Food collection, distribution events scheduled for Cobb seniors

Cobb senior food distribution

On Thursday senior citizens in Cobb County will be able to pick up free food at the Cobb Senior Wellness Center (1150 Powder Springs St., Marietta) without an appointment.

The distribution event is from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., and all Cobb seniors have to bring with them is a photo ID showing their age and home address in the county.

For a complete list of donation items needed, click here or visit

If you would prefer to donate monetarily, click here or visit

Items that are in particular need are shelf stable food and toiletries. Call Merline Tippens at 770-528-2009 to set up a time to deliver donation on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only.

Next Wednesday, the Senior Citizen Council of Cobb County is sponsoring a drive-by food drop-off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m in the parking lot in front of the Cobb Senior Wellness Center, at the same address above.

Members of the Senior Council will be collecting the donations and no one will have to get out of their car to make their contribution. Here’s a list of the items that they say they need in particular:

  • Peanut Butter; Instant Oatmeal/grits; Dried fruit; Chewy granola bars; Breakfast bars; Applesauce/fruit cocktail; Juice boxes; Cereal-small, individual boxes
  • Shelf stable milk; Chicken, tuna; Canned meats; Microwave rice
  • Crackers; Canned Soup; Canned vegetables; Canned Beans; Fruit cups; Canned fruit; Macaroni & cheese cups; Dried mashed potatoes (flakes); Spaghetti O’s/ Ravioli
  • Additional Items: Toilet Paper; Baby wipes; Travel-size toiletries (soap, shampoo)


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Indian Hills cancels July 4 fireworks show; Cobb issues reminders

One of East Cobb’s most notable July 4 events is not taking place this year: The Indian Hills Country Club’s fireworks show.Cobb fireworks New Year's Eve

A social media posting Tuesday morning said COVID-19 restrictions were the cause:

“We wish things were different and like you, we hope to get back to normal very soon. Until then, we are doing our part to keep everyone in our community safe. Thanks for understanding.”

The message asked individuals not to gather on the golf course on the night of July 4, as is the custom when fireworks take place.

Individuals and neighborhoods will be allowed to fire off fireworks until midnight on Friday, July 3, as well as Saturday, July 4, as Cobb County government has outlined in a reminder it issued earlier this week.

The county said there have been more complaints about late-night fireworks during the pandemic.

Most other local July 4 events also have been called off including the City of Marietta’s July 4 parade and celebrations, as well as the City of Roswell’s fireworks extravaganza.

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Kemp extends Georgia public health emergency to Aug. 11

Georgia public health emergency extended
In a social media posting Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp said “Wear your mask, Georgia—and Go Dawgs!”

With a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in Georgia in recent weeks, Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday extended the state’s public health emergency for a third time.

The current declaration was to have expired on Tuesday, but in a new executive order Kemp on Monday said he was extending it to Aug. 11 (you can read it here).

In another executive order on Monday, Kemp banned public gatherings of 50 people or more unless they can keep at least six feet apart and imposed other social distancing restrictions. Those requirements include regular and in some cases increased sanitizing measures.

“As we continue our fight against COVID-19 in Georgia, it is vital that Georgians continue to heed public health guidance by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and practicing social distancing,” Kemp said in a statement. “We have made decisions throughout the pandemic to protect the lives —and livelihoods—of all Georgians by relying on data and the advice of public health officials.”

The social distancing order, which begins on Wednesday and continues through July 15 (you can read it here) outlines mandatory criteria for businesses and requires those living in long-term care facilities and the medically fragile to continue to shelter in place.

Georgia has had a record number of COVID-19 cases reported for three days running, with 2,207 positive tests on Monday, and a relatively high positivity rate (number of positive cases to the number of tests) of 13.4 percent.

(The Georgia Department of Public Health COVID Daily Status Report is updated every day at 3 p.m.)

On Sunday, the new positive cases statewide totaled 2,225, and the seven-day average of 2,207 over the last week is 60 percent higher than the previous week.

The number of COVID-related deaths in Georgia is 2,784, a mortality rate of 0.2 percent and that represents 3.5 percent of the 79,417 confirmed cases.

The death rate has flattened out in recent weeks, with six new deaths being reported since Sunday, and the hospitalization rate in Georgia also is holding steady, with 113 more reports of a cumulative total of 10,824.

In Cobb County, there have been 4,713 cases in all, and last week (June 22-28) a record 685 cases were reported.

On June 20, there were a reported 108 new cases in Cobb, a single-day high. Another 83 cases were reported last Monday. By Saturday there were 34 new cases, and Monday’s total is nine more than Sunday.

