Heading into the 2023 traditional state wrestling championships at the Macon Coliseum, Cobb County had three wrestlers who were trying to win back-to-back titles.
As of this past weekend, Hillgrove's Zion Rutledge, Kennesaw Mountain's Genevieve An and Lassiter's May Prado can now call themselves two-time state champions. After a bye in the first round, Rutledge, wrestling at 215 pounds, pinned Mountain View's Lex Hennebaul in the first period, beat North Cobb's with an 11-4 decision in the semifinals and then pinned South Forsyth's Cole Williams in the third period of the championship match to claim the title. Rutledge dominated the championship match, as he was up 11-3 in points when the fall occurred. An had been upset in the girls sectional tournament and finished third, and that may have provided enough incentive to take it to another level at state. In four matches in the 170-pound division she recorded four pins, which included two in the first period -- her opening match and then again in the final.
In the championship match, Mia Bernacki of Effingham County lasted only 1:31 into the match before An overpowered her to defend her championship.
Prado followed a similar path. After a bye in the first round, she defended her title by recording three straight pins. Only the championship match made it past the first round. Prado was up 11-2 when she finished off Monroe Area's Te'yarah Lett in the second period, 3:47 into the match. In all Cobb came away with seven state champions, two runners-up and three third-place finishers. For a list of champions and top 3 finishers, please check out MDJ Online dot com.
Comedian, actor and producer Joe Gatto is bringing shenanigans and antics to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Thursday for his "Night of Comedy" tour.
The former "Impractical Jokers" star, best known for his decade-long career in making America laugh, is on the road for his 40-city solo tour. From childhood stories as a Staten Island native to the realities of fatherhood, Gatto said attendees will hear it all. In December 2021, Gatto announced on social media that he was leaving "Impractical Jokers" for personal reasons.
Those who haven't seen truTV's hit TV show "Impractical Jokers", Gatto and his three childhood best friends Brian "Q" Quinn, James "Murr" Murray and Sal Vulcano challenge each other to perform outlandish dares in public. Since 2011, the hidden camera prank show chronicled the comedy troupe's overt interactions with strangers.
Aside from Gatto's comedy tour, he also co-hosts the "Two Cool Moms" podcast with stand-up comedian Steve Byrne.
Joe Gatto's "Night of Comedy" show at the Cobb Galleria Performing Arts Centre will start Thursday at 7 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, head over to Cobb Energy Centre dot com.
The Atlanta Braves announced Friday the Gwinnett Stripers’ coaching staff for the 2023 season, and joining the club will be former Pope standout Stevie Wilkerson. The 31-year-old Wilkerson, a Roswell native, enters his first season with both Gwinnett and the Braves organization as he makes his professional coaching debut. Selected by Baltimore in the eighth round of the 2014 draft out of Clemson University, he played seven seasons in the Orioles organization from 2014-21, including 166 Major League games from 2018-21. Last season Stevie played for the Guadalajara Mariachis of the Mexican League, while also doing a brief stint with the Chicago Dogs of the American Association of Pro Baseball while on loan.
With just over a month until the Mableton cityhood elections, south Cobb residents at a town hall Thursday night continued to complain they have more questions than answers about the fledgling city.
The county-hosted event was the second town hall on cityhood in the last month, drawing a smaller, less rowdy crowd than a January meeting hosted by state Rep. David Wilkerson, D-Powder Springs.
That was perhaps due to the billing of the event, pitched as a general question and answer session on Mableton rather than a rallying cry for the de-annexation movement. Still, de-annexation from the city continued to be a theme, with some residents calling for an outright do-over of the November referendum in which cityhood passed with 53% of the vote.
Lisa Cupid, chairwoman of the Cobb Board of Commissioners, and Commissioner Monique Sheffield, who co-hosted the event, suggested they shared in the disgruntlement with the process. Thursday’s event came the day after the county announced Governor Brian Kemp will not appoint a transition committee to lead talks with the county before the council is seated. Asked why Kemp made that decision, Cupid shrugged and said that’s for him to answer. County Manager Jackie McMorris told the MDJ that without a transition committee, the county at present has no point of contact for the new city.
The composition of the Cobb Board of Health heard from Rachel Franklin, CDPH director of epidemiology on Thursday, about the state of various diseases in the county, including a concerning rise in congenital syphilis. Rachel Franklin told the board bad news about congenital syphilis and tuberculosis, but good news when it comes to flu, mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) and COVID-19.
Congenital syphilis occurs when a pregnant person passes on her infection to their baby. Syphilis is curable with antibiotics. But if not detected, it can cause lasting damage. When passed from mothers to infants, it can cause babies to have a low birth weight, or result in stillbirth.
Prior to 2021, there were a “couple dozen” cases statewide. In 2021, 93 babies were born with syphilis, Franklin said. About a dozen of those were in Cobb and Douglas counties, resulting in two stillbirths.
The infections are especially affecting Hispanic and African-American populations, mostly due to a lack of pre-natal care. The Board of Commissioners recently allocated $3.67 million to a CDPH program, partnering with Wellstar, to provide prenatal care to uninsured women.
The syphilis issue is part of a larger trend in increasing transmission of sexually transmitted infections, per Franklin. Areas in Cobb with higher HIV rates also see higher syphilis rates. Franklin added that her staff was alarmed to see, for the first time in more than 15 years, cases of young teen girls with primary and secondary syphilis. The board discussed working with community groups to spread awareness of the issue, and provide recommendations on preventing infection.
Franklin said that tuberculosis is “not slowing down either.” CDPH has seen five cases this year. In 2022, there were 18 cases in Cobb. CDPH is working on identifying resources to help people who are infected.
At least four red-tailed hawks, two red-bellied woodpeckers, and one difficult-to-spot brown creeper visited Smith-Gilbert Gardens on Saturday, where birding enthusiasts were ready with binoculars to spot them during the annual Great Backyard Bird Count.
The international event is organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society and Birds Canada during which anyone can submit data from their own bird watching. The data is used, according to the event’s website, to “help scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations.”
The bird count is held over four days every February. This year, the count began Friday and continued through Yesterday.
Smith-Gilbert Gardens, off Pine Mountain Road in Kennesaw, joined the international citizen science event Friday and Saturday by providing guided tours and bird identification tools to visitors.
Participants, most of them avid birders, walked around the garden grounds, listening, watching, and recording their findings on their phones.
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