County by county news for Thursday

Austell could see first tax increase in years

After approving several years of decreasing or steady tax rates, Austell City Council members will decide Monday whether to increase property taxes and begin charging for street lights, making up for a $438,000 decline from last year.

Residents will pay an average of $39 more annually during the next budget year of July 1 through June 30, said Finance Director Denise Soesbee, and “maybe $3” for street lights. The meeting on the $5.72 million budget will be 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 2716 Broad St. SW. Information: Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Marietta public hearing on budget June 6

Marietta will hold a public hearing at 4 p.m. June 6 at City Hall, 205 Lawrence St. to talk about a proposed $278.5 million budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 The amount includes a $48.1 million city operating budget which is a $600,000 increase. There are no staff layoffs, service reduction or tax increases planned. The City Council will vote on the budget on June 13. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Man dies after truck crashes into building

A man who suffered an apparent medical emergency before crashing his vehicle into a vacant building in Marietta Tuesday night has died.

Marietta police spokesman Michael Gardner said James Franklin Griffin, 68, of Cartersville was stopped at a red light on Powers Ferry Road at Roswell Road about 9:45 p.m. when his pickup truck rolled through the intersection and into a vacant building. Gardner said Griffin was in cardiac arrest when emergency crews arrived. Mike Morris

Colonial Pipeline opens safety village exhibit

Petroleum products carrier Colonial Pipeline opened its new building at the Cobb Safety Village on Wednesday featuring a model gasoline storage tank designed to teach underground pipeline safety and “call before you dig” information.

The company paid the Safety Village Foundation $25,000 for the site and invested more than $200,000 in the building. Janel Davis

Library launches reading program

The Cobb Public Library System’s “Dream Big – READ!” summer reading program begins Friday and runs through July 31. The library system will host more than 700 programs and activities this summer to encourage reading and develop lifelong literacy skills. Everyone who completes the summer reading program will be entered into a drawing to win an iPad2. The program will end with a summer reading celebration on Aug. 4.

Information and registration: Janel Davis

Kennesaw to reveal plans for skate park

Kennesaw Mayor Mark Matthews will reveal design plans for a $1.2 million skate park during an outdoor movie night 8 p.m. Saturday at Swift-Cantrell Park. The 40,000-square foot concrete facility planned for the park off Old Highway 41 will be funded by 2011 SPLOST funds and private and corporate donations. The skate park will be one of the largest in the southeast and capable of hosting small and large competitive events. Tucker McQueen for the AJC


Lilburn, county ink deal on dispatch calls

Lilburn and Gwinnett County have reached a deal that will allow the county’s police department to provide police radio dispatch and emergency calls for service.

Starting Friday, Gwinnett E-911 operators will handle Lilburn resident calls for police service. Lilburn police officers will still be first responders to those calls, according to a release from the city.

In a written statement, the city said, “there will be no change in the promptness of public safety responses.” Joel Anderson

Snellville hosts art exhibition

Snellville will host a grand opening reception for the “Art of the Wall at City Hall” exhibit Monday night.

The event is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at City Hall, 2342 Oak Road. Artist John Duke, a painter who works at Cobble Creek studios in Snellville, will be available to meet with guests during the reception. The exhibit will be in the Community Room at City Hall and will be open during normal business hours starting Tuesday. Information: 770-985-3587 or Joel Anderson

Peachtree Corners fest needs volunteers

The Peachtree Corners Festival is looking for volunteers to assist vendors, collect trash and sell T-shirts, among other duties. The festival is scheduled for June 30 and July 1 and will be held at The Corners Parkway and Woodhill Drive. Information: Joel Anderson

Kids get lesson in recycling

Cornerstone Christian Academy in Peachtree Corners recently collected 445 pounds of cans for recycling as part of a pilot program benefiting Make-A-Wish® Georgia and Alabama. The program, Cans for Kids’ Wishes, is sponsored by Atlanta-based Novelis and helps raise money to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Schools earn grant money for math and science education. Cornerstone received $1,500, and Roswell’s Sweet Apple Elementary, received $2,000. Make-A-Wish received $594. Info: 404-760 4122; Nancy Badertscher

Residents can weigh in on transportation tax

Gwinnett County residents can discuss a proposed regional transportation sales tax with local officials during a telephone conference at 6:15 p.m. June 7.

Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash and Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson will discuss the proposal and answer questions during the live telephone chat.

