County by county news for Wednesday


Austell council to decide on alcohol referendum

Austell City Council members will decide Monday whether to allow the city's voters to reject or approve Sunday alcohol package sales.
The vote would be on March 6, the day of Georgia's presidential primary. This summer, the city council decided not to include the question on the Nov. 8 ballot. Mayor Joe Jerkins said he wanted to hold the vote at the same time as the county. The cost of the election to the city will be about $875. Monday's meeting will be at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 2716 Broad St. SW. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Holiday donations needed for "Stuff A Bus"
Cobb Community Transit and the county Department of Transportation will be collecting donations Dec. 5-16 for the annual stuff-a-bus holiday assistance program.
Donations of new toys, gifts, non-perishable food, gift certificates and money will be accepted at various locations including WellStar Hospital and Southern Polytechnic State University. Information: Janel Davis

Board recommends denial for care home
The Powder Springs planning and zoning commission voted 3-2 Monday to denial of a personal care home for veterans.
The final decision is expected to be made by the City Council at 7 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers, 4488 Pineview Drive.
Floretta Spencer said she would operate the home at 3228 New Macland Road. She plans to start with three residents needed around the clock care that would be refered by the Veterans Administration. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Acworth kicks off holiday celebration
Santa will be stopping the Depot on Main Street in downtown Acworth 6:30-9 p.m. Friday.  Mayor Tommy Allegood will read The Night Before Christmas and there will be a tree lighting. Jeffry Scott

'Shop with an Indian' sponsors needed
Sponsors are needed for McEachern High School's  "Shop with an Indian" event.
On Dec. 10, about 300 students will shop with 100 children from Compton, Varner, Powder Springs, Austell Primary, Austell Intermediate and Dowell Elementary schools.
Each child will be given a shirt, breakfast, lunch, gift wrap, crafts, a treat bag and $100 to spend at Walmart.
Donations may be mailed to:  Shop with an Indian c/o McEachern High School, 2400 New Macland Road, Powder Springs, GA 30127.
Information: Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Teacher honored by Falcons
A Cobb County middle school teacher is being honored by an Atlanta Falcons program recognizing educators.
Jerry Richerson, a health and physical education teacher at Hightower Trail Middle School, received $1,000 for classroom supplies for being aSymetra Hero in the Classroom.
The award, by the Falcons, Symetra Financial Corp. and SunTrust Bank, honors 16 teachers in Georgia each year. Richerson, named late in November, runs a morning weight-lifting clinic that draws nearly 50 boys and girls. Ty Tagami


Paramedics training to be offered in Gwinnett

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners and Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services announced this week that it is the first county in Georgia to receive national accreditation for a paramedic training program. Receiving the accreditation ensures that the department meets national standards in training paramedics. Because paramedic training is long and tedious, Georgia has a severe shortage of paramedics. To combat the shortage, Gwinnett is training its own personnel to become paramedics, so they can add services without having to hire more employees. Andria Simmons

Arson suspected in house fire near Snellville
A Saturday house fire is believed to have been intentionally set by a burglar.
The fire occurred in the 2400 block of Mossy Branch Drive in Bright Water Subdivision near Snellville. The family was out of town at the time.
Anyone with information should contact Gwinnett Fire Arson & Explosives Section at 678-518-4890 or the Georgia Arson Hot Line at 1-800-282-5804. Georgia Arson Control offers a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Andria Simmons

Schrader to seek Superior Court seat
Kathy Schrader will hold a kickoff celebration 4:30 -- 6:30 p.m. Thursday  at The McCart Building at 2405 Satellite Boulevard in Duluth for her campaign to succeed Judge Dawson Jackson to the Gwinnett County Superior Court.
Schrader has served as a Municipal Court Judge in Duluth and Sugar Hill, and is past president of the Gwinnett County Bar Association. She was appointed to the State Advisory Board for the Governor's Office for Children and Families in 2005 and 2008. Andria Simmons

Coolray Field hosts Toys for Tots drive
Coolray Field will host a Toys for Tots drive Dec. 8 -- 10.
Fans can get autographs from former professional athletes by donating a new toy. or 678-277-0340.Joel Anderson

Holiday-themed puppet show at Aurora
The Aurora Theatre will debut a holiday-themed puppet show on Dec. 17.
"Trouble in Toyland" will be the finale to the Playhouse series, with shows scheduled for 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Santa Claus will also be in the lobby between shows and then lead families to the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse for self-guided tours.
Aurora will also offer "Sing Along with Santa" on Dec. 3 and "''Twas the Night Before Christmas" on Dec. 10.
Information: 678-226-0622 and
Joel Anderson

