County by county news for Wednesday


Powder Springs mayor breaks speed limit tie

Powder Springs Mayor Patricia Vaughn voted Monday to reduce the speed limit on New Macland Road from 45 to 35 mph, breaking a tie vote and citing safety reasons.

Voting for the reduction were Councilwoman Nancy Hudson and Councilman Chris Wizner.

Opposed were Councilwomen Rosalyn Neal and Cheryl Sarvis.

Absent was Councilman Al Thurman.

The city’s Police Chief Charlie Sewell had recommended to Vaughn and the City Council that the speed limit be lowered on that road. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Marietta to add restrooms at parks

Marietta will add public restrooms at Victory, Lewis, Henry, Whitaker and Merritt parks. City Council approved the $387,000 project with funds coming from a 2009 bond. The concrete block structures will have motion controlled lights and automatic locks at park closing times. The city currently has facilities at Tumlin Park at Hickory Hills and Laurel Park and at two sports complexes.

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Smyrna rezones former Hickory Lakes complex

Smyrna’s City Council Monday voted to rezone the site of the former Hickory Lakes Apartment complex at Windy Hill and Old Concord Roads for 194 single-family homes. The complex had 726 units on 47.3 acres. The city bought and demolished the aging complex four years ago for about $15 million. Southeast Capital Companies is in negotiations with Smyrna to develop a residential community on the site with about four houses per acre in the mid $300,000 range.

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Council chamber sto get $200K renovation

The Powder Springs City Council voted Monday to pay $214,285 to Lovvorn Construction to repair, renovate and upgrade the Council Chamber in the Community Development building, 4488 Pineview Drive.

Among the major changes are that the chamber will be made handicap accessible and the audio-visual system will be upgraded.


Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Marietta teacher is award finalist

Susie Throop, a teacher at the Center for Advanced Academics in Marietta, is one of three Georgia teachers named finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science teaching. Throop , a 1997 and 2007 teacher of the year, teaches fourth-grade science and math in the Marietta City Schools district. She will receive $10,000 and a trip to Washington D.C. to meet President Obama.Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Powder Springs grants buffer reduction

The Powder Springs City Council approved Monday buffer reductions for several homeowners in the Vineyards Subdivision.

Previously, they were limited to only a few feet of backyard space due to city regulations for 20 feet of undisturbed buffer.

Now they are allowed to establish a privacy fence plus 5 to 10 feet of evergreen trees and shrubs that must be approved by city staff and planted by March 1. Carolyn Cunningham


Snellville police to take on ALS ‘ice bucket challenge’

Snellville Police Department officers will take part in the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” the social media campaign raising money for ALS. Stone Mountain Ice will host the challenge 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday at its Wisteria Village location. An invitation has been extended to the Gwinnett Fire Department Station 12 in Snellville. The public is invited to complete their own challenges. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Delays expected on Jimmy Carter near I-85

Construction crews working on the Jimmy Carter Boulevard Diverging Diamond Interchange will begin restriping the road surface to shift work to the northern bridge façade at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21. Commuters should consider alternate routes to avoid delays. On Sunday, Aug. 24, construction crews will begin work requiring some overnight lane closures on I-85. Details will be passed along as available. All lane closures are dependent on weather conditions and therefore subject to change. Karen Huppert for the AJC

Peachtree Corners loses champion

Jim Cowart, who developed many of the subdivisions in Peachtree Corners, died at his home on Friday. He was 82. Cowart’s real estate development career spanned over 50 years, with most of his years developing in North Fulton and Gwinnett County. He is said to have laid more sewer pipes than Gwinnett County did during this time.Karen Huppertz for the AJC

GGC welcomes 11,000 students

Approximately 11,000 students began classes Monday at Georgia Gwinnett College, setting a new enrollment record. The student body includes about 3,700 new students,Information:

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Grant brings Civil War program to library

Gwinnett County Public Library presents an evening with author and UGA history professor, John C. Inscoe, as part of ‘Civil War 150,’ a national program designed to encourage public exploration of the impact and contested meanings of the American Civil War. The program is 6:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Five Forks branch, 2780 Five Forks Trickum Road, Lawrenceville. Information:

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Peachtree Corners program offers logo

