County by county news for Wednesday


Austell hires city-wide garbage collection service

Austell City Council voted Monday to hire a sanitation service, meaning residents no longer will be able to choose their own garbage service. Oct. 1 will be the start date at $9.15 per month to be provided by Republic Services of Georgia, the city’s recycling provider since 1994. The 21 sanitation collection companies now operating in the city will have to cease operations. Residents can opt out of the city’s service annually but would have to take their garbage to a landfill.

Information:, Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Mayor to give annual address

Smyrna Mayor max Bacon will give an annual state of city address 11:30 Thursday at the Smyrna Community Center, 200 Village Green Circle. He plans to talk about the city’s financial picture, projects that been completed during the last yea and city progress in terms of development and redevelopment.

The meeting is sponsored by the Smyrna Business Association and Smyrna Council of the Cobb Chamber.


Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Powder Springs City Hall closing early Friday

Powder Springs City Hall, 4484 Marietta St., will close at 3 p.m. Friday for maintenance.

The drive through will remain open until 5 p.m. for payments.

Also, phone calls to City Hall will be answered until 5 p.m.

Information:, 770-943-1666.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Kennesaw to hold SPLOST meeting

Kennesaw officials will talk about a city project list for the proposed 2016 SPLOST at a public meeting 6-8 p.m. today at the Ben Robertson Community Center, 2753 Watts Drive.

The list includes a splash park at Swift-Cantrell Park off Old Highway 41, a railroad overpass on Sardis Street and other road improvements.


Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Saturday walk to remember mill workers

A walk 9 a.m. Saturday from Brumby Hall, 500 Powder Springs St., to Atherton Square in downtown Marietta will remember Roswell and Sweetwater Mill workers.

More than 400 women and children were arrested 150 years ago and deported to Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.

Gen. William T. Sherman’s troops burned the mills used to make items for the Confederates and charged the workers with treason.


Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Austell mandates substance abuse training

Austell City Council members voted Monday to require mandatory substance abuse training for all city employees, including themselves.

At no cost to the city, the Aug. 6 training will be provided by Local Government Risk Management Services, Inc. at the city’s Threadmill Complex.


Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC


Gwinnett courts launch new website

The Gwinnett court system has launched a newly improved website at The easier to navigate site will provide online resources to help residents and visitors obtain information and conduct business with the courts. Visitors to the webpage can find information about the various courts, case information, court programs, jury service as well as deeds and land records. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Man hit, killed by train in Gwinnett

A man was struck and killed by a train overnight in Gwinnett County.

Channel 2 Action News reported that the incident happened at South Berkeley Lake Road and Freedom Lane near Norcross.

Police have not said why the unidentified man was on the tracks. Mike Morris

Third Annual Pet Adoption Explosion

The Gwinnett Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center continues the All-American Summer series of the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge with a Bone to Ride Motorcycle Ride 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 26 at the American Legion Post 233, 4635 Highway 78, Loganville.

Also the free Cars for Critters Mega Hot Rod and Car Show is 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the shelter, 684 Winder Highway, Lawrenceville.

Information: or 770-339-3200. Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Peachtree Corners address held twice

Mayor Mike Mason and the Peachtree Corners city council will present the State of the City address July 21.

The Peachtree Corners Business Association will host 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Atlanta Marriott Norcross, 475 Technology Parkway, Peachtree Corners.

Reservations: The United Peachtree Corners Civic Association will also host the event at 7:30 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 5575 Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners.


Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Night treks at center to learn about bugs

The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center is offering Night Treks: ‘Insects and Independence’ to learn about bugs, their homes and how our forest plants and animals depend on them for survival 8 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at 2020 Clean Water Drive in Buford. Fee: $6 child, $8 adult, $20 family. Registration:

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

2014 Snap Suwanee exhibit on display

Suwanee’s new 9 /11 memorial, other public art, parks, and events are featured in the 2014 Snap Suwanee photo exhibition display 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday at Suwanee City Hall, 330 Town Center Ave. Thirteen photographs by 10 different photographers were selected to be part of the exhibit on display through December. List of winners:

