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Cobb schools stonewall parents over sex abuse concerns

Cobb schools stonewall parents over sex abuse concerns

Cobb County School District officials are refusing to answer questions about whether the district has updated its safety policies after a parent volunteer with Pope High School’s wrestling program was convicted of sexually abusing boys.  In February, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that two mothers and a young wrestler informed Pope officials and local authorities of inappropriate...
 DeKalb ready to chose firm for SPLOST program management

 DeKalb ready to chose firm for SPLOST program management

The company expected to be hired to manage SPLOST projects in DeKalb County has done similar work in Gwinnett, Cobb and Douglas counties. Moreland Altobelli Associates, LLC scored the highest number of points during the evaluation process and beat out two other bidders: Atkins North America and a join venture between CBRE Heery, Inc. and H.J. Russell & Company.  The DeKalb Board of...
MARTA to keep $1 fare on the Atlanta Streetcar, beef up security

MARTA to keep $1 fare on the Atlanta Streetcar, beef up security

MARTA will keep the $1 fare to ride the Atlanta Streetcar when it takes over the troubled downtown transit line July 1. MARTA Police Chief Wanda Dunham told the agency’s Board of Director’s Friday the fare is needed to allow officers to enforce a “no loitering” rule and to ensure patrons feel safe aboard the streetcar. Some customers have complained they feel unsafe because...
Lawsuit: Mistaken identity lands woman in Gwinnett jail for 2 days

Lawsuit: Mistaken identity lands woman in Gwinnett jail for 2 days

Jessica Ellison’s nightmare began with a broken tail light and a case of mistaken identity. It ended with two days in the Gwinnett County jail, a worried family and a lost job — and now a lawsuit. “This reads as the script for some kind of dark comedy, where your protagonist cannot get anything to go right,” Ellison’s attorney, Nathan Lock, said. Lock filed a lawsuit...
Police ready to enforce Georgia’s new distracted driving law

Police ready to enforce Georgia’s new distracted driving law

If you want a hair-raising glimpse of the crazy things we do while driving, talk to a cop. They’ve seen us reading books and newspapers while speeding down the highway. They’ve seen us putting on make-up or eating off plates in our laps behind the wheel. Mostly, they’ve see us with our hands and eyes glued to our phones – talking, texting, messaging and all the other ways we...
Reality Winner to take a plea deal in NSA leak case

Reality Winner to take a plea deal in NSA leak case

After a year of duking it out in federal court over allegations that she leaked top-secret government intelligence, former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner has agreed to a plea deal. “I do know that she has always been ready and willing to accept responsibility for any wrongdoing, and that she will accept the consequences,” her mother, Billie Winner-Davis, told The Atlanta-Journal...
Fulton County hires former AG Olens to help solve property tax dispute

Fulton County hires former AG Olens to help solve property tax dispute

Fulton County will hire former Attorney General Sam Olens to help solve a dispute with the state Department of Revenue that has delayed the approval of the county’s 2017 tax digest. Dick Anderson, Fulton’s county manager, said the county is “trying to find a middle ground” with the Department of Revenue and he think Olens will be able to help with that effort. Last summer,...
Cobb coach convicted of child sex abuse facing extradition to GA

Cobb coach convicted of child sex abuse facing extradition to GA

A former Life University wrestling coach who pleaded guilty to child sex abuse in Pennsylvania now faces extradition to Georgia on similar charges. Ron Gorman was indicted by a Cobb grand jury Thursday on two counts of aggravated child molestation.  The charges stem from his abuse of a boy from Pennsylvania at his home in Cobb.  Gorman has already been convicted and sentenced to 40 years...
Thurmond mid-year budget celebrates increased revenue, property tax cuts in DeKalb

Thurmond mid-year budget celebrates increased revenue, property tax cuts in DeKalb

Rising property values caused DeKalb County tax revenue to increase beyond initial projection, and CEO Mike Thurmond wants to put the extra money toward reserves. The county’s rainy day fund would increase $14 million to $89 million, according to the mid-year budget that CEO Mike Thurmond presented on Tuesday. The Board of Commissioners must sign off on any adjustments. In addition to heralding...
Cobb joins national opioid suit against pharmacies, drug makers

