County by county news for Thursday


Austell mayor breaks tie on $1,500 vote

In a rare move, Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins voted Monday to break a 3-3 tie in favor of giving $1,500 to Gospel Nation Christian Fellowship from the general fund for its annual free Hallelujah Festival that was held Oct. 31 at the city’s Legion Field.

In favor were Councilman Scott S. Thomas and Councilwomen Kirsten Anderson and Virginia A. Reagan.

Opposed were Councilwomen Trudie A. Causey and Suzanne A. Thomason and Councilman Martin Standard.

The $1,500 for the Hallelujah Festival already was approved 6-0 on Sept. 9, but this vote would give an additional $1,500 to Gospel Nation to provide for families in need during the Christmas season along with 19 other churches.

Causey told the AJC the city does not have the money to give double the amount to the same church, while Thomas said the church has done “a great job” in serving the community with this festival.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Cherokee Heights arts fest on Saturday

A historic Marietta neighborhood will hold its annual arts festival 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday on Etowah Drive between Freyer and Seminole Drives off Cherokee Street. The Cherokee Heights Arts Festival will feature the work of about 30 neighborhood arts and craftsmen and books by local authors. Live music and kids’ activities are also planned. The free event is sponsored by Keep Marietta Beautiful, Marietta Parks and Recreation, Landmarks Bank, Nerdy Baby and Traton Homes’ Montgomery Park.

Tucker McQueen

Runoff possible in Austell City Council race

Three candidates in the Ward 3 race for Austell City Council may be in a runoff, Austell City Clerk Carolyn Duncan told the AJC Wednesday.

Former Councilman Randy P. Green won nearly 49 percent or 94 votes to a tie vote between Councilman Martin Standard and Austell Board of Variances and Appeals member Ann F. Turner, both receiving 25.5 percent or 49 votes.

Duncan said the provisional ballots will be counted Friday.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Austell mayor campaigned for incumbent’s opponent

Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins sent a letter to city residents a few days before Tuesday’s City Council election, urging them to vote for newly elected Ollie Clemons, Jr. instead of Councilwoman Trudie A. Causey.

In response, Causey sent her own letter, defending herself against accusations by Jerkins that she “began harassing” residents over “minor” code infractions, disseminating wrong information on back taxes owed to the city and opposing the new Veterans Memorial Park.

She also criticized the “over $250,000 on the Mayors Park” in downtown Austell, containing a statue of Jerkins.

Clemons received 70 percent or 411 votes to Causey’s 25 percent or 149 votes and Chris Djonis’s 4 percent or 25 votes.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

KSU to honor vets

Kennesaw State University’s Army ROTC Club will honor veterans at noon Thursday on the Campus Green in front of Kennesaw Hall at KSU, 1000 Chastain Rd., Kennesaw. Former Navy Hospital Corpsman and retired Army National Guard Col. Donald Ballard, a Vietnam Medal of Honor recipient, will give the keynote address. Information:

Veronica Fields Johnson

Upward events’ early sign-up ending

The 15th year of Upward basketball and cheerleading will begin Nov. 25 at First Baptist Church of Powder Springs, 4330 North Ave. Early registration continues through Tuesday with a $100 fee, followed by a $115 fee from Tuesday until the Nov. 15 deadline.

Leagues are K4 through eighth grade, including a division for children with special needs. Information:, or



Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC


State government retirees to meet today

The Georgia State Retirees Association Northeast Metro Chapter will meet at 1 p.m. today11/7 at the Bethesda Park Senior Center, 225 Bethesda Church Rd., Lawrenceville. Active and retired State employees and educators are welcome. The event is free. RSVP by email to Ernie Melton at Information:

Veronica Fields Johnson

Equipment donation helps senior services’ kitchen

Gwinnett has accepted a donation of new kitchen equipment valued at $27,657 from Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services. The donation includes a convection oven and a planetary mixer for the kitchen currently being built at the Gwinnett Senior Services Center in Lawrenceville. The 12,000-square-foot kitchen will prepare and package home-delivered and congregate meals, enabling up to 2,000 more prepared meals for seniors per day. The $2.9 million addition is funded by the federal Community Development Block Grant program. Friends is a nonprofit volunteer-governed organization dedicated to raising funds to privately support or supplement senior programs such as home-delivered meals. Info:

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Gwinnett applies for resurfacing funding

Gwinnett could receive more than $4 million in road resurfacing funds next year if the state DOT approves the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant application commissioners submitted on Tuesday. The grant would provide $4.47 million to cover almost 74 percent of the cost, while 2009 SPLOST funds would be used to pay for the County’s local match of about $1.6 million. The four main projects include 3.3 miles of Cruse Road, 1.8 miles of Hamilton Mill Parkway, 2.4 miles of Fence Road, 2.4 miles of Oak Road, and 3.4 miles of Killian Hill Road. Many smaller resurfacing projects would also be funded. Contracts for the work would open for bids next spring if the state approves its share of the cost.

