County by county news for Wednesday


Burning smell detected at Marietta hospital

A burning smell inside WellStar Windy Hill Hospital prompted Marietta firefighters to temporarily relocate people Tuesday morning. But no fire was found, and business was quickly back to normal at the facility.

Officials initially said a small fire was found inside the building. But investigators determined the smoke was the result of an electrical issue, according to Officer David Baldwin with Marietta police.

“A burning smell along with a report of possible smoke was all that was discovered,” Baldwin said in an emailed statement.

No injuries were reported.

Charity golf tournament for school

The first charity golf tournament for The SAE School in Mableton will be Oct. 13 at the Chapel Hills Golf Club, 3300 Golf Ridge Blvd., Douglasville.

Using no textbooks but Project-Based Learning, SAE is a preschool through twelfth-grade independent school, a federally recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Costs: $150 per golfer, $500 per foursome.


Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Powder Springs plans Monday hearings

Public hearings will be held by the Powder Springs Planning and Zoning Commission at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the city’s Council Chambers, 4488 Pineview Drive.

Members will consider applications by the city and/or Robert Odom to change the zoning for 3840 Broad St. and 3921 Murray St. and properties owned by the city on Lewis Road and/or Murray Avenue from LI (Light Industrial) to CBD (Central Business District)

The City Council is expected to hold public hearings on these matters at 7 p.m. on Oct. 6.

Anyone wishing to speak at a public hearing is required to disclose campaign contributions to the Community Development Department five days before the hearing.


Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Cobb seeks bids on Mableton town square

Electronic bids via Bid Express at and sealed bids will be received at Cobb County Purchasing, 100 Cherokee St., Suite 260, Marietta, GA 30090 until noon Oct. 9 to extend Walker Drive to Church Street and create a town square near the entrance to Mableton Elementary School, 5220 Church St.

A prebid conference date will be 10 a.m. Monday at the Cobb County Department of Transportation, 1890 County Services Parkway, Marietta.


Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Marietta High picked for national project

Marietta High School is one of five schools nationwide and the only school in Georgia taking part in a International Baccalaureate Organization project. The Marietta City Schools IB progam will receive $10,000 to increase the number and success rate of low-income students in the advanced studies classes. The Bridging the Gap grant will be used for online support, coaching and research. Information:

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Marietta High to receive $10,000 grant

Marietta High School is one of five schools nationwide and the only school in Georgia selected to take part in a International Baccalaureate Organization project. The Marietta City Schools IB progam will receive a$10,000 grant to find ways to increase the number and success rate of low-income students in the advanced studies classes. The Bridging the Gap grant will be used for online support, coaching and research. Information:

Tucker McQueen for the AJC


Georgia Gwinnett ribbon-cutting includes remarks by Governor Deal

Georgia Gwinnett College officially celebrated the completion of its Allied Health and Sciences building at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday featuring remarks by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby. The $30 million, 91,000-sq. ft. AHS building will house the college’s new baccalaureate program in nursing as well as serve students majoring or taking courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The nursing program is supported by a state-of-the-art simulation learning center with a central control room equipped with wireless technology for managing patient bed simulations. It also contains a 14-bed patient care/clinical practice laboratory resembling an intensive care unit, complete with a nurses’ station.

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Duluth planning a family RAYunion

Food Truck Friday in Duluth will mark a special event 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3 on the Town Green as the city kicks off a Ray Charles celebration. For the first time ever, Ray Charles’ children will gather, along with his many fans, to honor and commemorate the music and stories of the life they shared with their late father, at “A Family RAYunion”. The festivities include food trucks, family activities, and free live entertainment. The movie “Ray” will be the featured film at dusk. The celebration continues 8 to 10 p.m. at the Red Clay Theatre with celebrity artists. Tickets required for the VIP concert at Red Clay Theatre and the After Party Jam Session: or 404-478-2749.

