Thursday, December 31, 2009

Eagle Scout honored by City Council

The Wynne Family shows off the proclamation Jason, center,
was given at the Dec. 21 council meeting.

Milton Eagle Scout Jason Wynne was honored by Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood and City Council Dec. 21 for his achievements in Boy Scouting.

Wynne, a 17-year-old Milton High School senior, has been a Boy Scout for nine years. His family recently moved to Milton from Massachusetts, where he completed the work on his Eagle Project. There he posted mile markers on a nature trail for the citizens of Marlboro, Mass. He was awarded the Eagle rank while living in Milton.

Wynne is a member of Venture Crew 347, sponsored by the Milton Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is considering attending Brigham Young University in the fall.

Wishing you all the best this year and next

Message from Mayor Joe Lockwood

As the year draws to a close, let me wish everyone in Milton a Happy Holiday season - I'm sure we can all appreciate the good tidings and cheer.

Let's be honest: 2009 has been a tough year for pretty much everyone in this city, county, state and country. At the Lockwood homestead, we've had to cut back financially, and that meant less presents under the tree. But as I sat on Christmas morning with my wife Dawn, daughter Morgan, sons Evans and Charlie and Milton's "first dog," Henry, I realized fewer packages meant more time to cherish what truly matters. That, I learned, was the true meaning of the season.

So now we all look ahead to 2010. The last 12 months have seen a lot of changes in the city, and the next dozen promise even more. Starting Jan. 1 the transition from the public-private form of government will be complete, so expect a few new faces. However, the majority of our hard-working employees chose to stay with Milton, meaning a smooth transition and top-notch services for our citizens.

In the coming year, citizens can expect a completed Comprehensive Plan, implementation of the Transportation Master Plan and planning for our parks. All the while, we'll keep an eye on conservative budgeting and providing our citizens what they have requested - attention to our history, preservation of our trees, building a trail plan we can all be proud of and bolstering our commitment to environmentalism.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call, e-mail or come and visit City Hall. We're always open to all.

Mayor Joe Lockwood

Many Thanks To Cary Schlenke


Any time a council seat changes, there is a possibility of volunteers who have been assigned to the various boards being removed for another choice.

Such is the case with city volunteer Cary Schlenke. Mrs. Schlenke has been an active participant within the city since it's incorporation. In addition, she held a seat on two boards and was truly a valued member.

At this time, we at would like to thank Cary for all her hard work and time donated to the city.

She will be missed.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You Flip For Us And We'll Flip For You!

Are you passionate about Milton, GA? Do you enjoy the services that provides? Do you have some Milton stories that residents need to know about? Then give us a call at 770 653 0552.

The benefits for a potential union with are endless!

We look forward to Flipping Out with you!

District 5 Committees Experience Change.

The following is the list of Board and Committee appointees from District 5 Council Elect Member Joe Longoria as of December 29, 2009. Mr. Longoria takes office January / 2010:

Design Review Board
Mark Meckes
14585 Creek Club Drive / Crooked Creek Subdivision
Milton, GA 30004
770 664 7525

Board of Zoning Appeals
Nancy Plesnarski
970 Autumn Close / Crooked Creek Subdivision
Milton, GA 30004
770 664 5588

Board Of Ethics
Gerry Stevens
14630 Creek Club Drive / Crooked Creek Subdivision
Milton, GA 30004
770 777 2275

Parks & Recreation Board
Scott Stachowski
3154 Chipping Wood Court / Crooked Creek Subdivision
Milton, GA 30004
770 663 6340

Joelle Corcoran
14470 Morning Mountain Way / Crooked Creek Subdivision
Milton, GA 30004
678 624 1714

Transportation Stakeholders Advisory Committee
Mike Stevens
570 Greenview Terrace / Crooked Creek Subdivision
Milton, GA 30004
678 297 1880

Tree Committee
Roger Festa
540 Champions Hill Drive / Champions View Subdivision
Milton, GA 30004
770 569 2781

Bicycle & Pedestrian Trail Committee
Travis Allen
13095 Region Trace / The Preserve At Windward Subdivision
Milton, GA 30004
678 339 3269

Construction Board Of Adjustments & Appeals
Paul Norfleet
435 Champions View Road / Champions View Subdivision
Milton, GA 30004
770 667 1178

Planning Commission
Chris Doty
14351 Club Circle / Crooked Creek Subdivision
Milton, GA 30004
678 297 7568

Highway 9 Design Guidelines
Adam Orkin
12600 Deerfield Parkway / White Columns Subdivision
Milton, GA 30004
678 297 2700

Highway 9 Design Guidelines
Paul Norfleet
435 Champions View Road / Champions View Subdivision
Milton, GA 30004
770 667 1178

Historic Preservation
Travis Allen / The Preserve At Windward Subdivision
13095 Region Trace
Milton, GA 30004
678 339 3269

Historic Preservation
JT Adams
15690 Hopewell Road / Hopewell Open Road Neighborhood
Milton, GA 30004
770 667 1926

Citizen Advisory Committee
Mike Stevens
570 Greenview Terrace / Crooked Creek Subdivision
Milton, GA 30004
678 297 1880

Letter To The Editor From Linda Blow.

Courtesy Linda Blow.

Well, I'm gone. Today was my last day but I couldn't go in. I'd had enough of just sitting waiting for the clock to move. I want to thank the citizens of Milton for participating in all of the events over the past three years and especially the volunteers who made it happen.

I came to Milton three years ago to work with Aaron Bovos. He told me if I came he would have me work with the volunteers and that is exactly what I wanted. Trite as it may sound, I love people and I found the citizens of Milton to be similar to my hometown of 5,000 - warm and open and eager to get involved.

The position I held of Special Projects Coordinator was perfect for me and I have such fond memories of all who I met and worked with. Please continue to support the events, they are an integral part of what makes Milton different.

I guess in hindsight, at least from the Council's point of view, I overvalued myself. It's such a sad state of affairs in today's world that you become a line on a financial sheet. I'm sure the City will use my pay for something more valued and logical.

All those countless hours spent on holidays and rain or shine weather were all for naught as far as valuing my services but it wasn't for them, it was for the citizens.

One of my mentors, former City Manager, Billy Beckett, believed tht the community activities and events are such an important component of developing and maintaining the sense of community and in fact, the more events the better even in hard times.

Those who make the decisions for the City will tell you that the events will continue, in what manner remains to be seen. Apparently and assumedly it will be given to someone who "does" that type of thing and the hands on connection I have developed over the years with love for my job and the citizens is not necessary.

As I looked around my office I knew that part of me is there and I will take the memories with me. I guess that's a fair trade. Please be good to one another and think good thoughts.

I love all of you.

Milton launches reinvigorated Adopt-A-Road program

Courtesy Atlanta Journal Constitution.

