County by county news for Wednesday


South Cobb Citizen of the Year chosen

Betty Ann Cook of Mableton was chosen this year’s South Cobb Citizen of the Year by the South Cobb Rotary Club and the South Cobb Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce during the awards luncheon on May 16 at the Presbyterian Village in Austell.

A graduate of Howard University and Atlanta University, Cook is the executive director for Outreach and Community Engagement of Chattahoochee Technical College.


Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Seniors and caregivers invited to info fair

Cobb Senior Services and the Senior Citizen Council will hold an informational fair for seniors and caregivers 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at Cobb Civic Center, 549 S. Marietta Parkway, Marietta.

Learn about elder law, assisted and independent living, Social Security, volunteering, Medicare and other topics.

Parking and admission is free.

Information: 770-528-1445 or 770-528-5381. Jaime Sarrio

Private school denied permit by commission

A private school was denied permission Tuesday to build a temporary campus in South Cobb near Smyrna.

The Cobb Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to deny The SAE School from receiving a special permit to build three one-story modular classroom buildings to serve about 300 students from prekindergarten through eighth grade.

Commissioners cited concerns about the location, which is close to several industrial businesses.


Jaime Sarrio

Assessments mailed to property owners

Cobb Board of Tax Assessors Friday mailed 230,000 annual assessment notices to notify Cobb residential property owners of their 2013 property values.

Property owners with questions should call 770-528-3100. The deadline to file an appeal is July 1. Jaime Sarrio

Powder Springs will buy police car

Powder Springs City Council members approved Monday the purchase of a 2013 Dodge Charger for the city’s police department.

The $23,900 will be paid by around $3,600 in drug seizure funds and $20,300 from the surplus sales of police vehicles and motorcycles, City Manager Brad Hulsey said.

The car will be used primarily by Police Chief Charles Sewell.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Marietta teacher picked for conference

Stormi Johnson, a third-grade teacher at the Marietta Center for Advanced Academics, was selected to attend this year’s Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy by the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics.

The program will help Johnson learn new ways to teach math and science.

The academy will take place at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey and is all-expense paid. Daarel Burnette II


Pleasant Hill Road at Interstate 85 to close

The Pleasant Hill overpass at I-85 will close 9 p.m. June 7 to 5 a.m. June 10 for conversion to a diverging diamond interchange, a modern interchange that switches traffic to the left, allowing smooth left turns onto the interstate. Right-hand-turn access to and from I-85 won’t be impacted, but motorists should take the planned detour of Pleasant Hill Road to Satellite Boulevard to Steve Reynolds Boulevard to Shackleford Road to Pleasant Hill Road, and the reverse. The project is expected to be substantially complete by September, with landscaping in the fall. Information: Michael Alpert for the AJC

Gwinnett names new fire chief

Casey Snyder has been named Gwinnett County’s new fire chief.

Snyder, a 24-year veteran of the county fire department, takes over for the retiring Bill Myers May 25. Gwinnett County Commissioners ratified Snyder’s contract Tuesday.

Snyder will be paid $135,000 a year along with a $320 monthly vehicle allowance. Dan Klepal

Project to raise money for officer’s family

Project LEO, a non-profit fundraising organization, is asking for donations to help the family of Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputy Oscar Batista, who died May 9.

Batista is survived by his wife and four children, ages 13, 5, 2 and six-weeks.

Project LEO is a 501(c)3 dedicated to providing support and assistance to officers and their families who are in need due to injury, bereavement or other hardship. All donations are tax-deductible and can be submitted through PayPal at

Information: Michelle Couch at 770-676-8924 or e-mail to or email Ken Stepp at Dan Klepal

Child car seat safety checks available

The Lilburn Police offer free child car seat safety checks 1 to 4 p.m. every Thursday at 76 Main St. in Lilburn.

Appointments can be made for other dates and times with Lt. Chris Dusik, 770-638-2185.

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Suwanee Day accepting applications

Exhibitor and entertainment applications are now being accepted for the 30th celebration of Suwanee Day on Sept. 21. The deadline for exhibitor applications is June 1. The deadline for entertainment applications is May 15. Exhibitors and entertainers are selected through a jury process. Applications are available at

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Duluth hosting photo contest

Submit your best photos to Duluth’s new Capture the Spirit of Good Living Photo Contest by 5 p.m. June 7.

