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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First "Road To Safety" Video Up!


Double Click To Enlarge Screen.

MILTON - As many of you are aware, Protectmilton.com, Accessmilton.com, and the Fulton County Board of Education kicked off the first "Road To Safety" Program this past October. The competition allowed teens to put together a two minute video advocating safe driving.

What will eventually be an annual event including all North Fulton High Schools next year, we were honored to receive four fantastic videos; two submitted by Alpharetta students and two by Milton students.

The first video received above focused on a character titled "Safety Sam" and encouraged young and old the importance of safe driving.

Over the next few days, we will be posting the other videos. The winner's video will not be posted until after the official unveiling at Alpharetta City Hall December 6th.

Many thanks to everyone who participated!

Come out and celebrate the holidays.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

There's a lot of talk with time of year about holiday traditions, and I have to say that's one of the most rewarding things about being part of the City of Milton: the traditions we've been able to start.

As you may well know, on Saturday, Dec. 4, the City of Milton will hold its third Christmas in Crabapple and its second Tree Lighting. These events, planned for 2 to 5 p.m. in historic downtown Crabapple and 7 to 9 p.m. at the corner of Webb Road and Ga. 9, respectively, are growing in popularity each year.

It’s a real joy to have residents approach me and bring up how excited they are about Christmas in Crabapple and the Tree Lighting, how much they look forward to attending them. Because while these events are technically not the most vital aspect of running a city, they do an immeasurable amount of community building – and that’s what most folks, myself included, cherish. It’s the fun part that comes from community involvement.

It means a lot to me, and to everyone on City Council and in City Hall, that Milton residents and their families can take part in a holiday festivity brought to them by their city. The health of a community depends on its citizens being able to gather and celebrate in fun and meaningful ways.

Just yesterday my family and I were putting up our Christmas tree and decorating the house. As I bent down to water the tree, the smell of pine needles brought back a rush of holiday memories. A few of the most recent ones included City of Milton events.

My hope is that I’m not the only one for whom the smell of a Christmas tree evokes images of Crabapple on a brisk winter afternoon or lighting a tree under the stars on Ga. 9. And the more memories we create, the stronger those early ones become – until we’ve created a tradition that’s inseparable from the holiday season itself.

So from everyone at Milton City Hall, Happy Holidays. Here’s hoping yours will be merry and bright.

Sincerely,
Mayor Joe Lockwood

Milton FD hires three new firefighters.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

The City of Milton Fire Department recently hired three new firefighter/paramedics. The three new hires will help staff each of the shifts at Milton Fire Station No. 41, located on Arnold Mill Road.

The firefighters' expertise means Milton Engine Company 41 will be the city's second Advanced Life Support company, increasing overall safety for residents and visitors to the City of Milton.

To learn more about the City of Milton Fire Department, click here.

New book features Milton professionals.


Courtesy Accessmilton.com

Women in Technology Inc., a non-profit organization providing advocacy, leadership development, networking, mentoring and technology education for professional women, has recently published its first book "Climb."

The book, co-edited by Milton resident Sandy Hofmann, features essays from 60 women in metro Atlanta's technology community. Contributing authors include a number of Milton and nearby community residents including Myra McElhaney, Ginger Ackerman, Mary Carol Alexander, Tricia Dempsey, Josette Fleszar, Kelly Gay, Shawn Grover, Joan Herbig, Kasie Scott Palmer and Cindy Tierney.

For more information, contact Hoffman at sandy.hofmann@comcast.net or visit the group's Web site, www.mywit.org.

Shop with a Cop Dec. 14.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

The Alpharetta Police Athletic/Activities League (PAL) will host the annual "Shop with a Cop" event on Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Windward Parkway Walmart in Milton.

For the third year in a row, Milton's Police and Fire Departments will take part, shopping with PAL youngsters and their families.

This year, PAL aims to help more than 75 children. Each child, along with their parent, will be accompanied by a police officer, firefighter, or public safety volunteer as he or she shops.

Each child will be able to spend up to $100. Although this allotment is theirs to spend on items for themselves, often these children elect to spend some of the money on gifts for their parents or siblings.

This annual police hosted/corporate sponsored event helps local families in need meet the holiday expectations for their children. At this time, PAL still needs additional sponsors. Walmart has already pledged $2,500. There have also been some smaller individual pledges.

Also, for the fourth year Alpharetta PAL will be delivering a holiday meal basket on Dec. 18 to the neediest of families. Baskets will be delivered by North Fulton police officers and fire personnel.

For more information about contributing or volunteering, please contact Officer Laurie Nicholson at 678-297-6309 x 1 or lnicholson@alpharetta.ga.us.

Milton Orchestra winter concert Dec. 16.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

The Milton High School Orchestra announced its winter concert, themed "A Pops Holiday Celebration," will be held Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Milton High School.

The evening includes an intermission with complimentary refreshments and snacks.

Adult tickets are $5. Student tickets are $3. They are available online at www.miltonorchestra.com without a convenience fee or other charges. Tickets will be mailed or delivered if time allows, otherwise they will be held at Will Call.

HYA spring registration still open.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

Online registration for Hopewell Youth Association's (HYA) spring 2010 recreational baseball season is available at the group's Web site, www.hopewellbaseball.org.

Phase one for Milton residents only is over. The rest of the registration process is as follows.

· Phase two: Until Dec. 12 - Milton residents and non-Milton resident HYA veteran players· Phase three: Dec. 13 to Dec. 27 - Open registration.· Late registration: Dec. 28

A $70 late fee will be charged for any registrations after Dec. 27. Each phase of the registration is open to all ages.

Assessment and uniform fittings are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 22; practices begin Saturday, Feb. 6.

To register online, visit www.hopewellbaseball.org and choose the "Register Online" tab from the menu to the left.

City Hall closed Dec. 24 and 31.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

Please note Milton's City Hall will be closed Christmas Eve, Friday, Dec. 24, in observance of Christmas Day.

It will also be closed New Year's Eve, Friday, Dec. 31, in observance of New Year's Day. We appreciate your understanding.

To view the city calendar, click here

Community Development Dept. updates.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

After more than three years of hard work, Milton has been approved to pursue full issuing authority status for erosion control plans by the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission and the Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation District.

This status will give the City of Milton greater control of the permitting process and should significantly decrease the time necessary for permit approval.