That old eyesore, roadside litter, has a newly invigorated foe in the city of Milton.

A volunteer committee of Milton residents called Milton Grows Green have revamped the city's adopt-a-road program. They hope to encourage more citizens and civic groups to remove trash from the roadways.

Seventeen road segments will be kept clean by citizen volunteers, several of whom renewed previous commitments. The program involves new signs that feature the committee logo and a customized recognition sign for the sponsor of the designated road.

Citizens can volunteer to keep clean a 1-mile stretch of road, with a commitment to clean the road a least four times a year. Program information, instructions and forms for sign-up are available at Citizens may also contact Gina Schwendel, MGG's program coordinator, at 678-242-2500 for more details.

Monday, December 28, 2009

City Clerk Jeanette Marchiafava & Milton Part Ways.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009;

The City of Milton continues to be a swinging door as City Clerk Jeanette Marchiafava exited the building this past week.

Marchiafava, who had been with the City since it's incorporation, could not be reached for comment.

Council did hold an executive session at the end of their final meeting of 2009. Was this discussion behind closed doors due in part to this recent departure?

Time will tell but be sure to keep an eye on as the story continues to unfold.

Driving really fast to cost more starting Friday.

Courtesy Atlanta Journal Constitution

To those who feel the need to speed: Be warned. For the fastest of fast drivers, it’s about to get really expensive.

Going 85 miles per hour or more on most Georgia roads -- including interstates -- will cost a speeder an additional $200, when a new "super-speeder" law takes effect on Friday. On two-lane roads, meaning one lane each way, the extra fine kicks in at 75 mph.

That’s on top of whatever ticket the speeder gets for going over the speed limit.

“It’s a lifesaving law,” said Bob Dallas, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, noting that speeding makes death or severe injury much more likely when an accident happens.

The original speeding ticket may not tell the offender about the additional state fine, Dallas said. First, the driver will get the local ticket as usual. Then, the state will send a letter notifying the speeder of the $200 fine, which must be paid within 90 days of the letter's date.

“The goal here is to prevent the worst of the worst speeding in the state of Georgia,” Dallas said. “At some point we just have to put an end to the super-speeders and using our roadways as a racetrack. And this is what this law is designed to do.”

Drivers who don’t pay will have their licenses suspended.

The original ticket is no joke either. Local fines -- which range depending on where tickets are issued and the driver's speed -- are commonly well over $100.

In McIntosh County on Georgia's coast, going 34 mph over the speed limit will cost you $1,355, according to the county court clerk’s office. That’s before the new state fine.

At least one local official, Sheriff J. Tyson Stephens of Emanuel County, has called the $200 state fine little more than a tax that will impose an out-of-kilter burden on the working poor.

Dallas said he knew of no other state with a similar law, though some states had tried variations, such as higher fines on problem roads.

The law intended money collected from the fines to fund trauma services, but where it's actually spent will be up to the state Legislature.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Year in Review: Milton cuts ties with CH2M HILL

Courtesy Appen Newspapers

MILTON — As the sagging economy was at the forefront of everyone's minds throughout the year, it came as only some surprise when Milton decided to end its contract with Sandy Springs-based CH2M HILL OMI, the company hired to staff the city upon incorporation.

There were a number of reasons for the split, the least of which was certainly not financial. According to budget numbers released by the city, in fiscal year 2009 Milton spent a little over $7 million in one lump sum for CH2M HILL to staff nearly all services save for police and fire. The city had a roughly $23 million budget that year — of which $4 million was a one-time-only payment from Fulton County of taxpayer dollars for a Special Services District account that no longer existed.

That remaining $19 million dollar budget was cut by $1.49 million in June when it became apparent property and sales tax revenues were going to be closer to $17 million.

In fiscal year 2010, revenues were projected to remain stagnant at about $17 million. So over the summer Milton renegotiated its contract with CH2M HILL, lowering the cost to about $5 million.

And in early September, City Council voted 7-0 to end the contract entirely with CH2M HILL.

Mayor Joe Lockwood said after the vote cost was certainly a factor. The large lump sum was a tough pill for council to swallow, especially during these lean budget years.

"Our duty is to look into breaking down those costs," he said. "To look into all aspects of this contract."

In the six months since, Milton has gone about hiring new staff, including a number of former CH2M HILL employees who wanted to stay with the city.

According to city sources, Milton will save a good amount of money with the change, possibly in the millions. A budget with concrete figures has not yet been presented in public.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

' Tis The Season 2009 - Part 4

Double Click To Enlarge Screen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Volunteers Give Events Coordinator Linda Blow Proper Send Off

Monday / 12-21-09 / Milton, GA -

Volunteer Round Up committee members gave events Coordinator Linda Blow a special send off this past Monday night in Milton. Eating up some good food at Ray's Pizza, laughs were shared as well as some tears.

Blow had been with the city almost since it's beginning. A few months ago, she was told that her job would be eliminated and she was not offered another position.

Time will tell if this approach is the proper move for the city to take or not. Regardless, seeing a person of Mrs. Blow's caliber exit is hard to take.

Attendees presented Linda with a plaque stating their appreciation for all that she has done in her time here.

Appen's Jason Wright Makes A Move.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Word on the street is that Jason Wright, reporter for Appen Newspapers, has made a move to Milton City Hall. Wright, who is a graduate of Milton High School, has been working in the newspaper industry for the past few years.

According to our sources, he has landed the position of Communications Manager within the young city.

With CH2Mhill's contract coming to a close, it is now doubt that more changes will be in motion before the dust settles.

Our congratulations go out to Jason as he embarks on this new endeavor.

' Tis The Season 2009 - Part 3

Double Click To Enlarge Screen.

Monday, December 21, 2009

' Tis The Season 2009 - Part 2

Double Click to Enlarge Screen.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

' Tis The Season 2009 - Part 1

Double Click To Enlarge Screen

"Police State"? - I Wish.

Editorial By Tim Enloe / / 770 653 0552

When I was in grade school, I went to Alpharetta Elementary. That was 33 years ago when only 3000 people called the area known today as Milton, Alpharetta, and Johns Creek home. The odds of a horse and rider being seen on our country roads was far more likely than a police officer or commuter. Numbers breed crime and there were far less law breakers back then in what is now Milton than today.

Officers then, much like today, have always been the public's friends. More importantly, however, they have been the public's protectors. Contrary to ignorant assumption, these heroes do not have a secret hit list in their cars. They are in place to enforce the laws that the elected body by the public have put in place.

