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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Notice From Council Person Julie Zahner Bailey

Sewer Extension Meeting at City Hall Monday, August 4th - 4:00 p.m. Critical Meeting! Please attend

Dear Milton Citizens, Friends and Neighbors -

I want to let you know about the very real risk of sewer extension in Milton and a critical meeting that has been called for this coming Monday, August 4th at 4:00 p.m. at City Hall. This Special Called Work Session deserves your attention and your attendance.

Summary

There is a real risk of sewer extension in the City of Milton. Efforts are underway to consider approval of extension of sewer to new parcels, adoption of a new sewer map that would extend sewer, and creation of a new sewer policy for Milton. A City Council work session is planned for the subject for Monday August 4. This is a public meeting.

Why should you care about sewer extension?

Development density in Milton is currently limited by the natural constraints of the land, especially soil percolation. Average yields for a home site historically have been closer to 1.6 acres to the home because of these natural constraints. Sewer allows nearly all land to be developed regardless of soil types and topography in 1 acre lots or more, allowing unlimited density. The introduction of sewer into new areas allows for higher residential and commercial density expansion otherwise not possible. This is completely inconsistent with the citizens' vision for a rural Milton.

Purpose of this Update and Background Information

The purpose of this email is to:

Ensure that you are aware of this very real risk of sewer extension and the increased density that comes with it.

Apprise you of a Special Work Session scheduled for this coming Monday, August 4th at 4:00 p.m. to discuss sewer including:

A proposed map from Fulton County re: a revised Inter Governmental Agreement with Fulton County and Milton that shows significant sewer extension, The on-going request for sewer for certain parcels despite their being in the historically "no sewer" area, and the potential for a "new" sewer policy that could undermine many of the tenets of the existing long standing no sewer policies.

Encourage you to attend the meeting and make your opinions known both in advance of the meeting and via email to the Mayor, the entire Council, and Staff. You all have told me via the first and second election and through your recent Milton survey responses that the issue of sewer extension is the biggest issue and concern to you individually and collectively. This makes sense, since it is the single largest exposure to removing our unique rural character. My position is clear, has been consistent, and will remain consistent - that is that I do not support sewer extension and instead support the affirmation of the long standing no-sewer policies. This also means I support sewer in the locations where sewer exists today, but I do not support sewer extension. Please note, however, I am only one of seven who have a vote on the issues before us. This is your community and the time is now to remind each of your elected officials what you expect of us for your community.The most recent Milton survey results, with a 25% response rate from 3,000 households (and approximately 6,000 residents) reflected that 87% of responding citizens fully expect the no sewer policies to remain in place. Some on the Council may not recognize this mandate.

What are the risks?

There are three components to the current evaluation of sewer and each carries with it very real risks for Milton. They are as follows:

1. A proposed revised Inter Governmental Agreement with Fulton County put forth by Commissioner Riley and Fulton County - the proposed map reflects significant sewer extension.
I have advocated the need to revise that IGA, but to revise it consistent with the long standing No Sewer Policies of Milton. However, the most recent map proposed by Fulton County and Commissioner Lynne Riley reflects significant sewer extension into Milton in areas interior to Highway 9, (West side) as well as in the Crabapple area heading North. Make no mistake, if this new sewer service map proposed by Fulton County - and embraced potentially by some on the Milton Council - is approved, sewer would be extended to parts of Milton not previously allowed sewer.

2. Consideration of sewer extension to specific parcels and projects (referred to as "red dots" that previously were not identified as sewerable given their location within the Etowah Basin and given that they were not allowed sewer according to the No Inter Basin Transfer policy).
Summary Risk - Some of these parcels are in the Etowah Basin and would directly violate our sewer extension policy - allowing increased density to creep outward.

Use this link to see those specific projects.In most of these instances, the parcels or projects were identified by Fulton and Milton staff as being acceptable and in the Big Creek Basin but, instead, the "red dots", lie within the Etowah Basin and in large part, are not identified as "exceptions" to the No Inter Basin Transfer Policy. In other words, to extend sewer to these parcels effectively would be violating the very policies we have held dear since 1995 and that were further amended and affirmed in 1999 and again, as recently in July, 2006 by Fulton County. Further, this same No Inter Basin Transfer Policy was adopted unanimously by the City of Milton when the area became incorporated.I do not believe we should extend sewer to parcels previously disallowed from sewer extension. However, others have indicated a willingness to support such sewer extension.

3. Discussion and beginning evaluation of an overall sewer/no sewer policy for Milton.
Summary Risk - between the above mentioned revised and proposed map from Fulton County and one-off decisions on "red dot" properties, we could end up with a sewer extension policy by default.There have been references made for the need to have a "sewer policy" for Milton, yet we have not yet had the first work session on any such policy. The fact that seems to be ignored is that Milton has an existing legal sewer policy, i.e. the "No Inter Basin Transfer Policy". I believe that we must first affirm the policies we have in place already. Staff Proposed Template as a Basis for Possible New Milton Sewer Policy. Additionally, City Staff has proposed Milton use a "template" from Prince William County, Virginia for a possible new Milton sewer policy. While on the surface, this might seem like a reasonable idea, when you look further, immediate questions arise that might preclude this template as an option for Milton. As an example, it sets forth multiple exceptions to their sewer policy allowing sewer to be extended into otherwise defined semi-rural ("no sewer") areas for schools, libraries, fire stations and other instances. Why would Milton endeavor to establish a "new" sewer policy for our City written from the onset with multiple exceptions to the policy we claim to want to uphold?Instead, I believe that we should create our own policy grounded in the fundamentals that have served this community well for the last 19 years including affirmation of those areas that have been and should remain no-sewer while specifying those specific parcels where sewer is acceptable based on current locations.

Any policy should:

Affirm the long standing no sewer policies
Affirm a revised IGA with Fulton County that does not extend sewer, but instead confirms the existing locations and specific land lots where sewer is consistent with the long standing policies of the area. This would reaffirm where sewer is acceptable on properties that front Highway 9, but that would not allow for the expansion of sewer interior to Milton both interior to Highway 9, closer to Cogburn, and interior to Crabapple.Specifically define where sewer can be allowed and where it must not be extended Ensure proper septic tank placement and regular maintenance with a mechanism in place to monitor appropriate maintenance on a set period of years
Prohibit private sewerage extension in addition to public sewerage extension
Prohibit sewer extension from adjacent or near by jurisdictions. Bottom line, a sewer / no sewer policy for Milton must begin with Milton, not some other community that may not have the same City profile, values or land planning approaches for their long range plans.

Related links:
Prince William Sewer Policy and Long Range Land Use Plan
Two recent -- 7/21 and 7/27 -- AJC articles where the Prince William Sewer Policy is referenced.

What can you do?

Take a few minutes and familiarize yourself with the issues.
Engage a friend, neighbor, and colleague.
Send your opinions and expectations via email and phone calls to the Mayor, the full Council, Staff, and our City Manager. Ensure that we all know what you expect of us.
Use this link for contact info. for Mayor and Council
Remember that the survey results from across Milton indicated that 87% of those respondents said "no sewer extension." Please remind us all that you meant what you said.
Hold us all accountable to do what you elected us to do - represent your interests.
Attend the August 4th meeting at 4:00 p.m. at City Hall. Don't just sit in a chair, but tell us what you think. We are here to represent you. Do not assume that we all know what you expect of us regarding the critical issue of sewer vs. no sewer. Do not assume that someone else will communicate your desires and expectations for your community. Forgive the length of this release, but it is imperative that you let your voice be heard and your opinions counted. In my opinion, there is no more important issue to the future of Milton than how we decide to deal with the issue of sewer, no sewer, sewer extension, and all that goes with it. I am accountable to you, the people that elected me to represent your interests in this little piece of heaven we all call home. I can only do the job you put me in place to do if you hold everyone else accountable too and ensure they know first hand what you expect of all of us.Please do not hesitate to phone me with your questions, comments and input. This is your community and I consider it an honor and a very serious responsibility to represent you and your families.Your voice matters now perhaps more than ever.

