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Local News Archives for 2022-12

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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