County by county news for Thursday

County delays decision on cutting bus routes

A decision on whether to cut three CCT bus routes was put off until next month to allow the county more time to find other transportation for disabled riders who use the paratransit service along the routes.

Cobb is considering cutting the three underused routes 35, 65 and 70 to save $2.4 million. Several bus riders and supporters asked the commission Tuesday night not to cut the bus routes.

The paratransit system offers curb to curb services on smaller buses for disabled riders unable to use the regular CCT buses. Janel Davis

School bus tech advances in competition

A 22-year Marietta City Schools employee advances to a nation wide competition after being selected school bus technician of the year. The Georgia Department of Education-Pupil Transportation Division recognized Doug Quarles after a week-long competition that included a written test and parts identification. The master mechanic supervisor also won the award in 2007. Quarles will compete for the national award in San Antonio in September. Tucker McQueen

Kennesaw celebration starts on Sunday

Kennesaw will celebrate July Fourth a day early with free outdoor concerts and fireworks starting 4 p.m. Sunday at the Depot, 2828 Cherokee St. in downtown Kennesaw. The Eagles tribute band Hotel California takes the stage at 8 p.m. Acworth’s festivities start 4 p.m. Monday at Cauble Park on Lake Acworth. The Flashback band performs at 8 p.m. followed by fireworks around 9:30 p.m. A free shuttle runs from City Hall and downtown Acworth. Ty Tagami

Plans for Austell Senior Center approved

Cobb Commissioners approved design plans Tuesday night for the new Austell Senior Center. The new center will be completed in March and located in Clarkdale Park on Austell Powder Springs Road. The new facility replaces the original Austell center in Legion Park that was destroyed in the September 2009 floods. The center had been flooded twice in four years and seniors had been meeting in Powder Springs since the 2009 flood. Janel Davis

Marietta man found shot to death in Bartow

A Marietta man was found shot to death at a friend’s Bartow County home over the weekend. Timothy Lee Buck, 46, was in a chair on the front porch when he was found. He’d been shot in the head, the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office said. Buck’s death is being treated as a homicide. Buck’s friend and co-worker, Kellon Johnson, called police Saturday when he found the man at his Harvest Way home, the Rome News-Tribune reported. Alexis Stevens

Videos of women get man into trouble

A Cobb County man is accused of using his iPod to make videos under the skirts of women at Walmart on four occasions, according to an arrest warrant obtained by the AJC.

Marietta police arrested Stegall Jaquad Ponder, 23 after he was caught allegedly making videos at the store at the 200 block of Cobb Parkway. Ponder was booked into the Cobb County jail and was released on $10,000 bond. Alexis Stevens


Commissioner approves revised 2011 budget

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners approved a revised $1.54 billion 2011 budget this week. The budget includes a $945 million operating budget – down 3.4 percent from the budget approved in January. The decline reflects a series of cost-cutting initiatives commissioners approved in recent months. The $593 million capital budget rose 75.8 percent. The increase reflects money carried forward from last year for construction projects budgeted but not completed in 2010. Board Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said the commission’s actions this year “have greatly improved our financial position for 2011 and 2012.” David Wickert

Amnesty program for some warrants to end

A one-time amnesty program in Gwinnett County State Court for some offenders who have outstanding misdemeanor probation warrants will end today.

The program began May 1. As of the first week of June, only about a dozen people had taken advantage of it, according to court officials.

Certain people who have bench warrants for failing to pay fees or court costs, or failing to comply with other probation conditions, can pay fines and fees in full to avoid possible arrest. Contact Southeast Corrections, program manager Nicki Long at 404-410-2555, Ext. 1003. Andria Simmons

Jehovah’s Witnesses begin conventions

Nearly 33,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses will attend a series of conventions at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth beginning this weekend.

Witnesses from Metro Atlanta, North Georgia and parts of North and South Carolina will meet at the arena July 1-3, July 22-24, Aug. 19-21 and Aug. 26-28. The public is invited to attend the free conventions. Morning sessions begin at 9:20 a.m. each day. Afternoon sessions begin at 1:50 p.m. Friday, 1:35 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses is holding 381 conventions in 98 cities this summer. David Wickert

Suwanee police get grant for cycle patrol

The Suwanee Police Department has received a $10,000 grant to upgrade the equipment for its motorcycle enforcement unit.

Suwanee police earned the grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety by participating in a variety of state traffic safety enforcement programs throughout the year.

