County by county news for Tuesday


Chevron gives second grant to Clark Atlanta

Chevron Corp. has given a $206,500 grant to Clark Atlanta University (CAU) to provide scholarships and support for enrichment programs for CAU business and engineering students.

This is the second $200,000-plus award from Chevron to CAU. The first was presented in November 2012.

The latest grant was announced by officials from CAU and Chevron at a campus scholars luncheon.

Authorities identify three men found dead

The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office Monday released the names of the three men found dead Friday and Saturday at a northwest Atlanta home.

Timothy Jackson, 37, and Ruberia Sawyer, 24, were found dead shortly after 6 p.m. Friday by Atlanta police officers who went to the home in the 2200 block of Gary Court.

Saturday afternoon, police were called back to the house after a friend of the third man discovered his friend’s body in the woods behind the Gary Court home, according to police spokesman Greg Lyon.

The third man was identified Monday as 56-year-old James Johnson.

All three men apparently lived at the home, and all three had been shot, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Police have not released a motive for the shootings and have not said whether there are any suspects in the case. Mike Morris

Trial set for former APS technology director

Atlanta Public Schools’ former technology director is scheduled to go on trial Dec. 2 on bribery and fraud charges.

Federal prosecutors claim Jerome Oberlton, who worked as the school system’s chief information officer from 2004 to 2007, used his influence at the school system to award a $780,000 computer project and score a profit from the deal.

Oberlton’s alleged co-conspirator, Mahendra Patel, has pleaded guilty and could be called to testify. Mark Niesse


Architect firm chosen for stadium renovation

Marietta City Schools Board of Education has chosen the Atlanta-based architectural firm of Gardner, Spencer, Smith, Tench and Jarbeau for the $6.8 million renovation of Northcutt Stadium. The renovation of the 73 year-old high school stadium on Winn Street will include updating seating, plumbing, electrical, lighting, restrooms, locker room and press box.

Bids are due Dec. 2 for the project construction manager. Information: www.marietta-city-org. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Dentist gets 7 years for Medicaid fraud

A metro Atlanta dentist was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to fraudulently billing Georgia Medicaid more than $2 million, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general said Monday.

Kenneth Morris Wiggins Jr., owner and operator of Cosmetic and Family Dentistry offices in Roswell and Marietta, billed Medicaid for tooth re-implantations and suturing of wounds for 220 Medicaid patients although he never performed the procedures on those patients, according to Lauren Kane, spokeswoman for Attorney General Sam Olens.

Kane said Wiggins fled to the Netherlands after being indicted in 2011 and was located in Belize in February.

U.S. marshals transported Wiggins from Belize to Miami, where he waived extradition and was returned to Cobb County. He has been held in the Cobb County Jail without bond since his return.

Wiggins pleaded guilty in Cobb County Superior Court to one felony count of Medicaid fraud, Kane said.

Judge A. Gregory Poole sentenced Wiggins to seven years in prison and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $2,230,718.81. Mike Morris

10,000 runners expected at Gobble Jog

More than 10,000 runners are expected at the Gobble Jog starting on the Marietta Square at 7:30 a.m. Thursday. Proceeds from the 11th annual 10K, 5K, 1K and tot trot will benefit MUST Ministries, a faith-based program that helps low-income families in Cobb and Cherokee counties. The goal this year is to raise more than $300,000. Information: Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Police athletic league hopes to raise $5K

The Marietta Police Athletic League has set a goal to raise $5,000 by Nov. 30 to buy equipment for its youth sports program. The city police department started a PAL program six years ago to promote positive experiences between police and youth through recreational activities. Information: 404-747-4095. Tucker McQueen

Marietta taking school Choice applications

Marietta City Schools is accepting applications through Jan. 17 for its elementary school students interested in the Choice Academy Program. The program at the district’s eight elementary schools offers a different area of learning at each school. Students can choose a school that fits their interests, including communications, arts, science and math, literacy and leadership. Information: Tucker McQueen for the AJC


McDonough to include innovative filtration

Decatur’s long-planned improvements for McDonough Street, between Trinity Place and Howard Avenue, will include 17 “bio-filtration” water beds, the first such system in metro Atlanta. McDonough will be narrowed from four to two lanes with a two-way bicycle track on the west side, the bio-filtration beds along the track. Each includes plants in a soil mixture that’s 75 percent sand, 25 percent organic dirt, that will filter and cleanse water, thus keeping much of it off the steeply inclined street. Work on the $2 million project should begin next fall. Bill Banks