In reading Milton Resident Sam Dobrow's recent editorial on CNN's Ireport, I was angered and humiliated in the same breath. First, the later. The humiliation comes from a fellow resident attempting to make our young city appear as fools with the current employment of City Manager Chris Lagerbloom. Mr. Dobrow speaks of a "culture of service" making claim that Mr. Lagerbloom is not up to task. Countless times, I have seen our city manager go above and beyond his call of duty; from meeting with residents regarding various issues such as improving our parks to enforcing our speed limits and everything in between. If that isn't service, I don't know what is.

In consideration of Mr. Lagerbloom's career in the police field, this is an advantage - not a detriment. This man can relate to our Police heroes regarding the daily trials of protection, enforcement, and the job instead of questioning their every move as someone might with a different background.

The accusor goes on to state that Mr. Lagerbloom has " values align more with military command than with customer service." If this reference of
"military command" means that our city manager goes by the book when
it comes to the laws of our city and enforcement, then thank God - a gray area perspective is hard to see through, anyway. Enough with the Witch hunt. Lagerbloom is an asset and we are lucky to have him.

Sam seems bothered by the fact that we now have officers that actually work in Milton and protect it's citizenry from law breakers instead of sit around and do nothing. He references a "neighbor's honor student crying in her car while a police officer writes a ticket at the bottom of a long steep hill." Instead of chastising the officer for writing the justified ticket and enforcing the law, Sam should hope this situation will keep fellow citizens who reside on said road safer as they check their mail, cut their front yards, or pull in and out of their drive ways. Better yet, that officer should be praised for helping to insure that this "honor student" will have something to pour all of the education she has strived to learn into instead of a direct hit with a tree. There is a reason for punishment and it is to learn.

A "Stop" sign doesn't translate to "slow down during rush hour" in the English language - it means "STOP."

I encourage Milton's finest to park in my driveway, my mother's driveway, or any other resident who fears for their family's safety when it comes to the horrific problem of speeding in our open road neighborhoods. If the officers are following individuals who chose to drink and drive, then more power to them. Tell families who have lost a loved one to such a driver that this approach is unfair and see where you get. In 2009 alone, there have been two fatalities on our roads that I am aware of; one right in front of my house on Bethany Road. "Police State"? - I wish.

Mr. Dobrow goes on to state that when police "are hiding out looking for speeders, they are not deterring, preventing or interdicting violent crime and crime against property." WRONG. Their mere presence makes would-be criminals think twice; their waiting to catch law breaking speeders is saving lives. From what he shares, it would seem all Milton needs to do is park a bunch of empty cars with a siren on top of them around town and that will suffice. Everyone will fall right in line, right? WRONG.

A security guard is NOT a police officer - next.

Sam can let his contempt breed away and his statement of "revenue enhancement" disgusts me. What he doesn't know is that half my immediate family is dead. That's right: DEAD. My two older brothers were only 3 and 1 when they died in a fire in the 1960's, my younger brother died in a car wreck while driving down Mayfield Road on his 25th birthday, and my father lost his life some 40 plus years after my two brothers left us to another fire - all by tragic, unnatural means. If only an officer had pulled my brother over, if only an officer saw the smoke, if only... Thus, if revenues are generated for the city and our officers via tickets being written against those who chose to break the law and the family that I have left is protected, then revenue away. I hope some of our officers working twelve hour shifts get some of that added to their yearly salary. They have more than earned it. Who knows? Such revenues might even help keep other taxes in check.

When it all boils down to it, one can easily assume that Sam got a ticket and he thinks he is above the law. He believes that officers should be his friend and to prove their allegiance the law should hold no place in his world. I can see it now; Officer Smith "Attention all units; Sam is coming through, be sure to wave as he speeds by and stop all traffic and deer. He is in a hurry!" From what Sam has relayed, it is ok to go 60 plus miles per hour through our open road neighborhoods where mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters live. He believes that it is ok to put other families safety in jeopardy as long as he has a "Sam-I- Am Cruise Card." WRONG.

If Sam were to look at some of the more respected areas of the country, he will see that such cities have a very impressive and active police department. There is a reason why property values are higher in some areas than others. One reason is that the laws are enforced and crime is nominal. Rest assured, the more officers we have enforcing the laws on the books, the more "a shinning city on the hill" Milton will become.

In closing, to Mr. Chris Lagerbloom and our wonderful Milton Police department, keep up the good work and don't change a thing. Enforce the law and thank you for protecting Milton families. You truly are heroes. Next, I wish Sam Dobrow a long and happy life. I hope he joins the adopt a hero program in Milton and helps to become part of the solution rather than part of the problem. I hope he finds objectivity through this editorial. I hope that he never loses a family member to a tragic accident. I hope he never has to hold a loved one's hand as the nurse turns off the machine and that inevitable flat line never comes and the pulse never stops. I hope...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Milton City Manager advocates "police state" tactics

Milton GA City Council

Editorial Courtesy Of CNN I report

Posted By MrSamD


When I was in grade school I was taught that the (former) Soviet Union was evil and must be feared. I learned how Soviet citizens could be accosted by the secret police and arrested if there was a slight imperfection in their "papers". Citizens lived in constant fear of the police. There was one set of rules for the elite and another for everyone else. I was also taught that things were different in America. I was taught our police were friends, they were there to "protect and serve". The Soviet Union collapsed under the totalitarian rule of its police state and it seems that we Americans and citizens of Milton have forgotten the lesson learned from the Soviets.

We, the citizens of Milton, chose to incorporate to have more control over how we were taxed and governed. We incorporated because we wanted better services, local control, and lower taxes; but we have a problem. Our city council members have not (yet) found a City Manager whose management skills and personal values align with a "culture of service". In fact, the top job in Milton, the job of City Manager has been a revolving door since incorporation. The current City Manager, Chris Lagerbloom, is a career police officer most recently serving as a police captain in Alpharetta, GA. In February, when Chris was announced as the new City Manager his credentials were listed as a long history of police work, police associations, and a degree in criminal justice. Reading his credentials, I felt he was being appointed to the job of Police Chief not CEO of our city.

The concern for Milton citizens is not just that the city manager is a career policeman but that his values align more with military command than with customer service. Right in our own backyard we have witnessed the grave consequences of hiring a manager with values that conflict with the culture of the organization he is hired to lead. Home Depot grew into a Fortune 500 powerhouse under the leadership of two men who believed that the customer was king. When they exited from the management of the company, the board mistakenly hired Bob Nardelli from GE. Nardelli brought with him a management team focused on operational efficiency. Within a few years under the leadership of Nardelli, Home Depot's market value collapsed and the die hard loyal customer base had defected. The problem is the same one we face here in the city of Milton; a culture disconnect between the citizens who voted for incorporation and the misaligned values of a regimented police officer.

