County by county news for Saturday


Audit finds $70k missing from KSU program

An audit conducted by Kennesaw State University found $70,000 went missing from college’s “K-Cash” program, which allows students and staff to access terminals around campus so they can deposit money into accounts used to buy food and other items.

The audit found the college failed to monitor the program and officials said changes have been made to improve oversight. Campus police are investigating the theft, which occurred in 2010, and President Dan Papp ordered an audit of all auxiliary programs.

Read the audit at: Laura Diamond

Last hearing held on school redistricting

About 70 people attended the last public forum over the largest redistricting in the history of the Cobb County Schools. The new attendance lines in South Cobb will take effect over the next two years if the school board approves them in February. The changes would touch over 15,000 students at about 20 schools.

Parents at Wednesday’s meeting at South Cobb High School were concerned that their neighborhood, Cheney Woods, had been drawn out of the attendance zone for the new Smyrna Area Elementary School. Ty Tagami

Empty Bowl Brunch to be on Sunday

The Art Place-Mountain View will raise money for local charities at an Empty Bowl Brunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday. The cost for the soup or chili brunch is $10 and diners get to keep a pottery bowl that was made at the county arts center in east Cobb. The annual event has raised more than $18,000 in nine years. The Art Place is at 3300 Sandy Plains Road. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Slight hike for Austell gas customers

Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins said this week that Austell Gas System customers will see a minor increase in their gas bill next year. That increase will be about $1 on a $100 bill, he said.

Still, for the twenty-second month in a row, the city’s system has had “the lowest gas rate of all marketers in Georgia,” city attorney Scott Kimbrough said. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Career center to recruit for shop’s jobs

The Georgia Department of Labor’s Cobb-Cherokee Career Center will assist Impression Bridal Shop recruit workers for about 15 job openings at the new bridal boutique opening on Dec. 20 in Kennesaw. The recruitment will be Dec. 13, and Dec. 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the career center, 465 Big Shanty Road in Marietta. The company will be hiring part-time receptionists and full and part-time sales personnel. Information: 770-528-6100. Kenneth Musisi

Smyrna asks for used cooking oil

Smyrna is asking residents and restaurants to donate used cooking oil to a city biodiesel plant opening in January. Citizens can now leave used oil curbside on recycling days in sealed plastic containers such as milk jugs or at the Smyrna Recycling Center, 645 Smyrna Hill Drive.

The goal is to have a majority of city vehicles running on biodiesel fuel to reduce fossil fuel consumption and save on fuel costs.

Tucker McQueen for the AJC


Student pageant raises $2,300 for cancer

Mill Creek High hosted a pageant for students with disabilities that raised more than $2,300 for the Relay for Life campaign.

Some of the contestants were scheduled to present a check to the American Cancer Society on Friday.

The “Miss Portray Pageant,” similar to the Miss Mill Creek Pageant, was held in September.

Sophomore Hannah Hubbard won the contest and was awarded a crown and sash. The pageant is seeking new contestants for next school year. For information, contact Mill Creek High Teacher Camille Larkin D. Aileen Dodd

McClain to run for county commission

Local accountant Laurie McClain will run for the District 1 Gwinnett Board of Commission seat this year.

McClain, a Republican, operates her own accounting firm, McClain & Company. She serves on the Gwinnett Water and Sewer Authority and on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. She also has served on the Engage Gwinnett citizen advisory group and on the county commission chairman’s citizen budget review committee.

McClain is seeking the commission seat currently held by Shirley Lasseter. David Wickert

Lasseter to meet with constituents today

Gwinnett County Commissioner Shirley Lasseter will meet with constituents from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. today at Fire Station 13, 343 Highway 23, Suwanee. Lasseter represents commission District 1, which covers the western portion of Gwinnett and includes the cites of Duluth and Suwanee. David Wickert

Three schools compete for $50,000 grant

Three Gwinnett elementary schools are competing for a $50,000 grant from the Clorox Company. The schools, Anderson-Livsey Elementary, Harmony Elementary and Taylor Elementary are participating in the “Power A Bright Future Program” contest that promotes happy and healthy kids.

The schools have asked supporters of their schools to vote online to help them win the Judge’s Choice Grant. Information: Winners will be announced nationally in January. D. Aileen Dodd

Minor Elementary to celebrate diversity

Minor Elementary of Lilburn will celebrate the diversity of its student population at the school’s annual International Night. The event will be held on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and include arts and crafts, food and entertainment.

The evening will begin in the gym with a winter concert performance by the Minor Patriot Chorus and conclude with a “Parade of Nations” as students, staff and guests showcase native costumes and dress.

