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Local News

Advance Voting date added Sunday, Nov. 27

Advanced Voting for the December 6, General Runoff will be offered at the Cherokee County Elections Warehouse located at 400 East Main Street in Canton on Sunday, Nov. 27 from 12 p.m. - to 5 p.m. For additional information please visit cherokeegavotes.com.

Cherokee Recreation and Parks awarded the Outstanding Program Award for its Cherokee Youth Basketball program by the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association (GRPA).

Cherokee Recreation and Parks has been awarded the Outstanding Program Award for its Cherokee Youth Basketball program by the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association (GRPA).

“The athletics division of Cherokee Recreation and Parks has worked hard over the past 10 years to build and provide the residents of Cherokee County with an exceptional youth basketball program,” said Cherokee Recreation and Parks Director Jay Worley. “The participation numbers are an indicator of our success, but the real achievements lie in the individual life lessons experienced by the players, coaches, and all those involved with the program.”

Cherokee Recreation and Parks received the award at GRPA’s Annual Conference in Jekyll Island in early November. The award highlights the steps the agency has taken to grow the program from its inaugural season in 2011 to a program that now boasts 556 teams with over 4,000 basketball players playing annually from October to March.

“We are extremely excited about receiving this award, especially coming off our 10th anniversary of running CYB,” said Cherokee Recreation and Park Athletics Division Director Shawn Schumacher. “It’s a true testament of how hard our athletic division works to provide a quality program for the citizens of Cherokee County. Although our athletic division handles the majority of running CYB, it is really a team effort. This program would not be possible without the support of our other divisions here at Cherokee Recreation and Parks.”

Cherokee Youth Basketball is a local recreational basketball league that is open to all eligible Cherokee County youth from kindergarten through 12th grade. Through partnerships with the Cherokee County School District, players in kindergarten through fifth grade will play on teams that represent their current elementary school while middle and high school players will represent one of the county’s six local high schools in which the player is districted to or currently attending. Teams are provided a practice space and time at their local school for practice and games. Each player is given a complete uniform along with an eight-game regular season schedule beginning the first weekend in December.

The Georgia Recreation and Park Association is a state agency, headquartered in Conyers, that supports the promotion of recreation and park agencies within the state of Georgia. For more information on GRPA visit grpa.org.

More additional information and program details for Cherokee Youth Basketball can be found at playcherokee.org.

Cherokee County is one of 317 governments in U.S. and Canada to win financial award

Cherokee County is now a Georgia Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) Triple Crown Winner.

The Triple Crown Award designation recognizes governments who have received GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award and Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for a fiscal year.

GFOA recently notified Cherokee County it earned the prestigious designation for the 2020 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2019-Sept. 30, 2020). It is one of 317 governments in the United States and Canada to win the award.

“Complete and understandable financial information is essential for the Board of Commissioners to balance the often-conflicting goals of low taxes and great county services and infrastructure. I’m convinced ours is the best in Georgia,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Harry Johnston. “Our Finance team gives us clear budgeting options, with five-year projections of fund balances and the required tax rates that will result from our decisions. It’s the key to how we’ve been able to keep our services excellent with tax rates among the state’s very lowest.”

The county Finance Department is responsible for providing responsive and accurate financial reporting, advice and performance measurement to management Cherokee County’s financial resources while also facilitating the most cost-effective funding of agencies, departments and elected officials. Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Marquis said the recognition is reflective of the staff’s time, effort, and knowledge in managing county finances.

“The Finance Department is excited to be recognized by GFOA for achieving this distinction,” Marquis said. “The award reflects the dedication and many hours of hard work that is exhibited by the Finance staff. Our highest priority is to ensure transparency and quality in financial reporting for our organization and the community we serve.”

Keep Cherokee Beautiful Receives Certification

Officials from Keep Georgia Beautiful and Keep America Beautiful, Inc., welcomed Cherokee County to its expanding community-based Network of Affiliates with the certification of Keep Cherokee Beautiful.

“The re-establishing of the Keep Cherokee Beautiful program over the past two years has been a great success,” said Cherokee County District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter. “This affiliation with Keep Georgia Beautiful and Keep American Beautiful will allow us to grow and expand our programs."

After a year of preparation, KCB finalized its affiliate certification at a recognition ceremony held on Nov. 15 at the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners work session. The affiliation process included the formation of a community team, attendance to numerous training events and the development of an action plan.

“I want to thank all of our volunteers for their efforts this past year,” said KCB Chief Executive Officer Mark Preetorius. “I would also like to thank Georgia Power and Waste Management for the donations they made that helped get this organization off the ground.”

In attaining the certification, Keep Cherokee Beautiful joins more than 70 local affiliates across Georgia. In addition, KCB will join more than 700 KAB affiliates, including 26 state affiliates, and several international affiliates.

“We are excited about this next step in the growth of Keep Cherokee Beautiful,” said Cherokee County Community Services Agency Director Bryan Reynolds. “It will open up new opportunities for training and resources including grant opportunities which will allow us to further our mission.”

Currently, Keep Cherokee Beautiful works to reduce littering through programs like Adopt-a-Mile, Community Cleanups and supporting electronics recycling events, as well as providing recycling education through the organization’s monthly electronic newsletter.

In addition to receiving its program affiliation, KCB also recognized several members with awards that included Lisa Johnson who received the Outstanding Volunteer award, as well as the BridgeMill Homeowners Association, which received the award for Outstanding Adopt-A-Mile Partner.

For additional information on the KCB program, please visit cherokeega.com/Recycling-Center/Keep-Cherokee-Beautiful or email cleancherokee@gmail.com.

Rotary's Glowball 2022 nets more than $7,000 for local charities

It was all fun on a beautiful night Nov. 4 for the 7th Annual Glowball Golf Tournament benefitting the Towne Lake Rotary Foundation. With the help of a great group of sponsors and more than 30 golfers, more than $7,000 was raised for the Foundation.

“We could not have done this without the tremendous support of our sponsors, golfers, those who donated raffle prizes and club members who worked hard to make this a successful event,” said Rotary Club of Towne Lake President Jim Klynman. “It was great to see everyone having a wonderful time for a great cause. A special thanks to Towne Lake Hills Golf Club and The Tavern at Towne Lake for hosting us every year.”

