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Local News Archives for 2022-02

Cherokee County Senior Centers to Lift Limitations Starting Feb. 28

Cherokee County Senior Services will lift capacity limitations and resume normal business hours at its Senior Centers starting Feb. 28.

“We are glad to be able to lift these measures,” said Cherokee County Senior Services Director Tim Morris. “We want to thank our clients for their continued cooperation and support as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Senior Center in Canton plans to reopen Monday, Feb. 28 with capacity limitations lifted. The Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Center is closed Saturday and Sunday. Masks will continue to be required at the Senior Center in Canton but social distancing requirements will be lifted.

The Ball Ground Senior Center will open Tuesday, March 1, with capacity limitations lifted. The Center will be open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Fridays from 10 a.m to 12 p.m. The center is closed Monday and Sunday. Clients will continue to be required to wear a mask. The building falls under mask requirements issued by the Ball Ground City Council.

For both Centers, clients will have their temperatures checked each day, and both staff and clients who feel sick will not be allowed to enter. Clients who take CATS transportation will have their temperature checked before boarding the bus.

For information about the Cherokee Senior Centers call 770-345-2675.

Annual Shamrock Stroll returns to Jasper March 12

Walk, don’t run, to the 5th annual Shamrock Stroll in down Jasper on March 12. Come dressed in your St. Patrick’s Day finest for this .5K (yes point five k) to raise scholarship funds for Pickens County students attending Reinhardt University and enjoy a finish line party with fun for the whole family.  

The Stroll, presented by Piedmont Mountainside, begins at Reinhardt’s Cauble School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Participants will stroll through downtown Jasper to the finish line at the intersection of Main Street and Highway 53 for a post-race party. The party includes live music, food vendors, adult beverages, and children’s activities. Pets are welcomed and encouraged. Prizes will be awarded for the most creative costumes, most creative dog costume, grandest leprechaun, youngest leprechaun, and the Pickens County schools club or team with the most participants.  

Last year, over $19,000 was raised for the Pickens Scholars program. “We are so grateful to all who contributed at last year’s stroll,” said Dale Morrissey, Reinhardt’s senior director of community engagement. “Reinhardt University and local students thrive because of the support from our communities.” 

 

The pre-registration fee is $25 and includes a T-shirt, medal and race bib. To guarantee a T-shirt, participants must be registered by Feb. 25. Registration on race day begins at 4 p.m. and is $30.  

For more information and to register, visit www.reinhardt.edu/stroll.  

February 15th Cherokee County Board Meeting Highlights

A construction contract for the new Fire Station #15 in Mica is being executed, following an affirmative vote of the Board of Commissioners.

The Board of Commissioners, with a 5-0 vote, approved a standard construction services agreement with Cooper & Company General Contractors, Inc. for $5.3 million and a 10 percent county-controlled contingency of $531,600 for the replacement facility being relocated to the intersection Conns Creek and Yellow Creek roads. District 1 Commissioner Steve West made the motion, which was seconded by District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter.

Cooper & Company General Contractors was the highest scoring proposal and second-lowest bidder. The $5.3 million construction costs are being paid for with county impact fees and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. A budget amendment was part of the vote to allow the use of impact fees due to rising construction and materials costs.

Commissioner West, in whose district the replacement fire station lies, said he is excited to see the project moving forward.

“The Mica fire station was intended for volunteer use and is not suitable for career firefighters who live at the facility during their shifts. I’m thrilled that we are able to get this project under way before Fire Chief Tim Prather retires, as he and his team have worked tirelessly to make this a reality,” West said.

Fire leadership and the fire personnel who serve the area welcome the new home.

“We are excited to finally get to construction on the new Mica/Yellow Creek Fire Station project,” said Prather. “We’ve been working on this project for over two years. The current station is in dire need of replacement. We are anxious not only to get the construction started but to get it completed as soon as practical and get our personnel into a more updated and accommodating facility to allow us to grow.”

The Board also approved the purchase of 14 vehicles for Cherokee Fire & Emergency Services totaling $636,509 from Alan Jay Fleet Sales, utilizing SPLOST funds. The new vehicles are replacing existing vehicles, ranging from 14-21 years old, that are nearing the end of their life. District 2 Commissioner Richard Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by District 4 Commissioner Corey Ragsdale.

The Board also:

· Recognized retired Air Force Col. Gaylen Roberts for his contributions to the Cherokee County Board of Ethics.

