3 lanes of I-75 north at Roswell Road closed after accident

I-75 NB lanes closed Roswell Road
A Georgia 511 traffic screenshot of the lane closures on I-75 northbound above Roswell Road.

Marietta Police are urging motorists not to use Interstate 75 north at Roswell Road Sunday afternoon after an accident shut down three left lanes.

Police issued an alert around 12:30 p.m. saying the clean-up would take between 5 and 8 hours, and that the lane closures were necessary to make repairs.

“A hole in this overpass has closed the #3 lane from the left wall and will require a detour of traffic” for several hours, the alert read, suggesting use of the North or Marietta Parkway as alternate routes.

Georgia 511 camera footage shows backups on I-75 north to I-285, and even some of the detour routes are starting to back up, including Roswell Road at Cobb Parkway.

I-75 NB at Delk Road
Northhbound traffic on I-75 north at Delk Road is heavily backed up.

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Cobb Second Chance Desk opens to the public this week

Cobb Second Chance Desk

Submitted information:

Earlier this yearCobb District Attorney Flynn D. Broady Jr. announced his support of a record restriction help desk. Partners on this project include the Georgia Justice Project, Cobb Circuit Defender Randy Harris, Cobb Solicitor General Barry E. Morgan, and the Cobb Judicial Circuit.

The record-restriction help desk will be known as Cobb Second Chance Desk. It will be housed in the Cobb Circuit Defender’s Office. Cobb’s Second Chance Desk will be the first of its kind in Georgia. It will be staffed by GJP attorneys and the Cobb Circuit Defender’s Office. These attorneys will assist eligible individuals with clearing their record as Georgia law allows.

The ribbon cutting for the Cobb Second Chance Desk was Wednesday, June 16 in front of Cobb Circuit Defender’s Office Building at 10 East Park Square in Marietta. 

The desk is scheduled to open to the public on Friday, June 25. Online appointments will be available starting Monday, June 21 at www.cobbsecondchancedesk.com or https://www.cobbcounty.org/second-chance-desk.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

Second Chance Desks are an invaluable resource to meet this increasing need for record restriction services.

“Georgia Justice Project helps many Georgians each year with their criminal record, but we can’t do this work alone, and we do so with strong partnership support,” says Doug Ammar, Executive Director of Georgia Justice Project. “Since 4.3 million people have a Georgia criminal history, we need to find creative ways to collaborate with our local institutions to serve as many Georgians as possible. We appreciate District Attorney Broady and Solicitor Morgan for joining us in this effort.”

“This is justice in action,” DA Broady said. “Removing barriers that keep nonviolent people from being productive members of society benefits everyone.”

Cobb Solicitor General Barry E. Morgan added that the service provided by the Georgia Justice Project is needed.

“Prosecutors and court clerks cannot give legal advice, and many people are in limbo if they can’t afford to pay an attorney to navigate the additional, cumbersome process required for record restriction,” Morgan said. “This service will help fill a gaping hole.”

Georgia Justice Project has served Georgians who have been impacted by the criminal justice system for almost 35 years. Learn more at www.GJP.org.

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Hyde Farm, Ebenezer Downs to hold Cobb PARKS fishing rodeos

Submitted information:

Cobb PARKS staff is hosting its annual Fishing Rodeo in July. The competition is open to children ages 3-16 and trophies will be awarded for the five biggest fish overall. Participants must bring their own fishing gear and bait.

  • 9-11 a.m., July 10
    Lost Mountain Park, 4845 Dallas Highway, Powder Springs
  • 9-11 a.m., July 17
    Ebenezer Downs Park, 4057 Ebenezer Road, Marietta
  • 9-11 a.m., July 24
    Hyde Farm Park, 726 Hyde Road, Marietta
  • 9-11 a.m., July 31
    Furr Family Park, 4570 Old Westside Road, Powder Springs
The entry fee is $5 per child. For registration or more information, visit cobbcounty.org/parks and click on the “Outdoor/Nature” tab. You can also contact John Purcell at 770-528-8825 or [email protected].

