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Local News Archives for 2020-08

Water main break in Canton closes schools, businesses

A massive water main break from the Bobby Bishop Water Treatment Plant has forced Cherokee High School to close due to lack of fresh water for the students. Hasty Elementary School is also affected, however they will be using mobile water for the students. 


According to local sources, certain resturaunts have closed in the Riverstone area as well. 


A press release from the Canton City Manager Billy Peppers reads "The City of Canton experienced a water main break this morning in a 10" line from the Bobby Bishop Water Treatment Plant in an area behind the Riverview Cemetery downtown. This break created water loss in the following areas: downtown Canton, Hasty Elementary School, Brown Industrial Park, South Canton, Marietta Highway, Cherokee High School, Pointe at Puckett Creek, Whispering Woods, and the areas fed by the Ridge Pine Storage Tank. Additionally, there are areas of lower pressure system-wide.


The remote area of the line (near the Etowah River and railroad track) required the temporary construction of a roadway to gain access with heavy equipment and supplies. By 9 a.m., utility crews were able to isolate the break and are currently working to re-route and operate a pumping plan to bring water back into the system and begin refilling tanks. Areas of low pressure and no water will remain during the morning hours as the repairs are made. At this time, we do not know the full impact of water loss and cannot establish areas for boil water advisories. If you are without water, we are aware of the issue and are working to quickly resolve the situation.


As a result of the water issue, the Cherokee County School District has dismissed Cherokee High School for the day and is working with other schools in the Canton water system utilizing mobile water solutions.


We apologize for the inconvenience and are working as hard as we can to correct the break and bring the system back into operation. To keep up with the status of this work, please check out our social media feeds (linked at the bottom of this email) as we are providing hourly updates."

Creekview Closed until August 31st due to COVID-19

Creekview has become the third High School in Cherokee County to close so far this school year due to COVID-19. Creekview joins Woodstck and Etowah in closing for the rest of the month, leaving Cherokee, River Ridge, and Sequoyah as the only High Schools still open in Cherokee County. 


According to a press release from the Cherokee County School District "Reopening is tentatively scheduled for Monday, Aug. 31.  This decision was made with the support of School Board Members and in consideration with the Department of Public Health. Over this weekend, the number of positive cases at Creekview High School has increased to a total of 25, with 500 of its 1,800 in-person students now under precautionary quarantine, and additional tests pending that would significantly increase the quarantine total.  We understand these closings create hardships and are disappointing to students who want to learn in-person as well as their families, but these are necessary measures to avoid potential spread within our schools."


Creekview will begin online classes on Tuesday, August 18th. 

Woodstock High School Closed until August 31st due to COVID-19

Woodstock High School has been the second school to close in Cherokee County due to COVID-19. The announcement comes less than 24 hours after Dr. Brian Hightower announced that they would be closing Etowah High School through August. 


A press release from the Cherokee County School District states " All Woodstock HS in-person students will stay home from school until the scheduled reopening on Monday, Aug. 31.  Teachers will spend Thursday, Aug. 13, preparing for the shift to remote learning; the building will be deep-cleaned.  Remote learning, through the Canvas learning management system, will begin on Friday, Aug 14, with teachers reporting to school to provide this online instruction.  The closure has no effect on Woodstock HS students already enrolled in Digital Learning.  The closure also has no effect on the neighboring Woodstock MS, where no positive cases have been reported.  Students who need to pick up medication or other items that they must have during the next two weeks should call the school’s front office to make an appointment.  Extra-curricular athletic activities will continue after school; this exception is due to the very limited size of these groups and additional safety measures in place (such as temporal scans), but continuation of athletics will be closely monitored for possible closure."


Dr. Hightower also addressed the plan for the other schools and students in Cherokee County "The closing of Etowah HS on Tuesday followed by the closing on Woodstock HS today are necessary precautions as we work to continue in-person learning in our other 38 schools and centers.  We anticipate, as we have communicated throughout this process, there will be additional quarantines and school closures as we operate during this pandemic.  We need our entire community to work together: stay home when you’re sick; get tested if you’re symptomatic; report your child’s positive test to their school; if you are directed to quarantine, follow the instructions and limit interaction with non-family members; social distance when you can and wear a mask when you can’t."

