County by county news for Wednesday


Cops: Man had no dentistry license

A 64-year-old Cobb County man is accused of practicing dentistry without a license and stealing the identities of two legitimate doctors, according to an arrest warrant obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Howard Duane Manders, of Marietta, turned himself in Friday afternoon, according to Cobb County jail records. He was arrested and charged with one count of unlawful practice of dentistry and two counts of identity fraud, all felonies. He was released the same day after posting $10,000 bond, booking records show. Alexis Stevens

Kennesaw man facing child porn charges

A 55-year-old Kennesaw man is facing federal charges of producing and possessing child pornography. Benjamin Sanders was arrested through a coordinated effort by the FBI and the Cobb County Police Department. After receiving information that Sanders had taken sexually explicit photos of a minor, Cobb police obtained a search warrant for his home, where police found computer hard drives that contained child pornography, U.S. Attorney Sally Yates said in a statement. Bill Rankin

Man struck by car faces charges

A Cobb County pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle last week and remained hospitalized Tuesday has been charged with jaywalking. Wilder Vicente-Vicente of Marietta was crossing Powder Springs Street at Chestnut Hill Road on Friday when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Nicholas Archer of Marietta. Archer, who was driving southbound on Power Springs Street, said he didn’t see Vicente-Vicente before striking the man around 10:22 p.m. Chris Seward

Farmers market to operate year round

The Marietta Square Farmers Market plans to operate year round Saturdays except for a break Christmas week. Starting Saturday Nov. 24, a holiday market will open 9 a.m. to noon on Mill Street off the Square through Dec. 22, and reopen Jan. 5. Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Public gardens offer beekeeping workshop

Smith Gilbert Gardens, the city of Kennesaw’s public gardens at 2382 Pine Mountain Road, will offer a seven-month workshop in beekeeping starting 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 1. Booger Hill Bee Company’s Dan Harris will cover hive construction, care of the hive and harvesting honey. Information: Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Powder Springs OKs water rate hikes

Powder Springs City Council members voted Monday to approve automatic water and sewer rate increases passed on to the city by the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority and sanitary sewer rate hikes by Cobb. The authority’s water rate increase will be 6 percent, beginning in January, but Cobb has not determined the sewer rate yet, said the city’s Public Works Director Greg Ramsey during Wednesday’s agenda meeting. In February, Mayor Patricia Vaughn said the city was losing $30,000 a month from absorbing annual increases from the authority and Cobb until the City Council voted in March to increase rates to make up the difference. Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC


Mom with child in car chareged with DUI

A Gwinnett County woman was arrested for the second time in a month early Sunday and charged with DUI. But in the most recent incident, the mother also had her 4-year-old daughter in the car, according to police. An officer pulled over Ashly Lashay Brown, 23, of Lawrenceville, around 1:31 a.m. Sunday after witnessing her driving erratically on Cruse Road, according to a police report. Brown was charged with DUI, child endangerment, failure to drive in a single lane, not having a tag light and not having a child in a safety seat, according to police. She was released later Sunday after posting $4,204 bond. Alexis Stevens

Holiday impacts garbage collection

Gwinnett County trash and recycling collection will be affected by the Thanksgiving holiday. Pickups scheduled for Thursday will be rescheduled for Friday, and Friday pickups will be rescheduled for Saturday. Only Thursday and Friday pickups will be affected.

In addition, Gwinnett County offices will be closed Thursday and Friday for the holiday. County offices will resume regular business hours on Monday. David Wickert

Road delays possible through Wednesday

City contractors continue work on Main Street, near the intersection of Rogers Bridge Road in Duluth, to remove trees for safety reasons. Residents are encouraged to use alternate routes to avoid traffic delays. Work should be completed by Wednesday, Nov. 21. Information: contact Duluth Public Works at 770-476-2454. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Breakfast with Santa returns

A much loved continental breakfast with Santa returns to the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 24 in the Superior Court Ballroom. Registration required by Wednesday by calling 770-822-5450 or at Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Sugar Hill City Hall preview canceled

Sugar Hill canceled planned tours of its new downtown city hall the night of its Dec. 1 Holiday Festival and tree lighting. Floors inside the $11 million hall at West Broad Street and Temple Drive won’t be installed in time.

The public’s first tours of the building now likely will be at the hall’s scheduled grand opening on Jan. 12 or 13. Michael Alpert for the AJC

Timeframe for Lilburn complex extended

Lilburn has given developers an additional year to bring a Big League Dreams baseball complex to 37 recently purchased acres near the corner of Indian Trail Road and Lawrenceville Highway, the site of the abandoned Jackson Creek Water Treatment Plant.

