County by county news for Wednesday

Powder Spring to decide on indoor gun range

The Powder Springs City Council will decide Nov. 7 whether to approve an indoor gun range.

The city’s planning and zoning commission voted Monday night to recommend its approval. City Council members also will consider during that 7 p.m. meeting whether to allow this and other commercial recreation facilities -- such as skate parks, batting cages and miniature golf -- in mixed-use areas. Bert and Kristina Brown of Lakeside Guns, LLC would open the $3 million recreational/educational facility on the northeast corner of Sterlingbrooke Drive at U.S. 278. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Austell cancels Halloween festival

Austell city officials have canceled their Halloween festival at Legion Park for the third consecutive year. In 2009, the park was destroyed by the September flood. Last year, the park still was under renovation.

This year, the city does not have the $45,000 needed to pay for the festival, Mayor Joe Jerkins said Monday. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Kennesaw to discuss community garden

Kennesaw officials will talk about a proposed community garden at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Ben Robertson Community Center, 2753 Watts Drive. The 2.5-acre garden on Cherokee Street will have room for residents to garden and also Kennesaw State University to grow produce for its dining services and charitable donations. Fountain Gate Life and Wellness, Inc., a counseling center adjacent to the property, reached an agreement this summer to lease the land to the university’s Culinary and Hospitality Services. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Race to benefit Police Athletic League

A Haunted Hustle 5K and Graveyard Scramble 1 mile race Saturday will benefit the city of Marietta’s Police Athletic League. The 5K starts at 5 p.m. and the 1 mile at 6 p.m. with a Tot Trot at 6:15 p.m. Races start at Southern Polytechnic State University, 1100 S. Marietta Parkway, and end on the campus of Life University. Fees are $10 to $20 by Thursday’s registration deadline. Information: Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Domestic violence vigil on Thursday

The YWCA of Northwest Georgia will hold a vigil from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Glover Park on the Marietta Square to remember victims of domestic violence. The Marietta-based program has the only domestic violence program in Cobb. The event is also sponsored by the Cobb District Attorney’s and Solicitor General’s offices and the Marietta and Roswell chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Grant-writing workshop on Wednesday

The Cobb Community Collaborative is announcing a workshop on team grant-writing. Today’s event, dubbed “Inter-Agency Collaboration,” will explore the National Sub-award Model Agreement Form, and partnering to maximize skillsets while writing, monitoring and closing grants. It also will cover risks and auditing.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the event runs to 11:30 a.m., at the Mansour Center, 995 Roswell St. NE, Marietta. Information: Ty Tagami


Design finished for Suwanee substation

Atlanta-based architecture studio Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh & Associates has completed the design of a new police substation for Suwanee. Construction begins later this year on the 7,100 square foot facility, which will serve as a a training facility with indoor firearms practice. Featuring clean lines in brick and a lofty glazed entrance, the structure will complement the new city hall building at Suwanee Town Center. The new substation will be located at 2996 Lawrenceville Suwanee Road. Completion is scheduled for fall 2012. Mea Watkins

Halloween party for kids with disabilities

Gwinnett County will sponsor a Halloween celebration for young children with cognitive disabilities from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at Rhodes Jordan Community Park Community Recreation Center, 100 E. Crogan St., Lawrenceville.

The price of admission is one bag of individually wrapped candy. The event is open to children age 12 and under. Pre-registration is encouraged. To register, call 770-822-5414. David Wickert

SPCA hosts dog and cat costume contest

The Georgia SPCA will host a dog and cat Halloween costume contest from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the SPCA office at 1175 Buford Highway, Suwanee.

The event also will feature a costume parade, food and drinks. The cost is $5 for the costume contest and the parade is free. Proceeds will benefit the SPCA. David Wickert

Gwinnett Habitat to hold talent show

Supporters of Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity are invited to the eighth-annual St. Matthew’s Talent Show and Ice Cream Social on Sunday.

The show is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church at 1520 Oak Road in Snellville.

Suggested donations of $10 for an individual and $25 for a family will be collected at the door. Information: Joel Anderson

Hope Clinic to hold awards ceremony Nov. 4

The nonprofit Hope Clinic will host its annual Circle of Hope Awards at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, 2020 Clean Water Drive, Buford.

This year’s honorees include Romeo Massoud, Stephen Salmieri, Jennifer A. Curtis, Richard S. Reagin and Nicholas A. Tiliakos. The event is open to the public. To buy tickets, contact Jessica Geller at 770-685-1300. David Wickert

Girls volleyball team sets campus record

The girl’s volleyball team at Greater Atlanta Christian School is competing in their state division’s final four after setting a campus record.

