Thursday, May 31, 2012

We're moving dirt in Milton.

Many thanks to Mayor Lockwood for sharing this quick note with readers.

You’ve asked for community improvements, seen us call for plans, been to the planning meetings, watched us vote the plans into action, and now I’m very proud to say: We’re moving dirt in Milton.

This is just the start of some very big things for the city, and I’ll think we’ll all be able to look back at the summer of 2012 and say that’s when it all started happening in Milton.


First up, as I’m sure you’ve seen, is the Cogburn Road bridge replacement project. Let me start by saying I’m sorry for the road closure and the traffic problems it’s created. But I think you’ll be pleased with the results once the bridge and road come back on line.

We’ll keep you up to date with construction by doing weekly blog posts, and of course you’re always welcome to talk with one of our Public Works folks should you have a question about the project.


We’ve got another project ready to roll on Cogburn Road, this time in front of Cambridge High School. Our planners listened when residents were worried about the intersection near the school, so we’ve partnered with Fulton County Schools for improvements to the roads. We’ll be handling improvements and signalization on our property, the schools will handle their side of the road.

You should see this work complete before the school opens in August. Additionally, we’ve got an access road from Ga. 9 planned from the Public Safety Complex we’re building, and that should alleviate some traffic, as well.


We’ve also begun work on a pocket park to be built between Crabapple Crossing Elementary and Northwestern Middle through a partnership with the school system. This will be a nice addition to the Crabapple area and should prove popular with both students and families in the area.


At our June 4 council meeting, you’ll also see that we are attempting to purchase property to expand Bell Memorial Park. Please be aware this is simply an offer on the land, and that nothing is definite.

However, we take very seriously our residents' desires for expanded parks and recreation opportunities in the city – and we’re prepared to take steps to make them a reality.

Well, that’s the exciting news for this month, but there’s more on the way. Remember, we’ve got the Public Safety Complex project coming up and road improvements at Birmingham Highway and Providence and New Providence roads, Birmingham Highway and Ga. 140, and a Crabapple bypass.

With all this great stuff going on, this is the perfect opportunity to get involved in your city and let us know what you think about the work we’re doing. Give me a call or stop by my office sometime to let me know what you think.

Mayor Joe Lockwood

'Movies in the Park' starts June 2.


The City of Milton will host a series of free family movies on the side lawn at Northwestern Middle School this summer, said Special Events Coordinator Angela Thompson.

The "Movies in the Park™ - City of Milton presented by Southern Outdoor Cinema, Sponsored by Northside Hospital Forsyth" series will kick off Saturday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m. with a showing of "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked."

The series continues July 7 with "The Three Stooges" and Aug. 4 with a third film to be determined. All three movies will be shown at the school, located at 12805 Birmingham Highway (click here for directions).

At sundown the film will be shown on Southern Outdoor Cinema's huge, two-story inflatable movie screen in high-definition. Before the film there will be a fun, festival atmosphere with face painting, an inflatable moonwalk and tons of children's activities.

Concessions will be available, so just bring your lawn chair, blanket and bug spray.

"We've had success with a single movie and a summer concert series in the past," said Thompson. "It just seemed like a perfect fit to continue this tradition with a movie series aimed at providing local families with a fun, free night out."

For more information on "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked," click here. For more information on the summer movie series, visit or contact Thompson at 678-242-2530 or

Farmer's market to open June 2.

Courtesy City of Milton

The Milton Market at Crabapple will open for the summer season June 2 at 9 a.m. at The Crabapple Community Center, 12615 Broadwell Road (click here for directions).

The market will be open weekends from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. throughout the summer. It will have local growers and craft artisans selling products, and will expand as the season continues.

For more information, contact Linda Neal of Neal's Produce at 404-944-5607.

Milton Sweet Tea Society meeting June 5.

From left, top, Farmer Sue, owner of TheArtBarn at Morning Glory Farm and Patti Silva, creator of the Milton Sweet Tea Society; bottom, Leigh Halsema, Rose the dog, Emma Johnson, and Debbie Johnson.
Photograph by Beth Melberg Photography©

Courtesy City of Milton GA

The Milton Sweet Tea Society will meet Tuesday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. for a Ladies Night Out Potluck Social at TheArtBarn, located at 208 Roper Road Canton, GA 30115 (click here for directions).

Each person is asked to bring along an appetizer and a beverage of their choice to share with the group. The farm will be decorated with candles and tablecloths, provided by the hosts of the event. Entertainment will be provided by Susan Shaw, otherwise known as Farmer Sue from TheArtBarn at Morning Glory Farm - where good things grow.

The evening will begin with a guided hayride tour of the farm lead by Farmer Sue. Along the tour, she will stop and introduce the ladies to some of her many farm animals including chickens, roosters, donkeys, goats, horses, her famous cow and potbellied pig, to name a few.

After the tour, the group will collectively create a mixed media art project while sipping a beverage and nibbling on some of the appetizers brought by the attendees.

The Milton Sweet Tea Society, founded by Patti Silva in May 2010, is an eclectic group of women living in or near the City of Milton who love where they live and understand the concept of a small town. Members offer friendly tips and referrals to one another.

This social is a great way to learn more about the Milton Sweet Tea Society, as well as mingle with some of the members and meet other women from the City of Milton.

If you are interested in attending, please visit the Milton Sweet Tea Society's Facebook page for more information on how to RSVP. Hope to see you there!

MDA Fill the Boot Drive June 8, 22.

Courtesy Milton Fire Department

It's summer, and in Milton that means you'll see firefighters collecting money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association's (MDA) "Fill the Boot Drive."

This year the City of Milton will be collecting on June 8, June 22 and July 6.

Over the last five years, the City of Milton Fire Department has collected $226,631 from generous citizens for local children and adults fighting muscular dystrophy. In 2011, the Department raised $60,854, the most in metro Atlanta and the second most in the state.

Summer Camps available for June.


For more information, contact Tom Gilliam at 678-242-2519 or

Cogburn Road bridge closed 3 months.


This is just a reminder Cogburn Road is closed from mid-May to early August so that the bridge over Cooper Sandy Creek between Bethany Bend and Webb Road may be replaced.

The project has been timed specifically to coincide with summer break and improvements at the Cogburn Road/Bethany Bend intersection to be completed before Cambridge High School opens. Access to existing property owners will be maintained at all times.

The proposed project will replace the bridge with an arched culvert spanning the creek, which means minimal impact to the waterway and savings in both time and taxpayer money.

To stay up to date with the project, visit the Cogburn Road bridge replacement project page by clicking here. The updates will also be posted on the city's Facebook and Twitter pages.

Oxford-based Hitson Construction, Inc.'s price of $478,020.39 was the lowest reliable bid of the four received.

For more information, contact Angie Kapijimpanga, Public Works citizen responder, at 678-242-2562 or

Milton launches new version of mobile site.


If you regularly use the City of Milton's mobile-friendly Web site, you might have noticed a change May 25. That's because the city brought a new site online.