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The Avenue East Cobb June Movie Night has free admission

Submitted information from The Avenue East Cobb:The Avenue East Cobb Movie Night

Family-friendly movies will be shown the last Thursday of every month through August beginning at sunset. Arrive early to enjoy fun, family activities. Movie titles will be announced at the beginning of each month on our website https://www.avenueeastcobb.com/events/

Summer fun continues on June 24th with the movie: SCOOB! – The never-before told stories of Scooby-Doo’s origins & the greatest mystery in the career of Mystery Inc. 

* This movie is FREE with NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED! SAVE THE DATE!

* Family Fun Entertainment from 6-8pm. Enjoy an INFLATABLE OBSTACLE COURSE, BASKETBALL CHALLENGE and a DJ with Trivia and Games!

* Pick up dinner from onsite restaurants Drift Fish House, Tin Lizzy’s, Stockyard Burgers, Panera and Kale Me Crazy. Enjoy sweet treats from Smallcakes Cupcakery or Menchies.

* NO DRIVE-IN SPACES – ALL PICNIC STYLE. Bring folding chairs, tables, blankets. No umbrellas or tents permitted.

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Switzer Library reopens in Marietta after renovations project

Switzer library reopens

Submitted information from Cobb County government:

During the pandemic, many have realized how much we miss gathering in physical places, including our libraries. This week, we were elated to celebrate the reopening of Switzer Library in downtown Marietta after major renovations to improve indoor and outdoor areas and its administrative and support services spaces. To watch a short video about the history of Cobb’s flagship library and get an inside look at some of the new features, click here.

New features include a family computing space on the main floor, the Accessibility Services Room for patrons with disabilities, sensory processing disorders or in need of a calmer environment, a new children’s programming room and two makerspaces, for both teens and adults. An enclosed outdoor plaza with seating and a garden area is accessible through the Hattie Gaines Wilson Youth Services area. The Georgia Room — the Cobb library special historic and genealogical collection — also now has a dedicated conference room and additional space. This project was mainly funded by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and also a grant from the Georgia Public Library Service.

Located at 266 Roswell St., Switzer Library is one-half mile from the Marietta Square. For more information, visit cobbcounty.org/library.

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Man dies after East Cobb motorcycle crash on Roswell Road

East Cobb motorcycle crash
A reader-submitted photo of a motorcycle that crashed with a Lincoln at Roswell and Providence roads Thursday night.

A 58-year-old Marietta man was killed Thursday night after his motorcycle crashed with a car on Roswell Road in East Cobb, according to police.

Cobb Police said Casey Sullivan was pronounced dead at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital after being taken there following the crash, which took place on Roswell Road near its eastern intersection with Providence Road.

Sullivan was heading westbound on Roswell on a BMW R1200 RT that collided with a Lincoln MKX driven by Preksha Bhargava, 22, of Marietta, around 6:54 p.m., according to police.

Police said the Lincoln was headed east on Roswell and was attempting a left turn onto Providence Road when the crash occurred.

Sullivan was thrown from his motorcycle on contact and the car Bhargava was driving crashed into a Toyota Tundra waiting at a red traffic light on Providence Road, according to police.

Police said Bhargava was not injured but a 16-year-old male passenger in the Lincoln had minor injuries. The Toyota driver, Alan Dunbar, 56, of Marietta, and three passengers in that vehicle—Karen Dunbar, 56, of Marietta; Elizabeth Dunbar, 56, of Port Saint Lucie, Fla.; Nathan Dunbar, 18, of Marietta—were uninjured, according to police.

Police said the collision remains under investigation and anyone with information should contact Cobb Police at 770-499-3987.

 

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Lower Roswell traffic concept plan to go before Cobb commissioners

Lower Roswell traffic concept plan
An aerial rendering of the proposed Lower Roswell traffic plan, from Woodlawn Drive on the left to Davidson Road on the right. For a larger view click here. Source: Cobb DOT.

After several years of delays, Cobb DOT on Tuesday will present to Cobb commissioners a concept plan for major traffic improvements along a key stretch of Lower Roswell Road.

The nearly $9 million project (fact sheet; location map) would expand traffic lanes along Lower Roswell between Woodlawn Drive and Davidson Road, create special turn lanes in some areas and construct a raised median along one portion of the route that’s been the subject of numerous discussions.

