County by county news for Saturday


Hearing in Penske shooting case postponed

A Friday motions hearing in the death penalty case against the alleged Penske truck shooter, Jesse James Warren, was postponed.

The judge has not yet scheduled a new court date, according to the lead prosecutor, Jesse Evans. Cobb police say Warren, 60, returned to the Penske truck rental facility near Kennesaw where he once worked on Jan. 12, 2010, and opened fire on several people.

Killed in the shooting were customer Jaider Felipe Marulanda, 43, of Lawrenceville; and Penske employees Robert Gonzalez, 31, of Dallas, Ga., and Vance Springer, 59, of Woodstock. Two other employees were critically injured. Andria Simmons

KSU breaks ground on new science lab

Kennesaw State University broke ground Friday on a $21 million addition to its science lab. Construction of 5-story, state-of-the-art facility will support program expansion at the school. The five-story, 73,000-square-foot facility will house science teaching labs, student/faculty research labs and instructional support space. Rich McKay

Senior citizens talent show to be March 26

A senior citizens’ talent show and luncheon will be held March 26 in Powder Springs.

Including door prizes and a silent auction, the event will last from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Coach George E. Ford Reception Hall, 4181 Atlanta St.

Tickets at $20 may be purchased at the city’s Water Department in City Hall, 4484 Marietta St.

Proceeds will help fund the city’s Senior Citizens Center.

Information: 770-943-1555. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Marietta gets ready for July 4 parade

It’s never too early to start planning for the 4th of July parade. The City of Marietta is accepting applications for the 2011 parade and school bands, military units, civic organizations, and local businesses and others can sign up on line now to be part of the city’s Let Freedom Ring Celebration. The event includes an arts and crafts festival, an evening concert and fireworks. Information:

Applications are due by May 27. Rich McKay

Austell woman raises fund for stricken niece

An Austell woman is raising funds for her niece, a high school senior.

Already, the high school for Patricia Garcia’s niece Brigette Barron has held both her prom and her graduation in her honor. Garcia may be e-mailed at for information on how to make a donation for her niece.

In January 2010, the South Paulding High student was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJc

Kennesaw gears up for farmers market

The Kennesaw Downtown Development Authority is accepting applications for this year’s Farmers Market which runs from May 3 through October 25 and will operate from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Market will be located in the Adams Park Soccer Field Parking Lot at 2753 Watts Drive. Applications will be accepted through April. Information: 770-794-7075. Rich McKay


Man charged after police find crack, cocaine

Law enforcement authorities in Gwinnett County have weighed the drugs they seized near Lawrenceville last week, and the total comes to more than a pound of crack and cocaine.

A county SWAT team and narcotics officers found the drugs during the search of a home in the 900 block of Dallas Way, Gwinnett police said Thursday. The drug count was 347 grams of crack cocaine, 173 grams of powder cocaine and 32 grams of marijuana. Daunte Holland, 38, was charged with trafficking cocaine, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Ty Tagami

House fire displaces family of four

A pan of oil left unattended on a stove caused a house fire Thursday in the 600 block of River Oak Loop in Lawrenceville. One resident was asleep upstairs when a smoke detector woke him shortly before noon, according to Gwinnett fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge. The man escaped unharmed.

The Red Cross responded to provide temporary assistance for a displaced family, which included a mother, father and two adult children.

Andria Simmons

Gwinnett Tech to host chef competition

Gwinnett Technical College will welcome 200 aspiring chefs for the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia’s state championships March 25.

The event attracts high school juniors and seniors from 19 schools across Georgia. The top team will get a chance to represent Georgia at the National Restaurant Association’s National ProStart Invitational in Kansas next month. It will be from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Busbee Center on campus, 5150 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville. David Wickert

Norcross school raises money for food bank

The Norcross food bank will be the recipient of proceeds from Norcross Elementary’s annual Montage and Empty Bowls program. Art students have made ceramic bowls and will sell them starting at 5:30 p.m. March 28 in the school gym. The money raised will go to the food bank. There will be plenty of entertainment as well, including a song-and-dance routine, performances by the chorus and a parachute routine. Nancy Badertscher

Gwinnett Braves to have Lilburn night

The City of Lilburn is calling baseball fans to attend Lilburn night at the Gwinnett Braves on June 16. The Braves will take on the Durham Bulls at 7:05 p.m. that day at Coolray Field. Lilburn residents and employees can buy discounted tickets for the event.

Information: David Wickert

Gwinnett residents asked to check for leaks

Gwinnett water officials are urging homeowners to check for leaks in toilets, faucets and underground irrigation systems as the county tries to conserve water.

