County by county news for Thursday


Tea Party to unveil ‘Marietta Declaration’

The Georgia Tea Party will unveil “The Marietta Declaration” on Saturday at Glover Park in Marietta Square.

The declaration challenges presidential candidates of all political parties to end governmental abuses of authority. The declaration also calls on elected officials to restore the Constitution consistent with the vision of the founding fathers.

Officials and candidates for all offices will be invited to sign the declaration at Saturday’s press conference, which begins at 3 p.m.

Information: Janel Davis

Commission revises development rules

Cobb Commissioners unanimously approved changes to the county code Tuesday that will make it easier for people looking to redevelop properties in the county.

The changes shift much of the redevelopment application process online, and offer some flexibility in areas like parking lots, water system requirements, street lights and tree planting. Commissioner Bob Ott led the effort for the rules changes, which are a way Cobb can offer business incentives with no cost to the county, while also helping rework tired areas, he said. Janel Davis

Marietta mayor holds town meeting tonight

Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin will open the floor for discussion about downtown issues at a town hall meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight . Ward 5 Councilman Anthony Coleman and Downtown Marietta Development Authority Chair Tom Browning also plan to attend the meeting at the Brickyard, 120 Church St. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Human rights group to march Saturday

The New Order National Human Rights Organization will hold an awareness march on Saturday in Marietta.

The march will feature a speech by New Order founder Floyd Rose, and a moment of silence for former SLCL Cobb chapter president Dwight Graves, who died in January; Jorelys Rivera, who was murdered by a maintenance worker in Cherokee County last year; and Troy Davis, who was executed in September for killing a police officer.

The march begins at 9 a.m. at the Cobb Civic Center and ending at Marietta Square.

Information: 404-483-8284; Janel Davis

Smyrna breaks ground on fire station

Smyrna broke ground Wednesday at 4 p.m. for a fifth fire station at 750 Cooper Lake Road off the East West Connector. The city gave Catamount Constructors, Inc. of Roswell notice on Feb. 8 to proceed with sedimentary and erosion control measures and then grading. The company was the low bidder for the project at $1.4 million. Most of the cost will be covered by federal stimulus money. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Youth organize canned food drive

Marietta YELLS (Youth Empowerment through Learning, Leading, and Serving) is taking action in the community by organizing a canned food drive.

You can support the youths by bringing food donations to the YELLS Afterschool Program site at 861 Franklin Road, Building 2800 in Marietta this week from 3 to 7 p.m. Andria Simmons


Brookwood’s student magazine wins honors

Brookwood High School’s student magazine was recognized nationally for excellence.

The literary magazine, “Pegasus,” was honored by the American Scholastic Press Association. The magazine’s staff won first place in the magazine category during the Annual Contest/Review for Scholastic Yearbooks, Magazines and Newspapers.

The students were praised for their work.

Pegasus has been showcasing the art, photography and creative writing talents of Brookwood High students for more than two decades. D. Aileen Dodd

2,550 students are AP scholars

More than 2,550 Gwinnett County Schools students earned recognition for their high performance on college-level work in high school.

The students were recognized by the College Board’s Advanced Placement Scholar Report as AP Scholars.

They are among the top 18 percent of the 1.9 million students worldwide who took AP exams, which can earn students college credits that may transfer to universities. D. Aileen Dodd

Relay for Life wants more teams

The Gwinnett Relay for Life needs more teams to raise money and awareness to find a cure for cancer. The Relay for Life is an overnight team event that raises money for cancer research and patient care. Families, businesses, schools, churches, civic organizations and other groups are welcome to participate.The Gwinnett Relay for Life will hold a meeting for new team captains at 5:30 p.m. today at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. Information: or call the American Cancer Society at 770-814-0123, Ext. 29027. David Wickert

Suwanee offers citizens police academy

The Suwanee Police Department is once again offering a Citizens Police Academy.

Applications for spring classes are due March 2 and are available at

Classes will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday beginning March 20 at the police department at 373 Buford Highway.