Photos can include anything in Duluth from shops, events, parks, people, or historical sites. The winner’s photo will be featured on the cover of Duluth Life. Top photos will be hung in City Hall and potentially used in other promotional items.

Submission details: Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Woodstock Council takes look at budget

The Woodstock City Council held a public hearing and official review of the city’s proposed 2014 budget Monday night. The almost $33.8 million spending plan is a slight uptick from the amended $33.6 million 2013 budget. The plan includes a 3% cost of living adjustment for full-time employees and a limited number of new positions including two new police officers, and maintains the same millage rate as 2013 - 7.889 mills.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Comedy show in Roswell

Chicago’s legendary sketch comedy theatre, The Best of The Second City will feature sketches, songs, and improvisations from The Second City’s 52-year history 8 p.m. Friday at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 850 Forrest Street, Roswell.

Tickets are $30.


Andria Simmons

Constitution subject of Roswell lecture

Jack Ferguson will present his lecture, “Georgia Signers of the Constitution” at Barrington Hall in Roswell on May 29.

The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and Ferguson will begin his presentation at 7 p.m. Complimentary light refreshments will be served.

Admission is $5. Seating is limited and most lectures fill up quickly. Call 770-640-3855 to make a reservation or for information. Andria Simmons

Canton considers raises for officials

The Canton City Council is again considering pay raises for elected officials, after Mayor Gene Hobgood vetoed the idea several months ago.

The plan, which cleared first reading earlier this month, would raise City Council members pay to $8,000 annually, and the Mayor’s salary to $10,000, from $2,100 and $3,000 respectively. Second reading on the plan is scheduled for late June.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Forsyth to consider moving students

The Forsyth County Board of Education considers a proposal Thursday night to relieve overcrowding at Midway Elementary School, redistricting almost 200 current students to Big Creek and Vickery Creek elementary schools in the fall.

Without it, district officials say Midway will be more than 300 students over building capacity for the 2013-2014 school year.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Alpharetta students focus on history

Fourth and fifth graders at Alpharetta Elementary School hosted a Living Wax Museum last week. Students chose an important historical figure that they learned about during the school year.

Students were expected to research, write and memorize a one- to two-minute speech about that person. They also had to create a costume to display at the museum.

Parents, teachers and students were invited to visit the museum to learn more about historical figures. Nancy Badertscher


High school student reports sexual assault

A female student at North Atlanta High School reported being sexually assaulted on May 8 by another student during the school day, according to a letter sent to parents Monday.

Principal Howard Taylor’s letter said the Atlanta Police Department is investigating the matter. No criminal charges have been filed and no arrest has been made. Mark Niesse

Council passes gun range ordinance

The Atlanta City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Monday requiring in-town shooting ranges to maintain an 800-foot distance from residential homes, churches, libraries and hospitals.

Michael Halbreich, who plans to open the intown Stoddard’s Range & Guns, may be grandfathered in under previous law as he says his application to the city was complete prior to the council’s vote.

His range would be the only public shooting range within city limits. Katie Leslie

Phipps to become new chief judge

Judge Herbert E. Phipps will become the new chief judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals on July 1, the court said.

Phipps, a former Superior Court judge in Albany, was appointed to the appellate court bench by Gov. Roy Barnes in 1999. Phipps will be sworn into his new position on June 25. He will succeed Chief Judge John Ellington and serve a term of two years. Bill Rankin

Council clears way for downtown Ferris wheel

The City Council on Monday voted unanimously to provide an encroachment for a right of way that would allow a 20-story Ferris wheel to be built in downtown Atlanta.

A private company is building the Ferris wheel, which would be next to The Tabernacle on Luckie and Nassau streets. But because the massive structure would extend over 23 feet on to both streets, the council had to approve the encroachment.

The Ferris wheel, which has previously been housed in Paris and Pensacola, could open as early as June. Ernie Suggs


Road extension open for businesses

A $26.4 million extension of Lithonia Industrial Boulevard has opened in eastern DeKalb County.

