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Local News

Cherokee County Announces 2023 Resurfacing Project Starting April 3

Cherokee County is set to improve road conditions in several subdivisions this spring as part of the 2023 Resurfacing Project.

Work for the 2023 Resurfacing Project is set to begin April 3, with roads scheduled to be resurfaced in 10 different subdivisions, including Orange Shoals, North Lake, Tamarack, Crabapple Springs, Westridge, Copper Creek, Emerald Forrest, Town Lake Hills North, BridgeMill and Kingston Square.

“Resurfacing work typically lasts about two weeks per road or per subdivision,” said Jim Wilgus, Cherokee County SPLOST Roadway Project Manager. “We ask that motorists allow for extra time and patience and to obey all work zone signage for their safety and the safety of all those in the work zone.”

In a unanimous vote at the March 21 Board of Commissioners meeting, Commissioners awarded a $3.21 million contract to Bartow Paving Company to resurface 13.67 miles of county-maintained roadways.

Funding for the 2023 Resurfacing Program comes from local Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds and Georgia Department of Transportation funds. GDOT awarded Cherokee County about $2.4 million through the Local Maintenance Improvement Grant (LMIG) program for road resurfacing with the remaining $763,000 being paid for with SPLOST funds.

“Cherokee County is committed to maintaining safe and efficient roadways for its residents and visitors,” said Cherokee County Community Development Director Brantley Day. “The 2023 Resurfacing Project is an important step toward achieving this goal, and the county appreciates the cooperation and patience of motorists during the construction process.”

The resurfacing projects are subject to change depending on weather and other unforeseen factors. Resurfacing work is expected to take place Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., until the projects are complete. The project is estimated to be complete in the fall of 2023.

Veteran Home Repair Program Set to Launch Again

Habitat for Humanity-North Central Georgia (Habitat-NCG), along with the Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program and John Creek Veterans Association (JCVA), are kicking off their 2023 Veteran Home Repair program for Cherokee, North Fulton, Dawson, Forsyth Counties.


This collaboration between organizations has assisted Veteran homeowners with needed home repairs, HVAC replacements, roofs, mobility ramps and other modifications to local Veteran homeowners for several years. The projects are often funded using various grant funds and private donations such as Community Block Development grants, Home Depot Foundation, Atlanta Regional Commission and Veteran Home Repair and Modification grants for qualified Veteran homeowners.


Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program, which is currently a subunit of the Canton American Legion Post 45, typically focuses on ramps and minor repairs while Habitat-NCG provides a more holistic approach that includes HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Roofing, and more intensive bathroom modifications and ramps. When the work is complete, no matter the scope, each Veteran homeowner is able to continue to live in safety and security, regain dignity, and age in place.


Veterans who are interested in applying for the program, plugging in as a volunteer, or working to advocate for Veterans locally, may contact Jim Lindenmayer at with CCHVP or Keith Bogle at with JCVA & Habitat-NCG. Corporate sponsors should reach out to Sabrina Kirkland with Habitat-NCG at

City of Woodstock Announces Bryce Leatherwood Concert

The City of Woodstock and Carriage Kia of Woodstock announce a special performance by local singer/songwriter Bryce Leatherwood in his hometown on Friday, August 25, 2023, in the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Amphitheater in Downtown Woodstock.

Bryce Leatherwood was born and raised in Woodstock, and this is where his passion for music began. Traditional country music by artists like George Jones, Merle Haggard, and Conway Twitty inspired Bryce to become a guitarist and singer/songwriter. He formed a band while attending Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. In December 2022, Leatherwood was crowned winner of NBC’s The Voice. Once Bryce made it to the finals on The Voice, local fans began reaching out to the City of Woodstock to request a local concert appearance.

“After several months under wraps, I am so excited to announce this special event to celebrate Woodstock’s hometown hero and “The Voice” winner Bryce Leatherwood,” said Mayor Michael Caldwell. “I can't wait to see each of you and your families in the amphitheater this August with Bryce for a show that I know Woodstock won’t soon forget!”

Presenting Sponsor Carriage Kia of Woodstock is a full-service dealer offering new Kia vehicles, used cars, service and parts in Woodstock that aims to make every customer feel like a part of the Carriage Automotive Group family. “Carriage Kia Woodstock is proud to sponsor the special homecoming celebration concert of Woodstock’s own, 2022 winner of The Voice, Bryce Leatherwood!” said Principal Owner David Basha.

Information on accommodations is available at

More information about the event will be published on and

Cherokee Recreation and Parks announces Easter celebrations

Cherokee Recreation and Parks will be hosting a variety of events to celebrate the Easter holiday.

“We’re excited to kick off the spring season hosting these Easter-themed events at these Cherokee Recreation and Parks locations,” said Cherokee County Recreation and Park Director Jay Worley. “We strive to provide a family-friendly destination where guests of all ages can enjoy our special events and a place where visitors can experience the very best of what Cherokee County has to offer.”

On Wednesday, March 29, Lewis Park, will host a Hiking Scavenger Hunt starting at 6 p.m. The Easter-themed event, located at 200 East Bells Ferry Road in Woodstock, costs $10 per participant, and registration is open to March 27. Participants of all ages are welcome to hop through the trails of Lewis Park, but minors must be accompanied by an adult. To register, contact Adam Fussell at

For a unique twist on a traditional Easter Egg Hunt, Cherokee Veterans Park Playground located at 7345 Cumming Highway in Canton, will host a Flashlight Egg Hunt on Friday, March 31, starting at 6 p.m. Attendees can explore the Kid Zone, make and take crafts, dance to music, and enjoy craft and food vendors while waiting for the Easter Bunny to arrive. Children can participate in an egg hunt separated by age group starting at 8:30 p.m. The event costs $10 per child, and cash is preferred. For more information, contact Jessica Ascenzo at or 770-501-8002.