The project is part of the 2011 Cobb government SPLOST, and it’s taken longer than usual to get to this point, according to Karyn Matthews, a Cobb DOT traffic engineer whose area covers Cobb commission District 2.

Right-of-way acquisitions also have complicated the work, as has research into property deeds and related matters.

“For Cobb DOT, this is a long one,” she said, “but we wanted to get the right concept for the community.”

Cobb commissioners are presented with concept plans for major traffic improvement projects before construction bids are sought.

Matthews said after a concept plan is approved, Cobb DOT needs to purchase 29 of the 32 property parcels required to complete the Lower Roswell project.

There have been several opportunities over the last few years for members of the public to comment on the proposal, including virtual comments collected in April.

Of the 30 or so comments Cobb DOT received, Matthews said many are from local businesses that would be affected by the raised median.

That median would be constructed on Lower Roswell between Johnson Ferry Road and Davidson Road, with two openings for left turns into the McDonald’s and the Kroger store at the Parkaire Landing Shopping Center.

“We have a concept that we feel good about,” Matthews said about the median proposal.

She said Cobb DOT is proposing that solution because the crash history in that area is above average.

1930s Lower Roswell home
Cobb County wants to make a “pocket park” out of land where a 1930s farmhouse once stood at Lower Roswell Road and Woodlawn Drive. ECN file

Other features of the traffic project include creating dual left-turn lanes from westbound Lower Roswell onto southbound Johnson Ferry Road, and creating a two-lane extension on Lower Roswell in either direction west of Woodlawn Drive, to Parkcrest Place.

That’s part of a major overhaul of a long-bottlenecked intersection that will have dedicated right-turn lanes onto Woodlawn from Lower Roswell.

Two of the three parcels the county has acquired are at that intersection: the site of a former produce fruit stand, and the home of Wilse Frasier (above), whose family lived in a farm home for decades until his death in 2018.

The county demolished the home in 2019, and Matthews said what portion of 0.9-acre parcel isn’t needed for the traffic improvements will be proposed as a “pocket park.”

That area would also include bike lanes that would connect with trails on Lower Roswell that are east of Johnson Ferry Road, Matthews said, citing a county master plan calling for bike access extending to Woodlawn.

She estimates that land purchases should take the rest of 2021 and possibly into next year to complete, with the project going out for bids by May 2022.

The estimated time of construction will be around two years, Matthews said.

The Cobb commission meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the 2nd floor board room of the Cobb government building, 100 Cherokee St., in downtown Marietta.

You also can watch on the county’s websiteFacebook Live and YouTube channels and on Cobb TV 23 on Comcast Cable.

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East Cobb food scores: McCray’s Tavern; Fresh to Order; more

McCray's Tavern East Cobb opens

The following East Cobb food scores for the week of June 14 have been compiled by the Cobb & Douglas Department of Public Health. Click the link under each listing for inspection details:

Bitefull
2217 Roswell Road, Suite B1
June 17, 2021 Score: 99, Grade: A

Fresh to Order
1333 Johnson Ferry Road
June 16, 2021 Score: 90, Grade: A

Hong Kong Star
4719 Lower Roswell Road, Suite 110
June 16, 2021 Score: 70, Grade: C

IHOP 
3130 Johnson Ferry Road
June 16, 2021 Score: 96, Grade: A

McCray’s Tavern East Cobb
4880 Lower Roswell Road, Suite 850
June 14, 2021 Score: 74, Grade: C

Wendy’s
1312 Johnson Ferry Road
June 15, 2021 Score: 96, Grade: A

Willy’s Mexicana Grill
4250 Roswell Road, Suite 120
June 17, 2021 Score: 96, Grade: A

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Cobb school board formally approves fiscal year 2022 budget

Cobb school board approves budget
East Cobb parent Heather Tolley-Bauer addresses the school board during a public budget forum.

The Cobb Board of Education voted Thursday to adopt an operating budget for fiscal year 2022.

The Cobb school district’s 2022 budget of $1.2 billion includes an employee pay raise ranging between 4 and 8.6 percent.