The new mobile site offers the complete functionality of the full desktop site, only redesigned for mobile devices. It is powered by GovOffice, the city's content management provider for the current city Web site.

Previously, Milton utilized a bridge technology from mobile provider Mofuse from December 2011 until May. If you have previously downloaded the mobile app for or bookmarked this site, it will no longer work.

Let us know what you think: Send comments and concerns to Jason Wright, Communications Manager, at 678-242-2523 or

Milton High basketball summer camp this June.

Courtesy City of Milton

The Milton High School boys' basketball program will host a summer camp for boys entering third through ninth grade.

The camp will be held at Milton High, 13025 Birmingham Highway, from Monday, June 25 through Friday, June 29. Camp hours will operate from 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Camp tuition is $175 before June 25 or $200 at the door.

It is open to anyone interested in learning fundamental basketball skills from players and coaches from the 2009 and 2011 AAAAA state runner-up and 2010 and 2012 AAAAA state championship teams.

The camp features quality fundamental instruction and specializes in individual attention in all phases of the game of basketball. All participants will learn the skills that will build the foundation for success in basketball.

Campers are organized by age group and will participate in daily skills contests and league games. The camp closes on Friday with a league tournament. Every camper will receive a t-shirt and basketball they can use on their own after the week has concluded.

For more information, contact Nathan Tornow at

CCA plans parade for July 4.

Courtesy City of Milton

The second annual Crabapple July 4th Walking Parade, sponsored by the Crabapple Community Association (CCA), will take place at 9 a.m. in historic downtown Crabapple (route begins at McFarlin lane).

As in previous years, the parade is an open event in which citizens may march. If you don't want to walk the parade route, you can be a spectator and cheer everyone on. Organizers will have water and freeze pops while supplies last.

Councilwoman Karen Thurman and her husband, Mark, will act as Parade Marshals. Prizes will be awarded for a number of creative displays.

"We want to encourage community involvement - it is a parade for all ages and all abilities," said parade organizer Sally Rich-Kolb. "The route is approximately half a mile, which makes it ideal for young families to participate."

Organizers said participants are invited to walk, ride a tricycle or use a stroller, wheelchair or other small vehicle. However, because of the crowd, no large bicycles please. Additionally, no cars are floats are allowed, and firecrackers and sparklers are prohibited.

Pets may be included, but they must be on a leash and owners are responsible for clean-up.

Parking is available at Crabapple First Baptist Church and Strawberry Fields. Parking for those with Disabled Parking placards will be at the John Weiland office at McFarlin Lane.

If you have any questions or you would like additional information, please e-mail

Hopewell 8th graders honored.

From left, Amanda Smoltz, Diya Sharma, Liam Nugent and Nico Leis.

Courtesy City of Milton GA

Recently, four Hopewell Middle School eighth-grade students were recognized for their service to the community by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the school itself.

Amanda Smoltz and Liam Nugent were recognized by DAR for their honor, service, courage, leadership and patriotism. Diya Sharma and Nico Leis were recognized as Silver Mustangs (the school's mascot) for being involved in clubs and activities, maintaining an excellent academic record, showing school spirit, participating in community service, and being well-respected by their peers and good citizens and role models.

All four award recipients were nominated and voted upon by their teachers.

Monthly new business report.


This list is compiled from business license records kept by the city's Community Development Department. If a new business receives a license within the month proceeding the newsletter, it will be listed.

The appearance of a business on this page is not intended, nor should it be construed, as the City of Milton's or Milton City Council's endorsement, sanction, promotion or advertisement of any particular business. Identification of businesses on this list is for informational purposes only. Citizens interested in retaining or conducting business with any of the companies or agencies listed in this item should conduct their own review and investigation of that business.

Firedog Firearms 115885 Hopewell Road
Fun Is the Answer 745 Soneley Court
Cheeses & Mary 765 Mid Broadwell Road
Sleep Tight Pals, LLC 12460 Crabapple Road
Vibe Salon & Boutique 12605 Broadwell Road
Nevaeh Transport, LLC 13085 Morris Road
Kunz Capital Management, LLC 730 Sable Pointe Road
Big Horn Concrete, LLC 621 Knox Hill Drive
Stinkweed Station 525 Wickstone Place
Med Literacy 2980 Serenade Court

For a continually updated list of current businesses in Milton via the city's Web site, click here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Milton honors those who serve.

Courtesy Jonathan Copsey Appen Newspapers / The Milton Herald

May 29, 2012
MILTON, Ga. - An annual event, Milton's Memorial Day ceremony May 28 was the largest one yet.

Crowds gathered at City Hall Monday morning to hear guest speaker Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard. Butterworth commands the more than 14,000-member strong Georgia Department of Defense, which includes the Georgia Army National Guard, the Georgia Air National Guard and the Georgia State Defense Force. In this position, he reports directly to Gov. Nathan Deal.

A roll call of local veterans who are no longer among the living was called out.

The event was the culmination of Milton's remembrance of those who have fought and died who lived in city. Every year, Milton Council Member Bill Lusk creates and stands hundreds of white, wooden crosses along Deerfield Parkway, one for each fallen soldier.

The city held an essay contest as part of the ceremony. Zach Ellison, a sixth grader at Hopewell Middle School, was the winner. With an essay titled “Honoring those who will never be forgotten,” Ellison wrote, “These men and women should be remembered and honored for the sacrifices they make and the work they do each day to keep our country safe. The members of our military make the choice to join and defend our country out of their love for the United States of America.
“This is why it is so important to honor those who will never be forgotten.”

"Honoring Those Who Will Never Be Forgotten"

By Zach Ellison

Memorial Day is a holiday for remembrance of those who serve or have served our nation, especially those who lost their lives. These men and women should be remembered and honored for the sacrifices they make and the work they do each day to keep our country safe. The members of our military make the choice to join and defend our country out of their love for the United States of America.

The volunteers that serve in the U.S. military make many sacrifices for people they have never even met. They leave their families behind, whether it is spouses and children or brothers, sisters, and parents. They miss holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions in order to serve our country. They stay away for time periods as short as weeks or months, or as long as years. They miss special events, children being born, and children growing up, all for the benefit of others and out of choice. Some soldiers have wives who will give birth sometime soon. The selfless members of our military know they will have to make all these sacrifices and still choose to sign up for life in the military.

The soldiers do very hard and painful work to keep U.S. citizens safe. They go out into lands with harsh climates or places they’ve never seen before. They may have to endure extreme heat or extreme cold. They fight for their lives in foreign lands to protect everyone in the U.S. from being hurt. Many have lost their lives from non-combat related reasons. Some don’t even fall from enemy fire. Sometimes they even sacrifice themselves and lose their lives so that people in the U.S. don’t lose theirs. This difficult and often dangerous work does not stop these people from choosing this career.

What is amazing, though, is that these people aren’t even forced to serve in the military. All the people who serve do it voluntarily. So this means that people put their lives on the line frequently by choice. They also make all the sacrifices by choice. They go through all the hard, harsh work by choice. This means that the volunteers who choose to serve love the United States of America so much that they put their lives on the line for it.