Since February, 2009 when Chris Lagerbloom was appointed City Manager, the city has become more and more a police state. We see police cars speeding around our community, chirping their tires on the way to the coffee shop. We see our neighbor's honor student crying in her car while a police officer writes a ticket at the bottom of a long steep hill. We see our wife almost run off the road by a police officer chasing down another mom who didn't make a three second stop at the stop sign during rush hour. We find police cars parked in private driveways hidden from public view while waiting for a revenue moment. We find police officers following people out of restaurant parking lots looking for a tire to broach the center line so they can check for DUI.

When police are hiding out looking for speeders, they are not deterring, preventing or interdicting violent crime and crime against property because they are not visible. If there is a problem with speeding then the police should patrol and be visible. Malls don't hire a security guard to hide inside the store at night waiting for a burglar they can shoot; they post them visibly as a deterrent. Police hiding in the bushes and racing down the road to ticket someone breeds contempt for the police department; it does not deter speeding. If speed management is the goal, rather than revenue enhancement, patrolling is the answer. Patrolling will offer people a sense of safety without intimidation and harassment.

As the economy gets worse with more people loosing their jobs, homes, and retirement the pressure will increase to generate even more revenue from policing activities. Its been justified in small circles saying that speeders come from Forsyth and Cherokee county, so its OK to take their money. This is a hollow excuse; even if it were true it is down right wrong and un-American. Just imagine what it would be like to live in Milton if everyone who was ticketed in a speed trap were to protest by slowly parading through the speed zone honking their horns like a locomotive train every day and night until the neighborhood raised up their arms against the police presence. This trend toward a police state must be reversed before we create our own Orwellian society.

The city's revenue budget reflects this disturbing trend toward a police state and it seems that some of our city council members may have been sucked into this warped thinking. Outside of property, sales and related taxes (which are down significantly in the bad economy), the largest revenue line items come from fines and court fees; dwarfing revenues from alcoholic beverage licenses, zoning permits, and building permits. If the City Manager's best idea for balancing the City's budget is revenue from police and court actions, we need a different City Manager!

Milton can be a shining city on the hill but it won't get there as a police state! We are a rural community, many living on small farms. Our homes are far apart and we usually need to get into our car just to visit our next door neighbor. Our roads are country roads that connect us with our friends, jobs, and businesses. We need to get from one place to another as a part of our daily routine. Our children need safe roads to get to school. We need a city that makes our life better, serves the public welfare, protects our citizens, respects our visitors, and encourages businesses to locate here. If our city was run by a City Manager who was groomed in a culture of public servitude things would be different. Our city employees would go out of their way to be of service. The police would be our friends. Business would feel welcome and our citizens would feel safe.

The time to act is now. The longer we wait to make the obvious changes, the harder it will be to change the culture of our city government. Encourage your city council to find a City Manager who has experience as a CEO of a successful customer-service oriented organization. Tell your elected officials that you want to live in a city that is a friend to its citizens and a good neighbor to our surrounding communities. Tell your city council that you want your children to grow up in a city where police are their friends who promote public safety through leadership and personal example.

More on the City of Milton budget can be found on their website:

Milton approves Deerfield Green plan

Courtesy Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers

December 13, 2009 MILTON - After multiple deferrals and a lot of work from builder Bowen Family Homes, city staff and concerned community members, City Council approved Dec. 7 a modified site plan for the Deerfield Green townhouse community at the corner of Webb and Morris Roads.

Bowen wanted the city to approve dozens of units with front entry garages instead of the rear-entry models approved by Fulton County in 2005.

A retaining wall on the property made it impossible to build the rear-entry units with enough space for residents to safely get into and out of their garages, company spokesman Corbitt Woods said.

However, city staff and community volunteers said that would change the look of the neighborhood to the detriment of the area. So the plan was sent back to the drawing board in November.

Community Development Director Tom Wilson said he recommended the new plan hammered out by everyone because it reflected community concerns and mitigated the visual effects.

“This does everything possible to screen those garages,” said Wilson.

As part of the plan, units 136 to 163 will have the front-entry garages. Of those, 18 will be set back 20 feet from the end of the sidewalk to ensure drivers can park entirely within their driveway and not hang over into the walking area. The rest will be set back 18 feet.

In addition, Bowen will plant landscaping near the homes to shield the front-entry models from passers-by.

The plan was approved 5-0, with councilwomen Karen Thurman and Tina D’Aversa absent.

“I think this was a good exercise in working together,” said Mayor Joe Lockwood.

In other news, council:

Approved unanimously an ordinance regulating the location, placement and leasing of wireless telecommunications facilities. As part of the ordinance, council approved: applying Milton’s overlay standards to all towers to the extent they are not in conflict with the ordinance itself; a minimum 20-foot landscaping strip for towers; scheduling two public hearings for tower placement; adding 30 days to applicant time lines; and creating a maximum tower height of 150 feet.

Approved unanimously the 2010 council calendar for meetings and work sessions.
Approved unanimously a multi-year contract to purchase fire department uniforms from Riverside Uniforms.

Approved unanimously a change to the contract with URS Corporation not to exceed $10,000 for the company’s work in conducting emergency bridge inspections.

Approved unanimously $581,263.70 in contracts with C.W. Matthews Contracting Company Inc., and Kimley Horn and Associates Inc., for the reconstruction of Morris Road from Deerfield Parkway to Webb Road. The project will be competed when there are 10 to 12 days of sunny, warm weather for optimal paving conditions, said Carter Lucas, Milton’s head of Public Works.

Approved unanimously an intergovernmental agreement by and among the cities of Alpharetta, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Milton, Roswell and Sandy Springs for the acquisition of color aerial photography and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data.

The photography will be used for a variety of city projects, including mapping.

The multi-city contract saved Milton up to 30 percent for the work, said City Attorney Ken Jarrard.

Milton makes up 20.5 percent of the land photographed, so that is the portion for which the city will pay when the cost is determined. If the amount is more than the city is willing to pay, it can opt out, said Jarrard.

Jan Jones to seek Speaker Pro Tem spot

'Mother of Milton' still optimistic about Milton County

Courtesy By By Rachel Kellogg / Neighbor Newspapers

District 46 State Rep. and Majority Whip Jan Jones, R-Milton, announced today her intention to seek election as Speaker Pro Tem now that District 50 State Rep Mark Burkhalter, R-Johns Creek, is leaving the post.

“I do not know what the outcome will be, but on behalf of the citizens of north Fulton, I feel compelled to give it a shot,” she said.

Ms. Jones said Burkhalter’s announcement earlier this week has changed the outlook for Milton County.

“It certainly looked more favorable when it appeared he would be speaker and I would be whip,” she said. “But it’s still the right outcome for north Fulton, and I am confident that my colleagues will agree just as they agreed that we should have the new cities.”

Ms. Jones said this is an uncertain and fluid time, but she is optimistic that the Milton County effort will be supported by other House representatives.

