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Local News Archives for 2024-01

Cherokee County E 9-1-1 to launch new citizen engagement tool

CANTON, GA (Jan. 29, 2024) – Cherokee County E 9-1-1 will launch a new citizen engagement and feedback tool aimed at improving services.

Beginning Feb. 1, E 9-1-1 will begin using PowerEngage, a tool that uses text messaging to keep citizens informed and will allow them to provide feedback after a non-life-threatening incident.

 “In today’s society, we understand how important it is to keep citizens informed,” said Cherokee County E 9-1-1 Director Shane Bonebrake.  ”Similar to how private companies use tools to send automatic text message notifications, updates, and satisfaction surveys to their customers, Cherokee E 9-1-1 will now be able to do the same. We expect that this new tool will help us enhance communication with the citizens we serve and help us continue to improve the services we provide.”

Text messages will be sent several hours after specific incident types asking citizens to take a quick survey about their experience with their call for service. An additional feature also allows citizens to provide comments, feedback, or have an opportunity to thank the 9-1-1 call-taker in a live feed that will be viewable to the call-takers.  

Text message surveys will be sent to those whose number is recorded as part of a call for service. But citizens can also provide feedback without receiving a text message by visiting

Residents who do not want to participate can simply not respond or may reply with STOP to opt out of all future text surveys from the department.

“It is important that everyone know that these surveys should not be used to report any type of emergency or crime,” said Bonebrake.  “As always, call 9-1-1 for any emergency or to report any criminal activity.”


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


WOODSTOCK, GA – Woodstock Mayor Michael presented his 2024 State of the City Address to a sold-out crowd at the Woodstock Arts Theater on the morning of Friday, January 26, 2024. 
Mayor Caldwell began the address by saying, “I am proud to report that our city today remains financially secure, economically robust, artistically vibrant, and the sought-after home of go-getters and dreamers throughout the region.” 
The mayor noted the City of Woodstock’s 2023 investments in public safety officers and parks and trails as well as the city’s historically low tax rates citing that Woodstock was among the only local governments in Georgia that did not raise taxes last year. 
“From the largest police pay increase in our city’s history, to the largest parks investment in a century, to impossible growth boundary agreements, our city continues to solve the problems we face with record-breaking success. Let today be the moment that we promise to one another that we will build a city recommitted to the premise that our children should inherit more from us, not less,” Mayor Caldwell challenged the audience. He continued, “We owe it to them.” 
Mayor Caldwell shared renderings of the future Little River Park and said that with the project in the design and engineering stage, the city projects completion of the park before the end of his first term (December 31, 2025). While speaking of the work of Woodstock Parks and Recreation, Caldwell revealed the lineup for the 2024 Season of the Woodstock Summer Concert Series. 
The season begins on Saturday, May 11, 2024, with rock legends Night Ranger. On June 8th, The Guardians of the Jukebox will rock the Northside Hospital Cherokee Amphitheater. Post-grunge icons Tonic headline the July 13th concert. Michael Jackson tribute Who’s Bad performs at the August 10th concert, and country legend Eddie Montgomery closes the 2024 season with a concert on September 14th. 
Mayor Caldwell spoke about Woodstock’s infrastructure saying, “Problems with issues like traffic and parking are only present in places that people want to be. Our city today stands as a thriving community filled with life. So many other cities in our state and nation question their futures while their populations steadily decline.” Mayor Caldwell shared renderings of a pedestrian plaza planned for Elm Street to be named in honor of retired Assistant City Manager Rob Hogan that will align at a primary crosswalk on Main Street to create a more pedestrian-safe and friendly experience and a more efficient driving experience through the center of downtown. 