During Memorial Day, living and dead servicemen or women are honored and remembered in some cities like Milton, Georgia. They sometimes have decorations to honor and remember those who fell in the military in that town. In Milton, the people set up crosses alongside a road to remember and honor the military servicemen and women who were former residents. These actions honor and help people remember the valiant soldiers who lost their lives defending our country.

It is important to remember and honor those who lost their lives defending our country. These people made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country for people they don’t even know. They went out and did hard, heavy work for the people back in America. They put their lives on the line for complete stranger. What’s more, they did all of this voluntarily. This is why it is so important to honor those who will never be forgotten.

Wireside Chat for TSPLOST June 6.


On July 31, you have the opportunity to vote on a referendum that will fund $8.5 billion in transportation improvements through a regional one percent sales tax.

The Atlanta Regional Commission will host a series of 12 Wireside Chats over six evenings in June to help you understand what projects are on the list and how the penny tax would impact your community.

North Fulton County’s chat will be June 6 at 6:15 p.m. and feature Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker and Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves.

In order to participate, simply register your name and phone number at and be available at the designated time on the number you provide.

For more information, visit

Cogburn Road construction update.


Bridge is now demolished. Construction and site clearing continues. This week, you can expect work to continue in preparation of setting the new bridge.

For more information, visit the project's site by clicking here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The History of Memorial Day.

General John A. Logan
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-B8172- 6403 DLC (b&w film neg.)]


Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."

The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.

But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."

On January 19, 1999 Senator Inouye introduced bill S 189 to the Senate which proposes to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th instead of "the last Monday in May". On April 19, 1999 Representative Gibbons introduced the bill to the House (H.R. 1474). The bills were referred the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Government Reform.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Groups call for more diversity on Fulton bench.

By Bill Rankin
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

With the number of black Fulton County judges declining, civil rights and legal groups Thursday called on the governor to put more people of color on the bench.

photo David Goldman, AP The Rev. Joseph Lowery speaks during a May 24, 2012, news conference with a coalition of civil rights and attorneys groups saying African-American judges are disappearing from the bench in one of Georgia's most heavily-populated black counties

"This is about ensuring that Fulton County minority judges don't one day become an endangered species," Chris Stewart, president of the Gate City Bar Association, said.

Leaders from several groups stood on the steps of the Fulton courthouse and expressed disappointment that the percentage of African-American judges on the Fulton Superior Court bench has dropped from 44 percent (eight out of 18) in 2002 to 30 percent (six out of 20) this year. During the past decade, every black judge who has either resigned or retired from the court has been replaced with a white appointee, the groups said in a statement.

"We are watching a disappearing number of African-American judges, which is not fair to the citizens of this community," the Rev. Joseph Lowery, representing the Coalition for the Peoples' Agenda, said. "We're here to protest that injustice. ... We don't need in this new century the habits of the old one."

According to Gov. Nathan Deal's website, the governor has made at least 20 appointments to the state trial and appellate court benches since coming into office in January 2011. At least three of his appointees are African-Americans: DeKalb Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson, DeKalb State Court Judge Eleanor Ross and Clayton State Court Michael T. Garrett.

Stephanie Mayfield, a Deal spokeswoman, said the governor put Jackson on the DeKalb bench after being recommended to do so by the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said the governor works closely with the members of his Judicial Nominating Commission to find the most qualified candidates for the bench.

"The governor celebrates the diversity of our vibrant state and he’s appointed African-Americans and other minorities to the important positions," Robinson said. "Governor Deal takes into consideration the importance of diversity in his appointments, but his first priority is selecting first-rate jurists."

It is unclear when another vacancy will open up on the Fulton bench. So far, Deal has had two opportunities to fill vacancies left by black judges and he has replaced them with white appointees. Last year, Deal appointed his chief counsel, Todd Markle, to succeed Michael Johnson, who resigned to run for Congress. This year, Deal appointed former federal and county prosecutor Robert McBurney to succeed Marvin Arrington, who retired.

Milton ceremony marks Memorial Day.

Courtesy The Milton Neighbor

Milton's fifth annual Memorial Day Ceremony is Monday, 10 a.m. at Milton City Hall, 13000 Deerfield Parkway, Suite 107.

This year's ceremony features local veterans, King's Ridge Christian School seventh-grader Sabastian Bower playing the Call to Colors, performer Lewis Shaeffer singing the National Anthem, Taps as performed by Bob Wright and Don Ware of Bugles Across America, and much more.

Featured speaker for the event will be Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard. Butterworth commands the more than 14,000-member strong Georgia Department of Defense, which includes the Georgia Army National Guard, the Georgia Air National Guard and the Georgia State Defense Force. In this position, he reports directly to Gov. Nathan Deal.

In addition to his military career, Butterworth recently completed his service as a state senator for the 50th district. While serving in the state Senate, Butterworth served as chairman of the Higher Education Committee and vice chairman of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. He was also a member of the Appropriations and Natural Resources and Environment committees and served in an ex-officio capacity on the Economic Development and State and Local Government Operations committees.

Prior to his election to the state Senate, Butterworth served as chairman of the Habersham County Board of Commissioners.

The ceremony will conclude with a roll call of local veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Their friends and families are then invited to reflect upon the markers created to remember their legacy and placed along Deerfield Parkway by Councilman Bill Lusk.

Fifth annual event to feature Ga. National Guard general.

Couresy Appen Newspapers / The Milton Herald

May 23, 2012

MILTON, Ga. – Honoring those who will never be forgotten: It is a pledge to reflect upon the sacrifices made by the brave servicemen and women who served their country valiantly throughout this nation's history.

It is also the theme of the city of Milton's fifth annual Memorial Day ceremony, scheduled for Monday, May 28 at 10 a.m. at Milton City Hall, 13000 Deerfield Parkway, Suite 107.

This year's ceremony will feature local veterans, King's Ridge Christian School seventh-grader Sabastian Bower playing the Call to Colors, performer Lewis Shaeffer singing the national anthem, "Taps" as performed by Bob Wright and Don Ware of Bugles Across America and much more.

Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard, will be the ceremony's featured speaker. Butterworth commands the more than 14,000-member strong Georgia Department of Defense, which includes the Georgia Army National Guard, the Georgia Air National Guard and the Georgia State Defense Force. In this position, he reports directly to Gov. Nathan Deal.

In addition to his military career, Butterworth recently completed his service as a state senator for the 50th district. While in the state Senate, Butterworth served as chairman of the Higher Education Committee and vice chairman of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. He was also a member of the Appropriations and Natural Resources and Environment committees and served in an ex-officio capacity on the Economic Development and State and Local Government Operations committees.

Prior to his election to the state Senate, Butterworth served as chairman of the Habersham County Board of Commissioners.

