County by county news for Thursday


East Cobb man gets life for neighbor’s death

Just a week before his case was to go to trial, Dennis Robert Bredar, 66, pleaded guilty to murdering Rhonda Kay Callihan, 49. Callihan and Bredar were neighbors for almost 25 years on Jamerson Forest Circle. Callihan allowed Bredar to live with her last year when he fell on hard times during a divorce. But after moving in, Callihan complained to her family that Bredar was often drunk and had a temper, according to prosecutors.

Last September, after a petty argument, Bredar pulled out a .357 revolver and shot Callihan several times, authorities said. He then called 911 and waited for police to arrive. Daarel Burnette II

Mableton man pleads guilty to murder

Thomas Leonardo Schwartz, 47, of Mableton pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault Monday and was sentenced Tuesday to 40 years in prison.

Schwartz admitted to shooting his girlfriend Janice Oates, 45, in the head in July of last year. He will have to serve every one of the first 20 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

As part of his plea deal, a judge dismissed an earlier possession of a firearm charge.

Daarel Burnette II

Cupid plans town hall meeting

Cobb County District Four Commissioner Lisa Cupid will hold a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Ron Anderson Recreation Center, 3820 Macedonia Road, Powder Springs.

Information: 770-528-3312 or

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Kennesaw skatepark construction underway

Kennesaw has started the final phase of construction on a $1.8 million skatepark at Swift -Cantrell Park off Old U.S. Highway 41. The project, funded by $1.4 million in 2011 SPLOST funds and corporate and private donations, is expected to be completed this fall. Work is under way on a flow course and bowl.

The 40,000-square-foot project is modeled on a competitive street league design for skaters on all levels.

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Marietta seeks civil service board member

Marietta residents 25 and older can apply 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday for a position on the city’s Civil Service Board. Marietta Fire and Police civil service workers will select a member in October to fill the Post 4 vacancy.

The appeals board hears civil service workers issues. Applications are online or at the clerk’s office, 205 Lawrence St. Information:

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Keep Cobb Beautiful offers scholarships

Students 16 and up can earn college scholarships by serving as associate board members of Keep Cobb Beautiful, an environmental non-profit organization. Members serve on committees, organize and run events and represent the organization at luncheons and awards.

Candidates must be juniors, seniors or attend college in Cobb, and be able to pledge at least 35 hours during the term, which runs from October to May. Applications are due Friday. and top candidates will be notified by Sept. 27. Information: Jaime Sarrio


Berkeley Lake reviewing comprehensive plan

Berkeley Lake will hold a public hearing 8 p.m. today at City Hall to discuss plans for an updated comprehensive plan. The city has undergone changes since the adoption of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan in 2009, including annexation and the addition of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard businesses That has altered the city’s land use patterns and tax base. In addition, the 2010 U.S. Census has revealed a significant shift in the city’s demographic profile. The creation of Peachtree Corners and other municipalities have also altered avenues for further expansion.

Information: Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Public safety fall festival next weekend

The Gwinnett County Police Department and the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services will host the fourth annual Public Safety Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 28 at Coolray Field, 2500 Buford Dr., Lawrenceville. The free event features fire truck, police motorcycle and helicopter displays, safety training demonstrations, kids’ activities, pet adoptions, and a softball face-off between police and firefighters.

Information: 770-513-5119 or 678-518-4845.

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Senior services to hold SPLOST meetings

Gwinnett is seeking public input on projects for senior services that could be funded by the SPLOST renewal referendum going before voters in November. Feedback from the meetings will help identify potential capital projects for senior services funded by SPLOST.

Gwinnett residents may attend any of these public input meetings: 10 a.m. Oct. 1 at Buford Senior Center, 2755 Sawnee Avenue, 10 a.m. Oct. 3 at Norcross Senior Center, 5030 Georgia Belle Court, 10 a.m. Oct. 4 at Centerville Senior Center, 3025 Bethany Church Road in Snellville and 10 a.m. Oct. 7 at Lawrenceville Senior Center, 225 Benson Street in Lawrenceville. Info: 770-822-8833. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Call for art, fundraiser for African village

Kudzu Art Zone invites Georgia artists age 18 and up working in two- and three-dimensional media to participate in the Karansi Project art exhibit Nov. 8-22, at the gallery, 116 Carlyle St., Norcross.

Deadline to turn in art work is Oct. 26. Kudzu Art Zone, in partnership with the Tanzania Global Team ministry of Perimeter Church, is sponsoring the fundraiser to benefit relief efforts for the village of Karansi, Tanzania. Information: or 770-840-9844.

