County by county news for Saturday

Second challenge filed in Cobb clerk’s race

A second challenge was filed Friday against another candidate in the race for clerk of Cobb County Superior Court. The challenge claims that candidate Rebecca Keaton filed her qualifying papers on a separate day as she filed an affidavit listing her chief deputy clerk running mate, which violates election rules.

Another challenge was filed earlier this week against clerk candidate Joan P. Davis for misleading voters with information on her qualifying documents.

The county’s elections board will hear both challenges on Monday at its offices in Marietta. Janel Davis

School administrator heads for Virginia

Robert Benson, one of Cobb County’s area superintendents, was recently hired as King George County’s superintendent in Virginia.

Benson has served as principal of John McEachern High School and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

He began his teaching and administrative career in Prince William County, Va., schools. Daarel Burnette

Deal reached in student housing project

Atlanta-based Lee & Associates has closed on a deal to build a 850-bed, 245-unit multifamily property and student housing development for Kennesaw State University, about 1.2 miles north of the campus.

The mixed-use project will be near the Wade Green exit off I-75. Plans are to have the retail and apartment components of the development open in time for the Fall 2013 semester. Jeffry Scott

Driver in fatal crash last month charged

A driver involved in a fatal accident with a motorcyclist in Mableton was charged Thursday with second-degree vehicular homicide, police said.

Amanda Garrett, of Austell, also was charged with failure to yield from a stop sign, according to the Cobb County Police Department.

Garrett was driving a her car on Veterans Memorial Highway on May 16 when she made a U-turn into the path of a motorcycle. Vernon Patterson, 57, of Douglasville died when he hit the car. David Ibata

Smyrna produce market opens today

Smyrna’s Fresh Produce Market is open 8-12 noon Saturdays through September in the parking lot at Smyrna First Baptist Church, 1275 Church St.

The market in its fourth season continues to add vendors selling locally grown vegetables, produce, plants and organic food. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Students honored in Rain Barrel contest

Classes at Dowell and LaBelle elementary schools have won outstanding achievement awards in the annual Rain Barrel for Fun competition. In the contest hosted by Cobb County, students learn about the importance of water conservation by decorating water barrels. Judges then vote to recognize the best decoration. At Dowell, a third-grade class led by students Lindsey Tyus, Lynn Sullivan, and Barbara Nalley won the Supreme Rain Barrel Award.

At Labelle, a second-grade class led by Heather Soucy won the Junior Water Warriors Award. Edward Mitchell


10 cited for Spanish exam success

Ten Gwinnett students will be recognized by the school board later this month for their success on the 2012 National Spanish exam. Four students earned first place in Georgia, and six ranked second on the national exam of foreign language proficiency. They include: first place, Camila Diaz Borquez, Sam Helmey and Tami Feng from Parkview High, and David Velez Arce from Archer High; second place, Karl Broughton, Parkview High and Allison Fisher, Clara Wang and Robert Hensey from Norcross High, and Shushmita Hoque and Radha Patel from Brookwood High. Nancy Badertscher

Beat the HEAT vehicles on display today

Gwinnett County’s Beat the HEAT vehicles -- a Chevrolet Impala and a Suzuki GSX-R Dragbike -- will be on display at 9:30 p.m. today at Gold’s Gym at 860 Duluth Highway in Lawrenceville as part of an effort to educate the community about the dangers of street racing. The program is part of a national effort organized by police, sheriffs, and fire departments to educate young drivers. Info: Andria Simmons

Help break a world record, learn to swim

Gwinnett invites residents to join an attempt to break the record for the world’s largest swimming lesson at 11 a.m. Thursday at Bethesda Park Aquatic Center in Lawrenceville. The event includes facilities all over the world holding the same 45-minute swimming lesson at the same time. Pre-registration is required; $3 for Gwinnett residents, $6 for non-residents. Information: Register at Bethesda Aquatic Center or call 678-924-6334. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Author Jeffery Deaver to sign books

Gwinnett Public Libraries’ Meet the Author series presents Jeffery Deaver, author of 27 novels, two short story collections and a nonfiction law book at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Norcross Cultural Arts & Community Center. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Sensory friendly films come to Lawrenceville

In partnership with the Autism Society, AMC theatres at Discover Mills will host Sensory Friendly Films to families affected by autism on a monthly basis with the first of these films beginning at 10 a.m. June 16 with “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. The auditoriums dedicated to the program have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing. Information: Karen Huppertz for the AJC