Cobb joins national opioid suit against pharmacies, drug makers

Cobb has joined hundreds of other counties nationwide in filing legal action against pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies over their alleged role in fueling the opioid epidemic. Cobb has seen a massive spike in overdose deaths over the past three years, far above that of any other county in the Atlanta region. The lawsuit names more than 30 defendants, including household name brands like...
Fulton County advertises potential for higher property taxes

Fulton County advertises potential for higher property taxes

Fulton County commissioners want to be clear: they’re not seeking a windfall from higher property values released this spring. But they may be raising property taxes. County commissioners on Wednesday agreed to advertise a tax increase and hold three public hearings, as is required by law. They’re advertising the same tax rate as 2017 — 10.38 mills — but because property values...
Steakhouse holiday party for Mayor Reed, cabinet cost taxpayers $8,100

Steakhouse holiday party for Mayor Reed, cabinet cost taxpayers $8,100

Kasim Reed faced a bank of television cameras Dec. 18, as the outgoing mayor answered hard questions about why he was largely silent during an embarrassing power outage that shut down Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport the previous weekend. Later that Monday evening, there were no TV cameras present as Reed relaxed with his executive staff at one of Buckhead’s most expensive steakhouses...
Attorney general says DeKalb pay raise vote was illegal

Attorney general says DeKalb pay raise vote was illegal

Georgia’s attorney general said the DeKalb Board of Commissioners’ vote to give themselves 60-percent raises violated the state’s open meeting law, but it’s too late to undo it. Because the 90-day window to contest the vote itself has passed, the pay raises cannot be reversed by the courts, Attorney General Christopher Carr wrote. They are scheduled to go into effect in...
Fulton County advertises property tax increase, but doesn’t set rate

Fulton County advertises property tax increase, but doesn’t set rate

Fulton County commissioners plan to advertise a potential property tax increase, but whether or not one will go into effect depends on how many people appeal their 2018 property values. The county government’s tax rate will not be higher than it was in 2017 — 10.38 mills — and county commissioners made it clear they weren’t seeking a windfall from higher property values. But...
Backers of Eagle’s Landing cityhood ramping up informational push

Backers of Eagle’s Landing cityhood ramping up informational push

With less than six months to go until election day, supporters of cityhood for Eagle’s Landing are ramping up efforts to get voters behind their cause. Vikki Consiglio, a leading voice in the cityhood movement, said supporters are visiting the neighborhoods that would make up the proposed city and holding monthly meetings. Thursday, an information session is planned for residents of Villages...
When does Gwinnett need to decide if it’ll have a transit referendum?

When does Gwinnett need to decide if it’ll have a transit referendum?

Thanks to key legislation adopted earlier this year, Gwinnett County officials now have the option of calling a referendum on local transit expansion as early as this fall. When, exactly, they need to decide if they wants to add such a referendum to November’s ballot has been the subject of plenty of confusion. But Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said the facts are pretty straightforward...
Brookhaven zoning overhaul is ready for review

Brookhaven zoning overhaul is ready for review

A draft copy of Brookhaven’s zoning overhaul is now ready for residents’ feedback, and a series of public meetings have been scheduled. The 190-page document will guide city leaders on everything from approving new housing developments to what kind of changes will be allowed along Buford Highway and other high-traffic business districts. Along with consultants, a steering committee...
Despite challenge, Leadership DeKalb appoints Lake to Ethics Board

Despite challenge, Leadership DeKalb appoints Lake to Ethics Board

Leadership DeKalb has appointed attorney Sheri Lake to the Board of Ethics despite a court ruling that community organizations like this should not have such power. Lake is a family law attorney and partner in the Smith & Lake law firm. Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson ruled last year that all seven board members should be appointed by elected officials and not outside groups...
‘Get a mount, get used to it’: How to prep for hands-free driving law

‘Get a mount, get used to it’: How to prep for hands-free driving law

Georgia’s new hands-free driving law is coming and coming soon, folks — it’s time to get ready.  “Get a mount, get used to it, get used to getting that phone out of your hands,” WSB Radio traffic reporter Mark McKay said. Gov. Nathan Deal signed the Hands-Free Georgia Act — which prohibits motorists from handling their cellphones while driving —...
Nightclubs argue Brookhaven liquor law discriminates