Respectfully, Julie Zahner Bailey Milton City Council
770-664-5529 (h)
404-310-6344 (c)
Julie4Milton@mindspring.comJulie4Milton

Milton Sewer Policy Still In Limbo

By DOUG NURSE / www.ajc.com / Published on: 07/31/08

The opponents to sewer extension seem to have won a political victory in Milton by forcing Monday's meeting on sewer policy to be a work session instead of a called meeting.
The significance is that City Council members don't vote during work sessions, unless they suspend their rules. The council was split 3-3 until Mayor Joe Lockwood returned from out of town and backed a work session.

The City Council is struggling to come up with a sewer policy. Some don't want sewer because they fear it could lead to dense development. Others argue that sewer in commercial areas doesn't necessary lead to rampant sewer expansion and the city needs the tax revenue. In the meantime, some developments are languishing.

Developers who have projects on hold may interpret the work session as a sign the City Council intends to debate the issue ad nauseum. If that's the conclusion, some may go ahead and sue the city.

To avoid being dragged into court, the City Council must make enough progress to satisfy property owners and builders that a decision isn't far off, Councilwoman Karen Thurman said. Developers have complained that while the city dithers, they're paying loans and interest without any assurance that they'll actually be able to sell or build on their land.
On the other hand, leaders don't want to set bad policy that will haunt the city. There is great concern in the community that sewer invites density, which they say would spoil the rural character of Milton that they treasure.

On Monday the City Council will first take up the question of properties that have permits, and sewer available, some of which fall outside Fulton County's sewer service area. There is some confusion about where those boundaries are. The council also may try to clarify its agreement with Fulton County.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Milton, Fulton County Wrestling Over Money

By DOUG NURSE / www.ajc.com / Published on: 07/28/08

Johns Creek has its money from Fulton County. Now Milton is battling Fulton County to get all of its share.Before the two communities incorporated into cities Dec. 1, 2006, the county collected taxes from residents there with the intent of providing them services. But not all money was spent, and the cities wanted it.

Fulton County agreed, and once the Legislature created a legal way to do it, the situation seemed resolved.

For Johns Creek it was. It received $2.8 million, which it promptly put in its reserve fund.
With Milton, the county sent Milton a $4.18 million check. But Fulton County withheld $1.2 million for cleaning up pollution at Providence Park, which the city inherited from the county.
The city cried foul, saying the pollution occurred on the county's watch, and so the county should bear the cost of cleaning it up.

The county said fine, but it was going to pay for the cleanup out of the pre-city-tax taxes. Hence, the withholding of the $1.2 million.

Milton wrote the county asking for "clarification" about the withholding. The county hasn't responded yet.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Possible Changes To Milton's Longstanding No Sewer Policy

Courtesy Bhalliance.org.

Monday, August 4, 2008 4pm at City Hall
July 30, 2008

The Milton City Council is making decisions that expand sewer beyond the current policy, and is likely to make decisions quickly that could change the sewer policy and expand sewer in Milton. Density can only be practically accomplished where there is sewer, and a change in policy would almost surely increase density in Milton. Over 87% of Milton survey respondents favored no "no sewer" in Milton. This could be the single most important policy affecting what Milton will become, and any change in policy - large or small, should only be made with great inspection and citizen involvement.There is momentum to make "spot" sewer expansion decisions quickly, which would set legal precedent and effectively create new policy. Sewer expansion occurs on an "edge-out" basis. When additional properties are allowed to connect to sewer, the newly adjacent property owners expect to be allowed sewer, and this is typically what happens. Any Milton sewer policy should only be crafted with intense public involvement and scrutiny. Allowances should be clearly defined, and excluded areas should also be clearly defined. There should be no room for exceptions.BackgroundDuring the July 14th Special Called Meeting the Mayor and City Council discussed and voted on issues with pending sewer permit limitations. A map was presented that indicated sewer-impacted projects within the City, and the Council voted to allow permitting of all projects marked as "yellow dot" projects. A follow up to that meeting is scheduled for August 4, when the Council will continue discussions related to sewer policies. There are three critical pieces to the sewer debate that will be reviewed,
Projects requesting sewer that are not part of the approved IGA (inter-basin transfer agreement put into place by Fulton County in 1995)

Proposed revised overall sewer policy

The policy under discussion is the IGA that has been in effect since 1995. It was reaffirmed in 2006. Fulton County's IGA gives constitutional authority to allow sewer to those in the fifteen named land lots. The No Interbasin transfer policy is critical to this area and helps to preserve the low-density, rural character of Milton. Interbasin transfers are environmentally unhealthy and contrary to the GA Comprehensive State-wide Water Management Plan. "These transfers may have adverse impacts on water resources in the receiving and donor basins and on opportunities for reasonable water use in the donor basin." page 26.

Recently, Milton attorneys found that the maps did not match the requests for sewer. A new proposed sewer map was created. The new map appears to include 15 -30 additional land lots that were not originally under consideration for sewer and are not included in the No Interbasin transfer policy.

Click here for map=> http://www.agendapost.org/comga/maps/SewerServiceArea-071408.pdf

These affected land lots are in the Crabapple Area, Freemanville Road, near Milton High School, Bethany Road and Mayfield as well as Hopewell and Cogburn Roads. Allowing sewer into the areas not previously approved goes against the specific mandate of the community and what our elected officials promised during the recent election. Sewer would bring sprawl and traffic congestion and change the character of this entire region forever. We need a sewer policy that embraces the vision and goal of Milton, a unique policy. The survey results demonstrate that over 86% of the respondents believe the Vision Statement: "Milton is a distinctive community embracing small-town life and heritage while preserving and enhancing our rural character."

The Alliance believes the Milton City Council, Mayor and staff need to hear loud and clear that we DO NOT support the additional land lots proposed in the new sewer area map, or exceptions to the no Interbasin transfer ordinance. We do need to communicate what has been shown in the Citizens' survey that no expansion of sewer is permissible. The community has submitted their opinions, 87% of respondents agree that "Milton should continue to rely on private septic systems to ensure low density development and maintain one acre or larger lots."Being informed and taking action on the information will help us let our elected officials know that Milton will not be overrun by unnecessary development. Before any decisions can be made there needs to be a full review of plans and notification to land owners of possible change.Milton has effectively protected the low-density rural charm and the vision should not be changed. Key ways for us to share information are through BHA email releases, neighbor-to-neighbor and friend-to-friend. The City Council wants you to communicate and attend meetings.You can help by emailing and calling Milton City Council and Mayor. Share your ideas and concerns with them. Attend the City Council Work Session on Monday, August 4 at 4pm and plan to speak up. We must tell our City officials why they should NOT support expansion of the current sewer policy nor completely rewriting the policy. Please do not wait - communicate today to our local City government.

Voice your opinions on this and other important issues to the Mayor, City Council and Staff.

Only 4 weeks to go! Take a day off to enjoy a day of golf at beautifulAtlanta National Golf Club!

Many thanks to the following companies who have already signed on:
Tournament Sponsor.......The Crabapple Mercantile Association
Reception Sponsor...........Exide Technologies
Lunch Sponsor.................Chick-Fil-A
Club Sponsor...................The Titan Agency
Hole Sponsor...................Grand Central Solutions

Additional sponsorships, foursomes and individual players are still welcomed to join us! All Sponsorship packages include a Foursome!

And, remember the proceeds go to support our local Milton Police and Fire Departments.
For more information and registration, please call 678 612 6072 or contact Jan Fowler at jfowler770@comcast.net or 770-740-0214.

Milton Garage Sale This Weekend!!!


Saturday, August 2
8:30 – 2:30
2500 Bethany Church Road
Bethany Hall Farm

LOTS of Children’s’ Clothes
many brand new!

Abercrombie
GAP
Talbot’s Kids

Also
Household Items
Art Work
AND
Much, Much, MORE!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Milton, Fulton County Wrestling Over Money

By DOUG NURSE / www.ajc.com

Johns Creek has its money from Fulton County. Now Milton is battling Fulton County to get all of its share.Before the two communities incorporated into cities Dec. 1, 2006, the county collected taxes from residents there with the intent of providing them services. But not all money was spent, and the cities wanted it.Fulton County agreed, and once the Legislature created a legal way to do it, the situation seemed resolved.

For Johns Creek it was. It received $2.8 million, which it promptly put in its reserve fund.
With Milton, the county sent Milton a $4.18 million check. But Fulton County withheld $1.2 million for cleaning up pollution at Providence Park, which the city inherited from the county.
The city cried foul, saying the pollution occurred on the county's watch, and so the county should bear the cost of cleaning it up.

