An artist’s rendering of the proposed brewpub. /Special to the MDJ.
An artist’s rendering of the proposed brewpub. /Special to the MDJ.
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Fleming talks term limits, extended-stay hotels
by Brittini Ray
April 01, 2015 04:00 AM | 474 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stuart Fleming’s one-vote win over Marietta City Councilwoman Annette Lewis stood up to a recount, and he was declared winner of the Ward 1 contest Tuesday.
Stuart Fleming’s one-vote win over Marietta City Councilwoman Annette Lewis stood up to a recount, and he was declared winner of the Ward 1 contest Tuesday.
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City Councilman Stuart Fleming discussed term limits and their impact on the City Council during a town hall meeting Tuesday and asked for citizen input. Marietta resident Patricia Pickens said she was undecided about imposing term limits on future mayors and City Council members, saying she could see both sides of the argument. Councilman Grif Chalfant has criticized Fleming’s proposal, accusing him of targeting longtime Councilman Philip Goldstein. Fleming said he’s not targeting anyone; he simply doesn’t believe it’s healthy to have career politicians on the council. “I’m on the fence,” said Pickens, a retired business owner. “At first I thought I was for it, but it has its good points and bad points. I really haven’t decided one way or the other, and I can’t even say which way I’m leaning.” On April 8, the council is scheduled to vote on whether to place a nonbinding question on the November 2016 ballot asking voters if the city charter should be amended to limit future mayors to two terms and future City Council members to three. “For me, and where it comes from is there is an issue of service, which is to contribute,” Fleming said. “I have no problem contributing; wherever you want to contribute to the community, volunteering at a church or whatever else. At a certain point though it blends between your giving and (being) about you. I don’t know where the line is but I would say that about a church group. At a certain point, when you’re chairman for the board of your church and on year 20 — really I don’t think that’s helpful for the church.” Charley Levenson of Marietta said he opposes term limits because he believes it would not provide any real change to the governmental structure. “As a standalone, I do not support term limits,” the printing press operator said. “Without redistricting reform, you’re changing the faces, but the types of decisions and policies will remain the same. It gives the illusion of change without the reality. If term limits were attached to redistricting reform so the City Council no longer had the power to choose its own constituents, I would support that compromise.” Other topics discussed during the town hall included such city initiatives as reducing the number of boarded up properties in Marietta, reducing crime and misuse of extended-stay hotels and motels, and building public restrooms on Marietta Square. In January, Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn presented to the City Council an annual report of crimes near extended-stay hotels. Flynn’s report listed more than 2,000 service calls to Marietta police about complaints related to extended-stay hotels in 2014. The council is exploring a variety of options to identify and reduce crime, including collaborating with extended-stay hotel staff to obtain the correct zoning ordinance. “Ultimately, the extended stay hotels are working to validate that they are operating in compliance with city code to identify whether they are actually a hotel, extended-stay or apartment, which are three very different entities,” Fleming said.