Woodstock resident Bob Sansone spent the Friday night playing with his son, Nicholas, and they both enjoyed their first-time night golf experience.

“It was such a cool experience,” Sansone said. “We had a blast and were happy to support such a great charity.”

First place winners were DD Lee, Dan Thrailkill, Vance Crook and Tom Klugman. Crook also won the putting contest. Second place winners were Bob Sansone, Nicholas Sansone, Stephen Clay and Hunter Clay. Third place winners were Donnie Henriques, George Beylouny, Bill Lilley and Shawn Johnson.

Sponsors of the annual event were: Gold Sponsor, Chattahoochee Technical College; Silver Sponsor, BlueLinx Corporation; Premium Sponsors, DCG Insurance Services – Country Financial, The UPS Store 2524 – Towne Lake, The Joint Chiropractic Woodstock, and Club President Jim Klynman; Hole Sponsors, Nesnick Total Health, J.F. Shaw Insurance, Donovan’s Irish Cobbler, Big House Construction, The UPS Store 2524 – Towne Lake, DCG Insurance Services – Country Financial; Sullenger Law, Alliance Realty & Appraisals, and Rotarians Robin and Lori Wright.

All of the net funds raised during the 7th Annual Glowball Golf Tournament goes directly to the Towne Lake Rotary Foundation, which disperses about $8,000 a year to nonprofit organizations, including the Anna Crawford Children’s Center, Ferst Readers Cherokee County, Bascomb Elementary, Never Alone, Goshen Valley Boys Ranch, Boy Scouts of America Sea Scouts, The Children’s Haven and the Malon D. Mimms Boys & Girls Club. The Foundation also supports the ALS Association, Polio Plus and ShelterBox.

To learn more about the Rotary Club of Towne Lake, its Foundation and all the hands-on charitable work Rotarians do in the community, visit www.townelakerotary.org. The Towne Lake Rotary Club Foundation is a not-for-profit 501c3 and accepts charitable donations to support the Foundation’s mission. Checks can be mailed to the Towne Lake Rotary Club Foundation, 2295 Towne Lake Parkway, Suite 116-280, Woodstock, GA 30189. Interested in speaking with someone or visiting, email townelakerotary@gmail.com.

City of Canton Selected for Georgia Initiative for Community Housing Program

The City of Canton was recently named one of five local governments in the state selected to participate in the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing. This three-year program provides collaboration and technical assistance to help communities create and implement a locally-based plan to meet their housing needs. Along with Canton, the Cities of Chamblee, Montezuma, and Villa Rica, and Gwinnett County were selected for the program. 

"Our selection as a GICH community will pave the way to hear and share best practices with other current and former GICH communities throughout the state,” said Shawn Tolan, City of Canton Councilor, Ward 2. “Our local GICH team of over a dozen community stakeholders stands ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Canton has a shortage of attainable/affordable housing, and with the larger GICH family's assistance and guidance, we're confident we will tackle many housing and community development issues by working together as a team. As they say, it takes a village!"

GICH helps communities improve their quality of life and economic vitality through the development of community-driven housing and revitalization strategies. This is achieved through technical assistance, collaboration, expert presenters, training, facilitation, consensus building, networking, and mentoring. 

Housing Initiatives Director Ken Patton led the charge on providing a thorough application for GICH on the City’s behalf. He believes that participation in the program is critical for the City to have a successful strategy for building a housing plan. 

Misti Martin, CEO and President, Cherokee Office of Economic Development, added to Patton’s sentiments. “The businesses and industries of Canton, Cherokee, and the region will benefit from this initiative. This will position us to help individuals and families live close to where they work and in housing that allows for economic mobility in the community.”

The City of Canton is a growing and diverse community in Cherokee County, seeing much of its population increase as the Atlanta metropolitan region continues to grow. The City grew by 197% between 2000 and 2010, and increased another 44% in the subsequent decade.

“While the growth has created a bustling economy, like many communities across the nation, Canton is experiencing concerning housing conditions,” said Sabrina Kirkland, Habitat for Humanity, Vice President, Development & Strategic Initiatives. “The Canton Housing Needs Assessment and Market Study found a short supply of affordable housing for low-income households within the City. Participation in the GICH program will help the City to create an action plan to address this known shortfall in a way that is community driven and grassroots oriented.”

Prior to selection for GICH, the City of Canton had already begun investing time into housing initiatives based on the City’s growth and the needs of residents. The City approved accessory dwelling units through its zoning ordinance, as well as cottage home development district regulations. A Housing Fund for the purpose of aiding affordable/workforce housing was created, and the City is also in the process of considering attainable housing options on City-owned property.

“The County applauds the City of Canton for taking the initiative to look into creative ways to partner with the Canton Housing Authority, to consider opportunities for workforce housing development, and to frame their zoning codes to best match the housing infrastructure necessary to accommodate the City's growth and needs in the community,” Geoff Morton, Cherokee County Manager, said. “We are excited for the City of Canton to share the knowledge they gain with not only the County but with our other cities to continue to make Cherokee County a great and unique place to live!”

Speaker Ralston Announces He Will Not Seek Nomination as Speaker of the House for the 2023-2024 Legislative Session

 Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), 73rd Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, announced today that he will not seek nomination for Speaker of the House for the 2023-2024 legislative session. He will serve the remainder of his current term as Speaker of the House which ends in January.

“Serving as Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives has been the honor of a lifetime, and I owe a heartfelt thank you to my colleagues for the trust and confidence they placed in me thirteen years ago,” said Speaker Ralston. “I need to take time to address a health challenge which has arisen recently, and the House needs a Speaker who can devote the necessary time and energy to the office. I love the House and want to see the honorable men and women who serve in it succeed. I will work the remainder of my term as Speaker to ensure a smooth transition for my successor.”

If re-elected by his constituents, Speaker Ralston intends to serve as State Representative for the 7th House district for the 2023-2024 legislative session. Speaker Ralston is unopposed for that seat.

“I appreciate the continued support of my friends and neighbors in Fannin, Gilmer, and Dawson counties,” said Speaker Ralston. “I intend to serve out the next term as their state representative and fulfill the duties they have entrusted to me.”

Speaker Ralston was first elected to the House in 2002 and was first elected as Speaker of the House in 2010. He is the longest currently-serving state house speaker in the country.

