County by county news for Wednesday


Leader accused of stealing from Girl Scout troop

A former Cobb County woman is accused of stealing money from a Girl Scout troop.

Mary Greer, previously of Acworth, allegedly made 41 transactions totaling $1,432.39 using the bank account for Troop 12436 while serving as the group’s leader, according to an arrest warrant.The alleged thefts occurred between January 2012 and June of this year, Greer’s arrest warrant states.

As of Nov. 5 when the warrant was issued, Greer had not returned any portion of the money, according to the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office. Alexis Stevens

Marietta taking school choice applications

Marietta City Schools is accepting applications through Jan. 17 for its elementary school students interested in the Choice Academy Program. The program at the district’s eight elementary schools offers a different area of learning at each school. Students can choose a school that fits their interests, including communications, arts, science and math, literacy and leadership. Information:

Tucker McQueen for the AJC

Austell Museum grand opening on Thursday

The grand opening and open house of Austell’s new museum will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at the city’s Threadmill Complex, 5000 Austell Powder Springs Road, Suite 102.

William Johnson, the museum’s curator, was awarded a plaque by Mayor Joe Jerkins and the City Council during their Nov. 4 meeting, thanking Johnson for his efforts in preparing the space near the central lobby.


Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Native American Heritage program on Wednesday

Native American Heritage Month will be observed at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the South Cobb Regional Library, 805 Clay Road, Mableton.

Stories and cultural information will be shared in this free program for ages 5 and up.

Information: 678-398-5828.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Powder Springs police cars sell online

Powder Springs officials are selling two 2005 Ford Crown Victoria police vehicles on through 9 p.m. Thursday.

Both have nearly new batteries, and they have mileages of around 100,000 and nearly 139,000.

Bidding registration is free.

These items may be seen by typing “Powder Springs” in the search box.

Carolyn Cunningham for the AJC

Smyrna to hold development meetings

Smyrna will hold three public meetings before the council considers annexing and rezoning almost 82 acres at Riverview Road and Nichols Drive for a $300 million mixed-use development on the Chattahoochee River. A Smyrna Business Association meeting will be at noon Thursday, Smyrna Community Center, 200 Village Green.

A Ward 7 town hall meeting will be 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Whitefield Academy, Whitefield Road, Smyrna.

A public hearing will also be held 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 before the council vote at City Hall, 2800 King St. Tucker McQueen for the AJC


Suspect in party shooting has criminal record

The man accused of killing a woman and injuring another at a child’s birthday party has a criminal history that includes state prison and family violence complaints, records show. Ohave Whitfield, 40, has been charged with murder and aggravated assault for the Sunday shooting that killed a 53-year-old woman and wounded her daughter, police said. At presstime, Whitfield remained on the loose and could be headed out of state. Alicia Johnson died in her Lawrenceville-area home when shots were fired during a birthday party. Johnson’s daughter, Dana Johnson, 31, also was shot and transported to the hospital. Alexis Stevens

Lilburn to relocate Public Works

Lilburn will move its Public Works Department to 4428 Lilburn Industrial Way, opening up property across from City Park for future development. The $715,000 project will be fully funded by 2009 SPLOST funds. The industrial zoning allows for outdoor storage, and the fenced property allows for more secure storage of vehicles impounded by the police. The existing public works building on Railroad Avenue will be disassembled and then used for additional parking in Old Town until another use is determined. Information: 770-921-2211 or Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Braselton Council honors citizens

The Town Council of Braselton and Mayor Bill Orr recognized Zac Schuetz for carrying the Flame of Hope during the opening ceremonies of the Georgia Special Olympics fall games. In addition, Braselton’s Municipal Court Clerk, Dawn Farris, was recognized for being named Clerk of the Year by the Georgia Municipal Court Clerks Council.

Graduates of the Braselton Citizens Academy, Amy Pinnell, Jim Huff, Cindy Green, Lee Yarrell, Cheri Windham Huff, Mike Braselton and Peggy Kriegel and Patrick Lee were recognized and commended for the multi-week, municipal-education course.

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Final public meeting to review Norcross plan

The last of three interactive public workshops to update Norcross’s Comprehensive Plan is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at Norcross Community Center, 10 College St.