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Veterans day ceremony pays special tribute to Vietnam Veterans

The public is invited to attend Gwinnett County’s annual Veterans Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11 at the Gwinnett Fallen Heroes Memorial, 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville. This observance pays tribute to the men and women who have served honorably in the military, during wartime or peacetime, and to memorialize the fallen heroes who have sacrificed their lives to protect our nation. No new names will be added to the memorial during this year’s ceremony. Event will include a special “welcome home” ceremony for Vietnam veterans.

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

GTC radiologic technologists earn 100-percent certification pass rate

For the eighth consecutive year, one hundred percent of Georgia Technical College graduates who took the national certifying exam passed it on the first attempt. The academic achievement coincides with National Radiologic Technology Week Nov. 3-9. The celebration takes place every November to commemorate the anniversary of the x-ray’s discovery by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen on Nov. 8, 1895 and aims to recognize the work of professionals across the nation. For more details about Gwinnett Tech’s Imaging Sciences Department information sessions, call


or visit

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Veterans recognition ceremony Sunday

Lilburn will celebrate veterans with a recognition ceremony and ice cream social at 2 p.m. Sunday in Lilburn City Park. Bring worn, tattered and damaged American flags for proper retirement.

Lilburn VFW Post 12096 will provide this service free of charge.


Arlinda Smith Broady


Feed the hungry group has holiday drive underway

The non-profit Feed Forsyth is holding its second annual holiday food drive through the first week of January. Director Allen Madding says they’re aiming to collect 5 thousand pounds of non-perishables that will enable the county’s 28 food pantries to stock up in January, historically a slack time for donations. For a list of needed items and dropoff locations:

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Forsyth alters voting precincts, locations

The Forsyth County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections has approved a plan changing election day precinct lines and voting locations, dropping from 25 to 16 precincts. Elections supervisor Barbara Luth says the changes recognize that more than 50 percent of ballots are now cast early. She says that no resident will have to drive more than 10 miles to vote. The alterations become effective with the May, 2014 primary.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Gingrey sets Cherokee open house

U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., will hold a candidate open house for residents and supporters. It’s set from 4 to 6 p.m. today (Nov. 7) at the Old Cherokee County Courthouse, 100 North St., Canton. Gingrey is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, and represents Cherokee County in the U.S. House.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Informational meeting set on college prep program

Eighth -grade parents and students are invited to an informational meeting on the International Baccalureate Program at South Forsyth High School, 7 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 12 in the school’s performing arts center, 585 Peachtree Parkway, Cumming. The program is the only one of its type in Forsyth, and provides a rigorous curriculum aimed at preparing for university-level study.


Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Alpharetta to host songwriters festival

The inaugural Wire and Wood Alpharetta Songwriters Festival will be 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, 2 South Main St., Alpharetta. The event is free and will feature local and nationally touring songwriters at five different stages throughout downtown, gourmet food trucks and interactive stages. The event is rain or shine. Information:

Veronica Fields Johnson

Sandy Springs to host veterans tribute Monday

The City of Sandy Springs will host its fourth Annual Veterans Day Tribute at 11:45 a.m. Monday11/11 at the Veteran’s Memorial, at the Concourse Corporate Center next to the Queen Building, 5 Concourse Parkway, Sandy Springs. The event will feature patriotic music, the Sandy Springs Police Department Honor Guard and the Pledge of Allegiance by students from Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. Former WSB-TV news anchor John Pruitt will emcee and Brigadier General John King, U.S. Army National Guard, will be the keynote speaker. Information: or



Veronica Fields Johnson


School ethics board considers complaint

The Atlanta school board Ethics Commission requested additional documents Wednesday before deciding whether to further investigate a complaint against Board of Education Chairman Reuben McDaniel.

The complaint filed by parent Molly Read Woo, who backs McDaniel’s opponent Cynthia Briscoe Brown in this year’s school board election, questions whether the school board hired a marketing agency to promote controversial policies, violated state law by privately discussing budget issues, or compromised the superintendent search process by including an associate of Mayor Kasim Reed in executive sessions.

McDaniel said after the Ethics Commission meeting that there wasn’t any merit to the allegations in the complaint.

Mark Niesse

Diabetes walk Saturday at Turner Field

The American Diabetes Association Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes will be Saturday at Turner Field, 755 Hank Aaron Dr. S.W. The event kickoff festival and registration begins at 8 a.m. Start time is 10 a.m. Participants will begin with a warm-up and end with a 5k walk around the stadium. Information: or Tiffany Rozier at

Veronica Fields Johnson

Bereavement club to hold memory walk

Kate’s Club will observe “Blue November” and National Children’s Grief Awareness Day with a memory walk from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Coan Recreation Center and Park, 1530 Woodbine Ave. S.E.

Registration is free. Participants are encouraged to show their support for a grieving child by wearing blue.

Kate’s Club helps children and teens face life after the death of a parent or a sibling. The month-long “Blue November” campaign aims to draw attention to the needs of grieving children.

To register, visit:

Mea Watkins

Aviation school holds open house

Aviation Career Enrichment will host its 14th annual open house 10 – 4 p.m. Saturday at Fulton County Airport “Charlie Brown” Field. Discover the thrill of aviation and the endless career opportunities that await today’s youth. Learn more about aviation-based youth programs and career readiness designed for those 9 to 18 years old.


