County by county news for Wednesday


Marietta man held in Fla. child sex sting

A Marietta man who sheriff's deputies say arranged for a sexual encounter with an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old girl remained in a Florida jail Tuesday, authorities said.

Travis Banovatz, 29, never traveled to Florida but planned to do so and continued to have sexually oriented conversations with the undercover agent posing as a child. He was arrested Saturday on an outstanding warrant and taken to Florida. He was being held in lieu of $150,000 bond. Christopher Seward

Smyrna Council tables changing daycare rules

The Smyrna City Council on Monday tabled indefinitely making changes to an ordinance that allows daycare nurseries and kindergartens in residential areas.

Neighbors complained about potential traffic issues and devalued property values after former council member and private daycare owner Jimmy Smith asked to expand his center, Oxford Academy Inc., off Church Street. Council members said they needed more time to study the issue. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Go fishing free in Powder Springs

Cobb Parks' Natural Resource Management unit will host a free Fishing Rodeo 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Lost Mountain Park, 4845 Dallas Highway, Powder Springs. Trophies will be awarded for the most fish caught in each age group as well as the five biggest fish overall. Information: John Purcell at 770-528-8825 or . Carolyn Cunningham

Cancer Society ball set for Aug. 11

The American Cancer Society's 39th annual Swordsman's Ball is set for Aug. 11 at the Cobb Galleria Center. The black-tie gala, themed "Warriors of the Fight," will focus on people who surround patients during their cancer battles. Gala proceeds benefit The American Cancer Society and its fight against cancer.

Information: Jessica Sweeney, 770-429-0089; Janel Davis

Marietta hosts back to school conference

To celebrate students returning to school this year, Marietta City Schools will sponsor a educator technology conference in August. The conference will be held at Roswell Street Baptist Church on 7 a.m. Aug. 6. It will include breakfast and several speakers.

The theme of this year's conference is "Aftershock: Responding to the cultural shifts of Gen iY" and will feature Tim Elmore, an expert on technology and education. For more information, contact the district's offices at 770-422-3500. Kenneth Musisi

Hawks give program space a makeover

The Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena have given $15,000 to Acworth Achievers, an after school mentoring program at the Roberts School Community Education Center in Acworth.

The grant is covering a makeover in progress of the program's classroom space including upgrading interior finishes and furniture and buying new equipment and educational material for grade school children. A ribbon cutting will be 11a.m. Aug. 9 at the school. Tucker McQueen for the AJC


Business groups host transportation forum Thursday

Metro Atlanta business organizations will host a transportation forum from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth.

Local chambers of commerce and other groups will discuss the July 31 transportation sales tax referendum and how it will create jobs and improve traffic in the Atlanta region. They also will discuss statewide transportation issues.

Information and to register, visit

David Wickert

Buford approaching vote on budget

Buford is holding public hearings on next year's $89.1 million budget, down from $100.2 million this year. In two of its starkest contrasts, the budget cuts administrative costs from $5.4 million to $3.8 million, but increases school maintenance from $684,000 to $692,000. A public hearing and vote is planned for the commission's meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 6 at City Hall, 2300 Buford Highway. Michael Alpert for the AJC

Lionheart Theater season continues

The five-show engagement of Disney's "Jungle Book" kids show runs Friday through July 22 at Lionheart Theater, adapted from a more than 100-year-old church at 10 College Street, Norcross. Popularized song and dance numbers like "The Bear Necessities," are brought to life as endearing jungle characters tell Rudyard Kipling's classic tale. Tickets: 678-938-8518.

Michael Alpert for the AJC

Sugar Hill night with G-Braves upcoming

Sugar Hill Night with the Gwinnett Braves is 7:05 Saturday at Coolray Field, 2500 Buford Drive, Lawrenceville. The Atlanta Braves' Class AAA affiliate will play the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees in the second of eight games. Tickets:, offer code "Sugar Hill." Michael Alpert for the AJC

Sugar Hill movie series continues

"Hoodwinked Too" is next up in Sugar Hill's free family movie series, July 27 at Gary Pirkle Park, 6195 Austin Garner Road. Field Day games and other activities are at 6:30 p.m., followed by the movie at dusk. Information: Sugar Hill Recreation Department, 770-831-7413. Michael Alpert for the AJC

Sierra Club hosts green jobs discussion

Seth R. Gunning, conservation organizer for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, will discuss the emerging green jobs economy in Georgia at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Berkmar High School, 405 Pleasant Hill Road, Lilburn. Information: Dan Friedman, David Wickert

