County by county news for Saturday


Smyrna to hold meeting on park plan

Smyrna is looking for public opinion on a master plan for parks at a hearing 7:30 p.m. Wednesday July 31 at the Smyrna Community Center, 200 Village Green Circle.

The city will weigh input from residents before approving a 10-year master plan for the city’s 26 parks and recreation spaces.

Information: Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Free community concert Sunday

A free outdoor community concert with Dove Award-nominated trio Beyond the Ashes will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday at the First Christian Church of Mableton, 878 Old Alabama Road, Mableton across from Pebblebrook High School.

Also, there will be free hot dogs, chips and drinks and free inflatables for children.

Bring lawn chairs or blankets.

Information: or Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Free trombone concert in the park

Sit in the park and take in the brass-filled performance of The Atlanta Trombone Ensemble 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The concert is free and will be in Glover Park- Marietta Square, 50 Park Square NE, Marietta.

Information: Hannah Morgan

Alternative school may become academy

Cobb County School administrators are looking at possibly converting alternative Oakwood High School into a digital academy.

The administrators will hold two sessions from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 6 and Aug. 8. They will take place at the Oakwood campus activity room at 1560 Joyner Ave. in Marietta.

The district’s school board will discuss the conversions at its August meetings. Daarel Burnette II

Acworth to expand Logan Farm Park

Acworth’s Board of Alderman has approved hiring design and survey services to continue development of 120-acre Logan Farm Park on Logan Road. The park currently has 60 acres in use.

The $1.5 million project on 12 acres will add a playground, large play area, two pedestrian bridges over Tanyard Creek and road improvements on nearby Taylor Road and Southside Drive.

Funding will be $475,000 from the 2011 SPLOST and also federal funds. Construction is expected to start in 2014. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Library to hold parenting classes

Cobb youth services librarian Julienne Marks will lead a six-week workshop starting Aug. 5 on how children can live together peacefully, based on the book “Siblings Without Rivalry” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. The workshop will be held Mondays from 6-7:30 p.m. at the South Cobb Library, 805 Clay Road, Mableton. The workshop is for adults only and registration is required.

Information: 678-398-5828. Jaime Sarrio


Officials break ground on Ga. 20 widening project

Officials recently broke ground on the first of two projects to widen the remaining two-lane section of Ga. 20 within Gwinnett County and across the Chattahoochee River. Narly four miles from Peachtree Industrial Boulevard to Burnette Trail in Sugar Hill will be widened, continuing a four-lane stretch to just short of the Chattahoochee River.

The county purchased right-of-way and easements with local, state and federal dollars and will also oversee the state-funded construction.Construction is expected to take three years to complete. Andria Simmons

Former Guard officer pleads guilty

A former Georgia Army National Guard officer has pleaded guilty to taking $5,000 and other benefits from a private freight shipper who’d won contracts to transport military equipment.

Keith Glenn, 48, of Lilburn, admitted to taking an illegal gratuity in 2008 while working as an installation transportation officer for the guard’s facility on Confederate Road in Atlanta, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He faces up to two years prison and is to be sentenced Sept. 27. Bill Rankin

Lilburn welcomes new police captain

Lilburn Police Chief Bruce Hedley has announced the addition of Capt. Thomas Bardugon to the Lilburn Police Department. Capt. Bardugon most recently served as a major with the Gwinnett County Police. Capt. Bardugon is one of two captains in the Lilburn Police Department and is responsible for criminal investigations, special operations, training, and other major police functions.

Capt. Bardugon has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, a master's in public administration, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Tech hosts girls’ construction camp

Gwinnett Technical College. hosts MAGIC (Mentoring a Girl in Construction) Camp Monday through Aug. 2 to introduce young women to the opportunities available in the construction industry. Information: Dana Urrutia, 678-495-3638 or Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Duluth art league hosting fundraiser

The Duluth Fine Arts League will host “A Tour of Italy” today at Hardeman’s Fine Art Glass Studio, 311 Main St., Duluth.

The event will include Italian cuisine, wine, entertainment and a silent auction.

Cost: $35. Proceeds go to high school scholarships.

Tickets available at Hardeman’s Fine Art Glass Studio.