Finally, the Cherokee County Aquatic Center, located at 1200 Wellstar Way in Canton, will host its annual Eggs-traordinary Extravaganza on Saturday, April 8. Children aged three and under can

participate in an egg hunt on the lawn from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., while children aged four to 12 can participate in an underwater egg hunt. The event will include a bounce house, crafts, face painting, raffles and more. The cost is $15 per child and time slots must be reserved for the egg hunt at Attendees are encouraged to bring a camera to take pictures with the Easter Bunny.

All outdoor events are subject to cancellation due to inclement weather.

For more information on these events, please visit Cherokee Recreation and Parks' website at

Canton City Council Adopts Resolution in Opposition to HB 514 and HB 517

During the March 2 City Council Meeting, The Mayor and Council of the City of Canton adopted a resolution seeking to keep local control over design standards, development fees, zoning regulations, and decisions related to development moratoriums at the level of government closest to the citizens most impacted.  

"Current legislation circulating at the State Capitol (HB 514 and HB 517) would eliminate local powers related to development and building standards and regulations," explained City Manager Billy Peppers. "These bills would strip enforcement of decisions made through public processes at the City level in an effort to make homebuilding more profitable and faster for builders. This move for profit and productivity comes at the cost of public health, public safety, and citizen input related to the styles and standards of residential projects to be built on neighboring properties."

Canton Mayor Bill Grant added to Peppers' sentiments, "Our citizens rely on their local government to control housing standards, quality of development, and the character of our community. House Bills 514 and 517 would undermine the Mayor and Council's control of maintenance and zoning standards in our city and, therefore, give developers an upper hand."

Among some of the items these bills seek to remove from local control include standards related to building materials, minimum lot sizes, minimum square footage requirements for residential units, and minimum requirements for road frontage for the development of a lot. Eliminating these controls removes local character from design, inhibits safety on public roadways, and impacts the property values of existing residents in favor of profiting national builders.

"Legislation similar to these current bills have come before the House and Senate Committees in prior years, but at this time, builder lobbyists are seizing on current conditions in the housing market to back their claims that these local controls impact the ability to get product on the market," said Peppers. "The legislation as presented would not only allow builders to develop unchecked, but to their taste, their standards, and their styles with no input from the local communities impacted by their development."

The City Council will transmit the attached resolution to the local delegation and encourage concerned residents to reach out to the members of the House and Senate to voice their opinions on this preemptive legislation.

"We encourage our citizens to contact their local legislators and join us in our resolution that opposes these misguided bills," said Grant. "It is imperative we send a strong message that local building standards should always be controlled at the local level in partnership with citizens and their elected officials and not by lobbyists representing developers."


Resolution (link here:


House Bill 514 (link here:

House Bill 517 (link here:

Recent Homeless outreach identifies over 700 homeless in Cherokee County

the local Veterans organizations and local non-profits conducted a non-HUD sanctioned unsheltered count of the homeless within Cherokee County during the dates of February 28 and March 1, 2023.

“This is a Cherokee County-wide event and we are worked with other veteran and non-veteran organizations outreach teams to help identify our fellow citizens who are living on the street, in their vehicles, or living in conditions that would qualify them as homeless by HUD and VA standards,” noted Jim Lindenmayer. Marianne Butler, Director of the Homeless Coalition of Cherokee County, stated “We are honored to join with these Veteran groups to assist in this effort. These efforts help to further identify the acute needs of those experiencing homelessness in our community enabling us to better offer both relief and recovery services as a bridge to restoration.”

The Veteran organizations participating in the homeless count for Cherokee County include American Legion Post 45 in Canton, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 45 in Canton, VFW Post 5262 in Canton, Canton First United Methodist Veterans, the Marine Corps League of Woodstock, VET Buds, and teams from the Homeless Coalition of Cherokee County joined with these Veteran groups to assist with the PIT count.

This year in January, the national Point in Time Count was conducted focused on sheltered homeless, as we also participated in this annual count, however the national HUD report to Congress dated December 2022,, pointed out some data from the 2021 unsheltered count that we needed to verify noted Lindenmayer such as:

· Among largely rural Continuum of Care (COCs), Hawaii Balance of State and Georgia Balance of State had the highest percentages of veterans experiencing unsheltered homelessness (82% and 81%). Cherokee County is part of the Georgia Balance of State.

· Cherokee County ranks #2 in total homeless persons in the Balance of State. Bibb County ranks #1. We don’t have updated results to see if we now surpass Bibb

· Veterans were less likely than all people experiencing homelessness to be in major cities (47% vs. 50%). Rural counties like Cherokee is where we are seeing more homeless Veterans coming to us as we have a viable program to help them

These facts along with the recent Homeless Study recently published by Cherokee County lead us again to hit the streets to find out how many are actually homeless.

Donations sought for Some Bunny Special Program

Ahead of the Easter holiday, Cherokee Recreation and Parks is asking for donations of pre-filled Easter baskets for local children in need.

“As part of our Some Bunny Special Program, we reach out to the community each year to ask for assistance in helping the Easter Bunny gift baskets to these local kids in need,” said Cherokee Recreation and Parks Marketing and Community Outreach Coordinator Jessica Hallman.

Requested items for the baskets include Easter-themed candy, coloring books, crayons, colored pencils, socks, puzzles, stuffed animals, toy Easter Eggs and Easter themed books for children ages 1 through 12. Donations of handmade or purchased baskets are welcome, and pre-filled baskets may be wrapped in clear plastic.

Cherokee Recreation and Parks will accept the baskets starting Wednesday, March 1 through Friday, April 7. Baskets can be dropped off at the Cherokee Recreation and Parks South Annex location at 7545 Main Street, building 200 in Woodstock, the Cherokee County Aquatic Center located at 1200 Wellstar Way in Canton and the L.B. “Buzz” Ahrens Recreation Center located at 7345 Cumming Highway in Canton. Drop off times are Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. All candy must be sealed in its original packaging and baskets are to be pre-filled before drop-off.

The program, which has been in effect for 11 years, serves on average more than 500 children through partnerships with several local non-profit organizations.

“This year, we will be partnering with the Children’s Haven to bring Easter baskets to local children in the foster care system,” said Cherokee Recreation and Parks Director Jay Worley. “It is humbling to see how the community rises to the occasion each year to bring Easter to these kids.”

