County by county news for Wednesday


Windy Hill Road improvements underway

Cobb County officials on Monday celebrated the beginning of $48 million worth of improvements for a 2-mile stretch of Windy Hill Road, between Cobb Parkway and Powers Ferry Road.

The construction period will last more than 2 years along one of the most heavily-traveled corridors in the county. The improvements include a Diverging Diamond Interchange over Interstate 75, new medians, and pedestrian enhancements.

The project is scheduled for completion in 2017, and officials say they are necessary to enhance safety, improve traffic flow, and decrease congestion. Dan Klepal

Restaurant loses alcohol sales appeal

Kennesaw ‘s Trackside Grill lost its appeal Monday of a two-week suspension of alcohol sales starting this week. The City Council upheld the license review board’s suspension. The Main Street restaurant was one of 32 locations in the city charged with selling alcohol to minors in a state and city alcohol compliance check Aug. 25. An underage person working with the Georgia Department of Revenue purchased the alcohol during the sweep. Trackside was the only establishment to appeal. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Family violence commissioner named

The Georgia Commission on Family Violence has elected Holly Tuchman to lead the state organization. Tuchman is the CEO and executive director of the YWCA of Northwest Georgia based in Marietta. The commission’s outgoing chair Stephen Kelley noted Tuchman for her work with victims of family violence.

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

First responders to be honored Oct. 28

Local first responders will be thanked during the West Cobb Business Association luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 28 at Lost Mountain Baptist Church, 5400 Dallas Highway, Powder Springs.


Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Smyrna school to become dual campus

Starting next year, King Springs Elementary School on Reed Road, Smyrna will have a second campus. Special needs preschool, kindergarten and first grade students will move to the former Brown Elementary School two miles away. The new name wiill be King Springs Primary School. About 550 second through fifth grade students will remain at the King Springs school on Reed Road which will be the King Springs Intermediate School. The school currently has 868 students with a capacity of 558.

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Online registration open for Oct. 25 race

Registration is continuing for the Silver Comet Half Marathon and Marathon 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 25, starting from the Mable House Complex, 5239 Floyd Road, Mableton, using the Silver Comet Trail and ending at the Silver Comet Cycles Bike Depot.

Both of these USATF certified courses are qualifiers for the AJC Peachtree Road Race and the Boston Marathon.

Information:,, 404-422-2195. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC


Duluth landmark to be new BBQ franchise

The vacant, 1950’s era, 12,000 square foot dry and cold goods warehouse in downtown Duluth is about to undergo a partial demolition and redevelopment into a corporately owned Dreamland BBQ franchise restaurant. The structure is 185 feet long and 70 feet wide and was once the bustling center of distribution for Parson’s grocery, hardware, and retail stores. Goods from all over the US came to Duluth and were distributed by Parson’s. Dreamland is expected to open midyear 2015. Information: Chris McGahee, Economic Development Manager, at or 770-497-5309. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Lilburn rezoning creates subdivision

Following a public hearing last week, the Lilburn city council approved the rezoning of 1.1 acres from commercial to single family residential for a three-lot subdivision on Parkview Trace Pass, in accordance with protective covenants. The property is adjacent to a larger parcel to the east operating as Bailey’s Auto, a home-based auto repair garage. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Peachtree Corners to help businesses

Peachtree Corners launched a “Proud to Be Peachtree Corners” campaign to encourage residents and business owners to start using Peachtree Corners in their mailing address and on websites.

To assist with the address conversion, the city is offering businesses a reimbursement. The program ends Dec. 31.Information: Judy Putnam at Karen Huppertz

Braselton family history book debuts

A history of the Braselton family and development of the town is chronicled in a coffee table book. Friends of the Braselton-West Jackson Library will host author Joe Braselton Cook, grandson of one of the town’s founders, for a book signing 1 to 3 p.m. Friday at the Braselton Library, 15 Brassie Lane. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Partnership Gwinnett wins awards

The International Economic Development Council has awarded Partnership Gwinnett with its 2014 Award of Excellence today for its Global Business Outreach Efforts – Responding to Globalization in communities with populations greater than 500,000 and its Multi-Year Economic Development Program award for Partnership Gwinnett’s Community and Economic Development Initiative. Information: or Partnership Gwinnett at Huppertz

Enjoy fall color while picking up a little debris

Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful seeks volunteers to participate in the Luck Shoals Stream Walk and Cleanup 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday beginning at Smoketree Shopping Center, 4771 Britt Road in Norcross. The event, part of Gwinnett’s 15th Annual Great Days of Service is designed to help preserve and protect the county’s watersheds. Volunteers will pick up litter during the scenic four-hour “walk” along the Jackson Creek Watershed basin.

