County by county news for Friday


MADD recognizes Marietta police unit

The Marietta Police Department’s STEP/HEAT Unit was recognized for its DUI enforcement efforts last year at the MADD Golden Shields Awards on March 22.

The event was hosted by MADD and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to show appreciation for agencies that are combating impaired driving. Awards are presented based on agency size and DUI arrests. Officer David Auld was presented the MADD Bronze Pin. Officers Michael Gardner and Stephen Miller received the Silver Pin. The STEP/Heat Unit was also one of four nominated for DUI/HEAT unit of the year. Andria Simmons

Two Austell officers honored

Two Austell police officers were honored Monday by Mayor Joe Jerkins and the City Council.

Plaques and pins were awarded to Timothy Koutlas for 15 years of service and Armando Cipriano for five years of service.

Before the meeting, a reception was held in their honor. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Georgia Ballet to hold camps, classes

Let the Georgia Ballet help keep you on your toes this summer. Call 770-528-0881 before April 26 to receive a 5 percent discount on camps and classes for all ages and skill levels. Among the offerings are: pre-ballet to teach 3- and 4-year-olds good posture, rhythm and coordination; and mini-camps for youngsters 4 to 7 on ballet, tap, dance history, nutrition and fun.

Space is limited. The Georgia Ballet is located at 1255 Field Parkway, Marietta. Nancy Badertscher

Final Exit president to speak Sunday

Ted Goodwin, President of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies and Jim Chastain, President of the Final Exit Network of Florida, are scheduled to speak at noon Sunday at the Atlanta Free Thought Society hall at 4775 N. Church Lane in Smyrna.

The two men will discuss the rights of individuals to control matters surrounding their deaths. Andria Simmons

Teacher may get free chicken for a year

A teacher in Cobb County can eat free for a year at restaurant chain Pollo Tropical by garnering the most online nominations from students and parents.

The company will award a teacher in each of the 15 counties it serves, including Cobb. Favorite teacher nominations will be accepted from May 2 until 5 p.m. May 31. The Cobb school generating the most nominations also wins $500 for its student activities fund.

To nominate, visit (Enrollment in the Pollo Reward$ program is required.) Ty Tagami

Parenting expert, author to speak

Child psychologist and author John Rosemond will speak on the subject Parenting with Love and Leadership (from Tots to Teens) at 7 p.m. April 19 at Whitefield Academy, 1 Whitefield Drive, Mableton. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required due to space limitations. Information: or 678-305-3000. Veronica Fields Johnson


Elementary school registration nears

All Gwinnett County elementary schools are gearing up for kindergarten registration for the 2012-13 school year.

Registration is set for May 3, but parents are urged to contact the school for specifics.

Parents who are not sure of the location of their child’s school can call the school system’s planning department at 678-301-7085. Items required at registration include proof of birth date, proof of residency in the attendance zone and proof of immunizations. Nancy Badertscher

Sign up now for tech school summer camp

The deadline is May 7 to register for a middle school summer camp at Gwinnett County’s Maxwell High School of Technology. The camp is open to current sixth, seventh and eighth graders who are interested in exploring careers, including: architecture, drawing and design; auto collision; auto services; construction; cosmetology; culinary arts and many others. The cost is $50, and the camp runs June 11-14. Register at the school website. Nancy Badertscher

County sets candidate qualifying period

The qualifying period for political party and nonpartisan candidates for the July 31 general primary and nonpartisan elections ballot in Gwinnett County will be 9 a.m. May 23 to noon May 25. Democratic Party candidates will qualify at 1599 Rocky Trail Lane, Dacula. Republican Party candidates will qualify at 45 S. Clayton St., Lawrenceville. Nonpartisan candidates will qualify at the Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections, 455 Grayson Highway, Suite 200 Lawrenceville. Information: David Wickert

Tim Tebow to speak at Lawrenceville church

New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow and evangelical Christian author John C. Maxwell are scheduled to be guest speakers at Lawrenceville’s 12 Stone Church on May 2. Tickets for the 8 p.m. event cost $25, $50 and $100. A 6:30 VIP dinner with both guests costs $4,000. Information: Suwanee’s Equip Leadership, 877-991-7847, or 12 Stone, 678-990-8100. Michael Alpert for the AJC

Library features puppet shows today

The puppeteers at the Centerville Branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library have created a special program for the Spring Break week to be held at 1:30 p.m. today. The library is located at 3025 Bethany Church Road in Snellville.

