Cobb County Government

Award-winning drug disposal event returns

Public safety personnel help
monitor the event, which provides
a legal and safe way to dispose of
excess or expired medicines.

Staff Reports

Keep Cobb Beautiful will hold another free medication disposal event this month, continuing the award-winning program to help safely rid households of expired and unused pharmaceuticals.

The next Medication Disposal Day will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24 at the East Cobb Senior Center in Marietta. Items accepted include: liquid and pill form medications, sharps and needles, diabetes materials, catheters and tubing. No durable medical equipment will be collected.

In June, the National Association of Counties honored Keep Cobb Beautiful with a 2011 Achievement Award for the program, which had just started the previous year.Officials said the program has so far collected and incinerated more than 3,000 pounds of medications, sharps and other personal care pharmaceuticals that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill or the water supply.

The disposal of the drugs not only helps the environment, but also helps prevents the theft and illegal use of prescription medicines.

The event involves cooperative work between Keep Cobb Beautiful, the Cobb Water System, Cobb Public Safety and Cobb Senior Services.

County staff and law enforcement personnel will be at the location to collect medications and properly dispose of them in compliance with federal law.

Nothing will be accepted at any county facility or by any county staff member before, or after, the scheduled dropoff day. Participants will drive up and remain in their vehicles while staff and law enforcement collect the medications. There is no cost to participate.

The East Cobb Senior Center is located at 3332 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta. For more information about Medication Disposal Day, please call Cobb County Water System at 770-4196244; or visit the website at KCB Home Page.



Library card can lead to fun and learning


Staff Reports

As students head back to school this fall, the Cobb County Public Library System wants to make sure that all children have the most important school supply of all  a library card.

Owning a library card provides students the resources they need to compete academically. The Cobb County Public Library System provides students free access to databases of news articles, encyclopedias and test preparation materials, as well as homework help and resources.

Todays libraries provide all types of students with the tools they need to succeed, said Library System Director Helen Poyer. Libraries provide young readers with exciting and engaging programs that make learning fun. It is for these reasons that now more than ever that a library card is the most important school supply of all.

In addition, public libraries are the number one location for free Internet access, an important resource for families without access at home when 96 percent of school districts require students to use the Internet to complete their homework.

Library Card Sign-up Month, held each September, is a time when libraries across the country celebrate the value of the library card. Activities in Cobb County libraries include book discussion groups, story times, workshops and movie festivals. For information on all of the programs being offered, visit

Getting a library card is easy and is free for Cobb County residents. Parents and guardians should visit the library with their children, bring proof of residency and photo identification and fill out a quick form.

For more information on how to sign up for a library card, visit the Cobb County Public Library System in person or online at

Windy Hill connector opens to traffic


Staff Reports

Cobb dignitaries and area business leaders gathered on Aug. 10 to officially open the Windy Hill Road-Macland Road Connector. This important transportation project helps west Cobb residents who drive to Interstate 75 and U.S. Route 41 have a faster and more direct route. The new road, which has limited access to improve driving times, also helps draw traffic away from area thoroughfares, such as Powder Springs Road and Austell Road. The 2.1 mile connector runs from Macland Road at Powder Springs Road to Windy Hill Road and is one of many projects funded through the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax passed by voters in 2005.



Town hall event open to the public


Staff Reports

Cobb County District 1 Commissioner Helen Goreham will hold a public town hall meeting 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13 at the West Cobb Senior Center.

The event will offer residents a chance to hear the latest information about issues impacting their community and ask questions regarding their concerns. The center is located at 4915 Dallas Highway, Powder Springs.

For more information, call 770-528-3312.

Lake cleanups need volunteer help


Staff Reports

The 26th Annual Great Lake Allatoona Clean Up is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17. This will allow residents in the Acworth community to help clean the shorelines of Lake Acworth and Lake Allatoona. Last year more than 4,200 volunteers collected more than 42 tons of trash, debris and tires from more than 250 miles of shoreline.

