County by county news for Thursday


Court upholds lengthy sentences in stock scam

The federal appeals court in Atlanta on Monday upheld the convictions and prison terms against a Kennesaw man and his co-defendant for a so-called “pump-and-dump” scam involving their former company. The court rejected claims by Benjamin Stanley, who received a 16-year prison term, and Rufus Paul Harris of Oklahoma City, who got 23 years. The men lured victims into investing millions of dollars in their Kennesaw company, Conversion Solutions Holdings Corp., by fraudulently inflating the company’s value and then secretly transferring shares to family members who sold them at inflated prices, prosecutors said. Bill Rankin

Austell names zoning, planning member

Melissa Demilo was named a new member of the Austell Planning and Zoning Commission Monday by the City Council.

She takes the place of Ollie B. Clemons, Jr. since he was elected to serve on the City Council.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Powder Springs council takes oath

Three incumbent Powder Springs City Councilmembers will serve another four years.

All of them faced no opposition in November.

Cheryl Sarvis of Ward 1, Al Thurman of Ward 2 and Nancy Hudson of Ward 3 were sworn in Monday by Cobb Superior Court Judge James G. Bodiford during the City Council meeting.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Hospital offers estate planning class

The Foundation of Emory-Adventist Hospital at Smyrna, 3949 South Cobb Dr SE, will offer a free class on “Estate Planning 101” 7 p.m. Jan. 28 in the hospital cafeteria.

Attorney Amy Yarkoni, who specializes in estate planning, probate and estate administration, will explain terminology and share tips to determine which type of planning may be right for you.

Registration required.

Information: 770-436-3162 ext. 3109 or in the classes and events section.

Arlinda Smith Broady

Cobb to hold MLK Day events

Cobb County and the Cobb branch of the NAACP will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a program 9 a.m. Jan. 20 at the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre, 548 South Marietta Pkwy. The Cobb SCLC annual parade will be 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Monday on Fairground Street, starting at the Lockheed Credit Union. The parade will travel north to Roswell Street and west to the Marietta Square for a ceremony. Contact Cobb NAACP at 770-425-5757 or Cobb SCLC at 770-876-2070.

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Benefit will help domestic violence victims

Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds and Solicitor Barry Morgan are chairing an event this weekend to help domestic violence victims. The “Boots, Bluejeans and Country Music” benefit, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Saturday at Jim R. Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Road, Marietta., will help programs and a domestic violence shelter sponsored by the YWCA of Northwest Georgia. Admission is $30. Information:

Tucker McQueen for the AJC


Commissioners approve 2014 budget

Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners have adopted a $1.5 billion budget holding the line on property tax rates, expanding the delivery of emergency medical services, addressing the issue of employee retention and recruitment and funding the impact of legislation and other external factors.

The budget includes a three percent raise for employees, the first increase in five years, and allocates funds for community outreach, juvenile justice reform, drug court expansion and a library reserve. The budget also absorbs a nearly 10 percent increase in health care costs. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Tree recycling event still needs help

Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful is reminding residents to drop off Christmas trees to fire stations through Jan. 17. Decorations, lights and tree stands should be removed. Volunteers, 14 years or older, are needed 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 25 at Bethesda Park in Lawrenceville to help in chipping recycles trees inro mulch. Information:

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Citizens project committee meets

The Citizens Project Selection Committee will meet to discuss the road safety and alignment project category at 6 p.m. Monday in Conference Room A of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, 75 Langley Dr., Lawrenceville. There will also be a vote on school safety issues. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Suwanee’s old town on National Register

Approximately 40 properties within a 67-acre area of Suwanee’s historic Old Town district have now been officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Contributing properties within the district will now be eligible for federal and state tax incentives for improvements to help preserve the property’s historic value. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Free detention pond maintenance workshop

The Gwinnett Cooperative Extension Service will hold a free Detention Pond Maintenance workshop 6 p.m. today at Norcross Human Services Center, 5030 Georgia Belle Court. Registration: or 678-376-7193. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Snellville to host Entrepreneur Summit

Snellville business owners are invited to jump start 2014 at the city’s 2014 Entrepreneur Summit 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Snellville City Hall, 2432 Oak Road. Benny StaRomana, of the UGA Small Business Development Council and winner of the Partnership Gwinnett Amazing Entrepreneur contest, will share information about planning your work through the concepts of a business plan or business canvas.