· Approved, 5-0, the special called meeting and executive session minutes from the Jan. 27-28 retreat. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

· Approved, 5-0, the work session, executive session and regular meeting minutes from Feb. 1. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, revisions to the standards for all single-family and multi-family residential zoning districts with one update. Staff met with representatives with the Council for Quality Growth (CQG) and the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association (GAHBA) and shored up some of their concerns with edited language. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

· Approved, 5-0, amendments to the ordinance regarding platting and permitting standards. An update to the originally proposed language indicates that no more than one dwelling is permitted on one lot and subdivision is required. Multi-family dwellings are exempt except for townhome dwelling projects in RM zoning districts or condos intended for sale in fee simple. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, amendments to the private street and development standards. An update to the original language was made related to model homes. Representatives from the CQG and GAHBA indicated that homebuilders would need the model home up until the last unit is sold. The ordinance update included a change indicating that the model home(s) needed to be converted after all the lots were constructed. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.

· Approved, 5-0, ending the moratorium on new single-family residential subdivisions effective Feb. 15. The item was moved until after the vote on the ordinance changes, and the Board opted not to hold the advertised public hearing because the extension of the moratorium was not necessary. Commissioner West made the motion to end the moratorium, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

· Approved, 5-0, Univeter Properties’ request to rezone 18.14 acres from R-80 Estate Residential to Light Industrial and R-40 Single-Family residential at 1550 and 1579 Univeter Road for an eight-lot rural subdivision and self-storage facility. Planning Commission recommended conditions for the industrial zoning piece including installation of a solid decorative fence, 10 feet in height on the Univeter side of the development, 50 feet from the right of way; between the fence and Univeter right of way, maintain as much mature natural growth as possible and supplement with evergreen vegetation to maintain a 75 percent vegetative buffer; and installation of a fence 10 feet in height along the eastern side of the property line, maintaining a 5-foot undisturbed buffer between the fence and the property line. Related to the residential, the conditions included capping the project at eight lots with a minimum lot size of 60,000 square feet. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The approval included all conditions recommending by Planning Commission, as well as a condition that the county engineering staff would make a site visit to ensure updates to the site plan by the applicant are accurate and feasible. The updates relocate the entrance to the residential portion across from Brittany Drive and relocate the entrance to the storage facility further east bringing it to just east of the already improved intersection of Pinecrest Road.

· Approved, 5-0 sending a letter to the city of Canton regarding an annexation case of 1.6 acres near the intersection of Marietta Highway and Butterworth Road indicating there is no objection to the proposed annexation with a reminder that the county would be the approving authority for any entrances on Butterworth Road, and the county may want to limit to one entrance and require a left-turn and deceleration lane. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.

· Approved, 5-0, under the consent agenda: a request for designation of private streets within a portion of Buice Lake South; a revised relocation agreement with Georgia Power in the amount of $98,720 for the relocation of facilities in conflict with the Union Hill Road over Canton Creek Bridge replacement project; final acceptance of all public rights of way, roadway and appurtenant drainage structures in the Victory Preserve subdivision; authorizing the county manager to sign a one-year lease with Towne Center Community Church for use of the Conference Center with an option to renew for an additional year; an addendum to the MOU governing the Emergency Rental Assistance Program with MUST Ministries to extend the terms to Sept. 30, 2022 and allocate and commit $2.3 million in ERA 1 funds for assistance plus fees of $185,777 (8 percent of assistance provided); the surplus of miscellaneous office furniture for the Clerk of Courts; the expenditure of $133,135 from the Tree Fund for the landscaping portion of the L.B. Ahrens Recreation Center at Veterans Park; and renewal of an annual lease agreement with Victoria Harbor for a boat dock slip for Fire and Emergency Service’s pontoon boat in the quarterly amount of $1,044. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

· Approved, 5-0, a standard construction services agreement with Chase Reline, Inc. in the amount of $257,523 for the Arnold Mill Road at River Laurel Way culvert repair project. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, the Clerk of Courts’ request for ARPA funds for two additional positions for a total annual cost of $101,076 and a one-time cost of $10,630. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

· Approved, 5-0, the purchase of 50,000 emergency/provisional ballots from Fort Orange Press for the May general primary and the June general primary runoff elections. The cost is $132,225. Fort Orange Press has the necessary security required by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

· Approved, 5-0, a post audit budget amendment of $3.6 million, which includes a savings of reserves to the General, SPLOST and Conference Center funds of $1.9 million and a use of reserves in various other funds of $436,358. Other expenses are covered by unbudgeted

revenue totaling $5.1 million. The post-audit budget amendment is an annual routine action. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