Revamped Ebster Pool will reopen May 1

Despite a recent change order in construction costs, Ebster Pool will reopen as scheduled on May 1. Key changes include a thorough renovation of the bath house, reducing the pool length from 25 meters to 25 yards, widening it to eight lanes, heated water and overhead lighting. Ebster falls under the Beacon Municipal Center redevelopment, total cost $38.3 million. The Center’s first section, the city schools’ central office, should also open by next May. The new gym and police station/courts building should open in late July. Bill Banks for the AJC

Stone Mountain Christmas parade set

Stone Mountain’s annual Christmas parade and fireworks show has been set for the evening after Thanksgiving.

Festivities run from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29, with the parade beginning at 6 p.m. along the town’s Main Street. Fireworks begin just after Santa’s arrival and a tree lighting ceremony, at 7 p.m.

Information: 770-413-0607 or April Hunt

Animal shelter offering ‘classics’ for adoption

The new “shelter classics” program at DeKalb County’s animal shelter is offering discounts on adoptable pets that have been overlooked for homes. Animals that have been at the facility for at least one month can be adopted for $20, while pets at the center for two months can be adopted for free. The animals come fully vaccinated and fixed.

Regular adoption screening rules apply.

Information: April Hunt

Decatur to annex six more properties

Decatur’s commission approved annexing six properties, all single-family residences, three on McKinnon Drive and three on Kirk Road. It was the third such annexation this year with five properties in the same area approved in January and four more in June.

City Manager Peggy Merriss said the city is trying to “round out” that area in southeast Decatur where some properties are half in Decatur, half out, and some aren’t contiguous.

Bill Banks for the AJC

House delegation to hold town halls

State representatives from DeKalb County will hosttown hall meetings to get citizen input on issues: 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Porter Sanford performing arts center, 3181 Rainbow Dr. and 6 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Dr.

Information: 404-697-8006.

April Hunt


Customer service center to bring 300 new jobs

VetConnexx, in partnership with Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development, will bring 300 jobs to Gwinnett with the opening of its Customer Service Contact Center. The site positions VetConnexx within the Greater Gwinnett Place Opportunity Zone, the county’s newest incentive zone in the Gwinnett Place area. The 30,987-square-foot facility, located at 3100 Breckenridge Blvd. is designed for 300 agents and equipped to house more than 500 people. VetConnexx specializes in providing customer service for Fortune 500 companies, while also providing veterans and their immediate families with post-deployment jobs. Karen Huppertz

Court reverses man’s murder conviction

The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday reversed the murder conviction of Tommy Tyrone Griffin, who was accused of killing a man during a drug transaction. The court found prosecutors had failed to prove that Griffin also was guilty of conspiring to traffic cocaine. Because Griffin’s felony murder conviction was predicated on that drug offense, his murder conviction also must be reversed, the court said in a 4-3 decision. Griffin was accused of the April 8, 2010, killing of Pedro Ortiz-Gonzalez during a shootout at the Sinclair Apartments in Gwinnett. Bill Rankin

Two dead in suspected murder-suicide

Two people were found dead Monday afternoon in unincorporated Lawrenceville in what may have been a murder-suicide, police said. Officers responding to an alarm at a home in the 100 block of Resthaven Drive instead found the bodies of a man and a woman . It was not immediately known how the two died . Alexis Stevens

Utility increases franchise fees

Georgia Power and Peachtree Corners entered into a Municipal Franchise Agreement Oct. 5, 2012, resulting in a fee increase to customers living in Peachtree Corners. The company will soon begin sending letters to customers explaining the increased charges. Company officials estimate the impact to a customer with an average monthly usage of 1,000 kwh is an additional $2.36 per month. Customers also will be billed retroactively to the date of the franchise agreement. Info: Georgia Power at 800-644-0570. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Snellville Police add motorcycle unit

The Snellville Police Department has added two 2013 Harley Davidson Road King motorcycles to the city’s Special Operations Unit. The flexibility and maneuverability of the motorcycles should enhance traffic enforcement and crash investigations. The motorcycles and equipment were purchased with funds seized in drug offenses. or 770-985-3555. Karen Huppertz

Duluth councilwoman named servant of year

The Gwinnett Chamber has chosen Duluth City Councilwoman Marsha Anderson Bomar as Public Servant of the Year. While serving in Duluth she has been active with Duluth High School, the Gwinnett Chamber, the Duluth Merchants Association, United Way and Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center Foundation. Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Lanier Tech names new academic vice president

A new vice president of academic affairs in place at Lanier Technical College in Forsyth County.