Free lessons for gardners
Learn the basics of plant propagation including how to increase the types and numbers of their plants  from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Gwinnett County Extension Service conference room. Registration  deadline is Friday. Info: Tim Daly at 678-377-4010 or Nancy Badertscher


Roswell moves closer to ‘brown-bag’ policy

The Roswell City Council gave preliminary approval Monday to an ordinance which will allow patrons to bring an unopened bottle of wine into a business licensed for consumption. Georgia law already allows patrons to take wine purchased at a restaurant home with them if it's served with a meal and resealed and locked in the vehicle away from the driver.
Alpharetta passed a similar law earlier this year. Roswell's measure will go a final vote at the Dec. 12 council meeting.
Patrick Fox

Recycling event in Alpharetta Saturday
North Fulton residents can recycle electronic equipment 9 a.m. -- 1 p.m. Saturday at 1790 Hembree Rd in Alpharetta.
Sponsored by the city of Alpharetta and First Tech Recycling, the event will provide recycling for computers, portable electronics, mobile and line phones, toner cartridges, cables, etc. Televisions and appliances will not be accepted. Information: 678-297-6200. Patrick Fox

Defensive driving class Saturday in Johns Creek
An AARP defensive driving class, with potential to reduce auto insurance costs for  completion, will be offered 11 a.m. -- 5 p.m. Saturday at Johns Creek's Northeast/Spruill Oaks branch library, 9560 Spruill Road. Registration: 770-360-8820 or Johnny Edwards

Woodstock school wins food drive competition
Chapman Intermediate school in Woodstock finished in first place among 50 schools in contributing the most food to the Falcon Food Drive. The school collected and donated 10,075 pounds of food to local food pantries. Chapman was recognized for its effort before the Nov. 20 Falcons/Tennessee Titans game. Jeffry Scott

Students tap into water
Students at Atlanta's Davis Academy have just completed the Mayim Challenge, focusing on the social and scientific challenges that people in underdeveloped countries face in accessing what Americans take for granted: clean water.  They analyzed their own consumption of sodas and other non-essential beverages and were encouraged to redirect the money spent on these beverages to Safe Water Now, an Atlanta-based group that helps communities worldwide with water filtration. The Alfred & Adele Davis Academy on Roberts Drive is Atlanta's Reform Jewish Day School and an affiliate of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Nancy Badertscher

Holiday gala scheduled for Crabapple
Milton's fourth annual Christmas in Crabapple holiday celebration will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 17 in historic downtown Crabapple. The event, sponsored by the Crabapple Community Association, will feature music from children's choirs, a community bonfire and photos with Santa.
Free rides on a holiday train and a "North Pole Passport" program with more than 20 local businesses are new this year. Reservations are required by Dec. 5 to
Information: 770-870-4969. Patrick Fox


Atlanta man wins lottery jackpot a second time
An Atlanta man has won a $1 million prize for the second time playing an instant lottery game, according to Georgia Lottery officials.
Delma Kinney won a $1 million prize playing the instant game Super Millions.
In 2008, Kinney won $1 million playing another instant game. The single father of three set aside a portion of his winnings to save for his children's college educations.
Kinney said he plans to donate a portion of his most recent win to charity. The Chevron Food Mart at 2959 Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta sold the lucky ticket.
Super Millions is a Georgia Lottery instant game with cash prizes of up to $5 million.
Fran Jeffries

Garner holds public hearing on budget
Fulton Commissioner Joan Garner will host a public hearing Tuesday on the county's proposed 2012 budget, part of a series of meetings being held by commissioners throughout the county.
Garner's session for district 6 will be at 6 p.m. in the Auburn Avenue Research Library's Heritage Auditorium, 101 Auburn Ave. For details, go to
Johnny Edwards

APS educators receive innovation grants
Ten Atlanta public schools teachers and principals were surprised Tuesday with $7,500 grants to fund innovative classroom and school projects. The Atlanta Families' Awards for Excellence in Education grants were created in 2005, and include $3,500 for a project of the winner's choice, $1,500 for training and a $2,500 personal stipend. The winners are: Ed Chang and Mike Stewart, KIPP STRIVE Academy; Nieves Corrales, Centennial Place Elementary; Naja Freeman, Bunche Middle; Kenny Kraus, Sarah Smith Elementary, Brian Mitchell, Mary Lin Elementary; Alicia Pagan, Drew Charter; Robin Robbins, Burgess-Peterson Academy; Shenise Shorter, Springdale Park Elementary.
Jaime Sarrio


Fulton to launch anti-smoking campaign

The Georgia State University Research Foundation will launch an anti-smoking media campaign, focusing on the dangers of exposure to second-hand smoke, for Fulton County's Health and Wellness Department. The commission approved using $65,000 in federal grant money to pay for it.
The goal is to convince businesses to prohibit smoking on their own, according to department Director Patrice Harris, not to push for a county-enforced ban as was tried unsuccessfully in DeKalb. Johnny Edwards