The Lady Spartan volleyball team, coached by Kristy Shelton, broke the school record for wins in a season, 40-4.

The team faces a semi-final match against Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School at 7 p.m. tonight at Athens Academy in the State AA/A Final Four.

The winner will advance to the state championship match at 11 a.m. Saturday at Marietta High School. D. Aileen Dodd


Alpharetta man sentenced for obstruction

The head of an Alpharetta mortgage brokerage firm has been sentenced to nine months of time served in federal prison for conspiring to obstruct justice in a sexual harassment lawsuit, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. James Prefanis, 46, who served as chief executive officer of AME Financial Corp., was about to be sued by a female employee in 2007 when he got another employee to sign a false statement on his behalf, prosecutors said. The false statement was later filed in the litigation and Prefanis later testified falsely under oath about it, prosecutors said. Bill Rankin

National recognition for Fulton academy

Fulton Science Academy Middle School of Alpharetta is celebrating its recognition as a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School.

The charter school will be hosting a National Blue Ribbon School Award celebration at 1 p.m. on Nov. 2. The school, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, was recognized for its growth in student achievement. Fulton Science Academy is Georgia’s first charter school to become a National Blue Ribbon winner. D. Aileen Dodd

Breast cancer event in Sandy Springs Thursday

Fulton County Health and Wellness will hold another breast cancer awareness event on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Fulton Government Service Center, 7741 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Attendees can get free clinical breast exams, along with diabetes and HIV screenings.

According to the department, women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam, as part of a regular exam by a health expert, preferably every 3 years. Women 40 and older should have a mammogram every year. Information: 404-730-1682 or

Johnny Edwards

von Grey to perform at Nature Center Nov. 5

Local musical group von Grey will appear at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell on Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. The four classically trained sisters will entertain guests with their “new grass” sound. General admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for children 3-12 and free for children 2 and under and members. Information: or 770-992-2055 ext. 224. Sandra Marshall Murray

Halloween crafts for kids in Sandy Springs

The Sandy Springs Library will offer Halloween craft-making for children after school today , providing materials to make decorations and greeting cards. “On Your Own Halloween Craft” is for children ages 3 and older, and runs from 2 to 6 p.m. in the storytime room at 395 Mt. Vernon Highway.

Information: 404-303-6130. Johnny Edwards

After-school Halloween fun for kids

After school on Thursday, children can create and decorate Halloween-themed, paper fortune teller games at the Alpharetta Library. “Trick or Treat Fortune Teller Craft for Kids” starts at 4:30 p.m. at 238 Canton Street.

The session is limited to 20 children, and is for ages 8 to 11. It requires the use of scissors. Reservations: 770-740-2425. Johnny Edwards


Man gets life sentence for killing wife

An Atlanta man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife with a gunshot to the back of her head, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said.

Orlando Smith, 41, was convicted at trial for the May 25, 2010, killing of Demetria Smith, 47, at the couple’s home on Delowe Drive in southwest Atlanta. When Demetria Smith was fatally shot, her hands were bound and a sock had been stuffed in her mouth. Bill Rankin

Volunteers to give supplies to homeless

Volunteers from The Magic Ribbon will meet at 5:45 p.m. today to distribute food, clothing and hygiene items to Atlanta’s homeless. The group will meet in the Kmart parking lot near Cleveland Avenue, at Exit 241 off 1-75 South. For information: 770-367-8504. Laurie Hoffman

Scholarship fair to be on Nov. 3

The Scholarship Academy, a local nonprofit scholarship preparatory program, will hold the “I am College Material” Scholarship Fair from 4-8 p.m. Nov. 3 at Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Ave, Atlanta, 30303. The event is designed to educate low and middle-income students about the private scholarship application process. Contact: Jessica Johnson, 404.-521-9603 or Jaime Sarrio

Domestic violence conference on Thursday

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will join area officials Thursday in a roundtable on engaging men in stopping violence against women. Scheduled to attend are HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Ed Jennings Jr.; Department of Education Deputy Director of Regional Operations Dennis Bega; Health and Human Services Deputy Regional Health Administrator Sharon Ricks, and the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence Director of Public Policy Allison P. Smith.

The event will be at Morehouse College’s executive conference center, 830 Westview Drive S.W., Atlanta. For information: 404-562-7907. Laurie Hoffman


Dispatcher named Operator of the Year

Barbara Carstarphen, a dispatcher with DeKalb County’s 911 system, has been named 2011 Operator of the Year by the Association of Public Safety Communication Officials.

Carstarphen was honored dedication to the job, having never missed a day of work in 2010 while fighting breast cancer for the second time.