For additional information about the Some Bunny Special program, contact Cherokee Recreation and Parks at 770-924-7768.

City of Canton Designated as City of Civility by Georgia Municipal Association

The City of Canton has been designated as a City of Civility by the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA). The City adopted a civility resolution in GMA’s new Embrace Civility program during the Feb. 2, 2023, Council Meeting; Canton is the third city in Georgia to make this commitment.


A 2019 poll by Weber Shandwick revealed that over 90% percent of Americans believe that incivility is a problem, with nearly 68% percent identifying it as a major problem. Civility is more than just politeness; it is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions and teaching others to do the same. 


"Consistent with our Roadmap for Success tenet of Leading with Excellence, I am extremely proud Canton was one of the first cities in Georgia to adopt a resolution to become a City of Civility,” said Mayor Bill Grant. “As we continue to build upon our successes, we must always remember that all people in our community have the right to be treated with respect, courtesy, and openness – especially when we disagree. In a world increasingly defined by divisive rhetoric, civility is essential in our journey to becoming a kinder and stronger community."


GMA, in partnership with the Association’s nonprofit organization, Georgia City Solutions, created the Embrace Civility program to equip Georgia’s cities with resources to create more civility in their meetings and among their residents and meeting attendees. Civil behavior and speech are critically important to a healthy, functional, and respectful society. For public service to be effective, there must be an atmosphere of respect and tolerance and a commitment to a healthy public exchange of diverse ideas and viewpoints. 


“I commend the City of Canton for embracing civility and adopting the resolution to become a GMA City of Civility,” said GMA CEO and Executive Director Larry Hanson. “We believe that Georgia’s cities have a great platform to model open, free, and vigorous debate, while maintaining the highest standards of civility, honesty, and mutual respect.”


To become a City of Civility, city councils are required to adopt a Civility Resolution and pledge to engage in civil behavior with each other as well as with residents and meeting attendees. Cities also have a civility pledge that can be published or recited at meetings. Learn more about the Embrace Civility program at

Cherokee County and Cities Collaborate on Sixes Road Area Plan

Cherokee County and the cities of Holly Springs and Woodstock are coming together to plan for future development near the Sixes Road interchange at Interstate 575.

The nearly 100 acres located in the southeast quadrant of the interchange are prime for strong commercial and employment nodes for the community but lacks accessibility. The land is divided among the two cities and the county jurisdictions, and all three governmental entities’ comprehensive land use plans show the parcels as regional center/employment.

Instead of piecemeal development, city and county leaders want to take a collaborative look and plan together to ensure quality development of the area and lessen the impact of traffic congestion.

Holly Springs and Cherokee County have approved separate moratoriums on development applications and permits for the area as a joint area plan is developed.

The Board of Commissioners approved a 45-day moratorium Feb. 7, and Holly Springs approved a 40-day moratorium Feb. 6. Woodstock is expected to approve a 30-day emergency moratorium on Feb. 13 and then a six-month moratorium that requires two readings on Feb. 13 and Feb. 27. The Holly Springs and Cherokee County moratoriums can be extended by a vote of each elected board. Cherokee County will hold a public hearing on the moratorium on March 21.

While the moratoriums are in effect, county and city planners will review land use and zoning districts for the area, creating the area plan that will highlight what leaders envision for the

more than 30 parcels. County Community Development Agency Director Brantley Day said a transportation improvement plan also is slated for creation.

“This quadrant of the Sixes Road and I-575 interchange has tremendous potential for a regional development that will enhance the entire area,” said District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter, who represents the area. “I am pleased that the County, Holly Springs and Woodstock are joining together to plan for the development of this area. I look forward to the completed plan in the near future, as we work to realize the full potential of this area.”

“This joint planning effort is just one more example of our cities and county working together more effectively than ever before,” said Woodstock Mayor Michael Caldwell. “The area under discussion represents a vital crossroads between Woodstock, Holly Springs, and Cherokee County with a tremendous opportunity to become a long-range, planned jobs center for the south end of our county, and I’m grateful to see our leaders setting a strong foundation for the future.”

“Because of the location and multiple governmental entities involved as well as the impact future development will have on the daily lives of our residents, it is imperative that we work together with Cherokee County and the City of Woodstock to temporarily pause development and master plan this property,” said Holly Springs Mayor Steven Miller.

Chairman Harry Johnston delivers State of the County

More than 300 people attended the State of the County event hosted by the Council for Quality Growth at the Northside Hospital Cherokee Conference Center in Canton Jan. 25.

The program featured Cherokee Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Hightower, Cherokee Office of Economic Development President Misti Martin, and Cherokee County Commission Chairman Harry Johnston. Event sponsors Northside Hospital and VHB also gave remarks.

Johnston’s State of the County Address focused on the natural gifts in the community, as well as its great manmade resources, infrastructure and plans for the future. His focus: To keep and keep making Cherokee County the best place in the world to live, by gradually reducing the growth rate over the next 30 years and catching up on transportation infrastructure, while continuing to be one of the most fiscally responsible counties in the region.

Cherokee has the lowest Board of Commissioners controlled tax rates in the Atlanta Regional Commission, the second lowest expenditures per capita and the second lowest long-term debt.

Johnston highlighted the strong public safety network in Cherokee, including the Sheriff’s Office, which has the gold standard of advanced accreditation with excellence from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Less than 5 percent of agencies nationwide are accredited.

Cherokee Fire and Emergency Services, over its nearly 25-year journey from all volunteer to a county-provided service, is only 35 firefighters away and one station from full initial buildout. All firefighters are medically trained at least to the EMT level, with a more highly trained paramedic on most fire trucks on most shifts. The county boasts an Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating of 2, making homeowners’ insurance rates low for Cherokee residents. The county is one of four in the ARC that directly provides ambulance service operating 14 units 24/7/365 and two day units operating Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. All personnel are interchangeable from fire or EMS.