Input will help shape the program and 5-year action plan. Community members are also encouraged to participate in a survey being carried out to support the Comprehensive Plan Update at

An Open House to present the draft plan is tentatively scheduled for February. Information: Chris McCrary 770-421-2027 or

Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Riverside Elementary names new principal

At a special called meeting on last week, the Gwinnett County school board named Benjamin Pope as the new principal of Riverside Elementary, it was announced Friday. Pope fills the position currently held by Craig Barlow who is transitioning into his new job as assistant superintendent of elementary schools. Pope is currently assistant principal at Hull Middle. Nancy Badertscher


Cherokee arrests two teens for robbery

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office has made arrests in the armed robbery of two teens in the Bridgemill subdivision Sunday. The 15-year-old boys say a 14-year-old lured them into some woods as they played basketball in a park, and a hooded, masked, gun-toting male robbed them of cash and a hammock. Caden Adams, 18, and the 14-year-old face robbery charges. Authorities recovered an air soft pistol believed used in the stickup.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Nature center asking residents to take a hike

The Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell is inviting you to come out Sunday from noon-5 p.m.-with your waking shoes.

In conjunction with National Take a Hike Day, the center will offer guided naturalist hikes at 1 and 3 p.m., as well as a scavenger hunt and prizes for tramping the trails.

The center’s at 9135 Willeo Road. Info:

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Forsyth schools to offer STEM info session

Forsyth County Schools will hold an information session at 6 p.m. Thursday in the East Campus Cafeteria at Forsyth Central High School, 520 Tribble Gap Road, Cumming, for eighth grade parents and students interested in the STEM Academy for 2014-15. The academy opened at the school in August of 2011 and focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Cherokee ethics group seeks new member

The Cherokee County Board of Ethics is looking to fill a vacancy immediately. Prospective candidates should be Cherokee County residents and Democratic Party members.

The position opened up when the incumbent moved outside the county, and the term expires in January of 2016.


Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Creek cleanup planned in Canton

Rivers Alive is seeking volunteers to clean up a stretch of Canton Creek from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Friday.

Volunteers should meet at Harmon Field, 226 Harmon Circle, Canton. Participants will be asked to sign a waiver and parents must accompany kids under 18.

Information: 770-883-7996 Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Road work set on Cherokee highways

The Georgia Department of Transportation has awarded a $4.1 million contract for safety improvements to Ga. 20 and Ga. 140 in Cherokee County.

The project will include improving signage and pavement markings on both highways, guardrails and edge line/centerline rumble strip installations.

Work is set to be complete by the end of June 2014, but no start date has been set.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC


Task force to review MLK’s old school

The Atlanta Board of Education voted Monday to form a task force to decide what to do about the old building that was once Martin Luther King Jr.’s elementary school.

The group will evaluate options for the future of David T. Howard School, which has been closed since 1976.

Parents have said they’re concerned that the building, located in the city’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, could be demolished. Mark Niesse

Officials and techies host ‘Govathon’

City officials and techies are tackling municipal problems 6 p.m. Friday through 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the old council chambers at Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue.

“Govathan,” The 24-hour event brings together officials from city departments, Invest Atlanta, Startup Atlanta, and Atlanta Public Schools with technologists, developers and designers to develop websites and mobile apps to help address issues like crime-tracking and parking solutions. Free.

Information: Katie Leslie

CAU hosts healthcare forum

Clark Atlanta University’s cancer research center will host, “Prostate Cancer in African-American Men: Biology vs. Lifestyle,” a free healthcare town hall 1 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Robert W. Woodruff Library, Studio A (lower level), 111 James P. Brawley Drive, S.W.

Information: 404-880-6878; Janel Davis

Coalition to sponsor World Diabetes Day

The Diabetes Community Action Coalition of Fulton County will host Take One Step to Stop Diabetes, a free World Diabetes Day event, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Washington Park Branch Library, 1116 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Attendees will learn ways to prevent Type 2 diabetes, including how to “dance away diabetes” with Zumba.

Information: 740-807-1054.

Veronica Fields Johnson


Annual “Tree of Love” kicks off Saturday

The annual charity effort to make the Christmas season better for disadvantaged kids in DeKalb County kicks off noon Saturday at South Dekalb Mall 2801 Candler Road.