Pickens County Runoff Election Final Results

Tonight our WLJA News Team is keeping track of the PIckens County Runoff election numbers all night long! Our exclusive video is below. 


Daniel Reeves won Tax Commissioner

Thomas Gartrell won Board of Education Post 1


Cherokee County Runoff Election Final Results

Tonight our WLJA News Team is keeping track of the Cherokee County Runoff election numbers all night long! Our exclusive video is below.


Charlice Byrd won House District 20

Brad Thomas won House DIstrict 21

Richard Weatherby won County Commission District 2



Etowah High School closed until August 31st due to COVID-19

The Cherokee County School District has decided to close Etowah High School until August 31st due to a recent rise in COVID-19, according to a press release from Dr. Brian Hightower.


"We are temporarily closing in-person learning at Etowah High School effective at the end of classes today (Aug. 11, 2020).  It is our hope to restart in-person classes at Etowah HS on Monday, Aug. 31.  This decision was not made lightly; it was made with the support of School Board Members, and was determined, as all of our quarantine decisions are made, in consideration with the Department of Public Health.  

We recognize this decision still may create hardships for Etowah HS families and is disappointing for students who want to be at school for in-person learning.  As of this morning, the number of positive cases at the school had increased to a total of 14, with tests for another 15 students pending; and, as a result of the confirmed cases, 294 students and staff are under quarantine and, should the pending tests prove positive, that total would increase dramatically." 


Cherokee County was one of the first school systems to open for in-person classes this year, and has been forced to close certain classes and quarantine select teachers and students. This is the first time the District has been forced to close an entire school. 


Dr. Hightower ended his statement with a message to other parents and students in the District "We ask all students, staff and families to please continue to social distance and use masks when social distancing is not possible.  It is our sincere belief and hope that following this guidance will help us keep our schools open for in-person learning.  While cases are predominately affecting our high schools and we anticipate the need for quarantines will continue to rise in them with the possibility of more high school closures, we also may see more of our middle schools and elementary schools require quarantines in the coming days and weeks."

Georgia Apple Festival Cancelled

It is with a heavy heart that the Georgia Apple Festival board of directors announces that the 49th annual Georgia Apple Festival Arts & Crafts show has been cancelled for October 2020. The difficult decision was made following the guidance of the local healthcare community, after consultation with local officials, and with extensive feedback from vendors, volunteers, and local citizens.


The health and well being of all concerned including our volunteers, vendors, and guests was paramount in the decision process. The board also weighed the additional costs and undertaking of trying to produce the event under the current CDC guidelines. It is our belief that the integrity and spirit of the event would suffer and not be profitable for vendors nor provide the type of experience that our guests have come to expect.

All vendors and other stakeholders will receive direct communication from the festival management in the coming days. We ask your patience and understanding as we proceed. Moving forward the board will explore various opportunities to celebrate the fall apple season and that safely enhance and promote Georgia’s apple capital.


We understand the far-reaching impact that this decision will have on the economic well being of our artists, our local businesses and community at large. The impact will also be felt by the two sponsoring agencies, the Ellijay Lions Club and the Gilmer Chamber. The Georgia Apple Festival is the largest fundraiser for both entities and the loss of revenue will be felt deeply by both in their effort to meet the charitable needs of the community supported by the Ellijay Lions Club and the needs of the Gilmer County business community supported by the Gilmer Chamber.


It is our deepest desire that the current health crisis facing our county, state, nation and world will be behind us and that you will make plans to join us October 2021 as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary Georgia Apple Festival.

Doug Collins Interview

Doug Collins, a U.S. Congressman for Georgias 9th District, is running for U.S. Senate. He hit the campaign trail and made a stop at Appalachain Gun and Pawn in Jasper Tuesday morning. Our crew caught up with Collins to discuss the campaign and his vision for America if he is elected. 


Concert Group

Which WLJA virtual concert group did you enjoy the most?