Johnston praised the E 9-1-1 service that beats the national standard, answering 91 percent of all 911 calls within 10 seconds. The Center received nearly 400,000 911 calls in 2022.

Johnston also focused on the county’s parks program and the fact that it is 47 percent self-funded and is nationally accredited. Several projects are coming soon, including the February opening of the L.B. Ahrens Recreation Center, nicknamed “The Buzz.”

One of the challenges Cherokee is facing includes attainable housing for the county workforce, which the county Community Development Agency and Board of Commissioners have plans to address. Another is transportation infrastructure. The Comprehensive Transportation Plan expected to be adopted in coming months identifies the road projects needed over the next 30 years, with adequate funding sources for the local projects. Funding may be short for state projects and to fully keep up the needed pace of local road resurfacing.

“Cherokee County has almost everything going for it, the opportunity to maintain our increasingly rare quality of life, and the will to succeed,” Johnston said. “We must, we can and we will keep Cherokee County the world’s best place to live.”

2023 Woodstock Summer Concert Series Lineup Announced

During his 2023 State of the City Address on Friday, Woodstock Mayor Michael Caldwell announced the lineup for the 2023 Season of Woodstock Summer Concert Series.

“I hope you were able to join us last year for the Summer Concert Series. From Sister Hazel to Scotty McCreery, Woodstock, you showed up to play,’ said Mayor Caldwell. “It's not unexpected to find our concerts yielding thousands in attendance, and this year is shaping up to be the biggest ever.”

The season opens on Saturday, May 13th with chart-topping country singer-songwriter Craig Morgan. Hits like “Redneck Yacht Club” and “International Harvester” will have downtown Woodstock rocking. Saturday, June 10th, Rick Springfield takes the stage at the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Amphitheater. It will be a moment to remember when the Australian-born musician and actor sings his Grammywinning number one hit “Jessie’s Girl”. Bruno Mars Tribute, Uptown Funk, will bring that twenty-fourcarat magic to the July 8th concert. Concertgoers will want to jump when another great tribute act, Completely Unchained, performs Van Halen’s greatest hits on August 12th. The season ends on September 9th as southern rock icons Drivin N Cryin rock the stage with original hits like “Fly Me Courageous” and “Straight to Hell”.

“Woodstock Parks and Rec is adding a lot of value to already great sponsorship packages this year,” Mayor Caldwell stated. “If you’ve been thinking about partnering as a sponsor on this outstanding event series, this is the year to commit.”

For information on sponsorship, contact City of Woodstock Special Events Coordinator Marybeth Stockdale at 770-592-6000 ext. 1952. Additional details will be announced online at in the coming weeks.

Woodstock Mayor Michael Caldwell Delivers 2023 State of the City

Woodstock Mayor Michael Caldwell delivered his 2023 State of the City Address on Friday morning at the Woodstock Arts City Center Theater. The event was hosted by IN WDSTK. Over 170 IN WDSTK members and guests were in attendance for the annual breakfast and networking event.

In his speech, the mayor highlighted the City of Woodstock’s prior year accomplishments and outlined his priorities for the coming year. “Last year you welcomed me to this stage as a newly minted Mayor. The 31st Mayor of this great City, taking on this new responsibility during our 125th year of cityhood,” said Caldwell. “This month marks the dawn of a new quarter-century in our city’s story, and I mean for us to meet it head on. We will not pass on this day’s challenges to future Councils or future generations. We will continue to heed our calling and leave this city better for our children.”

Mayor Caldwell outlined his top three major policies for the upcoming year: To enhance the quality of life in Woodstock by focusing on parks expansions and establishing Woodstock as a regional trail hub; to build a more sustainable, secure economy in Woodstock by diversifying the commercial base with a concerted effort to recruit high-paying jobs and businesses into the core of the city; and, to concentrate city efforts on building generational wealth for citizens through the largest economic engine in human history, American home ownership.

“The challenges that we face are issues that nearly every other community in America would do anything to have. As cities and communities around the state and the nation struggle, watching their populations flee to greener pastures,” Caldwell noted, “Woodstock looks ahead to brighter days.” Mayor Caldwell cited crime rates, the unemployment rate, transportation projects, and relationships with governments and the private sector to demonstrate that the city’s metrics are improving and continuing toward success.

Regarding Woodstock City Council’s intention to complete Little River Park, Mayor Caldwell noted that $8 million of the upcoming SPLOST has been allocated to completing Phase 1. “We have finally laid the groundwork to make the “soon” on those “Little River Park Coming Soon” signs on Trickum Road actually mean “soon.” Caldwell said, “In a city as active as Woodstock, these offerings are genuine game changers.”

Mayor Caldwell shared progress made on the City Center project, a $100+ million project that will create more than 50,000 square feet of new office space, a 120-room boutique hotel, new conference center space, new restaurants, new retail, new park space, some critical street realignments, and a 647-space parking deck. “This project represents a true, fiscally conservative approach to public-private partnership with the public infrastructure - streets, park, parking deck - being built with public investment and the private portion of the project being entirely paid for with private dollars,” said Caldwell. According to the Mayor, Woodstock has executed a development agreement with the contractor for the infrastructure portions of the project and a groundbreaking on the Chambers Street and East Main Street realignments will take place this quarter.

Mayor Caldwell expressed his aim to establish the infrastructure needed for residents who own businesses outside of the city to relocate their headquarters in Woodstock. “For both new and existing Woodstock businesses alike, we are intent on making sure that our city, like our state, is number one for business,” Caldwell said as he revealed a link a new business recruitment form on the city’s website. The mayor stressed he wants to build an economy in Woodstock that can lead the way in restoring the sense of community that America needs.

History Cherokee Presented With Two Awards from Georgia Association of Museums

Nearly 200 museum professionals recently descended upon Cartersville, Georgia, for the annual meeting of the Georgia Association of Museums (GAM). They arrived from all regions of the state, from Rome to Thomasville to Savannah. The theme of the 2023 conference was “Museums: The (Fill in The Blank) Frontier.” Attendees participated in a variety of sessions and workshops ranging from developing education programs to designing eye-catching exhibits and visiting with vendors whose products and services target the field. The highlight of the week was the annual GAM Awards Luncheon.