A champion for job creation and economic development, Speaker Ralston has been a driving force behind many legislative accomplishments which have made Georgia the best state in the nation for business year after year, such as Georgia’s Transportation Funding Act of 2015 and the largest-ever income tax cut in state history.

Speaker Ralston has also worked with leaders in both parties to move Georgia forward through bipartisan legislation like Georgia’s comprehensive adoption reform in 2018 and the state’s first-ever paid parental leave policy for state employees and teachers in 2021.

In 2022, Speaker Ralston led the fight for historic reform of mental health care in Georgia. Georgia’s Mental Health Parity Act and accompanying funding transforms both access to and delivery of mental health services and treatment options throughout the state.

“I want to thank all the staff members who have assisted me throughout the years, particularly my Chief of Staff Spiro Amburn who has been by my side from the beginning,” said Speaker Ralston. “I could not have done all of this without the love and support of my family, particularly my wife, Sheree, and our children. They have been my rock, and I love them very much.”

The Speaker of the House is elected by and from the members of the House on the first day of each biennial legislative session. The Speaker serves as the House’s chief administrative officer. The Speaker also presides over House floor sessions, assigns bills to committees, and calls matters before the House for debate.

The House of Representatives will elect a new Speaker when the House convenes for the first day of the 2023-2024 legislative session on Monday, January 9, 2023.  

Cherokee County Senior Services seeking donations for Adopt-A-Senior program

Cherokee County Senior Services is asking for donations for its annual Adopt-A-Senior program ahead of the holiday season.

“We have noticed an increase this year in seniors reaching out to us requesting financial assistance with everything from utilities to groceries,” said Cherokee County Senior Services Resource Coordinator De Gale. “Since most of these folks live on a tight budget, we reach out to the community each year to ask for assistance in gathering their requested Christmas gifts.”

Requested gift items include new sets of bed sheets, gift cards to local grocery stores, stamps, small boxes of chocolate and non-perishable items such as toiletries, chap stick, tissues and lotions.

Senior Services will accept gifts through Saturday, Dec. 3. Gifts can be dropped off at the Cherokee County Senior Center located at 1001 Univeter Road in Canton. Drop off times are Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and on Saturday, Nov. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. All donated items should be new, unwrapped and placed in a holiday bag.

The program, which has been in effect for more than 20 years, serves on average over 250 seniors, many of whom are also clients of the county’s Meals-On-Wheel’s program.

“It’s always nice to be remembered at Christmas and many of these seniors are living alone without local support,” said Cherokee County Senior Services Director Tim Morris. “Every year I am humbled by the success of this program. The community consistently rises to the occasion to bring Christmas to our seniors.”

For additional information about the Adopt-A-Senior program, contact Cherokee County Senior Services at 770-345-3025.

Cherokee County History Center Grand Opening & History Heyday Event

History Cherokee has announced the grand opening of the new Cherokee County History Center on November 5th. Located at 221 E. Marietta St. in Canton, the Cherokee County History Center will boast 6 galleries covering over 10,000 years of the county’s history. “We can’t wait to share this resource with the community,” states Executive Director, Stefanie Joyner. “The galleries contain both low-tech and high-tech interactives, so we’ve made learning fun.”

 

To commemorate the grand opening, History Cherokee will host History Heyday, a family-oriented event inspired by the 1958 Denim Days Carnival that took place right in the heart of downtown Canton. “Opening the Cherokee County History Center has been a dream for decades. What better way to celebrate this dream becoming a reality than throwing a fantastic carnival for everyone?” says Meghan Quinlan, chair of the History Heyday committee. From 11:00 am-3:00 pm on November 5th, all are welcome to visit the History Center for free outdoor carnival-themed activities. The History Center will open at 10am and free admission to the galleries for up to 400 guests will be provided by Canton Tourism.

 

The Cherokee County History Center will be open Wednesdays – Saturdays, 10-5 and Sundays 12-5. Admission for Children (5-14) & Seniors (65+) is $7 and admission for adults (15-64) is $9. To learn more about the History Center and the Hey Day opening day event, visit historycherokee.org.

Rotary Club of Towne Lake Recognizes World Polio Day

Oct. 24, 2022 is officially World Polio Day in the city of Woodstock and Cherokee County. The Woodstock City Council and the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners issued proclamations this month at the request of the Rotary Club of Towne Lake to raise awareness about polio and Rotary’s worldwide initiative to end the disease.

The Woodstock City Council issued the proclamation Oct. 10, and the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners issued the proclamation Oct. 18.

President Elect Tiffany Collins, Past President Robin Wright and Rotarian Lori Wright attending the Oct. 10 Woodstock City Council meeting to accept the proclamation from Woodstock Mayor Michael Caldwell. President Jim Klynman attended the Oct. 18 Board of Commissioners meeting to accept the proclamation from Commission Chairman Harry Johnston.

“I’d like to thank both the city of Woodstock and Cherokee County for proclaiming Oct. 24, 2022 as World Polio Day,” said Klynman. “We appreciate both governing bodies’ continued support of the Rotary Club of Towne Lake and our efforts in the community.”

World Polio Day is an international day of awareness of Rotary International’s efforts to eradicate the disease. Just a few years ago, polio cases were limited to Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to a recent global update, positive cases have now surfaced in Mozambique and Malawi. While most of the positive polio cases are in Africa and the Middle East, wild poliovirus has been detected in New York, the United Kingdom and Israel.

Rotary International has a goal of raising $50 million, which will secure a two to one match from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to help get over the finish line of eradicating polio. To learn more or to donate, visit www.endpolio.org.

Cherokee Homeless Veteran Program Seeks to collect 5,000 coats for Homeless Veterans and others in need ahead of the winter

The Cherokee County Homeless Veteran Program, along with American Legion Auxiliary Unit 45, is pleased to announce a partnership with Arrow Exterminators and the Georgia Pest Vets (3/16 Veteran Support Group) to collect and distribute 5,000 coats to homeless and low income Veterans as well as others in need ahead of this winter’s cold weather.

Last year they collected and distributed nearly 3,500 coats on December 7th, 2021 to various homeless and Veteran organizations in North Georgia to include the VA homeless program, Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program and several other Veteran focused organizations, noted Xavier Cugnon of Arrow Exterminators and head of the GA Pest Vets organization.