The county said fine, but it was going to pay for the cleanup out of the pre-city-tax taxes. Hence, the withholding of the $1.2 million. Milton wrote the county asking for "clarification" about the withholding. The county hasn't responded yet.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Prince William Ordinance Suggested As Sewer Solution

By Doug Nurse www.ajc.com

Milton City Manager Billy Beckett is recommending that the City Council use a Prince William County, Va., sewer ordinance as a starting place as it debates whether it should have a similar ordinance.

Since its inception, the Milton City Council has been reluctant to grant sewer extensions —- even in some commercial areas. ut, as the city faces a tight fiscal picture, some are questioning whether the unofficial no-sewer policy makes sense.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors adopted the ordinance in 2003. Beckett said he picked the ordinance because it seemed to address many concerns voiced by residents while allowing some sewer in commercial areas.

Main points of the Prince William County sewer ordinance:

> Establishes development areas where sewers can go and precludes sewers elsewhere, including rural and semi-rural areas, except in extenuating health and environmental circumstances.
> Requires sewer connection of existing structures that have failed septic systems and within 300 feet of a public sewer line with adequate capacity.
>Requires developers to pay impact fees to cover the cost of extending appropriate sewer lines.
> States sewer expansion is not to be seen as a reason to increase residential density beyond those specified in the comprehensive land use plan.
> Prohibits private sewer plants.
> Requires public facilities, such as schools, fire stations or libraries, be connected to sewers.
> Establishes a mandatory, maintenance-reporting program for septic tanks.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Three Cars, 2 ATVs Among Stolen Items Found

Christopher James Antkowiak arrested after more than 200 stolen items found on his property

Published on: 07/25/08 / www.ajc.com

A Cherokee County man is out on bond after authorities say they found more than 200 stolen items — including three luxury cars and dozens of commercial-grade tools — in his garage.
Deputies arrested Christopher James Antkowiak, 34, on July 17 and charged him with five counts of receiving stolen property, Sgt. Jay Baker said Friday. Antkowiak was released on $32,000 bond the next day.

Baker said deputies found dozens of commercial power tools, three Mercedes vehicles, two ATVs, a tree chipper and dozens of boxes marked "Habitat for Humanity" on his property on Holbrook Campground Road.

Deputies went to Antkowiak's house to investigate a report of a stolen electric transformer, Baker said. Some of the stolen goods — including the cars — have been traced to the Milton area and returned. But most of the items remained in a sheriff's office warehouse Friday, Baker said.
Investigators are trying to locate the owners of the stolen items. For more information, call the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office at 770-928-0239.

Video Segment on Fire Bombings

Courtesy - www.wsbtv.com

http://www.ajc.com/multimedia/content/multimedia/video/index.html?clip=91709&cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab

Cars Destroyed By Fire Bombs In Milton

By KEN SUGIURA www.ajc.com

Published on: 07/25/08

Three cars were destroyed early Friday with fire bombs in the north Fulton city of Milton, according to authorities.

The Milton Fire Deparment responded to a vehicle fire at 2:05 a.m. on Keyingham Way off Ga. Highway 9 in the Fairmont subdivision, according to a police press release. While that fire was being handled, two additional car fires were reported, one in the same subdivision and the other less than a mile away.

Police said the cars appeared to be set on fire with Molotov cocktail-type devices.

No injuries were reported.

The Fulton County Police Department said people calling in the fires reported that youths were responsible. Milton police said that the crimes appear to be random and that there are no suspects.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fulton Sends Funds To Milton Coffers

by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers


MILTON-- City Council had a little spring in its step July 7 after learning that Fulton County had given the city the more than $4.1 million in Special Service District funds.The money comes from taxes paid by North Fulton residents for county services before incorporation or annexation. Johns Creek will receive $2.85 million, while Alpharetta and Roswell will receive $336,899 and $220,778, respectively.

"It's not every Monday you get a $4 million check for the city," quipped Councilwoman Karen Thurman at Monday's council meeting.There is a problem, however, said City Manager Billy Beckett. According to numbers given to Milton by Fulton County in August 2007, the city should have had more than $5.3 million in the bank, he said. Beckett said he's currently drafting a letter to Fulton County Manager Zachary Williams to learn why there was an administrative decision to adjust the amount."I like documentation outlining their methodology," said Beckett.According to a May 30 memorandum from Patrick O'Connor, Fulton County's Finance director, the total given to Milton was "excluding... known liabilites such as the Providence Park clean up costs."


Providence Park, located in Milton but still owned by Fulton, has been closed since January 2004 for groundwater cleanup. The park remains closed until reopening is OK'd by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, which could take until 2010, according to Angela Parker, director of the Fulton County Department of Public Works.Beckett said he'd heard a rumor that is why the check didn't match the original amount, and felt it wasn't fair given Milton doesn't own the park."I feel it's not appropriate to penalize us for something known to the county since 2004," he said.

Council has not gotten together to discuss what to do with the money yet, but Beckett said he would suggest single-time costs like a tanker truck for fire protection, land purchases for parks, intersection improvements and funding the state-mandated operating reserve.Thurman said the money came at a time when it was "very much needed" given Milton's funding crunch to try and pay for better services than residents' received prior to incorporation. Council is aware of that distinction thanks to a citizen survey sent out in March. However, that same survey indicated overwhelmingly that taxes should not be increased."If we could get about three times that [$4.1 million], it would be great," said Thurman.

Milton Farmer's Market This Weekend.

The Milton Farmer's Market will be held this Saturday at Scottsdale Farms Nursery at the Birmingham Crossroads from 9am to noon. Home Grown Fruit and vegetables along with crafts will be available.

The Milton Farmer's Market is sponsored by the Milton Garden Club. To find out more about this group, please click here=>http://www.accessmilton.com/MiltonGardenClub.php

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another Lost Puppy Dog

This dog is currently at a property on Bethany Road north of Providence. Please contact Jean Smith at jeanbrownsmith@comcast.net if you know this fellow's family!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Your Milton Target: NOW OPEN!!!


With hundreds of VIPS (Very Important People) in attendance, the ribbon cutting and official opening of the Milton Target came off without a hitch at 5pm Tuesday afternoon. Visitors were able to enjoy all types of treats including cupcakes, punch, and fresh fruit. Local officials who were at the event included Council Persons Burt Hewitt, Julie Zahner Bailey, Tina D'Aversa, Alan Tart, and Public Safety Director Chris Lagerbloom. Milton Store Team Leader Buffy Trent was nothing but smiles as she welcomed visitors and shook hands. To the staff of our Milton Target, WELCOME HOME! Please enjoy the pictures below.







Birmingham Village Proudly Presents...



This week's feature is none other than...


So come one and all to this wonderful Milton event! Start time is 9pm and / or dusk!








Sunday, July 20, 2008

Almost there...

This is the week citizens of Milton welcome Target as a new neighbor! In speaking recently with Store Team Leader Buffy Trent, she had the following to share about Tuesday's soft opening -
"We will be open 5-10pm. We will have lots of food samples, a face painter for the kids, DJ for entertainment, and great sale prices on items throughout the store. Our Pharmacy, Optical, Starbucks and all food areas will be open for business!" So come one and all to one of the biggest things to hit Milton since we became a city!

"It's Very Natural, Very Green"

Plans for land: Property owner wants to use 17 acres for nontraditional burials.
By Doug Nurse www.ajc.com

Jim Bell of Milton envisions a way to keep his pasture green and enhance city efforts to buy and develop parkland —- only it involves a different approach to dealing with the recently deceased.
Bell wants to use 17 acres of his property as a "green cemetery," and is scheduled to have an informational meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday at Fire Station 43, 750 Hickory Road. An informational meeting also is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 13000 Deerfield Road.
Mayor Joe Lockwood said he's heard nothing but good things about it from the community.
"I support it," he said. "It's a practical solution to the inevitable. It's very natural, very green and with that use of the property, you have some beautiful land for wildlife, like a park, vs. a traditional cemetery with fences and headstones."

