County by county news for Saturday


Cobb man charged with sending sex pictures

A Cobb County man is accused of sending pornographic pictures of himself and a woman to contacts in the woman’s cell phone, including her juvenile brother. Hiren Pinaken Shah, 22, of Acworth, was being held in the Cobb County Jail on charges of felony child cruelty and having obscene material and obscene material distribution, both misdemeanors, according to his arrest warrant. Shah allegedly used his cell phone to take pictures of himself and a woman having sex, according to Kennesaw Police. The pictures were sent to contacts in the woman’s phone, including her mother, sister, friend, and 14-year-old brother. Alexis Stevens

Hearing on bond referendum Wednesday

Marietta residents have one more chance to weigh in on a $7 million bond referendum that will be up for a vote on March 6. A public hearing on a general obligation bond to build an auditorium at Marietta High School will be 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Marietta Sixth Grade Academy, 340 Aviation Road. District Superintendent Emily Lembeck and school board members plan to attend the meeting. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Oscar night party benefits families

An Oscar night viewing party at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 7 p.m. to midnight Sunday, will benefit Marietta’s Center for Family Resources. The Academy sanctioned event has raised more than $1.25 million in 10 years for the agency that helps low income families in Cobb. Tickets are $30 per person online or at the door. Information: Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Cobb EMC group to hold forum

The Cobb EMC Owners Association will host a forum Tuesday for board of directors candidates.

Cobb EMC CEO Chip Nelson and directors elected last year will also discuss the new direction of the company and their experiences.

On March 31, EMC members will vote for directors for six board seats. About 30 candidates are expected to run for office, and the owners association will hold candidate vetting sessions next month.

Tuesday’s forum begins at 6 p.m. at the offices of Butch Thompson Enterprises, 2131 Moon Station Drive in Kennesaw. Information: Janel Davis

Austell council to hold work session

Austell City Council members will hold their work session at 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 2716 Broad St. SW.

Their voting meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 5 -- also at City Hall. Information: or 770-944-4326. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Free health fair in Austell next week

A free health fair will take place in Austell next week.

Screenings will be available for all ages from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 1 in the first floor lobby of the Austell Threadmill Complex, 5000 Austell-Powder Springs Road. Diabetes education will be the focus, and Piedmont Heart Center representatives will answer questions, said the fair’s organizer, Dr. Philicia Andrews of Piedmont Physicians at Austell. Information: 770-739-9971. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC


Arson suspected in fire at church near Snellville

A small fire that caused minor damage to a Gwinnett County church’s gymnasium building early Friday was deliberately set, authorities said. The fire at Zoar United Methodist Church on Zoar Church Road near Snellville, had been doused by the building’s sprinkler system when firefighters arrived, Gwinnett fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said. Rutledge said “it appears that someone forced entry inside the back of the building and intentionally set a fire.” Anyone with information can call the Gwinnett Fire Arson and Explosives Section at 678-518-4890 or the Georgia Arson Hotline at 800-282-5804. Mike Morris

900 participate in science fair

Nearly 900 students from 44 schools participated Friday in the 2012 Gwinnett County Regional Science and Engineering Fair. This is the county’s largest event for science learning, and, in its 34th year, had elementary level science-researched projects competing alongside middle and high school work. “Allowing elementary students to compete, encourages students at an earlier age to explore the possibilities and discover the relevance of their knowledge,” said Jonathon Wetherington, director of science for Gwinnett County Public Schools.Nancy Badertscher

County to host yard, craft sale March 3

Gwinnett County will host a yard sale and craft fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 3 at Best Friend Park Gym, 6224 Jimmy Carter Blvd., Norcross. Spaces cost $20 for Gwinnett residents and $25 for non-residents. To reserve a spot, call 770-417-2212. David Wickert

Leap Day Lunch for seniors Feb. 29

Gwinnett County will host a senior Leap Day Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 29 at the Bogan Park Community Recreation Center, 2723 N. Bogan Road, Buford. The event, which is open to those age 50 and up, will feature soup and salad and bingo. The cost is $6 per person. Pre-registration is required. To register and for more information, call 770-614-2060. David Wickert

Snellville, Suwanee offer citizens police school

Snellville and Suwanee are offering their Citizens Police Academy program beginning in mid-March.During the multi-week programs, law enforcement issues discussed include domestic violence, drug awareness, traffic stops, firearms training, crime scene processing, and crime prevention. Application information: or Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Commerce club to award scholarship

The Snellville Commerce Club is now accepting applications from seniors at South Gwinnett and Brookwood high schools for a $1,000 college scholarship. To qualify, students must be active participants in their school’s Future Business Leaders of America or DECA programs, have good grades and have been engaged in some form of community service. Applications must be submitted by April 2. Information: or 770-978-0225. Joel Anderson


Abernathy Road traffic pattern set to change

The Georgia DOT will split traffic this weekend on Abernathy Road between Roswell and Brandon Mill roads, allowing two lanes of traffic in each direction. All four lanes are scheduled to reopen Monday morning. The scope of the project is to widen Abernathy Road from Johnson Ferry Road to Roswell Road from two lanes to four.