Andria Simmons

County aqua triathlon, polar bear swim Feb. 25

Gwinnett County will host an aqua triathlon and polar bear swim from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 25 at Mountain Park Aquatic Center, 1063 Rockbridge Road, Stone Mountain. The events are open to those age 15 and up. The cost is a donation of $26 per person. Proceeds benefit Living Waters International. Pre-registration is required. To register, call 770-564-4650. David Wickert

Ballet presents ‘Sleeping Beauty’

Tickets are on sale for March performances of “Sleeping Beauty” featuring Northeast Atlanta Ballet. The show, with live music by the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra, will be held at Gwinnett Center in Duluth. Tickets cost between $13.50 to $16.50 in advance. Performances will be held March 16 –18. Information: D. Aileen Dodd


Fulton makes plans to build 10 new schools

The Fulton County school board recently discussed plans to build 10 new schools and improve technology with nearly $822 million in anticipated revenue from the penny sales tax over the next five years. Topping the construction list are: a new McNair Middle School, a replacement elementary school in College Park, and replacements for Esther Jackson and Heards Ferry elementary schools. Six schools also will receive new additions including Taylor Road and Sandy Springs middle schools.

D. aileen Dodd

Threat at Centennial High taken seriously

The threat of a “shootout” at Centennial High School in Roswell beefed up police presence on campus Wednesday as administrators launched an investigation into the source of the information scrawled on a restroom wall.

The message, discovered Tuesday, warned of violence to come on Thursday.

Fulton County campus police and officers with the Roswell Police Department responded to Centennial High to help with the investigation.

The principal said the threat was being taken “seriously.” D. Aileen Dodd

Cumming swears in new police chief

Cumming has a new police chief.

Former assistant chief Casey Tatum was sworn in Monday, replacing Scott Burgess. Burgess had headed the department for the past three years as both interim and permanent chief, and is stepping down for health reasons and moves to another job with city hall, says communications officer Sgt. Bryan Zimbardi

Tatum is a 25-year law enforcement veteran, and has been with Cumming police for the past 15 years. Mark Woosley for the AJC

Mills Academy team designs a city

Mill Springs Academy of Alpharetta recently competed in the Georgia Regional Future City Competition, an event encouraging the practical use of math, science and technology skills.

The independent school’s team “Evans Mill” was led by teacher Martha Muir and mentored by a local engineer, Lovick Evans. The students designed their city using alternative energy sources to general electric power and protect natural resources.

Teams were judged on their presentations, virtual city designs, physical models, research essays and city narratives. D. Aileen Dodd

Free diapers offered at parenting classes

First Baptist Church Woodstock will hold free parenting classes for teens and young adults at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesdays in room one of the church’s warehouse building. Participants will receive free diapers at every class and teen moms will receive a six-month supply of diapers after eight classes.

The class is taught by a registered nurse. Free childcare is provided. For information, visit www.facebook/coveredcampaign or contact Ashley Williamson at 832-595-4359 or email First Baptist Church Woodstock is located at 11905 Ga. 92. Mea Watkins


Carter Center board

has new chairman

H. Inman Allen, chairman of the Ivan Allen Company, has been named chairman of the Carter Center’s Board of Councilors for 2012.

Allen, 70, succeeds Ann Cramer, director of IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs for the Americas. His brother, the late Ivan Allen III, co-founded the board and at one time was its chairman.

The board’s 234 members serve as a leadership advisory group of The Carter Center and its global initiatives.

Allen has served on several boards including the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority, Grady Hospital Foundation, Woodruff Arts Center, Leadership Georgia and Central Atlanta Progress. Shelia Poole

Boys & Girls Clubs open new teen center

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta recently held a grand opening for its new Warren/Holyfield Boys & Girls Club teen center in Grant Park.

Amenities include an indoor half basketball court, recording studio, games room, art room, learning/technology center and lounge. The Warren/Holyfield Boys & Girls Club, 790 Berne St., is one of four of the 25 BGCMA Club locations with stand alone teen centers. Tammy Joyner

Libraries in Atlanta offer tax help

Low- and middle-income taxpayers stumped by tax forms can get free assistance from AARP Tax-Aide at several Atlanta-Fulton libraries this tax season, including four in Atlanta. Through April 17 — the filing deadline — volunteers will be at the Adams Park, Buckhead, Kirkwood and Washington Park branches. For a schedule, go to or call 404-730-1700. Johnny Edwards

Church to host Lenten revival

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church will host a Lenten revival at 7 p.m. Feb. 20-22. The event will include music, and an ecumenical service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 407 Auburn Ave., Atlanta. Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church is at 25 Blvd. N.E., Atlanta. Information: Laurie Hoffman


Minivan driver flees after fatal wreck

One person was killed late Wednesday morning in a multi-vehicle wreck that shut down a busy DeKalb County thoroughfare. The crash, which involved a box truck, an overturned minivan and two other cars, happened around 10 a.m. on Lawrenceville Highway at Lynburn Drive, just south of Lavista Road. DeKalb police Lt. Antonio Catlin said a male died in the crash, and two other people were hospitalized.

