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Local News Archives for 2023-10

Cherokee E 9-1-1 launches Logan's Law database

(OCT. 30, 2023) – Cherokee County E 9-1-1, in partnership with the Georgia Emergency Communications Authority (GECA), has launched a Logan’s Law database on its website.

The Logan’s Law database gives E 9-1-1 dispatchers information to share with law enforcement and public safety personnel regarding any individuals in the home who have special needs.

“This is a great tool allowing first responders to have more information when answering a call for service,” said Cherokee E 9-1-1 Director Shane Bonebrake. “If you have a loved one with special needs, please consider adding the information to our Logan’s Law database. We want to provide all the resources possible to ensure everyone who calls 911 gets the help they need.”

Logan’s Law passed in the 2023 General Assembly and was signed into law this summer. It is named for an 18-year-old girl with autism and other special needs.

Adding information to Cherokee’s Logan’s Law database will give residents the ability to note any special medical conditions at a particular address.

“If a resident reacts to loud sirens or flashing lights or maybe they are non-verbal, the 9-1-1 dispatcher can provide that crucial information to those responding to the call,” Bonebrake said. “The Logan’s Law database will add to our existing programs in place to aid those in our community who need additional assistance.”

The form is available at cherokeega-911.org/logan. Residents can print the form from the website and return it to the E 9-1-1 Center via email, fax or U.S. Mail, or the form can be submitted online.

Highlights from the Oct. 17 Board of Commissioners meeting

(OCT. 20, 2023) – A collaborative effort to revitalize an area of Sixes Road and Interstate 575 for transportation improvement and commercial development is moving forward.

At its Oct. 17 meeting, the Board of Commissioners approved, 4-0, an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Woodstock, the city of Holly Springs and the Cherokee Office of Economic Development to create the I-575/Sixes Road Interchange Area Plan. District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter made the motion, which was seconded by District 2 Commissioner Richard Weatherby. District 4 Commissioner Corey Ragsdale was absent due to illness.

The nearly 100 acres located in the southeast quadrant of the interchange are prime for strong commercial and employment nodes for the community but lacks accessibility. The land is divided among the two cities and the county jurisdictions, and all three governmental entities’ comprehensive land use plans show the parcels as regional center/employment.

Instead of piecemeal development, city and county leaders are moving forward together to ensure quality development of the area and lessen the impact of traffic congestion.

The IGA establishes roles and responsibilities for each jurisdiction and sets forth a process for selecting a consultant to complete a transportation study, a key component of the area plan. The transportation study is expected to begin in January 2024. Cherokee County will pay for 60 percent of the creation of the area plan, while the cities of Holly Springs and Woodstock will contribute 20 percent each. The county is absorbing costs for COED.

“Thank you so much for working on this,” said Commissioner Carter, who represents the area. “This is a great project, and I am looking forward to seeing what’s possible for that impossible intersection.”

The Board also approved three other cooperative documents with local cities for transportation improvements.

The Board approved an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the city of Woodstock related to transportation improvements at the Ga. 92 and Trickum Road intersection. The updated MOU supersedes the May 2020 agreement and updates federal funding received. The County will be the project lead and has received $4.3 million in federal funding for right-of-way acquisition and construction. County Manager Geoff Morton told the Board right-of-way acquisition is in process and construction is expected in early 2025. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion to approve the IGA, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The vote was 4-0. 

A similar MOU with the city of Woodstock for transportation improvements for the I-575 interchange at Towne Lake Parkway was approved. The agreement supersedes the May 2020 agreement and updates the project sponsor and notes the federal funding received for the project. Initially the city and county were going to jointly engage the project. In order to best leverage access to available state and federal funds, the county will take over the Towne Lake Parkway interchange project. So far, the county has received about $1.5 million for right-of way acquisition. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby. The vote was 4-0.

Another MOU with the city of Woodstock was updated related to the Ridgewalk interchange at I-575. The city of Woodstock will take over that project. The updated MOU, which supersedes the May 2020 document, identifies Woodstock as the project sponsor and notes that about $1.6 million in federal funding for right-of-way acquisition has been received by the city. The interchange will be converted to a diverging diamond interchange. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The vote was 4-0

All three transportation projects are funding with SPLOST 2018 and federal funding.

Also at the Oct. 17 meeting, the Board:

  • Proclaimed Oct. 24, 2023 World Polio Day in Cherokee County on behalf of the five Rotary Clubs in the county. Towne Lake Rotary President Jim Klynman and Canton Rotary President Francisco Lozano were present to accept the proclamations.
  • Announced that there are three vacancies on the Advisory Council for Behavior Health and Development Disabilities. The terms are for three years, and the Board meets via web conference every other month. Those interested should contact County Clerk Christy Black at cblack@cherokeega.com.
  • Approved, 3-0-1, the minutes from the Oct. 3 work session, executive session and regular meeting. District 1 Commissioner Steve West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. Commissioner West abstained from the vote as he was not present at the Oct. 3 meeting due to illness.
  • Held a public hearing related to a modification for zoning conditions request by Cumming Highway Storage. The applicant is seeking to eliminate a 2019 zoning condition restricting outdoor storage on the 9.86-acre parcel at 7222 Cumming Highway, and modify two other conditions to alter the plans. The applicant wants to add outdoor RV and boat storage on the interior of the property and construct a non-retail building facing Ga. 20 next to the existing structure. Nearby residents spoke during the public hearing. The BOC tabled the vote until the Nov. 7 meeting. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby. The vote was 4-0.
  • Held a public hearing regarding the abandonment of a portion of James Dupree Lane. No one spoke. The abandonment is related to a development in the Cherokee 75 corporate park. Commissioner Carter made the motion to approve the abandonment, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby. The vote was 4-0.
  • Held a public hearing regarding revisions to the noise ordinance. Four people spoke. The changes amend quiet hours to 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily, 11 p.m. Saturday to 1 p.m. Sunday, and 6:30 p.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. Monday, restrict construction noise during quiet hours except by an after-hours permit, allows use of speakers at outdoor riding arenas until 7 p.m. as long as the speakers face inward to the arena and are no less than 500 feet from residential areas. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The vote was 4-0.
  • Approved, 4-0, a modified version of JL Metals Holding LLC’s request to appeal a Zoning Board of Appeals denial related to a variance to decrease the buffer between Heavy Industrial and Agriculture from 200 feet to 100 feet. After meeting with the applicant and the nearby property owner, the BOC approved reducing the creek side buffer to 175 feet and the buffers abutting Heavy Industrial on the other three sides to 100 feet. Commissioner West made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, the consent agenda, which included: a National Opioid Settlement funding request for courts, authorizing a total allocation of $442,325 to fund personnel and operational costs for the DUI/Misdemeanor Drug Court, the Felony Drug Court and the Drug Lab through December 2025 and a budget amendment in the amount of $213,355; a budget amendment in the amount of $185,822 for CATS to accept grant funds for reimbursement of the Micro-Transit software; a subrecipient agreement in the amount of $50,000 with MUST Ministries for its Bridge Transitional Housing Program; adopting the 2023 Capital Improvement Element and Community Work Program Annual Report; the surplus of miscellaneous office furniture and equipment for the Clerk of Courts; resolutions to waive alcohol license residency requirement for A&B 888 Inc. dba Bells Ferry Food Mart at 10511 Bells Ferry Road, Canton; calling for a public hearing on Nov. 21 on a board-initiated rezoning of a 4.5-acre, county-owned parcel at 255 Old Mill Road, from General Commercial and Neighborhood Commercial to General Commercial with intentions to sell the property; calling for a public hearing on Nov. 21 on a board-initiated rezoning per a settlement agreement between Hazel Creek Properties LLC and Cherokee County of a parcel located at 3202 Hickory Flat Highway, from R-40 to OI and NC with conditions; and calling for a public hearing on Dec. 19 for a legacy lot request by Justin Rugg and Paula Krassa. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner West.
  • Tabled, 4-0, a request for motorized carts on approved streets in the Crabapple Falls subdivision to the first meeting in January. Commissioner Weatherby, who is the district commissioner for the area, said he needed a better indication of the proponents and opponents. The staff attorney’s office will create a list of property owners that the applicant and opponents must use to create a petition. Commissioner Weatherby said he's looking for at least 70 percent of residents of the subdivisions to participate for a decision to be made. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Tabled, 4-0, a request for motorized carts on approved streets in the Southlands subdivision until the first meeting in January. Like the Crabapple Falls request, Commissioner Weatherby motioned to table decision pending review of a petition with at least 70 percent participation of the residents. The applicant will also need to use a list of property owners provided by the staff attorney’s office. Commissioner Carter seconded the motion.
  • Approved, 4-0, a request for motorized carts in the Falls of Cherokee subdivision. Commissioner Carter, who is the district commissioner and indicated he had received overwhelming support for the initiative, made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 4-0, catastrophic medical insurance for inmates at the Adult Detention Center from IOA, using Lloyds of London. The total cost is $155,657. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, a professional services agreement with Open Hands, Inc. to provide meals for Senior Services. The estimated cost is $300,000 per year. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 4-0, the purchase of a 2023 Ford Escape from Courtesy Ford for the Risk Management Department. The cost is $31,000. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, the purchase of two Ford Ranger pickups from Krause Family Ford for the Building Department. The total cost is $75,300. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 4-0, the purchase of 60 Axis Q6010-E traffic cameras from 360 Network Solutions for $79,140 and 60 Cradlepoint R920 cellular routers, power supplies and antennas from ProLogic ITS for $82,690.20 for the Sheriff’s Office. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

CANTON, GA (Oct. 19, 2023) – Cherokee County residents are invited to attend a Town Hall meeting on Oct. 26. 

CANTON, GA (Oct. 19, 2023) – Cherokee County residents are invited to attend a Town Hall meeting on Oct. 26. 

Cherokee County District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter will host the Town Hall meeting, alongside Georgia Rep. District 22 Jordan Ridley, in the Community Room of the BridgeMill fire station located at 9550 Bells Ferry Road in Canton. 

“Town Halls provide the community quality time and opportunity to learn and ask questions regarding the everyday functions of the Cherokee County Government,” said Carter “Residents will receive updates on current county projects and are encouraged to take part in a question-and-answer session.” 

The meeting will run from 6:30 p.m. until 8p.m. and is free and open to the public.

“I look forward to hearing from my constituents as we prepare for the 2024 session,” said Ridley. 

Commission district 3 covers an area generally west of I-575 between state route 20 and Kellogg Creek Road. Communities in district 3 includes Sutallee, portions of Woodstock and Holly Springs. House district 22 covers Sutallee and portions of Southwest Cherokee County. 


ABOUT CHEROKEE COUNTY

Located 30 miles north of downtown Atlanta, Cherokee County is part of the 11-county metro-Atlanta area. Cherokee County boasts a population of more than 281,000, according to the July 2022 Census estimates. It is the one of the fastest growing counties in the metro region and its overall Board of Commissioners-controlled tax burden per capita is one of the lowest in the region.  Cherokee County has award-winning parks and recreational facilities, is a destination for corporate headquarters and is a great place to live, work and play. Cherokee County is the best of both worlds because it’s where “Metro Meets the Mountains.” Learn more at https://cherokeega.com.