Information: 770-476-7328 or Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Volunteers wanted for focus group

Duluth seeks residents interested in serving as a focus group noon to 1 p.m. July 30 in the City Hall Main Street Conference Room to discuss the topic, "It's 5 o'clock Somewhere." Participants will discuss ideas for "After 5" attractions in downtown Duluth. Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Crews to rebuild section of Parsons Road

Parsons Road between Abbotts Bridge and Wilson roads will be closed from Monday-Friday as Johns Creek rebuilds the road from the base up. This part of Parsons Road, east of Medlock Bridge, is used to access Northview High School and is traveled by residents of St. Ives Country Club. It also serves as a shortcut between Medlock Bridge and Abbotts Bridge roads. City engineers say the 600-foot stretch has been prone to cracks, severe deterioration and potholes, requiring a complete overhaul. The road should be opened before school starts on Aug. 12. Patrick Fox

Cherokee adopts slight property tax decrease

The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners Thursday night adopted slightly decreased millage rates for fiscal 2014. The overall county millage rate will drop from 9.999 to 9.947, and the biggest component of the overall rate, the levy for county maintenance and operations, will drop from 5.825 to 5.798.

The board also adopted a school district millage rate of 19.85. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Schools to outsource custodial operations

The Cherokee County Board of Education approved a plan to outsource district custodial operations. The board gave Supt Frank Petruzielo authority to negotiate a contract with Aramark, under which approximately 230 current CCSD custodians would be offered Aramark jobs with health benefits. District officials estimate the move will save $3.7 million in the 2013-2014 school year. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Forsyth County plans pawnshop hearing

The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners holds a public hearing at 5 p.m. Aug.1 on a proposed change to the county’s pawnshop ordinance. The change, suggested at a June 25 meeting, would clarify that the county is not trying to regulate gun and firearms transactions except for record-keeping provisions. The hearing is set at the county administration building, 110 E. Main St., Cumming. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Canton officials may raise property tax

Following a series of budget workshops, Canton’s mayor and city council have tentatively adopted a 17.5 percent property tax increase. The hike would raise the millage rate to 7.980 mills, an increase of 1.187 mills. The tax increase for a home with a fair market value would be about $70. The first of three public hearings on the proposal is set for 6 p.m. Aug. 1 at the council chambers at Canton City Hall, 151 Elizabeth St. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Alpharetta hosts youth triathlon this fall

IronKids Alpharetta, the largest youth triathlon in the U.S., will take place Sept. 15 at Wills Park, 1825 Old Milton Parkway, Alpharetta. Athletes ages 6 to 15 can enter to win a free registration at through July 31. Participants receive a medal upon crossing the finish line and the top three athletes within each age category will be awarded a placement trophy. Registration is $50 online and $65 onsite. Race morning registration will not be available. Information: Veronica Fields Johnson


School closings move students around

School construction, renovations and closures are forcing hundreds of Atlanta Public Schools students to relocate during the 2013-2014 school year.

Atlanta Preparatory Academy charter school and Parks Middle School are closing, and Westside Academy and KIPP Vision Primary are opening.

Other affected schools include Bunche Middle, Coan Middle, Kennedy Middle, Jackson High, North Atlanta High, E. Rivers Elementary, Sutton Middle and Sylvan Hills Middle. Mark Niesse

Meadows to head school safety unit

Atlanta Public Schools’ reconfigured public safety unit, which will use more full-time police officers to patrol schools, will be led by Atlanta Police Department Maj. Keith Meadows.

Meadows, a former commander of the Major Crimes Section, will head the School Detectives Section after spending the last year and half in charge of east Atlanta’s Zone 6 precinct. Mark Niesse

‘Awesome Women’ lend voices to arts

WXRP radio will host, “I Am An Awesome Woman: The Pen and The Voice” this Saturday and feature seven authors from various genres who will tell their stories.

The event will take place at the Copper Blu Restaurant and Arts Complex, 117 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Atlanta from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.

The event is free. Information: Ernie Suggs

African Children’s Choir to perform here

The African Children’s Choir will be performing 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at Peachtree Presbyterian Church 3434 Roswell Rd. The African Children choir is a nonprofit humanitarian and relief organization dedicated to helping Africa’s most vulnerable children.

Information please visit or call 404-842-5800. Sandra Marshall Murray


Court upholds ex-lieutenant’s conviction

The federal appeals court in Atlanta has upheld the bribery and conspiracy convictions against a former lieutenant on the DeKalb County police force.