The event begins at 9 a.m., and will conclude at noon with a cookout at the Riverside Day Use Area on Allatoona Dam Road. The event will include free food, entertainment and prizes for all participants. The Acworth Parks and Recreation Department, with help from the Acworth Lake Authority, will be hosting its own cookout at noon at Cauble Park for the participants at Cauble Park, Dallas Landing and Proctor Landing. Registration runs through Sept. 11. To sign up please go to Feel free to contact the Acworth Parks and Recreation Department at 770-917-1234 for any questions regarding the event.

State fair to open


Staff Reports

From Sept. 22 to Oct. 2, Cobb County will host the annual North Georgia State Fair at Jim R. Miller Park in Marietta.

Admission is $5 for adults; $2 for students ages 7-18 and children 6 and under can attend for free. Parking is $3.

Jim R. Miller Park is located at 2245 Callaway Road, Marietta.

For more information, please call 770-423-1330 or visit the Web site

Swimmers win big in competition


Staff Reports

For the third consecutive year, Cobb County aquatic staff won the Georgia Recreation and Park Association Lifeguard Competition. In 2009 and 2010, a local team won the competition, but this year Cobb managed to excel even more. Every year, the county sends two teams to the competition and this year the Cobb teams tied as co-champions.

The competition consists of seven events that challenge lifeguards in a variety of skills they use on a day-to-day basis. The events were: swim relay, rescue board relay, capture the flag, team triathlon, written test, critical incident scenario and rescue relay.

For more information on Cobbs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department, visit PRCA Home.

Cobb County Dealmaker$

Staff Reports

• The average household pays less than $11 per year to provide quality services for our senior citizens — about the price of one adult movie ticket.
• For about $37 each year, approximately the cost of an oil change, the average Cobb household helps maintain roads throughout the county as well as the airport.
• Providing public health services that help families in need costs the average Cobb County household less than $7 each year, about the cost of a bottle of pain reliever.
• For about $11 per year, each Cobb County resident has access to one of the largest library systems in the state — less than the cost of one hardback book.

For more information on Cobb County departments and the services they provide, go to

Passive park invites public for preview

CobbLine Staff

There will be an open house at the undeveloped Leone Hall Price Park 8:30 -11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. The nonprofit Friends of Price Park will provide tours of the park. A meadow, creek and woods are just some of the natural features that can be explored in this more than 100 acre park. It is located on the South side of Stilesboro Road in Kennesaw, between Acworth Due West Road and Mars Hill Road. For more information contact

Concert series contiues in Mableton

CobbLine Staff

The Summer Candlelite Concert Series at Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre continues with a performance by Kayla Taylor Jazz on Saturday, Sept. 10. Parking and general admission are free. Gates open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Attendees may bring their own food and beverages and concessions will be open. Tables that seat four are available for $50. The final scheduled concert will be Blair Crimmins and the Hookers Saturday, Oct. 15. To reserve a table call 770-819-3285. Mable House is located at 5239 Floyd Road, Mableton. For more information, visit

Free class to help new homebuyers

CobbLine Staff

The University of Georgia Extension Service–Cobb County will host a free first time homebuyer’s workshop 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10. The CredAbility workshop will include information about budget, credit, down payment assistance, the loan process and the real estate process. Participants will receive a Housing and Urban Development-approved certificate at the end of the session. The event will take place at the extension office at 678 South Cobb Drive, Marietta. Seating is limited to the first 40 people who respond. Call 800-251-2227 to reserve a seat.

Cobb property taxes due by Oct. 17

CobbLine Staff

Tax bills were mailed on Aug. 15 and payment is due within 60 days to avoid late charges. Tax bills, Homestead Exemption applications, year round online bill pay and detailed tax information is available at Payments must be received or U.S. postmarked by October 17, 2011. Metered postage is not accepted as timely proof of mailing.

County road repairs a neverending job

By Gary A. Witte
CobbLine Staff

The morning temperatures pushed past 90 degrees well before lunch. The tar was a scorching 125 degrees so it could be sprayed onto the roadway. And the truckload of asphalt radiated the heat of more than 300 degrees with a lingering smell like burning rubber.

