Wednesday, April 29, 2009

JC police investigating April 20 home invasion

A Lake Manor Trace family was targeted by two criminals who broke into their home and stole their money April 20.

No one was hurt in the Crime, said officer J.T. Ware, a spokesman for the Johns Creek police. Police say they think crooks targeted the home because the family owned a business.

The suspects, who were looking for cash from the family's Smyrna-based package store, left with only about $1,100, a few credit cards and two cell phones.

Officers were called to the home shortly before midnight. There, a 26-year-old man said he, his mother and grandmother were upstairs when they heard someone come in through the unlocked front door.

Soon two men wearing masks, one of whom had a gun, came up the stairs and began threatening them. The victims were bound with zip ties and separated into different rooms.

Apparently the money from the family business is kept at the store, so the suspects resorted to stealing whatever wallets and purses they could grab. At one point, one of the suspects reportedly gave a PIN number for one of the victim's credit cards to a female accomplice over a radio, according police.

The victims could not tell police how the suspects escaped, as they were tied up, said Ware.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

West Forsyth presents ‘All Shook Up’

Studio West Productions at West Forsyth High School will present its rousing spring musical “All Shook Up” April 23-26 in the school auditorium.
Set in 1955, the show is about a hip-swiveling, guitar-playing stranger who comes to town and brings romance, rebellion, and rock ‘n roll into the life of a sweet, small-town girl, who dreams of leaving her sleepy town for the more exciting big city life. This story of romance and dreams is based around the hit songs of Elvis Presley. Director is Eric Gray.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. that Thursday through Saturday, and at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $7 for students, $10 for adults.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Abducted children found unharmed at Roswell apartments, suspect killed

Two children kidnapped by their mother's ex-boyfriend April 16 in Norcross were found unharmed the next morning after he was killed at the Concepts 21 apartment complex in Roswell while trying to run over a police officer.

The children, 22-month-old Adrian and 9-month-old Alfredo Bustos, have been returned to their mother, 22-year-old Adrian Stearns.

Both the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and Roswell police are conducting separate investigations into the initial Crime and the police shooting of suspect, 25-year-old Jairo Bustos, said Lt. James McGee of the Roswell Police Department.

The young children were abducted by Bustos at their mother's home on Noble Forest Drive in unincorporated Norcross, said Cpl. Illana T. Spellman, public information officer for the Gwinnett County Police. She could not say whether Bustos was the boys' biological father.

Stearns called 911 at 4:20 p.m. and said Bustos, her ex-boyfriend who had recently been evicted from her apartment, had taken the boys and her car, a teal 1994 Honda Accord.

He apparently ran errands with the mother and children, then forced Stearns into the passenger seat of the Honda, driving around Dekalb County.

He eventually drove back to her home on Noble Forest Drive, where Stearns jumped out of the car, leaving the children in the back seats.

A Levi's Call for abducted children went out over the airwaves that night, and the next morning Roswell police were alerted to the teal Honda on Holcomb Bridge Road and Ga. 400, said McGee. Roswell police began canvassing the area and found Bustos within six minutes.

"At about 7:21 a.m. the Honda was spotted at the Concepts 21 apartments," said McGee. "Units arrived on scene and within about a minute we were alerted there were shots fired."

McGee said Bustos apparently tried to run over a police officer and was shot. The children were with him at the time and were recovered unharmed. The children's maternal grandparents live at Concepts 21, said police.

McGee said the officer was taken to North Fulton Regional hospital with injuries to his knee and elbow and is expected to be all right.

The Roswell Police Department is aiding the GBI in their criminal investigation. McGee said he will head up the internal investigation into the shooting.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Fulton to fund all SPLOST projects despite revenue loss

The Fulton County Board of Education may have avoided its own "battle of the bands" by agreeing to build band room additions and science labs at two older high schools as well as a brand new high school in North Fulton to relieve Milton and Roswell high schools.

How to fund the multi-million dollar package is a whole different conversation, and one that may not be answered for a few years. However, the school board apparently would rather face that problem later than the problems of not completing the SPLOST projects as originally planned.

Last month, Fulton School staff said sales tax revenues – which fund the construction projects - were down significantly and some promised projects might have to be put off until 2013 and beyond. That assessment immediately set off intense debate, with lobbying for specific projects coming from all sides.

In North Fulton, the Centennial and Chattahoochee high school communities were livid that promised work on their schools might be put on hold while a $65 million high school is built just down the road from nearly the new Milton High. On the other side of town, the Milton community is facing an enrollment projection of 2,800 students by 2012 and a return to the portable village if the proposed high school at Bethany and Cogburn roads were delayed. Roswell High faces similar growth circumstances and is seeking relief.

The projects in North Fulton are among the hundreds of projects scheduled to be paid for with proceeds from the 1 percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). The current SPLOST is in its third cycle ending in June 2012. The five-year tax was anticipated to bring in $842.5 million.

However the figure has been downgraded to $670 million – a projected $170 million difference. There are hopeful signs. February collections this year were $12.5 million – down just slightly from last February's collections and above expectations – which could indicate the situation is not as dire as predicted.

After studying the numbers, some members of the school board urged that all promises be kept, saying estimates of plummeting sales tax revenues may be a bit pessimistic, and premature. The tanking economy also means builders have less work, and project costs – if started now - could be 15 percent to 20 percent less than anticipated.

"Now is the time to make hay and get the most out of our dollars," said Alpharetta board member Katie Reeves. "I'm a little leery about being overly conservative [with our financial assumptions.] I've got a fight brewing between high school communities and I don't need that."

In a rare push back against the new superintendent, the school board was not prepared to look only at funding projects for Fiscal Year 2010, which is what staff recommended. The board said the construction schedule must be considered over a multi-year period since each project runs over the course of several years.

"It is incredibly short-sighted to have a one-year approval process," said Reeves. "When you make a decision for 2010 its naïve to think 2010 does not then affect [later years]. It's time to kick the can down the road, look at all of the latest numbers and make decision for the entire program."

Roswell board member Linda Schultz also urged promises be kept to the North Fulton community which supported the SPLOST.

"[I would like to see us] keep all projects intact, which includes the additions to the older high schools along with building the new high school," said Schultz. "This is not only to solve capacity issues but to meet education specifications."

The school staff came back at the next board meeting with a revised construction schedule through 2012 which includes all the North Fulton projects, funded through a combination of SPLOST proceeds, millage, bonds, lease/purchase arrangements or other methods as needed. The project schedule will be voted on by the board at this month's meeting.

The only North Fulton project which may not make the cut for a 2012 opening is the middle school on Freemanville Road in Milton, which had been scheduled to open by 2012. The revised schedule now has that school opening in 2012 or 2013.

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