Info: Andria Simmons

Norcross ready for neighborhood cleanup

Norcross residents and visitors are invited to dump, donate and unload unwanted materials on Saturday as part of the Neighborhood Clean-up & Recycling Day. Items can be dropped off a number of locations, with volunteers on hand to help unload the donations. Check with,, or 770-448-7237 for more information about times and locations. Joel Anderson


Fulton makes pitch for charter school plan

Officials from Fulton County Public Schools presented their plan to become a charter school system during a committee meeting held by state Board of Education members Wednesday.

If approved, Fulton County Public Schools would become the largest charter school system in the state with more than 92,000 students. Becoming a charter system would allow Fulton County to have at the district level the type of organizational and instructional flexibility typically granted to individual charter schools.

The board will consider the application later. Wayne Washington

Hausmann takes issue with resolution

North Fulton Commissioner Liz Hausmann is questioning a resolution her colleagues adopted thanking unnamed state legislators for supporting the county in their last session, while condemning unnamed lawmakers for their “pernicious, thinly cloaked, inequitable effort to restrict the rights of certain Fulton County citizens.” Hausmann was the lone dissenter, and Chairman John Eaves abstained.

Hausmann said the resolution, purporting to thank those who quelled divisiveness, is divisive itself. “This is like no thank you note I’ve ever seen,” she said in a news release. Johnny Edwards

Sister-government pacts questioned

Fulton Commissioner Liz Hausmann says the county should set guidelines before entering any more sister-government relationships, such as finding out if there will be any economic benefit and making sure the county has enough staff to handle extra responsibility. Last month, the commission approved mutual cooperation with Bahia, Brazil.

The commission held off on approving the idea after Vice Chairwoman Emma Darnell raised concerns about the requirement of a “detailed demographic profile.” The language of Hausmann’s resolution is being tweaked. Johnny Edwards

Shredding event in Alpharetta April 14

Alpharetta residents that need to safely discard confidential papers can take advantage of a free document shredding event from 9 a.m. to noon April 14 in the Haynes Bridge Road parking lot at City Hall. There is a five-box limit per resident.

The event is being held in conjunction with the Alpharetta Farmers Market and opening day of the Alpharetta Arts StreetFest. Eco Shredding asks participants to bring one can of food per box . The food will be dispersed to the North Fulton Community Charities Food Bank. Information: 678-297-6200 or Patrick Fox

Friday Night Live features the ‘80s

If hair metal bands, Pac-Man and shoulder pads send you into a fit of nostalgia, head for downtown Woodstock tonight. As part of its Friday Night Live series, ‘80s night will unfold from 6-9 p.m. Downtown merchants will stay open late offering specials, live music will play on the sidewalks and the Woodstock Visitors Center will host a game night. Attendees are being encouraged to dress in ‘80s gear and enter a costume contest with a $100 downtown gift certificate at stake. More info: 770-924-0406. Mark Woolsey for the AJC


APS looks for new principals

Atlanta Public Schools has posted several job openings for principals at elementary, middle and high schools across the city.

The open positions advertised on the district’s website include North Atlanta High, Jackson High, King Middle, Bunche Middle and others. APS spokesman Keith Bromery said personnel changes are a regular, recurring activity near the end of the school year.

Information: Jaime Sarrio

MARTA waits longer this weekend

MARTA patrons will need to allow for more travel time this weekend because rail lines will operate on a 24-minute schedule to accommodate track work.

Starting at 9 p.m. Friday through Saturday, all trains will board on the southbound platforms at the Brookhaven and Chamblee stations.

The Green Line trains only will shuttle between Bankhead and Ashby. At Vine City, Ashby and Bankhead stations, all trains will board on the eastbound platforms.

On Sunday, only the Red and Gold lines will operate on 24-minute intervals while the Green and Blue lines will return to a regular schedule. Steve Visser

Suspect in killing arrested in Texas

A man wanted for allegedly beating a northwest Atlanta woman last week and killing her boyfriend was arrested Tuesday in Texas.

According to the U.S. Marshal’s office and Atlanta police, Nadia Boukari was found beaten at her home Atwood Street on March 26.

Boukari was able to tell police that a suspect named Otis Redmon had shot her boyfriend, Keith Robinson, in the head with a shotgun and placed his body into Boukari’s car, authorities said.