The Summit is presented by the Snellville Office of Economic Development in collaboration with the Snellville Entrepreneur Council. $10 registration fee.

Information: or 770-985-3502. Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Runoff ahead in special state House election

The special election in Ga. House District 22 will head to a runoff. Cherokee County Republicans Sam Moore and Meagan Biello will square off Feb 4.

Moore received 38 percent of about 2,400 votes cast Tuesday in portions of Fulton , Cherokee and Forsyth Counties, while Biello captured roughly 24 percent.

The winner will replace State Rep. Calvin Hill, who died of leukemia in October. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Sandy Springs hosts forum Tuesday

The city of Sandy Springs is hosting a public information meeting on the development of a bicycle, pedestrian and trail plan at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the city hall council chambers, 7840 Roswell Road.

The public will have the opportunity to review a preliminary bicycling, walking and trail map. This is the second of a series of forums to gather input for the development of a safe and efficient transportation network.

Information: or 770-730-5600.Kent A. Miles for the AJC

Reception set for retiring library head

A public reception has been set for 5:30- 7:30 p.m. Jan 31 at the RT Jones Memorial Library in Canton for retiring Sequoyah Regional Library System Director Susan White. White is stepping down that day after more than 42 years with the system, and will be replaced by current Asisstant Director Anita Summers. The system serves Cherokee, Pickens and Gilmer Counties. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

‘SnakesKin’ star appears in nature show

Jason Clark, star of the Animal Planet series ‘SnakesKin,’ brings out venomous and non-venomous snakes during two shows 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Jan. 18 at Chattahoochie Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell.

Admission: $6 - $10; free for CNC members

Information: Arlinda Smith Broady

Forsyth library will expand hours this year

The Forsyth County Public Library has expanded its operating hours after the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners provided an additional $67,000 in funding.

The changes mean the Cumming, Post Road, Hampton Park and Sharon Forks branches will be open until 8:30 p.m. one additional night weekly.

Hampton Park will open at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays.


Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Registration set for charity run

Registration is underway for the Cherokee Recreation and Parks Agency’s eighth annual Guns and Hoses 5K and Fun Run, 8 a.m. Feb. 15 at Hobgood Park, 6688 Bells Ferry Road, Woodstock.

A portion of entry fees will go to charities designated by the sheriff’s and fire and emergency services departments.


Mark Woolsey for the AJC


Jackson High renovations completed

Atlanta students returned to an upgraded Maynard H. Jackson High School on Wednesday following renovations and additions to its auditorium, dance studio, art rooms, cafeteria, classrooms and gym.

The $48.3 million renovation also included a turf football field, a 400-meter track, a baseball field, a softball field, three tennis courts and a media center.

The Grant Park school, which had 960 students enrolled as of Oct. 1, will accommodate up to 1,500 students. Mark Niesse

Braves’ banquet, fundraiser this month

The Braves 400 Fan Club is hosting its annual winter banquet and fundraiser Jan. 25, at the Atlanta Marriott Century Center Hotel. This year’s theme is “Braves in the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

A gala reception, silent auction and raffle begin at 5 p.m. with the awards dinner and program at 6:30 p.m. The Braves 400 Fan Club supports baseball at all levels in the community.

Presentations include the Phil Niekro College Scholarship. Former Braves announcer Pete Van Wieren will be the emcee. Ticket purchase deadline is Jan. 21.

Information/reservations: or 770-416-4539. Mark Niesse

Artists to confront sex trafficking issue

“Facing Child Sex Trafficking: Atlanta’s Dirty Little Secret,” an arts-in-action initiative focusing attention on the problem of child sex trafficking in metro Atlanta, will take place at 7 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Universalist Unitarian Congregation of Atlanta, 1911 Cliff Valley Way NE. The event is free and open to the public.

A coalition of artists and activists will confront the crisis of human trafficking and sexual exploitation of young people through story, music and multimedia performance. The Facing Project-Atlanta and the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta are co-sponsoring the event.


Kent A. Miles for the AJC


Avondale to meet about coyotes

Avondale Estates is hosting a community information meeting tonight addressing recent citywide coyote sightings. Start time is 6:30 p.m. at Avondale Estates City Hall, 21 N. Avondale Plaza. Representatives from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will explain coyote behavior, biology, habitat, management options and safety precautions while also answering questions.