Nightclubs argue Brookhaven liquor law discriminates

The city of Brookhaven’s new liquor law is written in a way that penalize clubs catering to blacks and Latinos, an attorney representing three nightclubs argued in federal court on Tuesday. The three nightspots — Medusa Restaurant & Lounge, XS Restaurant and Lounge, and Josephine — were all told by the city that they now should be classified as entertainment venues and not restaurants...
Georgia to spend $100 million on Ga. 400 transit line

Georgia to spend $100 million on Ga. 400 transit line

Georgia officials Tuesday announced a major down payment on a transit expansion along Ga. 400 in north Fulton County. The state will spend $100 million over the next several years to build four new interchanges for commuter buses along a 16-mile stretch of the busy highway between I-285 and McFarland Parkway in Alpharetta. Many of the details – including where the interchanges will be built...
German industrial giant seeks Cobb tax breaks

German industrial giant seeks Cobb tax breaks

The mystery company seeking Cobb tax breaks in a proposed deal known as “Project Dashboard” was revealed Tuesday as the German industrial giant Thyssenkrupp. The company is considering locating a research and development facility in the Cumberland area of Cobb County. It could bring as many as 863 new jobs with an average annual salary of $100,000, according to Nelson Geter, the executive...
Attorney wants ex-Gwinnett cop’s traffic stop indictment tossed 

Attorney wants ex-Gwinnett cop’s traffic stop indictment tossed 

An attorney representing one of the now-former Gwinnett County police officers charged in a violent 2017 traffic stop  is trying to get the indictment against his client tossed. In attempting to get now-former Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni off the hook, attorney Mike Puglise is also challenging the law that places new restrictions on the grand jury privileges of Georgia law enforcement...
Henry, Clayton trying to coax human trafficking out of the shadows

Henry, Clayton trying to coax human trafficking out of the shadows

District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson is getting some help to make sure Clayton County doesn’t become a hub for human trafficking. The Clayton County Commission recently gave Lawson’s office a $300,000 bump so she can hire staff to focus on those types of crimes — a potential problem, she said, with Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in her backyard. The FBI has identified...
Five things to know about Cobb’s budget and the Braves stadium

Five things to know about Cobb’s budget and the Braves stadium

Cobb County is facing a multi-million dollar deficit for its 2019 budget. Several factors have put Cobb in its current fiscal situation, including costs related to SunTrust Park, which opened in Cobb County over a year ago. Here are five things to know about the situation: Cobb County’s budget for 2019 has a hole of at least $30 million as spending by the county government has far surpassed...
Peachtree City company warned about promoting unapproved drugs

Peachtree City company warned about promoting unapproved drugs

A Peachtree City company is the latest Georgia dietary supplement maker facing federal sanctions for unsubstantiated claims that their products can cure, treat, or prevent diseases. It is also the latest dietary supplement company targeted by federal authorities for promoting the use of products with microscopic amounts of silver, called colloidal silver, to ward off or treat a number of diseases...
Georgia Tech backs transportation innovations in Gwinnett, Chamblee

Georgia Tech backs transportation innovations in Gwinnett, Chamblee

Gwinnett County and the city of Chamblee were among the recent winners of a “smart communities challenge” led by Georgia Tech.  The communities will get seed funding and help from a Georgia Tech researcher for their winning projects, which involve exploring connected vehicle (Gwinnett County) and autonomous vehicle (Chamblee) technologies.  Gwinnett County’s project...
Judge upholds reduced alcohol hours in Chamblee

Judge upholds reduced alcohol hours in Chamblee

A federal judge Wednesday upheld a City of Chamblee law that limits alcohol serving hours in the face of a challenge by a local nightclub. Although Mansion Elan, the club in the suit, argued the law would unfairly harm their business and disproportionately impact minority residents, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Thrash allowed the law to stand while the lawsuit goes to a full trial. The ordinance...
Stockbridge fears Eagle’s Landing cityhood could lower property values

Stockbridge fears Eagle’s Landing cityhood could lower property values

If Eagle’s Landing becomes a city, it may be harder for Stockbridge to secure funding for capital projects, such as parks and roads. And it’s possible that property values in the diminished Henry County town could fall. That’s the assessment Stockbridge leaders relayed to residents Tuesday in an informational town hall meeting on the city’s future should Eagle’s Landing...
Cobb County faces long to-do list for transit expansion