“Just as with the cityhood effort—when my colleagues understood that it was a local issue—I believe that they will allow us to control our own destiny.”

Thursday 1:30 p.m.: Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter announced Monday he would call a vote for Speaker of the House during the first week of the legislative session. Burkhalter also said he will not be seeking election as speaker.

With Burkhalter stepping down, north Fulton officials are weighing in on what this means for Milton County legislation.

District 48 State Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, said he hopes Milton County does not get placed on the backburner.

“Mark was one of the driving forces for Milton County. I don’t know where we stand,” he said. “We probably have less of a chance today than we did a year ago. But I still believe in it, and I will still vote for it.”

Geisinger said he had no plans of throwing his hat into the ring for the speaker position.

District 49 State Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs said he thinks Burkhalter’s announcement may have some impact on the Milton County legislation.

“But there is still the need for this, and the people in our district still want this,” he said. “I don’t know what Mark’s plans are as far as staying in the House, but if he does he will be a major player for Milton County.”

Willard said he hopes to step in and fill some of the void if Burkhalter does leave the House.

“We’ve got a good, strong team up here,” he said.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Special Thanks

Many thanks to the wonderful Milton Police Department for enforcing the speed limits in our open road neighborhoods. There is no doubt that you are saving and protecting lives for ALL of Milton, GA!

Tim Enloe
Magnolia Media, LLC

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Hero of the month for December - Milton Fireman Josh Payne!

Milton Fireman Josh Payne

1. Why did you become a fireman?

I became a fireman because I like helping people. I like having lots of fun and love putting myself in dangerous situations. Also, I am a people person and with this job I get to talk to lots of people which makes me very happy.

2. How many years have you been in this profession and where else have you worked?

I have been a fireman for 6 years. I started when I graduated from high school volunteering with the Alpharetta Fire Dept. From there I was full-time with the City of Hapeville where I worked for 4 ½ years before coming to Milton.

3. What has been your proudest moment since becoming a Milton Firefighter?

I do not have one proud moment. Since I was born and raised in Milton I am proud every day because my parents still live in the City of Milton along with lots of friends and family. Knowing that I protect them in this community every day that I come on duty is a proud moment.

4. What is your favorite food?

Steak & potatoes along with Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.

5. What is your favorite movie?

Not one but several. I am a movie buff.

6. Who is your favorite Singer?

This is a toughie because I am obsessed with music. I have over 1500 cds. I go to tons of concerts but I would guess if I had to choose Van Halen is my number one followed by Hank Junior and then all old school country. I like heavy metal music and all rock and roll. So music is in general one of my favorite things.

7. What is your favorite automobile?

Lifted truck that have lots of horse power.

8. What are your hobbies?

Hunting, fishing and anything outdoors.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Milton Business Alliance Holiday Party

Milton -

The Milton Business Alliance held it's second annual holiday party at the Alpharetta Athletic Club this past Tuesday evening. MBA board member Dale Jackson thanked everyone for making the group a success. Special accolades were given to additional board members Tim Enloe, Lauren Holmes, Terry Mechling, and Phil Juravel.

Members also helped in donating toys for children in need.

To find out more about the MBA, please click here=>


I do not have the ID number for this guy. The shelter would know which dog as he is in pretty sad shape, as you can see by the pictures. He is only about 5 or 6 years old as his teeth look good and his eyes are clear. Needs some groceries so he can put on some weight, also is missing most of the hair on his tail. Nice boy, had no issues being handled and is in with other males and doing just fine with them as well. (They take him out for extra meals as he is so thin.) A staff favorite, it would be really nice to see him have a happy ending. If you are interested in rescue or adoption, please contact Jamie Martinez, the adoption/rescue coordinator ASAP!Thank you for looking!

Dekalb Animal Services
845 Camp Road
Decatur, GA 30032
Phone: 404-294-3088
Fax: 404-2942947
ID: 29186 Pen: 308

This pretty girl is a female German Shepherd. She is about 5 years old and weighs about 80 pounds. She is very sweet and friendly. She will give you kisses right in the face if you will let her. She likes getting to go outside for walks. She gets along well with other dogs. She is an all around great girl!Lost and stray animals are held at Dekalb Animal Services for five business day stray waiting period in order to give their owners a chance to reclaim. After that time period, adoptable animals are held as long as space allows.

Dekalb Animal Services
845 Camp Road
Decatur, GA 30032
Phone: 404-294-3088
Fax: 404-294-2947

Monday, December 07, 2009

Who needs reindeer?

Why rely on eight tiny reindeer (nine if you count Rudolph) when you can make a big entrance in a helicopter? That’s what Santa Claus, in this case being played by big-hearted city volunteer Tim Enloe, chose for Milton’s first official tree lighting Nov. 30 at the corner of Webb Road and Ga. 9. Here, he springs from the copter with a mighty ‘Ho Ho Ho!’

Courtesy Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers

December 07, 2009 MILTON - As his reindeer were resting up for the big day, when Santa Claus made his big entrance at Milton's first official tree lighting Nov. 29, he did it in style.

To the wonder and delight of the many children in attendance, the jolly old fat man — spoiler alert for any children reading, it was city volunteer Tim Enloe doing his best impression in a padded suit — and Mayor Joe Lockwood flew to the ceremony in a helicopter. It landed in front of the Target on Ga. 9, directly behind the tree.

The Hopewell Middle School chorus serenaded the audience with holiday tunes and there were plenty of cookies and cocoa thanks to Target.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Crabapple Christmas

Double Click To Enlarge Screen.


Milton, Georgia -

On a chilly December night in Milton,girls and boys of all ages came out to sing carols, see live reindeer, and even have a quick chat with Santa this past Saturday at the "Christmas In Crabapple" event.

Other options to get you in the holiday spirit included carriage rides, roasting marsh mellows over an open fire,taking in the many Christmas Decorations, and even sitting in a fire truck.

Many thanks to Milton events coordinator Linda Blow for all her hard work.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Secret Santa Comes To Milton!

Is there someone you know who “lives in Milton” who will not have a Christmas this year? Is there a family, a veteran, or someone you know who will not have any food on the table, needs warm clothing, or does not have the ability to purchase not even one toy for their child or children, or other circumstance? If so, please send in request to Access Milton for consideration by Milton's Secret Santa. Requests must include name, address and phone number of family or individual that is in need of help, the details of their circumstances, as well as a contact name and number and email of the person submitting the request. All requests will be considered and kept confidential, however only a few wishes can be granted by Milton's Secret Santa. All requests need to be submitted by December 20th. The wishes chosen will be based on the most need, and notification will be given by phone or email on or before December 22nd. God Bless and Merry Christmas!