Bill Banks for the AJC

Public Works building nearly finished

New furniture and technology equipment gets moved in this week to Decatur’s revamped Public Works facility, a roughly $6.8 million renovation and new construction more than doubling the old space from 15,000 square feet to 36,000. The division of Design, Environment & Construction is scheduled to move in Jan. 21, while the remaining departments – Schools Facility Maintenance, Public Works, Streets and Drains, Solid Wastes and Motor Maintenance – should be in by Feb. 1.

Bill Banks for the AJC

Rep. Drenner to host issues breakfast

State Representative Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) will host an Eggs and Issues Breakfast and Conversation 9 - 11 a.m. Saturday at Clarkston First Baptist Church Family Life Center, 4007 Church St. During this meeting, Rep. Drenner will discuss issues that will arise during the 2014 Legislative Session of the Georgia General Assembly and hear comments and questions from her constituents.

Arlinda Smith Broady

County to host annual MLK celebration

DeKalb County will present its annual MLK Celebration program, “Celebrating Life, Freedom and Diversity,” 11:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17 in the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Dr. Decatur. Isaac Newton Farris, Jr., King Center Senior Fellow to deliver keynote address. The 2014 tribute marks the 30th consecutive year DeKalb will host the employee-planned event honoring the life and legacy of Dr. King.

The celebration is free and open to the public.

Arlinda Smith Broady

MJCCA hosts Lunch ‘N Learn today

Rabbi Fred Greene from Temple Beth Tikvah (Reform) will conduct a class and discussion noon to 1 p.m. today at the MJCCA, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. The Lunch ‘N Learn series features various Atlanta rabbis who are able to share unique perspectives on a topic of their choice. Free. Lunch may be brought or purchased on site.

Information: or 678.812.4161

Arlinda Smith Broady

Chamber names new board members

Six new board members recently began serving three-year terms on the board of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce.

New members are Ted Cummings of Onyx Media Group, Angela Graham of Graham and Associates, Michael Reeves of Reeves and Associates Consulting, Brenda Reid of Publix, Kelsi Robinson of EGM Services and JaKathryn Ross of Georgia Pacific. Information: Hunt


New appointees announced in Stockbridge

The Stockbridge City Council appointed Dr. Ronald Finnell its interim city manager at the Jan. 3 meeting, the first one presided over by new mayor Tim Thompson. Former city manager David Milliron resigned effective immediately after the Dec. 30 council meeting. Also appointed were Stephanie Tigner as interim city clerk and the Jonesboro firm of Fincher Denmark Williams & Minnifield as the new city attorney.


Monroe Roark for the AJC

Small Business Boot Camp set for Saturday

The McDonough Small Business Boot Camp, hosted by Henry County Commissioner Bruce Holmes and McDonough Councilwoman Sandra Vincent, is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Jazzy Brown Jazz Cafe, 1101 McDonough Place, McDonough. Admission is free.


Monroe Roark for the AJC

Credit cards now accepted at tag offices

Customers can now pay for motor vehicle tags in person using credit or debit cards at both the McDonough and Stockbridge tag offices.

The Henry County Tax Commissioner’s office made the announcement just before Christmas.

Previously customers could only make in-person transactions by cash or check.

The office also offers a variety of services online at

Monroe Roark for the AJC

Fayette partially restores teacher pay

Fayette County teachers and staff who were furloughed for two days this school year will have part of their pay reinstated as of February.

The Board of Education voted unanimously recently to amend this year’s budget and allocate $1.2 million of its projected $21 million fund balance to restoring the furlough pay for the second half of the year.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Piedmont Hospital offering scholarship

The Piedmont Fayette Hospital Auxiliary is accepting applications for the Elizabeth Wilmot Bull Memorial Scholarship until Jan. 20.

The merit-based award is open to students enrolled in a medical- or health-related field of study (except pre-med or pre-nursing) at an accredited Georgia college or university.

Information: 770-719-7098.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Clayton Water Authority to raise rates

Residential and commercial users of Clayton County Water Authority will now see a 5 percent hike in water and sewer base rates and a 5 percent increase in usage charges.

The new rates will be reflected in February’s bill.

The increase means a $2.21 increase to the water and sewer bill of the average customer who uses about 4,000 gallons a month. Tammy Joyner

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