Thursday, July 31, 2008

PHOTO GALLERY: 2008 Fishing Derby in Alpharetta

Click here to view the rest of the gallery.

Sphere: Related Content

Edwin McCain coming to Suwanee

On tour to promote his just-released album, a collection of vintage R&B cover songs entitled "Nobody's Fault But Mine," platinum-selling singer/songwriter Edwin McCain will perform a free concert at Suwanee's Town Center Park on Saturday, Aug. 16. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. with an opening act.

McCain is well-known for his blend of southern soul and acoustic storytelling as well as for his hits like "I'll Be, I Could Not Ask for More," among others.

McCain's musical career, which began in earnest in 1993, is filled with self-penned hits, yet he reveled, according to information on, in the experience of recording others' classic R&B and southern soul songs.

The concert is free. Food and beverages, including beer and wine, will be available for purchase; however, no alcohol may be brought into Town Center Park.

Off-site parking and free shuttle transportation to Town Center Park will be provided. The shuttle will run from 7:30-10:30 p.m. from Shawnee North Business Center, 305 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

Sphere: Related Content

Hometown heroes honored in Alpharetta

Alpharetta will remember 150 years of hometown heroes at the 56th Annual Old Soldiers Day Parade Saturday, Aug. 2.

American Legion Post 201 honors the city's 2008 sesquincentennial anniversary and will recognize all Alpharetta veterans of all wars. "Alpharetta Remembers 150 Years of Hometown Heroes" is this year's theme.

"We recognize not only the veterans of Alpharetta, but the veterans of all hometowns of all wars," said Mayor Arthur Letchas.

Alpharetta City Band starts off the day at 8:45 a.m., followed by an introduction of guests at 9:30 a.m. The parade begins on Main Street at 10:15 a.m. at City Hall, then turns west (right) on Old Milton Parkway and ends at the American Legion Post 201.

Approximately 185 units are expected in the parade, with marching military units, the Shriners, floats, bands, wagons and horses, classic cars, clowns and candy. The celebration continues at Post 201, where the Varsity serves free hot dogs and Coca Cola free soft drinks.

The Old Soldiers Day Parade first began in 1865 after the guns were silenced in the War Between the States. The Confederate soldiers living in and around Milton County, now part of Fulton County, relived a fellowship born of war each year, coming from miles around by horse, wagon and on foot to a small town called Alpharetta. Apparently sometime during 1920 the Confederate soldiers invited the "young-uns," the new veterans of World War I, to parade with them. After a few years most of those soldiers were gone and the event faded.

In 1952, a group of men from American Legion Post 201 re-dedicated the Old Soldiers Day Parade.

The 56th Old Soldiers Day Parade sponsors include: The Varsity; Coca Cola; ADP; Alpharetta Revue & News; Bank of North Georgia; Carl Black of Roswell; Kinkos; Lusk & Company, Inc.; News/Talk 750 WSB AM; North Point Mall; Northside Chapel Funeral Directors; Robin R. McIntire; CPA, Sam's Club; VFW Post 12002; WGKA Radio 920 AM; Wal-Mart Alpharetta; and Wal-Mart Roswell.

Sphere: Related Content

Roswell police want services evaluation

The Roswell Police Department wants to hear from residents on the services they provide by asking them to respond to a brief online survey. The survey is posted on the city's Web site,, and will provide important information that will assist in the department's reaccreditation process.

This is the first time the Police Department has utilized the Web as a survey tool. One completed survey is allowed per IP address and the deadline to respond is Oct. 31.

"The survey is an important part of our Community Oriented Policing Strategy," explains Chief Edwin Williams. "It gives us an opportunity to hear directly from our citizens on police performance and effectiveness and helps us to understand the citizens' perception of crime in Roswell. The survey results will help me form the police department's strategy for the next year."

The survey is posted as a home page feature on

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

PHOTO GALLERY: Johns Creek named "Heart Ready City"

Click here to view the entire gallery.

Sphere: Related Content

Welcome to a garden party in Roswell

There are usually two kinds of gardeners - those who strive for the aesthetic beauty of nature in all her radiant colors and aromas, and those who just love a tomato sandwich made with tomatoes picked that morning.

But husband and wife Philip Hasty and Laura Smith (she is an attorney and keeps her name for professional reasons) say why not do both? The Roswell couple married the idea of a vegetable garden with that of a formal garden, and what you get is good enough to eat.

Philip grew up in Ashburn and had his own garden for most of his life. Laura came by her green thumb in just the last few years after her children had grown.

"But I didn't get a green thumb without having a black thumb for a long time," she said.

Growing up in Roswell, Laura was not into gardening growing up, but with the influence of her husband, she has taken to growing her own garden. After her first tomato garden she decided she liked growing veggies.

And it is their "his and her" gardens that make them different. Phillip grows for bulk, he has rows of corn – three different varieties – melons, tomatoes, beans and more.