This year History Cherokee was presented with two awards by GAM President Marcy Breffle and Award Committee Co-Chairs Melissa Swindell and Karin Dalton. The first award recognized the documentary, The Way it Was: Stories of Cherokee County’s Desegregation, created in partnership with Scrapbook Video Productions. The other Special Project Award was presented for the new Cherokee County History Center exhibits.


In the documentary, Education Manager Harvee White and videographer Mark Albertin were able to capture the very powerful story of Cherokee County’s desegregation by talking with the people who integrated the Canton Theater and other local establishments.


“We were careful to capture not only their voices, but their resilience, pain, joy, and hopes to showcase in the film,” said Ms. White.


The five exhibition galleries in the new History Center were created by Architect and Exhibit Designer John White and Exhibits and Collections Manager, Kaylee Johnson. The galleries explore Cherokee County’s history from 10,000 B.C. to the present.


“Being involved in this project and being able to share Cherokee County's rich collective history through our new museum's exhibits is such an honor” said Ms. Johnson. “Our team - from director, designer, marketing, education, and curation - came together to create a museum that I know will have a long and enduring legacy in our community.”


“I’m incredibly proud of this team and thankful for the recognition from the Georgia Association of Museums for these two awards,” said History Cherokee’s Executive Director, Stefanie Joyner. “These talented professionals worked hard to bring this history to life and we’re excited to share these stories with the public.”


“We are very pleased to present these awards to a very deserving recipient,” said GAM President Breffle. “Our members represent a good cross section of museums and cultural organizations in Georgia’s communities, large and small,” she added. “We are happy to honor institutions, staff members, volunteers, patrons, exhibits, and special projects that have excelled in providing inspiring programs and leadership,” she concluded.


The Cherokee County History Center is open Wednesday through Sunday; learn more at

City of Jasper Fire Department Promote Fire Marshal Ian Norton to Assistant Fire Chief

Fire Chief John Sherrer is pleased to announce that Fire Marshal Ian Norton has been promoted to the rank of Assistant Chief of the Jasper Fire Department effective January 11, 2023. Assistant Chief Norton started his career with the City of Jasper as a Volunteer Firefighter over twenty years ago and has worked his way up through the ranks to his most recent position of Captain and Fire Marshal. Assistant Chief Norton is a State Certified Fire Inspector, Firefighter, and is currently working towards his Fire Investigator certification.

Sonia Jammes, City Manager, says that “Retired Assistant Chief Von Headrick left a rich legacy when he retired in December. I am confident that Ian has the experience, skills, and respect of the Department to step into the Assistant Chief position and excel. The City was fortunate to have such a high caliber internal candidate in Assistant Chief Norton.”

The Office of Cherokee County Elections and Voter Registration honored with 2023 Foundations Award

The Office of Cherokee County Elections and Voter Registration was honored earlier this month with prestigious award from the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

“This is the very first year that this award has been given out,” said Cherokee County Elections and Voter Registration Director Anne Dover. “This award was earned due to the tremendous work done, each and every election cycle, by our amazing staff.”

The Office of Cherokee County Election and Voter Registration received the 2023 Foundation Builders Award in front of 300 of their counterparts on Wednesday, Jan. 4 while attending the Georgia Registered Voter Information System (GARVIS) conference in Athens, Ga.

“Elections are the bedrock of any functioning republic,” said Georgia State Elections Director Blake Evans. “It is essential that all counties have a solid foundation of knowledge and leadership. The Foundation Builders Award recognizes the county that is dedicated to getting the little things right. They believe that no detail is too small and that successful elections are conducted on a basis of transparency and hard work.”

For more information on Cherokee County Elections and Voter Registration, please visit

Cherokee Recreation and Parks Seeking Donations for Project Valentine

Cherokee Recreation and Parks is seeking donations for its 8th annual Project Valentine initiative.

The donations will benefit clients of Empower Cherokee, a local nonprofit organization serving the special needs community. Requested items include lip balm, lotion, sticky notes, pens, markers, word searches, art or music activities, candy (sugar-free and regular), and other holiday-related items.

“It’s wonderful to see the community come together each year to show these folks just how much they are loved,” said Cherokee County Recreation and Parks Marketing and Community Outreach Coordinator Jessica Hallman. “All of the donated items will be made into goodie bags to be delivered to Empower Cherokee.”

Cherokee Recreation and Parks will accept donations through Wednesday, Feb. 8. Items can be dropped off at the South Annex location at 7545 Main Street, Building 200 in Woodstock, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. or at the Cherokee County Aquatic Center located at 1200 Wellstar Way, in Canton Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. All donated items should be new, unwrapped and in a bag.

For additional information about the Project Valentine program, contact Cherokee Recreation and Parks at 770-924-7768 or visit

Keep Cherokee Beautiful distributing seedlings

Keep Cherokee Beautiful willdistribute tree seedlings at Hobgood Park to those participating in the Bring One for the Chipper event happening on Saturday, Jan. 7. 

KCB volunteers will be on site in the park’s parking lot located at 6688 Bells Ferry Road in Woodstock from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

“Keep Cherokee Beautiful is dedicated to all forms of recycling and repurposing,” said KCB Chief Executive Officer Mark Preetorius. “Providing a seedling to recycle a Christmas tree is a great way to accomplish both endeavors. Please help us by recycling your tree and plant a tree seedling to replenish our natural resources.”

Cherokee Recreation and Parks will be accepting trees beginning Saturday, Jan. 7 through Saturday, Jan. 14. All trees must be free of lights and ornaments and can be dropped off in the parking lot between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. any day of the week. 

Trees recycled at the event will be turned into mulch to be reused at the dog park inside of Patriots Park in Acworth.

For additional information about the Bring One for the Chipper event, contact Cherokee Recreation and Parks at 770-479-3277 or for additional information on the KCB program, please visit or email

Cherokee County prepares for frigid temps

Extremely cold temperatures are being forecasted leading into Christmas weekend, and Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency is advising residents and businesses to be prepared.