History Cherokee opens "Georgia's Good Neighbor: The Story of WCHK" exhibit

CANTON, GA – History Cherokee opened its newest temporary exhibit “Georgia’s Good Neighbor: The Story of WCHK” on October 18 in the Byron L. Dobbs Gallery at the Cherokee County History Center. Visitors to the exhibit will learn about the history of WCHK and its impact on Cherokee County. The exhibit also shares WCHK memories from Cherokee County residents who grew up listening to the radio station. 

WCHK was the vision of Charles McClure, a native of Cherokee County. On April 11, 1957, citizens of Cherokee and surrounding counties tuned in to 1290 AM on their radio dials to hear the station’s very first broadcast. Starting with a staff of only five - Mike McDougal, Bob Peterson, Laura McGee, Jim Axel, and Byron Dobbs - WCHK quickly grew into a community resource reporting local news, births, deaths, weather, local events, sports, Sunday school lessons, music, and more. 

In a 2007 article in the “Cherokee Tribune,” Peggy Moore, McClure’s daughter, said that starting WCHK “was fulfilling a dream…to give the people of his hometown and county access to news, weather, and events in their own community. WCHK was one way of Dad giving back to the community that had embraced him, his mother, father, sister and brother.” 

By the early 2000s, the popularity of radio was waning, and people were increasingly turning to other sources for news and entertainment. In early 2007, just a few months shy of its 50th anniversary, WCHK was sold and went off the air. 

“WCHK always strove to be a ‘good neighbor’ to its citizens, and I believe we did it pretty well,” Moore concluded.  

Now through January 28, 2024, visitors to the Cherokee County History Center can relive the days of radio and “Georgia’s Good Neighbor” through artifacts and memorabilia, pictures, newspaper clippings, and more.

“It’s important to come see how the history of WCHK was a part of the community,” said Randy Gravley, who got his start in radio at WCHK and went on to start Tri-State Communications with the late Byron Dobbs. “The radio station, from April 11, 1957, when it came on the air, really became part of the fabric of this community, and you can see it through this exhibit. You can see how it played a role from the news aspect to the sports aspect, and it just shows the history of not only Cherokee County but media in Cherokee County.” 

This special exhibit is free for History Cherokee members and included in general admission for non-members. Learn more about “Georgia’s Good Neighbor: The Story of WCHK'' at historycherokee.org


About History Cherokee

History Cherokee operates the Cherokee County History Center and the Historic Rock Bark. History Cherokee’s mission is the collection, preservation, and interpretation of Cherokee County history.

E 9-1-1 earns APCO International certification

(OCT. 17, 2023) -- Cherokee County E 9-1-1’s training program recently received APCO International certification.

“Training is imperative in any line of work, but training the first line of communication for all public safety is paramount to successful calls,” said E 9-1-1 Director Shane Bonebrake. “Our training manager, Heather Bradberry, and her team do a phenomenal job making sure all of our call takers and dispatchers are ready to answer your call.”

E 9-1-1 submitted its training curriculum for APCO International’s Agency Training Program Certification, a Project 33 Initiative. The review evaluated training curriculum to ensure it provides trainees with both the required content and focuses on the demonstration of decision and psychomotor skills cited within the standard.

Cherokee E 9-1-1 will be recognized during APCO’s 90th Annual Conference & Expo in August 2024.

In addition to APCO International’s three-year curriculum certification, E 9-1-1 holds CALEA accreditation, an internationally recognized accrediting agency for law enforcement.

For more info click here

Cherokee County Senior Services is asking for donations for its annual Adopt-A-Senior program.

CANTON, GA (Oct. 13, 2023) – Several county departments are seeking donations for local seniors ahead of the holiday season. 

Cherokee County Senior Services is asking for donations for its annual Adopt-A-Senior program.

“We routinely receive phone calls from seniors requesting financial assistance with everything from utilities to groceries,” said Cherokee County Senior Services Resource Coordinator De Gale. “Since most of these folks live on a tight budget, we reach out to the community each year to ask for assistance in gathering their requested Christmas gifts.”

Requested gift items include flashlights with batteries, $30 gift cards to local grocery stores, reacher/grabber tools, stamps, small boxes of chocolate and non-perishable items such as toiletries, lip balm, tissues and lotions. 

Senior Services will accept gifts starting Oct. 23 through Dec. 1. Gifts can be dropped off at the Cherokee County Senior Center located at 1001 Univeter Road in Canton. Drop off times are Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and on Saturday, Nov. 18 and Saturday, Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. All donated items should be new, unwrapped and placed in a holiday bag. 

The program, which has been in effect for more than 20 years, serves on average over 250 seniors. For additional information about the Adopt-A-Senior program, contact Cherokee County Senior Services at 770-345-3025.

Cherokee Recreation and Parks Agency is collecting items for its annual Hugs in A Blanket community outreach program.

“Our Hugs in A Blanket program continues to grow each year,” said Cherokee Recreation and Parks Marketing and Community Outreach Coordinator Jessica Hallman. “Last year, the program reached an all-time high by collecting roughly 1,000 items to donate to our local seniors currently living in nursing homes.”

Program participants are asked to donate a new warm blanket, new pair of slipper socks and a caring note.

Cherokee Recreation and Parks will accept donations starting Nov. 1 through Dec. 13. Gifts can be dropped off at The WREC located at 7545 Main St., building 200, in Woodstock, the Cherokee County Aquatic Center located at 1200 Wellstar Way in Canton and the L.B. Buzz Ahrens Recreation Center at Cherokee Veterans Park located at 7345 Cumming Highway in Canton. Drop off times are Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Donation drop-offs hours will be affected by county office closures in observance of upcoming holidays. County offices will be closed Friday, Nov. 10 in observance of Veterans Day and Nov. 23-24 in observance of the Thanksgiving holidays. 