The complex would feature four fields — replicas of Major League Baseball’s Turner Field, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium — and two other fields.

Originally put to paper in 2010, the facility is expected to attract tournaments and enhance Lilburn’s economy. “Big League Dreams could be an economic game changer,” City Manager Bill Johnsa said. Michael Alpert for the AJC


County, cities fail to agree on divvying tax revenue

A last-ditch attempt to get Fulton County, Atlanta and 13 other cities to agree on how billions of dollars in 1-cent local option sales tax revenues should be returned to taxpayers over the next decade failed last week. County and city leaders remain too far apart on what percentage the county government should get of roughly $220 million per year, three mayors said. Unless an agreement is reached by the end of the month — which is unlikely — the distribution formula will be decided by a Superior Court judge from outside the county. Johnny Edwards

Milton set to open its first park Dec. 1

Milton will celebrate its sixth birthday by opening its first completed park at the annual Christmas in Crabapple celebration Dec. 1. The 1.8-acre, still-unnamed park, located at 12785 Birmingham Highway, features a small picnic pavilion, walking path, half-court basketball and a play field. The event runs from 2 to 5 p.m. and features free gifts for children, store promotions and family activities. The city will hold its fourth annual tree lighting at Webb Road and Ga. 9 at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 29. Patrick Fox

Holly Springs approves 2013 budget

The city of Holly Springs has approved an approximately $10.6 million budget for calendar 2013. The budget is more than $4 million higher than 2012, primarily due to an increase in the capital grants fund due to a Livable Centers Initiative grant which will fund streetscape improvements. The budget will be funded by a “revenue-neutral” millage rate of 9.449, adopted in September. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

North Georgia Art Ramble Dec. 8-9

Art galleries and studios in Canton, Cumming and Woodstock will be among those taking part in the North Georgia Art Ramble, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 8-9. The ramble is a free, self-guided tour of art ranging from the functional to the abstract. More information:

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Milton given environmental award

Milton received the Clean Air Campaign’s PACE award in recognition of its programs to reduce traffic and improve air quality. The city estimates it has removed 7,187 vehicle miles from roadways and avoided 3.59 tons of air pollution by residents having compressed work weeks, telecommuting and utilizing rapid transit. In addition to urging residents to carpool, the city plans to create reserved parking spots for carpools, van pools and alternate-energy vehicles. “(This strengthens) our efforts to provide to Milton residents the cleanest, greenest and most efficient local government possible,” Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Cindy Eade said. Michael Alpert for the AJC

Woodstock Friday Night Live event set

The Woodstock Downtown Development Authority invites the public to spend the first Friday of each month in downtown Woodstock and take in the restaurants and stores. Merchants will stay open late, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Information: 770-924-0406.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC


City water consumers to get refunds

Hounded by years of complaints about higher than normal water bills, the Atlanta City Council voted unanimously Monday to refund $7.5 million to more than 3,400 water customers.

The Department of Watershed Management will send refunds to 3,490 customers – roughly two percent of the city’s customers — who used irrigation meters to limit their sewage bills and were erroneously overbilled between July 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2010.

Full refunds, plus 7 percent interest and late fees, will be mailed to affected customers by Nov. 26. Customers can check whether they are eligible for refunds by calling 404-546-7363 or going to Ernie Suggs

Loaded gun at airport lands man in jail

A man allegedly attempting to go through an X-ray machine at the Atlanta airport with a loaded handgun was arrested early Saturday, according to police. Kelvin Jerome Simmons, 59, of Gainesville, was arrested and charged with carrying a weapon in an unauthorized location and booked into the Clayton County jail, booking records show. Simmons was released Sunday afternoon after posting bond. Simmons allegedly had a 25-caliber handgun, with six bullets in it, inside a carry-on bag at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, according to police. He was detained by TSA agents and arrested. Alexis Stevens

CAU schedules holiday concerts

In the spirit of the holiday season, Clark Atlanta University’s renowned Department of Music will present three musical concerts. The annual Christmas Concert is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27 and will be performed by the university’s Symphonic Band, under the baton of Thomas Warner. CAU’s Philharmonic Society will present “Songs of the Season: An Evening of Fine Dining and Holiday Music at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1 and “Christmas at Park Street” at 4 p.m. on Dec. 2. More details or call 404-880-8211. Nancy Badertscher


Court rejects suspension of lawyer

The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday rejected Decatur lawyer Ricardo Polk’s request to be suspended from practicing law for two years, sending the case back for further review.