Temperatures are expected to significantly drop Thursday night into Friday morning to include the single digits and teens. Wind chills could be below zero.

The National Weather Service is expecting to issue Wind Chill Advisories or Warnings across the state, and Gov. Brian Kemp has declared a State of Emergency ahead of the frigid weather.

A warming station at Action Church, 271 Marietta Road, in Canton will open at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23 with dinner being served. The warming station is planned to open every day from Dec. 23-Dec. 25 at 6 p.m. and close at 8 a.m. Breakfast and dinner will be served each day. If no one shows up on any given day by 11 p.m., the warming station will close.

A warming station at Latimer Hall at 103 Towne Lake Parkway in Woodstock will be in operation from Dec. 23 at noon to Dec. 26 at 9 a.m. Guests are encouraged to arrive by 6 p.m. each evening. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served. If no one arrives by 10 p.m., a decision will be made whether or not to remain open.

“Please reach out to your family and friends and make sure everyone is prepared,” said EMA Director Daniel Westbrook. “If someone you know is in need of a place to stay warm and get a meal, please let them know about the warming stations.”

According to the National Weather Service, Cherokee County is not expected to get any winter precipitation accumulation, however, any water on the roads will freeze, causing patchy ice. Cherokee County Public Works stands ready with on-call crews and prepared equipment to treat county roads that need it.

Wind gusts could cause downed trees and/or power lines. As is the case throughout the year, Public Works, E 9-1-1, Emergency Management, the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office and Cherokee Fire & Emergency Services work in tandem to ensure roads are cleared in a timely fashion. Additionally, Cherokee County officials stay in touch with the power companies that serve the area and provide any needed resources.

Be prepared ahead of frigid temperatures

· Below freezing temperatures are expected over a 72-plus-hour period, which can cause problems to household pipes. Ensure outdoor spigots are covered. Drip faucets inside homes and businesses, and open cabinet doors allowing heat to access the indoor pipes.

· Limit your exposure outdoors. If you must be outside, dress in multiple layers with at least one being insulated. This should include a wind resistant coat, warm hat and gloves to limit exposure to sub-freezing wind chills.

· Know signs of hypothermia, which include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, drowsiness, slurred speech and memory loss.

· Bring in pets from the outdoors and make accommodations for outdoor animals.

· Have a safe alternative method to stay warm in case power goes out, including natural and gas fireplaces, propane and kerosene heating sources. If you have a chimney, ensure it has been cleaned and is safe to use. Bring in extra wood for your fireplace before the cold weather, ensure you have proper ventilation, do not use a grill inside your house or have your car running inside the garage.

· Those who depend on electricity for any medical equipment should have backup power methods in place or an alternate safe location to stay if you lose power.

· Make sure you have an emergency kit in your car including extra warm clothes, blankets, flashlights, first aid kit, ice scraper, phone charger, jumper cables, matches and water.

Stay updated on road closures, weather warnings and more throughout the year but registering for CodeRed. The service is free. Visit to learn more and to sign up.

Gov. Kemp Announces New Judicial Appointments

Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced the following judicial appointments: Jaletta Long Smith to the State Court of Gwinnett County, filling a vacancy created by the passage of HB 1570; the Honorable Kevin Morris to the Superior Court of the Alcovy Judicial Circuit to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the Honorable John Ott; Shannon Wallace to the Superior Court of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit to fill a vacancy created by the passage of HB 56; the Honorable Sonyja J. George to the State Court of Clayton County to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the Honorable Linda S. Cowen; and Scott F. McAfee to the Superior Court of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the Honorable Christopher Brasher.

About Shannon G. Wallace currently serves as Cherokee County’s first female District Attorney. Prior to being elected, she was the Chief Assistant District Attorney for the former District Attorney, Garry Moss.

Before coming to the Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office, District Attorney Wallace was a prosecutor in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit in middle Georgia where she handled all manner of major felony offenses but quickly developed a passion for handling crimes against women and children.

In 2013, District Attorney Wallace was selected as a Rising Star by the Fulton Daily Report. She was also selected by Georgia Trend as one of the state’s Forty under Forty professionals and as a Legal Elite.

District Attorney Wallace graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia in 1999 with a bachelor's in Psychology and Criminal Justice. She then received her J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law, graduating cum laude in 2002. She currently sits on the board of Cherokee FOCUS, a Cherokee County collaborative that focuses on creating strong family units. District Attorney Wallace also sits on the board of Cherokee Triad - S.A.L.T. and is an active member of the Canton Rotary and Cherokee Chamber of Commerce.

District Attorney Wallace, her husband, and their children are active members of First Baptist Church of Woodstock.

Candlelight Vigil for Homeless Veterans on December 21 at Cherokee Veterans Park

Every night roughly 49,000 Veterans find themselves on the street homeless. To put this in perspective, in 2018 there were roughly 8,400 US soldiers in Afghanistan according to the Guardian. This means that there are roughly 6 homeless Veterans for every soldier who served in Afghanistan.


Homeless Veterans are found all over the US. Here in Cherokee County GA, our intake and processing of homeless Veterans is up 32% from last year and what is causing us more concern is that we are seeing more female Veterans, some with small children, as well as Senior Veterans who are homeless, Indicated Jim Lindenmayer, Director of the Cherokee County Homeless Veteran Program who is also an Army Veteran and a Graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.


Again this year on December 21st, which is the longest night of the year, we will hold a candlelight Vigil remembering all of the Veterans who are homeless during this night. The Vigil will again be held at the nation’s only Homeless Veterans Statue that resides at the Cherokee Veterans Park located at 7345 Highway 20 E, Canton, GA 30115


The marble statue depicts two life size Veterans, one male and one female, standing on a pentagon base displaying the five branches of the military. Inscribed on the base is the phrase, “No Veteran who fights for this country, should have to fight for a job, a roof over their head, or the care they need when they come home”, that depicts their plight faced in society today. The two statues do not have any rank, as Veterans of all ranks are subject to being homeless. Our program alone has handled Veterans from the rank of private to Lt Colonel, and have covered every branch of the service, Lindenmayer went on to add.