Holiday toy drive in Peachtree City
The Peachtree City police department is helping Toys for Tots and the Angel Tree Project collect gifts for local families in need.
The "Light Up the Night" drive needs new, unwrapped toys for children ages 2-17. Collections will be held 4-8 p.m. at Target on Dec. 1, 6, and 8, and at Wal-Mart on Dec. 3 and 10.
Donations also can be made Dec. 4 and 11 at The Avenue between 1 and 5 p.m. Monetary donations will be accepted at all locations and at Police Department headquarters. Call 770-487-8866 ext. 1303 for information. Jill Howard Church

Henry looks at interstate alternatives
The Henry County Planning and Zoning Department  will host a public meeting 6:30 -- 8 p.m. Dec. 6 to discuss a proposed alignment of a Western Parallel Connector Road to connect Jonesboro Road to Hudson Bridge Road, creating an alternative to the interstate. The zoning department is hosting the meeting with JB + a Inc., the consulting firm hired to complete the study. The meeting will be at Pates Creek Elementary School, 1309 Jodeco Road in Stockbridge. Details: John M. Fish at or Cheri Hobson-Matthews, Tammy Joyner

Dixie Wing hosts Pearl Harbor service
The Commemorative Air Force Dixie Wing will hold its Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday at 1200 Echo Court in Peachtree City. A member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association will be the guest speaker, marking the 70th anniversary of the attack. The event is free and open to the public. Jill Howard Church

East Point Tree Lighting set for Friday
East Point's annual Christmas tree lighting is set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday at East Point City Hall, 2777 East Point St. Hot beverages, a visit from Santa, holiday choirs and arts and crafts are featured. John Thompson for the AJC

East Point to receive transportation grant
The City of East Point is set to receive $3.9 million in federal grant money to construct pedestrian, bicycle, safety and intersection improvements in the central business district. The city must also pay matching funds to help cover project costs. The project improvements will better connect existing activity nodes including the Bowden Senior Center, City Hall, parks, restaurants, civic buildings, shops and the East Point MARTA Station. John Thompson for the AJC


Schools to remain under SACS advisement
DeKalb County schools will retain their "on advisement" status from an accreditation agency until next year.
The school system announced Tuesday that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools informed them the provisional status would adhere until formal approval of a 5-year accreditation, expected in March.
The school system was advised by SACS early this year to complete eight actions, from hiring a superintendent to redistricting schools. Only two remain unfinished, spokesman Walter Woods said: developing a strategic plan and establishing reporting authority for a system auditor. Both should be completed by February, he said. Ty Tagami

Emory launches new law degree program
Emory University's law school is launching a new Juris Master degree program for professionals, graduate students and select undergraduates to aid their understanding of the law.
"It is important to think of law schools as not simply training lawyers, but as providing a broad legal education to both lawyers and non-lawyers," interim law school dean Robert Schapiro said. Applications are due by April 15 for a fall semester start and by Oct. 15 for a spring semester start. Classes are expected to begin in the fall or spring 2013. Bill Rankin

Decatur gives to needy children, seniors
The deadline is fast approaching for gifts for Decatur's Season of Giving (formerly known as Christmas Decatur). The program targets low-income children and seniors, and priorities include books for children. Gifts are due by Saturday for distribution. For information or to donate: e-mail aseasonofgiving@decaturga. or call 404-378-8068. Checks can be sent to Decatur Season of Giving, PO Box 220, Decatur, GA 30031. Nancy Badertscher

Decatur High seeks garden volunteers
The Decatur High Community Garden will hold a "Big Dig" 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the corner of West Howard and Commerce streets. Garden volunteers will learn about Hugelkultur, an old eastern European method of burying plant materials to improve poor soils. On Saturday workers will help dig a hugelbed, or two-foot deep trench approximately 10 feet long and four-feet wide, in which potatoes, squash, melons and some berries thrive. Diane Loupe, the garden's volunteer chairman said everyone is welcome. Bill Banks for the AJC

Vets receive help from coop, other groups
Pitching in has paid off for veterans across DeKalb County. About 80 bags of personal hygiene products were distributed to veterans as a result of a joint effort of the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension, DeKalb County Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program, Master Gardener Extension volunteers, and 4-H clubs. In addtion, assistants in the Extension's Extended Food and Nutrition Education Program offered veterans participating in VASH classes on nutritious cooking. The federal VASH program provides permanent housing and ongoing treatment services to the hard-to-serve homeless, mentally-ill veterans and those suffering from substance abuse disorders. Nancy Badertscher