County by county news for Thursday


Powder Springs man charged with touching girls

A Cobb County grand jury on Thursday has indicted Jerry Dean Westbrook, a 69-year-old Powder Springs man, on sexual battery charges for allegedly touching three young girls on the buttocks at Six Flags Whitewater. He could spend up to 15 years in jail if he’s convicted. Westbrook allegedly touched the girls, ages 8 to 10, on Sept. 2, 2012. Marietta police arrested Westbrook on Oct. 25, 2012, after witness reports led to an investigation into his identity. He was released on $7,500 bond the following morning.

A date has not yet been set for Westbrook’s arraignment. Cailin O’Brien

Firearm education class scheduled

The Foundation of Emory-Adventist Hospital at Smyrna will hold a Glock training class 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Aug. 28 at Glock Professional Inc., 5300 Highlands Parkway., Smyrna.

New shooters will learn fundamentals of responsible gun ownership and safety during classroom instruction and live fire range time. Open to adults age 21 and up. A firearm will be provided for training.

Reservations required at Mea Watkins

Public meeting on alcohol license today

Cobb District 4 Commissioner Lisa Cupid will host a public meeting at 7 p.m. today at the South Cobb Recreation Center, 875 Six Flags Drive, Austell about an alcohol license.

The license has been requested by the Shell gas station at the intersection of Six Flags Drive and Blairs Bridge Road.

“A significant number of residents have expressed support and opposition,” Cupid said in her email newsletter.


Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Smyrna to throw birthday party

Smyrna will celebrate the city’s birthday 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday on the Village Green, 200 Village Green Circle. The event will include a free concert. Fireworks will start at dark. Information:

Tucker McQueen

Powder Springs on summer schedule

Powder Springs City Council members are continuing to hold their voting meetings once a month, instead of twice, this summer. Upcoming meetings are Aug. 19 and Sept. 23 with work sessions on Aug. 14 and Sept. 11.

Work sessions are 5 p.m. at City Hall, 4484 Marietta St., second floor conference room. Preceded by a 6:30 p.m. work session. Voting meetings start at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 4488 Pineview Drive.

Information: City Clerk Dawn Davis,, 770-943-4349 or Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Retired educators association to meet

The Cobb Marietta Retired Educators Association will meet at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 8 at the C. Freeman Poole Senior Center, 4025 South Hurt Rd., Smyrna. The featured speaker will be Jay Dillon, communications director for the Cobb County School District. Lunch will be provided at a cost of $10 per person. For reservations, contact Debby Overstreet,

Information: or 770-801-3400. Mea Watkins


Victims ID’d in Norcoss fatal shooting, assault

Gwinnett County police hope Thomas Smith, 28, of Powder Springs, can identify who shot and killed 28-year-old Steven Carden, of Marietta. The two were walking outside a Norcross-area apartment complex around 7 a.m. Monday when they stopped to talk to two other men, police said.

Smith was struck from behind by an unknown object. Officers arrived to find Carden dead from a gunshot wound. Smith was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center with head trauma, but is expected to survive his injuries, police said. Alexis Stevens

Norcross painting for Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity, ArtWorks! Gwinnett and Norcross are hosting Doors to Homes & Hope Oct. 5 through November, an outdoor public art project benefitting Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity.

Paint a door which will go on the display and then sold in the Gwinnett ReStore location. Reserve your door(s) by Monday at A $25 donation/per door is requested to help cover project costs.

Proceeds are split between Habitat and Artworks! Gwinnett. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Norcross police to host National Night Out

The Norcross Police Department will host a National Night Out event 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Lillian Webb Community Park, 31 College St. N.W.

National Night Out is a nationwide annual crime prevention and community-policing event designed to strengthen neighborhood spirit and community law enforcement collaboration.

Public safety officers will offer tips and facts about crime prevention, and Safe Kids Gwinnett will be on hand with a fire truck and fire safety tips. The event will also feature food, music and activities.

Information: Norcross Police Department detective Arelis Rivera, 770-448-2111. Mea Watkins

Chattapoochee seeks contestants, sponsors

Duluth Parks and Rec and Duluth Historical Society are extending their search for the next Chattapoochee Dog Park Mayor and looking for business partners by Aug. 23 to serve as “Blue Ribbon Sponsors” to help elect the new Dog Mayor.

The new Dog Mayorwill be announced at Chattapoochee PetFest on Oct. 6.