Email requests to:

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Milton police announce arrests

Courtesy Appen Newspapers

November 30, 2009 Milton – The Milton Police Department announced Nov. 20 it had arrested two women — one accused of theft, the other of reporting a false Crime of theft.

Chelsea Voigt, 18, was arrested Nov. 16 for her alleged role in a theft reported Nov. 1 from a friend's Highgrove Road home. According to police, the victim said someone had stolen a safe that held her jewelry.

She mentioned Voigt as a possible suspect because she was often at the house.

As part of the investigation, officers told the victim to check local pawn shops for the jewelry in the safe.

Sure enough, she found Voigt had allegedly pawned five of her rings Oct. 28 at Cherokee Coin and Pawn on Ga. 9 in Alpharetta — four days before the victim realized the safe was gone. Even more loot turned up at Roswell's The Vault Pawn Shop on Ga. 9, also allegedly sold by Voigt.

Milton police said all of the victim's jewelry, worth $14,200, was recovered.

Nicole R. Watson, 24, was arrested Nov. 18 for allegedly lying about a crime in her Deerpark Lane home.

Milton police said Nov. 2 Watson called 911 and allegedly reported someone had broken into her home, stealing a flat screen television, DVD player, diamond ring, diamond ear rings and Nike tennis shoes from her bedroom.

As part of the investigation, on Nov. 9 Watson's father told Milton detectives she had stolen his debit card on the day of the reported break-in and used it three times.

She reportedly told him she had used it to buy Oxycodone.

Her father told police he believed Watson had staged the break-in because of her addiction to prescription pain killers, according to investigators.

A Milton detective then tracked the diamond ring stolen from Watson's home to Cherokee Coin and Pawn in Alpharetta.

She had pawned it herself, said investigators. A warrant was then taken out for her arrest.

Voigt was charged with theft by receiving stolen property and theft by deception. She bailed out of the Fulton County Detention Center on a $23,000 bond Nov. 18, according to jail records.

Watson signed her own $1,000 bond and was released Nov. 19 from Fulton County Jail.

Milton's stream buffers: What exactly are they?

Courtesy Carter Lucas / Appen Newspapers

November 30, 2009 Milton — Anyone familiar with things at City Hall has likely heard council, volunteers and planners talk about "stream buffers" in the course of normal business. But what exactly are they?

Stream buffers are those vegetated strips of land along the banks of our streams, lakes and rivers. There have been numerous scientific studies conducted evaluating the effectiveness of these buffers and their impact on surface water quality.

The findings of these studies indicate they have the following benefits:• Stabilize stream banks and reduce channel erosion• Trap and remove contaminants• Store flood waters, thereby reducing property damage• Improve aesthetics• Improve recreational and educational opportunities in local area• Reduce sedimentation of our lakes and streams• Improve aquatic life • Provide habitat for wildlife (also reduce undesirable species, such as geese)

In Georgia, buffers are required along all perennial (normally flowing) and intermittent (flowing during wet seasons) streams, as well as ephemeral features (those that only flow after rainfall) that drain into trout streams.

In non-trout streams like those in Milton, the state requires a minimum 25-foot vegetated buffer extending from the stream bank or the point of wrested vegetation.

However, in the city of Milton these state standards have been extended to require a minimum 50-foot buffer with a 75-foot setback for any impervious surfaces.

These requirements can obviously be a source of conflict between regulatory authorities and those attempting to develop property.

Despite the ongoing debates regarding the necessary width and extent of stream buffers, there is no denying the basic benefits derived from these natural features.

One only needs to compare the waterways we find in nature to those we find in our urban centers to see the difference. Fortunately, at this point, the city of Milton's stream buffers are largely undisturbed.

In order to preserve these valuable resources, we need to continue our efforts to educate the public about their benefits.

Carter Lucas is Milton's principal engineer and interim head of its Public Works Department. He can be reached at 678-242-2500.

Flood attracts Milton, Alpharetta students

Milton High School junior Sammi Pike is one of the leaders for the
Milton Chapter. Here, she also helps out at Kidmix.

November 30, 2009 / Appen Newspapers - ALPHARETTA - Every month, students from flood, a Student Community Missions organization, are given the chance to serve many people in the community.

On the first week of each month, student chapter leaders hold monthly meetings to educate classmates about current projects and also give them the opportunity to share stories of serving from the previous month. Throughout the month, students are reminded via e-mails, Facebook, and phone calls about weekly projects and opportunities for them to serve.

"When you are on the outside looking in, Alpharetta High School exemplifies great academics and achievements," said Heaven Nkuski, president of the Alpharetta Chapter. "However, on the inside we are a very divided and diverse school. This is where flood comes in. By bringing flood into the school, we are trying to bring our students closer together by helping the community and serving the ones who need it most."

Alex Close, president of the Milton High School Chapter summed up his dream for the Milton Chapter.

"Our goal at Milton is to get students serving and build relationships with people in the community to the point that flood at Milton is carried on once I am gone to college," he said.

Flood partners with more than 15 non-profit organizations and has students from more than 20 schools come out and serve regularly. More information is available at or by calling 770-289-1834.

GHJA holds Grand Finale

Kristin Stine, riding Candido, stands high as she tears through the
jumping course at Wills Park.

Courtesy Jason Wright; Appen Newspapers

November 30, 2009 Alpharetta — The Georgia Hunter Jumper Association (GHJA) held its Grande Finale horse show Nov. 20-22 at the Wills Park Equestrian Center in Alpharetta.

Milton resident Laura Bentley heads the organization. She said this season-ending show brings out more than 180 riders, just a small percentage of the GHJA's 800 members.

A number of the GHJA's ranks live in North Fulton, so Wills Park is the perfect venue, she said.

"We've had it at Chateau Elan, we thought about Conyers [site of the Georgia International Horse Park], but here is best," said Bentley.

As part of the event, Bentley said the GHJA Juniora were giving money to Georgia Equine Rescue League (GERL).

With the state's Department of Agriculture facing big budget cuts, abused horses had nowhere to go, said Bentley — but GERL has stepped up to fill the gap.

The money for the gift came from proceeds of horse riding classes the Juniors have held.

Their cash will go to feeding and rehabilitating three rescue horses for five months, said Bentley.

BOE stands firm on Bethany H.S. plans

by Candy Waylock / Appen Newspapers

November 30, 2009 Milton — If members of the community were hoping for drastic changes in the plans for the Bethany Bend high school site, they likely left school board member Katie Reeve's monthly meeting a bit disappointed.

Reeves emphasized she was sympathetic to the wishes of her community, but often her hands are tied.

"I'm just one member of a seven-member board, and I cannot do anything without at least three other board members agreeing with me," Reeves told the assembled audience at her monthly meeting last week.