During a review of a few construction sites in the city, both groups gave Milton an unusually high score because of the excellent condition of erosion control measures at each site.

In addition, city Land Development Inspector Mark Aral recently became a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control.

Congratulations to Aral and the City of Milton Community Development staff.

To learn more about the Community Development Department, click here.

Bring One For The Chipper Jan. 2.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

The City of Milton and Milton Grows Green will once again offer Christmas tree recycling for citizens as part of Georgia's "Bring One For The Chipper" program.

This year recyclers may take Christmas trees to three locations: Milton High School (Birmingham Hwy entrance), King's Ridge Christian School (Cogburn Road entrance) and Scottsdale Farms (15639 Birmingham Hwy) for assisted drop-off on Jan. 2, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m

In addition, Scottsdale Farms will accept Christmas trees during normal business hours from Dec. 26 through Dec. 31 and Jan. 2 through Jan. 9. Scottsdale Farms is awarding each Christmas tree recycler with one free latte.

For more information or to volunteer, e-mail chipper2011@cityofmiltonga.us.

PAL Bike Drive planned Jan. 6 and 8.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

Have a used bike that's just collecting dust? How about an outgrown bicycle going into storage because of a new holiday gift? Don't get rid of it! Give it to PAL.

The Alpharetta Police Athletics and Activities League (PAL), a non-profit youth organization building leaders for tomorrow, is holding a bike drive Jan. 6 and 8 at PAL Gym in the Eagle Village Youth Complex behind Alpharetta City Hall (2 Main Street, Alpharetta, GA 30004). The aim is to procure enough bicycles for a youth bicycle riding program.

Want to help out? Simply bring your gently used bicycle between 6 and 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6 or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8. PAL will take care of the rest.

If you would like to donate money to help launch the program or purchase helmets and T-shirts for the kids, representatives will also be on hand to take your gift.

To give money to PAL to help with this or any one of its other quality programs, please visit www.alphapal.org for information on how to donate.

"Run for Cover" 5K Jan. 22.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

The second annual "Run For Cover" Eagle 5K run to benefit Milton Boys' Lacrosse will be held Jan. 22 at Milton High School. There will be a 1 mile fun run at 8 a.m. and the race will begin at 8:30 a.m.

The course will be the "Colt Trail," a loop around Milton High School on paved roads. Awards will be presented to overall male/female, masters male/female and top three male/female in age groups from under-10 to over-75. All participants in the 1-mile fun run will receive a ribbon.

Registration is $20 by Jan. 15, $25 afterward. There is a family rate of $60.

In addition to the registration fee, all participants are required to bring an article of winter clothing and/or non-perishable food item for North Fulton Community Charities.

Proceeds will benefit Milton High School's Boys' Lacrosse program.

For more information, e-mail miltonlaxcomm@bellsouth.net.

Milton hires three firefighters.

By Andria Simmons
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


The City of Milton Fire Department recently hired three new firefighter/paramedics.

The three new hires will help staff each of the shifts at Milton Fire Station No. 41 at 12670 Arnold Mill Road. The firefighters' expertise means Milton Engine Company 41 will be the city's second advanced life support company, increasing overall safety for residents and visitors to the City of Milton. The city has three fire stations and about 54 fire department employees.

Fire Department to train with live burn on Thompson Road.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

The City of Milton Fire Department will conduct live training burns at 14470 Thompson Road starting Tuesday, Nov. 30 and running through Thursday, Dec. 2.

These live burns will take place between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. On Thursday, Dec. 2, the house will be burned down entirely.

During the training there will be fire trucks and other emergency vehicles in or around the property throughout the day. If you have any questions regarding this exercise, please do not hesitate to call the Fire Department administrative line at 678-242-2570 and we will be happy to assist you.

For more information on the City of Milton Fire Department, click here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Time To Laugh.


Rest in peace, Leslie. Thanks for the laughs.

Milton campaign earns marketing prize.

By Patrick Fox
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Milton's Parks and Recreation Department has won the 2010 Visibility & Marketing Award for a single-event publication from the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association.

The group recognized communications manager Jason Wright for his work in promoting the city's third annual Memorial Day service in May. The campaign, "Remember to Remember," included posters, pamphlets and advertisements created and printed in-house.

Milton Pilates Coming To Milton!


MILTON- On behalf of everyone at Accessmilton.com, we would like to thank the wonderful folks at Milton Pilates for opening another business in Milton!

Locating in Crabapple, this new business is looking to open it's doors come 2011.

Our best wishes to all those behind this great new business. Here is to wishing many years of wonderful success!

Christmas in Crabapple.


Courtesy The Examiner

Mark your calendars for the event that brings bundles of holiday cheer to North Fulton. The City of Milton holds an entire day of festivities in two locations on Dec. 4.

Christmas in Crabapple from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The third annual Christmas in Crabapple festival, held in historic downtown Crabapple, kicks off the red-letter day (click here for directions).

The festival will feature pictures with Santa Claus at Ashley Blencoe Photography, roving carolers from the Milton High School Chorale group, crafts at the Broadwell Cottage, a visit from the Gingerbread Man, carriage rides, hot chocolate, a bonfire, and a baked goods sales.

In addition, all businesses in Crabapple will be open for holiday shopping.

There will also be vocal performances throughout the day by:

Goddard School of Crabapple Children's Chorus at 2:45 p.m.
Northwestern Middle School Choir at 3:30 p.m.
Milton High School Chorale at 4:15 p.m.

As for the gift of giving; make someone else's holiday a little brighter by bringing warm coats, hats, gloves, and scarves for Crabapple Community Association's clothing drive, which benefits Roswell-based The Drake House. The drive will go on through Dec. 17 at multiple locations throughout the city. So, please give what you can.

Then, the perfect ending to a perfect day:

Milton's 2nd Annual Tree Lighting from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the corner of Ga. 9 and Webb Rd (click here for directions).

After the sun goes down, Milton will prepare for the lighting of its town Christmas Tree. The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. and end at 7:30 p.m. with performances by the Hopewell Middle School, Bright Horizons at Deerfield choirs, and local songstress Kaylin McClure singing "O Holy Night."

At 7:31, or thereabouts, Milton's Mayor and City Council will count down to the big moment - the tree lighting. Subsequently, while the tune "Here Comes Santa Claus" plays, Good St. Nick will arrive by horse-drawn carriage that will be flanked by Milton's Police and Fire Departments.

