Kennesaw State University President Dr. Dan Papp, Marietta City Schools Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck, Chattahoochee Technical College President Dr. Sanford Chandler, Cobb Chamber of Commerce President Don Beavers, Cobb Economic Development Director Michael Hughes and successful Korean American businessman Sunny Parks will spend five days in Seoul, from March 14 through March 18, meeting government leaders, company managers and educational supervisors, and visiting their facilities. Cobb County's sister city is Seongdong-Gu, a province of Seoul in the Republic of Korea.
Olens said no taxpayer money will be spent on the trip, as he, Lembeck and Ott will be using their personal frequent flyer miles for their flights, while others' plane tickets will be paid for through the Chamber of Commerce and their respective school foundations. The hosts will provide hotel accommodations and all food and transportation. This will be the first trip to South Korea for Lembeck, Chandler, Ott and Lee.
"This really creates an international synergy that is especially beneficial for expanding our economic and educational horizons," Olens said.
From an economic standpoint, Olens said placing Cobb in the mindsets of South Korean business leaders, such as those from LG and Kia, can be extremely beneficial to the future of the county.
"Once we have that reputation for being friendly, welcoming and interested in their businesses, people and culture, they will think of Cobb when they are looking to expand their businesses in the U.S. and establish division headquarters. And these aren't small companies; these are huge, mega companies that will be looking for places to establish branches and division headquarters in the U.S. that will greatly impact that location's economy," Olens said.
The last trip Cobb leaders made, collectively, was in October 2007, while a group of Seongdong-Gu teachers and city leaders visited Cobb in return last July. The board of commissioners zoning hearing that would have been held on March 16 has been moved to March 23 at 2 p.m.
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The Cobb Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 Tuesday night to hire a full-time veterinarian and veterinarian technician at the Cobb County Animal Shelter.
Currently, all animals at the shelter are adopted for a small fee, but are not given critical rabies shots or spayed or neutered before adoption. Those who adopt the animals have to agree that the animals will be fixed and vetted within 30 days of adoption, and Cobb Animal Control have to track the pets to ensure the owners have followed procedures.
Cobb Police Capt. Jeff Patellis, who oversees Animal Control, said with the hiring of the veterinarian, the animals will be spayed or neutered, be implemented with a location-tracking micro-chip in the event the animal becomes lost, and will receive a rabies vaccination, de-worming, other case-specific vaccinations, Parvo testing upon entry into and departure from the facility, a general health screening, and a behavioral analysis.
Kennesaw resident Isel Silva said the cost of all of the vaccinations and a spaying or neutering operation could total $350 at an animal clinic, so the $110 adoption fee for all animals, regardless of breed, sex or age, will be extremely cost-beneficial to the owners and ensure the animals are going to owners that will take care of them.
"The simple solution to animal overpopulation is spaying and neutering," Silva said. "... We understand that budgets are tight, but we truly appreciate your support and you as a county should be very proud of this."
More than 30 residents attended the meeting to support the request, and many stood and applauded when the motion was passed.
Public Safety Director Mickey Lloyd said some owners bring animals back to the shelter once they realize how costly the veterinarian bills can be. This leads to continued overpopulation. Further, non-spayed or non-neutered animals up for affordable adoption can warrant an unwanted assistance to those improperly or inhumanely breeding animals for profit, Lloyd said.
Having an on-staff veterinarian, an idea that Lloyd said was first proposed by Olens, would increase the shelter's adoption rate and therefore reduce euthanasia, reduce the homeless pet population, reduce rabies and disease risks in the animals, and drastically reduce the need for outsourced veterinarian services, Lloyd said.
Patellis said the shelter can hold up to 400 animals at one time, and animals are often euthanized simply because the shelter is overpopulated.
"Having a more favorable adoption program and a veterinarian who can help to keep stray population and disease down can certainly decrease the number of euthanized animals greatly," Patellis said.
Patellis said approximately 10,000 animals were kept at the Cobb animal shelter in 2009, while only about 6,000 were adopted.
The two positions will be filled by Oct. 1.
Bibb and Hall counties are the only metro counties with a full-time veterinarian.
Also Tuesday, code amendments strengthening the county's ordinance that alcohol cannot be served in adult entertainment establishments were passed 5-0.
The proposed code amendment that would require landlords to obtain a business license has been placed on hold until March 9. Cobb Community Development Director Rob Hosack said this was due to concerns from some residents that the change would be unfair and confusing.