Cobb COVID cases are in yellow; Douglas County in blue. View a larger version by clicking here.

The test positivity rate in Cobb is 5.74 percent, according to Cobb and Douglas Public Health, which publishes its own daily tracking data.

Cobb has the second-highest death total in the state, with 242 fatalities, though none were reported on Monday.

Kemp also is embarking on a statewide tour to encourage people to wear masks in public, but unlike governors in other states, he is not mandating it.

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Marietta Campmeeting alters schedule for 183rd revival event

Marietta Campmeeting

The Marietta Campmeeting has been cancelled only once since it began in 1837.

That was during the Civil War.

Organizers of the summer religious revival discussed the possibility of calling off this year’s event due to COVID-19. They heard from longtime attendees, some of whom said they would not be coming under any circumstances. Others said that if there was a campmeeting, they would definitely be there.

“We tried to reach a happy medium,” said Cheryl Lassiter, president of the Marietta Campmeeting Tentholders Association, explaining the decision to go on.

“We just hated to just not completely have it at all.”

Most large-gathering festivals and events in East Cobb have been either postponed or cancelled altogether since March and into the fall, including the EAST COBBER parade and festival.

Instead of the usual 10 days of worship, music and food and social activities at the 23-acre Marietta Campground on Roswell Road, this year’s campmeeting will be reduced to one weekend, July 17-19.

Lassiter said the schedule change also accommodates the Georgia public health emergency, which is set to expire July 12.

The public is still invited to attend the campmeeting, but there will be only four services: One on Friday night, two on Saturday and another on Sunday morning. There also will be a tentholders’ meeting for those occupying the nearly two dozen cabins on the campground property.

But there won’t be the usual opening night picnic, watermelon-cutting, ice cream social, ministry feeding events and the children’s church service.

Instead of full choirs, singing will be led by a handful of people under the arbor, a covered outdoor tabernacle that’s the focal point of the revival.

Reusable programs and hymnals will be replaced by throwaway songsheets with familiar tunes.

The arbor can hold up to 400 people, but Lassiter said in recent years that daytime worship services have averaged between 25-50 people, and 150-250 people at night.

The campmeeting will follow social distancing protocols, she said, allowing for families to be able to sit together. There also will be hand sanitizing stations on the property and masks and gloves will be available.

Despite all the rearrangements, Lassiter admitted there is a chance everything may have to be cancelled, given growing concerns over continuing rises in positive COVID cases in Georgia, especially in the metro Atlanta area.

“I don’t think anyone would doubt our reasons if we did,” she said.

Lassiter noted that during the Spanish Flu pandemic which hit the United States hard in the winter of 1919, the Marietta Campmeeting went on the following summer.

That was a stroke of good seasonal fortune.

However, like so many aspects of daily life today, and especially special events like a venerable religious revival, planning for the Marietta Campmeeting has been a very fluid thing.

“It’s still pretty iffy,” Lassiter said, “but we’re gonna try.”


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East Cobb small businesses honored by Cobb Chamber of Commerce

MUST Ministries urgent call food supplies
East Cobb realtor Janice Overbeck with Tom Gonter of MUST Ministries.

Several small business in East Cobb are included in the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s top small business list for 2020.

They 25 businesses include the following from the East Cobb area:

  • Artisan Custom Closets, 600 Wylie Road (home renovation)
  • Deluxe Athletics, 800 Scott Drive (synthetic field turf and lawn manufacturer)
  • InPrime Legal, 1640 Powers Ferry Road (outsourced business legal provider)
  • Janice Overbeck Real Estate Team, 2250 Sewell Mill Road (residential real estate)
  • Southeastern Engineering, 2470 Sandy Plains Road (civil engineering firm)
  • Three-13 Salon, Spa and Boutique, 2663 Canton Road (hair care and spa)

They will be among those competing for the Chamber’s overall top small business of the year, to be announced in August.

In addition, the Chamber has named four small businesses to watch out for that include The Auto Accident Attorneys Group, 1454 Johnson Ferry Road. “These are businesses that have launched three years ago or less and have already achieved substantial progress,” the Chamber said in a statement.

Here’s more about the Chamber’s small business of the year program that includes a hall of fame and explains the selection criteria.


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Updated 6.27.20: More than 40 COVID-19 deaths in East Cobb

Cobb COVID Zip Code Map
To use hover map, click here. Source: Cobb and Douglas Public Health.

Here’s the latest update in our somewhat-weekly look at COVID-19 cases in East Cobb, Cobb County and Georgia, as we’ve been getting more detailed breakdowns from local and state public health agencies.