Green burials harken back to the days before embalming. The recently departed are stored in a special refrigerator, then placed in a shroud or a biodegradable coffin within 48 hours of death. After a ceremony, they are lowered into the grave, covered, and then buried with earth. The headstone may be a flat, engraved (or not) fieldstone recorded in the cemetery's GPS.
There's no formaldehyde, no concrete vaults, no caskets of brass or tropical wood, no stone monuments.Driving by the property on Birmingham Road, it would look like a field largely surrounded by a hardwood forest, he said.

"I thought it would be a pretty place for a cemetery," Bell said. "It will look like it does now."
And he will donate a portion of the sale of each burial to a Milton green space fund.He said keeping the site looking natural would be easy. It would simply require having someone with a tractor mow the tract like one would do for a pasture. He said he is working on partnering with a land trust to ensure the property stays natural.

Marty Byars of Byars Funeral Home in Cumming will help Bell operate the cemetery. Byars said green burials are not really much different from burials by orthodox Jews or Muslims, who also avoid embalming and other Western practices. Many funeral homes are used to handling burials according to Middle-Eastern customs.

Burials in America average $7,500, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. A green burial would cost up to $4,000. Embalming is not required by law except in some circumstances, such as transporting a body by airline, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.And water quality shouldn't be affected because pathogens become inert within a few weeks of death, according to the Green Burial Council.

Traditional burials also consume more resources, said the council Web site. The council estimated that in a year nationwide, mainstream burials require five Olympic swimming pools of formaldehyde, enough metal to build another Golden Gate Bridge, and enough concrete to build a two-lane highway from New York City to Detroit.

Patty Durand, executive director of the Georgia Sierra Club, said she supports the idea, and thinks the public will endorse it as well."I think it's great," she said. "Being green is so mainstream. It's not just granola-eating, sandal-wearing hikers any more. It's everybody. I see green burials becoming popular."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Milton Grown Tomatoes For Sale!

Stable Days Farm off of Bethany Road in Milton has home grown tomatoes for sale!
Only $1.50 per pound! Feel free to call or email and stop on by. Addresses for the farm are as follows:
13005 Bethany Road
13075 Bethany Road
Phone: 770 653 0552
Email: tmenloe@aol.com / Subject Line: Tomatoes!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Milton Nights... is TONIGHT!!

Come one, come all to this evenings Milton Nights...at Foster's Grille in Crabapple. A great time to be had with friend and family! To find out more information, please click here=>
www.accessmilton.com.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Alpharetta To Dispatch Milton 911

by Bob Pepalis / Appen Newspapers

ALPHARETTA -- An agreement for Alpharetta to dispatch Milton's police and firefighters will improve response times to emergency in "problem areas" in both cities, Alpharetta Public Safety Director Gary George told City Council Monday night. An agreement between the cities was discussed at a council workshop held at the city's new Command & Control Center being built within police headquarters.When someone in Milton calls 911, Fulton County answers. But once the call is answered, there's no guarantee it will be dispatched properly. George told a story about a 911 call made with a cell phone from Alpharetta's North Park that was mis-routed by the Fulton dispatcher, who didn't recognize North Park's name. The call was transferred to Cobb and then to Gwinnett before finally being routed to Alpharetta.The cities have an automatic mutual aid agreement between fire departments. Milton can respond to North Park, Kings Ridge Christian School and Crabapple faster than Alpharetta."Milton can beat us there any time of day, three or four minutes quicker," George said. The trade off comes in the Bethany and Mayfield areas of Milton."We can help them probably 50 percent of the time get to their calls better," he said. "It's all about time, getting that first responder there."

Legislation creating the city required Fulton provide Milton's dispatching needs for up to two years. In exchange, Fulton has kept the $1.50 per cellphone and house phone paid by Milton's residents to offset those costs. The two years ends Dec. 31.There is urgency to making the agreement, as ending the arrangement with Fulton County requires 90 days' notice. For a proposed change starting Oct. 1, the notice must be made by Aug. 1."Quite honestly at the end of the day it would be a win-win for all the citizens," George said.Each city's fire departments will still respond to the emergency calls, handling all reports. Routine police calls will only be answered by respective cities' police.

Both cities have ladder trucks than can be positioned to cover the largest area for both cities. Since Milton parks its ladder truck at its city hall off Deerfield Parkway, Alpharetta could move its ladder truck to its station 3, closer to North Point Mall, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre and those areas of Alpharetta.Georgie reminded council that two weeks earlier they had approved an agreement that gives Alpharetta control of dispatching Rural Metro's six ambulances in North Fulton. Monitors in the new Command & Control center will show the location of every Alpharetta and Milton police and fire vehicle, plus all of Rural Metro's ambulances. GPS transponders will be installed in all emergency vehicles.

The Countdown Has Begun...

Your Milton Target is gearing up for a soft open this upcoming Tuesday, July 22nd at 5pm. Target Store Team Leader Buffy Trent let us know that some exciting things will be happening! So if anybody is anybody in Milton, show up and welcome our new neighbor to town!

To read about Target coming to Milton, click here=> http://www.accessmilton.com/Target.php

No Resolution Yet For Bethany Bend Noise Fight In Milton

by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers

MILTON-- Every weekend for about the last two years, local resident Phil Cramer has called Fulton, then Milton police to complain about the sound coming from Montana's Bar and Grill, which hosts live music and karaoke in a converted Ace Hardware greenhouse.Cramer's house sits on South Bethany Creek Drive in the Bethany Creek subdivision, a few hundred feet from the back of the restaurant. His neighbors complain as well, 12 to 15 houses a weekend, and sometimes on Tuesdays."We've tried earplugs, we've tried turning on the appliances, people have moved because of it," he said. "It literally shakes the windows."

Milton officers always come out to the multiple calls, and they always measure the noise using special devices, but the business has never broken the law governing sound in the city. That was until July 3, when a band brought in for a private birthday party broke the lowered threshold for audible sound after 10 p.m., when it lowers from 65 decibels to 60. Police measured the noise from several back yards of homes that abut the Montana's property, and after a while, one got a overage reading.The night was a watershed moment for the residents of Bethany Creek, who have fought for nearly four years with the local hot spot over noise filtering into their yards and homes.It would seem that the situation would have died down after Milton passed its noise ordinance based on decibel readings in April, 2007. Both Eubanks and Cramer spoke at the meetings when Milton was passing the ordinance to express their views on a decibel-based law versus a perception-based one.

But Cramer said in the Bethany Creek's situation, "It's not working. Council did a lot of due diligence, but it's not working."Montana's owner Cary Eubanks now has a day in municipal court over the violation. The owner of a business that has been on Ga. 9 for two years prior to the erection of Bethany Creek, he said he's now become a victim of "reverse harassment" at the hands of neighbors who call police constantly."I think officers have better things to do than sit behind my establishment trying to get us to peak [over a noise threshold]," he said. And though Cramer said Eubanks has done "little to nothing to mitigate the issue," Montana's owner said he's spent more than $80,000 trying to cut down on noise by insulating and adding a new roof to the greenhouse and building a large, solid wooden fence.
Meetings started in January between Eubanks, Cramer and Milton Deputy Director of Public Safety Charles Millican, but stalled last month when it became obvious there would be no common ground between the parties. Eubanks said Milton's police have been "fabulous" throughout the whole ordeal and express to him their displeasure with having to go out week after week to measure the same noises."It's gotten to the point where I don't think there's anything I can do to make these people happy – they've just worked themselves up so much," said Eubanks. "I've tried to be a good neighbor, and I've got the invoices to prove it."
Not surprisingly, Cramer disagrees wholeheartedly, saying the business owner has "disrespected his neighbors." He called Eubanks' presence in the meetings a "stall tactic.""This is something we've not been able to work out neighbor to neighbor," said Cramer.The homeowner said thus far the city hasn't been very responsive to his requests."They're not telling me much, and unfortunately I'm still left waiting," he said. "So we're left with taking it back to the city."That puts the issue on the desk of City Manager Billy Beckett. He said the Milton's legal team has been looking for a way to strengthen the ordinance, and might have found it with perceptual provisions against "amplified music."Beckett said changing the ordinance is not where the city would like to go, though. Instead, he said officials would like to meet with all parties and work out a solution.Beckett said one solution costing $1,500 has been presented to Eubanks, and it's up to him to pay for it."If he chooses to think we're kidding, shame on him," he said. "But if we do nothing, shame on us."

