County by county news for Friday


Judge uphold ex-Cobb EMC chief’s indictment

A Cobb County judge has upheld a second racketeering and theft indictment against former Cobb EMC chief Dwight Brown.

In orders filed Thursday, Judge Robert Flournoy III denied three motions presented in November by Brown’s attorneys, including former Gov. Roy Barnes, to have the case thrown out.

Flournoy threw out the first 31-count indictment early last year because it was not delivered in open court. The second indictment, handed down in July, included the same 31 initial charges on theft and racketeering, plus four more charges of witness intimidation. Janel Davis

Helicopter rides to benefit museum

The Marietta Museum of History is offering helicopter rides Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. to raise money for the financially struggling museum. The rides are $35 per person at the museum’s Aviation Wing on Atlanta Road at South Cobb Drive. Blue Ridge Helicopter Tours will donate some of the proceeds to the museum. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Powder Springs officials sworn in

Cobb Superior Court Judge James G. Bodiford swore in Powder Springs Mayor Patricia Vaughn and two City Council members at Tuesday’s meeting.

They included Councilwoman Rosalyn Neal and newcomer Chris Wizner, a WellStar family physician.

Neal also was elected Tuesday to be the mayor pro tem again this year by the City Council members -- to serve as mayor in Vaughn’s absence.Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Leadership Cobb seeks nominations

The Cobb Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for the 2012-13 Leadership Cobb class. The program develops leadership skills through learning sessions including lectures, classroom activities and forums with community leaders.

Nomination forms are available at, and due Feb. 24.

Information: Michele Bickerstaff, 770-859-2345 Janel Davis

Donation helps Acworth buy K-9 unit

The Acworth Police Department recently received a $5,000 donation toward the purchase of their new K-9 unit from the Ortho-Zone and Singleton Orthodontics.

The donated money was used to help purchase the department’s newest canine officer “Uno.” Uno is a Belgian Malinois purchased from a trainer in Florida.

The donation was used to offset the $12,000 cost of the dog. The remaining funds came from drug forfeiture money. Andria Simmons

Library launches healthy living program

The Cobb Library System is launching “Discover Your Health at the Library,” a healthy living campaign this year for Cobb residents.

The campaign will include monthly presentations and online information on healthy living. The first seminar on the benefits of exercise is scheduled for Jan. 7 at the Central Library in Marietta. Guest speaker will be Amanda Timberlake of Life University. Seminars on healthy eating will be held in February and March.

The presentations are free and open to the public.

Information: Janel Davis


Gwinnett creates citizen panel to advise on transit

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Tuesday established a citizen committee to advise the county as it studies transit alternatives in the I-85 corridor.

Gwinnett is studying light rail, commuter rail, bus rapid transit and other ways to get commuters off I-85 at rush hour. Ultimately, it will determine which method works best and perform more detailed engineering and environmental reviews.

The citizens committee will provide feedback to county employees and consultants before the study is considered by commissioners. David Wickert

New traffic light at Grayson school Jan. 12

A new traffic light at Grayson High School is expected to begin operating when school gets out on the afternoon of Jan. 12.

The new signal on Ga. 20 at the high school access road will operate weekdays during peak school hours from 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The new signal is part of the state Department of Transportation’s effort to widen Ga. 20 to a four-lane divided highway from Cooper/Ozora Roads to Brand Road. David Wickert

Peachtree Corners to hold candidate forum

The United Peachtree Corners Civic Association has announced that it will host three public forums for city council candidates.

The schedule for the forums: District 1 candidates on Jan. 30, District 2 on Jan. 31, District 3 on Feb. 6. All forums will start at 7:30 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church at 5575 Peachtree Parkway. Information: or 770-446-2364. Joel Anderson

Author to speak about war to seniors

Bill York, Navy veteran and author, will speak about World War II at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 16 for the Senior Group at Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church on Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth. York, 85, will talk about experiences in the war with a slideshow of Pacific Theater battles. Information: 770-497-0233. Kenneth Musisi

Schools get a chance at $10,000 prize

Public schools in Georgia are being offered a chance to win $10,000 through a program called the Georgia School Spirit Award created by Buford dentist Ashley P. Curington. The money , which has no strings attached, will go to the school that receives the most votes by midnight Jan. 31 at or at

Some schools are already listed, and more can be added with an email to Nancy Badertscher

Decline in donation prompts call for blood

The American Red Cross is seeking blood and platelet donations, as the region has seen a 20 percent decrease in donations since December. Donors can give blood Friday, today from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Snellville City Hall, 2342 Oak Road, or any day Mondays through Saturdays at the Duluth Blood Donation Center, 3090 Premiere Parkway, Suite 500. Information: or 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Veronica Fields Johnson