There’s a significant new addition to daily reporting data posted and mapped by Cobb and Douglas Public Health to include where COVID-19 deaths are occurring in the county.

That’s also being done according to ZIP Code, just as we’ve noted in recent weeks for positive cases.

The figures below show the number of positive cases and deaths in East Cobb as of Friday. These are cumulative figures:

  • 30067: 248 cases, 7 deaths
  • 30062: 242 cases, 12 deaths
  • 30066: 200 cases, 9 deaths
  • 30068: 138 cases, 16 deaths
  • 30075: 21 cases, 0 deaths

Those totals are compiled by the Georgia Department of Public Health, State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (SENDSS).

What’s not known is if these mortality figures include deaths reported at senior, nursing and long-term care homes.

Every Friday the Georgia Department of Community Health updates those figures from around the state, and here’s the latest for care facilities in East Cobb:

  • A.G. Rhodes Home, 900 Wylie Road (30067): 6 deaths, 26 resident cases;
  • Alto Senior Living Marietta, 840 LeCroy Drive (30068): 8 deaths, 22 resident cases;
  • Arbor Terrace of East Cobb, 886 Johnson Ferry Road (30068): 3 deaths, 7 resident cases;
  • Manor Care Rehabilitation Center, 4360 Johnson Ferry Place (30068): 0 deaths, 9 cases;
  • The Solana East Cobb, 1032 Johnson Ferry Road (30068): 0 deaths, 1 resident case;
  • Sterling Estates, 4220 Lower Roswell Road (30068): 5 deaths, 10 resident cases;
  • Sunrise of East Cobb, 1551 Johnson Ferry Road (30062): 1 death, 4 resident cases.

As of Friday afternoon, Cobb County has 4,467  confirmed cases of COVID-19 overall, a jump from 3,751 a week ago. To date there have been 240 deaths (up from 224) and 845 cumulative hospitalizations (up from 790).

Those figures come from the Georgia Department of Public Health, which updates figures daily at 3 p.m.

As of Friday, there were 72,995 confirmed cases in Georgia and 2,770 deaths. There also have been 10,605 total hospitalizations and 2,244 intensive-care admissions.

For more data from Cobb and Douglas Public Health, click here.

As we noted last week, while more positive tests have been occurring within younger age groups, the vast majority of deaths have occurred among people ages 70 years and older.

There’s also a new independent tracker of Georgia DPH virus data that’s collected at and contains analysis, tracks trends and explains statistics and reporting data in accessible fashion.

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The Avenue East Cobb to hold custom car show on Sunday

The Avenue East Cobb custom car show
A 1956 Chevy on display at the Bradley’s Bar & Grill Car Show in 2017. (ECN file).

While many festivals and community events continue to be scratched from the calendar in East Cobb into the fall, Sunday will provide a chance to get out and about (weather permitting) in an actual public gathering designed to follow ongoing health protocols.

The Avenue East Cobb is holding what it calls a “Cruise, Brunch, Shop” event from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sunday. The first part of that is a reference to a custom car show that will be on display, with restaurants and shops also open as retailers there start to drum up some regular business.

There’s no cost to come out and look around, and the organizers are estimating that more than 100 custom cars and trucks will be on hand for your perusal.

The retail center at 4475 Roswell Road was almost completely closed for several weeks, with the exception of a few non-essential-designated businesses, during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Around 40 retailers and restaurants will be open Sunday morning.


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Sprayberry Crossing redevelopment public town hall scheduled

Sprayberry Crossing
To see a larger view, click here.

The potential redeveloper of the Sprayberry Crossing Shopping Center has done another revision of its proposed mixed-use project and has scheduled a virtual public town hall meeting for next week to go over the plans.

What’s now being called the Sprayberry Neighborhood Center is still anchored by a 30,000-square foot national grocery space, rental units and townhomes.

Additional neighborhood retail space has been added, as have some affordable housing options.

Shane Spink of the Sprayberry Crossing Action Group said the public town hall will take place next Wednesday, July 1, at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

The plans by Atlantic Residential, an Atlanta-based apartment developer, have more of a residential mixed than what it proposed back in April (below).

Sprayberry Crossing site plan

What’s scaled down are the townhomes, from 56 to 36, with the addition of a dozen or so “mews units” and a handful of micro homes.

An apartment building originally set for 195 units was cut to around 177, and there’s another building for 120 rental units for those age 55 and older.

The last site plan called for 8,200 square feet of retail space and 12,000 more square feet of co-working space. The new renderings total around 16,000 square feet for retail.

The revised plans also call for 707 parking spaces, residential amenities and a multi-use trail.