Carstarphan has worked in emergency communications for 12 years. April Hunt

Newspaper exhibit at history center

Members of The Great Speckled Bird, an underground newspaper in the region between 1968 and 1976, will give a tour and exhibit of the paper in several upcoming events at the DeKalb History Center.

The paper reached a circulation of 22,000 at its peak, making it the most widely read weekly in Georgia at the time.

The tour and exhibit are $5 for center members and $10 for non-members. Tours will be held Saturday, Nov. 5 and Nov. 12. Information: 404-373-1088, ext. 22 or April Hunt

County to host neighborhood summit

DeKalb County will host a neighborhood summit and green expo for residents and businesses later this month.

The summit features workshops and resources available from the county for everyone. The expo will have local green businesses demonstrating eco-friendly products and services.

Activities run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, at Decatur High School on North McDonough Street. Information: 404-371-3689 or April Hunt

Decatur school committees to meet

Decatur schools superintendent Phyllis Edwards said that four committees, comprised of teachers, principals and parents, will hold their first meetings this week. Each revolves around themes of immediate and sometimes controversial concerns. The bell schedule committee will study which start/end times work best for the high and middle schools. Other committees will examine Decatur’s escalating enrollment, transportation and engagement, or the correct protocol for handling community input. Edwards said she hopes each will begin offering definitive recommendations in December. Bill Banks for the AJC

Avondale Estates mayor: Developers interested

Avondale Estates mayor Ed Rieker said Monday he’s received “quite a few calls from developers over the last seven months” expressing interest in city property. Avondale Estates has 18.43 acres, or 37 percent of the city’s total property, sitting empty or undeveloped. Rieker said he believes “something could happen in the next six months,” though he wouldn’t specify. The 13.14 acres formerly owned by Fenner Dunlop is for sale, but the 5.29 downtown acres are owned by Century Retail, which has been in bankruptcy proceedings since last fall. Bill Banks for the AJC

Superintendent to meet with parents Nov. 3

DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson will meet with parents next month for a discussion.

Her parent roundtable is at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 at Stephenson High School, 701 Stephenson Road, Stone Mountain. Ty Tagami


Session to help first-time homebuyers

Fulton’s Housing and Community Development Office will hold an information session today for first-time homebuyers, telling them about two programs that can help make purchases possible. The workshop, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., is at the West End branch library, 525 Peeples St., S.W., Atlanta. The Home Ownership Program provides up to $10,000 toward down payments and closing costs. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program can provide deferred-payment second mortgages of up $25,000. Information: 404-612-8077. Johnny Edwards

Starr’s Mill senior wins Cancer Society award

Starr’s Mill High School senior Meghan Wilson has won the American Cancer Society’s Outstanding Student Leadership Award for Georgia.

Wilson is a childhood leukemia survivor who has raised more than $115,000 for Relay for Life, for which she is a Fayette County ambassador. She will be honored at the Fayette County Relay for Life kickoff at Peachtree City’s Falcon Field airport on Nov. 15. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Elite Scholars teacher wins $1,000 grant

Elite Scholars Academy eighth-grade teacher Andrew Hoang is among Georgia’s best and brightest new teachers. In addition to being named among the state’s top teachers the Clayton County educator got a $1,000 New Teacher Assistance grant from Georgia Power.

A graduate of Clayton State University, Hoang can use the grant to buy books, educational materials, computers and other supplies. Tammy Joyner

Forest Park wins round over adult clubs

Forest Park has won the latest round in its ongoing saga with two Clayton County adult clubs. The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the town’s ordinances on adult entertainment are constitutional, dismissing an appeal by the owner of the Pink Pony South and Crazy Horse Saloon.

The clubs started as strip joints but after legal rows with Forest Park officials, it sold food and alcohol.

But city officials believe the clubs still offer nude dancing and recently went after the clubs’ liquor licenses. A hearing on the liquor license will reconvene next month. Tammy Joyner

Halloween fun at The Fred on Saturday

An afternoon of spooky storytelling and family fun is set for Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Frederick Brown, Jr. Amphitheater in Peachtree City. The “Not-So-Frightful” Halloween party will feature puppeteer David Stephens, a costume contest, trick-or-treating and vendor booths. Admission is free.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Henry rec department holds photo contest

The Henry County Parks and Recreation Department is sponsoring a photography contest with more than $400 in cash prizes and a chance to be featured in the 2012 HCPRD calendar.

There are three categories: Sports & Action; Nature & Wildlife; and People, Pets, and Play. Deadline is Saturday . Visit for rules and a copy of the entry form. Monroe Roark for the AJC