For more information about the Hugs in A Blanket program, contact Cherokee Recreation and Parks at 770-924-7768 or visit PlayCherokee.org. 

ABOUT CHEROKEE COUNTY

Located 30 miles north of downtown Atlanta, Cherokee County is part of the 11-county metro-Atlanta area. Cherokee County boasts a population of more than 281,000, according to the July 2022 Census estimates. It is the one of the fastest growing counties in the metro region and its overall Board of Commissioners-controlled tax burden per capita is one of the lowest in the region.  Cherokee County has award-winning parks and recreational facilities, is a destination for corporate headquarters and is a great place to live, work and play. Cherokee County is the best of both worlds because it’s where “Metro Meets the Mountains.” Learn more at https://www.cherokeega.com.

SAFETY SUPERHERO DAY

October 14, 2023

10am – 1pm (must be set and ready by 9:30am)

Arrival time: 8:30am- 9:00am  

Ballground Community Center Parking Lot and Ballfield

250 Civic Dr., Ballground, GA 

Contact Information:  Rebekah Gibson (678-699-2341)  rebekahgibson.seed@gmail.com and Lisa Grisham (770-316-8107) lmgrisham@cherokeeega.com

Other important information:

Please drop off items for set up and park off site unless your display is your vehicle.

We will have waters and snacks for volunteers. (Please provide a list of volunteers back to Lisa Grisham by October 11)

Map included with Confirmation.

We will have a drawing for a prize at the event.   Kids must get a stamp on a passport card at each station or booth to enter the raffle.  (Cards are available at the front table) Stamps will be supplied to each station or booth.  Each stamp will be different. They cannot have 2 of the same. Passport cards can be turned in at the front table once completed.  Please help us encourage everyone to visit all booths.  

Restrooms will be available in the Community Center.

Thank you for participating.  We look forward to a wonderful, fun, safe day! 

OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING INCIDENT

 

 WOODSTOCK, GEORGIA: On October 12, 2023, at approximately 2243 hours, City of Woodstock Police officers attempted to stop a motorist for a series of traffic offenses to include failure to maintain lane near Highway 92 and Hames Road. The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Emmanuel Millard, fled after the officer’s initial contact during the traffic stop resulting in a vehicle pursuit. 

After Woodstock Police officers attempted to stop the vehicle using the Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT), Mr. Millard crashed near Highway 92 and Old Mountain Park Road in Cobb County. While attempting to arrest Mr. Millard, an officer discharged his weapon, striking Mr. Millard. Mr. Millard was transported to North Fulton Hospital where he is currently being treated and is in critical condition. 

The Woodstock Police Department has requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) conduct a separate and independent investigation into this officer involved shooting. As standard procedure, the officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation by the GBI. As the lead investigating agency, all media requests regarding the investigation should be directed to GBI Public and Governmental Affairs. 

“The Woodstock Police Department understands the value of every human life and will diligently work to maintain transparency throughout this investigation,” stated Woodstock Police Chief Robert Jones. “We recognize during officer involved shooting incidents, the media and community will have questions. The department will do our best to provide information as it becomes available to be released. Our goal in this and every situation is to act with integrity so that we maintain the public’s trust.” 

The incident was captured on the officer’s body worn camera. During the pursuit, the suspect ran off the road in multiple locations, nearly struck multiple civilian vehicles, and attempted to strike police vehicles. While three law enforcement vehicles were damaged due to the suspect’s actions, no injuries were sustained by officers involved in the pursuit. 

For more information on the Woodstock Police Department, visit woodstockga.gov/police. 

Scarecrows Have Invaded Downtown Woodstock

WOODSTOCK, GA – With over 230 scarecrows now standing tall in Downtown Woodstock, the annual invasion hasofficially begun. Installations began on October 2, with community members working diligently on each of their displays to create the most impressive designs we’ve seen to date.
Scarecrows are created by various companies, non-profits, local sports teams, scout troops, and individuals within the community. Among the designs are traditional classics, as well as newer pop culture trends that Swifties will love; creativetakes on your favorite Disney characters; and of course, a few Barbies and Kens mixed in as well. Visitors will even spota giant dog, some Stranger Things, Alice in Wonderland, and whimsical fairies amongst the designs. Each and everydisplay has its own unique take on the long-standing scarecrow tradition; the Woodstock community certainly outdid itself this year with their creations.
The Scarecrow Invasion will remain on display in Downtown Woodstock through the end of October. Visitors will find the displays located on Main Street just north of Arnold Mill Rd, in front of Rootstock and The Chambers, as well as throughoutCity Center Park and The Northside Hospital-Cherokee Amphitheater. As a free event, visitors are encouraged to taketheir time viewing the scarecrows, and return as often as they would like to see it all.
An extra fun way to engage families and children in particular is with the Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt, which includes ten clues to be found throughout the displays. Those interested can pick up the Scavenger Hunt from the Woodstock
Visitors Center (8588 Main Street), open Monday through Saturday, 10am-5pm. Further information can be foundonline at https://visitwoodstockga.com/scarecrow.

pictures The Chamber's Scarecrowes

 

Cherokee's DUI Court selected as CACJ Model Court

(OCT. 12, 2023) -- The Council of Accountability Court Judges (CACJ) has selected Cherokee County’s DUI Court to serve as a “Model Court” for 2024-2026.

The announcement was made at the CACJ Annual Conference in Athens last month.

