8th Annual Power Breakfast with the featured speaker Dax Lopez, a DeKalb County State Court Judge. The event is from 9 to 10:30 a.m. May 20 at the Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort at 4021 Lakeview Drive in Stone Mountain. Check-in starts at 8:30 a.m. The breakfast is a place to connect with the Latino community leaders in Georgia. The cost is $25 for non-members and $50 for members. Info: Andria Simmons

‘Watchdogs for Justice’ seminar April 30

There will be a “Watchdogs for Justice” seminar from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. April 30, at the Wesley Chapel William C. Brown Library, 2861 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur. The seminar, hosted by three attorneys and a private investigator, is free and open to the public. Watchdogs for Justice, is a non-profit organization established to decrease the number of young people entering the criminal justice system. Michelle Shaw

Lithonia is ‘Going the Green Mile’

To celebrate Earth Day, Lithonia Mayor Tonya Peterson-Anderson, and others, will host a ribbon cutting at 12:30 p.m. today at City Hall, 6980 Main Street, Lithonia. The event is to kickoff the “Going the Green Mile” pledge and challenge, designed to empower through environmental education. The city has partnered with the Green Economy Diversity Initiative for this event, which will also recognizes the Georgia Municipal Association’s Cities Week, which ends Saturday. Michelle Shaw

Stone Mountain moves ahead with city hall

The city of Stone Mountain is in line to get a new city hall. The city council on Tuesday voted to grant a $1.68 million contract to Headley Construction Corp. The facility which will be located on Main Street, will house the police department and the municipal court.

The historic train depot, the municipal departments will become a visitor’s center and the old courthouse will become a museum. Staff reports

DMC to hold free vascular health clinic

A free health seminar will be held at 6 p.m. April 27 at the DeKalb Medical Center, 2701 N. Decatur Rd., Decatur. Dr. Mirza W. Ahmed will talk about the latest treatment options for peripheral vascular disease and peripheral artery disease. Each participant will get a coupon for a free vascular screening, valued at $129. To register, call 404-501-9355. Michelle Shaw


Mom’s Facebook research leads to boy’s arrest

A Clayton County teen accused of having sex with a 12-year-old girl was arrested after the girl’s mother did research on Facebook.

Rodney Duncan, 17, was arraigned on statutory rape charges in Clayton County on Tuesday, according to Channel 2 Action News.

The mother told Channel 2 Action News that she learned her daughter was in an intimate relationship when she went on Facebook and found an ongoing argument between the child and Duncan’s girlfriend. She said she tracked down Duncan and tried to speak with his mother before going to police. Ty Tagami

College Park gets 3 new police officers

Three new College Park Police officers hit the streets after completing 11 weeks of training at the academy, Chief Ronald Fears announced.

The recruits are now completing 12-15 weeks of field training, where they work alongside a veteran officer.

Another 10 recruits are at the academy and expected to join the force in the upcoming weeks, the chief said. Megan Matteucci

Clayton hazardous waste disposal Saturday

Clayton County residents can discard hazardous items during Saturday’s Household Hazardous Waste Amnesty Day. Drop off at Clayton County Water Authority’s W.B. Casey Water Reclamation Facility, 8890 Roberts Road., Jonesboro. Accepted items: household paints and thinners, wood strippers, oven cleaners, cooking oil/grease, aerosols, bleaches, drain cleaners, fluorescent bulbs, auto and household batteries; motor and transmission fluid, pesticides, insect sprays, antifreeze, fire extinguishers, propane/butane tanks, over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Tammy Joyner

Students compete in ‘Clayton’s got Talent’

Middle and high school students in Clayton County Public Schools are featured in the school district’s “Clayton’s Got Talent” fundraiser this Saturday at the Clayton Performing Arts Center, 2530 Mt. Zion Parkway in Jonesboro. The event, modeled after the popular TV show “America’s Got Talent”, begins at 3 p.m. Advance tickets are $5 or $7 at the door. Tickets can be purchased, in advance, at any Clayton middle or high school. Proceeds go to the Superintendent’s Scholarship Fund. Details: 770 473-2760. Tammy Joyner

Child safety seat checkup on Saturday

Certified child passenger safety technicians will be at Agape Remah Christian Ministry, 2444 Lakewood Ave., in south Atlanta, on Saturday checking to see if child safety seats are installed correctly. The checkup lasts from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information: 404-730-1309. Johnny Edwards

Henry honors 4th grader for public service

Owen Aaron, a fourth-grader at Pate’s Creek Elementary, was honored April 19 by the Henry County Board of Commissioners for his public service, specifically to senior citizens and their pets. He organized a drive at his school that secured more than 1,500 cans of dog and cat food as well as over 200 pounds of dry pet food which were donated to the local Meals on Wheels program for elderly clients with pets. Monroe Roark for the AJC