The budget proposal holds the line on the school district’s property tax rate of 18.9 mills and using $51 million in reserve funding to reach a balance (budget summary here).

It was the second vote in as many weeks by the board on the budget, which held a special-called meeting Thursday after concerns that its action last week was improperly done.

The school board held a public budget forum before the vote on Thursday, following complaints that it had not abided by the state open meetings law last week.

Last Thursday’s budget forum was not live-streamed or recorded, due to what the district said were technical issues.

Because of COVID-19 safety protocols, members of the public were allowed into the board meeting room only one at a time if they were speaking during the public comment period, and were escorted out once they finished.

But the state opens meetings law states that when public meetings aren’t available for viewing, they must be fully open to the public.

Among those calling for a do-over were East Cobb parent Heather Tolley-Bauer, who’s a founder of a citizens group called “Watching the Funds—Cobb,” which scrutinizes Cobb school district finances.

Tolley-Bauer, who lives in Post 5 (represented by board member David Banks) was one of two people who spoke at Thursday’s public budget forum. While she didn’t specifically address the FY 2022 budget, she told board members that her group “will continue to provide a watchful eye” not only on the budget, but federal funding sources, SPLOST spending “and every single expense.

“Because no matter what, funds used to make purchases all come from the taxpayers, many of whom support our work.”

The group has more than 1,000 followers for its Facebook page, which is regularly updated with Cobb school district finances and school board activities.

It sprung to action last spring and was critical of the Cobb school district spending $12 million for handwashers and special UV disinfecting lights as COVID-19 safety measures. The district cancelled its contract for the lights in March after lights at Argyle Elementary School malfunctioned, and as the Cobb District Attorney’s Office began looking into the matter.

“As we move into the 2021-22 budget year, we continue to seek real and responsible fiscal stewardship that can only come from transparency and meaningful two-way communication with the stakeholders,” Tolley-Bauer told the school board Thursday.

Board members had little discussion about the budget during their special-called meeting before voting 5-0 to adopt it (board members Jaha Howard and Tre Hutchins were absent).

You can watch replays of both Thursday meetings by clicking here.

Unlike FY 2021, there’s no federal CARES Act funding in the new budget, which takes effect July 1. Also projected for FY 2022, which begins on July 1, is a 5.54 percent growth in the Cobb tax digest.

More Cobb school district budget and financial data can be found by clicking here.

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East Cobb Tijuana Joe’s reopens after roof fire

East Cobb Tijuana Joe's

The Tijuana Joe’s restaurant in East Cobb reopened for business Thursday after closing for nearly 24 hours due to a fire.

Management said in social media postings that it had received numerous messages from citizens and passers-by late Wednesday morning about seeing fire trucks at the standalone building at 690 Johnson Ferry Road.

A small fire started on top of the building around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday and that it was HVAC-related, Tijuana Joe’s said.

“No guests were in the restaurant when this occurred, so that is a blessing,” the message stated. “Our entire team was able to get out of the restaurant safely before anything could worsen, too.”

Stephen Bennett, a spokesman for Cobb Fire, said that the fire was limited to the HVAC area on the roof, and that “crews investigated and eliminated the hazard.”

Tijuana Joe’s management told East Cobb News Wednesday afternoon it was still receiving the go-ahead to reopen: “We are hoping to be only closed for the day, but we are abiding by all rules.”

Around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, the restaurant again posted on social media saying the restaurant was back open for business. “We truly appreciate everyone’s patience during yesterday’s unexpected incident. We look forward to seeing you all for trivia tonight!”

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‘Crawling burglar’ suspect charges include Tokyo Valentino theft

Tokyo Valentino East Cobb

An Atlanta man alleged to have crawled his way into numerous Cobb County businesses since last fall by breaking or removing windows is accused of stealing more than $21,000 in money and merchandise from the Tokyo Valentino store in East Cobb.

According to an arrest warrant dated June 1, Aron Jermaine Major, 47, burglarized the adult retail business on Johnson Ferry Road early in the morning of Oct. 20, 2020, taking lingerie, sex enhancement pills, CBD products, sex toys and gift cards.