There will be refreshments, crafts, photos with Santa, and holiday music for all. It's an evening of fellowship and good cheer. What surroundings could be better for holiday shopping?

And as you shop 'til you drop at Deerfield Place, don't forget to donate an unwrapped toy or two for Toys for Tots. Two United States Marines will be on hand for the donations -- toys or monetary. All the items and funds stay in Metro Atlanta. So, give as much as you can. But, above all, partake in the festivities with an ardent Christmas spirit and those around you will have a brightier and merrier holiday.

On A National Note...

Christmas Ban Angers School Parents
Parent Says Santa, Christmas Colors Not Allowed In Classroom

Courtesy wesh.com

HEATHROW, Fla. -- A school in Seminole County has banned just about everything associated with Christmas.

School board policy indicates employees must be neutral when it comes to religion, and while schools can celebrate some aspects of the holidays, it can't observe or promote holidays as religious events.

But some parents said new guidelines at Heathrow Elementary are a bit extreme.

One parent said classrooms can't show Santa Claus or use traditional Christmas colors.

"You can't use red and green," a parent said. "It's ridiculous."

But some religious leaders said the season should be about teaching kids diversity.

"Are we singing 'Come All Ye Faithful' or 'Frosty The Snowman'? There's the line between religious and cultural, if you will," Congregation Beth Am Rabbi Rick Sherwin said.

There is a tree and a wreath at the Seminole County School Board headquarters.

District officials said Heathrow Elementary has chosen to celebrate the season with a winter theme for years.

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Liberals Hate Tax Facts.

Guest Column; Courtesy of Herman Cain
November 28, 2010

Here we go with the liberal rhetoric again. You’ve seen the Democrats whine that keeping the “Bush tax cuts” would stuff the pockets of the richest Americans, while doing nothing to help the middle class. But that simply isn’t the truth.

Here’s the truth:

Congress is not voting on tax cuts, but rather, whether or not they should allow tax increases to take effect January 1, 2011.

The Democrats have tried to convince the American people that the Republicans want to pass “tax cuts for the rich.” But, in reality, conservatives want to provide a bit of economic certainty by maintaining the current tax rates for all. In fact, Speaker-elect John Boehner (R-Ohio) says that keeping these tax rates is the most sensible way to “reduce the uncertainty in America and help small businesses begin to create jobs again.”

This may come as a shocker to liberals: He’s exactly right.

If the Democrats block the attempts of Republicans to permanently extend the current tax rates, taxes will rise for the first time in 14 years! And this will certainly stall economic recovery, as the Heritage Foundation projects that letting these rates expire would cost an average of 799,000 jobs annually from 2013-2019. If the Democrats continually promise that their number one focus is job creation, why are they insisting upon blocking legislation that would do exactly that?

The Democrats in Congress resist the facts and the truth. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) wants to introduce two different pieces of legislation – one that would include maintaining the current tax rates for the middle class and another for the highest-income filers, many of whom include small business owners. He and his liberal colleagues are insistent upon making this class warfare legislation instead of economic growth legislation.

Most people can see through this. We see that letting the current tax rates expire would simply cause taxes to skyrocket for everybody, especially the small businesses responsible for most of the new jobs created. And that’s no stimulus!

The rhetoric of liberals isn’t working. They figure that if they keep saying it, enough of it will stick with enough people who will believe it. But guess what! Most of us aren’t that stupid!

Just like we understood that when President Obama and liberals in Congress said health care “reform,” they really meant a takeover of the American health care system. And we also knew that “cap and trade” were code words for “energy taxes.” And we also realized that bailouts and the stimulus agendas were simply an unacceptable expansion of government. The Democrats must face the facts: We will not be fooled!

We understand that raising taxes in a deep recession would only further complicate our economic woes and worsen conditions for the American families struggling to make ends meet. We recognize that policy, not politics, will help steer this country on the right path.

We know that ignoring the facts doesn’t make the facts go away. Most Americans realize that the surest form of economic stimulus is for the federal government to get out of the way. Raising taxes gets in everybody’s way, especially businesses. Tax facts don’t lie. And most Americans know the truth.

Prepare for winter weather with Nixle.

City of Milton uses service in emergency situations.

MILTON, GA, Nov. 29, 2010 - In the coming months, winter weather could cause potentially hazardous conditions on City of Milton roadways. Stay up-to-date with the most reliable information available by signing up for the City of Milton's Nixle emergency alert messaging system.

The Nixle Community Information Service allows the City of Milton to instantly deliver messages, via cell phone or e-mail, to residents who subscribe. The City of Milton Police, Fire and Public Works departments will use the service for important public safety information, including emergency management, road closure and severe weather condition updates, as well as other relevant safety information.

The messages can be sent city-wide or specifically to residents registered within a ¼-mile radius, giving them the opportunity to receive trustworthy information relevant only to their neighborhood. Subscribers can also choose the way in which alerts are received, whether it is by e-mail, text message, or over the Web.

Nixle is reliable and free for the City of Milton. Please note: It will only be used in emergency situations and has not yet been utilized for those residents who have already signed up. There is no spam and no hidden cost. However, standard text messaging rates do apply.

To sign up, visit www.nixle.com or the City of Milton's Web site, www.cityofmiltonga.us, and choose either "Sign up for Emergency Alerts" from the Quick Links menu on the left of the home page or "Sign up for Emergency Alerts" under the For Residents tab.

ABOUT NIXLE

Nixle is a community information service provider built exclusively to provide secure and reliable communications. It is the first authenticated and secure service that connects municipal agencies and community organizations to residents in real time, delivering information to geographically targeted consumers over their cell phones (via text messages), through e-mails and via Web access. Nixle has secured a partnership with Nlets (the International Justice and Public Safety Network), allowing local police departments nationwide to send immediate alerts and advisories. Privately funded Nixle, which has offices in New Jersey and California, is free to all governments, their agencies and organizations, nongovernmental organizations and consumers. For more information, visit www.nixle.com

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Two men killed in Cherokee County crash identified.


NOTE: While not taking place within Milton, we thought the following article might still be of interest. Severe speeding continues to be daily problem within the city's open road neighborhoods due to the lack of proper coverage, financial support, and man power.

