The Lassiter girls won the Class AAAAAA state swimming and diving championship Friday at Georgia Tech's McAuley Aquatic Center, finishing the season atop the podium for the fourth straight year.
For the second straight year, Lassiter seemed to be in a class of its own.
The Trojans tallied 486 points to distance themselves from runner-up Marist. Pope was third, followed by Lakeside-DeKalb and St. Pius X. The Trojans were already in front by roughly 100 points after the first three events, and that lead stretched to almost 200 going into final stretch.
Elizabeth Tilt ended her Lassiter career with seven individual state championships after winning the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley. She claimed her fourth 100 butterfly title with a time of 53.83, while the 200 IM win in 2:01.32 was her third.
Lassiter's Finnly Jollands claimed the 100 backstroke and was second in the 50 freestyle.
Major Larry White of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office usually cuts an imposing figure. But not next to Duke and Diesel.
Weighing in at about 2,000 pounds each and 6 or so feet tall to the saddle, the pair have a way of standing out in a crowd.
And that’s the idea. Duke and Diesel — Belgian and Percheron draft horses, respectively — came to Cobb by way of Texas. They are the inaugural members of the sheriff’s mounted unit.
Sheriff Craid Owens and Major White (who as the sheriff’s adjutant, oversees the horse program) said the horses will be tasked with an array of assignments, with one of the key ones being crowd control in high-capacity areas such as Truist Park. Indeed, despite their imposing figure, the horses are exceedingly gentle creatures with a puppy’s enthusiasm for being petted.
Abigail Jordan, the sheriff’s stable master tasked with caring for Duke and Diesel, said they’ve been a joy to work with.
Owens said the two may also be used for patrolling county parks and trails, and his staff is working to start a program where jail inmates can work with the horses.
White said the sheriff’s office has had horses in the past, but it was little more than a “dog and pony show,” he said. The program was run by volunteers as an offshoot of the Cobb Sheriff’s Foundation. This, by contrast, will be a working unit in the office. Owens said the foundation put up the funds (about $18,000) to purchase the horses, while the mounted unit’s annual budget is about $30,000.
While Duke and Diesel are currently housed in rented space at the Hurt Road stable, the hope is to eventually have their own dedicated stable at Stout Park in southwest Cobb.
Marietta High School alum Andy McCollum is a head coach again.
The former Middle Tennessee State head coach and longtime Georgia Tech assistant was named the head coach at the Division III University of the South on Friday in Sewanee, Tennessee.
McCollum takes over a Sewanee program that was 2-8 a season ago and has not had a winning season since 2000. He replaces Travis Rundle, who resigned after six seasons with the Tigers.
McCollum will continue a long association with Tennessee, having played collegiately at Austin Peay in Clarksville and coached for 14 years at Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro, including six years at the helm from 1999-2005. McCollum posted a 34-45 record overall and successfully helped transition the Blue Raiders from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Division.
A Cobb legislator has taken the lead on a Georgia Senate bill aimed at curbing the practice of county officials profiting off passport processing fees.
State Senator Kay Kirkpatrick of east Cobb, co-authored the bill, which would prohibit superior court clerks and probate judges from pocketing the fees — $35 for each passport application — as personal income. Cobb senators Ed Setzler, of Acworth, and John Albers, of Roswell, are co-sponsors.
Instead, Kirkpatrick said, the money should go to a county’s general fund and the court clerk’s office, “to be used solely for purposes of maintaining and operating the office of such clerk,” according to the bill’s language. A federal regulation permits local officials to pocket the $35 charge on each passport application they process. Collections by Cobb County Superior Court Clerk Connie Taylor gained scrutiny at the end of last year following media reports that she banked more than $425,000 in fees since taking office in 2021.
Taylor is also facing a Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe connected to her fee receipts, opened after a whistleblower alleged she was ordered by Taylor to destroy records of the income.
Taylor did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.
The Smyrna Public Library kicked off Black History Month on Saturday with a lecture about the late Hank Aaron, a day before the beloved Baseball Hall of Famer would have turned 89.
Longtime sports writer and columnist Terence Moore spoke about his life and his relationship with Aaron, who died in January 2021. Aaron is also the basis of Moore’s book, “The Real Hank Aaron: An Intimate Look at the Life and Legacy of the Home Run King.”
Moore said Aaron, the former home run king and longtime star of the Braves’ franchise in Milwaukee and Atlanta, was the “most approachable superstar of all time,” a person who was the same with fans as he was with baseball executives and reporters. Moore worked at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for more than 20 years and now writes columns for Forbes.
Moore met Aaron while working as a sports reporter, after growing up as a fan. After Aaron’s death, Moore served as an honorary pallbearer at Aaron’s funeral.
Ahead of a planned sales tax referendum on transit expansion in 2024, Cobb Department of Transportation Director Drew Raessler said Friday the county will hit the road on another public outreach tour this year.
The road show comes less than two years after the last slate of town halls on the so-called mobility special-purpose local-option sales tax, or M-SPLOST. It will likely roll out in either late spring or early fall, Raessler said, taking a question from Commissioner Monique Sheffield.
The county’s task will be getting buy-in from a public that’s shot down plenty of transit expansion proposals over the decades, and has thus far seen few details of the proposed referendum.
Ahead of that tour, Raessler said, the Cobb DOT will ask the board to approve a contract with a consultant to aid in preparing the package. The county set aside $400,000 for those services in December.
The county has two paths forward under state law. In one scenario, the county could impose an up to five-year sales tax, of up to 1%, to pay for surface-level transportation spending such as trails, bridges, and roadways. Under another, the county could impose an up to 30-year sales tax, also up to 1%, specifically for mass transit construction and operating costs.
The board’s Democratic commissioners, particularly Chairwoman Lisa Cupid, have shown more enthusiasm for the latter option — transit expansion — while the board’s Republicans have favored more trails and road improvements.
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