To register for the telephone conference, register your name and phone number at David Wickert

Snellville Farmers Market to open

Saturdaymarks the opening of the Snellville Farmers Market, which will be open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon through September.

The market is in front of City Hall at 2342 Oak Road. Michael Alpert for the AJC


Single-car wreck kills man in Canton

A man was killed Tuesday in a single-car wreck in Canton.

The driver of a Mazda 3 hatchback was traveling west on Ga. Highway 20 around 3 p.m. when he lost control of the car, crossed the median and flipped several times, said Tim Cavendar, spokesman for Cherokee County Emergency Services.

The driver, a 27-year-old man, was ejected from the car. The man had a faint pulse when emergency personnel arrived, Cavender said, but he later died at the scene. Joel Provano

Rep. Graves reaches out to constituents

Rep. Tom Graves has announced the 2012 spring/summer dates for his 9th Congressional District County Connection Program. The program positions members of Rep. Graves’ staff in the district to provide a personal link to Congress for those who may not be able to visit the Dalton or Gainesville offices. Both sessions for Forsyth County will be from 1-3 p.m. June 5 and July 31 at the Forsyth County Administration Building, 110 E. Main Street, 2nd Floor Suite 210, Cumming. Information: Kenneth Musisi

Movie series starting in Milton

“Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” is Saturday’s first of three free family movies Milton is showing on the side lawn at Northwestern Middle at 12805 Birmingham Hwy. The series, sponsored by Northside Hospital Forsyth, continues July 7 with “The Three Stooges” and concludes Aug. 4 with an undetermined film. Movies begin at 7:30 p.m. For information, contact Angela Thompson at 678-242-2530,, or visit GaMoviesInthePark. Michael Alpert for the AJC

Roswell seeking input on plant

Roswell is holding a third public information meeting on June 14 to discuss whether to build a $16 million water plant to replace its nearly 80-year-old one. The meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. at the city’s adult recreation center at 830 Grimes Bridge Road seeks public input on the facility forecasted to save $11.6 million over 20 years. The city approximates cost of the plant will raise residents bills one dollar monthly. Michael Alpert for the AJC

Library to have car maintenance class

For those worried about keeping their cars running during the upcoming hot months, DeKalb Tire will offer tips on keeping cars in tip-top condition in a class Saturday at the Sandy Springs Library. “Care Care 101” is for teens and adults and starts at 2 p.m.

The library is at 395 Mt. Vernon Highway. Information: 404-303-6130. Johnny Edwards

Commerce Boulevard to get a makeover

Just over one mile of Commerce Boulevard near Canton will be getting a makeover. The State Transportation Board has OK’d a contract preparation plan and funding to surface the roadway and build a bridge over Canton Creek. Official have assigned no timeline for construction, though, they say that first a contract will have to be awarded and a work order issued. Mark Woolsey for the AJC


Insurance broker gets 4 years in prison

A federal judge in Atlanta on Wednesday sentenced an insurance broker to four years and two months in prison for his role in a mail fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Douglas Terry Dean, 61, who owned Dean & Moore Inc., also was ordered to pay $6.9 million in restitution. U.S. Attorney Sally Yates said Dean submitted numerous false and fraudulent applications for financing to premium finance companies. Some of the applications were in the names of real people and companies while others were for fictitious entities, she said. Bill Rankin

Enrollment begins for single-gender schools

Parents of current APS students, and people who live outside of the city of Atlanta can apply in person until June 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Applications by mail or fax will not be accepted. Students in Boyd, F.L. Stanton, Towns, Scott, Grove Park/Woodson attendance zones will be given first priority. Applications and details about APS’ single-gender schools can be found online at Jaime Sarrio

Heritage academy opens registration

Heritage Preparatory Charter Academy is accepting applications for 6th and 7th grade students. The academy, at 3350 Greenbriar Parkway, offers a learning-through-experience model, adapted from the Outward Bound program. To schedule a tour call 678-399-2810. Information: Veronica Fields Johnson

Literacy Volunteers to host fundraiser

Literacy Volunteers of Atlanta, a non-profit that focuses on increasing adult and family literacy, is sponsoring Spellabration 2012 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 7 at the Fox Theatre’s Egyptian Ballroom, 660 Peachtree Street N.E. The event is a fundraiser and student honors program. Information: Victoria Kingsland at 404-377-7323 or or Veronica Fields Johnson


Dunwoody council, city attorney come to terms

The Dunwoody City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday evening to approve a separation agreement with City Attorney Brian Anderson, suspected of leaking information from a Feb. 3 closed council meeting.