A special master assigned to the case had recommended the court accept Polk’s voluntary request for discipline, stemming from findings Polk neglected three clients charged with driving offenses.

In rejecting the request, the court noted Polk had previously been suspended for three months for conduct involving multiple clients and said it had seen no proof Polk had paid restitution to one of those clients. Bill Rankin

Dunwoody police to tweet traffic updates

Residents of Dunwoody can follow the action of Black Friday on the streets from the comfort of home this year.

Dunwoody Police will tweet all calls through the entire day, beginning at 6 a.m., sharing traffic and crime information as it happens and allowing residents a glimpse into what its like to be a cop on the busiest shopping day of the year.

The tweets will be posted at DunwoodyPolice using hashtag #dpdcalls. Patrick Fox

Registration now for breakfast with Santa

Chamblee’s parks department is registering children for a breakfast with Santa to take place 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Dec. 8 at the Chamblee Civic Association, 3540 Broad St., Chamblee. For $5, children will receive breakfast and get their photo taken with St. Nick. Arts and crafts and live reindeer also will be on hand. Additional photos are available, for $5.

Registration is required. Information: 770-986-5016.

April Hunt

Group hopes to start diverse charter school

Parents and educators who hope to start a charter middle school that mixes autistic students with typical adolescents will meet with the public at a DeKalb County eatery Dec. 3.

The group wants to open Tapestry Public Charter School in 2014 as a middle school that grows into a high school. The plan is to offer smaller, multi-age classrooms with individualized educational plans and hands-on, sensory-based learning.

The founding board will elaborate at Napoleon’s Bar and Grill, 2836 Lavista Rd., from 7:30 - 9 p.m.


Ty Tagami

DeKalb chamber elects new board

The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce has elected six new business members to its board of directors.

The six will serve three-year terms in January and help set policy for the 74-year-old group.

Elected were John Berry, CEO of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul; Paul Jacxens, a director with Kaiser Permanente; Cornell McBride, president of McBride Research Labs; Martin Small, a senior vice president with State Bank & Trust; Matthew Shepard, a senior vice president with Delta Community Credit Union; and Greg Wilson, a vice president of CH2M Hill.


April Hunt


Youth group launches food drive

The Fulton County Youth Commission, a group of students selected to address community issues, has begun its “Can-Paign to Fight Hunger,” an annual canned foods collection competition that started in 2009. This year’s goal is to deliver 46 barrels of cans to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.Forty organizations are participating, including six schools, five businesses and the county’s police, fire, Sheriff’s, Solicitor General’s and Marshall’s departments. The deadline is Dec. 16. Information: 404-612-7386 or Johnny Edwards

Fulton school board adopts calendars

The Fulton County school board at last week’s meeting adopted calendars for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. The calendars include a short break in October and a full-week for Thanksgiving. Both also include a two-week holiday break in late December/early January as well as a weeklong spring break in April. Jeffry Scott

Tree lighting Dec. 6 at Piedmont Henry

Piedmont Henry Hospital will present its 10th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 6, on the hospital’s South lawn. There will be refreshments, hayrides with Santa music provided by local choirs including Piedmont Henry’s Employee Choir. Information:

Monroe Roark for the AJC

Henry schools program recognizes student

Amanda Berstler, a senior at Ola High School, is the most recent Student of the Month for the Henry County School System’s Work-Based Learning initiative. Berstler is employed at Delta Community Credit Union where she serves as a bank teller. Monroe Roark for the AJC

Holmes to host Christmas breakfast

District V Commissioner Bruce Holmes will host his 2nd Annual Community Appreciation Breakfast and Christmas Program at 9 a.m. Dec. 8, at the Hidden Valley Senior Center, 600 Spraggins Memorial Parkway in Stockbridge. The event is being billed as “a morning of fellowship and celebration in appreciation of the community for their support,” and will feature Christmas carols and breakfast sponsored by a local restaurant. Monroe Roark for the AJC

Peachtree City debuts golf cart ornament

The Peachtree City Convention & Visitors Bureau is getting the holidays rolling with the release of its 2012 Christmas ornament. The golf-cart themed collector’s item is available for $15 from either City Hall or the Peachtree City Visitors Center, 201 McIntosh Trail. See a photo at Jill Howard Church

Education survey seeks public input

Fayette students, parents and teachers are being asked to participate in an online survey regarding education issues. The Speak Up National Research Project will distribute the results to local school districts as well as to national and regional conferences and entities. The survey is open until Dec. 14 at; the access code is “fayette.”

Jill Howard Church for the AJC