Karen Huppertz for the AJC


Forsyth schools schedules millage rate hearings

The Forsyth County Board of Education intends to keep the current millage rate at 16.30, rather than rolling back the rate to account for increasing property values. Homeowners whose property values have increased will have a tax increase, those whose property values have stayed the same will not see an increase. The board will hold meetings 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday and 5 p.m. July 17 at the Forsyth County Board of Education and Professional Development Center, 1120 Dahlonega Highway, Cumming before setting the 6 p.m. July 17. Emily Farlow

Holly Springs discusses millage rate

The Holly Springs City Council is opting for a “revenue neutral” millage rate plan for 2014. Council members agreed Monday on rolling back the current millage rate of 6 to 5.495, giving the city roughly the same amount of revenue. The rollback rate could change slightly, however, depending on results of pending property tax appeals. Final adoption of the millage levy is set for Aug. 18 with a public hearing planned Aug 4. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Milton fire offering home safety checks

The city of Milton Fire Rescue Department is offering free home fire and safety evaluations. Officials say department personnel will cover such topics as fire escape planning, smoke detectors, electrical and home safety and severe weather preparedness during the sessions. To schedule an evaluation or learn more:

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Forsyth parks director calls it a career

Longtime Forsyth County Parks and Director Jerry Kinsey has retired, and was recognized for his accomplishments at the July 3 Board of Commissioners meeting. Kinsey ran the park system for 29 years, overseeing an expansion from two parks totaling 30 acres to 23 parks and more than 2,600 acres. Major projects on his watch included the Miracle League Field, the Big Creek Greenway, a skate park and three recreation centers. Tommy Bruce has been named interim director. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Cosby meets petition signature deadline

Cherokee County tea party activist Carolyn Cosby met a Tuesday noon deadline for sub mitting petition signatures to win a spot on the November ballot. Cosby, who seeks to challenge incumbent Cherokee County Commission Chairman L.B. “Buzz” Ahrens as an independent, submitted 7,750 names, considerably more than the minimum 5,982 required. Election and registration officials now must verify the signatures. A spokesman for the office says that process should be done by Aug. 1. Cosby had qualified to run for the seat a few weeks ago. Mark Woolsey for the AJC

New farmers market underway

A new Northside farmers market has debuted. The East Roswell Farmers Market will run from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. each Thursday into October at 8560 Holcomb Bridge Road.

Information: 678-427-8251 or email

Mark Woolsey for the AJC


Code enforcement summit next month

The city of Atlanta is hosting a code enforcement summit for residents, 9 a.m. Aug. 16 at the Atlanta Civic Center, 395 Piedmont Ave.

The goal of the summit is to communicate and explain procedures involved in restoring distressed properties to an acceptable municipal code standard. Residents will also be informed on the importance of community involvement in reporting code concerns.

Registration for this workshop is requested. Participants who register for the summit will be able to report any code or zoning concern or inquire about any existing code violation.

Information: 404-330-6044.

Kent A. Miles for the AJC

‘Stop the Violence’ event at Woodruff Park

Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., will be a keynote speaker at the SCLC Stop the Violence and Incarceration Love Fest, noon July 19 at Woodruff Park, Peachtree Street, Atlanta.

The goal of the event is to empower young people to reach out to their peers through music and drama with a message of hope, inspiration and positive challenge. This year’s theme is “Celebrate Life!”

The family-focused event featuring performers, music, food and information booths is free and open to the public.

Information: or 404-839-6511. Kent A. Miles for the AJC

Free GWTW exhibit open through 2015

“Wilbur G. Kurtz: History in ‘Gone With the Wind’” is open through next year, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, at the Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW.

The free exhibit presents journals, correspondence, drawings and photographs of Kurtz, who guided the film’s production as historian and technical advisor.


Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC


Ethics complaint filed against commissioner

Lithonia resident Monica Parrott filed an ethics complaint against County Commission Kathie, saying Gannon’s assistant Michelle Walldorff bought gift cards during the Christmas season that Gannon used for her personal benefit.

There are now ethics complaints pending against all six county commissioners and Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May.

Gannon said the allegations are unfounded, and she said she has legitimate explanations for every expenditure in her budget.

Parrott also accuses Gannon of spending county money on attorneys to influence zoning decisions, and of buying votes through financial support of nonprofit organizations.

Mark Niesse

School board approves flat millage rate

The DeKalb County school board voted unanimously Monday to keep the same property tax rate as last year, which will boost revenue during the 2014-15 fiscal year because of increasing property values.