Veronica Fields Johnson

Police plan firearms safety seminar

Gwinnett County Police Department will host a free firearms safety seminar 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today in the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center auditorium, 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville. Personnel from the Gwinnett Police Academy will cover carry and deadly force laws, the requirements for a carry permit and personal defense. No firearms at the event.

Attendees will be screened at a security checkpoint. Information: Cpl. J. Golliher at 678-226-7766. Nancy Badertscher


Man, 20, drowns in Lake Lanier Tuesday

Shaquille Marquise Connor-Blunt, 20, of College Park was swimming across Lake Lanie Tuesday when he told friends he didn’t think he’d be able to make it to their destination. After turning around, the friends attempted to help him reach the beach. Connor-Blunt began to struggle and almost took his friends underwater with him, authorities said. Connor-Blunt’s body was recovered by divers around 4:40 p.m., the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said. The initial emergency call was received by a Hall County dispatcher around 3:50 p.m. Daarel Burnette II

Fire destroys Forsyth mobile home

A 15-year-old girl escaped without injury as her family’s mobile home was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning. Officials say the teen, home alone, was awakened by the blaze, escaped and flagged down a maintenance crew. The home, off of Browns Bridge Road in northeast Forsyth, was a total loss. There’s no word on the cause. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Driver fails to yield to Forsyth ambulance

A Forsyth County EMS ambulance collided Monday with a driver who allegedly refused to yield. The Sheriff’s office says a 74-year-old Cumming man turned directly in front of the ambulance on Ga. 20 west of Cumming.

The ambulance struck the SUV and then landed partially in a ditch. Nobody was injured. The SUV driver was cited for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Truck passing lanes now open in Cherokee

Motorists driving Ga. 20 in Cherokee County are poised to find an easier ride. The Georgia Department of Transportation says truck passing lanes have been completed and are open. Officials say 4.3 miles of lanes from west of Union Hill Road to east of Greenwood Court are done in a project which began in September of 2010.

The new lanes cost some $11.2 million.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Registration open for kids golf tourney

Registration is open for the All Kids Count Classic golf tournament, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 22 at Ansley Golf Club, 5500 Settingdown Drive, Roswell. The tournament benefits the Foster Care Support Foundation, whose mission is to enrich the lives of Georgia’s foster care children.

Information:, 770-641-9591. Mea Watkins

Motorcycle license testing Saturday

The Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program is offering mobile motorcycle license testing at the Gold Wing Road Riders Awareness event 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Cumming Marketplace. Nancy Badertscher

Free math tutoring available at library

Children in grades K-8 can receive free math tutoring 2 to 4 p.m. Sundays at the Ocee Library Branch, 5090 Abbotts Bridge Road, Johns Creek. Tutors will provide math instruction and students should bring an assignment or topic with which they are struggling.

Information: 770-362-8897.

Veronica Fields Johnson


Missing woman’s car found in Alabama

Melanie Quinton, 49, was reported missing Tuesday after her car was found in Alabama. She has mental health issues, including bipolar disorder, according to her husband, police said. Robert Quinton told Atlanta police that he didn’t know where his wife was headed when she left Tuesday morning, and that she has a history of such behavior.

Melanie Quinton is 5-foot-10,160 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information should call 404-546-4235 or 911. Angel K. Brooks

Clark Atlanta receives $40,000 grant

Clark Atlanta University received a one-year, $40,000 grant from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. The foundation makes awards to colleges, universities and environmental organizations that support environmental initiatives and sustainability. CAU students can develop high performance biodegradable polymer systems from environmentally friendly and renewable plant-based polymers. Nancy Badertscher

Musical to celebrate Lowery’s birthday

The theatrical and musical production “I’ve Known Rivers” is 6 p.m. Oct. 6 at the MLK Chapel at Morehouse College, 830 Westview Drive, S.W. to celebrate the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery’s 92nd birthday. The event is a fundraiser supporting the Joseph E. Lowery Institute for Justice & Human Rights. Steve Harvey will host. Tickets: $25 to $100. Information: or 404-524-8406 or

Veronica Fields Johnson

Briarcliff UMC to hold annual charity event

Briarcliff United Methodist Church, 4105 Briarcliff Road N.E, hosts a barbecue dinner, silent auction and variety show 6:30 p.m. Oct. 4 .

Proceeds go to the Murphy Harpst Children’s Home, a treatment center for abused and neglected children. Admission: $8 adults; $4 children; $25 family Information:,, or 404-321-3854. Mea Watkins


Man killed in possible drive-by identified

Leland Sims, 26, was shot once and died at the scenein what police suspect could be a drive-by shooting. The suspects fled the area after a number of shots were fired.