· Approved, 5-0, the purchase of 1GB of Wide Area Network to provide network services to the new rental property for Courts at 154 North St. through Comcast at a monthly rate of $748 for a three-year initial term and a not to exceed amount of $26,928. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

· Approved, 5-0, a professional services agreement with Gracie Gray Contractors, Inc. to perform guardrail installation and repairs countywide, as requested and as needed. The annual budget for guardrail is $25,000. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

· Approved, 5-0, a professional services agreement with Peek Pavement Marking, LLC to perform striping and pavement marking countywide, as requested and as needed. The annual budget is $200,000. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, a professional services agreement with MRC Group, LLC to perform sidewalk trip hazard removal services countywide, as requested and as needed. The annual budget for sidewalk repairs is $10,000. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

NE Cherokee Parks Plan Final Input Meeting

Residents viewed revised conceptual plans and provided feedback at the Northeast Cherokee Parks and Trails Plan final virtual public input meeting on Feb. 9. Residents have until March 13 to review the plans and provide feedback online.

“I’m so excited to see what amenities we can have here and to get plans going for this important part of the county,” said Cherokee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Harry Johnston. “This area could really use, not only parks, but an anchor for the community.”

During the virtual meeting, participants viewed three different parcels in the northeast area of Cherokee County. The sites include a 102-acre parcel in Free Home for the future E.W. and Edith Cochran Park, a 538-acre parcel on Yellow Creek Road along the Etowah River and the recently named Long Swamp Creek Recreation Area, a 23-acre parcel on Ball Ground Road at the Etowah River.

Throughout the presentation, each of the parcels were shown featuring different potential opportunities ranging from bike trails to a disc golf course. Participants voted online prioritizing the amenities for each parcel. The top priorities for each included a canoe or kayak launch at the Long Swamp Creek parcel, mountain biking trails at the Yellow Creek parcel and walking trails at the Cochran Park parcel.

“We thank everyone for their participation and encourage folks to go online and answer engagement questions, which will help us prioritize the projects and develop our implementation plan,” said Cherokee County Recreation and Parks Director Jay Worley.

The next step includes project phasing, implementation plans and report documents that are scheduled to be presented to the Cherokee Recreation and Parks Advisory Board on April 13 and Cherokee County Board of Commissioners at the May 3 regular commission meeting. Anyone with questions should contact Jay Worley at jworley@cherokeega.com or Sarah McColley, with TSW, at smccolley@tsw-design.com.

Reinhardt University to induct Mark A. Roberts as 21st president

Roberts brings twenty-five years of private higher education experience to his role as president. A native of Maryville, Tennessee, he attended Middle Tennessee State University where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature and language. He went on to earn a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies in the humanities at the Union Institute and University. He has served as a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow studying Appalachian culture; a DuPont fellow at the National Humanities Center studying cultural globalization; an American studies fellow at Salzburg Seminars in Salzburg, Austria; and a fellow in the John S. Knight Writing Seminar at Cornell University. His scholarly publications and presentations focus on Appalachian cultural identity and American poetry. A creative writer at heart, Dr. Roberts has numerous poems published in literary journals and poetry anthologies. 

 

Roberts came to Reinhardt in 2013 as the vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty. Since then, Roberts has also served Reinhardt in the roles of provost, executive vice president, and interim president, in addition to being writing center director and a professor. “Dr. Roberts has proven to be a highly respected and effective leader,” said Ken White, chairman of Reinhardt’s board of trustees. “We are grateful?for his service to Reinhardt and look forward to his tenure as our President."   

 

“We thrive in a changing world by having faith in the things we cannot see but hope for,” said Roberts. “Like the captain of a ship, we must keep our eye on the North Star, a standard reference point by which we navigate. For Reinhardt, our North Star is our mission to educate the whole person and our vision to create an educational experience to help students thrive.” 

Friends of The Gilmer Animal Shelter to Host St. Petricks Day

Friends of The Gilmer Animal Shelter will be hosting the 2022 St. Petricks Day celebration in Downtown Ellijay on Saturday, March 12 from 11 A.M. to 3 P.M.

 

The event will be a celebration of all types of pets in Gilmer County and surrounding areas. There will be a pet parade, pet contests, arts and crafts vendors, pet demonstrations and much more. 

