Cobb County Government

Plant sale promises a green year for gardening

Special to CobbLine

The Cobb County 4-H Club is having its annual plant sale. This year’s assortment includes blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, figs, Admiral Semmes azalea, crape myrtles, edgeworthia, hellebores, heuchera, and loropetalum. Prepaid orders will be accepted until Friday, March 2.

The order form is available at or by calling 770-528-4070. Plants may be picked up at Jim Miller Park 9 a.m. to 3 p.m on Saturday, March 10 (one day only). Plants have different requirements and these guidelines will help you make a selection and transplant them successfully.alt

Blueberries for sale.

Blackberries: Blackberries require plenty of sunlight, neutral soil (pH 6.0 – 6.5) and adequate water. Do not plant them in low areas where water stands after a heavy rain. The standard spacing is two feet between plants and 12 feet between rows. Fifteen plants, properly cared for, can supply berries for the average family. Work the soil ahead of time so a drenching rain can firm it. Plant the roots two inches below the soil line.

Do not fertilize at planting time. In April of the first year scatter one pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 18 feet of row. In June scatter one pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 36 feet of row. Spread the fertilizer evenly over the row in a band two feet wide.

Blueberries: Blueberries prefer sun, acid soil (pH 4.5 – 5.2) and adequate water. The standard spacing is four to five feet between bushes and 10-12 feet between rows. Blueberries require cross pollination so plant more than one variety. Mix ¼ to ½ bushel of moist organic amendment with the soil in each hole. Do not add lime. Transplant to the same depth as the plant grew in the pot. Water with three to five gallons per bush.

Cut the plant back one third at planting and remove flower buds the first year. Mulch with pine straw, chopped pine bark or similar material, keeping it away from the trunk. After new growth begins, spread one ounce of 12-4-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer in a circle 6 inches from the trunk. Make another application in June.

Raspberries: Raspberries produce fruit in early summer. Plant bushes three feet apart in rows six feet apart. Raspberries require full sun to light shade, well drained soil and a pH of 5.0 – 6.5. It is a shallow rooted bush, requiring one to 1½ inches of water per week.

Figs: Celeste figs, a self pollinating, medium size, sweet fruit ripening in July, require at least eight hours of sunshine per day. Figs have a wide-ranging root system and will mature at 15 feet. wide and high. Dig a hole three times as wide as the root ball. Spread one to a half cups of 8-8-8 fertilizer along the canopy of young plants in March, May and June. Water regularly during fruit swelling (July through harvest). Insects and diseases are not a serious problem; birds are the most troublesome pests. Enjoy figs eaten fresh, preserved, dried or canned.

Crape Myrtles: Crape myrtle, admired for the beautiful blooms, exfoliating bark and fall leaf color, may be grown as a bush or shaped to a tree type. Our powdery mildew resistant varieties do best in full sun, and once established, withstand drought. Dig a hole at least two times wider than the root ball. Set the plant in the hole no deeper than it grew originally. Backfill with the soil removed from the hole. Water thoroughly and mulch with three to five inches of pine straw, pine bark or slightly decomposed leaves. Keep mulch away from the trunk.

The plants should be watered thoroughly at planting time and once a week for the first two months. Apply one teaspoon of 8-8-8, 10-10-10, 12-4-8 or 16-4-8 fertilizer monthly from March through August to newly planted one gallon plants. Plant height ranges: Arapaho 20 feet, Natchez 20+ feet, Pink Velour 20 feet.

Edgeworthia: Commonly known as Paper Bush, this winter flowering shrub does well in light shade. It’s three to four inches long, narrow dark blue-green leaves are clustered at branch tips. Flower buds covered with silky white hairs appear in late summer after leaf fall and look like white blossoms, and the lightly fragrant, pale yellow blossoms appear in late winter.

Edgeworthia is pest-free. It prefers moist, well-drained soil containing plenty of organic matter. Pliable, bare stems produced freely from the base, with leaves clustered at the tips impart a tropical look. Use as a woodland plant or specimen.

Heuchera: This 12-20 inch high herbaceous perennial, also known as coral bells, is an attractive border plant. It does well in light shade to shade in moist well drained, humus rich soil. Caramel has apricot /caramel foliage with pink blossoms. Plum Pudding has plum-purple leaves with dark purple veining and white flowers.

Azalea: Admiral Semmes is a heat tolerant and mildew resistant hybrid azalea reaching four to five feet in height and width at maturity. Fragrant yellow blossoms appear in early spring. Azaleas like high overhead shade, and organic, acid, well-drained soil.

