County by county news for Thursday


Powder Springs police to get body cameras

The Powder Springs City Council will spend $24,195 for 20 first-time body cameras for the city’s police force.

Police Chief Charlie Sewell said the funding for these Digital-Ally products will come from federal asset sharing funds with no money from the police budget.

Already, the police use Digital-Ally dash cams so that audio and video from the body cameras can be offloaded electronically.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Streets to close for Taste of Acworth

Streets will close in downtown Acworth 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday for the Taste of Acworth. Main street from Lemon Street to Morningside Drive and sections of Dallas Street will close during the event. More than 20,000 attended last year.

Local restaurants will sell samples from $1-$4, and music and children’s activities are als planned. Information:

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Mabry Park offers fall preview

Cobb residents will get the chance to explore 26-acre Mabry Park from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday at Sandy Plains Road and Wesley Chapel Road. Parking will be at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, 4495 Sandy Plains Road.

The Friends of Mabry Park are raising funds to develop the East Cobb property that was purchased for $4.3 million through a Cobb County park bond voters passed in 2006. Information:

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Powder Springs to upgrade A/V upgrade

The Powder Springs City Council voted Monday to spend $96,365 on audio/visual equipment for the Council Chamber from Unified AV System.

Opposed, Councilwoman Nancy Hudson said spending this much SPLOST money was “overkill” and “a waste.”

Mayor Patricia Vaughn responded there have been many complaints from people not able to hear City Council proceedings. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Powder Springs picks deputy police chief

Major John Robison has been promoted to deputy police chief of Powder Springs by Police Chief Charlie Sewell.

Robison will receive no pay increase.

He is the commander of the Operations Division, the largest division with four lieutenants, four sergeants and 14 police officers, all working 12-hour shifts.


Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Commissioner plans town halls

Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid will host two District 4 town hall meetings this month to hear concerns.

They will be at 7 p.m. Monday at South Cobb High School, 1920 Clay Road, Austell and 7 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Ron Anderson Recreation Center, 3820 Macedonia Road, Powder Springs.

Information:, 770-528-3312.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC


Gwinnett moves closer to school bus cameras

Gwinnett County commissioners approved an agreement Tuesday to allow the school district to catch motorists driving past school buses when they picking up or dropping off students.

School officials want cameras on the arms of school buses that have “stop” signs warning that children are either entering or exiting a school bus. The school district had hoped to begin placing the cameras on the buses by the start of this current school year but it needed an agreement with the county government that would allow the county to prosecute and fine violators.

School officials must still approve the contract. Arielle Kass

Joint agreement improves county seat

County commissioners have approved a three-pronged agreement with Lawrenceville that amends and renews a 50-year lease for part of Rhodes Jordan Park. Gwinnett also agreed to sell 4.87 acres at 240 Oak Street to the city for $982,000. In addition, a parking lot on Pike Street will remain available for downtown parking after the County agreed to Lawrenceville’s request for a 50-year, no-cost lease.

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Subdivisions join streetlight program

Commissioners agreed last year to use 2009 SPLOST funds to pay for streetlight installation in older neighborhoods if a majority of homeowners sign a petition and agree to pay annual operating costs. This week, Buckingham Place near Lilburn, Cedar Pointe and Westwood Crossing in Snellville voted to join the program. Gwinnett divides electricity and maintenance costs among all affected homeowners on their annual property tax bills. Information: DOT Community Relations at 770-822-7400 or

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Luckie & Company celebrates expansion

Luckie & Company joined with Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development for a grand opening of the company’s new location at 3100 Breckinridge Boulevard in Duluth. The company employs more than 130 people and represents such brands as Regions Bank, Piedmont Healthcare, Little Debbie, Drake’s, GlaxoSmithKline and Mercedes-Benz. With the move, Luckie & Company more than doubled its 3,600-square footage facility to 10,000-square-feet, to accommodate their expansion from seven to 50 employees. Information:

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Beam installation to cause lane closures

Due to installation of two bridge beams, one lane will be closed tonight and Fridayon State Route 316 westbound west of Collins Hill Road for the new SR 316 west bridge over the Colonial Pipeline. Starting at 9 p.m. the outside lane will close as crews set beams by 6 a.m. As the massive beams are moved into place, traffic on SR 316 east will be stopped up to 10 minutes at a time. Each prestressed concrete beam is 7 feet tall and 180 feet 11 inches long. The $37.4 million construction project includes 2.23 miles of new roadway and two new bridges over SR 316 and is expected to be complete by May 31, 2016.

Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Canton women arrested on drug charges

Two Canton women were jailed on felony drug charges after narcotics officers say they found methamphetamine valued at nearly $9,000 in a suspect’s home and car. Following surveillance, The Cherokee County Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad served a search warrant at a home on Rabbit Hill Road. They arrested the resident, Darlene Ivy Reddin, 50, who is facing methamphetamine trafficking charges and Tonya Denise Zimmerman, 40, who is accused of methamphetamine possession. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Forsyth budget hearing set Thursday

Forsyth County residents can comment on the county’s proposed 2015 budget during a public hearing set for 5 p.m. Oct. 16, at the Forsyth County Administration Building, 110 E. Main St., Cumming. The 2015 general fund budget totals roughly $103.4 million, up from last years almost $96 million spending plan. The budget includes some $12.6 million for capital projects. Final adoption of the document is tentatively set for Nov. 6. Residents can look at the proposal at Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Candidate forum set in North Fulton

The Johns Creek High School PTSA will hold a candidate forum and voter information Night 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the auditorium, 5575 State Bridge Road. Attending: U.S. Rep. Tom Price, State Sen. John Albers, State Rep. Lynne Riley and state school superintendent candidates Richard Woods and Valarie Wilson. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Cystic fibrosis fundraiser planned

The Georgia chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will hold its Wish for Wendy Softball Challenge 8 a.m. Oct. 25 at Alpharetta North Park, 13450 Cogburn Road, Milton. Sixteen teams will play in the double-elimination co-ed tournament, and attendees can also bid on items at a silent auction. Information: www.wishforwendy.orgMark Woolsey for the AJC

Livinig history day set in Canton

The Cherokee County Historical Society will host a living history day, “Everyday Life: Demonstrations of 19th Century Tools and Skills for Everyday Living.” It’s set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Cherokee County History Museum, 100 North St., Suite 140, Canton. Presenters will demonstrate the skills needed to produce food, clothing and tools during the Civil War. Attendees can make butter, shell corn, sample hardtack and more. More information:

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Youth day event to start with parade

Celebrating its youngest residents, the city of Roswell will hold its 64th annual Frances McGahee Youth Day on Saturday. Among the events: a parade beginning at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church on Mimosa Boulevard and ending at Roswell Area Park on Woodstock Road. A park festival will follow, including a free lunch for kids 15 and under, rides, a climbing wall and other entertainment.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC


Georgia Civil Rights Trail to launch

The Georgia Civil Rights Trail will open 1 p.m. Oct. 16 with the dedication for the Atlanta Student Movement at the corner of Atlanta Student Movement Boulevard and James P. Brawley Drive on the campus of Clark Atlanta University, 223 James P. Brawley Drive SW - to be followed immediately by the dedication for Rush Memorial Congregational Church, 150 James P. Brawley Drive SW.

This statewide public education initiative by the Georgia Historical Society and the Georgia Department of Economic Development will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the state’s Civil Rights Movement.

Information: Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Pastor-teacher to speak at CAU

Sir Walter L. Mack Jr., pastor and teacher at Union Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., will be guest speaker at Clark Atlanta University’s C. Eric Lincoln Lecture Series 10:50 a.m. Thursday in Haven-Warren Hall.

A noon luncheon and student scholarship forum will be held in the boardroom of the Thomas W. Cole Jr. Research Center for Science and Technology. Both facilities are at the CAU campus, 223 James P. Brawley Drive. Nancy Badertscher

Church holds personal finance seminar

A free personal finance seminar will be held 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday at Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church, 1879 Glenwood Ave., SE Atlanta.

Financial experts, including Wells Fargo representatives, will present information on student lending, new home and renovation loans, retirement, and running a small business at the “Get Financially Fit,” workshop.

Urban League of Greater Atlanta will have a session on its homeownership and entrepreneurial program.