Common sounds
Milton's noise ordinance states that noise cannot exceed 65 decibles in a person's property before 10 p.m. After then until to 7:30 a.m., that level drops to 60. Here are some common sounds and their decibel levels for reference.
Common sound / Decibel level
rainfall / 50
common speech / 60
washing machine / 75
personal music device / 100
rock concert / 115
gun shot / 140
Source: Dangerousdecibles.org

Milton Fund Raiser Recipient Dies

by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers

Milton -- Kristy A. Ward, a 35-year-old mother of two who worked at Little River Animal Hospital in Milton, died June 28 from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.She died in her sleep at her family's home in New Bern, N.C., after a six-month battle with the disease. She recently had undergone unsuccessful chemotherapy and radiation treatments at Duke University, and was taken home for hospice.Ward was a bright spot in the veterinarian's office and was much beloved by her coworkers, who held the "Fluff and Buff" dog wash in early May to raise funds for her treatments.Stephanie Neely, office manager for Little River, said the "Kristy A. Ward Assistance Fund," which was set up at Wachovia Bank, is still active.

She said all donations now go to her two children, and are accepted at any Wachovia branch.Those wishing to send condolences can contact Little River Animal Hospital at 770-619-1616.

Charity Golf Tournament Benefiting The Milton Public Safety Fund

When: Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Time: 11:00 AM Shotgun Start

Where: Atlanta National Golf Club

Take a day off to enjoy a day of golf at beautiful
Atlanta National Golf Club! Sponsorships and
foursomes are still available, as outlined below,
and the proceeds go to support our Milton Police
and Fire Departments.

For more information and registration, please call
678 612 6072 or contact
Jan Fowler at
jfowler770@comcast.net or 770-740-0214

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Where For Art Thou, Bud?


Many thanks to Miltonville.com

Another 'Bud' sighting this morning so we must assume he is still out there.

A lady called me around ten thirty to say she was on Hopewell Road, heading south from Cherokee County and he crossed in front of her. She gave a very good description and said she was close to 16065 Hopewell road which is just a little north of the entrances to The Manor Country Club but still in Milton. Because of traffic she was unable to stop or she would have attempted to catch him. I went there straight away but no sign of him; he is very elusive!

Can you please circulate again for us; we continue to be hopeful.

Many thanks.
Shaun & Wendy.
CALL IF YOU SEE BUDDY IN MILTON. He is around!
770.343.9323

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bear the Dog Has Been Found!

From Miltonville.com

Milton Neighbors:

Yeah, it worked yet again!!! Sweet Bear (See below post from earlier this week) was rescued by someone in a black jeep at Hopewell/Francis. Awesome news. By putting up signs and sending emails to one another, he's on his way home.

Please, please, please still look for Bud (golden lab mix) and Willie (black lab with bad eye). It used to be that Milton folks looked for lost cows that wandered off and sometimes into strange places from what I've heard. Now its mostly dogs.

Helping a neighbor to find their lost pet is the cooler part of a small community if we're thinking of keeping our rural small town atmosphere. Every year many loyal family pets bolt out of their yards and thru invisible dog fences from thunder and fireworks. Once mine did and one of you saved him. And I've found many others out and about, lost in Milton.
Thanks for looking out for them! They are so so good to us.


- Patti Silva

Milton OKs Some Sewer Hookups

By DOUG NURSE www.ajc.com

The Milton City Council has decided to approach the question of crafting a sewer policy like a chef approaching an onion – one layer at a time.

On Monday, the Milton City Council peeled the first layer of what will be an ongoing effort to sort out which properties can have sewer and under what circumstances.

Unlike most communities, Milton has used sewer – or lack thereof – as a growth management tool. Sewer, many argue, will bring density which will despoil the semi-agrarian grandeur of their slice of paradise.

Fulton County approved many properties for sewer before Milton became a city on Dec. 1, 2006. Many property owners have permission from the county to hook up to its public sewer system. Some have started construction. All they need is city permission to connect.

But the community's sewer-phobia made the city hall staff reluctant to give the property owners and developers the go-ahead to the next phase. In all, about 30 projects needed to be resolved. City officials whispered they feared lawsuits awaited.

The City Council on Monday decided to focus on the immediate problem.
It set a mini-policy allowing projects to proceed within Fulton County's map of sewer service if they have land development permits and have actually started building.
And, as with another previous case of similar circumstances, the City Council emphasized its decision was not a precedent.About a dozen speakers in the audience of about 45 took the lectern to argue for or against the changes.

Resident Curtis Mills reminded the City Council that a city-sponsored survey showed that an overwhelming majority of people wanted no sewer expansion in Milton. Francisca Lindon fretted that the city could easily end up on a slippery slope if the council didn't deliberate carefully.
Developer Sean Connelly said no one wants to go to court, but at some point, some developers may feel they have no choice. Developer John Adams cautioned the council to remember all the people employed by jobs that development creates.

The next layer to be peeled at a future meeting deals with projects with all the appropriate approvals, but that haven't started moving dirt. Then there are other layers, such as projects in the sewer service map that haven't received appropriate permits, and so on.

Another Missing Milton Pup!

From www.miltonville.com

“Willie” is a male, black lab mix, about 45 lbs, with a bad left eye. He escaped from his yard last night (Sunday 07/13) while people were shooting off fireworks. He was seen by the Avensong clubhouse around 830-9pm and later on Harpley Ct. Willie is very friendly and if you have a leash, he’ll go with you anywhere.

If you know where he is, please call his family at 404-317-5592
If you know people who live in other neighborhoods near the Avensong neighborhood, would you please forward this to them in case he’s wandered through yards and out of the subdivision.
Lisa Gabriel c: 678-296-8886

Milton Nights...This Friday At Fosters!


It's time to hang out with your Milton family!

Once again, Michael O'keefe is welcoming the community to his Foster's Grille in Crabapple. He had this to share with us about the anticipated event: "We are excited to be hosting the next Milton nights. The last time we had a full house, with everyone mingling with their friends and neighbors, which is exactly what Foster's Grille is all about. It is our hope that it will be great night of fun and community."

Michael will be donating 10% of the evenings numbers to Team In Training which helps raise funds in the fight against leukemia.

So bring your family,bring your friends, and bring your business cards!WHERE: Foster's Grille / Crabapple
WHEN: Friday / July 18
TIME: 6:30pm to 9pm

And Yet another Missing Pup

Many thanks to Patti Silva of Miltonville for this notice.

Another Lab is Lost in Milton. Note the light brown nose. Bear is a very sweet natured Lab. Please Help us find her......

Please help us find Bear. She is an 11 year old Yellow Lab – and looks almost white. She is fairly built at roughly 65 lbs. Her eyes are a hazel/green color with blond eyelashes. She is very sweet and gets very nervous. She rain away yesterday during the storms because the thunder scared her. She did NOT have her collar on – so she has no identity tags. She has a good coat of hair and sheds a lot.

Jack and Michelle McIlvain
Please call us at 678-595-7540

Special Notice From Council Person Julie Zahner Bailey

Milton News from Julie Zahner Bailey:

Dear Milton Friends, Neighbors and Citizens:I hope everyone had a terrific July 4th. Milton's first citizen parade was well attended and is sure to become a great annual tradition. The Milton Herald highlighted the parade in their July 11th addition. A few photos from the parade are included in this release. Enjoy! It was a great day for Milton and for America. Thanks to all those who were able to participate.

Please note there is a Special Called Meeting being held today at City Hall at 4:00 p.m. The agenda for this public meeting relates to: permits requested in the Highway 9, Hopewell Road and Crabapple areas;and existing limitations of the current Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Fulton County and the related sewer service delivery area. This meeting will require comparisons of these various parcels with existing sewer and no sewer policies. Scroll down for more details.