It is being done in conjunction with another project which includes widening Johnson Ferry Road from Columns Drive to Abernathy Road. Patrick Fox

Woman struck, killed crossing Ga. 400

A Forsyth County woman was struck by a pickup truck and killed while trying to cross Ga. 400 Thursday night.

The incident happened about 7 p.m. near Settingdown Circle in northern Forsyth County. According to Forsyth sheriff’s Cpl. David Garrison, Juanita Cole, 49, of Cumming stepped into the path of a southbound Ford F-150 truck driven by Kim Mills, 50, of Dawsonville. The incident remains under investigation, but no charges have been filed. Mike Morris

Woodstock police chief to be sworn in

The city of Woodstock is getting a new police chief.

Calvin Moss will be sworn in at 7 p.m. Monday at the City Council meeting. A reception will be held prior to that, at 6 p.m. Moss has been with Atlanta police since 1981, most recently serving as deputy chief of criminal investigations. He replaces chief David Bores, who retired Dec. 31. Monday’s meeting will be at The Chambers at City Center, 8534 Main St.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Rabid raccoon found in Milton area

Fulton County Animal Services has announced that a dead raccoon discovered in the Freemanville Road area of Milton has tested positive for rabies. Health officials are asking residents to avoid approaching any wildlife in the area and to make sure that domestic pets have a current rabies vaccination. Residents should report any wildlife that appears sick to 404-613-2163. Patrick Fox

Holy Innocents collects prom dresses

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School will be accepting donated prom dresses on Wednesday and Thursday that will be given to girls who want to attend the prom but can’t afford to buy a dress.

The school’s efforts are being led by Emily Merrill, a Holy Innocents senior.

Donors will have their name entered into a drawing for a $150 gift certificate from Tiffany & Co. Wayne Washington

Hillside PTA to host 5K run/walk

The Hillside Elementary School PTA is sponsoring the Husky Dask, a 5K Run/Walk on March 3 at Centennial High School, 9310 Scott Road, Roswell.

The 5K Run/Walk begins at 7:30 a.m. and the FunRun for children ages 4-7 begins at 8:15 a.m.

Registration fee is $25 for the 5K and $20 for the FunRun. To register and for information: or contact Portia Naish at Veronica Fields Johnson


Atlanta Meat Company owners get prison

Three owners of the Atlanta Meat Company were given prison terms for immigration and tax fraud. Rhett Maughon, 49, of Decatur, and Rafael Villareal Sr., 42, of Suwanee, received 5 years in prison; and Marcus Maughon, 47, of Decatur, received 3 years in custody. The owners’ “unwritten business success plan” was to cut corners by hiring undocumented workers and evading federal taxes, U.S. Attorney Sally Yates said in a statement.

All three men entered guilty pleas. Bill Rankin

U.S. education official speaks at Spelman

Jim Shelton, an assistant deputy secretary with the U.S. Department of Education, will stress shared parental, school and policymaker responsibility for education during remarks at Spelman College this morning.

Shelton’s remarks are part of the Tavis Smiley Foundation’s “Too Important to Fail: Parent Education Summit” conference. He will speak at 9 a.m. at the Camille Cosby Academic Center. Shelton heads up the federal Office of Innovation and Improvement, which supports education programs such as charter schools, teacher quality and technology in education initiatives. Wayne Washington

Children’s day at the Capitol on Tuesday

The first-ever Children’s day at the Capitol is set for Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is being hosted by the advocacy group Voices for Georgia’s Children and 24 partner organizations and is designed to draw attention to issues, including children’s health and education. Nancy Badertscher

Rev. Lowery to sign books at Carter center

The Rev. Joseph Lowery will share personal stories of the civil rights movement and other historical events on Monday at 7 p.m. at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, 441 Freedom Parkway. Rev. Lowery will also sign copies of his book, “Singing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land.” Doors to the museum open at 5:30 p.m. The event is free. Information: 404-865-7100. Veronica Fields Johnson


Community health event to be today

DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson will host an event to focus on community health and exercise this weekend at the Porter Sanford Center. The free event begins at 10 a.m. today at the Sanford Center on Rainbow Drive in south DeKalb. Information: 404-371-2425. April Hunt

GPC to host Leap Day concert

Georgia Perimeter College will host a Leap Day Concert on Wednesday, featuring the One Voice Choir of the Global Village School, which provides teen girls who have survived war and refugee camp experiences with formal educations.