The grant has been used to equip Suwanee’s motorcycle enforcement unit with a video camera as well as tablet computer and electronic printer in order to produce electronic tickets. Joel Anderson

Asian celebration set for July 23-24

The 2011 Asian Cultural Experience is set for July 23 and 24 at the Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. This is the 18th year, and planners expect more than 1,500 volunteer participants, representing 15 Asian countries. Activities include: fashion shows, exhibits of rare cultural artifacts, and a variety of demonstrations, including calligraphy, woodwork, pottery, fruits and vegetables carving; and origami, the Japanese art of paper-folding. Admission: $8 per day for students; $12 a day for adults. Nancy Badertscher


Cherokee school chief: Charter approval costly

Cherokee Schools Superintendent Frank Petruzielo said this week state approval of Cherokee Charter Academy could lead to a $3.7 million funding reduction. Petruzielo said the loss will be “difficult to accommodate this late in the budget planning process” , but it’s less than the estimated $6.8 million gap that would have been created by local approval of the school at 995 kids. The $3.7 million loss would result if 995 kids left district schools for the charter and state funds followed them. The school board will discuss how to bridge the gap at its July 27 meeting. D. Aileen Dodd

Woodstock to welcome home baseball player

The city of Woodstock will welcome home Baltimore Orioles’ right-fielder Nick Markakis.

Markakis graduated from Woodstock High School in 2001.

The Atlanta Braves face the Orioles Fridayat 7:35 p.m. The city of Woodstock will be selling tickets for $25 until Friday afternoon.

Information about tickets: 770-517-6788 Elise Hitchcock

Forsyth to allow YMCA summer camp on lake

The Forsyth County commission voted unanimously Tuesday to put the long-running Bethel Park dispute behind it and allow the YMCA of Metro Atlanta to build a summer camp on the 62-acre park on Lake Lanier. Forsyth county, in exchange, through an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, gets the right to develop and operate six lakeside park properties.

The county, however, is not obligated to develop those parks, County Attorney Ken Jarrard told the commission. Jeffry Scott

Book club meets Friday

The Sandy Springs Literary Society Book Club will meet 10:30 a.m. Friday at the library, 395 Mt. Vernon Highway, Atlanta to discuss “On Agate Hill” by Lee Smith. Information: 404-303-6130. Michelle E. Shaw

Milton Roundup looks for sponsors

The City of Milton is seeking sponsorships and vendors for this year’s Milton Roundup scheduled for Oct. 15 at Birmingham United Methodist Church.

There are three levels of sponsorship ranging from $500-$1,500. For vendors, non-food related booth space is $100 for businesses and $25 for non-profits. Food vendors pay $150 for a tent and $250 for space to park a food trailer.

Deadline for sponsorship and vendor applications is Sept. 9.

Information: Patrick Fox

Roswell signs deal to use school’s track

Roswell has approved an intergovernmental agreement with Fulton County schools for use of the Elkins Pointe Middle School multi-purpose field and track.

The agreement allows the Recreation and Parks Department to use the facility after school hours for its lacrosse program for the next 15 years. In return, Roswell will pay $150,000 and the Youth Lacrosse Booster Club will pay $30,000 to the school district for field improvements and lights. Patrick Fox


MARTA wins money battery power

MARTA has won $840,000 in federal funds to retrofit buses with advanced lithium-ion batteries and electrical control systems, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The mass transit money comes from $101.4 million awarded by the Federal Transit Administration, intended to “create ‘green’ jobs, promote the use of clean fuels and cut our nation’s dependence on oil,” according to a U.S. DOT statement. Ariel Hart

Atlantan convicted of credit card fraud

Jean-Daniel Perkins, 37, faces years in prison after being convicted in U.S. District Court in Atlanta this week of bank and credit-card fraud and identity theft.

Perkins bought account numbers to make credit cards in the Ukraine. He impersonated account holders at SunTrust Bank online to transfer their money, including $3.5 million in transfers from the account of a construction company.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 7. Bill Rankin

Juror Appreciation Week July 18-22

While cracking down on jurors who shirk their civic duty, Fulton County Superior Court will give pats on the backs to those who serve. The court will hold its first annual “Juror Appreciation Week” from July 18-22, which is around the time sheriff’s deputies are expected to start knocking on no-show jurors’ doors bearing orders to appear before a judge.

Court spokesman Quinn Hudson said there is no connection between the two efforts. Johnny Edwards

Nonprofit up for $25,000 gift card

Jerusalem House has been selected as a finalist for Aprons in Action, a Facebook voting program of The Home Depot Foundation. But the nonprofit needs the public’s help.The winner will receive a $25,000 Home Depot gift card. Voting runs through noon today.



foundation. Sheila M. Poole


Interim school chief’s stint extended

Ramona Tyson will continue as interim superintendent of the DeKalb School System up to another three months, under a contract extension approved Tuesday. The school board voted unanimously to extend her contract to Sept. 30 or until a new superintendent is hired, whichever comes first, said Tom Bowen, the board chairman. He said the board made no changes to Tyson’s salary of $240,000. Ty Tagami

Clarkston to hold hearings on tax hike

Clarkston, which is proposing a small property tax increase, will hold two public meetings on today.