Atlantic Residential still needs to get rezoning for its final plan.

After the April site plan revision, Atlantic Residential took public feedback and responded to various questions, saying it intended to come back to the community for a public meeting.

Due to COVID-19, that will be taking place online. Here’s how participate in the public town hall on Zoom, by clicking here. The Meeting ID is 873 1849 1772.

Spink said more details about the call will be coming soon.

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Cobb school board adopts spending resolution for July

The Cobb Board of Education on Thursday adopted a spending resolution to fund Cobb County School District operations during the month of July.Cobb County School District, Cobb schools dual enrollment summit

The resolution, passed on the board’s consent agenda at its voting meeting, was necessary since the board hasn’t been able to adopt a fiscal year 2021 budget.

The Cobb school district’s fiscal year begins in July, but the board was awaiting passage of the Georgia state budget, which was delayed when the legislative session was suspended in March due to COVID-19. Nearly half of Cobb’s school budget comes from state funding.

The Georgia Senate passed a budget resolution later on Thursday that included nearly $1 billion in public education spending cuts. The House was scheduled to vote on the budget on Friday, the last day of its resumed session.

The Cobb school district’s current fiscal year 2020 budget of $1.17 billion included $589 million from the state under the Quality Basic Education Act.

Under state law, public school districts that cannot adopt a budget must adopt a spending resolution in the interim.

A monthly spending resolution also cannot total more than one-twelfth of a district’s current adopted annual budget.

According to an agenda item from Thursday’s meeting, the Cobb school district is estimating revenues of $107,899 million for July, and expenses of $111,231 million.

The district will release a proposed budget once the state budget is finalized. The district also is awaiting word on the size of the Cobb tax digest, which is revealed in early July.

Initially state budget reductions were projected to be around 14 percent, which would have left Cobb schools with an $80 million deficit.

The district has received $16 million in federal CARES Act spending through the Georgia Department of Education.

The district also could receive CARES Act funding through the Cobb Board of Commissioners, which has around $80 million and is holding a special meeting on that topic July 13.

At the board’s work session Thursday morning, Cobb school superintendent Chris Ragsdale said he would not be including any furlough days or pay cuts for full-time staff in his fiscal year 2021 budget proposal.

Cobb schools will be returning for a new academic year on Aug. 3, with a mix of classroom instruction and students learning from home whose parents choose a remote option.

Georgia law requires public school districts to hold public hearings on the proposed millage rate and budget.

Cobb schools have scheduled several “virtual” sessions in the month of July:

  • July 9, 11:30 a.m.: Virtual tax digest public hearing
  • July 9, 6:05 p.m.: Virtual budget public forum
  • July 16, 9 a.m.: Virtual budget public forum
  • July 16, 9:30 a.m.: Virtual tax digest hearing

The school board is scheduled to adopt a budget at its July 16 voting meeting.

More Cobb school budget information can be found here.

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Suspect killed, officer shot in Powers Ferry Road carjacking

Powers Ferry Road carjacking

A Cobb police officer is recovering after being shot in the head in a carjacking incident on Powers Ferry Road Thursday night in which the suspect also was killed, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The GBI said Friday morning that the incident began around 7:30 p.m. Thursday when Cobb Police were asked by Atlanta Police to check the parking lot of the Publix at 2900 Delk Road, at Powers Ferry Road, for a stolen vehicle.

When Cobb Police arrived, they were told by a citizen that his car had just been carjacked, got a description and found the vehicle nearby, according to the GBI.

When officers tried to stop the vehicle, the vehicle fled and police pursued, the GBI said.

Police learned that the suspect inside the vehicle had a rifle and as the pursuit reached Powers Ferry Road and Riverbend Club Drive, the suspect jumped out of the vehicle and shot several times at police, hitting a police car, the GBI said.

The GBI said the suspect then fled on foot along the Chattahoochee River with the rifle and was found near a dumpster in the Cumberland Chase townhome complex. The GBI said the suspect was given multiple commands by police and did not respond, and the man then fired his rifle at officers, hitting one of them in the head.

The GBI said police returned fire and shot the suspect, who died at the scene.

The suspect was identified as Martin Humberto Sanchez Fregoso, 37, of Smyrna. The GBI said the officer who was shot was treated and released from a hospital.

The GBI is continuing to investigate, as it does in officer-involved shootings.


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Cobb school board delays action on anti-racism resolution

Cobb school board anti-racism resolution delayed

After a lengthy discussion on Thursday, the Cobb Board of Education agreed to delay consideration of a proposed anti-racism resolution to work out a compromise.