This year with the prospect of inflation and rising fuel costs the need to support homeless Veterans and other homeless who may not be Veterans is top of our minds ahead of the coming cold months, added Jim Lindenmayer, Director of Cherokee County Homeless Veterans program. This will be our 8th year of conducting a coat drive and we would not be able to achieve our goals if it were not for our partnership with Arrow Exterminators, their local offices who help collect that many donated coats and those in the community who donate much needed coats to program like ours.

If you have gently used or new coats that you have no longer a need for, please drop them off at the nearest Arrow Exterminator office in your neighborhood.

Cherokee County Unveils State's First Propane-Powered Public Transit Buses

Cherokee County will put the first propane-powered public transit buses in the state of Georgia in service next week following a ribbon cutting held Tuesday at the Cherokee County Administrative Offices.

Cherokee Area Transportation Service (CATS) purchased three propane-powered buses from Coach and Equipment Bus Sales, Inc. in February to replace aging buses in the fleet. The cost for all three totaled $307,553 with $261,420 paid for with a Federal Transportation Authority grant and $46,132 from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). Two have been received, and the county is awaiting delivery of the third bus.

The new vehicles will replace three aging buses currently in the fleet that provide service for the Fixed Route Service by CATS. The Fixed Route Service offers those in need of transportation assistance a regularly scheduled route for a small fee. CATS also provides a Demand Response Service where residents can schedule their rides for things like doctor’s appointments.

“We are excited to bring in three new vehicles that use a cleaner fuel source and have expected lower maintenance costs,” said Community Services Agency Director Bryan Reynolds. “With the purchase, we were able to secure increased federal transportation support and a Federal Transit Authority fuel subsidy, saving our taxpayers money.”

In partnership with the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, the county unveiled two of the three new buses prior to the Board of Commissioners’ work session, inviting representatives from Roush Clean Tech and the Propane Education and Research Council.

Roush Clean Tech’s Gen 5 propane system was integrated with the Ford 7.3 liter engine. It’s more compact, cleaner and more efficient.

“ROUSH CleanTech’s advanced propane autogas technology is helping states like Georgia tackle their air quality problems and budget challenges by operating economical, emissions-reducing buses,” said Todd Mouw, executive vice president of sales for ROUSH CleanTech.

Steve Whaley, director of autogas business development for the Propane Education & Research Council, talked about the economic and environmental benefits of propane autogas.

Propane autogas vehicles have the lowest total cost-of-ownership due to reduced fuel costs and lower maintenance costs, and their power is comparable to gasoline-fueled vehicles. According to a 2020 survey of fleet end users, respondents identified reduced emissions as one of the primary advantages of propane autogas vehicles with 87 percent reporting equal or better performance compared to diesel and gasoline. Additionally, 90 percent of orders for propane autogas vehicles in 2020 were for transit vehicles, delivery vehicles and school buses.

"We're proud to add Cherokee County to the growing list of paratransit fleets across this country that are operating with propane autogas,” Whaley said. “Cherokee County is prioritizing providing a safe, clean ride for their community while lowering their operating costs. It’s a win for environmental sustainability and a win for their financial sustainability.”

There are advertising opportunities on the three new vehicles with various size and duration options available. The county has partnered with Tri-State Communications to handle sales and design. For more information, contact Bill West at bill@wljaradio.com.

Chamber Names Lemonade Day Youth Entrepreneurs Of The Year

In wrapping up their participation in the National Lemonade Day program, the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce honored the top participants during the Chamber's October Good Morning Cherokee networking event. The Strawberry Sisters, best friends Elizabeth McCloskey and Ella Richmond, were named the Cherokee County Lemonade Day 2022 Youth Entrepreneurs of the Year. “The decision to honor Elizabeth and Ella was determined by a panel of judges who reviewed business results from a variety of Lemonade Day student entrepreneurs”, announced Chamber President & CEO Pam Carnes. “The business results included their goals along with how much they spent, saved and shared as well as why they participated and what they learned.”

The Cherokee County Lemonade Day 2022 Youth Entrepreneur of the Year award was sponsored by First Horizon Bank. “First Horizon was excited to support the Chamber and National Lemonade Day as financial literacy is extremely important to learn at a young age,” shared Sarah Gaither, First Horizon Bank Vice President, and Branch Manager. The winners have been invited to visit First Horizon for a tour to learn more about banking for their future business endeavors. They also received individual certificates, a team trophy, a cash prize, and bicycles. One bike was provided by the National Lemonade Day organization while an anonymous donor contributed the second since the girls were partners in their business.

A well-established global national youth entrepreneurship program, Lemonade Day taught leadership and business skills by encouraging students to launch a lemonade business in their community. Since 2007, more than 1 million students have learned about business ownership by participating in Lemonade Day.

Homeless Veteran Program launches Holiday Adopt a Veteran Program

The Cherokee County Homeless Veteran Program, along with American Legion Auxiliary Unit 45, is pleased to announce the kickoff of the Cherokee County “Adopt a Veteran” program for the 8 th year.

With inflation and the remnants of the COVID situation that has gripped our community and the issues surrounding rental evictions and rental increases, we are glad again to have this program for this holiday season, according to Jim Lindenmayer, Director of the Cherokee County Homeless Veteran program. “Our first focus is on providing for Veterans with families who are financially challenged, disabled, or homeless and our second focus is on our elderly Veterans. It is our goal to make sure that every Veteran has an opportunity to have a great Christmas this year.” The 2021 Adopt a Vet program saw us having to reduce the size and scope of our annual program as we were unable to visit those Veterans who were living in one of the 18 Sr. living facilities in Cherokee County due to COVID. We were, however, able to have our Breakfast with Santa where Veterans in the Adopt a Vet program were able to come and share some Christmas Spirit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. This year we would like to expand our program further so that we can make sure we are reaching the maximum number of Veterans who can be helped through this program, mentioned Betty Lewis President of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 45. We will be working with the counties senior adult living facilities and nursing homes to see what if anything we can do for the Veterans living in these facilities for the holidays as they have been isolated due to COVID. We are still on track to have our Breakfast with Santa event scheduled to be held Saturday, December 3rd from 9:30 to 1 at Canton American Legion Post located at 160 McClure Street in Canton. The breakfast is free and all Veterans are welcome to come and share some holiday cheer with other Veterans and their families.