There was plenty of dust, but no shade in the sun-baked work area and no air conditioning available except for inside the trucks. Naturally, no one stayed inside the trucks.

Welcome to the world of Cobb County Department of Transportations Road Maintenance Division.

Its always a challenge every day, Cobb DOT Crew Chief Phil Wallace said as he prepared for his shift. Everything we do is in the middle of the road.

Wallace, who has worked for DOT for more than a decade, said they deal with the daily heat with sunscreen and lots of hydration. One of the first things he does before starting his work truck every morning is fill a cooler with ice water.

We look forward to the fall, Wallace said.

Ongoing hiring restrictions have caused Cobb DOT to perpetually do more with less, leaving a limited number of road crews to juggle a variety of jobs, including patching potholes, mowing medians and clearing the roads during severe winter storms.
Last year, road maintenance repaired nearly 1,600 potholes even with a 35 percent staff reduction.


(Left) Cobb County Department of Transportation Crew Chief Paul Koehler of Douglasville cuts the the road in preparation to fix a pothole.

(Right) Cobb DOT Truck Driver Jerry Cotton of Villa Rica runs a device to pack down freshly laid asphalt.

Cobb County Department of Transportation Crew Chief Phil Wallace of Powder Springs sprays tar on the road, thereby preparing to level a trucking businesss new driveway with the existing street using additional asphalt. Road maintenance crews handle a variety of responsibilities, including sidewalk repair, pothole filling and keeping roads roads clear during severe winter weather.

While the road crews enlist work-release inmates to help with the labor each day, keeping up with the constant need for repairs is a challenge.

We prioritize by safety issues and major arterial roads first, Road Maintenance Division Manager Bill Shelton said, adding his crews also have to keep the sidewalks repaired as well.

Fred Elrod, the division asphalt supervisor, said when he first started in 1987 the department only had to maintain 500 miles of roads. Now Cobb County crews have to maintain an estimated 2,500 miles of roadways just in the unincorporated areas.

These guys have one of the toughest jobs out here working with this hot material, Elrod said.

Trucks commonly carry tons of the hot mix asphalt, but it can be used up quickly on a large job, such as leveling a businesss new driveway with the street. An all-weather asphalt exists, but is more expensive and only used for emergency repairs.

While the heat is a constant hazard, many of the workers have stories about close calls with traffic and vehicles almost injuring them. This makes setting up a safe work zone a lengthy, but necessary, process. Large warning signs, bright orange cones and reflective vests are all designed to keep drivers from running down DOT crew members.

Even for the smallest hole, youve still got to set a work zone up, Wallace said.

The number of jobs the crews have to complete vary from day to day, meaning they might have two work orders or ten.

If youve got a big job, you could be on it all day long, Wallace said.

And instead of just waiting for work orders, the DOT road crews are encouraged to be proactive and fix any potholes they happen to spot when driving throughout the county.
Theyll fix it and then theyll report it, Shelton said of his crews. Theyre all very dedicated and conscientious.

While some drivers might get frustrated by the presence of road workers, many are unaware of the extensive process required to fix the average pothole. Each hole has to be squared up and dug out, otherwise the patch wont last.

Before the asphalt is laid in, the edges are sealed with liquid tar to prevent moisture from leaking underneath. Workers carry multiple jugs of tar in their trucks and use sprayers to spread it for larger repair jobs.

Its sticky. Its not like water, DOT Crew Chief Paul Koehler said, adding that if you pour it on your boots, youll need new boots. If you arent careful with it, youll get it everywhere you touch.

Repairs and maintenance are their focus. Despite recurring questions by members of the public, the DOT crews dont know when roads will be resurfaced. That work is handled by private contractors hired by the county.

Road improvements from the recently passed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax are expected to help alleviate some of the workload, but DOT crews can expect their efforts to always be needed.

Koehler, who has worked for DOT for 25 years, said the quality of the repair work and safety are his two most important goals. As they drove away from a neighborhood where his crew just spent the afternoon fixing four potholes, he said he likes to look at the results from the point of view of residents.

If that was your house right there, would you be happy? Koehler said. Thats always my goal.