The ceremony will conclude with a roll call of local veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Their friends and families are then invited to reflect upon the markers created to remember their legacy and placed along Deerfield Parkway by Councilman Bill Lusk.

Council honors a number of local groups.

By City of Milton Georgia

At its May 21 meeting, Milton’s City Council honored a record-breaking five local teams, volunteers and citizen groups for their work in making Milton the best community in Georgia.


First on the agenda were proclamations congratulating the Milton High School boys and girls golf teams, both of which secured state titles in May. Through their hard work, Milton is becoming known across the nation as a sports and academic powerhouse.


Volunteers from Operation Giveback at Summit Hill Elementary were also on hand. Council honored their work in collecting 150 care packages for troops in Afghanistan throughout the spring. After receiving the proclamation, the volunteers gave the City of Milton an American Flag that had been flown over combat operations in Afghanistan.


It’s summer, and in Milton that means you’ll see firefighters collecting money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) “Fill the Boot Drive. “

Over the last five years, the City of Milton Fire Department has collected $226,631 from generous citizens for local children and adults fighting muscular dystrophy. In 2011, the Department raised $60,854, the most in metro Atlanta and the second most in the state.

This year the City of Milton will be collecting on May 25, June 8, June 22 and July 6.

On hand for the honor were Valerie Winship of MDA and Fire Chief Robert Edgar (firefighters were in attendance, but rushed out to a call before the photo was taken).


Lastly, City Council honored servicemen and women in advance of the city’s fifth annual Memorial Day Ceremony, to be held May 28 at 10 a.m. at City Hall. On hand for the proclamation were members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12002.

Officials take tour of new Cambridge High School.

Courtesy Fulton County Board of Education

School and elected officials recently got an inside look at the new 320,000-square-foot Cambridge High School being built in the City of Milton. The school is beautiful in both form and function, and is on schedule to open its doors to almost 1,200 students this fall.

School board member Katie Reeves, who represents the Cambridge area, joined Superintendent Robert Avossa, Cambridge principal Ed Spurka, new Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Scott Muri, and area superintendents Victor Shandor and Margaret Pupillo for the walk-through. Other elected officials on the tour included Milton’s Mayor Joe Lockwood, Councilman Lance Large and Fulton County Commissioner Liz Hausmann. North Fulton Chamber President Brandon Beach also joined the walk-through.

Led by Bob Sussenbach of Chapman Griffin Lanier Sussenbach Architects and Bill McCorkle of Evergreen Construction, the tour began in the fine arts wing and showcased the 600-seat theatre, which features a stage deep enough for a full orchestra. Special features such as acoustic sound baffles for noise control and sensor lighting also make the theatre’s construction unique.

The tour then moved into each academic area, and in the science hall, the architects showed how classrooms are designed larger to accommodate more students. The rooms are connected to a common prep lab so that multiple teachers can share materials. Architectural design details also were pointed out, such as the detail in the floor tiles and large windows in common areas, and even wooden railing on some banisters.

Athletic areas were visited, and the football stadium, with “Cambridge Bears” spelled prominently on the synthetic turf, will seat approximately 4,500 fans. The field is surrounded by a first-class track adjacent to the softball field, and a unique bridge leads through a field of trees to the practice fields.

“Opening a new school helps create a new heart of the community,” said school board member Katie Reeves. “It was important that the community was able to share input on the design. The entire Cambridge High School community owns this beautiful project and we couldn’t be more excited to open our doors in August.”

Conflict At Birmingham Falls Elementary...Again?


Since Birmingham Falls Elementary opened, it seems that debate and conflict have followed this school's brief history.

Before the Fulton County institution opened, there was debate about the name. Then there was the high profile story about a past principal. More recently, covered a story about abbreviations written in yearbooks.

Now it appears the circle has come back around to the principal topic. We have recieved emails stating that "Teachers are leaving because of poor treatment from the principal..." and (the principal) "has given (a former teacher) "two terrible recommendations, not allowing her to transfer out of the school." has always been about open discussion. As this story unfolds, we will do our best to share viewpoints from all sides.

We have posted a new poll asking:

"Are you pleased with the Birmingham Falls Elementary Principal?"

Have your say today.

The past poll question and results are below=>

Public Safety Fair a success.

By City of Milton

A big thank you goes out to Fry’s Electronics and the families, residents and passers-by who enjoyed the Fifth Annual Public Safety Fair Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20.

As always, Fry’s donated the hotdogs, sodas and grills to help raise money for the Milton Public Safety Fund (MPSF), a not-for-profit corporation that provides support for the city's police and fire services. Volunteers raised more than $1,000 – which is impressive considering the hot dogs and sodas were going for just a quarter each.

Click here to see photos from the event. Click here to learn more about the MPSF

Battle brewing over plans to shrink Fulton government.

By Johnny Edwards The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

With north Fulton lawmakers expecting to gain a firm upper hand next year through redistricting, some are speaking of a plan to gut the county government.

Resurrecting Milton County remains their mission, the legislators have told constituents at recent public meetings, and as early as next year they'll start reducing the powers of the Fulton County Commission.

Their actions could have major implications for taxes and government services for nearly 1 million people, including nearly half a million in Atlanta and about 350,000 in the six north Fulton cities.

Southside leaders say they'll fight back in federal court on the grounds of civil and voter rights. If the Northside Republican leaders succeed in reviving Milton County, it would cost Fulton more than 40 percent of its tax base.

"People are not going to stand by and allow themselves to be manipulated like this," said state Rep. Roger Bruce, a Democrat from unincorporated south Fulton. "They're rigging it. There are people who like the county the way it is."

Republican leaders are already making proposals. Rep. Lynne Riley of Johns Creek is seeking a tax rate cap that could force a countywide tax reduction. Another option would limit the county's functions to operating the jail, the courts, the Sheriff’s Office, tax collections, elections and some aspects of the Health Department.

In past legislative sessions, notions of reining in the commission have amounted to rhetoric and bills that never went to a vote. But 2013 could be different.

When new district maps take effect, Republicans will control the county's legislative delegation, made up of lawmakers whose districts fall within Fulton. The Senate and House panels decide whether any bill dealing specifically with the county or one of its cities gets introduced in the General Assembly.

Republicans have long complained that the delegation's Democratic majority has prevented them from altering the county government structure, which they say should be done now that more than 90 percent of the population lives within one of 14 cities.

Based on recent statements by lawmakers, one of their aims will be subduing the county government.

During a meeting with constituents earlier this month in Alpharetta, Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton, was quoted by a local weekly paper saying her "goal is to end Fulton County."

“We can cut Fulton County down to size until we get Milton County,” Jones said, according to Neighbor Newspapers. "My goal is that we reduce the thumbprint ... of Fulton County on your lives and your pocketbooks such that in a very few years, Atlanta and south Fulton will not fight us on re-creating Milton County because Fulton County will be insignificant."

Jones did not return messages from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Much of what is now considered north Fulton was once part of Milton County, which merged into Fulton when it was facing bankruptcy during the Great Depression.