Peachtree Corners has launched a “Proud to be Peachtree Corners” program. Businesses located within Peachtree Corners’ city limits and currently using stationery, business cards, and other printed material showing a Norcross, Duluth, Dunwoody or Atlanta address are eligible for reimbursement of up to $2,500 to be used to re-order existing supplies that include “Peachtree Corners” in the address line. Information:

Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Public input sought on ingterchange project

Two meetings are set this week to gather citizen input on the I-285 and Ga. 400 interchange improvement project in North Fulton. The public information open houses will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the Dunwoody Baptist Church, 1445 Mt. Vernon Road, Dunwoody. The just-over $1 billion project would provide new flyover ramps, collector-distributor lanes, bridges and other improvements to improve traffic flow. Georgia DOT officials say construction would begin in 2016 and last three-and-a-half years. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Holly Springs OKs millage rate

The Holly Springs City Council approved the 2014 city millage rate Monday night. City officials say due to healthy growth in the tax digest, the levy was lowered from 2013’s 6.00 to 5.50, slightly below the revenue-neutral rollback rate of 5.502. City Manager Rob Logan says that’ll mean an average annual property tax decrease of $40 on a home assessed at $200,000. Logan says even with the rollback, it’s estimated tax revenue will rise by about $200,000 due to new construction. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Forsyth’s stray animal have new home

Forsyth County’s new animal shelter will open with a ribbon-cutting at 3 p.m. Friday, at 4065 County Way. Construction of the roughly 13,700 square-foot facility was funded by a special purpose local option sales tax approved by voters in 2011. The shelter replaces a prior contracting-out of services. Hours for animal drop-off and reclamation: 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Adoption hours: 10:30 a.m.- 5 p. m. Tuesday-Saturday. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Reinhardt sets up new scholarship

Reinhardt University in Waleska has established the James M. Boring, Jr. and Syble E. Boring Scholarship Endwrment following a more-than $200,000 donation from the couple’s trust.The endowment will help needy students with academic records, with priority given to applicants from Whitfield County. Marsk Woolsey

Cherokee sheriff’s office seeks Explorers

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Unit is seeking teens ages 14-18 to take part in the department’s Explorer Post designed to train on the missions and objectives of law enforcement, through community service projects, career orientation programs and leadership roles. An open house is 6-8 p.m. today at the Bridge Mill Precinct, 9550 Bells Ferry Road. Information: Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Forsyth kicks off reading program

The Forsyth County Public Library is kicking off its annual Forsyth Reads Together program, where the community reads, discusses and takes part in events surrounding the same book. Author Lisa See will discuss 2014’s pick, “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” 7 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Forsyth Conference Center, 3410 Ronald Reagan Blvd., Cumming. Admission’s free. A number of other book discussions and performances are also set. Information:

Mark Woolsey for the AJC


Council seeks cameras for local police cars

Responding to the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown nine days ago in suburban St. Louis, the Atlanta City Council on Monday unanimously passed a resolution calling for local police departments to install cameras in their vehicles.

There was no such camera in the squad car of the Ferguson, Mo. officer. Eyewitness accounts have varied.

It’s not clear how many metro Atlanta agencies utilize dashboard cams, which have become standard issue across most of the country.

The council resolution asks U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to “use his considerable influence to impress upon local police agencies the need for the installation of cameras in their vehicles.” Christian Boone

Registration open for citizen police course

The Atlanta Police Department seeks participants for the upcoming Citizens Police Academy class.

The course runs Wednesday evenings Oct. 1-Nov. 12 and covers crime scenes, procedures, 911, identity theft and more. Participants must be 21 or older and metro Atlanta residents.

The Citizens Police Academy program is intended to enhance community relations. The application deadline is Sept. 19. Email: atlantacops

Adrianne Murchison for the AJC

Fire rescue retains accreditation

Atlanta Fire Rescue has retained its accredited status from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. Fire departments nationwide participate in the accreditation process to show they meet best industry practices.

A voluntary accreditation program at the Center, includes a peer review of 258 performance indicators and 82 core competencies on emergency response, training and administrative policies.

Atlanta Fire Rescue received its first accreditation in 2002.

