Cobb County Government

Book donations can help support libraries

Staff Reports

Volunteers from the Friends of the Cobb County Public Library System are asking the public to recycle gently-used books by donating them to local libraries.

Donations from the public support the ongoing and special book sales. The purpose of the book sales is to raise money for the library system's existing book budget, which has been reduced by 17 percent in the past 12 months.

"We have had a substantial decrease in our funding from the state and Cobb County," Helen Poyer, library system director, said. "The Friends organization is helping the library make ends meet at a time when demand for books has increased dramatically. And by recycling their books and donating them to the library, the public is helping not only the environment, but also the community."

folks buying books
Book donations not only help clear your house, but can help support your Cobb County Library System. The next sale will be held the weekend of Oct. 14-16 at Jim R. Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Road, Marietta.

Some donated items are also added to the library's collection. Items in high demand include popular fiction titles and children's books. Items may be dropped off at any library location and all donations are tax deductible. Receipts can be provided to those making donations.

The Friends of Cobb Public Library hosts two large semi-annual book sales and several special book sales throughout the year and just implemented an ongoing sale at most library locations.

These book sales have raised almost $80,000 in the past year, but continued success is dependent upon donations. The next semi-annual sale will be held Oct. 14-16 at Jim Miller Park. More than 100,000 items will be available for purchase. Prices start at 50 cents. The sale will run 9 p.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, then 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information about the Friends of the Library, visit or call Patty Latch at 770-528-2342.


Cobb honored for youth art program

Staff Reports


The Girls Fusion Art Program, a collaboration among The Art Place, Mountain View Arts Alliance and Cobb County Girls Court, was recently honored with the 2011 Georgia Recreation Parks Association Cultural Affairs Program award. Cobb County Girls Court addresses the special needs of adolescent girls in the judicial system and this innovative art program allowed 15 young women to discover art can be an emotional outlet. They were given this opportunity as an alternative to youth detention centers.


Many of the participants commented that they learned patience, how to cope with their feelings and to express themselves through art. The program, paid for through grants and donations, was a success in helping these youth in a critical time in their lives.

GRPA Award Recepients
Cobb County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs officals received a state award in in August for a program designed to help adolescent girls.

County opens nature to the public

By Gary A. Witte
Staff Reports

Rusty Simpson has an office with a desk, but you won’t find him there very often.

As the Natural Resources manager for the Cobb Parks, Recreation and Cultural
Affairs Department, he’s usually walking somewhere outside on the more than 2,000 acres of undeveloped and greenspace land maintained by the county.

Simpson prefers it that way. “I don’t feel so penned in,” he said. “And the view–it’s gorgeous. I don’t see walls.”

He and his five-person staff have various responsibilities, such as monitoring those acres consisting of 10 passive county parks, including the 12-mile Silver Comet Trail.

“My job is ever-changing,” Simpson said. “It’s different every day with the same theme in mind.”

Education is also a large part of his department’s mission, which encompasses classes for schoolchildren and adult assistance, such as teaching residents how to keep coyotes out of their yards.


folks buying books
Above, Cobb County Naturalist Kim Ellis of East Cobb shows children from Due West Elementary School the skull of a beaver and a photo of one, as well as different types of animal furs, for a Sept. 21 class about how animals adaprt to their environments.
folks buying books
Cobb County Natural Resources Director Rusty Simpson walks a trail at Leone Hall Price Park, a 100-acre undeveloped area in west Cobb County. Simpson traced an unmapped trail through the woods and checked areas that need cleanup.

The Natural Resources staff usually holds three to four youth classes a week, which typically translates to more than 300 students, Simpson said. This includes public schools, private schools, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

The children are enthusiastic, but sometimes unnerved by the prospect of the great outdoors.

Recreation Specialist Kaye Wilson of Dallas said one of the common questions the children ask is if the animals in the forest are going to make a meal of them. “They think all wild animals are going to eat them,” she said, smiling.

In fact, one of the classes demonstrates how much of a threat humans can pose to wildlife, rather than the other way around.