Today, the two ends of Fulton are vastly different in terms of income and demographics, and they’re frequently at odds politically. At issue is hundreds of millions of city and county tax dollars, the growing political clout of the suburbs and the future of the state’s largest city.

Northside residents have long complained that the county government siphons their tax money to the south while ignoring their needs. Such complaints prompted residents over the past seven years to form the cities of Johns Creek, Milton and Sandy Springs or be annexed into existing cities.

Atlanta and south Fulton leaders fear that if Milton County returns, the cradle of the state capital will be financially vanquished. That's why House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey, who represents Buckhead, is only on board with Jones up to a point.

South Fulton Commissioner Bill Edwards vows to fight any efforts to alter the county or its government structure.

"We'll file [lawsuits] on anything we have to," he said, "even if we have to stay in court 300 years."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Check this Out!


World's largest outdoor pool

The Crystal Lagoon, located at the San Alfonso del Mar resort in Algarrobo, Chile, is the world's largest outdoor pool, stretching more than half of a mile and filled with 66 million gallons of water.

To see more images, please click here.

Volunteers beautify Fire Station No. 43.


This past Saturday a handful of committed volunteers gave their time and energy to help spruce up the landscaping at Milton Fire Station No. 43 on Hickory Flat Road.

More than 20 participants, including Milton residents looking to get more involved with their community, participants from the Young Men’s Service League and Milton Grows Green members, all pitched in to help make the Better Together: Real Communities - Milton Mini-Grants Initiative project a success.

Special thanks goes out to the Pearson family, who donated not only their time, but the expertise, manpower, and stock of their landscaping company, Limelight Landscaping. Jackie Pearson said it was the least they could do after firefighters saved their home in January when lighting caused an early morning fire.

“I have a special place in my heart for the gentlemen who saved my home,” said Pearson. “When we needed it, they answered our calls. So any call that goes out for volunteers to help the fire department, we’ll answer that.”

Special thanks also goes out to Jeff Glover, who donated more than 100 bales of pine straw to the effort.

To see photos from the project, along with other Better Together efforts, click here.

Better Together is funded in large part through the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities’ (GCDD) Real Communities Initiative: Milton. The grants support neighborhood improvements, promote neighborhood associations and fund projects that bring community members together.

Currently, GCDD provides Milton a little less than $20,000 in federal funds and the city matches just less than $5,000.

For more information on the Better Together: Real Communities - Milton Mini-Grants Initiative, click here

Monday, May 21, 2012

Horse racing a good bet for Ga.

AM NOTE: Could horse racing benefit Milton GA? The author below makes a good argument that it could. If horse racing does come and if the city passes and enforces Liberty's Law, the potential is endless.

Courtesy By Harry Geisinger;

This year’s “world series of horse racing” — The Breeder’s Cup — was worth $53.3 million to local businesses, 1.2 million viewers to ESPN and paid out $25.5 million in purses over 15 races.

And all of that benefited Louisville, Ky.

These millions of dollars and millions of viewers can belong to Georgia instead of Kentucky. Here’s how to do it:

During this year’s session, I introduced a constitutional amendment (HR186) to allow for horse racing with pari-mutuel wagering. If passed, the voters would cast their ballots on the amendment in the Nov. 6, 2012, general election.

Let’s get the “gambling” issue out of the way. This amendment does not allow for casinos, dog racing, slot machines or Elvis wedding chapels. All of that can stay in Vegas. So what makes pari-mutuel wagering different from gambling?

In simple terms, when you gamble, you are betting against the “house,” and the odds are stacked against you. With pari-mutuel, you are betting against the other bettors in each race. If you bet $1 on a horse, the “track” will take 18 cents to operate the track, pay taxes, purses to the horses and other overhead, while you share 82 cents with each of the other bettors. That is the “mutual” part of pari-mutuel wagering.

Georgians with an interest in horses have worked diligently to raise the profile of the equine sport of racing and the financial benefits of pari-mutuel wagering.

In a 2009 poll of more than 1,300 registered voters, more than 65 percent of Georgians favored horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering. When compared to states that race and raise horses, Georgia could gain at least 10,000 jobs in the first three to five years after passage of the amendment.

With more than 10.2 percent of Georgians out of work, labor-intensive industries such as horse breeding, training and racing would create urban and agricultural jobs.

However, HR186 must first pass both the House and Senate by a two-thirds vote. At this time, the vote appears to be close. If you like the idea of tourists’ dollars, jobs and tax dollars for Georgia, please let your local representatives and senators know to support HR186, the horse racing amendment.

When the general assembly looks to meet our projected shortfall, estimated to be hundreds of millions in 2012, the decision to support horse racing is a no-brainer.

We must let the people vote, and let the horses run.

State Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, represents District 48.

Miracle horse beats the odds.

AM NOTE: With horses being harrassed and abused in Milton Georgia, we thought the following story would be of interest.

Courtesy CBS

If you can't view this story, please click here.

You can help protect Milton Georgia horses from abuse and harrassement by supporting Liberty's Law today!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Snakes biting early this year, experts say.

By David Ibata The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The snake-bite season began early this year in Georgia, and wildlife experts blame the mild winter.

The Georgia Poison Center historically gets its first snake-bite calls around the beginning of March, but this year, the calls started in January, according to Channel 2 Action News.

“We’ve seen a little bit higher rate already of bites,” Dr. Gaylord Lopez, director of the Poison Center, told Channel 2.

A total of 120 Georgians so far this year have gone to hospitals for copperhead and occasional rattlesnake bites, Gaylord said. In a typical year, nearly 400 state residents get treated for snake bites.

James Burnett of Hiram is among them. Burnett was reaching into some brush to clear a backhoe recently when a baby copperhead got him.

“It bit me right here – two little red spots not even a quarter of an inch apart,” Burnett told Channel 2. “And within an hour, my hand swelled up to be as big as a boxer’s mitt.”

Burnett was in an intensive care unit for three days.

“I’ve been through some accidents in my life, but I’ve never had any kind of pain like that snake bite,” he said.

The pain was excruciating. The bill for his medical treatment, Burnett said, was worse: nearly $250,000.

To avoid snakes, wildlife experts recommend that people not leave debris piles of wood, leaves or heavy brush in the yard where the reptiles can hide; and that they keep garbage that can attract mice and rats, which snakes eat, away from the house.

If you see a snake, don’t try to kill or move it. It will leave on its own soon enough.

A Piedmont Hospital website urges anyone who’s been bitten by a snake to call 911 and immediately seek medical attention. Try to remember the color and shape of the snake to aid in treatment, and stay still and calm.

If you can’t get to the hospital right away, lie or sit down with the bite below the level of the heart. Wash the bite with soap and water, and cover it with a clean, dry dressing.

Never try the old Boy Scout remedies of putting ice on the wound, applying a tourniquet, slashing the wound with a knife or sucking out the venom. They don't work and could make things worse.

Pictured above, the King Snake is a true friend of man as they feed on venomous snakes.