By Ty Tagami
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Two men who died Saturday night in a single-car crash in Cherokee County were identified Sunday morning.

The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office said Roger Vance, 42, of Canton, and Steve Dupuy, 42, of Middleburg, Fla., died when their Chrysler 300 sedan left the road and hit a tree.

Investigators are still trying to determine who was driving the car, said Lt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee Sheriff's Office. The vehicle is registered in Vance's name, Baker said.

The crash occurred around 10 p.m., near the intersection of Union Hill and A.J. Land roads, Baker said.

"It appears that speed played a factor in the accident," Baker said. Neither man was wearing a seatbelt.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause. Channel 2 Action News reported that beer cans were among the debris at the crash scene, but there was no official word on whether alcohol was involved.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Fun & Trivia!

Accessmilton.com Wishes You And Your Family A Happy Thanksgiving!

1. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States.

2. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.

3. The Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate the Thanksgiving.

4. The pilgrims arrived in North America in December 1620.

5. The Pilgrims sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to reach North America.

6. The pilgrims sailed on the ship, which was known by the name of 'Mayflower'.

7. They celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day in the fall of 1621.

8. They celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

9. The drink that the Puritans brought with them in the Mayflower was the beer.

10. The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land.

11. The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in the year 1621 and invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians also to the feast.

12. The first Thanksgiving feast was held in the presence of around ninety Wampanoag Indians and the Wampanoag chief, Massasoit, was also invited there.

13. The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days.

14. President George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in the year 1789 and again in 1795.

15. The state of New York officially made Thanksgiving Day an annual custom in 1817.

16. Sarah Josepha Hale, an editor with a magazine, started a Thanksgiving campaign in 1827 and it was result of her efforts that in 1863 Thanksgiving was observed as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer.

17. Abraham Lincoln issued a 'Thanksgiving Proclamation' on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving. Whereas earlier the presidents used to make an annual proclamation to specify the day when Thanksgiving was to be held.

18. President Franklin D. Roosevelt restored Thursday before last of November as Thanksgiving Day in the year 1939. He did so to make the Christmas shopping season longer and thus stimulate the economy of the state.

19. Congress passed an official proclamation in 1941 and declared that now onwards Thanksgiving will be observed as a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November every year.

20. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States. But it was Thomas Jefferson who opposed him. It is believed that Franklin then named the male turkey as 'tom' to spite Jefferson.

21. The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920's.

22. Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States.

23. When the Pilgrims arrived in North America, the clothing of the Native Americans was made of animal skins (mainly deer skin).

24. On December 11, 1620 the first Pilgrims (or Puritans, as they were initially known) landed at Plymouth Rock.

25. By the fall of 1621 only half of the pilgrims, who had sailed on the Mayflower, survived. The survivors, thankful to be alive, decided to give a thanksgiving feast.

Milton offers double holiday fun.

Courtesy Neighbor Newspapers

Two festive holiday events, Christmas in Crabapple and the lighting of the town Christmas tree, are scheduled for Dec. 4 in Milton.

Staring the fun is the third annual Christmas in Crabapple festival, held in historic downtown Crabapple from 2 to 5 p.m.

This year’s festival features pictures with Santa Claus at Ashley Blencoe Photography, roving carolers from the Milton High School Chorale group, crafts at the Broadwell Cottage, a visit from the Gingerbread Man, carriage rides, hot chocolate, a bonfire and a baked goods sale.

All businesses in Crabapple will be open for holiday shopping.

Vocal performances throughout the day will include Goddard School of Crabapple Children’s Chorus at 2:45 p.m., Northwestern Middle School Choir at 3:30 p.m. and Milton High School Chorale at 4:15 p.m.

Festivalgoers are encouraged to bring warm coats, hats, gloves and scarves to contribute to the Crabapple Community Association’s clothing drive for Roswell-based the Drake House. This drive will continue through Dec. 17 at multiple locations throughout the city.

From 7 to 9 p.m., the tree lighting ceremony and other holiday activities are set for the corner of Ga. Hwy 9 and Webb Road.

The 30-minute lighting ceremony will include performances by the Hopewell Middle School and Bright Horizons at Deerfield choirs and local songstress Kaylin McClure singing “O Holy Night.”

After the tree is lit, a very special visitor will arrive by horse-drawn carriage, flanked by Milton’s police and fire departments to the tune of “Here Comes Santa Claus.”

Following the ceremony, there will be refreshments, crafts, photos with Santa Claus and holiday music. Two United States Marines will be on hand to take monetary and new, unwrapped toy donations for Toys for Tots program.

For more information, go to www.cityofmiltonga.us or call (678) 242-2500.

Milton council considers renaming Hwy. 9.

By Joan Durbin / Neighbor Newspapers

With design recommendations in hand for the portion of Ga. Hwy. 9 that runs through Milton’s eastern edge, city council members may consider renaming the roadway.

“I certainly think the area needs a distinction other than ‘Highway 9 Corridor,’” said Councilman Burt Hewitt.

“This has been mentioned before, and I purposefully brought it up at a meeting. ‘Highway 9 Corridor’ or ‘Cumming Highway’ do not fit that area.”

The proposed design guidelines for development on Hwy 9, presented by a citizen committee at a council workshop, call for a “pleasing aesthetic, unifying themes in keeping with Milton’s equestrian atmosphere and rural town vision.”

Among the recommendations are placing buildings near the street with parking to the side and rear. Interparcel access would be required to minimize traffic and encourage pedestrians in the area.

For developments over 75,000 square feet, developers should provide and furnish amenity areas such as pocket parks, plazas, public art and walking and recreational trails.

No vote on the proposed guidelines has yet been taken, but with the prospect of a unified design came the idea of a new identity for the highway.

“I asked for our staff to research what it would take to rename that stretch of road to something, but I’m not sure what the best name would be. I like Milton Parkway, but that’s already taken in Alpharetta,” Hewitt said.

“In jest, I began calling it New Milton Parkway. I am not sure the process, or the likelihood of a name change to Hwy 9, but I sure would like to explore it and see if it’s feasible and go from there.”

Milton's Memorial Day Program wins 2010 Visibility & Marketing Award.

Courtesy The Examiner.com

Representing the City of Milton; Cyndee Bonacci, Milton Parks and Recreation Director, received the "2010 Visibility & Marketing Award" for a single-event publication from the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association (GRPA). GRPA chose Milton's "Remember to Remember" campaign for the award. This distinguished campaign included posters, pamphlets, and various advertisements created and printed in-house by Communications Manager Jason Wright.