If you know of a Veteran family that is in need, know of an elderly Veteran living alone, or you or your group would like to support the “Adopt a Veteran” program, please contact Jim Lindenmayer directly at jlindenmayer80@gmail.com or at 678.983.7590. Additionally, you can call or text Betty Lewis, of the American Legion Post 45 Auxiliary, at 770-318-6451.

Technology Ridge Parkway Groundbreaking

Cherokee County will break ground for Phase 1 of the Technology Ridge Parkway transportation project Friday, Oct. 7.

The Technology Ridge Parkway transportation project is a collaboration between Cherokee County, the City of Canton, and the Cherokee Office of Economic Development, and a funding partnership with the State Road and Tollway Authority.

In April, Cherokee County was awarded a $1 million grant and a $2.9 million loan through the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank.

The project is expected to spur corporate and industry development bringing more jobs to Cherokee County. The new thoroughfare, when complete, will provide easier access from the airport to the businesses in the area.

WWII Veteran Honored with Memorial Highway Dedication

This Saturday, October 1, join the family and friends of Roger William Cavender, U.S. Army veteran of World War II and Bronze Star recipient, to commemorate the naming of the Roger W. Cavender Memorial Highway, connecting his birthplace of Pickens County with Cherokee County where, upon returning home from the war, he built his home on a hill overlooking the highway now bearing his name. Before the Great Depression swept through the nation and Roger was forced to quit school in the fifth grade to help support his family, he walked to school in Nelson from his family farm on that same hill and through the same woods his namesake highway now traverses. Upon his passing in 1998, Roger was laid to rest on that same hill in the Fairview Baptist Church Cemetery, where he was a long-time deacon. In addition to being a distinguished veteran and dedicated deacon, Roger was also a loving husband, father, and grandfather. With the love of his life, Mildred, he raised two sons: Larry and Tim. Larry is a military veteran, retired teacher, and freelance writer and author. Tim served as Public Information Officer for Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services and is often better known as Santa Tim. The Roger W. Cavender Memorial Highway is the portion of State Highway 372 which connects Highway 575/515 to Old Highway 5 between Ball Ground and Nelson. State Representative Wes Cantrell introduced the resolution to honor Roger during the 2022 legislative session. State Representative and Transportation Chair Rick Jasperse then ushered the resolution through the committee process; the resolution was passed and signed by Governor Brian Kemp in May. The community is cordially invited to attend the dedication ceremony scheduled for Saturday, October 1 at 2:00 p.m. The ceremony, which will include several local dignitaries in addition to the Cavender family, will be held at the ‘Salt Barn’ located near the eastern terminus of the road. Due to limited onsite parking, a reception will be held immediately following the ceremony at Ball Ground United Methodist Church. In the event of inclement weather, the dedication ceremony will take place at Ball Ground United Methodist Church at 3:00 p.m. ahead of the planned reception.

Cherokee County Board highlights Sept. 20 meeting

Eight local nonprofits are a step closer to receiving a bolstering of funds following an affirmative vote by the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners.

The Board unanimously approved awarding more than $2.8 million to local nonprofits as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The county issued a Request for Proposals and received 29 project requests from 13 nonprofit agencies. The requests totaled $20.3 million.

District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter made the motion to approve awarding the nearly $3 million at the Sept. 20 meeting, which was seconded by District 1 Commissioner Steve West.

This initial disbursement is nearly half of the $6 million in ARPA funds allocated for homelessness and community support services.

Proposals were required to be for capital projects from $25,000 to $1 million, and many submissions included requests for items considered repairs and maintenance, which would not qualify as a capital project.

The successful proposals include $700,000 to the Goshen Valley Foundation for the purchase of a medical building; $588,600 to Bethesda Medical to transition to a hybrid clinic; $500,000 to the Canton Housing Authority for the demolition and abatement of old buildings; $379,980 to Goodwill of North Georgia to purchase welding and forklift training simulators; $330,812 to Heritage Presbyterian Church for construction of a portico, ADA accessibility and security monitoring at their food pantry; $160,072 to Next Step Ministries to purchase a bus for wheelchair access for three; $110,000 to the YMCA to

repurpose tennis courts for other activities; and $78,000 to the Boys & Girls Club for controlled door access, smoke detectors and occupancy sensors.

The next step for the nonprofits to receive the allocated funds is to enter into memorandums of understanding, which will require approval by the Board of Commissioners.

During the Sept. 20, the Board also:

· Presented a proclamation for Fire Prevention Week, which is Oct. 9-15, 2022.

· Approved, 5-0, the 2023 Board of Commissioners meeting schedule, which has been slightly modified due to federal holidays. The January meetings will be changed to Jan. 10 and Jan. 24. The July 4 meeting will be cancelled. The remaining meetings will be held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. Chairman Harry Johnston made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Postponed, 5-0, a settlement agreement with Scenic Summit Partners. The County received changes late in the day Sept. 20, and needed some additional time to review. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by District 2 Commissioner Richard Weatherby.

· Approved, 5-0, after adding the item to the agenda, a 40-day moratorium on applications for warehouse facilities, like self-storage, outdoor storage and RV storage, while staff reviews ordinances. Warehouse facilities that are secondary to the overall business are exempt from the moratorium. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, the minutes from the work session, executive session and regular meeting from Sept. 6. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by District 4 Commissioner Corey Ragsdale.

· Held a public hearing for modification of zoning conditions for Boardwalk Storage-Killian’s LLC and Boardwalk Storage-Univeter Road, LLC. One person spoke. The item was postponed with a 5-0 vote. Commissioner West made the motion to postpone, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

· Held a public hearing regarding a request to rezone 34.632 acres from Agriculture to Agriculture with conditions for a pilot project for development of a minor/rural subdivision with five lots. Commissioner West made the motion to approve, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby. The applicant was the only person to speak. A condition was added that the owner could not ask the county to take over the private streets for 10 years.

· Held a public hearing on the 2023 budget. One person spoke. A vote will be taken at the Oct. 4 meeting.