Arlinda Smith Broady

Atlanta school board meeting delayed

The Atlanta Board of Education announced Wednesday it has postponed its monthly meeting, which was previously scheduled for Monday, the day before school board elections.

The school board meeting will instead be Nov. 11, a week after voters pick from 26 candidates running for nine seats.

Mark Niesse


State Rep. to host cityhood proposals meeting

State Rep. Karla Drenner will host an informational meeting regarding cityhood proposals in DeKalb County from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday11/7 in the Avondale Estates First Baptist Church Family Life Center, 47 Covington Rd., Avondale Estates. Rep. Drenner will discuss the implications of cityhood for DeKalb County and residents. Representatives from the proposed city of Briarcliff will also give a presentation. A Q&A session will follow.

Veronica Fields Johnson

Longtime bookstore to close

Books Again, one of metro Atlanta’s last used and rare book stores, specializing in modern first editions and southern literature, will close by the end of this year. Owner Jim Adams, who opened the store across from Decatur High in 2000, said he’ll remain active as an online-only shop. The physical store will close, he added, “depending on how quickly the inventory and fixtures are sold.” Books Again has been distinctive for both its upwards 30,000 books and its shop cats Octavo and Eric.

Bill Banks for the AJC

Best-selling author returns to DeKalb

Author and essayist Anne Lamott will discuss her latest book, Stitches, at a free Georgia Center for the Book event Nov. 11 in Decatur.

Lamott is a best-selling author known for her largely autobiographical works. She will speak at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 308 Clairemont Ave., Decatur.


April Hunt

DeKalb hosting canned food drive

DeKalb County parks department is hosting a canned food drive to help the community’s needy.

Donations will be accepted through Nov. 21 at county recreation centers, the Port Sanford performing arts center and the Maloof government building in downtown Decatur.




April Hunt

ARC, Lithonia earn planning award

The city of Lithonia and the Atlanta Regional Commission recently received an award from the Georgia Planning Association for a housing inventory conducted this year through the ARC’s Community Choices program.

The award, for an Outstanding Initiative in a Small Community, was presented at GPA’s fall conference.

ARC and the city developed an electronic database and interactive maps of each of Lithonia’s more than 700 homes.

The database features almost two dozen data fields about the characteristics (occupancy, type, stories and such), accessibility (such as streets and sidewalks) and condition (such as roof, siding and paint) of each home.

It is accessed and updated in real time by staff and volunteers using an iPad.

Arlinda Smith Broady

History Center event spotlights JFK assassination

The DeKalb History Center will host a lecture on Nov. 19 on assassination and funeral of President John F. Kennedy.

Jennifer Richardson, a retired psychotherapist and former history center board member, will lead the Lunch at Learn, which begins at 11 a.m. Nov. 19 at the Old Courthouse on the Square, Decatur.


April Hunt


Fleisch, Logsdon in Peachtree City runoff

Mayoral candidates Vanessa Fleisch and Harold Logsdon will face off in the Dec. 3 runoff election in Peachtree City. Fleisch, a current City Council member, received 39 percent of the Nov. 5 votes; former mayor Logsdon received 27 percent. Post 3 council incumbent Kim Learnard won re-election, with newcomers Mike King and Terry Ernst elected to Posts 2 and 4, respectively.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Fairburn to host community open house

The City of Fairburn’s Community Development Department will host a community meeting regarding the Fairburn Urban Redevelopment Plan from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today11/7 at Fairburn City Hall, 56 Malone St. The purpose of the plan is to create an opportunity to enhance the livability, economic opportunity and overall vitality of the city’s traditional downtown and surrounding distressed neighborhoods and industrial areas. Information: Toussaint Kirk at



Veronica Fields Johnson

Grinch coming to McDonough Saturday

The Grinch will make a return visit to McDonough this Saturday for the annual Holiday Festival of Arts and McDonough Merchants Holiday Open House. The event is noon-5 p.m. and the Grinch will be there 1-4 p.m. There will also be an artists market, live music and a silent auction. Information:

Monroe Roark for the AJC

Common Cause honors Fayette chairman

Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown will receive a 2013 Democracy Award from Common Cause Georgia on Sunday. The nonprofit government watchdog group gives the awards to “public officials, members of the media, and citizen advocates for their work to improve democracy in the areas of ethics reforms, open and accountable government, and other good government issues.” Brown supported a county resolution calling for more ethics reform in state government.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

McDonough sets Christmas events

McDonough will officially kick off the Christmas season Dec. 7 with a variety of events. Santa Saturday on the Square is 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and the Kids’ Downtown Shop Around is 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The city’s annual tree lighting and concert is set for 5 p.m. and the Christmas Parade begins at 6 p.m. Information:

Monroe Roark for the AJC

Stockbridge budget hearing scheduled

The Stockbridge City Council has scheduled a public hearing regarding the proposed fiscal 2014 budget as part of its regular monthly meeting. The council will meet at 6 p.m. Nov. 11, in its chambers on the second floor of City Hall. The proposed budget is available for public inspection in the city clerk’s office and also at

Monroe Roark for the AJC