$400,000 in prizes to summer readers

The Gwinnett County Public Library kicks off their summer reading program this month with free puppet shows, magic shows, special story times and a chance to enter the 529 Plan for College Sweepstakes. Businesses have donated $400,000 worth of prizes. Sign-up at any library location or online at, or call 770-978-5154. Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Canton council OK’s money for 2 firefighters

The city of Canton is upgrading its fire department staffing. The City Council voted Thursday to take $20,000 from contingency funds to pay for two additional firefighter positions the rest of this fiscal year, with the positions becoming permanent after that. Mayor Gene Hobgood says the move will allow each of the city’s two fire stations to be staffed with three people on all shifts, improving firefighting and giving responders an additional margin of safety. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Cherokee approves new training center

A $2.8 million law enforcement training center has been approved for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners OK’d a construction contract this week. The facility will include five training rooms, an armory, offices and three firing ranges. Officials hope to break ground on the 11-thousand-square-foot facility in July, with completion sometime in the first quarter of 2013. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Chamber picks top young professionals

The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce has named its inaugural list of “Top 10 in 10 Young Professionals to Watch.” The award focuses on 25 to 40-year-olds considered the county’s developing leaders over the next decade. The honorees, who represent fields ranging from law to public relations to emergency repair services,received awards during a chamber breakfast on Thursday. For list of honorees: Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Forsyth offers camp to youngsters

Calling young nature lovers: The Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department is sponsoring Young Mountaineers Camp this summer at Sawnee Mountain Preserve. It’s designed for kids ages 4-6 and includes hiking, nature-themed games and crafts. Each camp lasts five days with the first round beginning June 18. More info: Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Sandy Springs offers teen driving class

The Sandy Springs Police Department will present its next free teen driving class Teen Driving Class from 6 to 8 p.m. June 27 at the Sandy Springs Police Department.

The two-hour class is designed to help parents and their new teen drivers, ages 14-16, learn what is necessary during the required 40 hours of supervised practice driving time. It is not a hands-on driver training class. A parent must accompany each teen, and registration is required.

Information and registration: email Patrick Fox

Woodstock summer concert series continues

Blackberry Smoke will play a free concert at 7:30 p.m. today in downtown Woodstock.

The southern rock band is the second of five playing through early September in the Woodstock Concert Series’ 15th season and second in newly expanded Park at City Center at Arnold Mill Road and Main Street. Michael Alpert for the AJC


APS students win $86 million in scholarships

The class of 2012 in Atlanta Public Schools earned more than $86 million in scholarships this year, according to the district. About 2,000 students graduated from the district this spring. Grady High graduates were the top scholarship earners, collecting about $16.6 million. Mays High students were the second top-grossing class with $14 million. Info: Jaime Sarrio

GSU tops in degrees for African-American

Georgia State University was ranked No. 1 in the nation for awarding the most bachelor’s degrees to African-Americans, according to a report from Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Georgia State awarded 1,262 degrees to African-Americans this year, a one-year increase of 17 percent. That pushed the college past Florida A&M and North Carolina A&T State universities. The college has also received national recognition for its success with Asian and Latino students. Laura Diamond

Tutoring exec lunches with president

David Kim, the co-founder of C2 Education, was invited to talk with the Obama administration at the White House on issues important to the Korean-American community. The luncheon, which brought together Korean American community leaders from across the country, addressed U.S. relations with South and North Korea, immigration, human rights, small business, education, civil rights and trade. C2 Education, Inc. is an Atlanta-based tutoring company worth $50 million. Daarel Burnette

Give blood and get a lunch

The American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region has partnered with metro Atlanta area KFC restaurants for the “Lunch is On Us!” promotion. The promotion will provide a $5 KFC gift check for blood donors at select blood drives through June 28, while supplies last. For information: or call 1-800-733-2767. Kenneth Musisi


No euthanizations at shelter Monday

DeKalb County will join animal shelters nationwide Monday in pledging not to euthanize any animals for the day and instead focus on animal adoptions.

The “Just One Day” effort is designed to reduce the number of healthy animals put down instead of adopted out of shelters and pounds.

The county is discounting the adoption fee on all animals out of its shelter to $60 for the week as part of the effort. All pets receive vaccines and are spayed or neutered before they are available for adoption.