A spinning black triangle on the water meter when no water is being used means there’s a leak on the homeowner’s side of the meter. Information: David Wickert


Ga. 20 repair work could cause delays in Cumming

The Georgia Department of Transportation will begin daylight repair work on Tuesday on Ga. 20 in Cumming from the Downtown Square to State Route 9.

The work is planned from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., weekdays only. Crews will remove damaged sections of the road and replace it with new asphalt. Flaggers and pilot vehicles will direct traffic through the area. The GDOT said it hopes to finish the job in five days, and advised motorists to avoid the area. Traffic delays are expected. Jeffry Scott

Cherokee 8th graders perform well on test

Cherokee County 8th graders outperformed students statewide on the Georgia writing assessment given in January. Ninety-one percent of Cherokee students in the regular program scored in the “meets or exceeds” category, compared to the state average of 86 percent.

The district said it plans to continue working to improve scores, particularly among special needs students and those who are learning English. Jaime Sarrio

Fulton school board to meet Sunday, Tuesday

The Fulton County Board of Education announced Friday plans for two called meetings -- one Sunday and one Tuesday. Both will deal with executive session issues, and no action is expected, according to a school system news release. The meeting on Sunday starts at noon at 400 Galleria Parkway in Atlanta. Tuesday’s meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. at 600 Galleria Parkway in Atlanta. Nancy Badertscher

Chattahoochee High to hold talent show

Chattahoochee High school students will have a chance to show they’ve got talent. On April 1, the Johns Creek high school hosts a talent show.

The current rises at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Nancy Badertscher

Fired director’s appeal moves forward in court

The appeal of fired Forsyth County planning director Jeff Chance is moving forward in Superior Court.

His attorney, Eric Chofnas, is asking Superior County Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley in a brief due April 29 to decide whether the county Civil Service Board should have given Chance his $92,000-year-job back.

The Civil Service Board determined last December that Chance’s firing had been “motivated in large part by improper political motives and accompanied by a poor quality investigation,” but ruled that didn’t give the Board the authority to give Chance his job back. Jeffry Scott

Cherokee historical group to honor four

The Cherokee County Historical Society plans to honor four individuals and businesses for their work in preserving some of the county’s historic sites. will honor 4 individuals and

The awards will be presented at a society banquet at 7 p.m. March 25 at the Northside Hospital Cherokee Conference Center.

Tickets are $20. Information:770-345-3288 or Nancy Badertscher


3 men get prison on weapons charges

A federal judge in Atlanta on Thursday sentenced three men to prison for their roles in a scheme to send semi-automatic assault rifles to Mexico.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said agents searched a Doraville home and found four assault rifles inside. The three men, who previously pleaded guilty, received the following sentences: Dario Rodriguez-Gomez, 29, of Doraville, 3 years; Manuel Gamez-Valenzuela, 46, of Atlanta, 2 years; and Daniel Bernal-Perez, 36, of Doraville, 7 years. Bill Rankin

Group competes to help save water

A watershed group wants to help Atlantans to stop wasting and start protecting one of their most important economic resources but it needs help. The West Atlanta Watershed Alliance will receive $30,000 to educate west Atlanta residents on conserving water and cleaning up streams, if it gets enough votes to beat out five competitors in the national MillerCoors -- River Network Grant Contest which ends Sunday. Vote at Steve Visser

CAU launches women’s health program

Clark Atlanta University has launched a new women’s health and wellness initiative to address the health of women at historically black colleges. The CAU Sustainable Health Education Resources and Outreach (SHERO) project is a pilot program whose goal is to build CAU’s capacity to address women’s health needs. It also positions the University to apply for up to $500,000 in funding from the Office on Women’s Health in 2013. Ernie Suggs

Man charged with woman’s shooting death

Police said Friday they have charged a man in connection with the shooting death of a woman in northwest Atlanta last week. Tomika Webb, 36, was found dead behind the wheel of a car on Addison Place on March 11.

On Thursday, Kelvin S. Bradley, 26, turned himself in and was charged with murder, police said. Mike Morris


Bond denied for accused church rapist

A judge denied bond Friday for the man accused of raping and beating a woman at St. Timothy United Methodist Church.