Several houses in the 6300 block of Phillips Court were riddled with bullets and Sims was found dead in one of the front yards. Daarel Burnette II

Meeting focuses on potential new cities

The prospect of new cities in south DeKalb County will be the focus of a meeting 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at Southwest DeKalb High.

DeKalb’s legislative delegation has filed placeholder bills for at least five possible cities in all corners of the county.

The session on Sept. 26 will focus on the possibility of a City of Prosperity, to cover the bulk of east-south DeKalb and a city of Stonecrest, to run south from Lithonia and include Stonecrest Mall.

Other cities, some with overlapping boundaries, include Briarcliff/Druid Hills, Lakeside, LaVista Hills and Tucker. April Hunt

Commission, school board hold joint retreat

Decatur school board chairman Mark Wisniewski announced the Board and City Commission will hold an historic joint, all-day session Nov. 22 in Covington. The session’s first half will focus on creating a relationship between these two bodies which traditionally have operated separately. The second half will tackle the Commission’s proposed “Blue Ribbon Committee,” which the school board generally opposes. Bill Banks for the AJC

Meeting focuses on disaster readiness

DeKalb County will host a disaster preparedness festival 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at North DeKalb Mall, 2050 Lawrenceville Highway.

The event will feature information on readiness for all emergencies, including natural disasters, fire and crime.

Information: 678-406-7858.

April Hunt

Peace officers honor community champs

The Asian American Peace Officers of Georgia will host the APA Heroes & Advocates Awards Banquet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Oriental Pearl Seafood Restaurant, 5399 New Peachtree Road, Chamblee.

Tickets: $50, adults; $25, students. Proceeds from the event benefit scholarship and community outreach programs.

Information: or 404-494-0362. Veronica Fields Johnson

Funk Heritage Center to host free symposium

History Beneath Our Feet: Archaeology and the Cherokee Trail of Tears will be the topic of a free symposium Sept. 21 at Funk Heritage Center of Reinhardt University, 7300 Reinhardt College Circle, Waleska.

The program features archaeologists who have worked in Cherokee archaeology. The audience will learn how archaeology has enhanced understanding of Cherokee history, including the Trail of Tears.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. for the event, which ends at 12:30 p.m. An optional pre-paid luncheon will follow. Due to limited seating, reservations are required.

Information: 770-720-5970 or Mea Watkins


Fulton to negotiate deal for warehouse

The Fulton commissioners Wednesday approved a memorandum of understanding with Majestic Realty that may lead to a distribution center employing over 700 people. The terms call for a 120-day period in which Fulton and Majestic Realty will finalize a full agreement. Majestic has proposed building 2.8 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space at Fulton County Airport for an unnamed client that sources have told the AJC is grocery giant Kroger. If that deal falls through, Majestic would build and lease space for other clients. David Wickert

Fayette approves concussion policy

The Fayette County Board of Education has formalized a policy pertaining to concussion management. Board members unanimously approved procedures that require student athletes who show signs of a concussion to be removed from play and be examined and cleared by a healthcare provider before resuming participation. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Foster care parents needed

Grace for Children Foster Care, a division of Fayette Youth Protection Homes and administered by Georgia Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries, is recruiting for new foster parents in all Georgia counties. Homes are needed for children from newborns through 18 years old, especially for sibling groups and teenagers. Informational meetings will be held at 6 p.m. at 150 Marquis Drive, Fayetteville, on select Tuesdays: Oct. 15, Nov. 19 and Dec. 17. Information: Ashlie Hale at 770-460-6652 or

Veronica Fields Johnson

College Park Council approves millage rate

The College Park City Council voted 5-0 Monday night to maintain the city’s millage rate at 12.619 mills for fiscal year 2013-2014, effective Oct. 1. City Manager Terrence Moore says that, with the city’s tax digest essentially, flat, a typical home or business owner’s property tax burden should not change.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Fulton County seeks volunteer tutors

Fulton County’s Kinship Care Program is seeking qualified volunteer tutors to provide weekly homework assistance for elementary, middle and high school students enrolled in the program from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays at the East Point Library, 2757 Main St., East Point. The targeted academic subjects will be math, science and reading and tutors can utilize library resources to provide further assistance. All volunteers must consent to a background check. Information: Velma Hooker-Green at 404-612-9034 or or Danee Williams at 404-612-0765 or Veronica Fields Johnson

Airshow will close Fayette park

Fayette County will close Lake McIntosh Park Oct. 11-14 for the “safety zone” during the Great Georgia Airshow. The expanded event, taking place at Peachtree City’s Falcon Field Airport, will have both day and evening activities involving aircraft. The Planterra Ridge Golf Course and nearby businesses will also be affected. Jill Howard Church for the AJC