The Georgia Model Court Project, implemented by the CACJ, recognizes court programs in the state that have been in operation for several years and have exceeded the state standards and national best practices. Being a model court entails serving as a resource to other accountability courts in need of including information sharing and site visits.

“We are honored to be selected as a Model DUI Court in Georgia,” said Chief State Court Judge Alan Jordan. “This is a reflection of all of the hard work our DUI Court team has done over the years. We are lucky in Cherokee County to have such great people working in the program. This wouldn’t be possible without them.”

The DUI Court has proven to be an effective program in combatting repeated drunk driving and recidivism rates. As of January 2023, DUI Court participants statewide have a 6.9 percent three-year felony re-arrest rate. Cherokee County DUI graduates have a less than 5 percent DUI recidivism rate.

The DUI Court began in Cherokee County in 2005. It is a rigorous program for repeat DUI offenders and offers them a chance at rehabilitation in lieu of jail time. The mission of the DUI Court is to protect the public safety and reduce criminal recidivism rate of repeat DUI offenders through an integrated approach that involves court supervision, substance abuse treatment services, and personal accountability, resulting in positive and long-lasting life changes.

Participation in the DUI Court must be assigned through a judge’s sentencing following a repeat infraction. DUI Court is a minimum 14-month program that requires regular check-ins with a judge, intensive treatment, counseling, drug testing, and supervision to hold offenders accountable for their rehabilitation. Accountability Courts, including DUI Courts, help lower recidivism and help people return to productive lives, supporting their families and paying taxes. According to CACJ, each accountability court graduate produces $25,921 in economic benefits to Georgia.

Since its inception, 776 participants have graduated from Cherokee County’s DUI Court program. The DUI Court currently is serving the most participants of the 21 DUI Courts in the state.


PHOTO CAPTION: Cherokee County DUI Court team members are pictured at the CACJ Annual Conference. From left: Hunter Freeman, case manager; Grace Price, Price Counseling Center; Defense Attorney Jeffrey Williams; State Court Judge Alan Jordan; Angela D'Agata, program coordinator; Emma Price, Price Counseling Center; Cody Cagle, Cherokee County Probation Services; and Sheriff's Deputy Robert Jones. Other key team members not pictured are: Solicitor General Todd Hayes, Chief Assistant Solicitor General David McElyea, and Sheriff's Capt. Darin Downey.

DRIVE-THRU FLU SHOT CLINIC in Blue Ridge is Thursday, Oct. 12th!

 Blue Ridge, GA – This year’s DRIVE-THRU FLU SHOT CLINIC, conducted by Fannin County Health Department, is Thursday, October 12th, from 8 am to 3 pm at The Farmers Market in Blue Ridge! Everyone 18 and older is invited. You’ll remain safely in your vehicle to get your flu shot from public health while conveniently driving through. The shot is no-cost if covered by one of several health plans. If paying out of pocket, the cost is still relatively low at $25 for regular flu vaccine and $65 for high dose flu vaccine for people aged 65 and older. Both vaccines guard against 4 different strains of flu. Cash, checks, Medicare, Medicaid, Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Coventry, Humana, and United Healthcare Insurance will be accepted. The Farmers Market is at 811 Summit Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513. Call (706) 632-3023 for more information or log onto nghd.org/news/drive-thru-flu-shots#BlueRidge. 

(Spanish translation option is available at that link) 

Redeveloped Historic Jones Mercantile Building Opens Soon, Bringing Co-­working and New Food Options to Downtown Canton

When the “new” Jones Mercantile building opens at 130 East Main Street in Downtown Canton this fall, here’s what visitors can expect:

Thrive Canton

Thrive Canton’s second location features 45 private offices for lease along with several meeting and event rooms available for four to 150 people. The largest tenant in the newly renovated Jones Mercantile building,Thrive Canton occupies 19,000 square feet on both the top floor and at street level.

Visitors to Thrive Canton will find an elegant mash up of The Great Gatsby meets 1930s train station. Thisamazing architecture and design sets an ideal backdrop for working in private office spaces, for co-­?working in common areas, and for hosting spectacular meetings and events.

Thrive Community Manager Lee Oliver and his team are ready to open the doors on this historic space and start filling it with wonderful people. “I love being a part of this next chapter in Canton,” says Lee, who lives inDowntown Canton with his wife. “Stewardship is important to me and having the opportunity to steward our part of this special building, returning it to its well–deserved glory as the centerpiece of Downtown, is a privilege.”

Space available: Currently 40% leased Expected opening date: Nov. 1, 2023

The original location of Thrive Canton is located at The Mill on Etowah. Once a top denim producer in theUnited States, the mill was owned and managed by the Jones family who also ran the Jones Mercantile, a bustling department store where mill workers could purchase everything from groceries to a wedding gown. Both historic properties have been re-envisioned and renovated by developers Penn Hodge and Grant Schmeelk.

For information about leasing office space or booking meeting and event space at Thrive Canton, call 470-713-6731 or email info@thrive-­?canton.com.

 

Palermo’s Original Pasta & Sandwiches/P.O.P.S.

Owners/operators Andy and Amber Palermo are excited to bring this New York-­?inspired Italian American café and market to Downtown Canton. Classic dishes featuring homemade pasta, meatballs, sausage, and sauces include chicken parmesan and sausage and peppers. The menu also boasts original sandwichesand salads, plus visitors can grab and go specialty items from the Italian market section of P.O.P.S.

With more than two decades in restaurant operations, Andy was most recently vice president of operationsfor Rocket Farm Restaurants. Amber brings more than 10 years of hospitality experience to P.O.P.S. The duolives in Canton with their 8-­? and 10-year-old children who serve as official taste testers.