Loropetalum: Also known as the Chinese fringe flower, it is a compact (three to five feet tall) rounded evergreen shrub. Young leaves are shiny, ruby red. Hot pink fringe flowers appear in spring with sporadic blooms. Plant in sun or dappled shade. in well drained humus rich, slightly acidic soil that is moist but not wet. Keep young plants well watered. This is a low maintenance border or woodland garden shrub.

A free seminar on growing and caring for blueberries, blackberries and raspberries will be 6:30–8 p.m. Thursday, March 1 at the Cobb County Water Lab, 662 South Cobb Drive, Marietta.

Libraries join healthy eating effort

Special to CobbLine

The Cobb County Public Library System is launching an informative healthy-living campaign in 2012, called “Discover Your Health at the Library.” The goal of the campaign is to provide opportunities for Cobb County residents to learn how they can have a healthier lifestyle.
According to Cobb and Douglas Public Health, a higher percentage of Cobb residents reported being overweight and to binge drinking than other Georgia residents.

“The health challenges facing Cobb County are mainly preventable, and we’d like to highlight the resources available to help residents make healthy choices in 2012,” said library director Helen Poyer. “Our ‘Discover Your Health at the Library’ campaign is designed to do that.”

The campaign has several components, including monthly presentations and integration of healthy living tips on the library’s social media networks. Organizations scheduled to present at the library system include Life University, the Junior League of Cobb-Marietta, Cobb Senior Services and Cobb and Douglas Public Health. A schedule of the presentations and more information can be found at

New Guard headquarters dedicated in Cobb


Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (center, with sissors) cuts the ribbon for the Georgia National Guard’s Joint Forces Headquarters Dec. 7.

Staff Reports

State and local dignitaries gathered recently at the former Naval Air Station Atlanta for the ribbon cutting of the Georgia National Guard’s Joint Forces Headquarters.

The facility’s name is now the Gen. Lucius Clay National Guard Center in honor of the World War II hero and coordinator of the Berlin Airlift. Clay was a Cobb County native. The three-story headquarters building is more than 220,500 square feet and will provide work space for up to 700 personnel.

It was estimated that more than 1,500 Georgia Guard soldiers and airmen will eventually perform training on the property. The facility is a certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Interior offices capture light from windows to improve work environment and energy efficiency, while all office lighting is time switch controlled to minimize utility costs.

The recent event also commemorated the National Guard’s 375th anniversary. The crowd of military and civilan personnel who filled the audience hall numbered in the hundreds.


Cobb County tree drop-off locations

Lost Mountain Park
4845 Dallas Highway
Powder Springs

Fullers Park
3499 Robinson Road

Sewell Park
2085 Lower Roswell Road

Noonday Creek Park
489 Hawkins Store Road

Harrison Park
2650 Shallowford Road

Home Depot locations
(Trees only accepted Jan. 7)

3355 Cobb Parkway, Acworth

1200 East-West Connector, Austell

2350 Dallas Highway, Marietta

4101 Roswell Road, Marietta

449 Roberts Court, Kennesaw

3605 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta

1062 Richard Sailors Parkway,
Powder Springs

1655 Shiloh Road, Kennesaw

2450 Cumberland Parkway, Atlanta

MLK event to help keep dream alive

Residents interested in being a part of Cobb’s 26th anniversary celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will have the opportunity to audition. Auditions will be held 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 5, and 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 7, at Jennie T. Anderson Theatre, Cobb Civic Center, 548 S. Marietta Parkway, Marietta. Audition slots are limited, so please RSVP to 770-528-8490. For more information, call the Cobb County NAACP office at 770-425-5757. The celebration will be held 10 a.m., Monday, Jan. 16, at the Cobb Civic Center. The theme will be “Celebrate the Life, the Dream, the Legacy,” and the event is free and open to the public. It will include the annual presentation of the “Living the Dream” award to a community member who demonstrates the ideals King exemplified.alt



Making post-holiday cleanups easier

Staff Reports

Did you know that your old Christmas trees can be recycled? Recycling trees creates mulch, fuel, wildlife habitats and other useful material. You can’t take your trees to the landfill, so why not help the community by recycling your old tree this holiday season? Keep Cobb Beautiful will sponsor free recycling drop-offs throughout the area.
Cobb County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs specified locations will accept drop-offs through Jan. 7. Selected Home Depot locations throughout the county will only accept trees on Saturday, Jan. 7.

For more information, please contact Keep Cobb Beautiful at 770-528-1135 or visit us online at KCB Home Page.

Public takes part in giving


Cobb County State Court Director Frank Baker hands Cobb Community Transit Operator Billy Dalton a bike for donation to the Cobb Christmas Stuff-A-Bus Dec. 6.