The school board voted 9-0 to set the millage rate at 23.98. A tax of 1 mill equals a levy of a tenth of a penny on each dollar of assessed valuation.Ty Tagami

Parents angered by teacher transfers

Staff changes at Southwest DeKalb High School have angered parents, with scores turning out to complain at Monday’s school board meeting.

The DeKalb County School District transferred the high school principal recently after several teachers complained openly about her management style at a school board meeting last fall. Now, some of those teachers have been transferred in “what looks to us like retaliation,” said Byron Merritt, the school’s PTSA president.

District spokesman Quinn Hudson said the teacher transfers were necessitated by a drop in student enrollment. He said the district could not comment about why the specific teachers were chosen because it was a personnel matter and therefore private. Ty Tagami

Hardware store closing surprises city

Decatur assistant city manager Lyn Menne admitted surprise when learning Monday Smith Ace Hardware on East College Avenue was closing for good.

Smith made the announcement on its Facebook page: “After 42 successful years [Smith] has closed its doors to allow the property to be developed.” The store was actually founded in 1938 by Harold Smith and originally located several blocks west on East College and South Columbia Drive.

Menne added she was unaware of any proposed development for the site. Bill Banks for the AJC

Stone Mountain historic commission to meet

The Stone Mountain Historic Preservation Commission will hold its next scheduled meeting Wednesday at City Hall, 922 Main St.

The commission meets on the second Wednesday of each month. Its purpose is to protect the historical, cultural and aesthetic heritage of the city. Owners seeking to make changes to their properties located in the historic district must get on the commission agenda at least two weeks prior to a meeting.

Information: Kent A. Miles for the AJC


Skateboarder killed on south Fulton road

A 19-year-old Fairburn man was struck and killed by a vehicle 12:30 a.m. Tuesday while reportedly skateboarding on Bethsaida Road near Brown Drive, according to Fulton County police.

Witnesses told investigators that the man was skateboarding “when he darted into the path of the vehicle driven by a 23-year-old local man.” The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office identified the man as Dwayne Desdunes, 19, of Fairburn.

The driver of the Chevrolet Suburban stayed on the scene, cooperating with investigators, and has not been charged. Mike Morris

Peachtree City police chief resigns

Peachtree City Police Chief H. C. “Skip” Clark has resiged effective July 31. Clark will be on leave until his departure date. City Clerk Betsy Tyler did not cite a reason for the resignation. City Manager Jim Pennington named Assistant Police Chief Will McCollom to serve as interim chief until a replacement is chosen. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Workshop to review traffic study

Peachtree City’s mayor and city council will hold a public workshop at 6:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall to begin reviewing results from the Ga. Highway 54 traffic study. The state Department of Transportation conducted the study to help determine solutions for increasingly heavy congestion at the city’s busiest intersection.

Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Dragon Boat teams, vendors wanted

The Peachtree City Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Rotary Club of Peachtree City are accepting applications for the International Festival and Rotary Dragon Boat Races taking place Sept. 27 at Lake McIntosh. Register at, with a discount by July 15. Artisans, performers, vendors: or 678-216-0282 or by Aug. 19. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Town hall meeting to focus on education

Henry County Commissioner Bruce Holmes’ next town hall is 9 a.m. July 26, at the Fairview Recreation Center, 35 Austin Road, Stockbridge. The meeting will focus on education. Guests include Superintendent Rodney Bowler, Henry County Chamber of Commerce education committee chair Toni Davis, Academy for Advanced Studies CEO John Uesseler, and Board of Education members-elect Donna McBride and Annette Edwards. Information:

Monroe Roark for the AJC

Queens Never Quit health walk in Riverdale

The Queens Never Quit Walk to promote health awareness and well being is 10 a.m. Saturday at Riverdale Regional Park, 904 Wilson Road, Riverdale.

The walk is dedicated to the memory of Dee Dee Cocheta Williams, a public relations and marketing professional who also dedicated her time to community and mentoring efforts. Williams died in January of breast cancer.

The Queens Never Quit Walk honors her legacy and celebrates her life. It is also a fundraiser for the Williams family, as they relocate from Portland, Ore., to Georgia.


Kent A. Miles for the AJC