John Russell Carver, 50, was ordered to appear again in DeKalb County Magistrate Court on April 6. He’s charged with rape, armed robbery and aggravated assault in the Feb. 26 incident. Police say Carver raped a 53-year-old employee of the Stone Mountain church, stole her cell phone and sold it hours later at Underground Atlanta. Detectives identified Carver as a suspect after the GBI connected him to the crime with DNA. Larry Hartstein

DeKalb schools schedule summer bridge program

DeKalb County Schools will hold the 2011 Summer Bridge Program from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 18-22 at Clarkston, Martin Luther King, Southwest DeKalb, Stone Mountain, and Towers high schools. The program provides rising ninth-graders a week of high school orientation, including building tours and lessons on study skills. The program is free. Contact the counseling office of the high school your child is zoned to attend for a registration form. Jaime Sarrio

Learn how to fix up historic homes today

Decatur’s Old House Fair, a day-long celebration of new ideas of how to research and restore old homes, is today, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Decatur’s Holiday Inn Conference Plaza, 130 Clairemont Ave. The event includes seminars on, among others, how to repair plaster and wood, how to research your old house, on “greening” your old house, along with a special presentation on historic ranch homes. Tickets are $15 at the door, and for more information go to Bill Banks for the AJC

Northlake alliance to hold shredding day

Northlake Community Alliance, Resurgens Bank and Eagle Secure Shredding will host its 3rd Community Shred Day 9 a.m. to noon April 30 in the Resurgens Bank parking lot, 2300 Henderson Mill Road, Atlanta.

There will be a limit of 5 copier paper sized boxes or equivalent bags. Information: 770-619-5300. Staff reports

Electronics recycling event at mall today

The Northlake Community Alliance Inc., Simon Northlake Mall and Electronic Recycling Services are sponsoring an electronics recycling event at Northlake Mall parking lot, behind Macy’s 10 a.m. -- 2 p.m. Saturday.

Get rid of everything from cell phones to microwave ovens and any device with a dry rechargeable batteries at no cost except a $10 lead disposal fee for old TVs.

Tax deductible donations will benefit the community work of NCA and Simon Youth Foundation. Information: Staff reports

Ribbon cutting Sunday for park renovation

DeKalb County Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs will host a ribbon cutting ceremony Sunday at Mason Mill Park. The ceremony will commemorate the Phase 1 Park Renovation Project at the park, which is located at 1400 McConnell Drive in Decatur.

The ceremony will start at 1 p.m. and is open to the public. Joel Anderson


Peachtree City allows later hours for alcohol

The City Council of Peachtree City voted Thursday to allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol Monday through Saturday until 2 a.m. starting April 1. Businesses that serve alcohol after midnight must install surveillance cameras and vacate customers by 2:30 a.m.. The six-month trial period was enacted based on data showing that the current midnight deadline on Saturdays caused the city to lose business to Coweta County and other areas with later serving times. The Council will review the measure in September to decide if it will be made permanent. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Commissioners weigh tax options

Fulton County Finance Director Patrick O’Connor told the commission that replacing the 1-cent Local Option Sales Tax, or LOST, with a 1-cent Homestead Option Sales Tax, or HOST, would take away about $170 million in revenues from the cities and about $32 million from the county general fund. Eighty percent of HOST proceeds must be used to reduce taxes for homesteaded properties, O’Connor said, and the rest for capital outlays. Commissioner Robb Pitts, who requested the report, asked O’Connor to find out what the benefit to homeowners would be. Johnny Edwards

College Park to honor Rep. John Lewis

U.S. Rep. John Lewis will receive a proclamation College Park Monday night for winning the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom. Lewis, from Georgia’s 5th District, is a civil rights pioneer, and was one of the youngest speakers during the historic 1963 march on Washington.

The council meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public. John Thompson for the AJC

Clayton parks offers essay competition

The Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department wants to hear from Clayton County students in the 7th and 8th grade.

Submit an essay of 250 words or less, describing the outdoor experience you’d like to do.

Deadline: April 29. E-mail applications and hand-written or typed essays to or mail to Clayton County International Park, Georgia Kids Outdoors, Marketing & Sales Office, 2300 Ga. 138, SE., Jonesboro, Ga. 30236. Tammy Joyner

Clayton wins award for county website

The Clayton County website has won a Sunny Award. The site was one of only 112 to get the award from Sunshine Review, which tracks more than 6,000 websites nationally. The award recognizes the most transparent government websites in the country. Clayton earned a perfect website transparency score because it posts budgets and audits, commission meeting minutes and lists commissioners and their contact information. Tammy Joyner

Fayetteville takes bids on roundabout

Fayetteville is accepting bids for a local SPLOST project to build a roundabout on Grady Avenue. The roundabout will alleviate back-ups at a four-way stop. Grady Avenue connects two busy highways, Ga. 54 and 85, and supports traffic from Fayette Middle School. Kathy Jefcoats for the AJC