A three-judge panel also unanimously upheld the six-year sentence given to Willie Daren Durrett. A year ago, Durrett was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court of accepting bribes from Atlanta businessman Amin Budhwani and conspiring with Donald Frank, DeKalb’s former deputy police chief, to take the bribes. Frank pleaded guilty to his crimes and was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison. Bill Rankin

Decatur schools surpassing 4,000

In a letter posted Thursday on the school system’s website, Decatur Superintendent Phyllis Edwards wrote that enrollment will be “over 4000” when schools open Aug. 1. This is a 10 percent increase over last year’s approximately 3600 students, although Edwards added that new students will continue enrolling into September. Decatur schools have not had this many students since an all-time high of 4300 in 1973, surpassing the previous high of roughly 4,200 in 1959. When Edwards took office in 2003, however, enrollment had dipped to 2300. Bill Banks for the AJC

Dunwoody adds to city services

Dunwoody is now offering life safety and accessibility plan reviews and inspections required for building renovation and new construction, services currently offered by the DeKalb County Fire Marshall’s office. The plan reviews and inspections will be at the same cost DeKalb County currently charges.

The city anticipates completing more than 95 percent of development plan reviews within two weeks. Patrick Fox

Non-emergency police number recommended

Given the spate of Decatur burglaries and robberies over the past seven weeks, police urge residents within city limits that, if wanting to report a crime, a suspicious person or activity, or if followed by another vehicle, call the non-emergency number (404-373-6551) which, unlike 911, goes directly to Decatur police. With the new police station currently under construction, the department’s Communications Center (staffed 24 hours) is at 314-C Church St., the entrance to the right of the Big Peach Running Company on East Trinity Place. Bill Banks for the AJC

Volunteers neededfor book festival

Volunteer applications are being accepted for the AJC Decatur Book Festival, which comes to the city Aug. 30 to Sept. 1. Hundreds of volunteers are needed to help with setup, book signings, sales and other activities. Information: 678-615-0915 or April Hunt

Grants available

to charity groups

Charity groups that work with children, seniors and other underserved populations in DeKalb County can now apply for government grants to help with their work. Applications are due Aug. 16 in the Human Development Department.

Information: 770-270-1180 or April Hunt


Stockbridge seeks opportunity zone status

The Stockbridge City Council approved a measure at Thursday night's special called meeting to seek Opportunity Zone status from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. City officials noted that such a designation would bring with it the highest and most user-friendly job tax credit in the state, and be a powerful tool in attracting new business, facilitating job creation and redevelopment. Information: Monroe Roark for the AJC

Fulton to hold Flexible Learning meeting

Fulton County Schools will host a meeting for parents of students attending one its 12 Priority, Focus, and Alert schools 6 p.m. Monday atRenaissance Middle School, 7155 Hall Road, Fairburn.

The schools represented are: High Point, Esther Jackson, S. L. Lewis and Randolph elementary schools; Bear Creek, Renaissance, Ridgeview Charter and Sandy Springs Charter middle schools; and Banneker, Creekside, McClarin and Tri-Cities high schools.

Information: 404-669-8217.  Ernie Suggs

Back-to-school event at World Changers

World Changers Church International will hold its annual Back 2 School event 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the church, 2500 Burdett Road, College Park. Hundreds of book bags with school supplies will be given to youth. There will also be free haircuts, health screenings, entertainment, food and other giveaways. Shelia M. Poole

McDonough 101 will start in August

“McDonough 101” citizens academy will begin in August.

The eight-week session allows citizens to look inside city departments through presentations and tours of city facilities.

Applications will be available a and at City Hall beginning July 8.

The classes are limited to the first 20 applicants age 18 or above, all of whom must be McDonough residents or own a business within the city limits. Monroe Roark for the AJC

Fayette programs now at empty school

Fayette County is relocating several education programs to the now-empty Fayette Middle School building in Fayetteville. The Open Campus, Alternative School and Mainstay classes will operate from the former school as part of cost-cutting redistricting changes and the sale of the Rivers Elementary building. The move will consolidate related programs and administrative staff. Jill Howard Church

Fayette sets SPLOST stormwater timetable

The Fayette County Board of Commissioners has set a schedule for finalizing the Core Infrastructure SPLOST to finance stormwater system repairs. A list of 181 proposed projects is available at and at the libraries and city halls in Fayetteville, Peachtree City and Tyrone. Residents can send comments to A final public hearing will be held at the BOC meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 29 in Fayetteville. Jill Howard Church for the AJC