“Our dream is to have a true neighborhood restaurant,” Andy says. “So much history and charm is packedinto the Jones building that we could not pass up the opportunity to open our business there. This space feels like the jewel in the crown of Downtown Canton.”

With a casual atmosphere and counter service, P.O.P.S. expects to be open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner beginning January 2024.

The Palermo team is hiring an enthusiastic and passionate culinarian to help lead the kitchen, a crew of talented cooks, and a helpful service team. Send resumes to cheers@popscanton.com.

 

History of Jones Mercantile

In April 2022, the City of Canton’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) sold the vacant Historic Jones Mercantile building to developers Penn Hodge and Grant Schmeelk, the duo who brought The Mill on Etowah to life via redevelopment.

For more on the history of Jones Mercantile, visit https://www.cantonga.gov/our-city/historic-jones-mercantile-renovations-2017-2019.

Canton Police Chief Announces Plans for Retirement

(CANTON, Georgia, October 9, 2023)—Canton Police Chief Stephen Merrifield has announced his intended retirement from the law enforcement profession effective later this fall. Merrifield has served as Chief of the Canton Police Department since January 2020. 

“I would like to thank Mayor Grant and our Council members for all of the support they have offered me and the Canton Police Department during my tenure,” noted Merrifield.  

Chief Merrifield joined the City of Canton in February 2015 as Deputy Police Chief following a thirty-year career with Cobb County Police rising to the rank of Major. Merrifield started his career with an enlistment in the United States Army, serving four years in the Airborne Ranger Unit ending his time with the rank of Sergeant.

“We are certainly sad to see Chief Merrifield retire, but he has served his community and nation well for over 39 years in law enforcement and his time in the Army,” said Mayor Bill Grant. “Our Canton community is better because of his leadership and his commitment to protecting the public, serving all citizens with integrity, and being dedicated to advancing the profession of law enforcement.”

During his tenure as Police Chief, Merrifield worked to assure that front line responders and the public received necessary services and support during the Coronavirus Pandemic which started shortly after his appointment. He is credited for building consistent relationships with all populations in the City of Canton through dedication to diversity initiatives, hiring a department that better matches the demographics of the local community, and working with others to create opportunities for positive interaction between the public and law enforcement officers.  

Additional accomplishments during his service to Canton include the start of the Multicultural Festival, Annual Kickball with a Cop event with St. Paul AME Church, the transition to a new records management system, relocation of the department to the former City Hall site at 151 Elizabeth Street, the addition of electric motorcycles for park patrols, serving as the staff liaison to the Public Safety Citizens Advisory Board, implementation of the City’s step-grade compensation plan for sworn personnel, and a number of training initiatives for his team.  

The Canton Police Department added the rank of Captain during his service, now having three on staff. Merrifield was instrumental in requesting additional appropriations from the City Council for improvements to the department’s patrol fleet, uniform improvements, safety equipment upgrades, improved arms for officers, utilizing crime analysis to build department efficiencies, and improving overall training within the department to increase promotions and recruit talent.

“Chief Merrifield stepped up into the leadership of our department at a critical time in history. Between a pandemic, social unrest throughout the nation, and a lack of applicants to the profession of law enforcement, he provided a steady hand of experience for Canton Police,” added Billy Peppers, City Manager. “Stephen always advocated for his team and the profession of law enforcement. His dedication along with the support of the Mayor and City Council allowed our City to remain well-supported in policing while many neighboring communities amassed critical shortages of officers.”

“I would like to thank every member of the Canton Police Department, sworn and non-sworn, for their dedication to our great Community and their selfless public service,” added Merrifield. “It has been an honor to lead the finest law enforcement agency in the nation and to be part of such a caring and compassionate City.”

Chief Merrifield will remain on with the department through a current round of promotions, assisting Canton Police Department in advancing the careers of its men and women of law enforcement. As that process is completed, the City will host a retirement ceremony for the Chief and provide more details on the filling of the vacancy.

Planning department earns statewide awards

(OCT. 6, 2023) -- The Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association recognized Cherokee County and its cities with prestigious awards for efforts in cooperative planning.

Over the last few years, Cherokee County has worked with each city’s leadership to resurrect and update long-expired growth boundary agreements. While a growth boundary agreement is not legally binding, it provides guidance for cities and the county on where the cities will grow, as well as coordination on character areas and other planning efforts.

The GPA bestowed Cherokee County and its cities with the Distinguished Leadership and Service Contribution Award for Innovation in Planning during the annual GPA Conference held Sept. 20-22.

The award is given in recognition of a specific planning tool, practice, program, project or process that is a significant advancement to specific elements on planning. The category emphasizes results and demonstrates how innovative and state-of-the-art planning methods and practices helped implement a plan.

“I am proud of our team of planning professionals and the work they have completed in cooperation with our cities’ leadership in re-establishing the growth boundary agreements,” said County Manager Geoff Morton. “The GPA’s recognition of the hard work and cooperation of all involved on behalf of the citizens of our county is well deserved.”

The city of Waleska also was recognized with the GPA’s Outstanding Planning Document for Small Communities for the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The Small Communities designation is reserved for cities with fewer than 1,000  or counties with fewer than 10,000 residents. Cherokee County  provides the city of Waleska with its planning documents, and all development requests requiring the planning and zoning process go through the Cherokee County Municipal Planning Commission.

Also at the annual GPA conference, Cherokee County hosted two breakout sessions for those in attendance. The annual conference is a professional development opportunity for municipal planners to learn and share experiences from others in the field.