 

For more information, you can visit the Friend of the Gilmer Animal Shelter Facebook page, or visit the sign up form by clicking here

Cherokee County EMA Prepares Senior Officials by Hosting Incident Management Training

The Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency hosted a National Incident Management System training to prepare senior officials for incident management.

 

The three-hour specialized course was held in EMA’s Emergency Operations Center on Feb. 8. Those in attendance included: Board of Commissioners Chairman Harry Johnston, District 2 Commissioner Richard Weatherby, District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter, and County Manager Geoff Morton.

 

“The purpose of this course is to familiarize senior officials with their role in supporting incident management within the NIMS,” said Cherokee County EMA Director Daniel Westbrook.

 

“The class helped me better understand the standardized structure for dealing with small and large emergency events. This being my second time through the program, I was better able to lay out some hypothetical scenarios, and discuss their handling with the emergency management professionals and the other commissioners there. I also came away with a reinforced understanding that, like our other public safety services, Cherokee County is blessed with emergency management team that’s a second to none.”

Developed by the Department of Homeland Security in 2004, NIMS is the standardized approach to incident management and response. It establishes a uniform set of processes and procedures that emergency responders at all levels of government use to conduct response operations.

 

“Understanding NIMS is important because it allows responders at all levels to work together more effectively and efficiently to manage incidents no matter the cause, size or complexity,” said Westbrook. “It’s important to note that federal agencies also are required to use the NIMS framework in domestic incident management and in support of state and local incident response and recovery activities.”

 

In additional to the NIMS training, participants also learned about the organizational structure of the Incident Command System, command roles, the purpose of Emergency Operations Centers and the role of senior officials in preparedness.

Severe Weather Preparedness Week Starts Today

Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency encourages residents to prepare during Severe Weather Preparedness Week starting Feb. 7.

“Now is a great time to participate in Severe Weather Preparedness Week. This way, folks can start planning ahead of time for weather emergencies,” said Cherokee County EMA Director Daniel Westbrook. “This weeklong event helps you and your family learn what steps need to be taken to ensure your safety.”

During Severe Weather Preparedness Week, Cherokee County EMA will be releasing preparedness information across their social media accounts focusing on a different severe weather threat each day and providing information on how to best prepare for them. The schedule and topics include:

Monday, Feb. 7 – Family Preparedness/NOAA Weather Radio Day (including Mass Notification Systems, NOAA Weather Radio and Wireless Emergency Alerts)

Tuesday, Feb. 8 – Thunderstorm Safety (Hail, Damaging Wind Threats and Impacts)

Wednesday, Feb. 9 – Tornado Safety (Weather permitting: The National Weather Service will conduct a NOAA Weather Radio Test Warning Message at 9 a.m. The test is designed to help trigger statewide schools, businesses and other groups to practice their severe weather/tornado safety actions and procedures.)

Thursday, Feb. 10 – Lightning Safety

Friday, Feb. 11 – Flash Flooding and Flood Safety

 

Residents can expect to receive guidance on creating response plans when warnings are issued, as well as information on building Ready Kits containing necessary supplies after a disaster strikes.

“Residents are also strongly encouraged to have more than one way to receive a watch or warning from the National Weather Service,” said Westbrook. “Outdoor Warning Sirens are meant to alert individuals in an outdoor setting, such as a park, and should not be relied upon as your primary way to receive a tornado warning. Additionally, NOAA Weather Radios, Wireless Emergency Alerts or weather apps on a smart phone, and local television broadcasts are also good ways to receive a watch or warning.”

Cherokee County offers a free mass notification system called CodeRED to all residents that provides phone, text, and/or email alerts for weather watches and warnings. For more information on CodeRED or to register visit www.cherokeega-ema.org and click on the CodeRED icon or text CHEROKEEALERT to 99411.

For information on Severe Weather Preparedness Week follow Cherokee County EMA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CherokeeEMA and Twitter at www.twitter.com/ema_CherokeeGA. For additional preparedness information, please visit Cherokee County Emergency Management at www.cherokeega-ema.org and FEMA’s preparedness website at www.ready.gov.

February 1st Board of Commissioners Meeting Highlights

Two bridges over Mill Creek will be replaced at a savings to the county of about $3 million.

The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners approved two Memorandums of Agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation for right-of-way acquisition. GDOT will be replacing the Waters Road bridge and the Vaughn Road bridge, both over Mill Creek and both currently weight restricted.

County Manager Geoff Morton told the Board Feb. 1 that both bridges are included in GDOT’s Local Bridge Replacement Program.