Cobb County faces long to-do list for transit expansion

As Cobb County prepares for a possible transit expansion vote next year, it faces a long to-do list. It must complete a transit study and settle on a list of specific projects by the end of the year. It must get approval of that project list from a new regional board in early 2019. It must decide whether to call a countywide vote or limit transit expansion to a special district. And it must work to...
Audit: Atlanta paid millions in overtime and routinely blew budgets

Audit: Atlanta paid millions in overtime and routinely blew budgets

Overtime expenses at the city of Atlanta spiked in the closing years of Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration and ballooned to $54.2 million in the last full budget year of this term, an audit by the city’s auditor found. In fiscal year 2017 alone, overtime expenses exceeded budget by $34 million and overtime spending more than doubled over the five years examined by the audit. The Atlanta...
DeKalb tax roll grows by 11 percent in 2018

DeKalb tax roll grows by 11 percent in 2018

Rising property values in DeKalb County have led to a $3 billion increase in the gross digest of all taxable property, or about 11 percent. This means more property tax revenue. Although some growth was built into the 2018 budget approved by the Board of Commissioners in February, the latest numbers are about 7 percent higher than those projections. DeKalb CEO Mike Thurmond said later this week he...
DeKalb Commissioner Adams tearfully denies sexual harassment

DeKalb Commissioner Adams tearfully denies sexual harassment

Before it was DeKalb Commissioner Gregory Adams’ turn to give remarks at the end of Tuesday’s meeting, he listened quietly as his colleagues gave their usual spiels about community events and points of pride. When his time came, Adams lit into his critics and defended his record in a speech that was both angry and tearful. When he was done he stormed off stage. Adams’ speech centered...
Cobb postpones vote on naming park with Civil War earthworks

Cobb postpones vote on naming park with Civil War earthworks

A vote to name a new park in Mableton that contains Civil War earthworks was postponed Tuesday amid ongoing disagreement over how and whether the name should reference a Confederate general.  Mableton residents who spoke at a public meeting earlier this year overwhelmingly supported naming the tract Mableton Discovery Park. They said they wanted an inclusive, forward-looking name for a public...
DeKalb County: Entertainment industry has $2 billion economic impact

DeKalb County: Entertainment industry has $2 billion economic impact

A new report from the DeKalb Entertainment Commission says the total impact of the film, television, music and digital arts industry on the county is $1.98 billion. That amount reflects the jobs and income created directly and indirectly by these productions, as well as spending by employees within the county. Over the past five years, jobs directly tied to the industry have increased 12 percent...
Stockbridge man accused of threatening Eagle’s Landing cityhood backers

Stockbridge man accused of threatening Eagle’s Landing cityhood backers

A Stockbridge man has been arrested and charged with harassment and terroristic threatening after allegedly making death threats to members of a group fighting for cityhood for Eagle’s Landing. Coren Michael Randazzo, 49, was bound over to a grand jury hearing last week due to phone calls made at the end of March in which he is accused of threatening the lives of members of the Eagles Landing...
Cobb on hook for Wellstar legal fees in wrongful death suit

Cobb on hook for Wellstar legal fees in wrongful death suit

UPDATE: Cobb County Commissioners approved a $300,000 payout to Wellstar Health System Tuesday to cover its legal fees after the family of an inmate who died in hospital sued. Justin Graham, 25, was admitted to the Cobb County jail on May 18, 2006, for driving under the influence.  Several weeks later, on June 5, he was transferred to Wellstar Hospital in Austell with acute cirrhosis of the liver...
Brookhaven imposes moratorium on development along Buford Highway

Brookhaven imposes moratorium on development along Buford Highway

UPDATE: The moratorium was approved on Tuesday. Original story: The Brookhaven City Council is considering a six-month moratorium on land use permits along Buford Highway. The moratorium would halt development while the city completes a re-write of its zoning codes. During that time, no land use permits or land development petitions will be considered in that part of the city. Buford...
Things to do in DeKalb County on Fourth of July