Catlin said that the driver of the overturned minivan, who appeared to have caused the wreck, fled the scene before police arrived. Mike Morris

$2,500 reward in shooting dog with arrow

The Atlanta Humane Society is offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the bow-and-arrow shooting of a family’s dog in Tucker.

A 2-year-old black Labrador is recovering after being shot in the abdomen Saturday in the yard of its owner in the 2700 block of Thornbriar Road.

The dog, Obsidian Rose, underwent four hours of surgery to remove the arrow -- typically used for deer hunting -- and to repair the damage, according to owner Kirby Vanderyt.

“This is a horrific act of animal cruelty,” said Humane Society president William Shaheen. “It is imperative that those responsible for this terrible act are caught so that we can prevent this from happening in another neighborhood to another family.” Fran Jeffries

Decatur schools lower tuition

Decatur’s out-of-district tuition will drop to $5,480 for pre-k through grade 12 students for fiscal year 2013, an 11.5 percent decrease ($630) from 2012. Tuition formula is based on the locally-financed cost of education divided by the mid-year enrollment. Decatur schools current total enrollment is 3,259 students, including 297 tuition students (160 paying and 137courtesy). “I like keeping tuition as low as possible,” Superintendent Phyllis Edwards said. “When you continually raise it, and try to make money off tuition, you get away from what a public school is all about.” Bill Banks for the AJC

Oakhurst residents press city about traffic

Residents in Oakhurst, the southwest corridor showing the most growth in Decatur over the last 10 years, petitioned the city about increased traffic on Third Avenue, between East Lake Drive and Lyden Street. Claiming this stretch has 33 children eight years or younger, the petition asks that speed limits be reduced to 20 mph, that two new speed humps be added, and that existing humps be heightened. City Manager Peggy Merriss said recently the city will spend six weeks studying area traffic volume and speeds, adding, “there’s a 75 percent some changes will be made.” Bill Banks for the AJC

Volunteers needed to drive cancer patients

The American Cancer Society seeks volunteers to drive cancer patients to and from their treatment in DeKalb and Fulton counties.

The Road to Recovery volunteer drivers will be given the option of receiving mileage reimbursement of 14 cents a mile to help offset transportation costs.

Free training is available. Information: Kimbra Butler at 404-582-6132 or Kenneth Musisi


County purchasing director Moore resigns

Fulton Purchasing Director Cecil Moore, who oversees the county’s system of selecting contractors for millions of dollars in government work, has resigned, effective Feb. 24. Despite being honored last year by the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, Moore had been taking heat from commissioners lately over accusations that minority and female contractors were being marginalized. The spokeswoman would not say whether Moore or his superiors initiated the resignation, and his resignation letter to the county manager offered no explanation. Johnny Edwards

Ex-Morrow police chief guilty of DUI

Former Morrow police Chief Jeffery Baker pleaded guilty Wednesday to driving drunk behind the wheel of his police car. Baker was sentenced to 12 months probation, 150 hours of community service and pay a fine of $600, according to Clayton County State Court records.

He was forced to resign as chief and lost his police certification with the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council in December.

On Nov. 16, Baker was found asleep at the wheel at a traffic light less than a mile from police headquarters. Marcus K. Garner

Fayette approves redistricting map

The Fayette County Board of Commissioners approved a new five-district commission voting map during a special called meeting Tuesday night. The reapportionment came just before the deadline to submit a new map to the Georgia legislature for approval. The measure divides the county into five districts with approximately 21,000 residents each. The revision does not change the current at-large voting system for commission members, despite an ongoing legal challenge from the NAACP. Steve Brown voted against the measure; Allen McCarty was absent. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Early voting under way in Fayette

Early voting for the March 6 Presidential Preference Primary has begun in Fayette County. People can vote between 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. at the Board of Elections Office in the Administrative Complex, 140 Stonewall Ave. West, Suite 209A in Fayetteville. People can vote on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the elections office, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. People also will be able to vote at the Peachtree City Library and the Tyrone Town Hall the last week of advanced voting, Feb. 27-March 2. Tammy Joyner

Clayton plans for citizens police academy

The Clayton County Police Department is offering a free Citizen Police Academy Feb. 23-May 3. The program is every Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the police department, 7911 N. McDonough St. in Jonesboro. Details: Chandi Ashmore 770-472-8028 or Eddie Soto 770-477-3539 or email Tammy Joyner

East Point to discuss new water rates

The East Point City Council will hold a special meeting today at 6:30 p.m. to discuss amending the city’s water and sewer rates. The meeting will be held at the council chambers at 1526 East Forrest Avenue. John Thompson for the AJC