He’s facing more than a dozen burglary and related charges for a spree that Cobb Police said began last September and continued through mid-March of this year.

A dozen warrants were taken out against Major on June 1 for those and other offenses, following a search warrant at his residence, according to Cobb Sheriff’s Office records, which indicate the suspect was taken into custody on that date and remains at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center.

An arrest warrant for Major states that the Tokyo Valentino burglary took place shortly after 6 a.m. on Oct. 20, with a suspect removing a window pane on the side of the store building (1290 Johnson Ferry Road) to gain entry.

The store manager reported to police that 61 lingerie sets were missing, as were 400 male sex enhancement pills, five pairs of high heels, two fetish straps, two doorway sex swings, 25 sex toys, 500 $25 gift cards, 17 bottles of CBD oil and tincture, six tins of Kratom powder and nearly $1,000 in cash.

The warrant further states that when police got a search warrant for Major’s residence on June 1, they found 447 packets of male sex enhancement pills and a door sex swing, items that the Tokyo Valentino manager verified were from the East Cobb store.

The same warrant states that after leaving Tokyo Valentino on Oct. 20, the suspect tried to go inside the Starbuck’s Coffee shop at 2424 Roswell Road, near East Piedmont Road, by removing a glass window pane and leaving it in a dumpster.

That’s in the vicinity of an oil change shop and a restaurant Major is accused of burglarizing on March 3-4, 2021, according to the warrants.

A warrant states that a man broke into the Havoline Express Oil Change (2525 Roswell Road) between 7 p.m. March 3 and 7:30 a.m. March 4 by removing glass in the front of the business, taking money from a register and replacing the window.

At Peace, Love and Pizza (1050 E. Piedmont Road), another glass window was removed, and the suspect was captured by a surveillance video crawling on the floor to reach a register and taking more than $2,000.

“The images seen on CCTV (clothes, height, weight) as well as the modus operandi is that of the said accused and has been seen in burglaries in multiple other burglaries as indicated” in the warrants, that particular warrant states.

The warrants show that on the same day, March 4, Major burglarized two restaurants on Lower Roswell Road, Ming’s Asian Kitchen and Red Curry Thai.

The suspect took cash from Ming’s (4665 Lower Roswell Road) by breaking into a back door by breaking glass around 11 a.m. and taking a register, the warrant states. At Red Curry Thai (4724 Lower Roswell Road), according to the warrant, the suspect removed a glass pane from the front door to gain access and took cash from a register.

Three other East Cobb restaurants were burglarized by Major during his spree, according to the warrants: The Wing Cafe and Tap House and Fuji Hana on Sept. 22, 2020, and a Mellow Mushroom restaurant on March 18, 2021.

On Sept. 22, shortly after 5 a.m., a warrant states that Major cut away a glass pane at The Wing Cafe (2145 Roswell Road) and pried open a locked door, then attempted to remove a safe. The warrant states that he failed, but managed to open an ATM machine inside the restaurant and took $300 in cash.

Roughly an hour later, the warrant states Major smashed open a pane of glass to enter Fuji Hana (1255 Johnson Ferry Road), and was seen on a video camera stealing a safe and putting it on a rolling cart. The suspect was seen taking cash out of a register and rolling the safe on the cart to the parking lot and leaving with them.

The June 1 search warrant indicated that police discovered business checks from Fuji Hana in Major’s possession.

The last incident that has been connected to Major was a burglary at Mellow Mushroom (2000 Powers Ferry Road) between 5:55 a.m. and 6:18 a.m. on March 18. That warrant states that a male removed a glass panel from the front of the restaurant and crawled inside, looking for cash, alcohol and cigarettes.

Other businesses named in the warrants include restaurants and retail shops in the Town Center, Marietta and Acworth areas.

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Cobb firefighter recognized by Rotary Club of East Cobb

East Cobb Rotary recognizes firefighter

The Rotary Club of East Cobb recently recognized Cobb firefighter Shane Belden as its quarterly award recipient.

He was recommended by his superior, Capt. Jeff Robinson, for his work in the community on behalf of needy school children.

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