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Local News Archives for 2022-03

Parade of Homes Releases List of 2022 Builders and Communities

The Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association (GAHBA) announced today its full list of home builders and communities for the 2022 Parade of Homes. Representing the largest annual spring showcase of new homes across metro Atlanta, the Parade of Homes is slated to take place over the course of three weekends including April 23-24, April 30-May 1, and May 7-8. Prospective home buyers will have an opportunity to tour a wide variety of homes and townhomes in a variety of styles and price points. Admission is free and participants are asked to vote for their favorite homes. In return, everyone who votes will receive a Digital Gift Bag via email in late May after the parade is complete. They will also be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of two outdoor fireplaces from Haven Design Works, a pair of bikes from Regions Bank, a Yeti Cooler from Construction Resources. Event sponsor PELLA Window and Door of Georgia will also host a Bingo Card to encourage attendees to visit as many homes as possible for a chance to win a 1-night stay at Hotel Avalon and $100 gift card for the upscale eatery, Colletta in Alpharetta.

Builders offering a tour of homes during the 2022 Parade of Homes include:


Adams Homes

Brock Built Homes

Century Communities

David Weekley Homes

Eastwood Homes

Fischer Homes

Kolter Homes

McKinley Homes

Meritage Homes

Paran Homes

Piedmont Residential

Smith Douglas Homes

Southwyck Homes

Thomas Communities

Tributary Group


Custom home builders - Peachland Homes and McKinley Homes – will offer Virtual Only Tours through the app and

The 65+ homes on the 2022 Parade of Homes can be found in the following Metro Atlanta communities and cities:


West Highlands in Atlanta

Ten29 West in Atlanta

Saddlebrook in Snellville

Carmichael Farms in Canton

Tiberon on the Etowah in Cumming

Twin Lakes in Hoschton

River Rock in Cumming

Cresswind Georgia at Twin Lakes in Hoschton

Townes at Marietta in Marietta

The Estates at Starr Creek in Cumming

Union Grove in Braselton

Parc Terrace in Woodstock

Creekwood in Powder Springs

Oakleigh Pointe in Dallas

Traditions of Braselton in Jefferson

Kirkview in Marietta

Seaboard Junction in Loganville

Prichard Park in Kennesaw

Turner Village in Woodstock

Brannon Ridge in Oakwood

Hastings Manor in Hampton

Worley Preserve in Jasper

Westbridge in Covington

SouthLawn Townhomes in Lawrenceville

Amberwood in Canton

Victory Place in Acworth

Thacker Farm in Bartow County

Jackson Farm in Cartersville

The Stiles in Cartersville

Escalades in Mableton

Lynwood in Ball Ground

Campbell Manor in Gwinnett County

Waterside at Riverwalk in Gwinnett County

Crossroads at Birmingham in Milton

The Cottages of Lake Lanier in Flowery Branch

Barrett Farms in Marietta

The Retreat at Sterling on the Lake in Flowery Branch

Ashbury in Alpharetta

Glenhaven at Ridgewalk in Woodstock

Thunder Ridge in Dawsonville


The event involves self-guided tours of both model and spec homes. Homes on the live tour from participating builders will be open to the public Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. An interactive map of Parade Homes will be available to attendees on the Parade of Homes app and website. To learn more about the event, prospective attendees are encouraged to visit

Cherokee County Changes Some Polling Locations for 2022 General Primary Election

Some polling locations for the upcoming May 24, 2022 General Primary Election are changing, and registered voters should expect informational letters from the Office of Elections and Voter Registration.

According to Elections Director Anne Dover, the Office is ready to send more than 200,000 letters and precinct cards once the last step of the redistricting process has been completed by the Secretary of State and new precinct cards are printed.

Several polling location changes have been made due to the availability of facilities, and one advance voting location has been added in order to meet the needs of citizens in the Acworth area of the county.

Polling locations changes are as follows:

Hickory Flat Advance/Early Voting: This location is moving to Grace Community Church, 7770 Hickory Flat Highway, Woodstock. Hickory Flat Precinct Election Day voting will remain at Hickory Flat Elementary School.