Registration: Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Alpharetta passes new food truck regulations

Food trucks face new regulations in Alpharetta. The Alpharetta City Council Monday night gave final approval to a series of amendments to its food truck ordinance, establishing specific morning and afternoon operating hours and limiting the vehicles from setting up shop in the same spot more than five times a month. The alterations also effectively eliminate trailers and pushcarts. City officials say the changes were prompted in part by some trucks constantly setting up in the same location.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Reinhardt getting NWS designation

The National Weather Service is poised to certify Reinhardt University in Waleska as a “StormReady University.” The NWS program begun in 1999 certifies communities and schools based on their meeting standards in weather data gathering capabilities,information processing and emergency protocols and community alerting systems. A certification and signage presentation is set for 10:30 a.m.Oct. 31 on the main campus in Waleska.Reinhardt will become the third institution of higher learning in Georgia to receive the designation.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Canton has new police chief

The city of Canton has a new police chief. Current assistant chief Mark Mitchell, who was hired from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office 18 months ago, will take over Jan.1. He will replace Robert Merchant, who is retiring to Seminole County, Florida after serving in the post since June of 2012. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Church plans shelter food drive

Action Church in Canton hosts “Feed the Need” food drive 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the church, 271 Marietta Road, Canton .They are looking to restock their warming shelter again this winter should the need arise. The church says it was the only such shelter in Cherokee County last winter. Non-perishable food and cash are being accepted. More information: 770-720-3715

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Cherokee teacher named to state council

Creekland Middle School language arts teacher Lindsay Bowley has been named to the state school superintendent’s teacher advisory council. The council is made up of award-winning and other teachers from across Georgia who meet twice annually to talk about how decisions made at the state level impact local teachers. Bowley is the 2013-2014 Cherokee County School District teacher of the year. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Student earns perfect ACT score

A junior at Sequoyah High School in Cherokee County earned a perfect score on the ACT college entrance and placement test. Mackenzie Joy is the daughter of William and Stephanie Joy. School officials say on average, fewer than one-tenth of 1 percent of students taking the test each year achieve the top composite score of 36. Only 1,407 of nearly 1.85 million test-takers in 2014 did so. The ACT measures proficiency in English,math, reading and science. Mark Woolsey


Motorist shot three times on I-85

A motorist was shot and wounded early Tuesday while driving along a northeast Atlanta interstate.

Atlanta police dispatchers received reports about 12:30 a.m. that as many as 20 shots were fired at a silver car along I-85 northbound near Piedmont Road.

Responding officers found the 30-year-old man inside a vehicle that was against the median wall with all airbags deployed, Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones said.

Jones said the car had been shot at least 10 times, with three of the bullets hitting the victim in the back.

The man, whose name has not been released, was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. His condition was not immediately available.

Jones said officers found a pistol under the right foot of the victim, who refused to provide any information about the incident. Mike Morris

Mercer admittedto research alliance

Mercer University is the newest member of the the Georgia Research Alliance, a nonprofit organization that receives public and private funding to boost university-based development.

Other members of the GRA include the University of Georgia, Georgia Regents University, Emory University, Clark Atlanta University, Georgia Tech, Morehouse School of Medicine and Georgia State University.

Janel Davis


Dunwoody receives funding for traffic

Dunwoody will receive $1,000,000 from the Georgia Department of Transportation to fund year three of the city’s Perimeter Traffic Operations Program.

The program, in partnership with GDOT, DeKalb County, Sandy Springs and the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, was created to monitor signal timing and improve traffic flow across multiple jurisdictions. Dunwoody is the project sponsor.

GDOT’s total funding commitment of $2.7 million for the first three years of the program required no local match.

Adrianne Murchison for the AJC

Renfroe construction to include trailers

Phase one of construction on Decatur’s Renfroe Middle School won’t begin until next spring at the earliest, but it will eventually include 30 modular units or trailers. Fifteen modulars will be added in August, 2015, and 15 more one year later, meaning that at its peak—most likely during the 2016-17 school year, Renfroe could have as many as 900 students taking classes in modulars.