Milton's city officials hope this is the first of many such distinctions for its efforts in promoting their annual Memorial Day service every May.

"Jason put so much time and care into creating this marketing design for our annual ceremony. I feel that it captured the essence of what we wanted to convey about Memorial Day," said Bonacci. "I am pleased others recognized his efforts and chose us to receive this award."

Bonacci and Milton Councilman Bill Lusk who heads the annual Memorial Day committee kept the award a secret until Nov. 15 city council meeting. At that time, they publicly presented Wright with the inscribed plaque.

"It takes an artist with a clear understanding of his subject to produce a perfect product," Lusk stated. "Jason captured the meaning of Memorial Day in this simple portrayal."

Time To Laugh.


Double Click To Enlarge Screen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Giving Thanks With Those That Keep Us Safe.

by Tim Enloe; Accessmilton.com

Two years ago, my family had the honor of welcoming some Milton Firemen and Police Officers into our home for Thanksgiving Dinner.

It was a wonderful time to get to know those who were working not only on a national day of thanks, but year round to insure that my and many other families are kept safe.

For these heroes to serve away from their family on such a special day was even more impressive.

With that in mind, I encourage Accessmilton.com's readers to reach out this year and do the same. Once again, we will have many public safety employees working and I have no doubt that they would like to enjoy a nice Thanksgiving meal with some of the citizens they serve.

If you or someone you know would like to participate, please reach out to the City Of Milton at 678 242 2500 and ask for the police / fire department.

Many thanks to the Milton Fire and Police Departments for all they do throughout the year.

Fulton breakup remains elusive.

By Johnny Edwards
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Election wins and Democratic Party defections may have tightened the Republican grip on the Legislature, but the chief advocate for a re-created Milton County says she still lacks the votes to allow Fulton County’s suburban north to break from its urban south.

House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week that she plans to re-introduce the enabling resolution she floated in past sessions, but 2011 might not be the year to get it passed. She was more emphatic when she spoke at a meeting of the North Fulton Mayors’ Association in Johns Creek on Friday, saying she doesn’t have enough support and even some Republicans won’t go along.

By law a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment has to take place in an even-year general election, so there could be no referendum next year anyway, she said.

“I think it’s probably more likely in 2012,” Jones said.

The resolution fizzled in the last session because Jones kept it off the House floor. She told the AJC at the time that she was three or four votes short of the 120-vote supermajority needed to approve a constitutional amendment, but she said last week that she probably lacked five to 10 votes.

If Georgia voters approved busting the state constitution’s 159-county cap and allowing previously merged counties to re-form, voters in the former Milton County — which merged into Fulton during the Great Depression when it was facing bankruptcy — could decide in a local election whether to make the split. Jones said Milton County could come into being in 2014 at the earliest.

Republicans have since made six gains in the House, giving them 111 of the chamber’s 180 seats. But even if more Democratic defections gave them 120, the issue of breaking up Georgia’s largest county is more complicated than counting Republican and Democratic heads.

“Some of those that switched [parties] were on my yes list anyway,” Jones said. “I don’t know if we’ve gotten closer or not.”

Rep. Roger Bruce, D-Atlanta, the chairman of Fulton’s legislative delegation, said he fears Jones could have all the numbers she needs come January. In the Senate, Republicans hold 35 of 56 seats, just three short of a two-thirds supermajority. All it would take is a few more party defections, a few more deals, he said.

One Republican working against secession will be House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey. He represents Buckhead, which fears that with north Fulton out of the picture, the upscale Atlanta district would be left hanging as a tax cash cow.

Lindsey said he also will reintroduce a resolution from the 2010 session dealing with Fulton reform. The measure would drastically limit the County Commission’s reach through a constitutional amendment declaring that any government of a county more than 80 percent incorporated — Fulton being the only qualifier — would only perform functions required by law or agreed to in intergovernmental contracts.

Lindsey cited the commission’s outright rejection of cost-cutting suggestions by two blue ribbon committees and a legislative subcommittee that he led. He also cited the pending forgery and credit card theft charges against a former financial systems supervisor, as well as allegations that the county manager fired one employee and demoted another when they refused to suspend their investigation into the matter until after elections.

“Fulton County is sort of like the bull in the china shop,” he said. “We’re now at the point of going, ‘OK, we’ve had enough.’ ”

John Sherman, president of the Buckhead-based Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation, said the commission’s refusal to make changes or downsize is driving the push for division, which would be “catastrophic for Atlanta and south Fulton.” Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker, who sat on one of the commission-appointed blue ribbon committees, said he would also prefer to fix what the county has.

“I think that Milton County, ultimately, is more of a cry for reform than it is the most optimal solution,” he said. “But in my heart, I don’t believe it is fixable.”

Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, a co-sponsor of Jones’ resolution, said even if Lindsey got his reforms, north Fulton residents would still want their own county.

“That is, by far, the public opinion up here,” Willard said.

In the upcoming session, Jones said she will pitch her plan to Atlanta and Fulton County representatives as being in their best interests, too, should their two governments consolidate.

Jones said Atlanta-Fulton County would eliminate duplication of services, have far less people to serve and keep one of the wealthiest tax digests in the state, tapping into Buckhead, Midtown, north Atlanta, the sports franchises and the airport. She said she will make assurances that Milton County would still take on liability for Grady Memorial Hospital and MARTA, paying on some negotiated scale.

On Friday she told the north Fulton mayors about her strategy, but she cautioned that she’s at a disadvantage because Republicans fill only eight of the 24 seats in the Fulton delegation and therefore have little chance of putting local legislation on the floor.

“I have found that a lot of people in Atlanta don’t let facts and logic get in the way,” she told the group. “Because it’s convenient to make it racial.”

Bruce counters that while he has seen studies touting how fiscally viable a new Milton County would be, he has not seen anything describing what would be left behind.

“That’s what she’s been saying all along, that they would be doing south Fulton a favor,” he said. “But the reality is that anything done without a plan is doomed to create chaos.”

Bruce said he doesn’t see how the system is broken considering that Fulton operates at a surplus, with a high bond rating and stellar libraries and senior services.

Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., which is consolidated with Duval County, and he said such arrangements don’t always lead to savings. There are areas where Atlanta and Fulton could combine services, but the governments should look to hybrid models found in Charlotte and Miami, not full consolidation.

“I think there’s an attempt to oversimplify the issue,” Eaves said. “But the reality is it’s a no-win situation for everybody.”



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Teens show safe driving through videos.

Alpharetta High School seniors AJ Pekarek (left) and Andrew Jeschke’s video on safe driving won first place at the “Road to Safety” video contest

by Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

November 19, 2010

Milton- Teenage drivers are more likely than older drivers to get into accidents while driving. Much of this is due to lack of experience behind the wheel, but there are also the problems of technology, texting and even basic dangers of the road. To combat the dangers, safe-driving practices must be learned, but often, that message doesn't get through to young drivers. That's where the "Road to Safety" comes in.

The contest was created to harness the creativity of high schoolers and couple it with an important message that can apply to all teen drivers.

"Too many kids are dying on the roads," said Tim Enloe, one of the creators of the contest. "That's been a big concern for me. What's the value of one life? It's pretty big."

Four videos were submitted from Alpharetta High School and Milton High School. The four were completely different in style and substance, yet all dealt with safe driving or the dangers of driving. They were judged on creativity, originality and their message.

John Morrison and his friends made a slapstick video about "Safety Sam," who explained proper driving techniques.

"Georgia law is 'click it or ticket', but it should be 'click it OR DIE'," explained Safety Sam in an overly dramatic voice.

One team, the Talon Report Group, of Milton High School, created a music video about safe driving, with the help of Milton police.

"Think before you drive. Is it really worth a life?" rapped the music, as the driver in the video was arrested for dangerous driving.

Alex Araya and Nathan Dwarika of Alpharetta High School created an action-packed video similar to any number of war-themed video games, complete with bullets whizzing through the air and special effects like glass breaking or muzzle blasts from rifles. They told the story of a young man at home when terrorists break in. He fights them off and, when he tries to flee in a car, the action pauses to go through the steps of safe driving, as bullets smack into the windows.

"It's sort of like a video that's meant to be seen amongst my peers also," explained Araya. "So we tied in action with road safety."

The winning video of the contest belonged to Andrew Jeschke, AJ Pekarek and Aly Masterson. Their entry reflected the somber emotions that a fatal accident can create. Black-and-white scenes of family members at a graveyard and mementos of loved ones won them the prize for best video.

"We wanted to create a video showing the more serious side of the dangers of driving," said Jeschke. "It can not only affect the person driving, but also their loved ones."

Lisa Cauley, operator of Protectmilton.com and one of the creators of the contest, was impressed with the students' submissions.

"They completely exceeded any expectation we had," Cauley said. "The kids completely blew us away."

Milton Council member Joe Longoria agreed.

"Some of the guys putting these videos together spent 40-50 hours on them, and included editing and special effects," Longoria said. "I'm really impressed with the work they were able to turn out."

Fulton County School Board member Katie Reeves commended Enloe and Cauley for their "Road to Safety" contest.

"Instead of just worrying about teens, they're trying to do something positive," Reeves said, adding that she wants to see the contest expanded to all high schools north of the Chattahoochee River next year.

Alpharetta police officer Daniel Lambert, who often deals with DUI arrests, was pleased by the contest.

"I have to deal with kids every day, because they're driving too fast and not wearing their seat belts," he said. "It seems to get worse and worse. So any program like this to help out is a great thing."

The winning team will be honored by both Milton and Alpharetta city councils Dec. 6, and their video will be placed on the Web sites Accessmilton.com, AccessAlpharetta.com and Protectmilton.com. Numerous businesses in the area have donated prizes for all the contestants.

Milton's silent memorial.

by Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

November 19, 2010

Milton - Every year, Milton Council member Bill Lusk erects wooden crosses up and down Deerfield Parkway in Milton, each one bearing the name of a fallen soldier connected to Milton.

"Honoring veterans is one of the most important things we can do," said Lusk, a veteran himself, working in the Navy's CeeBees (Construction Battalion) in the late 1960s.

"About 6 percent of Americans serve in the military," Lusk said. "They're the ones protecting the other 94 percent of our nation. From that perspective, I think it's extremely important to pay tribute, to recognize and pay respect to those who preserve our freedom."

The hand-made crosses go up twice each year – on Memorial Day and Veterans Day – and each year their numbers grow. Currently, there are 160 named crosses.

Hwy 9 design guidelines under review.

by Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

November 19, 2010

Milton - "How do you know you're in Milton?"

That was the question posed to council during last week's work session by John Bratton, of the Highway 9 Design Committee.

At issue is that a driver can be passing through the city and not even know it. If they never stray from Highway 9, Milton looks much like any other town.

To combat this problem, the committee suggested numerous solutions to "brand" the city, making it distinct from its neighbors. This branding would include fencing, specific brick colors for buildings and use of green space to identify Milton as more of a rural, small-town community. However, there is a problem.

"Everything you can do is dependent on the speed limit," said Bratton.

The Georgia Department of Transportation controls Highway 9, and the allowed designs for streetscapes differ from 45mph to 35mph. For instance, at 45 mph, the current set speed for much of the state route, street lamps and trees must be at least 14 feet from the road, which puts sidewalks running right alongside that road. On 35mph streets, the trees can be 7 feet from the road, between it and sidewalks, which is much better for pedestrian traffic.

Also at 35mph, on-street parking and bike lanes can be added.

Robyn MacDonald, of the Milton planning department, added that the city should focus on requiring inter-parcel access between businesses to lessen traffic on the road itself, with parking lots placed behind buildings to hide them from view and give the city a more "small-town" feel.

Many of the proposed designs hinge on lowering the speed limit, which GDOT has historically been unwilling to do. Carter Lucas, director of public works, noted that even with the installation of a new high school in Milton, GDOT has no plans to change the speed limit. However, John Bosman, of Urban Design and a member of the committee, noted that the regional DOT has been more willing to listen to requests from the North Fulton cities in recent years.

Also discussed at the work session:

• Creation of a Milton 2012-2015 Strategic Plan will begin Nov. 17 and continue to April of next year. A committee has been created, composed of community and business leaders.

"We don't want the budget to drive the city's direction," said Alysin Foster. "We want [the master plan] to drive the budget."