The set list will include the Haka Chin (Burmese) song “Fimnak,” a Chinese Proverb set to music, Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” and original songs like “English is Weird,” by GVS Director and Artist-in-Residence Elise Witt.

The free concert will be held at 1 p.m. on the Clarkston Campus in the Cole Auditorium, 555 North Indian Creek Drive. Ernie Suggs

Popular Decatur restaurant to shut down

Feast, a popular Decatur restaurant across from the old train depot, is closing for good tonight at 11 o’clock.

Owner Teri Rogers, who’s battling breast cancer, made the announcement this week on the restaurant’s website, saying, “Although I am very positive that I will kick this disease again, it has been difficult for me to stay as focused on the business as I should be. . .In addition our sales have suffered with this challenging economy.”

Feast opened in 2005. Bill Banks for the AJC

Music and arts festival at Stone Mountain

The third annual “Stone Mountain Village BlueGrassRoots Music & Arts Festival” will be March 31 at Stone Mountain, 922 Main Street. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Up to 150 artists and artisans will be featured, along with a children’s area, local food and beverage concessions and gourmet food trucks.

For information: 404-845-0793 or Mea Watkins

FAMU alumni offer spring preview trip

The FAMU Peachtree Alumni Chapter invites prospective students and their families for a trip to the 2012 Annual Spring Preview at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee on March 24. The bus departs at 4 a.m. from the Publix on Flat Shoals Parkway in Decatur and returns at approximately 7 p.m. Cost is $60 per seat. Full payments and waiver forms are due by March 9. Mail payments and forms to PAC, P.O. Box 362160, Decatur, Ga. 30036. Information: Ray C. Long at 770-987-9034. Kenneth Musisi

Volunteers needed to drive cancer patients

The American Cancer Society seeks volunteers to drive cancer patients to and from their treatment in DeKalb and Fulton counties. The Road to Recovery volunteer drivers will be given the option of receiving mileage reimbursement of 14 cents a mile to help offset transportation costs. Free training is available. Information: Kimbra Butler at 404-582-6132 or Kenneth Musisi


Shelter for moms and kids opens on Tuesday

Fulton County will officially open a new homeless shelter for mothers and their children at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Springdale Place, on Springdale Road near East Point, will eventually have 145 beds. It will operate 24/7, run by Housing and Human Services and community partners. Programs will help moms get off the street and become self sufficient, but Springdale will not help the mentally ill or addicts who haven’t completed treatment. The facility is being funded through $1.3 million in re-programmed funds — 67 percent from grants and 37 percent from county funds. Johnny Edwards

Henry chamber votes to endorse T-SPLOST

The Henry County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted to endorse the regional Transportation Special Purpose local Option Sales Tax at its monthly board meeting this week. The referendum will be voted on in the July 31 Georgia Primary Election. The board represents nearly 700 members. If approved, the penny tax would generate $7 billion in revenue with $279 million going to Henry. Tammy Joyner

Fulton schools recognized by EPA

The Fulton County school system has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an “ENERGY STAR leader” for improving the energy efficiency of its building portfolio by 20 percent or more, it was announced Friday. Also receiving that distinction were the Screven County Board of Education near Savannah and Wells Real Estate Funds in Norcross. Nancy Badertscher

Clayton reservoirs to open for fishing

Clayton County Water Authority’s fishing reservoirs open in March. Residents pay $5 per vehicle or $30 for season pass. Non-residents: $10 per vehicle or $40 for a pass. Passes are good through October and are sold at the Shamrock/Blalock Reservoir and J.W. Smith Reservoirs. Those reservoirs open March 1. J.W. Smith Reservoir opens March 3. Shoal Creek Reservoir is open every other weekend, beginning March 17. Details: or 770-603-5605. Tammy Joyner

CSU offers help with income tax

Clayton State University’s College of Business is offering tax help from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today as well as March 17, 24 and 31. It is the 23rd year the school has offered the free service. Taxpayers through Clayton and south Fulton counties who earn less than $49,000 are eligible. Details: 678-466-4527. Tammy Joyner

The Fred lines up top musical acts

This year’s musical acts performing in The Fred’s 2012 Lexus of South Atlanta summer concert series are: May 5: Foreigner; May 12: Blood Sweat & Tears and guest Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night; May 26th: Poison front man Bret Michaels; June 23: Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack. July 14: Richard Marx; Aug. 11: Billy Ocean. Series ticket renewal is Monday-March 9. New series ticket sales begin March 15 at the Fred box office or online at

Individual ticket sales begin March 16. Details: or 770-631-0630. Tammy Joyner