Fulton to Grady: Improve customer service

The Fulton commission has asked the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority to come up with a plan for improving customer service at Grady Memorial Hospital, which is stated to receive about $52 million from the county this year to care for needy Fulton residents. The board approved a resolution saying Grady has been failing to meet customer satisfaction measures since the fourth quarter of 2010. The measures include the percent of patients who say that doctors communicate well, that rooms are clean and that they would recommend Grady to others. Johnny Edwards

Roswell spends $250,000 for bus stops

Roswell is spending $250,000 on bus stop improvements, part of a $1.6 million allotment through the Atlanta Regional Commission.

The city will be the first to install a unique bus shelter design free of advertising at 10 bus stops. Each shelter will display bus route information and schedules. One bus stop at Holcomb Bridge Road and Ga. 400 includes a bike locker which allows a bicycle to be locked inside a compartment and protected from the weather. Patrick Fox

Red Cross appeals for blood donations

The American Red Cross is seeking blood and platelet donations as regional donations have declined since December. Donors can give blood at the Alpharetta Blood Donation Center, 3000 Old Alabama Road, Suite 110 or today from 1 to 6 p.m. at Dunwoody United Methodist Church, 1548 Mount Vernon Road, Atlanta. Veronica Fields Johnson

Milton rolls out 2012 Newcomer’s Guide

Milton’s 2012 Newcomer’s Guide is now being distributed by local Realtors and at apartment complexes. Copies are also available online and at City Hall. The 45-page publication includes information on Milton’s history, a guide to taxes, contact information for utilities, county departments and city facilities, a listing of local volunteer groups and other details. Patrick Fox

Sandy Springs wants plan for business district

Sandy Springs announced Thursday it is shopping for a developer to draw up a master plan for the Central Business District, a plan that would establish the area as a government and community hub.

The city wants a detailed site plan and development analysis for a civic center complex or other properties that may be used for public purposes.

At the same time, the city is seeking information on areas in the city center that might be suitable for a stand-alone government facility or mixed-use project, incorporating residential and non-residential uses including a new municipal complex. Patrick Fox

Grant helps expand mobile food market

Fulton County will match a $25,000 grant from the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation to expand its Fulton Fresh Mobile Farmer’s Market, which over the summer delivered an estimated 10,000 pounds of fresh produce to more than 900 residents.

Distribution will increase from four to eight sites in 2012. Johnny Edwards


Ceremony today for renovated stadium

Atlanta school officials today will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. to mark the completion of a $17 million renovation of Lakewood Stadium. Lakewood, located at 70 Claire Drive, SW, received new lights and sound systems, new stands and playing surfaces and other upgrades. It is the second of the district’s two athletic stadiums to receive extensive renovations in the last few years. Grady Stadium was renovated in 2010. Georgia State University will also use the stadium for track and field practice. Information: Jaime Sarrio

Mayor Reed to speak at press club

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will be the featured speaker at the Atlanta Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon on Wednesday. The luncheon is open to the public, with general admission tickets advertised at $40. Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m., with Reed’s remarks beginning at 12:25 p.m. The event will be held at the Capital City Club, 7 John Portman Blvd. at Historic Harris Street (formerly Harris Street). Tickets can be purchased by calling 404-577-7377. Jeremiah McWilliams

Council schedules redistricting hearing

Atlanta residents can weigh in on the city’s process for redistricting its City Council boundaries in a public hearing on Jan. 17. The meeting is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. at City Hall, Committee Room 2, 55 Trinity Ave.

Under consideration is the “Plan 6 map,” which is viewable at Jeremiah McWilliams

Red Cross holds first aid class for pets

The Red Cross will hold a pet first aid class on Jan. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the 1955 Monroe Dr., N.E. Participants will learn skills needed to assist their dogs or cats in case of an emergency and common ailments.

The course fee is $70. To register, call 1-800-REDCROSS (733-2767) or register online at Kenneth Musisi


Man sentenced for Medicaid fraud

A DeKalb County man has been sentenced to three years in prison followed by 12 years on probation for Medicaid fraud involving HIV patients, the state Attorney General’s Office said. George Boyd, who operated Northwest Ministry Inc., falsely billed Medicaid for $305,000 from June 2005 to November 2009, the office said. He also falsified HIV patient charts to conceal his scheme and obtained patients’ social security numbers and personal information, which he used to bill Medicaid for services he did not provide. Boyd also was ordered to pay $284,000 in restitution. Bill Rankin

MARTA officer faces child sex charges

The DeKalb County Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit on Wednesday arrested MARTA police officer Willie Clarence Lee Jr., 46, on charges of child molestation and sexual exploitation. The unit began its investigation after text messages and a pornographic image were found on the cellphone of a 14-year-old girl, according to a DeKalb police press release.