Mayor Caldwell discussed his priority of building a stronger commercial base noting the recent groundbreaking for Depot Square positioned between Woodstock’s historic train depot and Woodstock City Center which will bring tens of thousands of square feet of new office, restaurant, and retail space as well as a hotel and conference space to downtown Woodstock. The mayor said that most of the new commercial space will be complete in late 2025 and the parking deck will open before the end of this calendar year. 
Recently appointed Vice Chair of the Atlanta Regional Commission, Mayor Caldwell noted that the ARC’s Metro Atlanta Speaks survey identified crime as the biggest challenge facing the region. The mayor credited Woodstock City Council’s 26-percent starting pay increase with allowing the Woodstock Police Department to be fully staffed and at full force for the first time in over a decade. Mayor Caldwell also highlighted the achievements of Woodstock Fire Department in 2023 that included an overhaul of the ranking system and the creation of a Community Risk Reduction Division. 
Speaking of his priority of making the American dream of homeownership available to more of Woodstock’s citizens, Mayor Caldwell outlined his and Councilman Colin Ake’s involvement in the development of policy for affordability in housing for our region through the Georgia Municipal Association. 
Mayor Caldwell addressed the financial health of the city stating that the City of Woodstock has more than doubled its unassigned general fund balance in the last two years. The mayor emphasized that Moody’s and S&P increased Woodstock’s credit rating to Aa1 and AA+ in December 2023. Caldwell stated, “Improving economic metrics, sustained reserve levels, and an improving debt profile were just a few of the positive indicators that make the financial world bullish on Woodstock.” According to Caldwell, “Our city now sits just one level shy of having a perfect credit rating, which represents real savings for our taxpayers and exemplifies excellent financial stewardship.” 
The mayor concluded his address by sharing the City of Woodstock’s new mission statement developed at city leadership’s annual retreat last week saying, “We are building a city that feels like home.” Mayor Caldwell shared the City’s vision to boldly pursue what’s next to build a thriving community. 
“This incredible narrative began long before us, and it will undoubtedly live beyond us,” said Michael Caldwell. “The decisions we make and the stories we tell will shape this place for those who come after, and our bold, collaborative, authentic City Unexpected will surely rise to the challenge.” 
Mayor Caldwell’s full address is available in video and text formats in the news section of the City of Woodstock website at 

About City of Woodstock, GA: Located just 30 miles north of Atlanta, Woodstock’s City limits include more than 12 square miles and over 35,000 residents. Woodstock is a Georgia PlanFirst Community and a recipient of Georgia Municipal Association’s Live Work Play City Award. 

Woodstock's Summer Concert Series for 2024.

WOODSTOCK, GA – In his 2024 State of the City Address, Woodstock Mayor Michael Caldwellannounced the lineup for the upcoming season of the Woodstock Summer Concert Series. WSCS's 2024 Season is a mix of music genres. The hits you'll hear on the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Amphitheaterstage this year span music eras from the 60s to today. From metal to grunge and from familiar chart-toppers to honky-tonk anthems, the 2024 Season has something for every music fan!

On May 11th, WSCS's 2024 Season opens with heavy-hitting rock legends Night Ranger whose anthems “Sister Christian,” “(You Can Still) Rock In America,” and “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” will electrify downtown Woodstock in what will be one of the best stops on their 2024 tour.




The fun continues June 8th with The Guardians of the Jukebox. The Guardians are a five-star, nostalgiajuggernaut transporting fans right back to the 80s with smash hits from artists like Madonna, Tears forFears, Bon Jovi, Lionel Richie, and more. Black Lion Reggae opens for the Guardians with the powerfulrhythms and soulful melodies of reggaes most-loved artists.



On July 13th, 90s chart-topper Tonic will share their enduring hits like "If You Could Only See" and "You Wanted More" with fans in downtown Woodstock. Fellow post-grunge icons The Verve Pipe opens theshow with fan favorites as well as songs from their latest album.




Saturday, August 10th, Who’s Bad’s power-packed performance of Michael Jackson’s catalog will get thecrowd up on their feet in the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Amphitheater. Who's Bad's 20th Anniversary Tourwill thrill the WSCS audience with a power-packed performance of Michael Jackson's original grooves and gravity-defying dance moves. This professional ensemble of musicians and dancers predates MJ's passingand is the longest-running Michael Jackson tribute band in existence.



The season closes on September 14th with Eddie Montgomery of country duo Montgomery Gentry. Even though you may catch Eddie taking a quick glance at the empty space beside him, he and The Wild Bunch are going to get rowdy in downtown Woodstock on the last night of WSCS's 2024 Season. Montgomeryand musical partner Troy Gentry rocked to stardom in the early 2000s with hits like "Hell Yeah" and " Hillbilly Shoes." Following Gentry's untimely death in a helicopter crash, Eddie Montgomery has kept his promise to go on. Fellow honky-tonkers Across the Wide will open the show with a toe-tapping set list of Americana and traditional country songs.

"The City of Woodstock, Georgia and its award-winning Parks and Recreation Department present someof the best outdoor events in the Atlanta region," said Mayor Michael Caldwell. "Georgia's 20th largest citydoesn't miss a party and the concerts of Woodstock Summer Concert Series are at the top the community's list of favorites year over year."

Since 1998, Woodstock Summer Concert Series has brought thousands of fans to downtown Woodstock each summer to enjoy a diverse variety of music from iconic original artists and energetic tribute acts. A select group of private-sector sponsors partner with the City of Woodstock helping to deliver an incredible concert experience each year. Last year, WSCS broke attendance records welcoming more than 14,000 fansto just one of the shows. The 2024 lineup is destined to be another record-breaking success.