First phase cost is $3 million, financed through COPS, although Renfroe’s total costs, as shown in four building options unveiled last week, range from $31.4 million to $45 million.

Bill Banks for the AJC

Doraville library hosts book sale

A large book sale will be held 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Doraville Library, 3748 Central Avenue.

The Friends of Dunwoody Library will host the sale in celebration of “National Friends of Libraries Week.” In addition to adult fiction and children’s books, the sale includes books on art, the Civil War, cooking, and home and garden. CDs and DVDs will also be sold.

Information: 770-936-3852.

Adrianne Murchison for the AJC

Watershed billing problems addressed

DeKalb County has implemented watershed billing changes to address the higher than average notices received by 5,640 customers.

Affected customers will receive notices of an upcoming bill audit. Thirty-five additional phone service representatives are scheduled to be in place by Oct. 31. And 60 satellite payment locations have been set-up in retail locations around the county.


Adrianne Murchison for the AJC

Federal grant to help curb youth violence

A federal grant totaling $357,000 will be distributed to City of Clarkston, DeKalb County Board of Health, and DeKalb County Government each year for the next three years through the Minority Youth Violence Prevention program.

The program is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health and the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Its mission is to address youth violence and increase access to public health.

DeKalb County is one of 10 areas nationally to receive the award to help curb youth violence.

A separate federal grant in the amount of $500,000 will be given to an organization that demonstrates tangible success in their efforts. Adrianne Murchison for the AJC


Missing Ellenwood man found safe in Ohio

A Clayton County man who had not been seen since 12:30 p.m. Sunday was found safe in Ohio, police said Tuesday.

Authorities were “extremely concerned” about Zeddi Jones, 77, “based on his medical history, need for medication, and current cancer treatment.” . Jones was last seen in the 3600 block of Jackson Lane in Ellenwood driving a blue Buick Park Avenue with Georgia tag PCB7481. Jones was found in good health after officers in Toledo learned he was missing. His family plans to travel to Ohio to pick him up and bring him home. Staff

Stabbing victim’s friend: Killer had help

The body of 61-year-old Gary Bussey of Augusta was found on Oct. 24, 2011 with multiple stab wounds in a home on Homestead Road in Rex. Bussey was in town for Morehouse homecoming festivities.

A day later, authorities arrested Chinua Plez in Broward County, Fla., in connection to Bussey’s death. Plez was 19 at the time of his arrest. Bussey’s body was found in the home of Plez’s mother, whom Bussey was dating at the time.

Plez now faces life in prison without parole, but Bussey’s best friend, Eric “Tiger” Turner said he believes Plez had help.

“I know the young man killed him, but he wasn’t by himself,” Turner said Monday, adding that Plez looked too small to move Bussey’s body.

“Somebody helped him get out of town,” Turner added. “Somebody made sure he had money to get out of town. Somebody kept him abreast of what was going on.”

Clayton County Senior Assistant District Attorney Jeff Gore told Channel 2 that Plez’s mother gave conflicting statements about her knowledge of her son’s whereabouts when he was missing, adding that she could face charges. Jon Gargis

Sandy Creek students launch book drive

Sandy Creek High School’s DECA chapter is sponsoring a book drive to promote children’s literacy. New or gently used children’s books can be dropped off at H. J. Wings & Things, 1158 Senoia Road in Tyrone, through Nov. 14.

The students will donate the books to Piedmont Fayette Hospital for use by young patients.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Fayette schools note Ebola precautions

The Fayette County public school system is assuring parents that adequate precautions against the Ebola virus are already in place. The county issued a statement Friday saying that regular student use of hand soap and sanitizer, plus routine building cleanings, are the same measures used to prevent other infectious diseases, including the flu. School nurses have been updated on Ebola symptoms, and new families registering in the county will be screened for recent travel to Ebola-affected areas.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Peachtree City duathlon canceled

The Powerman USA Duathlon scheduled for Nov. 8 in Peachtree City has been canceled. However, Powerman USA is working with the Peachtree City Convention and Visitors Bureau to reschedule the event for the fall of 2015.

All registered athletes for this year will receive a full refund.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

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