· Held a public hearing related to modification of zoning conditions for Scenic Summit Partners LLLP. Several people spoke with many requesting a roundabout at East Cherokee Drive and Little Shoals Drive. The Board postponed the vote until the Oct. 4 meeting. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

· Approved, 5-0, with two separate votes two special use permits (SUP) requested by Rocky’s Lake Estate for a special event facility and non-scheduled chartered passenger air transportation at 2700 Cox Road. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion to approve the SUP for the special event facility and 12 conditions, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. Commissioner

Weatherby made the motion to approve the SUP for the non-scheduled chartered passenger air transportation with 14 conditions, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, Southwyck Homes’ request to rezone 70.23 acres at 747 Arnold Mill Road from Agriculture to R-40 for a single-family residential development with 57 homes. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

· Approved, 5-0, the consent agenda, including: calling for a public hearing for St. Agnes Foundation of North Georgia Angel House, Inc. on Oct. 18 related to removal of zoning conditions; a facility use agreement with 112 Events for the drive-through holiday lights event at Veterans Park; acceptance of a permanent conservation easement revision for 197.97 acres for the Soleil at Belmont Conservation Design Community; a waiver of conflict between Cherokee County and Jarrard & Davis, Forsyth County, Fulton County and the city of Milton related to a rezoning case for a development known as the Puckett assemblage project; surplus of miscellaneous office furniture and equipment for the Clerk of Courts; surplus of an obsolete Ricoh copier/scanner on behalf of Fleet Services; a lease extension amendment with Canon Business Solutions for the county’s multifunction copiers totaling $119,325; and the renewal of the maintenance agreement for the LogVault system from the sole source provider TIBCO in the amount of $36,185 from IT Capital. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.

· Approved, 5-0, the proposal from Travelers for the FY23 insurance coverage for property/casualty and liability insurance. The total premium amount is $1.8 million. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

· Approved, 5-0, a professional services agreement with Woodstock-based Piedmont Real Estate Group for real estate brokerage services. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, a right-of-way negotiations fee schedule with Atlas Technical Consultants for the Trickum Road at Ga. 92 intersection improvement project. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Postponed with a 5-0 vote a development agreement with Mark Sixbilt Homes, Inc. to provide for roadway improvements on East Cherokee Drive in concert with the subdivision by Chatham Homes on property currently owned by Scenic Summit Partners. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, amendment one to the construction services agreement with Pencor Construction for additional services for the Charlie Ferguson Community Center. The cost is $318,899. The project is being paid for with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and Community Development Block Grant funds. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, the second amendment to the agreement with Keck & Wood, Inc. to prepare concept drawings for the proposed improvements identified in the Old Highway 5 Corridor Traffic Study. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

· Approved, 5-0, a standard construction agreement with Abuck, Inc. for an addition to Fire Station No. 32, located at Lower Birmingham Road and Sugar Pike Road. The construction includes adding sleeping quarters and PPE storage. The bays will remain at this time. The cost is

$1.8 million with a county-controlled contingency of $185,150. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, a purchase agreement with the Cherokee County School District totaling $600,000 for property on Hunt Road for a park that is part of the Southwest Cherokee Parks and Trails Plan, as well as the Old Tippens School property. The purchase is being made with SPLOST funds. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter

· Approved, 5-0, the purchase of one used Ford F-150 for the Sheriff’s Office and a budget transfer of $44,885 for the cost of the vehicle. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

Cherokee County Board of Commissioners present 2023 Budget

The fiscal year 2023 budget was presented during the Sept. 6 work session showing an overall decrease of about $26.1 million. The total budget, including operations, fire, and capital projects, is $361.4 million.

Cherokee County’s budget year runs Oct. 1-Sept. 30. A public hearing on the budget is planned for Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. with final approval expected at the Oct. 4 Board of Commissioners meeting.

The overall decrease in operating expenditures is attributed to a decrease in use of American Rescue Plan Act funds the county has been utilizing for just over a year.

The budget is based on the millage rates passed in July, which include maintenance and operations at 4.995 mills, fire district at 2.984 mills and parks bond at 0.354 mills. The Board of Commissioners lowered all the rates this summer, keeping Cherokee County as one of the lowest millage rates in metro Atlanta next to Fayette and Forsyth counties. Cherokee County is one of only three counties in Georgia, including Cobb and Gwinnett counties, without a Local Option Sales Tax, used to offset property taxes. With a LOST, Cherokee’s maintenance and operations rate would be 1.953 mills.

The maintenance and operations rate funds the general fund, fire district funds fire service operations, and the parks bond millage rate is a debt service rate used to pay back the $90 million voter-approved parks bond from 2007.

Of the total operations budget, 73 percent funds public safety and judicial and 16 percent funds general administration. The remaining percentages fund public works, housing and development, culture and recreation, and health and welfare.

The general fund budget is proposed at $138 million and utilizes $6.3 million from reserves. The finance department projects the county will end the 2023 fiscal year with $58 million in its reserves. The fire fund is proposed at $45.6 million and uses $1 million from reserves, with projections to end the 2023 fiscal year with $11.5 million in reserves.

The budget increase is being driven by market inflation, which is what is being seen in jurisdictions across metro Atlanta, the County’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Marquis told the Board.

The EMS fund is showing a 6 percent increase, the EMS fund is funded 51 percent by General Fund transfers. The Board has previously discussed raising EMS rates to lessen the burden on the General Fund, allowing it to be paid for by those who use the service. Marquis told the Board that is something to which the county needs to pay attention.

Other notable highlights from the finance department include income from Title Ad Valorem Tax. That revenue line item is trending downward, which Marquis says reflects the difficulty in the car industry and fewer people purchasing new vehicles.

The capital projects fund, funded by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and impact fees, pays for equipment and facilities like sheriff’s office patrol cars and equipment, parks facilities, roads and road maintenance, and stormwater projects. The proposed capital funds budget totals $93.9 million. Marquis showed a breakdown of the various SPLOST accounts and what remains. SPLOST V (collection period 2006-12) has about $1.2 million remaining and is allocated for library building expansion, software for the fire department and projects and equipment for roads and bridges. SPLOST 2012 (collection period 2012-18) has about $5 million remaining, which includes library building expansion, road construction and airport construction. SPLOST 2018 (collection period 2018-2024) has about $80 million remaining. Those funds are allocated to road construction, fire stations, fire vehicles and ambulances, law enforcement vehicles and a K-9 office/new precinct, the Charlie Ferguson Community Center in North Canton, airport expansion and IT improvements. A portion of the Justice Center expansion is also included in SPLOST 2018.