Buford to flush water lines, hydrants

Buford says discolored water should not pose a health risk while the city flushes its water distribution mains through August. Residents are advised to visually check water before use during those months of flushing, which also might cause pressure fluctuations. For information, contact city hall at 770-945-6761. Michael Alpert


Milton seeking exclusive designation

Milton's newly formed Community Wildlife Habitat Project Committee has begun meeting to seek designation as a National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat. Focused on getting sufficient areas designated as wildlife habitats by the Federation, the committee hopes Milton soon will join Johns Creek and Chamblee as Georgia's third city with such designation and the 61st nationally. Information:

Michael Alpert for the AJC

Fire services up for debate in Canton

The Canton City Council will consider creating a fire protection district at its meeting 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 151 Elizabeth St. The district would have the same boundaries as the city.The idea has drawn opposition. It would have the district collecting roughly the same amount in taxes as the city now collects for fire services. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Midsummer night's race in Alpharetta

An evening 5k race, followed by a block party and a free movie, will be held 7 p.m. Friday in Alpharetta. "A Midsummer Night's Mayor's Run & Fun" will raise money for Stand Up For Kids, North Fulton Community Charities, Habitat for Humanity and other charities. The fun run costs $25, followed by a Peachtree Road Race qualifier which costs $30. The raffle winner of two iPads will be announced after the race, and the movie "Mirror Mirror" starts at 9 p.m.on Milton Avenue. Information:

Johnny Edwards

Alpharetta parade upcoming

Alpharetta's 60th annual Old Soldiers Day Parade is at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 4 at City Hall, 2 South Main St. "Three Score and Forever More" is the theme of the parade that begins at Milton Avenue and Old Canton Street. The parade will feature marching bands, military units, floats, clowns and classic cars. Free hot dogs, soft drinks and family activities will be at the parade's end at the American Legion post, 201 Wills Road.

Michael Alpert for the AJC

Puppet series concludes in Roswell

"Hansel and Gretel" is the last of seven puppet and marionette shows in the Roswell Summer Puppet Series at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center at 950 Forrest St. Presented by Frisch Marionettes, daily shows are at 10 a.m. through Saturday, with additional 1 p.m. performances Wednesday and Friday. Cost: $5 for kids ages 2-12, $6 for adults. Puppet-making kits cost $4. Information: 770-594-6232,

Michael Alpert for the AJC

Night out against crime planned in Woodstock

The city of Woodstock will take part in the 29th annual National Night out Against Crime August 7. The 6 to 9 p.m. event at The Park at City Center downtown will feature local, state and federal agency representatives answering crime-related questions and doing demonstrations. Private sector vendors will also be on hand with a range of products and services. More info:

Mark Woolsey for the AJC


School board settles with whistle-blower

The Atlanta school board voted to settle a lawsuit with a former teacher who alleged she was fired after providing information about cheating to investigators. In July 2011, former APS teacher Tameka Butler-Grant filed perhaps the first lawsuit stemming from a state cheating investigation.

Butler-Grant claimed then-Dobbs Elementary School Principal Dana Evans got her fired after she provided information about cheating to investigators. In the suit, Butler-Grant asks for damages and that she get her job back.

The board settled the case for $20,000 jaime Sarrio

Tuition rates set for upcoming school year

Children who live outside the city of Atlanta but want to attend Atlanta Public Schools will pay $9,714 for the 2012-13 school year, according to rates approved recently.

Special education students will pay $19,793 plus costs for additional services based on needs. Evening high school rates were set at $982 per class for non-residents and $196 per class for residents over age 21.

Residents age 16-21 can take evening courses for free. Information: Jamie Sarrio

Man arrested in fatal shooting at gas station

Atlanta police have made an arrest in the shooting death of a man earlier this month at a gas station in northwest Atlanta.

James Stewart, 34, was arrested Monday and charged with murder in the July 3 shooting at the BP station in the 3200 block of Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones said Tuesday.

The victim, tentatively identified by police as Douglas Perry, was found shot multiple times inside a rental car parked at one of the gas pumps.

"Initial investigation revealed that the victim was getting into his vehicle to leave when a male approached him, spoke with him, and then shot him," Jones said.

Police have not revealed a motive for the slaying.

Stewart is being held in the Fulton County Jail.