Information: Duluth Historical Society, or Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Movie event to collect school supplies

Duluth’s free movie event, Flicks on the Bricks, showing “Despicable Me” will collect back-to-school supplies to support underprivileged children 4 to 10:30 p.m. Friday in downtown Duluth.

The project, in conjunction with the Gwinnett County Division of Family and Child Services, will include large inflatables prior to the movie.

For each school supply item provided, guests will receive one ticket, up to five tickets per child for the inflatables.

Information: Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Missing Johns Creek man, 69, found unharmed

Emil Valhuerdi, 69, of Johns Creek, who has been missing since Tuesday was found unharmed Wednesday in Brunswick, according to Johns Creek police.

It is unclear exactly where or how Valhuerdi was found.

Valhuerdi was instructed not to drive after suffering a stroke, but he left his house on Tuesday in a silver, four-door 2000 Mercedes after telling family members he was going to visit his mother in Hialeah, Fla., according to Johns Creek police. Cailin O’Brien

Alpharetta jewelry store robbed

During a heist at Sabri Guven Fine Jewelry on Haynes Bridge Road in Alpharetta just after 5 p.m. two men entered the store and asked to see a diamond ring. One of the men asked to see a diamond ring. When the men got the ring, they ran out the door, police said. The owner gave chase and he and an employee physically detain one suspect, police said.

Police took the suspect to jail and charges were pending.The second suspect remained at large. Bryan Cronan

Woodstock campus to close temporarily

Chattahoochee Technical College’s Woodstock campus will be closing Aug. 8 for long-planned renovations. The $5.2 million upgrade to the HVAC system, roof, windows, plumbing and restrooms is expected to take about 18 months.2015. Classes and instructors will relocate to the Canton and Acworth campuses for the duration.Mark Woolsey for the AKC

Fulton to offer college prep for female youth

Fulton County’s Office of Children and Youth will offer a two-year leadership skills development program for 12 to 15 year old females with Priceless University.

Applicants must be Fulton County residents enrolled in a school within Fulton County school, attend new student orientation, weekly classes, etc. Apply online at Aug. 5. through Sept. 13.

Information: or 404-612-4786. Mea Watkins

County schedules Daves Creek Drive work

Daves Creek Drive in Forsyth County will be temporarily closed to through traffic at Old Atlanta Road beginning Aug. 5. The closure is to allow crews to realign Daves Creek with Old Atlanta to improve sight distance at the intersection.

The project will also include construction of left and right turning lanes on Old Atlanta Road.

The road is expected to re-open by Sept. 8. The work is funded by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program, SPLOST VI. Patrick Fox

Market to host home canning program

This Saturday’s Woodstock Farmers Market will present “Preserving the Harvest.” Cherokee County Farm bureau representatives will demonstrate canning, freezing and drying methods for produce, plus producing jams, jellies, preserves and pickles. The market runs from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Saturdays at Towne Lake Parkway and Main Street. Information: 770-924-0406.Mark Woolsey for the AJC


Vendors closer to temporary program

The Atlanta City Council’s public safety committee approved a temporary program for public street vendors Tuesday, bringing the vendors one step closer to opening shop in the short-term.

Vendors have been unable to operate on public streets this year as a result of a lawsuit challenging the city’s 2008 decision to turn over the vending program to a private company. A Fulton County Superior Court judge struck down the agreement with Chicago-based General Growth Properties in late 2012.Katie Leslie

State Farm to host two-day career fair

State Farm will host a career fair 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North, 7 Concourse Parkway. Positions in claims, service and sales support functions, as well as some professional/technical level positions, are available. Apply online at Fields Johnson

Sanford-Brown to hold health fair

Sanford-Brown Atlanta will hold a free family wellness health fair 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today at 1140 Hammond Dr., Suite A-1150. The event will feature free health care screenings and educational activities, including vision checks, fitness activities, massages and blood pressure screenings. Family Wellness Week provides an opportunity for students to take their classroom knowledge into the community to ensure that families have access to health care screenings. Information: 770-576-4498. Mea Watkins

State computer needed emergency fix

A state computer system that houses statewide applications for driver’s licenses, tags and titles, and benefits, among other information experienced some issues Tuesday, state officials said.

Information already stored in the mainframe was not affected. Technicians worked quickly to determine the cause of the problem and make repairs by 7 p.m. Tuesday. Marcus K. Garner


Housing Authority receives national award

The Housing Authority of the City of Decatur has received the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials Award of Merit for energy efficient renovations to the Oliver House of Allen Wilson Terrace.