Oak Grove Precinct Election Day voting: The Oak Grove Precinct will be moved to Cherokee County Fire Station No. 19 at 100 Ridge Mill Court, Acworth. Voting hours will be May 24, 2022, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Teasley Precinct Election Day voting: The Teasley Precinct will be moved to the ACTIVE Academies Campus, 8871 Knox Bridge Highway, Canton. Voting hours will be May 24, 2022, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Avery Precinct Election Day voting: The Avery Precinct will be moved to Grace Community Church, 7770 Hickory Flat Highway, Woodstock. Voting hours will be May 24, 2022, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Seven Early/Advance Voting locations offered for May 2022 General Primary

The Office of Elections and Voter Registration will have additional Early/Advance Voting locations this year to better serve Cherokee County voters. Early/Advance Voting locations will be:

Bluffs/Northside Cherokee Conference Center: 1130 Bluffs Parkway, Canton. Voting times will be May 2-6 and May 9-13, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; May 7 and May 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and May 16-May 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Elections Warehouse: 400 East Main St., Canton. Voting times will be May 2-6 and May 9-13, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; May 7 and May 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and May 16-May 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

South Cherokee Annex: 7545 Main St., Building 200, Woodstock: Voting times will be May 2-6 and May 9-13, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; May 7 and May 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and May 16-May 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ball Ground Public Library: 435 Old Canton Road, Ball Ground. Voting times will be May 9-13, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and May 16-20, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Oak Grove Fire Station No. 19: 100 Ridge Mill Court, Acworth. Voting times will be May 9-13, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and May 16-20, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Rose Creek Public Library: 4476 Towne Lake Parkway, Woodstock. Voting times will be May 9-13, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and May 16-20, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Grace Community Church: 7770 Hickory Flat Highway, Woodstock. Voting times will be May 9-13, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and May 16-20, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The voter registration deadline for the May 24, 2022 General Primary is April 25.

For more information, contact the Cherokee County Elections and Voter Registration office at 770-479-0407 or online at

Tax Exemption Reminder for Cherokee County Homeowners

The deadline to file real property exemptions for the current tax year is quickly approaching. From Jan. 1 to April 1, homeowners in Cherokee have the opportunity to apply for several different tax exemptions depending on qualifications.

A standard homestead exemption is available to all homeowners. This exemption allows for a $5,000 reduction off a home’s assessed value (40 percent of fair market value) for county taxes and $2,000 off the assessed value for school taxes. Homeowners may register for the homestead exemption anytime during the year, but April 1 is the deadline for the exemption for the current tax year. There is also a senior school tax exemption available for anyone over age 62. This exemption allows for a $178,680 reduction off the assessed value for 2022 and is adjusted each year based on the Social Security Index.

"We encourage residents to take advantage of these exemptions as they will help alleviate their property tax burden,” said Cherokee County Chief Appraiser Steve Swindell. “Our goal is to ensure that anyone who qualifies receives the exemptions they are entitled to."

There are other real property exemptions available for persons who are 100 percent disabled, veterans’ disability, and several more. A complete list of real property exemptions and qualifications can be found online at, or by contacting the Cherokee County Tax Assessors office at 678-493-6120.

Mark A. Roberts, Ph.D., inaugurated as 21st president of Reinhardt University

On Friday, February 25, Mark A. Roberts, Ph.D., was inaugurated as the 21st president of Reinhardt University. The ceremony, attended by Reinhardt faculty, staff, alumni, the Reinhardt Board of Trustees, state and local officials, and college and university presidents from across the region, was held in the Falany Performing Arts Center on the Reinhardt University campus.  


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. 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.   


“The ruling passion of my life is to do work that has real meaning” Roberts said during his inaugural address. “Early in my career, I gained this visceral sense of purpose by pursuing my first love, which is teaching, and inspiring students to get ahold of the power of learning and to get ahold of the power of their own voice through writing. That was my passion. But, through that, I also began to understand that I had a calling and that calling was to service private higher education, especially colleges located in and around Appalachia.”  


Keeping with the inauguration theme of salt and light, Roberts concluded, “I commit to you today to instill hope, to invest in the life that is knowledge, to preserve and lift up the institution’s spirit, and to broaden the scope of opportunities for this great university. And with me, will you commit to being the salt that preserves, flavors, seasons, and spices up Reinhardt? Will you be with me the light that makes it shine with excellence, with openness, acceptance, and benevolence? With me, will you devote yourself to making Reinhardt University a place where the real work is performed to create a good life, not for one, but for all? Will you go with me? Yes? Then let us go, you and I together, being salt and light for Reinhardt.”  