City of Canton Changes Sanitation Service Provider

Let it go to Waste Pro! On Oct. 1, the City of Canton will change from the current sanitation services provider to Waste Pro for trash and recycling.

 

Waste cart delivery will begin the week of Sept. 19. When you receive your new cart/s, please put them away and do not use until Oct. 1. The current sanitation services provider will NOT pick up any waste put in these carts.

Patriot Day Ceremony Set for September 9th

Cherokee County’s annual Patriot Day Ceremony will be held Friday, Sept. 9 at 8:30 a.m. in downtown Canton. This will be the 20th year of the annual ceremony, which will take place at the Public Safety Memorial at Rotary Park (between the historic courthouse and the Justice Center).

“Patriot Day is an opportunity for us to come together as a community and honor those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001,” said Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jay Baker, who led the planning committee this year. “We hope you can join us to commemorate this day as a community.”

The keynote speaker will be Cherokee County E 9-1-1 Director Shane Bonebrake. Director Bonebrake retired from the Woodstock Police Department in 2021 to lead the county’s E 9-1-1 Center that serves all public safety in Cherokee County. His 30 years in public safety includes director of EMS Services for Six Flags White Water, flight medic for Lifenet Georgia, narcotics and vice officer for the New Orleans Police Department, chief international flight medic for Worldwide Transport Services, a firefighter/paramedic for Rockdale County, a Rockdale County 911 dispatcher, Cherokee County firefighter/paramedic, a soldier in the U.S. Army (field, flight and ER medic) and several roles with the Woodstock Police Department.

This year’s event will feature music from the Cherokee High School Band of Warriors. Cherokee Fire Battalion Chief Cheri Collett will perform special music on the bagpipes. The Cherokee County Multi-Agency Honor Guard will present the colors, and Capt. Baker will serve as the event emcee.

Fire Chief Eddie Robinson began this Cherokee County tradition in 2002 to honor the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

The event is free and open to the public, and it is a rain or shine event.

Rotary Club of Canton to Present Annual Public Safety Appreciation Luncheon

The Rotary Club of Canton is inviting the community to help celebrate and honor public safety workers.

 

The club’s Fifth Annual Public Safety Appreciation Luncheon will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Northside Cherokee Conference Center at The Bluffs in Canton. 

 

The luncheon, which recognizes the community’s law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders, has not been held for the past two years due to the pandemic.  The annual event, which draws a large crowd of public safety workers, elected officials and business and community leaders, includes the presentation of special awards and a guest speaker.

 

“It’s our honor to recognize our community’s public safety heroes,” Club President Nicole Lawson said.  “We hope to see every seat filled for this special event to celebrate them and thank them for their service.”  

 

Sponsorships, which range from $250 to $5,000, by local businesses, organizations, families and individuals fund the cost of the event and help the club raise money for charitable activities in the community.  The club’s support for public safety workers is a longtime endeavor, including its establishment of the Cherokee County Public Safety Memorial at Rotary Park in downtown Canton.

 

Details about sponsorship levels and benefits are posted online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/5th-annual-public-safety-appreciation-luncheon-tickets-392051676117.  For more information, please email Rotarian Lewis Brooks at lewis.brooks@foundationiwm.com.

 

Hickory Flat Gym receives Preservation Award

History Cherokee recently awarded a Preservation Award to Cherokee County for its efforts in the restoration of the historic Hickory Flat Gymnasium.

History Cherokee held its annual Historic Preservation Awards Banquet on Thursday, Aug. 18 at the Cherokee County Conference Center on Bluffs Parkway in Canton to honor the preservation successes in the county from the previous year.

“The Historic Sites committee was impressed with the county's efforts not only to preserve the gym itself, such as the wood posts, bleachers and hardwood floors, but the extra steps they took to include the history of the Hickory Flat community as part of the renovation,” said History Cherokee Executive Director Stefanie Joyner. “By displaying historic photos and artifacts in the building, they are honoring the community and bringing life to the structure. Historic preservation isn't just about old buildings, it's also about the people who have inhabited and used them. The county did a wonderful job of preserving both the gym and the personal stories.”

In the summer of 2021, the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a construction agreement with Ward Humphrey, Inc. for $1.5 million to begin renovations on the gym that fall.

“The county was excited that the Cherokee County School District agreed to partner with us and lease us the gym, which allowed us to restore the building,” said Cherokee County Community Services Agency Director Bryan Reynolds. “The project not only preserves an important part of Hickory Flat and Cherokee

County’s history, but it also provides much needed recreation space for our residents. We look forward to preserving the building for many years to come and adding to the many stories.”

Updates to the building included structural improvements to the roof and floor, new utility services, ADA improvements for building access, restrooms and stage access, new HVAC, new roof, new cementitious board and batten siding and insulation, signage, and landscaping.

The updated facility reopened to the public in June of 2022 and currently hosts recreational programming like basketball, fitness programs, senior programs, camps, as well as special events and rentals. To learn more about the building or to inquire about hosting a special event, please contact Cherokee Recreation and Parks at (770) 924-7768 or www.playcherokee.org

Cherokee County SPLOST Renewal

The decision to extend the one cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax will move to the voters this November.

During a special called meeting July 28, the Board of Commissioners approved an intergovernmental agreement with all of Cherokee’s seven cities and a resolution to call for the Nov. 8 referendum.

“The referendum on the ballot in November is a request to continue an existing one cent sales tax. With the approval, Cherokee will remain one of just four Georgia counties with a total 6 percent sales tax rate. All others have 7 percent or more,” said Chairman Harry Johnston. “Projects funded with SPLOST dollars are essential, including local road improvements, public safety equipment and facilities. Without SPLOST, those expenses would have to shift and be paid for using property tax revenues, which would equal about 5 mills to garner the same amount of revenue.”

District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter made the motion to approve the IGA, which was seconded by District 1 Commissioner Steve West. The vote was 3-0. District 2 Commissioner Richard Weatherby and District 4 Commissioner Corey Ragsdale were absent.