Oliver House is the second of three phases of revitalization of Allen Wilson Terrace, a 200-unit public housing community built in 1941. The now energy efficient green community features solar energy, rainwater harvesting and re-use, geothermal heating, and Energy Star appliances. Information: Mea Watkins

Decatur schools unveil new buses

With Decatur schools starting today, the system will run its own bus fleet for the first time ever, with a total 19 buses, 17 drivers and four monitors. Each bus is equipped with stop arm cameras recording the license tag of vehicles illegally passing a stopped school bus. The system owns four buses outright, the remainder operating under a 10-year lease/purchase agreement, with an annual leasing cost of about $128,000. Previously Decatur schools had contracted with DeKalb County to run buses.

Bill Banks for the AJC

Meeting today seeks input for roadway

DeKalb County is looking for public review and input for its tentative plans to improve 1.6 miles of North Indian Creek Drive.

The project calls for turning two of the road’s four lanes into a turn lane and bike lane, respectively. Also planned are improved pedestrian crossings at intersections with Rockbridge Road and Church Street.

A public meeting will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. today at the Clarkston Community Center, 3701 College Ave.

The public can also review the plans through Aug. 10 at DeKalb’s public works office, 1950 W. Exchange Place, Tucker. April Hunt

Lithonia to hold back-to-school event

The city of Lithonia will host a back-to-school event the first weekend 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Lithonia Stewart Amphitheater, One Brenda Lee Lane. The event will feature food, music and community groups. Information: 770-482-8136. April Hunt

Commissioner hosting Saturday meeting

Stan Watson, the commissioner representing the eastern half of DeKalb County, will host his monthly community breakfast 9 - 11 a.m. Saturday at Chapel Hill Middle School on Dogwood Farms Road in South DeKalb.

Attendance is free, but residents are asked to donate school supplies.Registration is not required. April Hunt

Oakhurst expecting record numbers

The nearly half-year construction on Oakhurst Elementary is complete, with the addition of a new wing that includes eight new classrooms (four more than the old configuration), a new parking lot in back and elimination of all trailers. The school is expecting a likely record 447 students, a 36 percent increase from the 288 on Aug. 10, 2009. The Fifth Avenue 4/5 Academy, which anticipates a record number of 617 students today, is also adding four new classrooms, but they won’t be finished until early October. Bill Banks for the AJC


Man, 55, stabbed to death in College Park

Police were called shortly before 1 a.m. Tuesday to a Lakemont Drive apartment, where they found Bernard Walton, 55, dead from a stab wound to the upper chest. Witnesses told police Walton and a woman, 43-year-old Hazel Lunette Pinson, had been in an altercation. Police are asking the public’s help to find her.

Pinson was last seen in the Washington Road and Camp Creek Parkway area of East Point and has possible addresses in Atlanta and Coweta County, College Park police said. Anyone with information should call police at 404-761-3131. Alexis Stevens

Henry police chief receives FBI award

Henry County Police Chief Keith Nichols received the “Member of the Year” award from the Georgia Chapter of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy.

Chief Nichols attended the F.B.I. National Academy Associates Annual Training Conference hosted in Orlando, Fla. this week where he received his award.

Chief Nichols is one of 900 graduates from Georgia who have attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

Tammy Joyner

School supply giveaway, free movie

The Ronald Bridges Parks and Recreation Department, 5285 Lakeside Drive, is hosting a back to school supply giveway 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Later in the day there will be a Movies by Moonlight event featuring the animated film “Madagascar” at sunset rain or shine. Everyone is invited. Bring your blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets.There will be train rides, moonwalks, food and music available.

The cost is free.

Information: Claire Collins, 770-964-1236 or Arlinda Smith Broady

Clayton commissioner hosts Saturday talk

Got a concern, complaint or compliment and want Clayton County Commissioner Shana Rooks to know about it?

Stop by “First Saturday Talk” 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the South Clayton Recreation Center, 1837 McDonough Road in Hampton and let her know what you think. Tammy Joyner

Peachtree City offers August geocaching

Peachtree City is proclaiming August as “31 Days of Geocaching.” Participants of the hobby are encouraged to find and log a cache for each day of the month.

The city has more than 300 caches, and will be the site of two upcoming events by the Georgia Geocachers Association.


Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Chamber has internship program

The Fayette Chamber of Commerce has a new partnership with to provide more career-related opportunities for students.

The free program will connect local businesses with young people seeking job experience and training.

Sign up at

Jill Howard Church for the AJC