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Anger management for youth

Gwinnett Human Services will offer a Certified Anger Management class for youth ages 12 to 24 on Saturdays at the Norcross Human Services Center, 5030 Georgia Belle Court. Classes held 10 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 27 for ages 12 – 14; Oct. 11 for ages 15 – 17; and Oct. 25 or Nov. 8 for ages 18 – 21 Cost: $25. Court ordered clients must complete assessment. Register: 678-467-0159 or

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Nutrition classes offered

Gwinnett Human Services is offering a free eight-week interactive Nutrition Certificate Program 12:30 to 2 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 3 to Nov.r 21 at the Buford Human Services Center, 2755 Sawnee Avenue in Buford. Learn to shop, save,

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Fire department graduates 22 recruits

On Thursday, The Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services recognized 22 recruits for completion of firefighter and emergency medical technician training. The class, completing over 1,300 hours of training, included three Eagle Scouts and two former Fire Explorer cadets. The class was the first to achieve a 100 percent pass rate on both the written and practical National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician exams. For a list of names:, select News, then Fire News Release. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Plan ahead for recycling, cleanup day

Norcross is hosting recycling and cleanup days 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Non-hazardous material may be dropped off at 345 Lively Ave. Document shredding will be available 9 a.m. to noon at City Hall, 65 Lawrenceville St. and electronics may be recycled 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Norcross Community Center, 10 College St. Information:

Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Woodstock changes holiday parade

Woodstock’s Christmas parade will travel a different route this year. The City Council Monday night approved parks head Preston Pooser’s plan to start and end at Woodstock Elementary School on Rope Mill Road, traveling Main Street and other downtown thorofares in between. Previously the parade had kicked off in the parking lot of the long-closed Wal-Mart near Ga. 92 and Main Street, headed downtown and finished at the school. Pooser told the Council that that route was no longer feasible with the closed site re-opening as a Sam’s Club.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Johns Creek approves 2015 budget

The Johns Creek City Council Monday night gave unanimous approval to the city’s fiscal year 2015 budget. Total expenditures amount to roughly $69. 4 million with the general fund coming in around $50 million. The budget includes some $4.6 million in capital projects spending, including money to replace numerous public safety vehicles and for several major street improvement projects. The Council earlier approved a property tax rate of 4.614 mills for 2014. The fiscal year begins Oct.1.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Sandy Springs working on arts center

Sandy Springs city officials want to hear ideas about how the city’s planned performing arts center could be used. They’re asking directors of arts and performing arts organizations, youth groups and business programmers to take part in an interactive design charrette Oct. 7 at Heritage Sandy Springs, 6110 Bluestone Road. The performing arts venue is part the City Center project. The development plan for it was approved by the City Council Sept. 2. Information:

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Home agency to get volunteer help

Members of the Atlanta Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management will partner with Atlanta-based non-profit Homestretch for a volunteer workday 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 26 at the Homestretch community on Millbrook Circle in Roswell.

Volunteers will repair and improve the homes and garden area.

Homestretch offers long-term housing, training and mentoring help to North Fulton’s homeless. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Canton warns of parking enforcement

Canton Police Chief Robert Merchant is warning that, following a grace period, timed downtown parking restrictions will be enforced/ticketed again Oct. 1.

They had been suspended for roughly the past year. Downtown businesses had pressed for the re-emphasis, upset about long-term parkers in front of their establishments.

The restrictions along Main and North streets mostly limit parking to two hours.

Merchant says during August, 300 warning tickets were issued. After Oct. 1, fines will start at $10.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Church sets art exhibit

An opening reception 6 to 8 p.m. today at the Ventulett Gallery at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, 805 Mt. Vernon Highway NW, Atlanta will debut “Along the Way,” a painting and metalworks exhibit by Georgia artist Richard Jacobus.

It’s set to run until Oct. 23.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC


Southwest Atlanta shooting victim identified

The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office has identified a man shot and killed in southwest Atlanta Monday afternoon as Ishmael McGhee, 21, of Atlanta.

McGhee was shot around 5:30 p.m. Monday near the intersection of Athens and Dill avenues, and died later at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Channel 2 Action News reported that witnesses told Atlanta police that the gunman got out of his car, talked to the victim, then opened fire.

Investigators do not believe the shooting was random.

Mike Morris

Law enforcement group holds panel

A panel discussion on the rate of incarceration of African Americans, the legalization of marijuana and a possible ban on menthol cigarettes will be held 9 a.m., Oct. 2 at the Hyatt Regency, 265 Peachtree St., NE, in downtown Atlanta.

The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executive, known as NOBLE, and 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc. will present the event. Former Congressman Kendrick Meek is moderator.

Information: 201-898-4407.

Adrianne Murchison for the AJC

Holocaust exhibit open at The King Center

A traveling exhibit from the Museum of Tolerance is at The King Center, 449 Auburn Ave. NE.