The event is scheduled to take place at Sundown which is currently targeted at 5:33 PM. The public is welcome and there is no charge for this event.

Cherokee Area Transportation Service Director gives presentation on propane fueled buses at GTA Conference

Cherokee Area Transportation Service (CATS) Director Greg Powell gave a presentation on the county’s new propane fueled buses at Georgia Transit Association conference last week in Columbus, Georgia.

Powell’s presentation, “Propane Autogas – A Pathway to Lower Emissions and Operational Savings,” focused on cost-saving measures and the benefits of propane autogas for transit services.

“When I became director, my team and I started researching different green initiative fuels in an effort to cut down on costs for not only our operations but also keep costs down for the citizens of Cherokee County,” Powell said.

Last October, Cherokee County put the first propane-powered public transit buses in the state of Georgia in service. CATS purchased three propane-powered buses from Coach and Equipment Bus Sales, Inc. in February to replace aging buses in the fleet.

“We procured three propane buses for $307,553, the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) paid 85 percent, which brought the cost down to $46,132.95. AmeriGas also provided the county a discount, bringing our total to $31,132.95 that we have spent for the three buses,” said Powell. “This is compared to three of the gasoline vehicles, which cost $281,665.50 with an 80 percent FTA contribution, bringing the cost to $56,333.10. This gave our County a savings of $25,200.15.”

Conference attendees learned from several fleet managers about their experiences with new energy sources after transitioning from gasoline or diesel. A lifecycle analysis of the carbon emissions of two of the most prevalent alternative energy sources for vehicles and the future of clean transportation and how propane allows fleets to reach their sustainability goals.

“I hope that after leaving this presentation, fleet owners will have a more realistic idea of how to achieve environmental sustainability without risking their financial sustainability,” said Powell.

Cherokee Marshal's Office Make Arrest in Animal Investigation

The Cherokee Marshal’s Office executed a search warrant Dec. 6 at a home at 6336 Union Hill Road as part of an animal investigation.

The investigation began with a request for a welfare check on the animals. The Cherokee County Marshal’s Office conducted a welfare check, and probable cause was found to obtain a search warrant. Evidence located during the execution of the search warrant led to the arrest of the resident, Randall Larry Thaxton, 58.

Thaxton is charged with nine counts of felony dog fighting, and nine counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals.

Nine dogs were removed from the property, along with other evidence relevant to the case. With the assistance of the Cherokee Animal Shelter, the animals were removed from the premises.

The case remains active and ongoing. No further information is available at this time.

Presents For Pets Supply Drive for homeless pets begins in Pickens County this month

You can help make a difference in the lives of dozens of dogs and cats this winter by donating food to feed the homeless pets awaiting adoption at our local animal shelter and at Pickens Animal Rescue. Presents For Pets is a supply drive program that provides donation containers to use all throughout the year and especially during the holiday giving season. The items collected will be distributed to the pets in our county. By making it easier to shop and drop off your donations, more people can participate, and more pets can be helped.

Look for the Presents For Pets box at these locations; Abba Dabba Dawg, City of Jasper-City Hall, Corner K9 Clips-Ball Ground, Fetching Styles, Happy Trail and Waggin Tails, Jasper Mountain Home Furnishings, Moose and Annie Mercantile-Talking Rock, Mountain City Grooming, Nature’s Farmacy, Petsense, Pickens Paws Pet Salon, Pickens Progress, Sacketts, Talking Rock Brewery, Waggin Tails Pet Lodge and Walmart.

What can you donate? Dry or canned dog and cat food, towels, beds, treats, toys, paper towels and, cleaning products. There is a Wish List of supplies on the boxes and a tear off shopping list to use. Want to make a monetary donation? Be-Paws We Care collects funds for spay/neuter assistance Pickens Animal Rescue provides shelter and adoptions for homeless pets,

If your organization or business would like to join the growing list of supply drive participants, please contact Susan Catton, or call 770-894-7037.

German Robotics Company to Locate Headquarters, Manufacturing in Cherokee County

Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced that Becker Robotic Equipment, a global cable and robotic machinery manufacturer specializing in individualized robotic equipment, will build a new manufacturing facility to house its North American headquarters in Canton. The new facility will deliver more than $30 million in investment and create 137 new jobs in Cherokee County.

"As the No. 1 state for business with a highly skilled workforce, reliable infrastructure, and strong trade network, Georgia continues to attract global companies like Becker to our ever-growing automotive industry," said Governor Brian Kemp. "Last year alone, the automotive industry created more than 16,000 jobs for hardworking Georgians across the state, and we'll continue to build on that momentum. We're grateful for Becker's decision to locate their North American headquarters in Georgia and look forward to their expanding impact on the Peach State."

Headquartered in Dülmen, Germany, Becker was founded in 1993 with the aim of supplying accessories and integrated automated systems, mainly for the automotive industry.

"The investment in Georgia builds on our previous success in the state and enables us to bring about a new phase of growth for our high-tech manufacturing operations, incorporated in a mixed-use, campus-style development with beautiful homes and astonishing recreational areas," said Johan Broekhuijsen, Becker Robotic Equipment Corp. "Georgia’s business environment, particularly regarding e-mobility, has been critical in this regard. The available workforce, business environment and support on all levels drove the decision to remain in the State."

"We are looking forward to continuing our work with Cherokee County and the City of Canton in Georgia to develop the Becker North America HQ in alignment with our global footprint to serve our customers and communities," added Andries Broekhuijsen, Becker Robotic Equipment Global HQ in Germany.

Becker’s new North American headquarters and manufacturing facility will be located at The Bluffs at Technology Park in Canton. The facility is expected to consist of three adjacent buildings and will be designed with clean energy solutions, such as solar panels.