Mike Morris


Suspicious package closes Memorial Drive

Memorial Drive in DeKalb was closed Tuesday morning as police investigated a suspicious package at a motel. According to Channel 2 Action News, a woman called 911 from the QuickTrip on Memorial and said she had left an explosive device at the Savannah Suites near the intersection of Rockbridge Road. Police found a package that matched the description. Police arrested the woman and the bomb squad determined that the package contained computer parts. Memorial Drive reopened after 10:30. Staff reports

Animals, county shelter focus of rally

A DeKalb County animal-welfare group that has been pushing for the county to improve conditions at its animal shelter rallied in front of government buildings Monday . Advocates for DeKalb Animals want the county to build a new shelter and change policies to reduce euthanasia. The rally began on Decatur Square and marched to CEO Burrell Ellis' Decatur office. Ellis was out of town Monday. Information: 404-461-9638 or April Hunt

Man found dead in house fire

A man was found dead in a house fire on Eula Circle in Doraville Monday night, Channel 2 Action News, reported.

The man, in his 80s, lived alone and was found dead as crews worked to put out the fire, authorities said. His name was not released. Fire officials believe the man was dead before they received the call. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Angel K. Brooks

Officer jailed over stolen property

A police captain was arrested Monday for allegedly having stolen property at her home Channel 2 Action News reported. Suzanne Kaulbach was taken into custody after a six-hour warrant application hearing in front of a Clayton County judge.

Investigators believe her partner's son and two other teenagers were responsible for the thefts. The officer said she didn't know the boat, two ATVs, a dirt bike and other items were stolen.

She was charged with theft by receiving stolen property. A county spokesperson said she is on leave. Staff reports

Manager fired who assaulted worker

DeKalb County will fire the supervisor who was accused of assaulting a worker during a confrontation in front of a customer. The county hired Eric Woods as its building development administrator in March, specifically to improve customer service. He was charged with simple assault for a May incident where he allegedly jabbed an employee. Interim planning director Gary Cornell began termination proceedings this week, sending Woods a registered letter to notify him he was being fired. Woods was a probationary employee and does not qualify for merit protection. April Hunt

DeKalb selling surplus land

DeKalb County will accept sealed bids on a .85-acre lot on Flat Shoals Road declared as surplus. The move is in line with the county's Revenue Enhancement Commission, which identified land as a revenue source. Property records show the land is valued at $6,600. April Hunt


Henry commissioners OK 2.75-mill increase

The Henry County Board of Commissioners voted Monday to approve an increase of 2.75 mills, bringing the county millage rate to 14.50.

This action came a little over a month after the approval of the FY2013 budget, which was increased to $115 million over the previous year's $112 million.

The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Brian Preston voting against. Chairman B.J. Mathis did not cast a vote.

Monroe Roark

"Friday Night Flicks" features "Grease"

The latest show in East Point's "Friday Night Flicks" is set for July 20. The classic movie musical "Grease" will be shown free at dusk in the Commons at 2757 East Point Street, across from the MARTA station.

Moviegoers are asked to bring blankets and chairs.

John Thompson for the AJC

Concert series starts Friday

Downtown Hapeville comes alive Friday nights this summer with live music and food vendors 7 - 11 p.m. in the Jess Lucas Park at 680 S. Central Ave. The summer's first show is Friday and features Hapeville native Tim Purcell, performing with his daughter, in the band the "Foxes & Fossils". The show is free. John Thompson for the AJC

Director receives economic certification

Barbra Coffee, College Park's Business and Economic Development Director, received certification as an Economic Development Finance Professional from the National Development Council. The certification is a professional credential given to individuals who successfully complete the council's intensive economic development finance training series.

John Thompson for the AJC

Residents oppose Cam Newton Drive

Several longtime residents of south Fulton's Scarborough Road are irked that the county wants to change their street name in honor of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who has family living there.

At a public hearing last week, neighbors said it would cost them money to change their personal records, and that Newton, age 23, is too young to have a thoroughfare named for him.

South Fulton Commissioner Bill Edwards said Newton is a Westlake High alumnus who "beat the odds," and if residents don't want Cam Newton Drive, the name will stay as is.

Another public hearing has been scheduled 6 p.m. Tuesday at the South Fulton Service Center, 5600 Stonewall Tell Road.

Johnny Edwards

Pools offer relief from summer heat

College Park's two city pools are a great source for summer fun.

The Conley pool offers open swimming, lessons, youth and adult swim periods, and is open Monday through Saturday.


John Thompson for the AJC