During a work session, board members Randy Scamihorn and Jaha Howard jostled over their differing versions of the resolution (see previous ECN story here).

Ultimately, the board agreed the two of them should sit down and develop a measure ideally to garner a unanimous 7-0 vote.

“I’m excited about what the two of you are going to craft,” said board member David Morgan of South Cobb, who repeatedly pushed for a resolution that he said would get the Cobb County School District “to a greater good.”

He’s one of three black Democrats on a Cobb school board that has split along partisan lines on a number of matters in recent months, including racial diversity and equity issues.

Charisse Davis, Cobb Board of Edcucation
Charisse Davis

The two other black Democrats, Howard and Charisse Davis of the Walton and Wheeler clusters, were most resistant during the board’s discussion Thursday to support Scamihorn’s resolution.

They were upset they weren’t asked for their input in the drafting of the resolution, and said the language Scamihorn proposed didn’t go far enough to acknowledge, much less to address, what they said was “systemic racism” in Cobb schools.

Scamihorn touted Cobb schools as a “fantastic school system” that has made substantial racial progress over the decades. “We’re doing something right.”

When Howard pressed him about whether Cobb’s had a history of systemic racism in its school system, Scamihorn, one of four white male Republicans on the board, said “I see no evidence of that.”

Howard’s alternate resolution also named black citizens, including George Floyd in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, who’ve died recently at the hands of police, as well as Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Ga. Three white males have been indicted for shooting him to death while jogging in February.

Scamihorn didn’t name anybody by name, but led his resolution by saying that all associated with the Cobb school district “are saddened by the tragic events that have recently occurred across the country.”

Randy Scamihorn, Cobb school board member
Randy Scamihorn

Davis said that language was too vague. She also cited figures showing higher rates of serious levels of discipline for black students as evidence of lingering racial disparities in the Cobb school district, which has nearly 115,00 students, 30 percent of them white and 22 percent black.

“When you say there’s no evidence, you’re ignoring the evidence,” Davis told Scamihorn. “I can’t support a resolution that just checks a box but that doesn’t direct us how we can do better.”

She accused him of “making stuff up” about the level of communication between board members on such matters, and Scamihorn snapped that he didn’t appreciate being “called a liar. It’s outrageous and unprofessional.”

Scamihorn said his resolution was meant as a starting point for the board and district.

“We need a common spot to build from,” said board chairman Brad Wheeler, another Republican. The other Republicans on the board, David Chastain and David Banks of East Cobb, didn’t offer their thoughts during the work session.

During an earlier sequence in the work session, Superintendent Chris Ragsdale addressed the resolution and related issues, saying “we have to come together. We have to stop the hate.

Chris Ragsdale, Cobb school superintendent
Chris Ragsdale

When Howard asked him if he thinks black lives matter, Ragsdale reiterated a previous mention of The Golden Rule.

“When I say to treat people right, that’s how I try to live my life,” he said.

Davis said she’s heard from many parents and students who say the district hasn’t properly handled their concerns about racial mistreatment or inequities.

“We’re not going to golden rule our way out of this,” she said.

Ragsdale responded that when such issues “are brought to us, we’re going to address those situations as we have always addressed them.”

He said every issue is addressed in the same manner, following formal rules of procedure.

“We have a culture problem,” Davis said, “that are not just one-off issues” and said the current approach “doesn’t address what so many of us are feeling.”

The board agreed to table the resolution until its next meeting on July 16.

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East Cobb teen charged with vehicular homicide in Feb. crash

East Cobb teen charged vehicular homicide

Cobb Police have charged a 19-year-old from East Cobb with vehicular homicide in a fatal car crash on Johnson Ferry Road in February that took the life of a 61-year-old man.

Cobb Sheriff’s Office records indicate that Colin William Outz, of an address in the Princeton Lakes subdivision, was booked in the Cobb County Adult Detention Center on Wednesday afternoon and was released a few hours later on a $22,000 bond.

He’s facing one felony count of vehicular homicide and a misdemeanor count of reckless driving, according to jail records.

Outz was identified by Cobb Police as the driver of a Mercedes C300 that struck another Mercedes, at Johnson Ferry Road and Powers Drive around 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 22.

The other Mercedes, driven by Robert Higginbotham of East Cobb, was attempting to turn left onto Powers Drive when it was hit by Outz’ car, which police said was heading southbound on Johnson Ferry in excess of 90 mph.

The posted speed limit in that part of Johnson Ferry Road is 40 mph.

Police said Higginbotham, who lived near the crash scene on Green Point Way, was ejected from his car and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Outz was treated at WellStar Kennestone Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.


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