“Under the program and the MOA, GDOT will engineer and construct those bridges,” Morton said, adding the county, under the MOA, will provide $50,000 for each project for right-of-way acquisition. GDOT is funding the rest.

Each project is slated for right-of-way acquisition in 2023 and construction in 2025, and costs total about $1.5 million each.

“Thank you to GDOT for helping the county with both of these bridges,” Chairman Harry Johnston said.

District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter made the motion to approve the Waters Road MOA, which was seconded by District 2 Commissioner Richard Weatherby. The vote was 5-0.

Commissioner Weatherby made the motion to approve the Vaughn Road MOA, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The vote was 5-0.

During the Feb. 1 meeting, the Board also:

· Proclaimed the first Thursday of every February as Optimist Day in Cherokee County. Feb. 3 is Optimist Day for 2022.

· Proclaimed Feb. 14 as Rotary Has Heart Day and Feb. 23, 2022 as Rotary Day for Rotary’s 117th Birthday.

· Announced that the Lake Allatoona Association Board members will make a presentation Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. in Cherokee Hall on the results of the Noonday Creek Trash Trap Study conducted by the association.

· Heard from Commissioner Weatherby who announced the county is under contract for 40 acres of property at East Cherokee Drive for parkland in Hickory Flat. He also announced that Hazel Creek Properties, which had been sent back to Planning Commission, is still working with GDOT, and no action on that case would be taken at the Planning Commission meeting that evening.

· Approved, 5-0, the minutes from the Jan. 18 work session, executive session and regular meeting. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Held a public hearing on the use of recreational vehicles as a residence. No one spoke. The change to the ordinance allows people to live in an RV on a temporary basis – no more than 30 days in a 90-day period. Commissioner Carter made the motion to approve the changes, which was seconded by District 4 Commissioner Corey Ragsdale. The vote was 5-0.

· Held a public hearing to remove physical description of animal under the Public Nuisance Animal Section of Article II in Chapter 10. The request comes from the Marshal’s Office and Commissioner Weatherby. The edit allows the Marshal’s Office more discretion in identifying an animal causing a public nuisance. No one spoke. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion to approve the ordinance as presented, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The vote was 5-0.

· Held a public hearing related to revisions to the standards for all single-family and multi-family zoning districts. This change comes from the staff research during the recent moratorium, which expires Feb. 19. Staff is seeking to revise rules and definitions including “For Rent,” “For Rent Community,” “For Sale,” and “For Sale Community.” Four people spoke, including a representative from the Council for Quality Growth and a representative from the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association. No action was taken. The Board will consider the revisions at its Feb. 15 meeting.

· Held a public hearing related to platting and permitting standards. No one spoke. The revisions update Section 7.1 of Article 7 that would require a developer to state the intended purpose (for rent or for sale) of the proposed development. Additionally, revisions would require the purpose to be restated should the Land Disturbance Permit be transferred to someone else. No action was taken. The Board will consider the revisions at its Feb. 15 meeting.

· Held a public hearing related to private street and development standards. Community Development Agency Director Brantley Day said when streets are made private, that includes all curb and gutter, drainage system, sidewalks, lighting and landscaping go as well and have to be maintained in perpetuity by likely an HOA. Day said thoughtful consideration needs to be given when making streets private because there is opportunity for an HOA to come to the county years later asking for the county to take back the streets. The proposed changes would tighten

up some areas related to model homes, including model homes cannot be on septic and model homes must be fully converted to residential use. One person spoke during the public hearing. No action was taken. The Board will consider the revisions at its Feb. 15 meeting.

· Held a public hearing regarding an amendment to the Sixes TND Master Plan for Cherokee Growth LLC. No one spoke. Cherokee Growth LLC is proposing a 25,000-square-foot medical office building next to the existing self-storage facility on Sixes Road at Ridge Road. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion to approve the amendment to the master plan, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The vote was 5-0.

· Approved, 5-0, Comfort Heating & Cooling’s request for a Special Use Permit for its business at 2905 Marietta Highway. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

· Remanded back to Planning Commission Manor Restoration LLC’s request to rezone 15.35 acres from R-40 to General Commercial and RM-16 (Multi-Family Residential) on Ball Ground Highway. Planning Commission recommended denial. The applicant made changes to the plan and requested the case be sent back to Planning Commission. District 1 Commissioner Steve West made the motion to remand the case to Planning Commission, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby. The vote was 5-0.