The company is looking to hire for sales and applications engineers, automotive project managers, non-automotive project managers, inside sales support staff, project engineers, office administrators, HR generalists, manufacturing technicians, and customer and service technicians. Interested individuals can reach out directly to

"Becker Robotics is the pinnacle of high-tech manufacturing, exactly the kind of company we want to bring to Cherokee County. We are proud and honored to welcome them," said Chairman Harry Johnson, Cherokee County Board of Commissioners.

"The City of Canton is the ideal location for Becker Robotics North American headquarters, and we are honored to have this global innovator partner with the City and the Cherokee Office of Economic Development as we continue to work together to align Canton's true potential with our Roadmap for Success," said Mayor Bill Grant, City of Canton.

"Metro Atlanta is ideally suited for Becker’s new North American headquarters and manufacturing facility, given its thriving automotive and mobility ecosystem," said Metro Atlanta Chamber President and CEO Katie Kirkpatrick. "Becker will surely benefit from the collaboration between the region’s innovative companies and universities, access to talent, and the already robust German business community. Congratulations to the team at Becker and all of the organizations that supported this decision."

Project Manager John Soper represented the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s (GDEcD) Global Commerce team on this competitive project in partnership with the Cherokee County Development Authority, Georgia Quick Start, and Georgia EMC.

"German companies have been key partners in the growth of Georgia’s automotive industry for years, and we’re excited for Becker to become a larger part of Georgia’s story," said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. "I had the opportunity to meet with Becker in Germany, and I was struck by the company’s innovative spirit and collaborative approach that has made them a successful partner in Georgia. Congratulations to Cherokee County and all of our partners who supported this project."

In fiscal year 2022, automotive projects created a total of nearly 16,000 new jobs across the state. Georgia’s automotive companies gain a competitive advantage from a prime location, extensive infrastructure for easy access to market, a highly skilled workforce, and a recognized business-friendly climate. Georgia has been an established automotive manufacturing center since 1909, when the first automobile was assembled in the state. For over a century, the state has encouraged collaboration and innovation, positioning the state as a leader in developing and harnessing emerging technologies for the evolving automotive and mobility industry.

The State of Georgia has had continuous representation in Europe since 1973. In January 2020, Governor Brian Kemp led an economic development mission to Germany, where Georgia’s new and expanded Munich office officially opened. The long-term relationship between the State of Georgia and Germany is extensive. Germany is the state’s second-highest job creation partner from foreign direct investment in 2022.

About Becker Robotics Equipment
Becker Robotic Equipment is a global supplier to the automation industry. In North America, Becker has offices and production facilities in Georgia, Michigan, and Mexico. The parent company, Becker Robotic Equipment GmbH, is located in the Westphalian town of Dülmen, Germany, not far from Münster. Becker Robotic Equipment is a full-service systems integrator and robotic equipment supplier for custom turn-key robotic cells and robotic cable management systems. Capabilities include product development, design, manufacturing, project support, and installation and optimization services, which can be done at state-of-the-art production facilities or at customers' manufacturing facilities worldwide.

David Weekley Homes Delivered Over 5000 Pounds of Food and $8000 in Donations to Atlanta's Crossroads Community Ministries

In November 2022, David Weekley Homes’ Atlanta division requested the donation of canned and non-perishable items at five of its model homes in communities throughout Metro Atlanta. The award-winning homebuilder’s Giving Thanks, Giving Back Thanksgiving Drive culminated in the delivery of frozen turkeys at its Atlanta Division headquarters. Staff members, homeowners, real estate partners and vendors really came through, resulting in the collection of 878 pounds of canned foods, 1,277 pounds of non-perishable pastas and mixes, and 3,276 pounds of frozen turkeys. Through a partnership with HomeAid Atlanta, the food was delivered to Crossroads Community Ministries. The charitable arm of David Weekley Homes, Dovetail Impact Foundation, also donated $8,000 towards the refurbishment of Crossroads’ Clyde’s Kitchen – which serves over 60,000 meals each year to people experiencing homelessness.


“The gift from David Weekley Homes and Dovetail Impact Foundation will go a long way toward helping us reach out to those in need and put them on a pathway to stability in housing and income,” said Reverend Tony Johns, Executive Director for Crossroads Community Ministries. “We were able to assist more than 50 families with a Thanksgiving meal, allowing them to use the money they would have used on that meal for other critical needs.”


A leader in volunteer and philanthropic efforts within the home building industry, community involvement is a founding principle at David Weekley Homes. From back-to-school supplies drives to an annual community build month, all of the award-winning homebuilder’s divisions in 19 markets across the U.S. stand committed to uniting its team members with an extended family of Homeowners, Homebuyers and community partners to improve lives. Each division has a CARE team, tasked with seeking out opportunities to give back to the communities they serve. For its Atlanta division, those efforts often include collaborations with HomeAid Atlanta - a vital force in creating safe and dignified housing and programmatic facilities for those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.


“We are so grateful for our partnership with David Weekley Homes,” said Karen McLane, HomeAid Atlanta’s Director of Community Engagement. “The DWH Care Team here in Atlanta goes above and beyond to help us with our mission to aid our neighbors in need. We have been able to help more than 6,000 people in six different organizations with hands-on volunteer hours improving a facility, a company-wide drive collecting food, a financial donation and even clothing and household items. Thank you, David Weekley Care Team, for all that you did in November and throughout 2022 to build a future without homelessness!”


For those Atlantans who were unable to participate in this year’s Giving Thanks, Giving Back Thanksgiving Drive, David Weekley Homes’ Atlanta Division insists that it’s never too late to help neighbors in need. Online donations can be made directly to Crossroads Community Ministries so they can continue to impact people at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness – a particularly important task during the holidays and winter months to come. Online donations can be made at Donations are also appreciated by HomeAid Atlanta and can be made at


Through David Weekley’s Dovetail Impact Foundation, more than $250 million has been contributed to local and national charities over the last 30 years, including more than $600,000 in 2021 alone. Last year, David Weekley Homes team members volunteered 7,638 hours, impacting 451,189 people nationwide. To learn more about David Weekley Homes and its communities throughout metro Atlanta, prospective homebuyers are invited to visit

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