The girl’s caretaker filed a report with DeKalb Police on Monday. Investigators believe that Lee, an ex-boyfriend of a family member of the victim, has been involved with the girl for five years, police said. Steve Visser

Group to protest cell tower at school

DeKalb parents and neighbors, upset about the upcoming construction of a cell phone tower on the campus of Briarlake Elementary School, are planning a demonstration and protest march on Saturday.

The group plans to march from Briarlake Elementary to the T-Mobile Store on La Vista Road at 10 a.m. The DeKalb County School District signed a deal with the communications giant to erect nine towers at various schools. But parents have -- fearful of the unknown effects of radiation -- have continued to voice their concerns. Saturday’s demonstration is being organized by No Briarlake Tower. Ernie Suggs

Museum School to hold information meetings

The Museum School of Avondale Estates, granted a five-year charter by the DeKalb County School Board last fall, will hold three informational meetings this month for parents of prospective students. They are scheduled for Jan. 9 at the Redan Library, Jan. 11 at the Chamblee Library, and Jan. 17 at the Covington Library. All meetings start at 6:30 p.m. If there are more applications than spaces, the school will hold a Feb. 18 lottery to pick students. The Museum School, currently K-4 with 200 students, will add a grade each year through eighth grade. Bill Banks for the AJC

Magazine to help parents shop for camps

Atlanta Parent Magazine will hold a trade show-style preview in Dunwoody of summer camps in and around metro Atlanta.

The March 17 event, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., is at Perimeter Mall. It’s the last of three such free expos, with the first Jan. 21 at Alpharetta’s North Point Mall and the second Feb. 12 at Kennesaw’s Town Center Mall.

The expos allow parents to meet directors and former attendees of camps offering everything from horses to drama, athletics and computers. Information: Ty Tagami


Legislators to meet with residents on Thursday

Fulton residents can sound off to their state senators and House representatives at a public hearing Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. in room 307 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building. The meeting is held each year at the start of the legislative session so residents, neighborhood associations and other organizations can suggest priorities to General Assembly members who represent Fulton County. Each resident or group will have three minutes to speak. The Coverdell building is at 18 Capitol Square, S.W., in downtown Atlanta. Johnny Edwards

Commission recognizes Eagle Scout

Last month the Fulton County Commission recognized Quincy Marshall Wolff for reaching the rank of Eagle Scout. Wolff, 16, is an honor roll sophomore at Woodward Academy in College Park. For his Eagle Scout project, he led a team of fellow scouts, football teammates and other volunteers in constructing two athletic training tables for his school’s Colquitt Stadium sideline.Johnny Edwards

Housing program open to low-income families

Henry County commissioners have amended the Neighborhood Stabilization Program Asset Manager agreement. The amendment lets low-income families participate in the program by allowing Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity to serve as a lender. The program helps states and local communities with foreclosure problems and property abandonment by putting them in the hands of buyers. Tammy Joyner

Three-tier school bus system for Henry

Henry County Schools will implement a new three-tier bus route system for elementary, middle and high school students for the 2012-13 school year. “Other metro Atlanta school systems have moved to a three tier system over the past several years,” said Shearouse. We have been able to identify benefits for Henry County by observing the successes of other districts and knew it was time to make the switch ourselves.” Nancy Badertscher

Clayton school public forums Tuesday

Four public forums will be held at different Clayton County locations on Tuesday to discuss how schools in the county should operate in 2013. The 6 to 8 p.m. sessions will be at North Clayton, North Clayton, Morrow, Mundy’s Mill, and Jonesboro high schools. Topics will include: IE² vs Status Quo Charter, high school math and college/career readiness. The district’s decision on a method of operation must be submitted to the Georgia Department of Education by June 30, 2013. Tammy Joyner

Holmes to hold town hall meeting Jan. 21

Henry County Commissioner Bruce Holmes has scheduled his first town hall meeting of 2012 for 9 a.m. Jan. 21 at the Fairview Recreation Center. The meeting will focus on the county’s finances and accomplishments in 2011. The special guest speaker will be Henry County Commission Chairman Elizabeth ‘B.J.’ Mathis, who will give her annual State of the County address. The meeting is open to the public. Monroe Roark for the AJC