Coming off their own experience with a Comprehensive Transportation Plan, county staff assisted with breakout session “Get Going with Your CTP: The Latest in Comprehensive Transportation Planning.” Community Development Director Brantley Day said the panel discussed how local governments can create a Comprehensive Transportation Plan from start to finish. The panel included Liz Sanford with the Atlanta Regional Commission, Eric Lusher with Gresham Smith and David Pickworth with VHB, Inc., the company contracted to complete Cherokee County’s CTP adopted earlier this year. The county’s plan was highlighted during the presentation.

The second session, “Wall Street Landlords and Single-Family Rental: Housing Implications for Georgia and the U.S.,” focused on corporate investors owning and renting property in a city or county. Many communities across Georgia and the U.S. have experienced a corporate influx of housing investment, turning properties owned by individuals to corporate rental properties. Day invited Dr. Ken Chilton, associate professor at Tennessee State University, who studies the effect on institutional investing on housing, to present his research. Chilton’s research focuses on how corporate involvement is changing the landscape of homeownership across the country.

The program also included Clint Mueller, government affairs director with the ACCG, who focused on a housing legislation overview from the last session of the Georgia General Assembly and what can be expected in the 2024 General Assembly. Several bills were introduced over the past legislative sessions involving preempting counties and cities from regulating rental and certain housing standards.

Highlights from Oct. 3 Board of Commissioners meeting

(OCT. 6, 2023) -- The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners approved the 2024 Budget Tuesday night, which provides for county operations and capital projects from Oct. 1, 2023-Sept. 30, 2024.

A public hearing was held Sept. 19. No one spoke.

The overall $396 million budget is up from $375 million from the previous fiscal year and includes operating funds at $288 million and capital funds at $107 million. The operating fund, also known as the general fund, is funded mainly by property taxes, motor vehicle taxes (TAVT), Insurance Premium Tax, licenses and permits, and other items. The capital funds budget is funded by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and impact fees.

Nearly 80 percent of the total proposed increase in the general fund is due to inmate medical costs ($2.7 million), court appointed attorney costs ($659,000), computer equipment ($280,000), vehicle maintenance ($255,000), maintenance for the Motorola system for public safety ($232,000) and general supplies ($181,000).

The proposed budget accounts for using $7.3 million from general fund reserves, forecasted to leave $56.6 million at the end of the fiscal year. The proposed fire fund budget accounts for using $410,250 in fire fund reserves, leaving about $10.1 million in the reserve fund at the end of the fiscal year.

District 2 Commissioner Richard Weatherby made the motion to approve the budget, which was seconded by District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter. District 1 Commissioner Steve West was absent due to illness.

At the Oct. 3 meeting, the Board of Commissioners also:

  • Proclaimed Oct. 8-14 as Fire Prevention Week in Cherokee County
  • Heard Sheriff Frank Reynolds present the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office quarterly awards, which included the retirement of Major Daniel Higgins and promotion of Olen Boughner from captain to major.
  • Proclaimed October as Community Planning Month.
  • Heard Brantley Day, Community Development Agency Director, and Margaret Stallings, Planning and Zoning Director, present the 2023 Georgia Planning Association Awards recognizing Cherokee County and the city of Waleska for awards received from the Georgia Planning Association.
  • Approved, 4-0, a resolution urging Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly to continue efforts to improve mental health services for the citizens of Georgia. District 4 Commissioner Corey Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, the Sept. 19 work session, executive session and regular meeting minutes. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.
  • Held a public hearing on proposed amendments to Chapter 6 – Alcoholic Beverages of the Code of Ordinances. No one spoke. Changes include consumption revisions related to brewpubs, breweries, farm wineries, ancillary package and distilleries. The update also amends the temporary permit for special events in parking lots of licensed establishments. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Held a public hearing on proposed amendments to Chapter 42 of the Code of Ordinances, related to alcohol consumption at county recreation and parks venues. No one spoke. The changes allow for beer, wine and distilled spirits to be served at events at Victory Hall at the L.B. Ahrens Recreation Center and the Union Hill Community Center. The person hosting the function must have a confirmed reservation with Cherokee Recreation & Parks, must obtain a special event permit and hire a licensed caterer or bar service to serve any alcohol. Commissioner Carter made the motion to approve the amendments, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.
  • Approved, 4-0, Tim Perkins’ request to rezone 5.197 acres from Agriculture to General Commercial at 301 Perkins Lane and a special use permit for a non-climate-controlled storage facility. The applicant is planning an outdoor storage area on the property. Mr. Perkins and his family members own all property surrounding the proposed storage area. The Board approved the rezoning and special use permit, along with several variances related to visual screening, setbacks and driveway spacing reduction. The approval vote added a condition tying the variance approvals to the business license for the storage area, and if the Perkins family sells any of the adjoining property, the variances become null and void. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.
  • Tabled, 4-0, JL Metal LLCs appeal of a Zoning Board of Appeals case regarding a buffer between Heavy Industrial and Agriculture. The applicant is seeking to reduce the buffer from 200 feet to 100 feet for a recycling facility. ZBA denied the variance request in June. The BOC agreed to allow the buffer reduction. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion to table, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.
  • Approved, 4-0, notifying the city of Woodstock that the county does not object to the annexation of 0.95 acres on Highway 92. The property is within the growth boundary agreement. Additional parking for a Northside Hospital medical office building is planned for the property. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Declined, with a 4-0, hearing an appeal of an Administrative Variance decision. The zoning manager approved an administrative variance to reduce side building setbacks from 50 feet to 45 feet for the property owner to build a home at 171 Hawks Club Drive in the Hawks Ridge subdivision. An adjoining property owner was requesting the appeal of the 10 percent reduction of the side setback. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, the consent agenda, which included amendment three to the agreement with T&T Uniforms, extending the existing contract by one year and allowing an average 4.2 percent price increase for firefighter uniforms; a Memorandum of Understanding with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency for the county’s grants manager to apply for and manage grants in the state’s portal on behalf of the county; the surplus of several computers, monitors and miscellaneous items from the Information Technology Services Department; amendment one to the Stell Road Drainage Improvement Project Design Services Agreement with Calco Engineering, LLC in the amount of $23,300 to add roadway design for a right-turn lane from Ga. 92 to Ridge Mill Court; and setting a public hearing for Oct. 17 regarding the abandonment of a portion of James Dupree Lane. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, an extension of the current email protection solutions agreement as required by the county’s cybersecurity insurance carrier. The amount is not to exceed $55,566 and is included in the FY2024 budget. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 4-0, the alternate tree preservation and replacement plan for Hunter Trail LLC. The item was tabled from the Sept. 19 meeting. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, an addendum in the amount of $65,500 to the Professional Services Agreement with Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. to provide continued Workers’ Compensation Third Party Administration for FY2024. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.
  • Approved, 4-0, a Professional Services Agreement with Comfort Keepers, Senior Helpers, Caring Senior Services and ComForCare of Cobb County for respite and personal care for Senior Services at a fixed rate of $35 per hour. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale. The service paid for through grants Senior Services has received.
  • Approved, 4-0, a Professional Services Agreement with Cedartown Electric, LLC for courtroom power source upgraded at the Justice Center. The total amount is $30,580.51. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 4-0, the CATS FY2024 5310 Department of Human Services contract and ratify the Chairman’s signature. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, acceptance of FTA 5311 Rural Assistance Program from the Georgia Department of Transportation contract for FY2024 in the amount of $526,000 consisting of 50 percent federal operating funds totaling $263,000 and a county match of $263,000. The contract also includes Capital Funds totaling $21,420, with 80 percent matching federal funds, 10 percent state funds and 10 percent county funds. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, a settlement agreement with Hazel Creek Properties LCC. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Approved, 4-0, an employee retirement agreement. The item was added to the agenda following executive session. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.