The seminar is sponsored by the Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta, whose stated mission is to provided leadership to individuals and families in need. Adrianne Murchison for the AJC


Decatur to purchase Scottish Rite property

Decatur commissioners adopted a resolution supporting the Decatur Downtown Development Authority’s purchase of the Scottish Rite Hospital property, long rumored to be in foreclosure. The city will buy it from Progressive Redevelopment Inc. for $1.45 million. The first Scottish Rite Hospital for children, it was built in 1920, listed on National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and renovated in the late 1990s. Most of the building is leased out, though the former McGowan’s Pub space remains vacant. Bill Banks for the AJC

Decatur launches community plan

This week Decatur launched phase one of its “community action plan” tackling diversity issues. Although the plan stems from recent concerns of alleged racial profiling incidents by city’s police department, it will actually cover a much broader spectrum of diversity including economic disparity, disabilities and age disparity. Phase one will establish a core leadership team and Phase two, beginning probably in January, will include numerous roundtable discussions or community dialogues. It’s expected to take one year and a total $100,000 (counting Phase One’s $25,000 cost) to bring an “action plan document” before the city commission. Bill Banks for the AJC

Oktoberfest in Stone Mountain

Stone Mountain Village Oktoberfest will be held 1-7 p.m. Saturday at The Village Corner German Restaurant & Bakery, 6655 James B. River Memorial Drive.

Twenty Georgia breweries are scheduled to participate. The event includes German music and dancing, a beer tasting, stein-holding and pretzel eating contests, and a portable cigar lounge. Tickets: $30.

Information: Adrianne Murchison for the AJC

Three 8th graders awarded scholarships

Decatur schools announced its first three REACH (Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen) Scholarship winners: Rakaiya Colley, Antonio Kilgore and Khara Smith-Russell. Qualifying criteria includes low-income, academically-promising students who are potentially first generation college attendees. Upon successful completion of high school, each student will receive $10,000 towards college. Bill Banks for the AJC

Schools propose new governance model

The DeKalb County School District wants to become a “charter” system, which would allow ongoing access to waivers from Georgia mandates, such as caps on class sizes or minimum attendance days. Recent changes to state law would restrict waivers for districts that do not change their governance models to give schools more freedom.

DeKalb’s proposal would establish school governance councils and, in a nod to proponents of a charter school cluster near Emory University, also create cluster advisory councils. But the cluster councils would have only advisory capacity.

The petition emphasizes better service for low-income students and those who speak limited English, while also attracting, keeping and motivating high-quality teachers and principals. Information: Ty Tagami


Fayette schools add more Chromebooks

The Fayette County Public School System is hitting the refresh button on its computer program by replacing older laptops with new Chromebooks. The program will provide 1,534 computers this school year at a cost of $628,633, paid through ESPLOST funds. Replacements will be done in four phases, with Crabapple Lane, Inman, Spring Hill and Sara Harp Minter elementary schools, Bennett’s Mill Middle School and Whitewater High School getting new computers first. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Park closing for air show

Lake McIntosh Park in Peachtree City will be closed noon Friday to 5 p.m. Sunday due to the Great Georgia Air Show being held at the nearby Falcon Field airport. Areas near Starr’s Mill High School and Ga. Hwy. 74 South will experience heavier traffic as well. A map of the affected area is at Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Paramedic program earns accreditation

The Henry County Fire Department has been awarded national recognition from the Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs for its EMT to Paramedic Training Program.

Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services is the only other department in the state to receive this recognition, county officials said.

Information: Monroe Roark for the AJC

Fulton seeking input on school zones

Fulton County Schools will hold a meeting 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 19 at Banneker High School, 6015 Feldwood Road, College Park to review attendance boundaries in south Fulton.

Schools included in the review were part of a 2013 redistricting. They are Conley Hills, Hapeville, Hamilton E. Holmes, Harriet Tubman, Mount Olive, Oak Knoll and Parklane elementary schools; Bear Creek, Camp Creek, McNair, Renaissance, Sandtown, Paul D. West and Woodland middle schools; and Banneker, Creekside, Langston Hughes and Westlake high schools.Jaime Sarrio

Hearings planned

on school closing

The Henry County Board of Education hosts hearings Oct. 21 and Nov. 3 on a proposal to close McDonough Elementary for the relocation of Patrick Henry Academy.

Students would be dispersed to three other area elementary schools. Information: Monroe Roark for the AJC

Peachtree City Council approves pay raises

The City Council of Peachtree City voted recently to adopt a new employee classification and pay structure, giving staff raises ranging between 2 and 6 percent. The increase, effective Oct. 20, will cost $936,039 to implement through FY2015. A recent comprehensive study of current salaries, the first since 2000, indicated that it was only in the 35th percentile among salaries in comparable municipalities.

Eric Imker and Kim Learnard voted against the measure, wanting more time to assess the overall budget impact. Jill Howard Church for the AJC