Facts regarding recently publicized information regarding Fulton County tax assessments can be found below in this release.Since my last release and update, there have been several new developments on the topic of sewer/no sewer. As I reported, the Mayor and Council had a Special Called Meeting on July 3 to address the permits for Sembler. Because the Sembler development - which includes Target, Kohl's, etc. - was about to have its' grand opening, Milton staff wanted to ensure they had the input of the Council regarding how to proceed. As I hope you read at the time, the Sembler project is located on a parcel that was not covered by the current Intergovernmental Agreement ((IGA) with Fulton County. Based on a number of factors that distinguished this parcel(s) from others, we unanimously agreed to provide staff the direction to proceed with the CO and related permits. The motion to approve the permits and ultimately the connection to sewer were specifically outlined in a detailed motion citing the following facts: The parcels are in the Big Creek Basin, the parcels are not in the Etowah Basin, the No Inter Basin Transfer Policy does not apply to these parcels, while the current IGA with Fulton County and related map did not include these parcels, these parcels had always been intended for sewer via Fulton County.

The list of distinguishing factors goes on, but you get the idea. Also noted during the July 3rd Special Called Meeting was the fact that other permits along Highway 9, in Crabapple and along Hopewell need to be reviewed by the Mayor and Council in concert with data provided by staff to determine how to proceed. The circumstances of the various parcels all vary. As an example, they are at varying stages of development, are in different basins in some cases, i.e. some are in the Big Creek Basin while others are in the Etowah, while still others may be in conflict with the No Inter Basin Transfer Policies while still others have no conflict with that long standing no-sewer policy. AJC articleFast forward to today, Monday, July 14th, the Mayor and Council will have another Special Called Meeting at City Hall beginning at 4:00 p.m. It is a public hearing and everyone is of course welcome to attend.

As always, there also will be time allotted for public comment. The intent of the meeting is to review the 25-30 parcels noted by Milton staff as needing direction based on near term permit or site plan requests along with the current IGA. The Community Development Department will provide Mayor and Council with the specifics of each situation and parcel and we will have to evaluate what next steps are appropriate for each of these situations. Following the Special Called Meeting is the regularly scheduled July 14th Work Session beginning at 6:00 with a focus on the 2009 budget process. I encourage you all to attend and to begin to think about and share your expectations for the city's 2009 priorities.Thank you for allowing me the privilege to serve you.

All my best,

Julie Zahner Bailey
Milton City Council
770-664-5529 (h)
404-310-6344 (c)
Julie4Milton@mindspring.com
Julie4Milton

Sunday, July 13, 2008

***DANGEROUS DRIVER ALERT!!***

Stock Image.

We received a report this past Friday regarding an incident on Bethany Way. An individual driving a late model white Honda Odyssey was tailgating another driver and then passed said driver on a double yellow line. This driver continued to drive in a wreckless and high speed fashion over to Birmingham Highway where the visual contact dissolved. Please keep an eye out for this individual!

DATE OF OFFENSE: Friday, July 11th,2008.
TIME OF OFFENSE: Roughly 5pm
OFFENDING VEHICLE: White Honda Odyssey
CHEROKEE TAG #: ATE 8870

The Search for Bud Continues...

All:

Please see the following regarding lost dog Bud. Many thanks to Patti Silva of Miltonville for bring this to us.

We now think the dog at Hopewell/Francis was probably not Bud. We have spoken to Angie Cheshire again and she says that her neighbors dog, Bear, is missing from Stratford Farms sub division today; it sounds as if it looks very similar to Bud, but female and perhaps a bit lighter in color.

Angie's husband saw a lady in a black jeep talking to and perhaps trying to catch the dog at 4.30 ish at the crossroads about ten minutes after we got a call who had seen a dog there. We drove all around the area for nearly two hours, stopping and calling. If Bud had been in hearing distance I am sure he would have popped up.

Anyway could you please put another update on Miltonville when you have a chance. We have also been back to the Fulton County shelter in midtown today and he has not shown up there.

Can't begin to tell you how much your help is appreciated,

VB regards,

Shaun & Wendy

Miltonian Suggest A "Green Cemetery"


Many thanks to Miltonian Jim Bell for sharing the following letter with us.

FROM:
James W. Bell, III
Milton Conservation Burial Partners
1150 Birmingham Rd.
Milton, Georgia 30004
dus2dust@Mindspring.com

Dear Neighbor,

I am contacting you to ask you to attend a Public Participation Program designed to enhance dialogue regarding my request for a “Special Use Permit” on a portion of my farm at 1150 Birmingham Road, Milton, Georgia 30004.

My new company, Milton Conservation Burial Partners is working toward a unique partnership, joining natural burial with land Preservation.

MCBP is hoping to get permission to build a new cemetery on Birmingham Road. We are excited about the unique opportunity to purchase one of life's necessities, help preserve the environment, and assist the City in buying more green space for our community. A portion of the purchase price is even tax deductible.

The proposed new cemetery will be a “Green Cemetery,” allowing more environmentally friendly burials. We believe it is time our new city has its own cemetery, and are working with the Green Burial Council and Conservation Burial Partners to advise us on how to link ones final act with land preservation and conservation practices.
The Green Burial Council consulting arm, Conservation Burial Partners, specializes in building conservation partnerships involving land owners, municipalities, land trust, and cemetery operators that not only preserve the natural burial sites, but also uses a portion of the proceeds of lot sales to purchase and protect other green areas in the community. See:
http://www.greenburialcouncil.org/news.htm
A natural burial is an environmentally sustainable alternative to a traditional funeral, and is significantly less expensive. It's the ultimate in recycling. The expense of your funeral goes instead towards preserving natural spaces set aside as burial preserves. In the case of Milton, a portion of the tax deductible proceeds could go towards completion of the Milton Trail, a city-wide trail proposed to link 22 miles of the city in equestrian north Fulton County.

There's no embalming in natural burial because formaldehyde used in embalming fluids is toxic to the people using it, the soil you're buried in, and any groundwater the chemical might leak into. Instead of a richly lined casket of copper, bronze or exotic endangered wood like mahogany, you can have one of a soft wood such as pine, poplar or ash. Or you can select to have a body wrap that is a shroud of biodegradable fibers such as linen or cotton.

Your body is placed gently in the earth, and there is no need for the concrete outer vault that is required in most other cemeteries that is needed to support the weight of grounds maintenance machinery. Rather than an expensive monument with your name sandblasted in quarried marble or granite, your marker could be a natural fieldstone, or perhaps an outcropping of rock, undisturbed as a natural landmark and locatable with a GPS system.

According to the AARP, the average cost of a traditional funeral including burial cost is close to $10,000. A green burial can be significantly less costly; in some locations, it's only a few thousand dollars. The burial or scattering of cremated remains is even less.

“Every year in the United States we bury enough embalming fluid to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools, enough metal to build the Golden Gate Bridge, and so much reinforced concrete in burial vaults that we could build a two-lane highway from New York to Detroit,” said Joe Sehee, Executive Director of the Green Burial Council. See:

http://www.greenburialcouncil.org/index.php

Ideally, you'd be buried, not cremated, because crematories use fossil fuels to fire
ovens at high temperature. Opponents to cremation object to emissions of carbon
dioxide and toxins such as mercury from dental fillings.

About 30 per cent of people in metro Atlanta choose cremation. If for some reason cremation is necessary, the body could be delivered to the crematorium in a readily combustible casket. It could be as simple as a softwood box you make yourself.
Your ashes would then be scattered or buried in the woods, or placed in a
Biodegradable urn for burial in the new cemetery. See:

http://www.greenburialcouncil.org/standards.php

The Green Burial Council is building a nationwide network of land trusts, cemetery operators, and funeral directors, and has developed a certification system that requires reporting and auditing systems, along with stewardship of the land.

"What people are connecting to is that their last act can contribute towards a
conservation effort, and we’re very excited about the new cemetery being planned in Milton," Sehee says.

For more information you can contact “Milton Fields” at dus2dust@Mindspring.com
770-751-1445

Please join us so we can answer any questions you may have about this exciting project.

Date: Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Place: Fire Station #43, 750 Hickory Flat Road

Time: 10:00 am

Regards,

Jim Bell
Milton Conservation Burial Partners

Friday, July 11, 2008

Good Neighbor Saves Dog From Fire In Milton

By Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers

Alpharetta-- To look at him, 12-year-old Hunter Eckstrom doesn't appear to have a whole lot of power stored up in his small frame. But when the time was right, he sure had enough to get the job done.On June 25, Eckstrom kicked open the locked front door of his neighbor's burning house to save her dog, Bella. As if that wasn't enough, just seconds after pulling the pooch from an upstairs bedroom of the house on Village Green Way, the air conditioner in the duplex exploded, blowing a hole right through the ceiling and floor of the room he'd just escaped.Just a few seconds difference, and this would be a tale of tragedy, not heroism."We're very proud of him," said Eckstrom's mother, Linda. "He's got such a great big heart for others."And the imminent danger of the split-second decision? Linda and her husband, Philip, look back with thanks that their youngest son wasn't caught in the flames or subsequent blast."He better not ever do that again," said Linda.