Anderson will receive two months severance amounting to $29,176. The city has already spent $25,000 to investigate the affair. Discussions from the closed meeting reveal that part of the discussions dealt with selling city property.

Anderson has argued the closed meeting was improper because state law, at the time, did not provide for discussing the sale of property behind closed doors. The Georgia Open Meetings Law has since been revised. Patrick Fox

CEO, Decatur mayorto pitch transit vote

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis and Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd will make the case for the upcoming regional transportation referendum in a June 13 call to anyone interested.

The penny sales tax vote will be held on July 31.

The local leaders’ call, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will promote projects DeKalb and the region plan if the referendum passes.

They also will answer questions about the project list.

To sign up or hear the chat, call 404-463-3227 or visit April Hunt

Workshop on stream restoration June 9

The South River Watershed Alliance is bringing a national expert on urban streams to a lead an upcoming panel on restoring the South River.

Sharon Moran, an associate professor and Coordinator of the Environmental and Natural Resources Policy doctoral program at Clark University in New York, has focused her research on the social and political implications that stream restoration has on communities of color.

She will head the workshop June 9 at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston. Those planning to attend the session, which begins at 10:30 a.m., can register online at April Hunt

WWII vintage planes set to fly

The Liberty Foundation will begin its 2012 Salute to Veterans tour in Atlanta next week with public flights on WWII plans June 9-10.

The restored “Memphis Belle” B-17 “flying fortress” bomber and Rae Curtiss P-40 Warhawk planes are taken around the country to educate people about WWII veterans and aircrew who never made it home.

The tour will also include ground tours of the planes. Flying tours are $450 per person.

The event takes place at Peachtree-DeKalb Airport, Epps Aviation, 1 Aviation Way in Atlanta.

Information: Janel Davis

Gannon re-elected to statewide post

DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon has been re-elected to the board of directors of a statewide professional group.

Gannon’s third term on the board of managers for the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia will allow her to continue to represent 10 counties in the metro Atlanta area in the organization. April Hunt


Fayette to hold update on new reservoir

With completion nearing on the new Lake McIntosh Reservoir, the Fayette County Water System is holding a public information meeting about the project tonight.

Property owners who adjoin the lake and others in the Fayette-Coweta area are invited to get a status update and learn about the new rules and regulations at the site and its park.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Peachtree City Library. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Fayette collecting student drinking data

Fayette County is conducting an online study of underage drinking to learn how to better address the problem. Funded by a grant from the nonprofit Association of Village PRIDE, Inc., the survey is divided into age groups of 9-17 and over 18. Results will be analyzed by the University of Georgia.

Parents are asked to encourage their children to participate anonymously; a link to the survey is at Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Peachtree City gets ready for parade

Businesses, individuals and organizations wanting to take part in Peachtree City’s annual Fourth of July parade can start registering for the event on Friday.

Registration for Peachtree City residents and businesses can be submitted June 1-7 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Recreation & Special Events Department in the Kedron Fieldhouse.

Other Fayette County residents and groups can register June 8-15. For details and a registration form, see the calendar listing at Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Clayton to hold hearings on teacher pay

The Clayton County Board of Education will hold two public hearings on teacher salary on Monday. The first hearing is 10:30 a.m. and the second hearing is 5 p.m. Both meetings will be held at the Administration Complex, 1058 Fifth Avenue in Jonesboro. Tammy Joyner

Old Courthouse 5K to be June 9

The Fayette County Civitan Club will hold its 20th annual Old Courthouse 5K on June 9. The run will begin at 8 a.m. at the Fayette County Senior Services Center at the Fayette County Justice Center, 4 Center Drive, Fayetteville. Proceeds from the run will benefit Joseph Sams School, ExceptionalOPS, Fayette County Special Olympics and Southwest Christian Care.

Pre-registration is $20 and race day registration is $25. Information: Veronica Fields Johnson

Center offers workshop on labyrinths

The Koinonia Center in Fairburn invites the public to Walking in Sacred Circles: Introducing the Labyrinth, a workshop on June 3 from 2-5 p.m.

The participants will have the opportunity to walk a temporary outdoor labyrinth at the center. Cost is $5 per person. To register, contact Cathy Kimbrel at or 770-969-0616. Information: Kenneth Musisi

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