Given a square of green turf, Wilson allows the children to set up animal habitats using miniature trees and other items.

Then it’s time for the humans to move in. With the people come houses, stores and schools, then roads and parking lots. This causes the animals to have to move elsewhere on an increasingly crowded mat.

“They see how the humans affect the animals and then the animals have to adapt,” Wilson said.

The learning aids are the remains of wildlife which have died on county property and then were preserved. One of the larger examples include a stuffed black bear that died when it wandered into traffic and was struck by a vehicle.

During a forest walk the children constantly pointed out to each other some new wonder they’ve spotted, whether it be plants, bugs or both. In another class, they get a chance to feel and see what real fur is like.

“Everything we do is hands on,” Wilson said. “They’re not just sitting at a desk.”
Simpson’s department is responsible for the recreational paths the children use during these classes. He and another staff member, Recreation Programmer John Purcell, design and build new trails. The work is an art form or a science, depending on how you look at it, Simpson said. One has to balance the need for a clear path with the need to preserve the natural environment as much as possible.

“We go around everything we can,” he said. “Try to make sure we’re not taking out anything we need to keep…It can be challenging at times.”

Instead of just cutting a swath through the wild, Simpson said one has to pay attention to the lay of the ground and how runoff will flow. He said you have to make certain the water will sheet across the path instead of running down it, otherwise erosion will tear apart the path.

Their most recent trail projects include Leone Hall Price Park, a 100-acre undeveloped area in west Cobb, and Turtleback Trail, a four-mile mountain bike path behind Pitner Road Dog Park.

On a recent visit, Simpson explored an unmapped trail through the woods of Price Park and noted areas that needed cleanup.

Then he went to the 1450-acre U.S. Corps of Engineers property in northwest Cobb to check the growth of river cane along Alatoona Creek. The U.S. Corps of Engineers is funding a replanting of the once-abundant plant to help reduce erosion and provide a natural habitat.

The property, like other recreational areas spread throughout the county, remains popular.
“You’d be surprised at the number of people who come out just to walk,” Simpson said.
Their popularity can also bring challenges. Simpson spends much of his time fielding concerns and reports filed by the public, such as erosion in the parks or nearby residents with county trees fallen on their property.

“We want to be good neighbors and we want to find a way to solve their problems,” he said. 


A village memorial in honor of those fallen

911 Memorial Display Case

Staff Reports

Local dignitaries and members of the Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services Department gathered recently to pay homage to the anniversary of Sept. 11 and unveil a section of steel from one of the Twin Towers. The World Trade Center beam was given to Cobb County by the Port Authority of New York in honor of the 343 fire fighters, 60 police officers and all 2,977 people who died during the attacks.

This monument is now on display at the Cobb Safety Village, located at 1220 Al Bishop Drive in Marietta.

Fall Festival event at Safety Village

Girls with markers

Staff Reports


The annual Fall Festival will take place Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Cobb County Safety Village. The event, which runs from 4-7 p.m., will feature carnival games, crafts, trick or treat, costume contests and hay rides. It is sponsored by the Cobb County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, Cobb Safe Kids and Cobb County 4-H.


The center is located at 1220 Al Bishop Drive, Marietta. For more information, call 770-528-8875.

Awards to honor contributions to the arts

Staff Reports


The Cobb Arts Board and The Friends of the Arts, Inc. will hold the 2011 Ovation Awards on Monday, Oct. 10 at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre in Marietta.


The Ovation Awards recognizes individuals and groups that make significant contributions to the arts in Cobb County. The event is co-chaired by Earl Smith Strand Theatre Executive Director Earl Reece and Superior Court Judge Mary Staley.

A special acknowledgement and award will be present to Ron and Claire Francis for their tremendous support of the arts in Cobb County.

"Ron and Claire have been tireless in their efforts to increase visibility and promote awareness of the arts for many years," Reece said. "It's time for their dedication to be recognized."

During the award ceremony, a cocktail bar will be open along with the "Just Desserts" dessert bar featuring the creative efforts of culinary leaders. Guests can enjoy samples of dessert from local eateries across Cobb County.