Getting board approval is particularly challenging when the changes conflict with educational specifications — known in the parlance of school planning as "ed specs" — which ensure every school in the Fulton's nearly 100 buildings are equitable.

"Every change in ed specs requires support from the entire board – or at least four board members – and is not something we take lightly," said Reeves. "I think Fulton Schools has done a very good job of meeting the needs of our students with our existing facilities."

The Bethany Bend high school site is set for ground breaking this spring at the corner of Bethany Bend and Cogburn Road in Milton, with an opening in August 2012. The $70 million school can house up to 1,900 students and will relieve overcrowded conditions primarily at Milton High School, which is projected to have nearly 2,800 students by 2011.

Other high schools in the area may also see their attendance lines shift with the opening of the as-yet-unnamed Bethany Bend; however, the redistricting process will not start until next year.

The school will sit on 65 acres, with 25 acres of the site to remain undisturbed, mainly because of topographical or environmental issues. These dimensions are in line with the other high schools in the area, noted Frank Destadio of Parsons Engineering, which directs construction for Fulton Schools.

The main concerns from the community were voiced by Lynna Lee of Milton, who made a site visit with several other parents to the newly opened Johns Creek High School. The Bethany Bend school will be the same prototype as Johns Creek (as well as Westlake High in South Fulton), allowing the community a glimpse of what the new high school will closely resemble.

While impressed with Johns Creek High School, Lee noted the group was concerned with some issues, particularly with what they believed was the small size of the cafeteria. Destadio addressed that concern at Reeve's meeting, noting the cafeteria at Johns Creek, and ultimately Bethany Bend, exceeds state requirements for to space seat all the students in three sessions.

He added the benefit in prototype construction is the ability to correct any problems before building the next model.

"We've been talking with [Johns Creek Principal] Buck Greene, and there are some issues that will be corrected for the Bethany Bend high school," noted Destadio.

He added none of the changes are structural, but more aesthetic.

Other concerns from the community centered on items Fulton Schools has no power to fix. These mainly include widening the roads and other off-site traffic enhancements, which must be addressed by the city of Milton.

Patrick Burke, director of operations for Fulton Schools, noted there have been two meetings with Milton officials — with more planned — to see how the two entities could work on solving some of the issues.

A request for an entrance to the school via Ga. 9 is not an option, said Reeves. To reach Ga. 9 from school property would take the purchase of 9 acres of commercial development that stands between the school site and the highway. With two entrances already in the plan, there is no board support of that additional cost, Reeves said.

Ditto to the suggestion the board purchase land across the street to place some facilities.

Also off the table is a three-story, stacked building limiting the school's footprint, which would require a complete overhaul of the architectural plan. With a tight schedule, noted Reeves, any significant change jeopardizes the completion date and risks funding drying up.

The cost of the school is funded with proceeds from SPLOST 3 (special purpose local option sales tax), which will sunset in 2012 without a renewal.

The last piece of the Bethany Bend high school will be to determine what the front facade of the building will look like – it's "signature statement."

Milton High, which removed seven milton families out of their homes due to the BOE's lack of planning has the white columns, Alpharetta High has the retro look and Johns Creek High has the clock tower.

While the architects presented a conceptual drawing of a "lodge style" facade at last month's information meeting, no decision will be made until more community input is gathered.

Note: added to this article.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Better Christmas Tree Sales Expected This Year


MILTON, GA - We live in a world full of symbols, but few are more nostalgic to us than those of the holiday season...especially the traditional Christmas tree.

Sales of real trees fell 10% last year, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, even worse for artificial trees, which fell 35%.

But the trade association predicts improved sales this year, especially for "cut your own" tree farms.

If the day after Thanksgiving crowds are any indication, things are certainly looking up for Hunters' Christmas Tree Farm in Milton, Georgia.

"I think we're going to have a good season, I honestly believe that," says Gordon Hunter, whose family has run the tree farm for the past 19 years.

He predicts about a 10% increase this year.

Families may disagree about which tree they pick to cut down on Hunter's farm, but many we spoke with all agree they won't cut it out, no matter how bad the economy is.

"Oh, the tree definitely has to stay," tree customer Scott Davidson told 11 Alive News, "I mean, that's one part where we didn't even think about cutting back on."

"It's a tradition," customer Tricia Green told us, "we're cutting in other places with gifts and things like that, but not the tree."

Some customers were even buying two trees.

That's because the Hunter farm is one of many around the country that offer discounted trees for the public to donate to the "Trees for Troops" program.

The organization is expecting to provide more than 15,000 free Christmas trees to military families in the U.S. and overseas.

Hunter, himself a U.S. Navy pilot in the Vietnam War, expects his customers to contribute more than 125 trees to the project.

"I think the spirit for our military folks is very high," Hunter says, "People want to do something. This is a great thing to repay their families to donate a tree to military families on the bases."

To find out more about Hunters' Christmas Tree Farm, click here=>


By Annie Piekarczyk / Beacon Media

In 2006, Georgia adopted a resolution imposing “911” charges on landline and wireless telecommunications with billing addresses within the City of Milton.

The “911” system implemented in Milton, through an intergovernmental agreement with Alpharetta, has been capable of providing automatic number and location identification of a wireless connection. This particular service has authorized Milton to assess a $1.50 charge per month per telephone service subscriber.

“The purpose of collecting that fee,” said Assistant to the City Manager Matt Marietta, “is so we can support our 911 system.”

Then in 2007, the state made revisions to that resolution. The revision authorized charges for additional telecommunication services which include Voice over Internet Protocol service and any other type of communication messages that are capable of initiating a 911 emergency call.

Milton City Council recently voted on a resolution to continue collecting that $1.50 fee the City has been collecting all along. The change? This resolution continues that fee, but also clarifies the current charge through explicit language addressing Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), a service where information, according to Marietta, “…runs through internet service rather than a landline or a cell phone.”

This fee will allow the City of Milton to support the provision of emergency 911 services, by providing funding which is currently provided by an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Alpharetta.


Each year, every year, Milton City Council votes on whether to continue its Solid Waste Collection Services. The ordinance has been renewed each successive year since its original enactment in 2006, and this year is no different.

The ordinance approves and establishes the regulation of solid waste collection services in Milton. It contains the requirement for an infrastructure maintenance fee to be paid to the city. The impact to residential constituents has generally been less than one dollar per month. That revenue is dedicated to the maintenance of infrastructure and, in particular, resurfacing of roadways.

“By approving this tonight,” Matt Marietta said on November 16, “[We are] maintaining what we had tomorrow with what we have today. Let us keep working with our citizens, our staff and our code enforcement to come up with a (more comprehensive and substantial process) to unveil to you.”

Santa Arrives In Milton Georgia For A Visit!

The New Milton Christmas Tree Donated By Protect Milton.