D. Aileen Dodd

County to hold Christmas celebration

Gwinnett County will host a Christmas celebration from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 E. Crogan St., Lawrenceville. The cost is $8 per person. Advanced registration is required. To register call 770-822-5450. David Wickert


14 graduate from law enforcement course

Fourteen local deputies, police officers and civilian workers graduated Dec. 2 from the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Professional Management Program. The program is presented by Columbus State University and the Law Enforcement Command College includes. It teaches leadership, managing marginal employees, legal liability and budgeting. Law enforcement officers and civilians from Cherokee 911, the Cherokee, Whitfield, White and Gilmer County Sheriff’s Offices, as well as Alpharetta, Woodstock, and Alpharetta Police Departments participated. Andria Simmons

Mountain Park fire dept. holds Santa run

Mountain Park Volunteer Fire and Rescue will host its annual Santa Run on today. at 8 a.m. starting at the Mountain Park Fire Station, 112 Lakeshore Drive, Roswell. The run will have over 120 stops in the cities of Mountain Park, Roswell and areas of Cherokee County and they will have presents for over 350 children. Information: 770-998-3533. Sandra Marshall Murray

Cherokee promotes firefighters in ceremony

Twenty Cherokee County firefighters were promoted on Wednesday during ceremonies at the Cherokee County Fire Training Center. Cherokee County Training Chief, Eddie Robinson, was recognized as the new assistant fire chief. Shane West is the new battalion chief. Lt. Kevin Lanier was promoted to captain. Sergeants promoted to lieutenants: Greg Blanton, Chad Davis, Wesley Densmore, Scott Gwinn, Richard Jordan, Jason Lamanac, Sarah Love, Charles Reese and Jeremiah Robinson. Firefighters promoted to sergeant: Bray Cornelison, Jeremy Dillard, Kevin Duncan, Chris Ginn, Joe Hollifield, Daniel Nash, Matt Richter and Jason Williams. Sandra Marshall Murray

Library offers students exam study place

Middle- and high-school students looking for a place to cram for December exams can go to “Exam Study Central” at Johns Creek’s Ocee Library. It starts at 4 p.m. Dec. 19-21, open to ages 12-18. There will be food. The library is at 5090 Abbotts Bridge Road. Information: 770-360-8897. Johnny Edwards

Bank branches hold Toys for Tots drive

The Bank of North Georgia is sponsoring a Holiday Toy Drive through Dec. 16. Each branch is supporting a local charity and customers and local residents can bring new, unwrapped toys to the bank branches in Alpharetta, Canton, Cumming, Johns Creek, Roswell, Sandy Springs and Woodstock. Information: Veronica Fields Johnson

Firm gives employees cash to ‘Pay it Forward’

RedPrairie in Alpharetta, a retail and supply chain technology company, is making the holidays a little brighter for local residents by taking part in a “Pay it Forward” initiative to give back to the community. Thirty employees were recently given a $100 bill to give away to an absolute stranger. The employees will unexpectedly buy groceries for the person behind them in line at the supermarket, pick up a family’s dinner tab at a local restaurant, or bring a surprise care package to a nursing home or shelter. Sandra Marshall Murray


Man gets life sentence for killing neighbor

An Atlanta man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a neighbor in apparent frustration over there being too much noise in his apartment complex, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said.

On Oct. 8, 2010, Rodney Lane, 44, having already told police his neighbors were being too loud, walked outside and ordered his neighbors to be quiet. When the noise lingered, Lane walked out onto his balcony and opened fire with a shotgun, killing Donald Dye, 55, prosecutors said. Bill Rankin

Annual Christmas parade is today

The 21st Annual Southwest Cascade/Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Merchants Christmas Parade is scheduled for today. The parade will feature area high school sports teams, marching bands, community leaders, and other civic organizations. The parade will begin at 11:30 a.m. at Kroger and I-285 and head north on Cascade Road, concluding at Providence Missionary Baptist Church, 2295 Benjamin E. Mays Dr. Jeremiah McWilliams

Boy Scouts to meet noted woodcarver

Metro Atlanta Boy Scout troops are invited to learn more about the art of wood carvings Sunday from one of the greats, South Carolina based wildlife artist Grainger McKoy.

Scouts will have the opportunity to meet and speak with McKoy from 1 to 4 p.m. in the galleries of his exhibition “The Sculpture of Grainger McKoy” now at the High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta. Information: or call 404-733-4444. Gracie Bonds Staples

Anti-sex trade group to hold breakfast

A Future. Not A Past. (AFNAP) – the Juvenile Justice Fund’s campaign to stop the prostitution of children in Georgia – will host a free, communitywide Town Hall Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Monday at North Avenue Presbyterian Church. This event will feature keynote speaker, Attorney General Sam Olens, followed by a moderated panel discussion.Andria Simmons


Ground broken for seniors complex

Ground was broken this week on the Oliver House, the second phase of Decatur’s massive $30 million redevelopment of the Allen Wilson Terrace Public Housing. The Oliver House will feature 80 apartments (72 one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom) units for seniors 62 and older, along with a library, fitness room, card room and community garden. Named for early-20th century businessman Henry Oliver, the building is scheduled to be finished next August. Bill Banks for the AJC

Exercise group must find a new home

The Silver Sneakers (SS) Exercise Program in the Northlake area of DeKalb County will be searching for a new home now that LA Fitness is buying out the Tucker Bally. That’s prompted plans for a meeting of the program’s 90-plus members to discuss how they can continue meeting, keep active and stay healthy.

