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Local News Archives for 2023-03

City of Woodstock Hires Shane Dobson as Fire Chief

The City of Woodstock announces the hiring of Shane Dobson as Fire Chief. Dobson’s first day with Woodstock Fire & Rescue will be Monday, April 24, 2023.

Shane Dobson began his career in firefighting with the City of Woodstock when he was hired as a firefighter in 1993. He returns to the City with 30 years of experience combined with extensive training and education. Chief Dobson most recently served as the Deputy Fire Chief for Administration with the City of Roswell Fire Department. Prior to that, he held a number of roles with Dekalb Fire and Rescue, including Battalion Chief and Deputy Chief of Operations, rising to the rank of Deputy Fire Chief for Professional Services & Training in 2021.

“The Woodstock Fire Department has a long and rich history of which I was privileged to be a part early in my career,” stated Chief Dobson. “The City made a lasting impression on me personally and professionally, as it ultimately influenced my career and my successes. I consider it a privilege to represent the department and take it to the next level.”

Chief Dobson has a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management and Leadership from Reinhardt University. He earned an associate degree in Fire Science Technology from West Georgia Technical College and an Intermediate Emergency Medical Technician Certificate from Chattahoochee Technical College. Dobson received his Chief Fire Officer Designation (CFO) from the Center for Public Safety Excellence and his Georgia Chief Fire Officer Certification from Georgia Fire Chiefs Association. He is a graduate of Leadership Dekalb, a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association, and the Metro Atlanta Fire Chiefs Association.

“We’re excited to have Chief Dobson come on board. To have started his career in Woodstock and be able to capstone his career as Chief of the department where he started is really special,” said City Manager Jeff Moon. “Shane’s experience and training have prepared him well to lead the men and women of the Woodstock Fire Department and we are excited about the future. I know that he will be able to build on the outstanding work that Chief Soumas has done in his 34 years with the City of Woodstock.”

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.


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