The story began on a muggy June afternoon. Hunter and Philip were in a neighbor's yard cleaning up some trees – Hunter's summer job – when a neighbor boy asked if they had a hose. It turns out his house was on fire.Philip immediately grabbed a hose and started trying to spray the back of the duplex, but the flames were already spreading to the whole structure and threatening to catch nearby trees."It was really involved at that time," he said.While watching the fire, Hunter said it suddenly dawned on him that Susan Ingui's dog and three cats were probably trapped inside. The other resident of the duplex, she was a friend to the Eckstroms and he often cut her grass.Hunter and Philip ran to the front of the house and surveyed the situation. The next thing he knew, Philip was watching his boy kick at the door and rush in."It just happened within a split second," he said. After the initial shock wore off, both Eckstroms knew their son, who wants to join the military and loves war documentaries and specials on the Navy SEALS, made the choice he thought was right.
"He's got his boots, and he's such a strong little guy," said Linda. "He just went right in." Hunter said he was able to grab Ingui's dog, Bella, out of her bedroom. He searched for her three cats, but to no avail. He ran out in the nick of time.
"As soon as I got out the kid's [the young neighbor who initially alerted the Eckstroms to the blaze] side exploded," said Hunter.The flame-scarred building still bears the aftermath of the blast. The attic area where the air conditioning unit was housed bends out, and a clear view duplex's innards is available.Still thinking fast, Hunter took the dog to his house, got it food and water, and shut it in the bathroom.
He then called Ingui to give her the bad news."He's just such a smart boy, and he wanted to make sure Bella was safe," said Ingui, who is now at the Doubletree Hotel with her pets. Her three cats were found later in the week – they had all escaped – and the family is doing just fine in the pet-friendly hotel.
The thankful neighbor said she was glad young Hunter thought enough of her pet to risk his life to save it."I lost a dog last July, and just got Bella in November," she said. "It would have killed me to lose another dog – they're like my children."Linda Eckstrom said that care for animals comes from the family's ownership of pets, and Hunter's own big heart."The police commended him when they came," she said. "But Hunter said, 'No, it's OK, you're supposed to do that."
Lt. C. Garner of the Alpharetta Police Department was one of those officers struck by Eckstrom's actions. That day, he gave the pre-teen his card and said to call him when he was old enough to join the Police Explorers, a law enforcement youth group."He impressed me as a smart young man who is dedicated to where he lives," said Garner, who didn't realize that Eckstrom had kicked the door down to get to the pets until contacted for this article. "He seems like a real good kid all around."Like Eckstrom's parents, Garner was most enthusiastic that in the year 2008, a kid could still choose the right path without thinking about it."A lot of youth nowadays wouldn't take that initiative," he said.

Homelessness Ends With Habitat Build In Milton

By Bob Pepalis / Appen Newspapers

Milton--
Habitat for Humanity North Central Georgia put two more families into homes at Centennial Village recently, ending years of uncertainty and even homelessness.The Sudduth and Kasimova families signed papers to close on their new homes in Centennial Village on a Friday, and got their keys the next day. That was the occasion for a dedication ceremony, in which Habitat leaders and the families thanked all the volunteers who made it possible.Carolyn Sudduth told those assembled that she did it all for her daughters."It's changed my life. I know it's changed my daughters' lives," she said.The family has been relocated, homeless and has lived in shelters, she said.Her oldest daughter spent every day at the build, with her middle daughter joining in once she turned 16.

Zuhkra "Sultana" Kasimova also said she dedicated herself to the Habitat build for her daughter, Zakir. Her mother, Nasisa Usimova, thanked the volunteers for helping her daughter and granddaughter, with another of her daughters serving as an interpreter.

Milton Volunteers Look At Tree Law

By Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers

MILTON--

Like all the trees in Milton? So do a group of volunteers who make up the city's newly launched Tree Committee.The seven-member group, led by Milton's city arborist, Mark Law, have been tasked with taking a look at the Fulton County tree ordinance adopted in 2006 - a "Top 10" priority for City Council. Some feel it's not exactly built for a place like Milton, so the committee will weigh tweaking it to better suit community concerns. The committee is made up of both concerned citizens and developers to even out the interests.

The first meeting was June 26. Meetings are tentatively planned for every two weeks at City Hall. The public is welcome to attend and hear committee discussions."We're looking to make it more congruent with Milton's policies," said Law. "Fulton County's ordinance deals with different issues than we have up here. It's more rural, and our citizens have a different expectation than what Fulton was doing for the whole county."

According to the city's communications department, future agendas will involve discussions related to residential tree removal permitting, recompense standards, tree banking, landscaping strips, tree health evaluations, specimen tree classifications, tree canopy, buffer preservation and more.Law said he expects the law should be revised by the end of the year. He's looking for it to "find a good balance between development and preservation of our greenspaces."
"Summer will probably slow things down, but we don't want to rush," he said. "We need to draft exactly what we want."

Scott Gronholm is a self-professed "local developer." He said since the city started he's been compelled to volunteer his time and give back. And he wants to make sure smart growth, which preserves lots of greenspace, is allowed in his home city."I am a developer, so I feel like I could help in that way," he said. "I see how it could be mediated."

Like Gronholm, Diane Palmer felt she needed to help her city in some way. A resident of Milton since 2000, she owns what she calls a "postage stamp" horse farm."I'm interested in holding onto the animal habitats," she said. "I want to help make this a better place that is different from the rest of metro Atlanta."

Walmart Shoplifting Takes Deadly Turn

by www.gwinnettherald.com

July 10, 2008— Milton and Alpharetta police caught four suspects June 29 after a case of simple shoplifting turned ugly.Two suspects allegedly tried to shoplift nearly $800 worth of DVDs and videogames from the Wal-Mart on Windward Parkway, then tried to hit an employee and threatenened him with a knife after being stopped while attempting to leave the store.

According to a report of the incident, Bryant Gilliam, 39, of Duluth and his girlfriend, Carmen N. Rouse, 24, of Atlanta were stopped after Wal-Mart personnel noticed them allegedly stuffing DVDs and videogames in a sack. As a employee tried to look inside the bag held by Rouse, Gilliam allegedly took a swing at him, then pulled a knife and told him to, "Back away from my girl."

They were allowed to leave, and jumped in a red Chevrolet Avalanche truck reportedly driven by two men, Frederick R. Ritchie, 40, of Lawrenceville and Leon P. Meek, 40, of Decatur.The four were picked up by Alpharetta police a short time later on Ga. 400 just south of Mansell Road.Gilliam was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and felony shoplifting. He also had a warrant out for his arrest for felony shoplifting out of South Carloina.Rouse was charged with felony shoplifting. Ritchie and Meek were both charged with being party to a crime, and Meek had a warrant out for his arrest from Alpharetta for failure to appear in court.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Doggies Looking For Their Family?


All:


Miltonian Jean Brown Smith sent us the following note along with two pics of some lost dogs. Any help you could provide would be appreciated.


Tim Enloe
Magnolia Media, LLC

These two (pictured above ) appeared at my home this week. They are buddies. The white is a Westie about 5 years old. THe black looks to be a mix of shephard/lab/healer. Please help me find them a home. Jean 678-428-2916

Construction Begins On Crabapple Mixed-Use Development

By DAVID PENDERED http://www.ajc.com/

Construction has started on a site in Crabapple that has been under contract for more than a year with little sign of movement.
The lack of activity at the Crabapple Mercantile Exchange prompted gossip that it might be a casualty of the slow economy. But on Wednesday, workers were busy raising steel girders at the site near the corner of Birmingham Highway and Crabapple Road.

Developer John Adams said construction was delayed partly because he couldn't get construction loans until he had secured all permits from the city. He received those permits in December, after about a year of negotiating with Milton city officials about the architectural style of the development for the 52,000-square-foot project.