The Tree of Love program creates wish lists for holiday gifts for low-income children as well as those in foster care. Residents can select names from the tree, to help make sure the children have something to open for the holidays.

All gifts due back by Dec. 14.

Information: 404-964-4936.

April Hunt

Longtime bookstore to close this year

Books Again, one of metro Atlanta’s last used and rare book stores, specializing in modern first editions and southern literature, will close by the end of this year.

Owner Jim Adams, who opened the store across from Decatur High in 2000, said he’ll remain active as an online-only shop.

The physical store will close, he added, “depending on how quickly the inventory and fixtures are sold.”

Books Again has been distinctive for both its upwards 30,000 books and its shop cats Octavo and Eric. Bill Banks for the AJC

DeKalb seeks new bond ratings

DeKalb County’s interim CEO Lee May, as well as commissioners Larry Johnson and Sharon Barnes Sutton, recently met with bond-rating agencies in New York City to discuss the county’s finances.

The agencies downgraded the county’s ratings in 2011, which increased borrowing costs. Rates have since held stable. But officials hope the increase in county reserve accounts – to about $30 million, or just under the $40 million that covers a month of county expenses - will translate into higher bond ratings.

That in turn would mean lower interest rates and lower borrowing costs.

The agencies are expected to issue their rankings by year’s end. April Hunt

Merriss: ‘We will be very diligent’

Regarding DeKalb County’s failure to assimilate re-districting changes to Decatur’s election map, city manager Peggy Merriss said the city will “confirm” maps with DeKalb before future elections.

She believed Decatur did “due diligence” before last week’s school board election when DeKalb discovered it was using an outdated map, but added, “We will be very diligent with them in the future.”

The old map was also used in last March’s special election when Scott Drake defeated Greg Coleson 539 to 525 for city commission.

Both Merriss and Drake said Tuesday they were unaware of any voting irregularities with that election. Bill Banks for the AJC

Chamblee seeks input for town center

Chamblee will host a meeting 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Chamblee Civic Center, 3540 Broad Street to gather public input for its town center and 10-year-plan.

A Livable Centers Initiative grant is helping to fund the study, which will focus on development, walkability and transportation.

Information: 770-986-5010 x. 223. April Hunt


College Park kicks off reporting campaign

College Park officials say that “If You See Something, Say Something.” It’s a new campaign urging city employees and the public to report such infrastructure issues as utility line problems, potholes, broken sidewalks and code enforcement issues. City Manager Terrence Moore says the campaign stems from a power line issue left unaddressed. To report problems: 404-669-3756 normal business hours, 404-766-3618 other times.

Mark Woolsey for the AJC

Peachtree City boards need volunteers

Three municipal boards in Peachtree City have vacancies for volunteers. The Recreation & Special Events Advisory Board and the Airport Authority each need one new member and one alternate; the Convention & Visitors Bureau needs three members and one alternate from local business and hotel/motel companies. Information: through Dec. 6. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Fayette promotes black pet adoptions

The Fayette County Humane Society is offering pet adoption specials as part of the national “Back in Black” event during November. Adoption fees will be reduced for black or mostly black cats and dogs, who are often the least chosen. Fees include vaccinations and spay/neuter; see for details. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Two finalists for Henry superintendent

Two finalists have been named in the search for Henry County’s next schools superintendent: Rodney Bowler, assistant superintendent for administrative services with Henry County Schools; and Dr. Vickie Perdue Scott, vice president for academic affairs and strategic learning partnerships with HighPoints Learning. The Board of Education is expected to make its selection Dec. 4. The current superintendent, Dr. Ethan Hildreth, is retiring in the spring. Information:

Monroe Roark for the AJC

Fayette seeks education feedback

Parents of students in Fayette County public schools are being asked to complete the online Georgia Parent Survey, which asks brief questions about the quality of a school’s climate regarding discipline, respect and learning environment.

The anonymous responses will help the Georgia Department of Education rate school districts. Information: by Jan. 31. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Fulton commissioner hosts meeting

Fulton County District 7 Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards will hold a quarterly Community Listening Session at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at the South Service Center, 5600 Stonewall Tell Road, College Park.

The public’s invited to give feedback on services in unincorporated South Fulton County.

Staff will be on hand to answer question and follow up on inquiries. Mark Woolsey for the AJC