"His is the manly garden," said Laura. "It's big so he can get to use his tractor. Mine is the little one with the fence around it."

Laura is the artist. It is easy to walk through her garden, its raised beds surrounded by a wood fence she "rescued" from a property that was facing the bulldozer. An old wheelbarrow and a wagon wheel with flowers planted in them or curled around them add attractive decorative accents.

Along with flowers along the perimeter of the garden are blackberries, blueberries and a variety of spices such as thyme and sage.

And while the overall effect of the raised beds, color and fragrance does please the senses, it is a vegetable garden after all, and Laura doesn't mind pointing out she's taken out 200 pounds of cucumbers alone.

Laura makes expert use of flowers and other fragrant plants to control insects and aid in pollenization.

"Nature has a better way," she said.

For instance, marigolds among her tomato plants attract good insects to chase the bad ones away. Philip is no stranger to "green" gardening, and neither uses insecticides or herbicides if they can help it. He likes to use wheat straw in his long rows, which attracts spiders. The spiders in turn eat the aphids. All of which makes everybody happy – except the aphids.

"I still have trouble with squirrels, though," he said.

But like all successful gardeners, their biggest headache is what to do with so much produce? They are continually giving it away to friends and neighbors. But the most creative way was through a true garden party.

Philip, who is on the board of trustees for The Drake House, has entertained fellow board members and supporters as host to the charity's annual dinner. He smokes the barbecue for the main course, and of course all the vegetables are homegrown.

But the highlight comes at the end when the guests are given their grocery bags and told to go forth and pick. Fellow board member and CEO of Security Bank of North Fulton Phil Baldwin says this is the third year and he looks forward to Philip and Laura's bash more each year.

"Nothing tastes better than vegetables fresh from the garden, and Philip and Laura's vegetables are the best," Baldwin said.

Drake House Executive Director John E. Smith III said he loves the garden party because he knows "my whole board is going to go home in a good mood."

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, July 24, 2008

PHOTO GALLERY: Rush performs at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta

Click here to view the entire gallery

Sphere: Related Content

Dying for football season

It's about that time of year where many sports fans sit around waiting for the long doldrums to end. Basketball season has been over for more than a month, baseball is in the midst of a long stretch where the games don't seem to mean as much and there's just not much else going on. At least there's the Olympics this year. But there is light at the end of the tunnel for football fans.

NFL teams are slowly trickling into training camp, a couple of teams a day, while college conferences around the country are having their media days where we can see what the press prognosticates for the season, meaning we're very near the start of fall practice.

Now is the time for football fans across the country to have hope for their team because the phrase "there's always next year" is about to come into action. Even fans of the long-suffering Duke Blue Devils can crack a smile knowing that there's a little glimmer of possibility with David Cutcliffe on board as the new head honcho.

For now, let's look at the Atlantic Coast Conference, who just finished up their media session

At the ACC's Kickoff down on Lake Oconee, the media were quick to say that Clemson will be the team of destiny this year, with a date in the Orange Bowl after knocking off Virginia Tech in the conference championship game in Tampa. After years and years hype because of overwhelmingly talented teams, maybe it will finally be the Tigers' year.

I'm not sure if I'm ready to believe that hype.

The way I see it, there are three teams who look like they have the potential to take home the conference crown: the previously mentioned two and my beloved Wake Forest Demon Deacons, no longer the doormats of the conference.

There's no question that Clemson has all of the talent in the world needed to win the conference and maybe more. Alpharetta's own Cullen Harper is certainly the class of the conference when it comes to signal callers now that Matt Ryan will be busy making his name down at the Georgia Dome. But then, it's not saying much because the ACC as a whole has been pretty awful when it comes to its quarterbacks, and it's been that way for a while, save Ryan and Philip Rivers from a few years ago.

Harper was supposed to be the guy keeping the seat warm for wunderkind Willy Korn, who played a little in the first few games last year as a true freshman, but once it became apparent that Harper is actually pretty good, Korn rode the pine. Maybe he can redshirt.

With James Davis deciding to forego the draft, the Tigers will once again have their potent "thunder and lightning" attack at running back with CJ Spiller as well. These guys are extremely fun to watch, and even harder to stop.

The only question mark still, is coaching, as Tommy Bowden has been an enigma for years. One second fans are calling for his head, the next minute he's a saint. Can he finally live up to the hype this year?

When it comes to ACC QBs, the only other guy that can compete with Harper for the top job is Wake's Riley Skinner, an unlikely hero. The phrase "Skinner is a winner" has really been apropos at Wake as the former third stringer who was thrust into action after starter Ben Mauk went down for the count in the first game of 2006 and the second stringer was also injured, now can claim 20 wins in his two years at the helm.