AM NOTE: The King Snake is truly an asset to the residents of Milton and throughout the Southeast. While this non-venomous friend feeds on rodents, it's primary food are venomous snakes like the copperhead, rattlesnake, and cotton mouth. Thus, if you see one of these large snakes in the middle of the road or in your yard, do you best to protect them from harm. They could end up saving your life one day. To read more about the King Snake, please click here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lots of activities this weekend in Milton.


This weekend will be a busy one in Milton, with two separate activities planned over Saturday and Sunday – a landscaping project courtesy of Better Together: Real Communities Milton and the Milton Public Safety Fund’s (MPSF) annual Public Safety Fair.


On Saturday, May 19 the Better Together: Real Communities - Milton Mini-Grants Initiative needs volunteers to help install new landscaping at Fire Station No. 43 on Hickory Flat Road.

Volunteers (with gardening tools) are needed from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to help plant new flowers and spread mulch at the fire station. Click here for directions to the fire station, located at 750 Hickory Flat Road.

Volunteers should bring shovels, spades and other necessary garden tools.

For more information on the Better Together: Real Communities - Milton Mini-Grants Initiative, click here (CONTENT AVAILABLE ON DESKTOP SITE ONLY). For more information on the landscaping project, contact core team member Sharon Lockwood at 770-833-1201 or e-mail Cindy Eade, the city’s environmental sustainability coordinator, at


The MPSF, a not-for-profit corporation that provides support for the city’s police and fire services, will hold its fifth annual fundraiser during Fry's Electronics’ Anniversary Sale Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20.

The fundraiser will be held in the Fry’s Electronics parking lot, 3065 Webb Road (click here for directions).

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days, police officers and fire fighters will offer a hot dog and cold drink combo for just 50 cents. In addition to hosting the event, Fry’s also donates all the food, drinks and grills, allowing all proceeds to benefit the MPSF, which in turn purchases needed equipment for the police and fire departments.

There will be special events on Saturday, including free child safety seat inspections, blood pressure checks, demonstrations of fire extinguishing techniques, exhibitions of fire and police equipment, a K-9 Unit demonstration and a SWAT team display.

For more information on the event, e-mail the MPSF at For more information on the group itself, click here

Men beat and rob World War II Vet.

AM NOTE: With so many stories coming about talking about profiling, we thought the following story would be of interest.

Courtesy Kansas City 5

RAYTOWN, MO (KCTV) - Two men beat up a World War II Veteran, ransacked his home, and stole from him.

Police need the public's help identifying the two men, and the elderly man's story about what happened to him is harrowing.

"He did one of them Texas Ranger kicks - knocked me back against the door, against the refrigerator and plum down on my knees," Roy Hooten said. "This is so painful in here [holds upper ribcage] it even hurts to breathe."

Hooten is dealing with a cracked rib and a deep gash from a pistol whipping after a good deed left him bloodied and bruised.

"He said ‘we need to make a phone call. Can we use your phone?'" Hooten said.

Hooten opened the door for two men about 10 a.m. Thursday but, before long, he felt a foot in his chest and was splayed onto the kitchen floor. The men started yelling ‘where's your money?'

Every time Hooten tried to get up, to direct them to his billfold down the hall, there was another kick.

"I got fisticuffed two, three different times," he said.

He prayed aloud while he was down, which brought him more of the same violence.

"He come and hit me again. Wham. Wham. I said ‘shut up,'" Hooten said.

The men even gave his little dog a swift kick.

Hooten served in World War II in a Navy bomber. But this, he said, was a different kind of scary altogether.

"For a while I thought I was having a nightmare. I just couldn't believe why the two young men would want to mutilate an old man like me," he said.

The pair took a small flat screen TV from Hooten's modest home, near 86th Street and Greenwood Road, plus a small pistol that belonged to his late wife and $137. But they haven't changed Hooten's view of mankind.

"I think if I had a chance and was up close to those two that I would probably give them a cussing. I doubt it. I'll let you know," Hooten said, laughing.

Hooten said he doesn't normally have that kind of money in his billfold. The money that was stolen, Hooten took out at the bank in anticipation of a donation at his church Sunday for a group of missionaries.

Police are looking for two tall black men in their 20s. The first man was described as wearing blue nylon pants and a light gray sweatshirt. The second man was described as wearing blue nylon pants and a black shirt.

Police ask that anyone with information concerning this, or any other crime, call the Crime Stoppers hotline at (816) 474-TIPS (474-8477).

Police: Driver on cellphone caused fatal wreck.

Click HERE for video coverage on this story.

Haleigh Davis Fine, 23, turned herself into police Wednesday morning on second-degree vehicular homicide and failure to maintain lane charges in a crash that killed a 67-year-old Cumming man.

Courtesy By Mike Petchenik;


Alpharetta police now say a distracted driver on her cellphone caused a wreck last month on Georgia 400 that claimed the life of a 67-year-old Cumming man.

Haleigh Davis Fine, 23, turned herself into police Wednesday morning on second-degree vehicular homicide and failure to maintain lane charges. Police said the Alpharetta woman was on her phone April 11 when she veered into an adjacent lane, and bumped Edward Kivlin's Nissan Pathfinder, causing it to lose control and roll over several times. Kivlin died on the scene.

"It was sad," said Kivlin's neighbor, Waylon Franklin. "It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy."

Police said the Alpharetta woman was on her phone April 11 when she veered into an adjacent lane, and bumped Edward Kivlin's Nissan Pathfinder, causing it to lose control and roll over several times. Kivlin died on the scene.

Franklin told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik he was driving on Georgia 400 that morning and saw the police rushing to the crash. It wasn't until later that he learned it involved his neighbor.

"Always waving and smiling," he said of Kivlin. "A quiet guy and ideal neighbor."

Franklin called the incident a "tragedy," but said Kivlin deserves some justice for what happened.

"You're driving a 2,000-pound rocket," he said. "You've got to be mindful on the road."

Ironically, just days after Kivlin's death, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called for an outright ban on cellphones in cars. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, nearly 3,000 people died last year because of distracted drivers.

Alpharetta Public Safety Officer George Gordon told Petchenik this wreck underscores the need for people to be careful on the road.

"The heartbreaking thing about this whole thing is we had a totally innocent driver lose his life driving straight in his lane and not doing anything wrong," said Gordon. AM EDIT: Georgia roads are becoming more dangerous every day! Support the ROAD TO SAFETY PROGRAM and help save a life!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Arabian show horse rescued after swimming three miles into the ocean.

AM NOTE: With Milton being home to numerous horses and with Liberty's Law continuing to garner attention, we thought the following story would be of interest.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

By Isolde Raftery,

As the sun set over Loon Point near Santa Barbara on Tuesday evening, waves crashed onto the sand, apparently spooking an Arabian show horse named William.

William, a 7-year-old grey stallion, had been part of a photo shoot with other horses. Frightened, he bolted into the surf.

He started to swim. And swim. And swim until he was nearly three miles offshore, headed for oil rigs.