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Plans for Cobb veterans memorial underway
by Brittini Ray
April 01, 2015 04:00 AM | 481 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Cobb veterans may soon have a special marker in the county to commemorate their service to the nation. A group of local residents plans to build a memorial in front of the new Marietta Veterans Field Service Office on Powder Springs Street in the next year to honor the state’s second largest veteran population. The memorial will cost about $1.4 million and the group hopes to have it completed in a year, said Eddie Canon, the county’s parks director. The memorial will include a hill surrounded by a spiraling walking path that will be topped with five 24-foot pillars, each holding up a bronze and silver bald eagle standing on a globe, representing the five branches of service. Canon said the group, which met Tuesday, plans to operate as a nonprofit and pay for the memorial through fundraising. The Marietta Veterans Field Service Office, which opened Oct. 1, serves as a resource for local veterans who are applying for VA benefits. The Marietta location is the first of its kind in Cobb, a county that has the second largest population of veterans in the state. Cobb has 48,898 of Georgia’s 774,464 veterans, according to Mike Roby, acting commissioner of the Georgia Department of Veterans Services. The state has 51 other veterans’ services offices, according to the Georgia Department of Veterans Service. For group member Donna Rowe of east Cobb, an Army captain who served as the head nurse in the emergency room/triage area of the Third Field Hospital in Saigon during the Vietnam War, the monument was a long overdue tribute to the county’s large veteran population. “Cobb has a very high veteran population,” Rowe said. “There are monuments everywhere and Cobb doesn’t have one of its own. I think the (Cobb) commissioners, Chairman (Tim) Lee and particularly Commissioner Bob Ott are very much in favor of honoring these veterans in our community. They should have a place to go and remember.” Rowe and four other Cobb residents volunteered to form the Veterans Memorial Committee, which is overseeing the memorial’s construction. They include retired Air Force Maj. Gen. James Bankers, retired Navy Capt. Sean King, Marine Corps Capt. David Hambrick and retired Army Maj. Robert McCubbins. “I think it’s very important for everybody to understand the sacrifices that were made and (what) the service in the military entails,” Bankers said. “There are those out there who protect our freedoms and they do it every day. We don’t always recognize them enough. In Cobb, we haven’t had a memorial of this kind in the county itself. I think honoring our veterans and honoring their service is more important now than ever.” The committee is partnering with County Manager David Hankerson and Ott to get the project started. Ott, who was a member of the Air Force from 1983 to 1990, said the memorial was the perfect tribute to the county’s large veteran population. “I think it’s a fitting tribute to all the veterans in the county to have a memorial for those who served and gave their lives. The county doesn’t really have one of its own. (The city of) Smyrna has a really nice one and the city of Marietta of course has the (Marietta) National Cemetery. So it just seemed almost a natural idea to see if we could do one for Cobb.”
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Honoring heroes: Cobb officials recognize police officers, citizens at annual ceremony
by Philip Clements
April 01, 2015 04:00 AM | 478 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb Police Officer Charles Vill is honored by Chief John Houser with the Blue Star Award during the Cobb County Police Department’s 2015 Awards and Recognition Ceremony at the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre on Tuesday. Vill was shot five times during a traffic stop and had to retrain and qualify to shoot with his left hand before rejoining the department on active duty. The Cobb Police Department also presented Vill the Lifesaving Award for saving a teenage couple from an exploding car. <br>Staff-Kelly J. Huff
Cobb Police Officer Charles Vill is honored by Chief John Houser with the Blue Star Award during the Cobb County Police Department’s 2015 Awards and Recognition Ceremony at the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre on Tuesday. Vill was shot five times during a traffic stop and had to retrain and qualify to shoot with his left hand before rejoining the department on active duty. The Cobb Police Department also presented Vill the Lifesaving Award for saving a teenage couple from an exploding car.
Staff-Kelly J. Huff
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Cobb Police Field Training Officer E.D. Smith is congratulated by Houser for being named the Field Training Officer of the Year.
Cobb Police Field Training Officer E.D. Smith is congratulated by Houser for being named the Field Training Officer of the Year.
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Cobb Police Officers E. Ainsworth and J.A. Chalk lead a line of officers being recognized for their on-the-scene performance during a shooting at a Kennesaw FedEx facility last year as they shake hands with Cobb County Commissioner JoAnn Birrell and her fellow commissioners
Cobb Police Officers E. Ainsworth and J.A. Chalk lead a line of officers being recognized for their on-the-scene performance during a shooting at a Kennesaw FedEx facility last year as they shake hands with Cobb County Commissioner JoAnn Birrell and her fellow commissioners