Pictured, left to right: Rev. Brian Smith, pastor of Waleska United Methodist Church; Mark A. Roberts, Ph.D., president of Reinhardt University; C. Ken White, chair of Reinhardt board of trustees

Cherokee County hires new Planning & Zoning Director

Longtime Planning Manager Margaret Stallings has been named Cherokee County’s director of Planning and Zoning.

Stallings was promoted to the director position on Feb. 7, following the retirement of former Planning and Zoning Director Jeff Watkins last summer. She brings more than 21 years of experience in community planning and architectural design.

“This is an exciting opportunity to lead our outstanding Planning and Zoning staff. My goal is to use my experience to make stronger connections between the long-term plans developed by the community and the zoning decisions and regulations that will shape the county’s future,” said Stallings.

The Planning and Zoning director is responsible for overseeing of all of the long-range planning efforts and public hearings processes for zoning actions, as well as appeals and variance requests while managing the Planning and Zoning staff. The director also works closely with the Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Board of Commissioners, municipal elected boards and county residents to oversee the growth and planning in the county.

“We are extremely pleased that Margaret was selected to serve as the Planning and Zoning Director,” said Community Development Agency Director Brantley Day. “Margaret is a well-respected and highly skilled planning professional. She is extremely dedicated, and she’s continually worked closely with the cities and the community, always with the objective of achieving the highest quality of life attainable for Cherokee County.”

Stallings had previously served as the county’s planning manager and principal planner since 2005. She holds a Master of City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University. She is credentialed as a certified planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners of the American Planning Association, as well as a Registered Architect in the state of Georgia.

Since Stallings has begun her new role, some additional changes have been made to the Planning and Zoning Department. Kevin Turner was selected as the department’s new deputy director. Turner’s previous experience includes 14 years with the City of Roswell as senior planner and planner. Dana Spayde was hired as the department’s new senior planner. Her work history also includes almost five years with the City of Roswell as a planner.

Additional promotions include, Thomas Trawick, who was named as the department’s new Zoning Division Manager and David Greenburg, who was promoted to the senior planner position. Trawick had previously served as the county’s senior planner since 2018, and Greenburg had served has a planner since 2016.

Dave Garner Announces bid for Post 2 Commissioner in Pickens County

Dave Garner has announced his campaign for Post 2 Commissioner in Pickens County.

"As a 20-year resident of Pickens County, I have been blessed by the numerous friends and acquaintances that I have made, both personally and professionally, as well as the countless experiences that have heartened my family to call Pickens County “home.” Many of those experiences over the last twenty years have spurred conversations with concerned citizens spanning a variety of topics.

As a local business owner, I understand the challenges that we face in recruiting and retaining an educated, qualified workforce to drive our desired results.

I have heard from many young families over the years that we need better parks and more recreation options.

I understand that with growth comes challenges with public safety, water and sewage, among other things.

What is our vision for Pickens County and what will it look like in 10 or 20 years? How do we stay ahead of inevitable growth? How can we increase our tax base while also striking a balance to preserve our nature and quality of life? These are all common questions we ask ourselves as residents of Pickens County. Let’s face it, Pickens is no longer the best kept secret in North Georgia.

That’s why we need level-headed, common-sense leadership in Pickens County now!

I truly believe we have entered the most important stretch in our county’s storied history, at least within the last thirty years. That may sound dramatic, but I can assure you that the next 3-5 years will shape the next couple of decades. We need conservative leadership that will sincerely have the best interests of the citizens of Pickens County front and center. We need someone who will listen and not just speak. We need an unprecedented level of communication and transparency in government.

I have served our community in many capacities over the last twenty years. From serving and leading numerous boards and civic groups to being the broadcast voice of local sports in Pickens and the surrounding area. And now I want to serve YOU as Post 2 (East) Commissioner. I want to be YOUR voice for Pickens County.

There may be an occasional issue that my constituents may not agree on, but I will always stand with those who trusted me with their vote and elected me to do

the right thing, even if it goes against popularity. I will vote for the people, not for myself.

I promise to give due diligence to budget concerns while focusing sharply on issues that will directly impact us as residents including growth and economic development, water and sewage, parks and recreation, public safety, traffic concerns and overall quality of living.

I am looking forward to working with our many communities and municipalities while furthering our collaborative efforts between county and city government to create the best Pickens County that we can be, not Cherokee or Gilmer.

I humbly ask for your support and seek your vote on May 24th, 2022! Please visit my campaign Facebook page (Dave Garner for Post 2 Commissioner) for further announcements and information on future appearances.

Let me be YOUR voice in Pickens County!" 


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