He led the nation last season in completion percentage at 72.4 and looks to be ready to lead the Deacs to another winning season, and hopefully their third bowl berth in a row—unprecedented at a school that until a few seasons ago was near last all time in career win percentage.

What Jim Grobe has done in his seven years so far with the program is incredible and shows that he knows how to mine talent out of people who are overlooked by many of the bigger programs. Take a guy like linebacker Aaron Curry, who couldn't get offers from other in-state institutions like UNC. They said he was too small and slow. Last year, the man hauled in three interceptions for touchdowns and tied the NCAA record for his position in the process.

He's the anchor of what should be the best defense in school history, one that was among the leaders in takeaways last season. Curry and cornerback Alphonso Smith (who led the nation with eight picks of his own a year ago, three for scores) are there to help ensure that the Deacs can be powerful in stopping opponents' scoring attempts.

The saying goes that if you have two quarterbacks, then you don't have a quarterback, and this is the biggest hindrance for the Hokies this season. Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon will once again take turns under center until maybe Frank Beamer figures out who is guy is (though, surely he wants Taylor to be the guy sooner rather than later). Beamer knows how to win and if the quarterback issue is resolved, I see no way these guys don't come out of the Coastal Division and go to Tampa for the championship.

Teams like UNC and NC State may still be a season or two away but they've had significant upgrades in the coaching staff, so they'll be back soon. BC lost virtually everybody and it's time for Jeff Jagodzinski to prove his worth as a head coach without Ryan and crew. Miami and Florida State are both teams without quarterbacks, and in the case of the latter, a coach.

But despite their penchant for choking, I'll go ahead and say it: this will be Clemson's year.

I'm an ACC guy and that's what I mainly follow, but I'll admit it's not the cream of the college football world. I have tons of respect for the SEC and love watching everything that conference has to offer, so we'll look at them a little later as they've got a couple of national championship contenders and a slew of great squads.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

PHOTO GALLERY: Senator Chambliss at the Polo Country Club in Forsyth

Senator Saxby Chambliss visited the Polo Golf and Country Club July 12 in Forsyth County. Click here to view the entire gallery.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A 'Smart' take on a TV classic

"Get Smart" is one of the greatest movies ever made and everyone should rush out to see it immediately. Would you believe it's surely the movie of the summer? How about that it's a pretty decent remake of a classic television series?

That best sums up this new film, using Maxwell Smart's trademark way of bargaining with evil spies. No, this movie probably will not win any awards, but as far as summer movies go, it's one that will keep you entertained and laughing throughout.

As has become tradition with pretty much every Hollywood studio these days, remakes of television series from the 60s and 70s is in vogue. Most of these movies tend to be terrible, with a lot of cheap laughs, bad acting and a lot of people looking to make a buck off the mostly gullible movie-going population.

But this movie is different.

Sphere: Related Content

Former Home Depot employee guilty of tax evasion

A former Home Depot employee pleaded guilty to tax evasion in a $2.5 million scheme to defraud the company. Anthony M. Tesvich, 42, of Atlanta pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of tax evasion. According to U.S. Attorney David Nahmias and information presented in court: From October 2002 through October 2007, Tesvich participated in a conspiracy to defraud Home Depot by taking kickbacks from vendors seeking to do business with Home Depot, paying kickbacks to fellow employees to further that scheme while he worked for Home Depot and continuing to pay kickbacks to his former colleagues when he left Home Depot to further the interests of those vendors. He took the payoffs from foreign suppliers/vendors to insure those vendors' products were chosen for inclusion in Home Depot stores throughout the country.

After Tesvich left the company, he gave substantial cash payments - which he called "french fries" and "milk shakes"- to co-conspirator employees at Home Depot. One co-conspirator also received a luxury SUV from Tesvich. According to the plea agreement, this scheme involved payoffs totaling more than $2.5 million.

Tesvich also pleaded guilty to evading federal taxes on his corrupt income for tax years 2003 ($212,937 in unpaid taxes); 2004 ($821,981in unpaid taxes); and 2005 ($386,997 in unpaid taxes).

He could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the conspiracy to commit wire fraud charge, and a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison on the tax evasion charges. Fines could be up to $250,000 on each count. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 2 before U.S. Judge Richard Story in Atlanta.

"This defendant has now admitted to taking millions of dollars in secret payoffs from Home Depot's vendors and not reporting or paying taxes on that corrupt income," Nahmias said.

IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent In Charge Reginael D. McDaniel said, "A criminal tax investigation is often a key component in the successful prosecution of a corporate fraud case because it targets the individuals who benefit financially from the scheme"

Anyone with information on such corporate kickbacks and fraud is asked to call the FBI at 404-679-9000.

This case is being investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Home Depot has cooperated in the federal investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by John R. Fitzpatrick, Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, Atlanta Field Office; Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Phillips, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sally Molloy.


Sphere: Related Content