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MARIETTA — Police officers and citizens were honored Tuesday for their service and noble acts of 2014, including an officer who was shot five times in the line of duty and made a full recovery. The Cobb Board of Commissioners and the county’s law enforcement chiefs were on hand to congratulate award recipients at the Cobb Police Department’s 2015 Awards and Recognition Ceremony at the Anderson Theatre. Officer Charles Vill received the Blue Star award, which is given to an officer who was severely wounded in the line of duty. According to police, at about 2:25 a.m. on February 4, 2014, Vill pulled over a vehicle he suspected was involved in a drug transaction. As he approached the vehicle, however, the suspect — James Albert Phillips — opened fire on Vill. Vill was hit in his left bicep, his stomach, twice in his bulletproof vest and in his right index finger, which was severed and required amputation. He has undergone many surgeries and learned how to shoot with his left hand after losing the use of his right index finger. The Cobb Police Department also presented Vill the Lifesaving Award for saving a teenage couple from an exploding car. He arrived on the scene to see a car on fire after it had been involved in a wreck. One teenager stood outside and the other remained in the car, collecting belongings. Police say Vill noticed the fire and knew the gas tank could explode at any point, so he grabbed the two teenagers and took them across the street. The car exploded shortly thereafter. Ten other officers received the Lifesaving Award. Mike Jones and Dean Scott, both of the Cobb Department of Transportation, and Lt. Jim Easterly of the Cobb Sheriff’s Department, received the Meritorious Service Award. According to the presentation, on May 14, Jones and Scott noticed a Cobb police officer sitting unconscious in his police vehicle in a parking lot. They called 911 and removed the officer from the vehicle. Seventeen officers and one firefighter received the Bureau Commendation Certificate for demonstrating outstanding performance. Lt. Danny Parrott, Sgt. L.C. Clark, Officer E. Ainsworth, Officer J.A. Chalf, Officer T.M. Desrosiers, Officer T.D. Jackson, Officer A.M. Singleton, Officer D.L. Spiker and Cobb firefighter D.R. Lowe were commended for their handling of a gunman at a FedEx facility last year. Geddy Kramer of Acworth, 19, took his own life at the Kennesaw warehouse after shooting six others. Police arrived about nine minutes after the initial 911 call and were able to lock down the scene, preventing any further violence. Carlos Camacho, Martin Ruiz, Maurice Ellis, Shela Ellis and Harold Owenby received the Department Commendation Certificate, which is given to citizens for their assistance to the police department. On July 23, Cobb police said emergency personnel were dispatched after an infant was reported as unresponsive. Before EMTs arrived, police said Ruiz was able to get the infant breathing again by dislodging a hard plastic object from the baby’s throat with a back slap, after which Camacho began providing CPR until the infant began to breathe again. On June 25, a teenager was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross the East-West Connector on foot, police said. According to police, Maurice and Shela Ellis were in the area, noticed the teenager unconscious in the road and sprung to action, helping the teen as well as the driver of the vehicle until emergency personnel arrived. Tuesday’s ceremony also honored civilians and sworn officers who retired in 2014. Together, the 16 retirees have more than 414 years of service in the department. Twelve officers were given promotions during the ceremony: Davender Ablashi, Kenneth Clausen, Ray Drew, Darrin Hull, Ronnie Hyatt, Paul Kincade, Jason Poole and Lee Turman were all promoted to sergeant; Damon Ballard, James Benson and Anthony Leo were promoted to lieutenant; and James Ferrell was promoted to captain. When Clausen’s name was called and he walked across the stage, a child in the audience yelled, “Yay, Daddy!” Other awardees include Drew Brown Community Service Award recipient Officer John Munro and Field Training Officer of the Year E.D. Smith. Colton Adamczyk, son of Detective Ken Adamczyk, received the $1,000 Harlan Sawatski Scholarship, which is given each year to a dependent of a Cobb police member. At the start of the ceremony, Cobb Police Chief John Houser told the audience that 2014 was the first year in many the department hired more than it lost. Houser said that is because of Cobb’s reputation as a professional and well-trained police force, noting he’s heard applicants say they were specifically referred to Cobb. “(Other) departments and officers tell them, ‘If you’re interested in a law enforcement job, you need to be in the Cobb County Police Department,’” Houser said. Commissioner Lisa Cupid said public safety officers have a unique role compared to other county employees because of the risk associated with their job. “I think it’s something that we easily take for granted,” Cupid said. “It’s important for us to at least take one time a year to recognize them for the work that they do and to recognize the outstanding accomplishments they have.” Commissioner Bob Weatherford said it is important to recognize public safety officers because theirs is a “thankless” job. “If we don’t recognize them, no one else will,” Weatherford said. “You only hear the bad; you never hear the good. I think it’s very important to let them know we care about them. … Cobb County’s got the finest and we’re very proud of them.”
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