“Courage to Remember: The Holocaust 1933-1945” is open free 9 to 5 daily through Oct. 2.

More than 2 million visitors in 73 locations have viewed this exhibit.

Sponsors are the Foundation for California, SNCF / French National Railway and The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance.


Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC


Commission releases money for ethics investigations

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to release $97,000 in funding for the county Board of Ethics, which is handling a heavy caseload of complaints against elected officials.

The money will supplement the Board of Ethics’ $118,000 annual budget, and the funds will be used for investigations, legal counsel and administrative support.

The additional funding had been appropriated in the county’s mid-year budget, but the Commission withheld the money until the Board of Ethics made a proposal for how it would be spent.

The Commission voted 4-0 to release the money, and Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton didn’t cast a vote because she wanted further review of the proposal in committee.

Mark Niesse

Mayor promises annexation work session

Avondale Estates mayor Ed Rieker promised a specially-called work session next month for community discussion on annexation. His assurances came during an occasionally contentious commission meeting Monday when several residents complained about a “lack of transparency” regarding the issue. Rieker said the city’s “been discussing [annexation] the last five years,” including assimilation of the 250-home Forrest Hills neighborhood. But resident Lisa Shortell pointed out no plans have been published in a newsletter or city email. Rieker countered by saying a plan and map will almost certainly emerge from next month’s work session.

Bill Banks for the AJC

County reforms meeting set

A group of longtime residents will present their proposed reforms for DeKalb County government during a community meeting 6:30 p.m. Sept. 30, at Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, in Decatur.

The business and community leaders launched the citizen effort “Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb” last January. They have addressed ethics, procurement policies and inefficient operations in their proposed changes for DeKalb.

A public feedback option is available on the group’s website.


Adrianne Murchison for the AJC

Euramex to close on Avondale property

Although the 13 Avondale Estates acres once owned by Fenner Dunlop has been under contract since June, city manager Clai Brown recently confirmed the buyer, which is “close to closing,” is Euramex Management, which also purchased the 2.77-acres “erector set” property last month.

So far Euramex hasn’t released project details for either site, but Brown said the city’s expecting “quality mixed use” for both, though he admitted it might be “five years” before something gets built.

Bill Banks for the AJC


Construction slows Hwy. 74 traffic

Peachtree City is advising motorists that ongoing repaving of Ga. Hwy. 74 North is causing further traffic delays. The sensors at the affected traffic lights between Peachtree City and Tyrone have been removed, and the signals are now on timers during construction.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Fayette approves HD video units

The Fayette County Board of Education on Monday approved the purchase of new high-definition video systems for each high school and the central office. The seven units cost $15,048 each and will be paid for using SPLOST funds. They will be used for expanding course offerings and classroom instruction, and for more efficient employee training.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

“Hike & Like” at Line Creek

The Southern Conservation Trust will host a family-friendly “Like & Hike” event at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Line Creek Nature Area in Peachtree City. Activities include guided hikes, a treasure hunt and prizes for spotting unique species. A snake show starts at 3:30 p.m. See

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Hearings planned

on school closing

The Henry County Board of Education will host two public hearing on a proposal that would close McDonough Elementary School and convert its campus for the relocation of Patrick Henry Academy.

Elementary students would be dispersed to three other area elementary schools.

The proposed new district map has been released for a three-month public review and comment period. Public hearings are set for Oct. 21 and Nov. 3, with the final vote expected to come in December.


Monroe Roark for the AJC

Help with home repairs available

The Essential Home Repair Program provides assistance to Clayton County homeowners in need of help with roofing, health and air conditioning, electrical wiring, plumbing and limited modifications for disability issues. You must be a military veteran, at least 55 years old or disabled and you must have lived in the home that needs repair for at least a year to qualify. Details: 678-632-1670. Calls accepted 9 a.m.- noon only.

Tammy Joyner

College Park hosts arts festival

The Historic College Park Neighborhood Association Arts Festival will be held 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, outside Woodward Academy, 1662 Rugby Ave.

The 15th annual event includes paintings and crafts sold by emerging and experienced artists; and children’s activities.

Proceeds benefit Main Street Academy programs, Godby Road Youth Center art projects, Habitat for Humanity and other charities.


Adrianne Murchison for the AJC