Double Click To Enlarge Screen

Sunday, November 29, 2009
Milton, GA

Santa landed right at 6pm to throngs of good little boys and girls this past Sunday night. Thanks to helicopter pilot and Milton resident Walt Linscott and Mayor Joe Lockwood, Mr. Claus was able to take time away from his work shop in the North Pole to visit at the Deerfield Place Shopping Center.

Pictures courtesy of Protect Milton.

Vintage Pizzeria Comes To Milton's Crabapple

Courtesy Vintage Pizzeria

During the search for their second Vintage Pizzeria and Bar location, Kara and Mario Gonzalez were drawn to the Crabapple area for its family oriented demographic, good school system and affluent residential communities .Founded in 2005, the original Vintage Pizzeria and Bar is located in Chamblee, Ga on Antique Row near the Dekalb Peachtree Airport, and is well known for its New Jersey influenced pizza as well as homemade Italian dishes, hoagies and a variety of salads. Kara has over 15 years of restaurant experience having done everything from serving, bartending,managing, accounting and wholesale food sales. Mario was a DeKalb County motorcycle cop when he met Kara but always loved to cook and had an interestin the restaurant business. A New Jersey native, he went back and worked ina New Jersey pizzeria for several months to learn how to make and hand toss the dough for Vintage's signature pizza. Two years after opening, they doubled the size of the restaurant due to the demand for their pizza,meatball subs and other dishes.

Housed in the former Foster's Grill location on Broadwell Road, the Milton restaurant has the same menu and same look and feel as the Chamblee restaurant - brick interior and exterior, exposed cedar beams, gas lanterns,a handcrafted bar and patio dining. The pizza oven has a window where you can watch up to 35 pizzas cook from your seat at the bar. Mario says "We have a full bar, ten beers on tap and an extensive beer and wine list - notonly is it important to have good food but to create a comfortableenvironment for a pleasant dining experience." Tuesday night is Family Night where kids ten years old and under eat free from the children's menu and Trivia Thursdays start on October 8. "It has been fun to see Chamblee customers who live in this area come into the new restaurant," Kara said.Vintage is opened for lunch and has a popular lunch special that features a fresh garden salad, giant slice of pizza with one topping and a soft drink for $6.95. Evening delivery is available - call 770-817-6000. Hours are 11:30am to 10:00pm Tuesday - Thursday, 11:30am to 11:00pm Friday and 12:00noon to 10:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. For more information or to see a full menu, visit

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Santa Flying Into Milton Tonight For Official Christmas Tree Lighting.

Santa has been able to take a break from his workshop to fly in and visit Milton this evening at 5:30pm. "I am looking forward to seeing all the good little boys and girls that live in Milton," Santa shared "I have heard that the new Christmas tree is as beautiful as those in the North Pole!"

The City of Milton will begin a special holiday tradition on Sunday, Nov. 29, at the city's inaugural Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with a visit from Santa and carols sung by Hopewell Middle School students. At 6:00 p.m. sharp, the switch will be flipped to light up the branches of the beautiful 22-foot Deodar Cedar, a gift to the city from Protect Milton, Inc. Mayor Lockwood and members of the Milton City Council will be on hand to share in the celebration, which will take place at the corner of Highway 9 and Webb Road. Hot cocoa, coffee and cookies will be served, complements of Starbucks inside the Milton Target store.

"As we approach the anniversary of our city's incorporation, we are both grateful and proud of how far we've come in three short years," says Mayor Joe Lockwood. "This beautiful Christmas tree will light up the night through the holidays and serve as a lasting reminder of all we have to be thankful for." Lockwood continues, "I'm honored to share in the inaugural celebration of what is sure to become another beloved holiday tradition for our city."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Handel Stumps in Milton

Courtesy Jonathan Copsey / Beacon Media

The house of Milton mayor Joe Lockwood was filled Tuesday night with guests from all over his new city, laughing, snacking and have a generally good time. Oh, and Secretary of State Karen Handel was there, too.

Lockwood threw open his doors to Handel to hold a fundraiser for her campaign for governor.

"What's always impressed me is how she's just not afraid to get in there and take care of things," said Lockwood. "That's something we need in our state and that's something we need in our next governor."

Speaking before the movers and shakers of Milton, Handel outlined her plans for the future and the differences between her and her opponents.

"We have a lot of good people in the race with good intentions," Handel said. "The next governor had better have a whole lot more than good intentions. Because the next governor will have a whole lot of challenges on her."

According to Handel, her experience can be classified as "real world" in lieu of political; instead of spending her working life gathering votes and tendering legislation, she was working in the corporate world, learning how to manage organizations. Prior to becoming Sec. of State, Handel was the head of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, which she turned around from a near-defunct group into the commercial success it is now.

One of Handel's biggest triumphs and controversies in her current position, has been the implementation of a voter ID system. Lengthy lawsuits have swung back and forth; however she claims the overall policy is sound and just plagued by vague execution, which is a legislative problem.

"I understand that policy is words on a piece of paper unless you know how to implement and execute."

Calls for Real Reform

Obviously taxes will be another big problem facing the next governor.

"We need to do tax reform in partnership with municipal [governments]," she said. "If the state takes a tax reduction at the state level and your council members and your mayor are forced to backfill it at the local level, that�s not tax reform. That�s called passing the buck." She promised to rebuild the tax code from the ground up to make Georgia more competitive on the national and global level and lessen the burden on taxpayers and small business.

In the end, Handel was asking for votes and money for the coming Republican gubernatorial primary, scheduled for July 20, 2010, and she needs Fulton County to come out big for her. With fully 10 percent of the primary vote, Republican-rich North Fulton will be important to any candidate. As it represents her base, it's crucial to her primary chances.

"The next governor is going to have to be someone who is determined and a tenacious problem solver," Handel said. "Someone who has been tested in a tough environment and has had to come up with practical solutions to very serious and real issues. We need someone who is going to have rock solid principles."

North Fulton Gives Thanks.

Courtesy Neighbor Newspapers

Every year we give thanks around the table for our blessings. Several residents shared their annual Thanksgiving messages with us. Best wishes for a happy holiday from the Neighbor Newspaper family:

Todd Ashley, MiltonExecutive Assistant District Attorney

When I awake each morning, I am thankful that God has given me another day to enjoy the many blessings He has bestowed upon me.

First and foremost, I am thankful for my family and friends. Without them, I would be lost. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve my community each day as a Fulton County assistant district attorney. A free society depends on enforcement of its laws and I am proud to serve along side the distinguished officers of north Fulton.

I am thankful for the men and women in the Armed Forces who provide the blanket of liberty under which we all live. I am thankful that we have a free press, free elections and the right to speak without fear of government reprisal.

And I would like to wish everyone a joyous holiday season.