Adrianne Murchison for the AJC


City to pursue annexation schedule

Decatur city manager Peggy Merriss announced Monday what she admitted is an “aggressive” annexation schedule for this fall. She said she hopes it culminates in a final annexation master plan by early November. Areas under consideration for annexation include two shopping centers at Clairemont Avenue/North Decatur Road, the so-called “Athens Pizza shopping center” on Clairemont, the soon-to-be redeveloped Suburban Plaza, the new planned development across from Suburban currently occupied by the Scott Boulevard Baptist Church, Patel Plaza, and the new luxury apartment project at Church Street and Milscott Road. Merriss said this plan would increase the city to 5.2 square miles and add roughly 5,000 more people.

Bill Banks for the AJC

Nothing dangerous found in barrels

DeKalb County firefighters were called to Ellenwood early Tuesday after a passerby spotted two barrels along the side of Moore Road.

As a precaution, a hazardous materials team was called to the area, near the intersection with Henrico Road, around 5 a.m., according to Capt. Eric Jackson. Investigators determined the barrels contained an industrial polymer that posed no risk, Jackson said.

The barrels were being transported to a landfill for disposal, Jackson said. Alexis Stevens

Lineup announced for MJCCA book festival

The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta announced the lineup for their annual book festival.

Columnist Anna Quindlen, comedian Bob Saget, TV producer Andy Cohen, bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel, and best-selling author Dr. Eben Alexander are set to appear.

Mark Bittmen, Daniel Gordis, Ron Suskind, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin Dan Harris and Dr. Simon Schama are also featured at the 23rd annual book festival, which runs Nov. 9-19.


Adrianne Murchison for the AJC

Charter cluster meeting this month

The Emory LaVista Parent Council will hold an informational meeting about a renewed petition to put a group of schools near Emory University into a charter “cluster.”

The DeKalb County school board rejected the proposed Druid Hills Charter Cluster. The proponents renewed their petition, but Superintendent Michael Thurmond has recommended denial.

Speakers are yet to be announced at the Aug. 27 information session, which is at Sagamore Hills Elementary School, 1865 Alderbrook Road, Atlanta at 9:15 am. Doors open at 8:45 a.m. Ty Tagami

Northlake businesses join Tucker district

More than 67 companies in DeKalb County’s Northlake area have joined a self-taxing community improvement district to improve infrastructure and economic development.

With the addition of its new members, the year-old Tucker CID changed its name last week to the Tucker-Northlake CID, according to an announcement from the group last week.

The public-private partnership includes a total of more than 166 commercial property owners representing about $157 million in property value.

Mark Niesse


Fayette school board approves millage rate

The Fayette County Board of Education voted 5-0 Monday to keep the FY2015 property tax rate at 20 mills. To compensate for the 2014 rollback millage rate of 19.562, the county must raise the rate by the equivalent of 0.438 mills. This means that next year an extra $34.16 in taxes will be assessed for a home valued at $200,000. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Walk benefits cancer wellness

The 4th Annual Cancer Wellness Walk will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Drake Field in Peachtree City, next to City Hall.

Proceeds from the 5K walk will benefit the Cancer Wellness Centers at the Piedmont Fayette and Newnan hospitals, which provide free support services to patients and their families.

egister at

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Grants available for garden projects

The nonprofit Fayette Master Gardener Association has a limited number of grants available for educational and/or horticultural projects, which must take place in Fayette County. Application forms are available from and must be completed and returned by Sept. 15.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Citizens Police Academy starts soon

The Henry County Police Department will be offering a Citizens Police Academy class Sept. 16–Nov. 25, meeting every Tuesday night. For the application and background consent forms, visit Fill out and return original copies to HCPD headquarters at 108 S. Zack Hinton Pkwy. in McDonough. Questions? Joni Miller, or 770-288-8285.

Monroe Roark for the AJC

Apartments available to income-eligible

Stanton Crest Apartments, 1988 Stanton Road, East Point, have been remodeled and units are available for moderate-income residents.

The Fulton County Housing and Community Development Division and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development purchased the vacant property in 2012.

Units will rent for $563-$708 per month. Information: 404-762-9871 or

Adrianne Murchison for the AJC

Bohannon Road closure delayed

The date for the closure of a portion of Bohannon Road has been pushed back to October.

The road was scheduled to be closed in late July between Mann Road and Creekwood Road due to construction of a new bridge over Line Creek at the Fulton/Fayette County line. However, the request for bid process for the bridge work was extended to 2 p.m., Aug. 28.

Construction is expected to last until July 2015.

Information: Adrianne Murchison for the AJC