Turn of the Century Costume Ball to Raise Funds for Homeless Coalition of Cherokee County

On Saturday, Oct. 14, from 7 – 10 pm, dance the night away Downton Abbey-­?style as Timbers at The Mill on Etowah in Canton transforms into Downton Milly for a night of royal dancing, delicious food, and fundraising.

At the costume ball, two Lords and two Ladies will compete for the title of King and Queen. Those with the most funds receive the crowns! This good spirited competition raises dollars and awareness for the local non-­?profit Homeless Coalition of Cherokee County.

Homeless Coalition of Cherokee County’s First Ever Fundraising Gala Downton Milly: Everyone Deserves a Castle to Call Home

  • Tickets: $90/each
  • Timbers on Etowah at The Mill, Reformation Parkway, Canton
  • Parking is free
  • For tickets or to donate: www.homelesscoalitioncherokee.org/
  • The Lord and Ladies of Downton Milly are:
    • Shawn Tolan, Canton City Councilor
    • Doug Whitney, Community Pastor First Baptist Woodstock
    • Jenna Geary, Membership Manager Cherokee Chamber of Commerce
    • Erin Ragsdale, Cherokee County School Board

Podcast: Cherokee Business Radio

Marianne Butler and Leonard Akers with Homeless Coalition of Cherokee County Sponsored by Woodstock Neighbors Magazine. Get ready for a night of fun and excitement at The Homeless Coalition of Cherokee County’s Costume Ball & Fundraiser event! Put on your most creative and unique costume and join us on Saturday, October 14, 2023 at Timbers on Etowah (225 Reformation Parkway #Suite 202, Canton, GA 30114). The post Marianne Butler and Leonard Akers with Homeless Coalition of Cherokee County appeared first on Business RadioX ®.


ABOUT THE HOMELESS COALITION OF CHEROKEE COUNTY HCCC provides practical solutions toward sustained housing stability. The three pillars of the Homeless Coalition of Cherokee County are: Relief: Operation Roof

Seven Nights at a Hotel Short-­?term housing and networking services for those in need. Since 2021, Operation Roof has provided more than 1,200 nights of shelter plus hotel-­?friendly meal kits and personalized resources to more than 325 people.

Recover: Path to Home Three Months at an Extended Stay Launched in 2023, Path to Home offers three months of stay in an extended-­?stay hotel to families identified in Operation Roof. Through personalized case management, HCCC works to enhance job stability, improve budgeting skills, and provide additional comprehensive support.

Restore: Restoration Village (coming soon) Two Years in a Home The Restoration Village program will provide resources for overcoming homelessness in a tiny home village featuring community space, park/play area, and on-­?site staff. Qualified women and children will reside in single-­?family units for up to 2 years with access to initial program resources such as education, mental health services, and mentorship – all under the guidance of a family coach/case manager.

Coat Drive ahead of harsh winter predicted

Did you know there are over 49,000 Veterans homeless in America? The American Legion Post 45, Arrow Exterminators, and other veteran-owned businesses have combined efforts to supply homeless veterans and others in need. Last year, we collected over 5,000 coats, and more were needed. So, this year's goal is to collect 7,500 coats, lightly used or new, all seasons, genders, and sizes to include children. Jim Lindenmayer, Post 45 Service Officer and CEO of Cherokee Homeless Veterans Program, added that with the economy and inflation, our need is more significant than ever, and we are asking our community and businesses to help.

Where can you make your donation? Any Arrow Exterminator location and Legion Post 45 Located at 160 McClure St. Canton, GA, 30114. Some of you may want to make a monetary donation. If so, please get in touch with Jim Lindenmayer at jlindenmayer80@gmail.com. Our collection deadline is December 1st.

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