Categories of this year's awards ceremony include outstanding instructor award, outstanding performing artist, outstanding visual artist, and volunteer of the year. Nominations were solicited from the public.

Past recipients include Red and Pat Clinton, Earl Smith, Randall and Karen Heard, Jevares Myrick, Robby Edwards, The Georgia Ballet, Frank Timmerman, Ray Hall, Dance Stop Studios, Alan Kilpatrick, Cindy Mora, Tom Miley, Kayla Taylor, Ann Cummings and the South Cobb Arts Alliance.

The annual event is presented by Cobb Arts Board and The Friends of the Arts, Inc., a group comprised of members of the Cobb County Arts Board appointed by the Cobb County Board of Commissioners to support and promote the arts.

Reservations are required. For more information, visit Ovation Awards or call The Strand Theatre Box Office at 770-293-0080.

The box office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-noon; 1-4 p.m.; and two hours before event. The theatre is located at 117 North Park Square, Marietta.

Race this month to help sick children

5K logo boy

Staff Reports


Cobb's annual 5K to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Georgia and Alabama will be held Saturday, Oct. 8, and pre-registration is open now. All net proceeds from the race will go to the foundation to grant wishes for Cobb children with life-threatening medical conditions.


Runners have the option of electronic timed or untimed registration. Fees are $35 timed and $25 untimed up to race day. Fees for children 12 and younger are $10 with children 5 and younger free. Groups of 10 or more are $20 timed and $15 untimed. If you would like to support the race, but are not able to attend, you can register as a "phantom" runner for $20. All registered participants, including phantom, will receive a commemorative long-sleeve T-shirt, except children 5 and younger.


Last year, six local children's wishes were granted. To read each childs wish profile or register for the race, visit

Cobb County Dealmaker$

Staff Reports


The average Cobb household pays approximately $112 for public safety services. This equates to about the installation fee charged for a home security system.

• The average Cobb household pays less than $15 per year - about the cost of a hammer - to provide Community Development Agency services. These include code enforcement, business license, building inspections, planning, zoning and historic preservation.
• 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


Cut mailing costs with online billing

Staff Reports


Cobb County Water System customers can now receive their water bills electronically. Residents can go to the Water System Web site and log in to their accounts to register for paperless billing, which helps reduce costs and helps the environment. The site is located at

Hispanic heritage month observed

CobbLine Staff


Cobb library staff is hosting several events in celebration of National Hispanic Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15. Each Monday during the month, adults are invited to enjoy Spanish language movies with subtitles at the Central Library. The movies will begin at 6 p.m. On select Wednesdays at 1 p.m., preschoolers can hear bilingual stories with special guest Miss Carmen at Mountain View Regional Library. For more information, call 770-509-2725. The event Hola, Amigos will be held 11 a.m., Oct. 8, at East Cobb Library. Participants will enjoy bilingual stories, songs and a craft. All ages welcome. For more information on these events, visit

Fall crops now available for planting

CobbLine Staff


Urban gardening is becoming popular in Cobb, and local gardeners are reaping the harvest of their summer efforts. But many people are unaware of the many fall food crops that can be planted in Georgia. Even if you did not have a summer garden, you can still have cooler weather crops or color beds. Visit and click on Agriculture and Natural Resources for a link to articles on growing a garen out of a bag of potting soil. If you have any gardening questions, call Cobb Extension at 770-528-4070.

Meeting to help start master plan

CobbLine Staff


Cobb was awarded a $100,000 grant through the Atlanta Regional Commissions Livable Centers Initiative Program to conduct a study in the Six Flags area. The kick-off meeting will be 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 13, at South Cobb Recreation Center, 875 Six Flags Drive, Austell. The overall purpose of the Six Flags LCI study is to develop a master plan that includes many transportation options with existing and new land uses, including mixed use. The study will provide guidance in the development of programs and incentives to entice quality development to meet the needs of future residents, employees and visitors.

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. Metered postage is not accepted as timely proof of mailing. 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.