The meeting will be at 11:30 a.m. Monday at 4401 Hugh Howell Road in Tucker. Nancy Badertscher

Commission committee meeting on Monday

The Planning, Economic Development, & Public Works (PEP) Committee of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hold a special called meeting Monday. One item on the agenda will be the appointment of a director of planning and sustainability. The meeting is set for 2 p.m. in the multipurpose room, the commission officers, 5th floor, Manuel J. Maloof Administration Building, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur. Nancy Badertscher

Retired educators to meet Dec. 15

The Decatur­-DeKalb Retired Educators Association will meet at noon Dec. 15 at the Decatur First Christian Church Fellowship Hall, 601 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. Retirees from Decatur and DeKalb County schools, private and public, as well as other retired educators who live in the area are welcome. Information: 770-498-9493. Arlinda Smith Broady

Avondale Estates to hold tour of homes

Avondale Estates residents rode the trolley to do their shopping in 1926, and Sunday they can be riding in style to the city’s 19th annual Tour of Homes & Holiday Market. The tour can be taken by trolley or independently and is sponsored by the Avondale Estates Business Association. Some of the Avondale’s oldest homes will be open for public view. The tour runs from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and the holiday market is open from noon to 6 p.m. More info: Nancy Badertscher

Decatur High mourns former students

The Decatur High community learned Friday of the deaths of former students Madison Lewis and Ellen Nettles. The two were friends and softball teammates at Decatur High, and they died Thursday in separate incidents. Lewis, 19, and a 2010 Decatur grad, was killed early Thursday when she was a passenger in a one-car wreck in Chambers County, Alabama. Nettles, who attended Decatur through her junior year (she graduated in 2011 from a Savannah high school), drowned in St. Croix in the Caribbean, according to Decatur principal Lauri McKain. Bill Banks for the AJC


Police investigate rapes of two women Friday

Police are investigating a pair of separate rapes that happened Friday morning in south Fulton county.

“Two women were abducted and raped at an abandoned house,” Fulton County Police spokesman Sgt. Scott McBride said.

The two incidents happened early Friday morning at a vacant home in the Old National Highway corridor.

Police say they are looking for three suspects described as black males between their late teens and late 20s.

time. Marcus K. Garner

Commissioner Edwards to hold meetings

Fulton County Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards will hold three community meetings next week on the South Fulton Special Services District’s 2012 budget, a draft of which would raise the unincorporated area’s special property tax rate by 1.5 mills.

The sessions, all at 7 p.m., will be Monday at Creel Park, 2775 Creel Road, College Park; Tuesday at Cliftondale Park Community House, 4645 Butner Road, College Park; and Wednesday at Cedar Grove Community House, 9285 Cedar Grove Road, Fairburn. Information: 404-612-8230. Johnny Edwards

College Park cited for plan update

College Park was recognized by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for completion of its comprehensive plan update, which identifies the direction for the city’s future growth. In a letter to College Park Mayor Jack P. Longino, Commissioner Mike Beatty of the Department of Community Affairs stated, “With this achievement, College Park has been awarded Qualified Local Government status.”

John Thompson for the AJC

Holiday concert raises $3,040 for students

A holiday concert featuring performers from several Fayette County schools raised a record amount of donations for special-needs students.

Choirs from Cleveland and Inman elementary schools, Fayetteville Intermediate and Bennett’s Mill and Fayette middle schools performed alongside the choir and wind ensemble from Fayette County High School at the Dec. 2 event.

The benefit raised $3,040 for the Joseph Sams School. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Is that Santa on the phone in College Park?

College Park is offering kids a call from Santa. If your child is between the ages of three and five, they can receive a phone call from Santa Dec. 13 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Pick up forms at Conley Recreation Center or the Godby Road Recreation Center or call 404-669-9206 for more information. John Thompson for the AJC

Author to talk about new novel at library

Author Sharon Draper, five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King literary award, will give a talk about her new novel, “Tears of a Tiger,” on Tuesday at the Southwest Library in south Fulton. It’s the story of a high school basketball star who kills his best friend in a drunk driving wreck and can’t live with the guilt. The discussion starts at 6 p.m. at 3665 Cascade Road. Information: 404-699-6363. Johnny Edwards