To view available animals, visit Animals also can be seen in person at the shelter, 845 Camp Road, just off Memorial Drive and I-285, near Decatur. April Hunt

Dunwoody Rotary Club among world’s best

The Rotary Club of Dunwoody was recently recognized as one of the top three Rotary clubs worldwide in its membership category.

Club president-elect Susan Schwall received the recognition at the 2012 Rotary International Convention in Bangkok, Thailand.

The recognition was based on membership development and retention and funds raised by the club for the Rotary Foundation. Shawn McIntosh

Public safety football championship today

A flag football league for metro law enforcement agencies will hold its championship game today in Clarkston.

The DeKalb County police squad will battle the Atlanta Fire and Rescue team in the championship of the Metro Public Safety Flag Football.

The game begins at 1 p.m. at Hallford Stadium, 3789 Memorial College Ave, Clarkston.

More information is on Facebook at the Metro Atlanta Public Safety Flag Football League page. April Hunt

Workshop on stream restoration today

The South River Watershed Alliance is bringing a national expert on urban streams to a lead an upcoming panel on restoring the South River.

Sharon Moran, an associate professor and Coordinator of the Environmental and Natural Resources Policy doctoral program at Clark University in New York, has focused her research on the social and political implications that stream restoration has on communities of color.

She will head the workshop today at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston. Those planning to attend the session, which begins at 10:30 a.m., can register online at April Hunt

Rec center renovation on schedule

Deputy city manager Hugh Saxon reports that the year-long, $5,966,343 renovation of Decatur’s Recreation Center is still on schedule for a December or January re-opening.

The city did add $177,689 to the total budget this week for upgrading the building’s door hardware (each of the Center’s 100 doors cost $80), replacing copper piping and replacing wet soils.

The revamped Rec Center, which originally opened in 1958, will feature a gym, a running track, and an entirely new two-story building with administrative offices. Bill Banks for the AJC


Peachtree City council cuts mayor pay in dispute

Four members of the City Council of Peachtree City voted Thursday to slash Mayor Don Haddix’s pay from $750 a month to $74 for the rest of the fiscal year in a dispute over a libel lawsuit.

Haddix incurred $12,155 in legal fees last year after he was sued by former mayor Harold Logsdon over an email in which Haddix claimed Logsdon was “part drunk” at past council meetings.

Haddix believes the city insurance policy should cover his costs; the other council members do not, and want the mayor to repay the city. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Military museum has new library

The Historical Military Museum in the red barn at Henry County’s Heritage Park has a new library and reading room that features handmade dioramas depicting World War II scenes. The displays were created by Hampton resident Garth Kocher, a military modelist for more than 30 years. The museum is at 101 Lake Dow Road in McDonough. It’s free and open to the public, Monday -Saturday, 10 a.m. -3 p.m. Tammy Joyner

Old Courthouse 5K to be today

The Fayette County Civitan Club will hold its 20th annual Old Courthouse 5K today. The run will begin at 8 a.m. at the Fayette County Senior Services Center at the Fayette County Justice Center, 4 Center Drive, Fayetteville. Pre-registration is $20 and race day registration is $25. Information: Veronica Fields Johnson

College Park council to discuss budget

A special called meeting of the mayor and city council of College Park is set for Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the executive conference room at College Park City Hall at 3667 Main St. to discuss the 2012-13 budget. John Thompson for the AJC

Stockbridge moonlight movie ‘Puss in Boots’

The next installment in the 2012 “Stars over Stockbridge” Moonlight Movie Series is set for June 17, at Clark Community Park. The scheduled movie is “Puss in Boots” and it will begin at dusk. Admission is free. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs and have a picnic. Alcohol is not allowed in the park. Monroe Roark for the AJC

Flag retirement ceremony June 16

Henry County Parks and Recreation is sponsoring a flag retirement ceremony June 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Veterans Wall of Honor in McDonough’s Heritage Park. American flags unsuitable for flying are being collected at the Veterans Historical Museum in the Red Barn at Heritage Park through Tuesday. Monroe Roark for the AJC

Firecracker run to benefit Special Olympics

The first Firecracker 5K/10K to benefit Henry County Special Olympics will be July 4, at Nash Farm Park in Hampton. In addition to the 5K and 10K races, there will be a one-mile race and a Tot Trot. Registration on-site is from 6:45 to 7:45 a.m. and the 5K/10K will begin at 8 a.m. Register at or print registration forms from Monroe Roark for the AJC

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