· Tabled, with a 5-0 vote, Univeter Properties LLC’s request to rezone 18.14 acres from R-80 to Light Industrial and R-40 for an R-40 rural subdivision of eight lots and a self-storage facility. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion to table, which was seconded by Commissioner West.

· Approved, 5-0, Action Technologies LLC’s request to rezone 11.46 acres from General Commercial and R-40 with Highway 92 Overlay to RTH (townhomes) and General Commercial. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion to approve, adding a condition requested by the applicant that the project be for sale homes with only 10 percent rental. Commissioner Weatherby seconded.

· Approved, 5-0, the qualifying fee for the special election for Tax Commissioner at $2,533.76. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, reallocating unassigned CARES Act CDBG supplemental funds to Heritage Presbyterian Church for reimbursement of expenditures related to its food pantry response to the pandemic, as well as a corresponding update to the CDBG Action Plan. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, an agreement with Coach and Equipment Bus Sales for the purchase of three new propane fueled buses for $307,553. CATS previously attempted to purchases buses under a state contract but those buses were never delivered or paid for. This agreement is in lieu of the previously approved agreement. The cost is covered by FTA Grant funds and SPLOST funds. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, a development agreement for road connection between East Rope Mill Road and Holly Springs Parkway. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

· Approved, 5-0, an amendment to the agreement with VHB, Inc. to complete final construction plans for Phase 1 of the Heard Road Extension Project. The cost is $174,000. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

· Approved, 5-0, an amendment to the agreement with VHB, Inc. to complete sanitary sewer plans for the Bells Ferry Widening project in the amount of $32,600. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, awarding a standard construction agreement with Colditz Trucking, the low bidder, for construction of the Wiley Bridge Road at Cox Road roundabout project. The cost is $859,592.98. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.

· Approved, 5-0, a standard professional services agreement with Krown USA to provide uniforms for Cherokee Youth Softball. The uniform costs are covered by participant fees. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, revisions to the procurement ordinance to update the formal bidding threshold to allowed greater flexibility in awarding contracts up to $100,000 and to add Appendix A to address how the county will award contracts to suppliers using federal grant funds. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

· Approved, 5-0, a construction services agreement on behalf of the fire department with W.L. Griffin Company for the installation of a package wastewater lift station and force main at Fire Station 5. The amount is $133,965 with a $5,000 county-controlled contingency. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, a three-year rental agreement for property at 154 North St. for court staff. The cost is $3,200 a month for 3,200 square feet of office space. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

· Approved, 5-0, a housing inventory needs assessment and corresponding MOU in the amount of $30,000 to be conducted by MUST Ministries in conjunction with United Way acting as fiscal agent. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

· Approved, 5-0, after adding the item to the agenda following executive session, a resolution that increases State Court judge pay to 95 percent of Superior Court judge pay, which is set by the state. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.

· Approved, 5-0, after adding the item to the agenda following executive session, a resolution to increase the pay for the elected Sheriff to 100 percent of Superior Court judge pay as set by the state. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.

History Cherokee Launches Black History Committee

This Black History Month, History Cherokee is proud to announce the launch of our Black History Committee.

"The history of Black people is often overlooked. When it comes to collection and preservation, elements of Black history get disregarded by the institutions that decide whose history gets saved and whose doesn’t- and we want to do our part in changing that in Cherokee County," states Harvee White, History Cherokee's Education Manager.

History Cherokee’s Black History Committee is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of Black History in Cherokee County. The goal is to collect the stories, images, and artifacts that make up Black history and Black lives in Cherokee County from the earliest settlement to today, and to make sure these stories get told.

History Cherokee has already made exciting headway on this commitment to Cherokee County’s Black history as they prepare for the opening of the Cherokee County History Center. Currently, staff is working to create a documentary with a Georgia film crew and local civil rights activists covering the integration of the former Canton Theatre. Visitors will find this documentary at the Cherokee County History Center when it opens in summer 2022.

The integration of the Canton Theatre is just one example of a vast history to preserve and share and History Cherokee needs help to do it. Led by Ms. White and a few volunteers committed to the Black History Committee’s mission, the committee plans on digging deeper to preserve and share the Black stories of Cherokee County.

To join History Cherokee’s Black History Committee, contact Harvee White at hwhite@historycherokee.org.

Cherokee Recreation and Parks seeking donations for Project Valentine

Cherokee Recreation and Parks is seeking donations for its 7th 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.

Cherokee Recreation and Parks will accept donations through Tuesday, 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. All donated items should be new, unwrapped and in a bag.

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

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