The program helps provide holiday gifts for the less fortunate.

Fraud prevention tips

Monitor your credit report and your card statement. Use one credit card for purchases and keep it secure. Free credit reports are available through and

Always monitor your finances, particularly if someone else has access to your accounts.

Freeze your credit if you will not need to make any major purchases, such as a house or car, in the near future. Your credit can be quickly unfrozen if you need it.

Protect your Social Security number. Do not keep it in your wallet or have it listed on your driver’s license.

If you become a victim of identity theft, immediately notify credit bureaus, creditors, law enforcement and your bank. Check with the state to ensure another driver’s license has not been issued in your name.

Fighting fraud by the numbers


Cobb County Sheriff’s Office Investigator T.R. Logue gets information from a fraud victim.

By Gary A. Witte
CobbLine Staff

If you wait at the front desk at the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, it usually doesn’t take long for a fraud victim to visit.

Each has a story. One man sought a job from a Web site that required him to deposit a check to his account and send some of the money back. The check was, of course, bogus.

A sibling looked to press charges against another who took their elderly father’s money. Another man discovered his credit card held $600 in charges he never made. alt


Investigator Scott Terrill takes phone reports from Cobb County fraud and theft victims.

Identity theft. Complicated housing schemes. Falsified tax returns. Such crimes roll into the office with a tide of paperwork every day.

Just during 2011, the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division Fraud Unit took on about 7,000 cases from throughout the county, Sgt. Mike Dondelinger said. Some years the number of cases rose closer to 10,000.

These complaints are assigned to the 11 investigators in the unit. If they’re lucky, they might leave the office at 5 p.m. like other professionals, but they often stay late working on cases.

“A lot of times it’s not something you can come back to Monday morning,” Dondelinger said. “We stay until the last victim is gone.”

Unlike other jurisdictions, there are no minimums on how much is stolen before Cobb Sheriff’s investigators will take the report.

It’s a crime where the victim doesn’t always realize they’ve been taken.

With a swipe of a card, people unknowingly deliver their critical information to criminals who will use the credit to buy as many goods as they can. Sometimes, the victim trusts the wrong person with their finances.

“Most people don’t think about identity theft until they’re a victim,” Dondelinger said.

Regular card use can put anyone at risk, although criminals prefer those people with good credit. Thieves no longer have to take the actual card. Using the basic information, they can use a kit to program any magnetic strip, such as one on a gift card, as a clone.

“It can happen anywhere,” Dondelinger said.

With the start of the new year, investigators expect to see more reports of criminals using the identity of others to file false tax returns and pocketing the refunds. Victims often don’t discover this until they file their own returns.

One type of fraud that raises the ire of investigators is exploitation of the elderly. Investigator T.R. Logue, brandishing a thick manila folder, cites a case she’s working on where the relative of a older woman with dementia is apparently writing thousands of dollars checks on her banking account.

“She’s so confused she doesn’t know what’s going on,” Logue said. “It’s very frustrating.”
Logue, who has been with the unit for two years out of the 10 years she’s been with the Sheriff’s Office, said she enjoys investigative work and being able to hold criminals accountable for their actions.

“It’s like a big puzzle,” she said. “Putting the pieces together.”

The background of those assigned to the unit vary. Each has had to work as a uniformed deputy at least a year or two before being recommended by their supervisors for the position.
The unit has investigators with backgrounds in all different fields and sciences, Dondelinger said. There are those who have retired from other careers before coming to the Sheriff’s Office. Some are former military and others have college degrees ranging from law to physics.

Most of the investigators’ time is spent talking to people, whether they are suspects, bank officials or victims. Invariably, they have to ask victims for financial paperwork in order to show a crime took place.

They said people can help deal with these crimes by monitoring their credit and their credit card statements. The three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, are required to give people a free copy of their report every year.

Paperwork is a constant companion to the Fraud Unit investigators, who each are handling an average of 100 open cases at any given time.

The sheer volume presents a challenge and some require more time than others.

“There’s just so many cases to work,” Logue said. “That’s just part of the job...You want to do a good job on all of them.”

Keep Cobb Beautiful honored again

Keep Cobb Beautiful was recently honored for its work to beautify our community at Keep America Beautiful’s national awards ceremony. The organization was recognized for "Outstanding Sponsor Support" in the Great American Cleanup and U.S. State Department of Transportation Awards category. KCB was also honored with a first place Affiliate Award. Specific accolades were given for the Great Allatoon Cleanup and "Dig’n the Dirt" program. For more information about, visit KCB Home Page.