A bystander had observed Redmon beating Boukari with the butt of a shotgun and then running over her as he fled the scene in Boukari’s car. Mike Morris


Emory to host eyewitness symposium

Emory University’s School of Law will host the “Eyewitness Identification Symposium” on April 13 to “deconstruct” the idea that the most convincing evidence comes from eyewitnesses, the school said.

The symposium will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the law school’s Tull Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

Speakers include lawyers, members of law enforcement and criminologists who will discuss topics such as the factors that cause incorrect identifications and suggestions for policies that could improve identification accuracy, the school said. Bill Rankin

Suspicious fire damages apartments

No injuries were reported in an overnight fire that damaged a building at a vacant DeKalb County apartment complex that has been plagued by similar blazes.

DeKalb fire Battalion Chief Christopher Morrison said the fires at the Colony of Stone Mountain complex on Chatfield Drive are suspicious.

“Within the last six months, we’ve come here several times,” Morrison told Channel 2. “We do have an ongoing investigation.”

The vacant complex is off North Hairston Road near Memorial Drive. Mike Morris

DeKalb students awarded scholarships

Several DeKalb County students won Achievement Scholarship awards for black Americans, and will receive $2,500 from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Winners were: Tsion A. Horra, of Tucker High School; Jamila N. Pegues, of Arabia Mountain High; Amanda K. Bennett, of Chamblee High; and Trevor K. Lindsay, of Columbia High.

They were among more than 160,000 students who entered, and were selected based on test scores, academic performance, school endorsement and an essay. Ty Tagami

County extends spay-and-neuter contract

The DeKalb County Commission recently agreed to extend its current veterinary contract for spay-neuter services at the county shelter.

The $33,150 month-to-month deal with Lifeline Animal Project of Avondale Estates will give the county time to review and plan new outsourcing efforts at the shelter.

A citizen task force report recently criticized the facility as outdated and unsanitary, calling for new investment and possible private contracts to improve the shelter and animal services operation. April Hunt

Arborist urges action on Decatur canopy

During a public discussion Wednesday Urban Forester Ed Macie urged Decatur to take active steps in preserving and replenishing the city’s canopy. Studies show that 45 percent of the city has tree canopy cover, with another 30 percent comprising open space.

But the arborist anticipates “a major change in the canopy over the next five years” partly due to the city’s older mature oaks and increased development.

“We have to develop a tree management plan,” Macie said, “and a public policy toward our canopy, which includes educating [private citizens] on the health of their trees.” Bill Banks for the AJC


Students get lesson in distracted driving

The lesson for some Henry County students on Wednesday will be the consequences of distracted driving. And instead of opening a book or booting up a laptop, they’ll be at Ola High School stadium for the re-enactment of a fatal car crash and a mock funeral. Several organizations, including law enforcement, fire and rescue, will take part in this event for Ola High and Ola Middle School students. Called a “ghost out,” the event is billed as a reminder for students that alcohol, drugs, cell phones and other distractions can cause serious injury, even death. Nancy Badertscher

Peachtree City: Leave foxes alone

With spring here and native wildlife more active, Peachtree City is advising residents to leave foxes alone. City Hall has received reports of fox sightings, but none involved aggressive or rabid animals. The city does not trap or remove native species living in natural areas of the community. However, animals that appear sick or aggressive (unless defending a den) can be reported to 911. Bird feeders attract both birds and mice, which in turn can attract foxes. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Woodward Academy celebrates diversity

Woodward Academy in College Park is in the midst of a week-long celebration of diversity featuring arts and historical events. The celebration, which runs through April 12, includes a variety of events, such as: a remembrance of the Civil Rights Movement through music and other media; a discussion of “Ruth and the Green Book,” a book about the difficulties of travel for African-Americans during Jim Crow, and an Experience the Arts Day with performances, paintings and sculpture. Information: Wayne Washington

Lovejoy library to hold yard sale

A Spring Yard Sale will be held at the Lovejoy Branch Library on Saturday, April 21 from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.. Used clothes, books, food and other items will be featured. Space rental fee: $15 and must be paid by April 13. Details: Amelia McBride at 770-472-8129 to reserve a space. Set up begins at 8:30 a.m. on April 21. Proceeds go to support library events. Tammy Joyner

Government offices in Henry closed today

Henry County Government offices and the Henry County Recycling Center will be closed two days over the Easter weekend -- today Monday. The Recycling Center will be open Saturday. Monroe Roark for the AJC