Both public and private meetings will be held to formulate the plan.

Discussion of traffic light mast arms resulted in the council desiring more decorative designs than the basic design used at present.

The GDOT standard is a galvanized steel pole with a similar arm extending over the street, holding traffic lights. Lucas, the city's public works director, offered several options to use in the future, including black-painted mast arms, some with decorative elements, such as fluting, lighting or a skirt around the base.

Council chose the basic black design for the future, with the possibility of using decorative designs in high pedestrian areas.

The city plans to install three signals in the near future.

Wreck at Taylor Road and Birmingham Highway.

MILTON -

A wreck transpired at the intersection of Taylor Road and Birmingham Highway at approximately 9am Friday morning.

No one was injured seriously and Milton Police and Fire came to
the rescue.

Many Milton residents live in our open road neighborhoods. Please treat these areas as residential nodes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Principal at Birmingham Falls Elementary.

Courtesy Birmingham Falls Elementary.

Mrs. Susan Matzkin was named as Birmingham Falls Elementary School's new Principal at last night's Fulton County Board meeting. Mrs. Matzkin comes to us from Forsyth County. She has worked at Liberty Middle School and is currently working at Midway Elementary School as their Assistant Principal. She has 14 years of teaching experience which was done mostly in the elementary school setting and 5 years as Assistant Principal. Her educational specialty is in reading. More information and an invitation for a meet and greet will be sent home after the Thanksgiving Break. Let's welcome her into our Birmingham Falls family!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dec. 4 to feature two holiday events in Milton.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

Christmas in Crabapple: 2 to 5 p.m. 2nd Annual Tree Lighting: 7 to 9 p.m.

MILTON, GA, Nov. 18, 2010 - Saturday, Dec. 4 is sure to have heaps of holiday cheer in Milton, as the city will hold an entire day of festivities for residents in two locations.

For complete, up-to-date information on both events, click here.

CHRISTMAS IN CRABAPPLE: 2 to 5 p.m. in CrabappleKicking things off is the third annual Christmas in Crabapple festival, held in historic downtown Crabapple (click here for directions).

This year's festival features pictures with Santa Claus at Ashley Blencoe Photography, roving carolers from the Milton High School Chorale group, crafts at the Broadwell Cottage, a visit from the Gingerbread Man, carriage rides, hot chocolate, a bonfire and a baked goods sale.

In addition, all businesses in Crabapple will be open for holiday shopping.

There will also be vocal performances throughout the day, including:

2:45 p.m. Goddard School of Crabapple Children's Chorus
3:30 p.m. Northwestern Middle School Choir
4:15 p.m. Milton High School Chorale


And make someone else's holiday bright! Bring warm coats, hats, gloves and scarves to contribute to the Crabapple Community Association's clothing drive for Roswell-based the Drake House. This drive will continue through Dec. 17 at multiple locations throughout the city.

2nd ANNUAL TREE LIGHTING: 7 to 9 p.m. at the corner of Ga. 9 and Webb Road
After the sun goes down, Milton will for the second time light its town Christmas Tree, located at the corner of Ga. 9 and Webb Road (
click here for directions)

Please note that the tree lighting ceremony will last 30 minutes, from 7 to 7:30 p.m., and include performances by the Hopewell Middle School and Bright Horizons at Deerfield choirs and local songstress Kaylin McClure singing "O Holy Night.

Finally, Milton's Mayor and City Council will count down to the big moment - the tree lighting.

After the tree is lit, Good St. Nick will arrive by horse-drawn carriage, flanked by Milton's Police and Fire departments to the tune of "Here Comes Santa Claus."

Following the ceremony, there will be refreshments, crafts, photos with Santa Claus and holiday music. It's an evening of fellowship with your neighbors - not to mention a perfect opportunity to get some holiday shopping done at one of Deerfield Place's many retailers.

Make sure to bring a new, unwrapped toy in original packaging for Toys for Tots. Two United States Marines will be on hand to take monetary and toy donations for the popular program - all of which stay in metro Atlanta.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Milton woman turns in counterfeit bill.


By Andria Simmons
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A woman brought a $10 bill to the Milton Police Department last week after she realized that it was a fake.

She told police that she had traveled to Biloxi, Miss., in recent days and visited multiple gas stations and stores during that time.

She could not be sure where she picked up the funny money, according to a police report. She reportedly discovered the bill was fake when she attempted to use it at a Zaxby's restaurant.

Milton Parks Dept. wins first award.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

Memorial Day program chosen by GRPA for "Visibility & Marketing"

MILTON, GA, Nov. 17, 2010 - Milton's Parks and Recreation Department has been awarded the first in what city officials hope is many accolades for its efforts in promoting the city's third annual Memorial Day service in May of this year.

Parks and Recreation Director Cyndee Bonacci received the "2010 Visibility & Marketing Award" for a single-event publication from the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association (GRPA) at the group's November conference in Jekyll Island. The governing body of state recreation and parks departments chose to award Milton's "Remember to Remember" campaign, which included posters, pamphlets and advertisements created and printed in-house by Communications Manager Jason Wright.

Click here to view the poster for the event, which served as the anchor for the campaign.

"Jason put so much time and care into creating this marketing design for our annual ceremony. I feel that it captured the essence of what we wanted to convey about Memorial Day," said Bonacci. "I am pleased others recognized his efforts and chose us to receive this award."

Milton Councilman Bill Lusk helms the committee that plans the annual Memorial Day Ceremony. He and Bonacci kept the award a secret until the Nov. 15 City Council meeting, when Wright was publicly presented with the plaque.


"It takes an artist with a clear understanding of his subject to produce a perfect product," said Lusk. "Jason captured the meaning of Memorial Day in this simple portrayal."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Milton honored for financial reporting.

By Patrick Fox
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


The City of Milton and its Finance Department have been recognized for excellence, this time in producing the Fiscal Year 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

For the second straight year, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada has awarded Milton the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. The award was presented for the city's 2009 report.

"Milton's Finance Department has, since the city's inception, been committed to the highest standards available," said Stacey Inglis, Milton's director of finance.

Inglis said producing the CAFR includes a yearly extensive audit, exhaustive research of historical data and numerous detailed written documents -- a months-long process involving every city department.

North Fulton urged to court film companies.