The Board also approved a required resolution to call for the referendum. Commissioner West made the motion to approve the resolution, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The vote was 3-0.

The current SPLOST will not expire until June of 2024, however, the Board of Commissioners opted to call for the referendum a year early to avoid a special election, which would be an additional cost.

The SPLOST renewal is expected to bring in a total of $438.2 million. The Courthouse Annex project will be allocated first as a Tier 1 project, estimated to cost about $74 million. The remaining $364.2 million will be divided among all jurisdictions based on 2022 population and a 5 percent growth in receipts. Cherokee County’s allotment would be $238.1 million, and the cities would divide $126.1 million for their projects.

Cherokee County Chamber Names Volunteer Of The Quarter

The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Will Anderson, Field Representative with U.S. Congressman Barry Loudermilk’s Office, has been named the Chairman's Council Volunteer of the Quarter for second quarter 2022. He was honored during the Chamber's August Good Morning Cherokee networking event.

Members of the Chairman’s Council are accepted by invitation only from the Chamber's Board Chair. The Chairman’s Council members are invited to attend Ribbon Cuttings & Ground Breakings, Coffee & Connections…For New Members and special invitation Chamber meetings that aren’t open to the general membership.

In determining the Volunteer of the Quarter, attendance at Chamber events is evaluated for all members of the Chairman's Council. "Will is a dedicated Chamber volunteer, and we appreciate the time he has devoted this year," said Brian Stevens, Chamber Board Chair and CEO & Co-Owner of FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers.

For information on the Cherokee County Chamber and its programs, visit www.CherokeeChamber.com.

Legendary North Georgia Broadcaster Dies

Beloved local radio personality and Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame member Byron Lamar Dobbs of Canton died peacefully on Thursday, July 28, 2022, at the age of 86.

Known as the “Voice of Cherokee,” the Woodstock native and lifelong Cherokee County resident had a long and distinguished career of more than 65 years in radio broadcasting that began in 1957 at WCHK radio station in Canton soon after his graduation from Cherokee High School.

After spending 40 years at WCHK, 35 of those as station manager, Byron, as he was affectionately known throughout North Georgia, became a partner and owner in 1998 at WLJA radio station and Tri-State Communications in Jasper where he worked until 2021.

“Byron loved the radio business and he loved teaching other people about the industry. I will be forever grateful to him for being my mentor, my friend, and my business partner over the past 25 years. He, his voice, and his wisdom will be missed dearly,” Tri-State Communications President and CEO Randy Gravley said.

Byron is fondly remembered by the community as the voice on the radio that kept listeners informed of the latest news, election coverage, deaths, and other important events of the day. He was also beloved as the announcer for local high school sports.

“I clearly remember the first time I heard Byron Dobbs on the radio. It was 1964, I was 12 years old, and my family was new to Canton. I was camping out behind my house with a new friend who had brought a transistor radio. Byron’s strong and distinctive voice made an immediate impression on me, as it did on everyone who heard it. I enjoyed hearing it for 58 years,” Cherokee County Commission Chair Harry Johnston said. Johnston also praised Dobb’s commitment to the community and love of Cherokee County.

“I was also honored to get to know Byron personally. He was an important community leader, through his radio work and his huge network of relationships. But his greatest legacy is that he was the finest example of a true gentleman I’ve ever known. I’ll never live up to his model, but I’ll always aspire to it,” Johnston said.

In 2017, Dobbs was awarded the prestigious First Citizen by the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce for his unselfish and devoted lifetime of service to Cherokee County and its residents. He also received the Lamar Haley Community Service Award from the Rotary Club of Canton that year.

“Byron Dobbs was more than a voice on a radio dial. He was a friend to many, even the people he never met who dubbed him their trusted newsman and would recognize his voice to this day. He was a historian who reported on stories over 65 years in radio that brought smiles to listeners’ faces while others evoked tears,” Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce President Pam Carnes said. “It goes without saying that Cherokee County is quite different than when Byron’s career began, yet our community will never again be the same as the man behind the microphone has signed off for the last time.”

Byron was inducted into the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame in 2018 and was its first member from the contributor category for his work broadcasting local high school sports on the radio.

On the state level, he received numerous awards and recognitions including Georgia Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcaster of the Year, and a member of the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Long-time friend and Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston remembered Dobbs fondly. “I have had the great pleasure of knowing and having the friendship of Byron Dobbs for some 60 years. Byron spread cheer wherever he went. He enjoyed his friends, he loved being a radio guy and he loved the Cherokee County community like no one else. There will never be another like him, but I count it as a blessing that he was part of my life and that of so many others.” Ralston said..

In his illustrious career, Byron achieved many accomplishments, including being a main contributor and subject of the book, “The Glory Days of WCHK”, and a partner in Tri-State Communications Inc., Exponent Broadcasting, and Dobbs and Cline Consulting. He interviewed elected officials including President Jimmy Carter and celebrities such as NASCAR driver Bill Elliott, performers Kenny Rogers, Conway Twitty and Minnie Pearl and was the first to chart country artist Travis Tritt.

Active in the community, Byron was a member of the Board of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, member of the Cherokee County Historical Society, Sequoyah Regional Library Board, Emeritus Director of the Cherokee Sports Hall of Fame, honorary member of Ellijay Rotary Club, A-Day for Reinhardt University Committee, Cherokee Clean & Beautiful Commission, and organizer of the Easter Community Sunrise Service at Cherokee Memorial Park. Dobbs also served in the Georgia National Guard.

Dobbs was honored with the Daughters of the American Revolution Excellence in Community Service Award, with a Cherokee County proclamation for Byron Dobbs Day, Byron Dobbs Day in the City of Canton, Georgia House of Representatives Resolution for Distinguished Career, Georgia Senate Bill commending his Community Leadership, and the Georgia State School Board’s Beacon Award.

 Dobbs is survived by several nieces and nephews.  

Sosebee Funeral Home of Canton is in charge of the funeral arrangements. Visitation will be held Friday, July 29th from 4-8 P.M. and Saturday, July 30th from 2-7 P.M. The funeral service will be held Sunday July 31st at 3 P.M. at the Sosebee Funeral Home Chapel. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Cherokee County Historical Society at historycherokee.org/donate or mailed to History Cherokee, P.O. Box 1287, Canton, GA 30169.

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