Tavarez Holston formerly served as vice president for institutional effectiveness at Moultrie Technical College, and has more than 13 years in higher education, including more than a decade in education administration.

Holston began his duties Nov. 18. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Cherokee senior gets perfect ACT score

A student at Woodstock High School has achieved a perfect score on the ACT college entrance exam.

Rachel Steppe’s score of 36 is equaled by only about 700 of the 1.6 million high school students who take it annually.

Only one Cherokee County School District student had a perfect score last year.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Cherokee chamber seeks award nominees

The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for chamber’s First Citizen of Cherokee County Award.

The annual award honors a five-year-plus resident who has shown significant service to the community through family, civic and/or religious involvement.

Deadline is Dec. 9.

Presentation will be at the annual meeting Jan. 23. More info: 770-345-0400.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Board of ethics seeks new member

The Cherokee County Board of Ethics is looking to fill a vacancy immediately.

Prospective candidates should be Cherokee County residents and Democratic Party members.

The position opened up when the incumbent moved outside the county, and the term expires in January of 2016.


Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Forsyth senior officials seek holiday angels

Forsyth County Senior Services is asking local residents to take part in the 2013 Holiday Gift Angels Program.

Participants can check gift tags with local seniors’ names and gift ideas at any of the county’s senior centers.

Gifts purchased can be brought to the centers any weekday until Dec. 6.

More info: 770-781-2178.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Nature center to host holiday market

The Chattahoochee Nature Center will host a Back-To-Nature Holiday Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 7 at the center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell.

The market will feature ornaments, original art, eco-friendly items, toys, candles and clothing from local artisans.

All visitors will receive free admission to the nature center.

For vending opportunities contact 770-992-2055 ext. 236 or


Veronica Fields Johnson


Special election winners seated in Union City

The two winners in Union City’s Nov. 5 special municipal election were sworn in at last week’s city council meeting.

Vince Williams beat Jarius McDaniel in the mayor’s race.

Williams left the council to run after longtime mayor Ralph Moore resigned earlier this year, opening up a council spot.

Joyce Robinson won that seat in a runoff beating Bernard Ellis.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Peachtree City lights Menorah Sunday

Chabad of Peachtree City is inviting the public to usher in the fifth night of Hanukkah with the lighting of a Grand Memorah at 6 p.m. Sunday at City Hall Plaza.

The Festival of Lights celebration will include music, treats and kids’ activities. Jill Howard Church

Peachtree City boards need volunteers

Three municipal boards in Peachtree City have vacancies for volunteers.

The Recreation & Special Events Advisory Board and the Airport Authority each need one new member and one alternate; the Convention & Visitors Bureau needs three members and one alternate from local business and hotel/motel companies.

Information: through Dec. 6. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Fayette promotes black pet adoptions

The Fayette County Humane Society is offering pet adoption specials as part of the national “Back in Black” event during November.

Adoption fees will be reduced for black or mostly black cats and dogs, who are often the least chosen.

Fees include vaccinations and spay/neuter.

Information: for details. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Online gallery features area students’ art

Paintings, pottery, sketches and other artwork created by Fayette County students are now viewable on a newly created online gallery.

The project was started by Bennett’s Mill Middle School art teacher Melissa Raymer and other teachers as a way to more widely share and promote art.

The gallery is at

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Blood drive today at Piedmont Henry

Piedmont Henry Hospital and the American Red Cross will hold a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, in the hospital’s Foundation Education Center.

It is recommended donors eat a snack or meal within two hours prior to donating blood.

To schedule an appointment, go to, click on “Enter a Sponsor Code” located in the left center of the page and enter sponsor code “piedhenry.” Monroe Roark for the AJC