Crabapple Mercantile Exchange is designed to reflect 19th century buildings that Adams said will evoke Old World charm. It will have have brick and ornate details in wood and iron, and flickering street lights. A similar project by Adams is almost fully leased in Alpharetta: the Ellerd Mercantile Exchange.

About two-thirds of the Crabapple Mercantile Exchange is leased, Adams said. The mix of space includes about 23,000 square feet of retail, 22,500 square feet of office and almost 8,000 square feet of residential. The residential space will be built above the ground-floor office and retail space, he said.

Prospective tenants include:
Zest, a restaurant
Scoops, old-fashioned ice cream shop
Founders Cigar Club, a restaurant with a private club for cigars and Scotch whiskey
Faire La Belle, a salon
SP Casey Homes, an interior design store
Dentist's office

Missing MIlton Family Dog Update


Patti Silva and Miltonville are keeping us up to date for the infamous lost dog Bud!

Lost since July 4th; Bud (Lab/Chow mix) was spotted walking down Francis towards Hopewell/Cogburn/Francis intersection (flashing light). But sadly before the driver saw one of the many Missing Dog Signs. Please keep a look out for him. Think about that movie with the dog and the cat roaming around,Homeward Bound, and you'll get the picture of Bud's personality. He is resourceful and is trying to find his way home.
(A small bag of dog bones in your glove compartment works well in times like these;)
CONTACT INFO: 770.343.9323
Thanks for helping Buddy find his way home to his family!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Milton Grown Tomatoes For Sale!

Tired of the tomato scare? Then buy with confidence from your very own Milton Georgia farmers! Stable Days Farm located off of Bethany Road in Milton has homegrown tomatoes for sale now! At a cost of only 25 cents each, what is stopping you?

Phone: 770 653 0552
email: tmenloe@aol.com
Subject Line: Tomatoes!

Interested in joining the Milton Garden Club? Then click here=>http://www.accessmilton.com/MiltonGardenClub.php

Popular Milton Jeweler Killed By Girlfriend In Holly Springs



Appen Newspapers

July 09, 2008

The owner of a popular jewlery business in Crabapple was killed July 6 during what Cherokee County Sheriff's Office investigators are calling a "domestic argument."Capt. Ron Hunton, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, said Thomas L. "T. Lynn" White, 66, of Holly Springs was run over at his New Light Road home by his girlfriend's Chevrolet truck. Investigators said White and Melissa Houston, 38, of Woodstock had been having an argument during which the victim threw a brick through Houston's side passenger window.Houston continued to leave, at which point she struck White with the vehicle, said Hunton. Police were called to the home around 3 p.m.White was taken to Cherokee Northside Hostpial, where he was pronounced dead.

No charges have yet been filed against Houston, pending the outcome of a blood test and ongoing investigation.Hunton said White had previous domestic problems with Houston, including a 2005 battery charge for which he received a pro-bated sentence."Their relationship was somewhat troubled, I guess you could say," said Hunton. "He never stopped seeing her."

White was best known as the owner and proprietor of T. Lynn jewelry, a popular business that had recently moved from down-town Alpharetta, its location for a decade, to Crabapple.

Missing Milton Dog! Please Help!

Many thanks to Patti Silva and Miltonville for the following email alert.

Hello Friends and Neighbors,
I would have sent out this notice sooner but I've been away and just returned this evening to find this plea for help...

My neighbor's dog has been missing since July 4th! His parents were on their way home to make sure he was locked in the house but fireworks went off early in the day and Bud freaked, as would any dog, and escaped the noise. He has been seen, saved, and then he escaped again to try and find his way home.

30004usa has been enormously successful in getting out the word and finding lost dogs over the last four years. Even though it's been several days, I'm confident we will find Bud in Milton!
Please help by forwarding this email to your list of contacts. Any information is very much appreciated.

Contact: miltonville@gmail.com
or Sagv@aol.com
Millions of Thanks!
Patti Silva

Milton Finds Paying For Basic Needs A Challenge

By DOUG NURSE www.ajc.com

Is it possible to be wealthy and poor at the same time? It's a paradox that city leaders in Milton know something about. The average house on the market in the city costs about $800,000, and the median household income is near the top in the state, but the city is laboring to pay for its basic needs.

Residential property taxes aren't enough to pay bills, Milton City Manager Billy Beckett says.
City leaders say they have only a fraction of the funds needed to maintain roads and lack money for parkland and other priorities. They say the city can't afford to build its own city hall.
"We face short- and long-term challenges," said City Manager Billy Beckett. "We have a lot of needs. I've had requests for sidewalks, but there's no money. I've had calls asking for intersection improvements, traffic signalization. None of that is cheap."

It's a harsh reality for a city built on promises of offering better services and limited taxes.
City Councilman Alan Tart said residents will have to make choices about what services they want, at what level, vs. whether they prefer to keep their taxes low."There's no such thing as a free lunch," Tart said. "I'll do whatever the citizens want. But we can't spend more than we receive. Preliminary results of a survey show people want better services than they received from Fulton County, better infrastructure than they received from Fulton County, more attention than they received from Fulton County. But if you ask them if they're willing to pay more taxes, most said, 'No'."

One of the most pressing issues involves roads.Milton has 175 miles of city-owned roads but only enough money to maintain five miles a year. Dan Drake, the city public works director, is conducting an analysis of Milton's roads, but he said he already knows, more or less, what he'll find."We don't have adequate allocations to roads just for pure maintenance," he said. "We may have to lower our standards. That would mean more cracks, a bumpier ride, alligator cracking, faded pavement."

The city has set aside $900,000 this year for road upkeep. To resurface all of its roads within the standard seven-year period, the city would need about $2 million to $3 million a year. The city has dozens of bridges; one that almost failed will cost about $200,000 to $300,000 to fix.
The city has an annual budget of about $17.7 million.

In addition to road maintenance, the city has set a priority for more parks. It currently has three, including one undeveloped. It has drafted a plan for a 48.6-mile trail system for bicyclists, hikers and equestrians — but no money to make it happen.

"Everyone is anxious to do something about parks," Beckett said. "But when you have parks, you have to have money to run them and maintain them. We have to meet some fundamental challenges first."

The city also faces ongoing costs from its new Police Department, Fire Department and Municipal Court. For example, Beckett said, Milton encompasses 23,000 acres, and the city needs a tanker truck to fight fires in remote areas. The Police Department needs more manpower to combat speeding, which Beckett said is a big problem in Milton.
Milton has limited options to increase revenue.

One possibility is impact fees, paid by developers to cover the infrastructure costs required to serve their projects. But legally those are limited to the area of the project and can only be used for specified city services.

Milton's tax rate is already at the statutory maximum of $4.731 per $1,000 of taxable valuation.
Before incorporating into a city, local residents worried that a new government would bring another level of taxation. To quell those fears, the legislation founding the city capped the millage unless voters approve an increase.

"I don't see anyone supporting a tax increase in this political climate," Beckett said.
The city might see more revenue because of new property assessments by Fulton County. Even so, Beckett said, despite the high value of the homes in the city, residential property taxes aren't enough to pay bills.

Only a small portion of the city is commercial property, which hurts the revenue base.
William Hudnut, senior resident fellow of the Urban Land Institute, said typically commercial development brings in more in taxes than it requires in services. A largely residential city will generally see a disproportionate share of the taxes fall on homeowners, he said.

But Milton residents treasure the semi-agrarian nature of the area, with its horse farms, estate properties and tree-lined lanes. They fear letting in commercial property will destroy the unique charm of Milton.

That has led the City Council to oppose expansion of sewer systems, which means projects along commercial corridors have to use valuable land for septic tanks. The City Council has also capped commercial buildings at only two stories and demanded developers spare more trees than other cities do.

The result is perhaps a more beautiful area, but a poorer city that serves a community expecting and demanding more services than it used to get from Fulton County. The city this year is receiving about $5 million from Fulton County in taxes paid before the city incorporated, and that will help keep the budget crunch at bay. Plus in 2008, the city will start collecting $900,000 in insurance-related taxes.

And Beckett is looking for places to make city operations more efficient. "It's doable," Beckett said. "I don't want to see the character of the community change any more than they do. But we need to be realistic. We need a practical approach to provide services this community needs."