Things to do in DeKalb County on Fourth of July

Looking for ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in DeKalb County? Here is a list of some things you can do, including where to find fireworks. Stone Mountain Park’s Fantastic Fourth Celebration is over 50 years old and widely regarded as one of the area’s biggest and best celebrations. But it’s not just one day. From July 1 through July 7, park guests can enjoy fireworks every...
New Birth holds first service after interim pastor steps down

New Birth holds first service after interim pastor steps down

As New Birth Missionary Baptist Church begins its search for a new pastor, Sunday’s guest preacher said finding a new leader means allowing the former one to rest in peace. Bishop Gary Oliver, pastor of the Tabernacle of Praise church in Fort Worth, Texas, was invited to preach following the resignation of interim senior pastor Bishop Stephen A. Davis. The Stonecrest church announced on...
As Atlanta repairs leaky pipe, service disruptions are possible

As Atlanta repairs leaky pipe, service disruptions are possible

Now that work crews’ repairs are underway at a damaged 36-inch water pipe in Atlanta, the city is warning nearby businesses that there could be service disruptions. The leak was discovered two weeks ago near the Hemphill Steam Pumping Station on 14th Street. It is close enough to critical facilities like hospitals and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport that they were encouraged...
Lake community pushes back on massive Fayetteville mixed-use project

Lake community pushes back on massive Fayetteville mixed-use project

A developer who wants to build a mixed-use project in Fayetteville with some of the same elements of the area’s much-hyped Pinewood Forest development is getting some pushback from residents. Neighbors of what would be Folio Crossroads — a 145-acre development with hundreds of homes, a boutique hotel, hiking trails and an urban farm — are objecting to the project. They say it&rsquo...
Lawyers for Pastner’s accusers cast doubt on evidence of sexual assault

Lawyers for Pastner’s accusers cast doubt on evidence of sexual assault

An Arizona man claimed to have one piece of irrefutable evidence that Georgia Tech men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner sexually assaulted his girlfriend: a T-shirt onto which the coach allegedly ejaculated. But on Friday, amid mounting indications that Pastner was the victim of an elaborate con, the man’s own lawyers suggested that the T-shirt may have never existed. Lawyers for Ron...
Fulton County ambulance service may change earlier than expected

Fulton County ambulance service may change earlier than expected

At the end of June, the current ambulance service provider for 200,000 people in the south part of Fulton County plans to step away. American Medical Response wanted to keep shuttling patients to area hospitals, but lost its bid to keep the service to Grady EMS, which promised faster emergency response times. The state Department of Public Health signed off on the decision May 29, giving Grady until...
Feds investigating death of MARTA contractor

Feds investigating death of MARTA contractor

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the death of a contractor on a MARTA rail line earlier this week. On Sunday night Robert Smith of Griffin, 38, was working on a rail line near Medical Center Station when he was struck by a northbound train. Smith, an employee of Cleveland Electric Co., was in his work vehicle at the time. MARTA has declined to provide details of the accident...
Cobb likely to adopt compromise name for park with Civil War earthworks

Cobb likely to adopt compromise name for park with Civil War earthworks

Months after Mableton residents and historic preservationists clashed over how to name a new park that contains Civil War earthworks, the two sides appear to have reached a compromise.  The Cobb Commission is slated to vote on naming the land “Mableton's Chattahoochee River Line Park.” Residents had wanted to name it Mableton Discovery Park. But Civil War enthusiasts said the...
Marietta firm accused of channel stuffing walks back its financials

Marietta firm accused of channel stuffing walks back its financials

A major shakeup at MiMedx has given further credence to ex-employees’ claims that the Marietta-based biopharma company inflated revenues by overshipping its product to VA hospitals. Amid an internal investigation into “matters relating to certain sales and distribution practices and other matters,” the publicly-traded company announced Thursday that it must revise more than...
‘Dancing doctor’ called threat to public safety by state medical board

‘Dancing doctor’ called threat to public safety by state medical board

A day after Sherita Cox had a cosmetic makeover by Dr. Windell Davis-Boutte, she struggled to breathe and was bleeding from surgical incisions. Taken by ambulance to a hospital, she was found to have a collapsed lung and be suffering from anemia due to acute blood loss. Her case apparently pushed the Georgia Composite Medical Board to finally take action against the Gwinnett physician. Investigators...
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