By Ralph Ellis
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


The message delivered to North Fulton cities wanting to capitalize on the movie-making boom in Georgia is this: streamline the permitting processes and put up welcome signs for production companies.

“It’s all about speed,” Craig Dominey of the Georgia Department of Economic Development last week told the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. “When we send our requests for locations or something, we need to get information back as soon as possible.”

Three hundred and fifty movies and television shows have been shot in Georgia this year because the state offers generous tax breaks. That's expected to create a $1.3 billion economic impact in the state, up from $1.1 billion last year, according to the economic development department.

It’s harder to measure locally, but Covington, a town of 14,000 located 40 miles east of Atlanta, has benefited, said Clara Deemer of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce. The economic impact of “The Vampire Diaries" has been well into the six figures this year, Deemer said.

Covington has been portrayed as Mystic Falls, Va., in "The Vampire Diaries," a television hit. The town previously has served as Sparta, Miss., and Hazard County in an unidentified Southern state.

“It’s not just economic impact while they’re actually filming; it's the economic impact it can have 30 or 35 years later," Deemer said. "Seventy-five percent of our visitors come because of ‘The Dukes of Hazard’ and ‘In the Heat of the Night.’”

North Fulton hasn’t gotten involved yet, but Roswell Council member Betty Price was enthusiastic. She said "it's a win-win situation," though the city needs to make sure film companies obey the rules.

Local filmmakers and brothers Matt Young and Jared Young said Roswell isn't known as a film-friendly town, with Matthew Young telling that city council last week that the permit process can be slow, which puts off movie-makers.

“As soon as they get the vibe the city or council will be a problem, they move to the next town,” he said.

The Youngs asked the council to support a movie they want to make in Roswell, one that is a cross between “Goonies” and “National Treasure.”

On Monday, Roswell spokeswoman Julie Brechbill said Mayor Jere Wood plans to write a letter of support. She also said the city has been revising the permit procedures to facilitate film companies.

Decatur, where "Zombieland" was filmed, is an example of a film-friendly city, by posting permits and filming regulations on the city website, according to Dominey, who has urged cities to make lists with photos of potential locations for shooting.

Fulton County recently was designated as one of Georgia’s 16 “camera ready communities” by the state economic development department. Communities with that label must identify a person who film companies can contact.

Fulton is so big, the county is broken up into three sections: north, south and Atlanta. Tedra Cheatham, vice president for economic development at the North Fulton Chamber, is the northside contact.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for this industry to do business up here,” she said.

Nov. 17 named GIS Day in Milton.

Courtesy Accessmilton.com

At its Nov. 15 meeting, Milton’s City Council gave city Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Administrator Nick O’Day, center, a proclamation explaining the importance of his work and naming Nov. 17 GIS Day in the city.

GIS software, which is used to build detailed and accurate maps that integrate into all city systems, are crucial to the wise use of natural resources, continued economic prosperity and general health of the citizens of Milton, said Mayor Joe Lockwood.

In addition, O’Day’s work plays an important role in the future growth and security of the city, including the use, management, and exchange of data with other municipalities and governments across the world, said Lockwood.

Autism Assisted Living Center Sparks Debate in Milton.

Courtesy 11alive

A city council meeting Monday night became the center of a hot-button debate about the treatment of those with autism.

The Milton City Council approved the rezoning of a chunk of Deerfield Parkway to become a transitional facility for adults with autism -- including a vocational school for students more than 18 years of age and an assisted living facility called Watercolors Transition with 72 studios.

But it didn't come without ardent opposition from advocates and parents in the autism community, who spoke out against the project.

"It is ripe for abuse and neglect," said Rita Young, Director of Public Policy and Education for AADD, "and for the behaviors to really escalate."

Several parents said they found the idea counter-productive, essentially encouraging those with autism to turn away from the rest of the society. One added, "I find it offensive."

But Rick Swanson, the architect of the facility that would be among the first of its kind nationally, says the research he's done -- including numerous interviews with those in the autism community -- has found massive support for the project, some of which came from supporters in Milton Monday evening.

It's a complex issue because autism is a complex subject. Those affected range from higher-functioning to lower-functioning, and one treatment does not fit all.

"Not all mental disabilities are created equal," Swanson said, "and you can't pigeonhole everyone into one specific service."

At Monday's meeting, Swanson pledged to speak with many of the detractors in the community to try to find some common ground.

Milton reverses gas station decision.

By Patrick Fox
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


After nearly a year of meetings, a dozen modifications and a court battle, a Fulton County businessman has won approval to build a gas station near a residential area in Milton.The City Council voted unanimously late Monday to rescind a decision made last May that denied a request by Mehdi Jannatkhah to construct a gas station on Bethany Bend Road at Highway 9. The rescision, prompted by court order, opened the door to renewed debate over the case.

After nearly an hour of debate, the council split 4-3, ultimately approving the application.

The issue drew about a dozen residents to the city council meeting.
Residents in opposition to the station raised safety as their key concerns. Tanker trucks negotiating the acute triangle intersection, they said, would present undue risk for nearby residents. Aesthetics and the impact the business would have on pedestrian traffic was another consideration, they said.

Phil Joseph, whose house sits closest to the property, said other cities deny permits for gas stations based on safety. He said an argument could be made in court that Milton, barely four years old, is working on a safety ordinance to cover these instances.

"I'm simply asking you to say no to the gas station because it's too close to residences," he said. "That seems to me, on the face of it, to be a rational position."

Resident Diane Palmer said even with concessions made by the developer, she remains concerned about the effect the station could have on the Bethany Bend community.

The issue drew steady opposition from the time it was first aired last February, when about half-dozen residents spoke against it at a planning commission meeting. The proposal was voted down unanimously.

But after the meeting, Jannatkhah modified his plans to shrink the size of the building and cut the number of pump islands from five to four. Because of the changes, the city council voted in March to refer the matter back to planners to reconsider the application.

But planners again rejected the application, this time by a 4-2 vote, in spite of a city staff recommendation for approval.

The city council followed suit one month later, voting 3-2 to deny the rezoning amid a cheering crowd of more than 50 residents.

Jannatkhah then filed suit in Fulton County Superior Court arguing that the city's own staff determined the revised proposal to be suitable for the area. On Sept. 1, the court ordered the city to reconsider the application.

Monday night's approval came at a cost. Jannatkhah agreed to further concessions proposed by council members, including reducing operating hours from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.