On land, a team of four from the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol, Carpenteria-Summerland Fire Water Rescue, and California State Parks set out to find the horse, whose official name is Air of Temptation. His owner, Mindy Peters, a movie producer, told Huffington Post that he had never been swimming in his life.

"Horses can swim, but not well,” she told HuffPo. Peters was driving when she learned about her sea horse and immediately bee-lined to the beach. She said William is worth about $100,000 to $150,000.

Ryan Kelly, a Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol Officer, was the first on site, heading out with a small motorboat. Overhead, a helicopter searched as well.

As the sun set further, the team worried they were losing light. But after a half hour search, they saw a nose and part of a face peaking above the water.

“It was a real needle-in-a-haystack kind of find,” Kelly told “He looked like every other bird that was just sitting on the water.”

William was drifting with the current but still heading out to sea. When he saw the search and rescue team, he appeared startled but also exhausted.

They corralled the horse and used boathook to grab his reins. They made a makeshift harness to slip under his saddle and tie to the side of the rescue boat. They wanted to keep him buoyant so he wouldn’t sink and drown from exhaustion.

The return took two hours, because the horse moved at about a mile an hour. It was also occasionally scary for the rescue team.

“Some of the grunts and noises he was making along the way -- we weren’t sure how he was doing,” Kelly said. “We weren’t sure if he had other problems. He was making noise, thrashing around and other times he’d be completely still.”

One of the firefighters held his head above water and reassured him, Kelly said.

“It’s going to be all right,” the firefighter said, according to Kelly, petting the horse's head.

Once they hit the beach, the rescue team handed William off to a crew on paddle boats.

Waiting for William was a veterinarian who guided him to a trailer. William is now recuperating.

Peters, who has owned William for a little over a year, told HuffPo that her family was “scared to death we were going to lose him, that he was going to drown.”

“He is absolutely part of our family,” she said.

Woman went to buy shampoo, left child home alone, cops say.

Click here for video of this Milton Georgia story.

By David Ibata The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Milton woman was arrested and charged with reckless conduct after allegedly she left her 4-year-old child by himself when she went to a Target to buy shampoo -- the second reported instance this week of young children being left home alone in metro Atlanta.

Diana Vidal Garcia, 30, was arrested Monday afternoon and taken to Fulton County Jail. She posted $3,000 bond and was released Tuesday, according to jail records.

A painter working about 1 p.m. Monday at the Camden Apartments at 13200 Summit Boulevard spotted a young boy by himself, climbing on the patio railing of a first-floor unit, according to a Milton Police Department incident report.

The painter alerted the complex’s maintenance manager, who went to the unit, saw the boy alone and called police. A responding officer found the child sitting on a couch in the apartment.

“The child had white paint all over his arms, legs and clothes,” the officer said in his report. “The child was not scared and appeared to be in good health.”

The report did not say where the boy got the paint but noted a brush and can of paint on the floor of the patio, “where the child advised he was painting with the supplies.”

The apartment complex made phone contact with the mother and asked her to return to speak with police. She arrived home about 20 minutes after police arrived and told the officer her son was sleeping when she left to buy shampoo.

Milton police Capt. Shawn McCarty told Channel 2 Action News, “The story [Garcia] gave us is that she left the child at home when she went to Target, which is a block away. But it seems like the child was there for quite some time."

In any event, McCarty said, leaving so young a child alone "isn't appropriate, especially when they have access to get out of the apartment and do things that are dangerous or run out in the street."

During the investigation, the officer also discovered Garcia was wanted on an active warrant for contempt of court in Forsyth County, police said.

Garcia was taken into custody, and the child was left with his biological father, Juan Pedro Montanez, police said. Another child of Garcia’s, an 8-year-old daughter, was at school at the time of the incident and was to return home to Montanez’s custody.

In an interview with Channel 2, Montanez defended Garcia, saying the arrest was a mistake.

“She’s a good mother,” Montanez said. “She just go to buy some meal, and the boy was sleeping.”

Channel 2’s efforts to contact the mother Tuesday were unsuccessful. The state Division of Family and Children Services was notified about the incident.

Separately, a Fulton County judge set bond at $45,000 Tuesday for Lynn Danielle Warner, charged with cruelty to children and reckless conduct after she allegedly left three small children ranging in age from 8 months to 2 years old alone in a northwest Atlanta apartment.

About 5:45 a.m. Monday, a security guard at the complex on Rhodes Street noticed one child at the top of a stairs and another child at the bottom, police said. Officers found three children total in an apartment and took them to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding, where they were checked and were found to be healthy.

About 8 a.m., Warner called 911 to say her children were missing, police said. The 25-year-old woman was arrested and remained in custody Tuesday night at Fulton County Jail, jail records showed.

--Staff writer Mike Morris contributed to this report.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Community group seeks volunteers for landscaping project.

By Patrick Fox The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Milton"s Better Together is organizing a beautification project Saturday at Fire Station No. 43 on Hickory Flat Road.

The group is looking for volunteers with gardening tools to help plant flowers and spread mulch at the station from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Better Together is funded through the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities' Real Communities Initiative: Milton. The grants support neighborhood improvements. GCDD provides Milton a little less than $20,000 in federal funds. The city matches just less than $5,000.

Information: 770-833-1201.

SMH! No acronyms in the yearbook?

Roxy Silva and Alyssa Marchelletta discuss the pledge.

By Alexis Stevens The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Many of their friends have cell phones and Facebook accounts, and in August, they'll be in middle school. They're tweens, but sound mature beyond their years.

Still, fifth graders at one north Fulton County elementary school were surprised they were told they couldn't write just anything in each other's yearbooks. If they wanted the yearbooks, they'd have to first sign a pledge that they wouldn't use acronyms or draw pictures while signing the books.

No more LOL? Seriously?

"It's like they don't trust us," Alyssa Marchelletta, 11, told the AJC. "We've been writing that stuff for years now."

Even the Birmingham Falls Elementary School fifth-grade T-shirts say CUL8R, Alyssa said. That's "See you later," for you old-school folks.

The pledge she was asked to sign Friday didn't make sense to 11-year-old Roxy Silva either, but she said she did it so her parents wouldn't have to come pick up her book from the principal's office. That afternoon, she told her mom about it. Over the weekend, her friend Alyssa mentioned the signed form to her dad.

By Monday, word of the contract had spread quickly among parents, helped by Facebook. Alyssa's mom, Sandy Marchelletta, told the AJC she felt like her daughter was bullied into signing the form, which parents did not see ahead of time.

"How dare you tell my child what she can't write in the yearbook?" Sandy Marchelletta said Monday. "They did it completely behind our backs."

The pledge forms were only meant to remind students at the Milton school to be considerate while signing yearbooks, Susan Hale, spokeswoman for Fulton County schools, told the AJC.

"It was a pledge that the students were going to be respectful of one another," Hale said.

The pledges asked students not to scribble, draw pictures or use acronyms others wouldn't understand, Hale said. The same pledge was signed by fifth graders last year, she said.