The work to extend the boulevard from Rogers Lake Road to Rock Chapel Road included creating four lanes of traffic, building a new bridge over Swift Creek and adding sidewalks on both sides.

The work is designed to boost economic development in the area, surrounded by industrial parks and warehouses.

April Hunt

Officials to discuss district direction

DeKalb County schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond will speak Thursday evening at a meeting of the Northlake Community Alliance.

Speakers include school board vice chairman Jim McMahan and board member Karen Carter. They’ll discuss what the board is doing to get the district “back on track and on top,” according to an NCA announcement.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m., in the back lot building at Briarlake Baptist Church, 3715 LaVista Road.

Ty Tagami

DeKalb adds 26 police officers

The DeKalb County Police Department recently swore in 26 new officers to its force.

The addition brings the department to 922 sworn members. New officers receive their badges after a 26-week academy training program. They also must complete an additional 12 weeks of field training while on the road.

April Hunt

YMCA expansion put on hold

Decatur’s commission temporarily halted a planned renovation for the Decatur Family YMCA, its first since 1992. The Y wants to renovate its entire building while constructing an additional 3500 square feet on the second floor and adding 41 parking spaces. The new parking includes tearing down two homes on adjoining Maediris Drive, which the commission rejected, asking the Y to revise its master plan without the home removal. Mayor Jim Baskett said, “We will protect our neighborhoods. “We aren’t going to stand for institutional creep.”

Bill Banks for the AJC

Tucker becomes new DeKalb CID

The DeKalb County Commission recently approved Tucker as the county’s newest community improvement district.

Properties inside the district have agreed to self-tax to fund CID operations such as roadway improvements and landscaping.

The boundaries follow along LaVista Road, Lawrenceville Highway and Hugh Howell Road between I-285 and Mountain Industrial Boulevard.

The new district bumps up against the existing Stone Mountain CID. DeKalb also is home to Perimeter CID in Dunwoody.

April Hunt

Jewish genetic disease screening offered

Genetic counseling and screenings for Jewish genetic diseases offered 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. June 2 at MJCCA at Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody.

Information: Sandra Bass, or 678-812-3798. Sandra Marshall Murray


New visitor center open in Peachtree City

The Peachtree City Convention & Visitors Bureau has opened a newly renovated and expanded Visitors Center. Located at 201 McIntosh Trail next to the Frederick Brown, Jr. Amphitheater, the center offers details about city history, area attractions, the local film industry and city-related merchandise. It is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.


Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Hampton PD to teach gun safety class

The Hampton Police Department is conducting a six-hour firearms safety course taught by certified law enforcement instructors from the Hampton Police Department.

The first class is scheduled for June 22.

Completion of class is required for citizens to utilize the department’s firing range. Participants must be at least 21 years of age, have no felony convictions, and pass a criminal background check. Space is limited and priority will be given to Hampton residents.

Participants must bring their unloaded handgun, 50 rounds of ammunition and eye and ear protection.


Monroe Roark for the AJC

Fayette schools consider new budget

The Fayette County Board of Education took the first step toward adopting a 2013-14 budget Monday night. The proposed balanced budget of $162,091,679 has a projected $11.5 million fund balance as a hedge against unexpected expenses or revenue shortfalls. The board will hold at least one workshop to discuss the budget before voting on it in June.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Days added back to Fayette calendar

Fayette County will restore three instructional days to its 2013-14 school calendar to bring the total back up to 180 days. Budget cuts prompted a reduced schedule this past year. The change shortens the February winter break to a five-day weekend in order for the school year to still end before Memorial Day.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Fayette textbooks available for review

The Fayette County Public School System is about to adopt new textbooks for all grade levels of math and for Advanced Placement Spanish.

A briefing about the books was given to the Board of Education May 13, and sample texts are available for public review at the BOE office at 210 Stonewall Ave. West in Fayetteville through June 17.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Free stroke assessments this week

In observance of National Stroke Awareness Month, Piedmont Henry Hospital will provide free blood pressure screenings and stroke risk assessments from 1 to 5 p.m. May 23 at the Walmart on Hudson Bridge Road in Stockbridge.

Information: 678-604-1040 or

Monroe Roark for the AJC