Due to property values dropping, the city would need a tax rate of 13.684 to raise the same money for its operations this year. The city is proposing a 14 mill rate, or $14 for every $1,000 of taxable property value.

A hearing will be at 10:30 a.m. with a final hearing at 7 p.m. that night before a city council vote. Both meetings will be held at Clarkston City Hall on Church Street.

Information: April Hunt

County honors Korean War veteran

DeKalb County recently declared June 14 at Kenneth Streater Day in honor of the Korean War veteran and longtime county volunteer.

Streater, 72, served as a U.S. Marine for three years during the war, returning to become a regular blood donor in DeKalb. He has donated more than 15 gallons of blood.

Streater also worked for 55 years as a poll official for the elections board, including the last 10 as manager of the Tucker precinct. He is retiring from that post this year. April Hunt

Doraville plugs in to Facebook

Doraville has joined the social networking craze. The city’s now on Facebook, with plans to move on to Linkedin and Twitter. Residents are asked to help make the city’s Facebook page by tagging favorite photos of the city, their neighborhoods and local events.

Suggestions are welcome via email at Nancy Badertscher

Dunwoody offices closed for the holiday

Dunwoody administrative offices will be closed Monday, in observance of Independence Day. Police, fire and other services public safety and health services will be open.

City offices will resume regular hours Tuesday. Michelle E. Shaw

Case helps domestic violence victims

The settlement of a nuisance case in DeKalb County has resulted in a $3,500 donation to a nonprofit group that works with domestic violence victims in DeKalb County.

Solicitor-General Sherry Boston announced the donation as part of a deal to end the case Dalloune Vongkhamchannh and Khammoun Vongkhamchanh. The mother and son owned property on Henrico Road where tenants ran an illegal nightclub.

In addition to the donation to the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence, the family also agreed that their property will be used only as a truck repair shop. April Hunt


Two join Clayton Housng Authority board

Rubye Harris-Ball and Tonya Clarke are the newest members of the Board of Commissioners of The Clayton County Housing Authority. Both have lived in Clayton County for about 30 years. Both have worked in Clayton County school district.

Clarke says she supports the increase of affordable and diverse housing in the community.

The pair join other new board officers: Curtis Green, chairman; Dorothy “Dot” Morris, vice chair and James Searcy as treasurer. Tammy Joyner

Teen emergency response camp July 11-15

The Peachtree City Police Department is hosting a Teen Community Emergency Response Team camp July 11-15 at the police station. The program teaches emergency preparedness related to disaster response, fire safety and search and rescue. Candidates must be Georgia residents between 13 and 17 years old, and complete registration forms and a background check. The class is free but limited to 16 participants. Applications are due July 8; see the CERT link at Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Qualifying set for Fairburn elections

Qualifying has been set for Aug. 29-31 for three city council seats up for election this year in Fairburn. The seats are currently held by Councilmembers Marian Johnson, Elizabeth Hurst and Ron Alderman. The election is set for Nov. 8, and the candidate qualifying fee is $90. Candidates run citywide, must be 21 or older and must have lived in Georgia and Fairburn for 12 months. The last day to register to vote in the city election is Oct. 11, and early/advanced voting starts Oct. 17. Nancy Badertscher

Interim city manager for College Park

College Park Mayor Jack Longino and the City Council have named Hugh Austin as interim city manager. Austin currently serves as executive director of the Georgia International Convention Center and replaces William Johnson who is leaving his post July 20 to become the city manager of Petersburg, Va. Johnson is a native of Richmond, Va. and will be closer to his family.

“It’s great to come home, but this is bittersweet as we have great projects on the table as we work towards restructuring the city of College Park government,” Johnson said in a news release. John Thompson for the AJC

Henry offices close for 4-day weekend

Henry County offices will be closed on Friday for an employee furlough day and on Monday, in observance of the Independence Day holiday

Tammy Joyner

Hampton gears up for July 4 fest

Hampton’s July Festival & Parade is Monday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in McBrayer Park. The parade will begin at Hampton Elementary School, continue through downtown Hampton and end at the school. Activities include inflatables, a watermelon eating contest, hula hooping contest, sack races, water balloon toss, and a DJ. Call the city’s Main Street office at 770-946-4306 for more information. Monroe Roark for the AJC