But Principal Susan Matzkin did not see the pledges before they were given to students, Hale said. Matzkin, Hale said, believes written pledges weren't necessary and could have been handled with verbal instructions from teachers.

Fifth-grade teacher Beth Brock apologized in an email to parents Monday and said the school plans to no longer require the signed forms.

"Teachers will lead discussions with students about respecting yearbooks, and we ask for parental support in reinforcing this at home," Brock stated in the email, obtained by the AJC. "Students will be trusted to choose school appropriate acronyms/language."

But even being told not to write disrespectful comments in yearbooks seems silly to students.

"We're not going to write anything bad for someone else," Roxy said. "It didn't really make sense to me."

Alyssa said it's not an issue because she plans to let only friends sign her yearbook on the last day of school Friday.

Click here for Ajc video coverage.

Parents upset after elementary school tries to ban acronyms in yearbooks.

Birmingham Falls Elementary School's yearbook.

Courtesy Mike Petchenik;

MILTON, Ga. — LOL is a common acronym for "laugh out loud," but some Milton parents aren't laughing about an elementary school's attempt to ban the phrase and other slang from making it into student yearbooks.

Now, school officials said it was all a big misunderstanding.

Channel 2's Mike Petchenik learned about the story after a Facebook friend posted something on her page about a pledge her daughter had to sign at school Friday before she could get a copy of her yearbook.

Within minutes, that Facebook post had dozens of angry responses from parents.

"LOL's not offensive. It means laugh out loud. What else would it mean?" said student Alyssa Marchelletta, 11.

Marchelletta's teachers at Birmingham Falls Elementary School made her sign a pledge not to use that phrase or any other acronym on the pages of her friends' yearbooks.

She thought TSNF (That's so not fair).

"Freedom of speech -- that's one of our amendments, people," friend and fellow student Roxy Silva agreed. "No one really liked it. I thought it was kind of stupid."

Both girls told Petchenik teachers warned if someone caught them using the common texting phrases they'd be in trouble.

"They will take you to the principal's office, talk to your parents and take your yearbook away," Silva said.

"I was pretty shocked," parent Patti Silva, Roxy's mother, said.

She was so upset she posted something on her Facebook page, which brought heated responses from parents who knew nothing about the pledge.

"I thought 'Really, you're kidding me? Why we didn't hear about it. Why can't we draw a smiley face?' That's what we thought," said Patti Silva.

"It's bullying and it's wrong because these kids trust these teachers," parent Sandy Marchalletta said.

Sandy Marchelletta and her husband told Petchenik when they learned of the pledge, they told their daughter to respectfully ignore it.

"It was wrong. It wasn't proper for them to do this with the children," Patti Silva said.

Click here to watch video coverage.

Monday, May 14, 2012

AM NOTE: With Liberty's Law continuing to gain traction online and in the media, we thought the following abc piece would be of interest.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

By NIKKI BATTISTE and LAUREN EFFRON (@LEffron831) Jan. 23, 2012

Buck Brannaman is one of the most respected cowboys in the country, the inspiration for "The Horse Whisperer," and now his own life story of finding peace among horses in the Old West after a tumultuous childhood is up for an Oscar nomination.

"Nightline" anchor Bill Weir was invited to Brannaman's ranch outside Sheridan, Wyo., to watch the cowboy at work. Riding through snow-capped mountains on Brannaman's 100-acre ranch, with his nearly 30 horses, was the perfect setting for the story of a man who spends his life giving back to the creatures that he credits for saving his life after years spent with an abusive father.

"The horses at that time in my life, they saved my life," Brannaman told Weir. "The horses did way for me than I did for them. So they were my friends, and they were sort of my refuge. So it's interesting that I've been given the opportunity to spend the rest of my life making things better for the horses."

"Buck" is a documentary that follows Brannaman, who was also a consultant for actor Robert Redford on the set of the 1998 movie "The Horse Whisperer" as he travels across the United States, running sold-out horse training clinics that not only teache horse owners about their horses but about themselves too.

"I often tell people in the clinics, the human possesses the one thing that means more to the horse than anything in the world, and that is peace and comfort," Brannaman said. "That's all they want."

Brannaman, who is never without his token cowboy hat and scarf, begins every clinic lesson with pointing out that horses have spent tens of thousands of years as prey, so they are hardwired with the fear of being killed and eaten.

"You tell a horse, 'Don't worry, I just want to climb on you,' in a posture to how a lion would kill a horse, 'and then you say, 'Oh, one more thing. I want to strap the hides of dead animals on you,'" Brannaman said. "He's got to believe in you, and amazingly enough, they'll let you do it."

The cowboy understands perpetual fear because he spent most of his childhood terrified of his father.

"I don't remember a time in my life, the entire time I knew him, that I wasn't scared of him," Brannaman said. "The last couple of years after my mom passed away, it got to where it was me and my brother at 11, 12 years old. We talked about dying every day."

When Brannaman was 6 years old, he said his father decided that the he and his brother would be professional trick ropers. After enough rodeo shows, they earned their own Pops cereal commercial and a shot on the popular TV game show "What's My Line."

But if their performances weren't perfect, Brannaman said his father would beat the two boys relentlessly. The abuse went on until one day a school football coach noticed the marks on Buck Brannaman's back when he was changing in the locker room for gym class and called the local sheriff. The boys were taken away and placed in foster care. Their father was livid, Brannaman said.

"He actually sent us birthday cards for the next two or three years, telling us that when we turned 18 he was going to hunt us down and kill us," he said. "He would send us letters and tell us that he was watching us through the scope of his rifle at my foster parents' ranch."

Brannaman said his foster parents provided safety and love. His biological father died in 1992.

Over the years, Brannaman learned that having a kinder, gentler approach works well with horses. He said it's that same understanding, kindness and respect that he extends to his family, his wife, Mary, and daughter, Reata, who share his passion for horses. On their ranch, Brannaman is often out roping cattle with Reata, whose name means "rope" in Spanish, and while he's out on the road 10 months a year, his wife runs the ranch.

"I didn't know that's what it was going to be about when I started doing clinics and working with these horses," Brannaman said. "I thought I was just going to get a chance to help people get along a little better with their horses. It turned out to be something, something totally different."

In his soft-spoken, mild-mannered way, Brannaman explains that the relationship between man and horse is similar to the bond between parent and child.

"[It's] the same with kids, you see some of these people with their kids, instead of being a little more engaged, and seeing when things are going the wrong direction, and redirecting them, they wait till they've done something wrong, and then they want to beat them up, or whip them for something that's already happened and people still do that with horses too. I'll be doing this the rest of my life, trying to convince people that that's not the way to go about things," Brannaman said.

Instead of using leather whips and stress to mold show animals, or paying a vet to drug them into submission, Brannaman's way is to control horses with soothing words and understanding -- what some call "horse whisperering."

"The horses need to respect you," he said. "But sometimes people confuse respect and fear. They're not the same at all."