The concert series website has been redesigned for 2024. Go to to learn more about the 26th season of Woodstock Summer Concert Series.


About City of Woodstock, GA: Located just 30 miles north of Atlanta, Woodstock’s City limits include more than 12 square miles and over 35,000 residents. Woodstock is a Georgia PlanFirst Community and a recipient of Georgia Municipal Association’s Live Work Play City Award.

COED Announces North Atlanta Venture Mentoring Service's 2023 Mentor of the Year

ATLANTA, GA — On Thursday, January 18, the Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED) named Jim Bulger as the second annual North Atlanta Venture Mentoring Service (NAV) Mentor of the Year Award. 

The NAV program offers team-based mentoring, as principled and trained by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Venture Mentoring Service (VMS). NAV launched in 2019 and has been offering free team-based mentorship to North Atlanta startups since. 

To honor the commitment of mentors, COED celebrated the first NAV Mentor of the Year last January with Tom Kupec. This year, NAV ventures nominated Jim Bulger as a mentor who has made a significant impact on the success of their personal and professional growth. 

“It is my genuine privilege to be part of the NAV program and to be a member of the highly accomplished team of mentors who selflessly volunteer their time to share their professional experience and insights with new, emerging, and growing businesses,” said Bulger. “I am especially honored to be named the 2023 Mentor of the Year.” 

Since joining the NAV Mentor Team in 2020, Jim has mentored a total of four ventures and is currently serving on the eden smoothies mentor team and The Highlight Reel mentor team. He delivered over 50 hours of mentorship in 2023. 

“The NAV program is true servant-leadership in action, and an opportunity for us, as mentors, to assist new business leaders in their journey while we pay back those who provided the advice and guidance that helped shape our own careers and businesses in the past,” said Bulger. 

American Pillar Growers, one of Bulger’s past ventures, recently graduated from NAV after three years of guidance from his team. “Mentors help you realize the potential of your business,” said Clint Ober of American Pillar Growers. “If I could say anything to my mentor team, it would be a profound sense of absolute gratitude.” 

“Jim specifically is a great encourager. He encouraged me in ways that truly motivated me,” said Ober. 

With a career that began in operations management and progressed to Human Resources (HR), Bulger has an extensive background in a variety of industries, allowing him to provide individualized management coaching and customized HR consulting for ventures. 

Bulger is passionate about designing and delivering HR strategies that are built upon communication and collaboration to heighten levels of productivity, efficiency and employee engagement. 

He has led HR teams in retail, technology, business services and sales environments in both private and public companies, ranging from startups to corporations with more than 20,000 employees. 

Today, he is President and Founder of Woodstock-based WorkThrive Consulting, which aims to increase workplace harmony through leadership coaching and HR consulting. 

Beyond his involvement in NAV, Bulger is deeply involved in his community. He serves as a board member of IN WDSTK, is on the Board of Directors for Limitless Disability Services, and is a Caregiver Mentor for Imerman Angeles and National Bone Marrow Transplant Link. 

“Curating a support system is vital for small business owners, but is one of the hardest tasks entrepreneurs face,” said Misti Martin, CEO and President of COED. “That’s why NAV was created. Through NAV, our culture of entrepreneurship flourishes because of the dedication, commitment and expertise of our mentors. We want to thank Jim Bulger, and all of our mentors, for their outstanding efforts.” 

NAV is made possible through Cherokee By Choice 2.0 – a five-year results-driven public-private partnership aimed at reinforcing Cherokee’s role as a leader in economic development. 

As part of the Fresh Start Cherokee umbrella, NAV aims to support startups that are seeking to scale their business towards success. It is the first entrepreneur mentorship program in Georgia to be principled and trained by MIT VMS and represents the 90th MIT VMS sister program. 

While headquartered in Cherokee County, NAV reaches the entire North Atlanta area. Learn more about NAV and apply online at

#### About the Cherokee Office of Economic Development COED is Cherokee’s leading organization for business and film recruitment, and industry retention and expansion. For more information, visit

E 9-1-1 dispatchers recognized for lifesaving efforts

(JAN. 19, 2024) -- More than a dozen awards were given Tuesday night to E 9-1-1 dispatchers who played an integral role in saving the lives of 17 people in 2023.

E 9-1-1 Director Shane Bonebrake praised his employees for remaining calm, getting frantic callers focused and leaning on their training, leading to these residents being able to be transported and treated to walk out of the hospital alive and well.

“This is my favorite day of the year,” Bonebrake told the Commissioners during the Jan. 16 meeting. “This is the time I get to come to you and share how wonderful our E 9-1-1 employees are. The work they do is instrumental in saving lives.”

Cherokee E 9-1-1 dispatchers administered CPR instructions over the phone 1,771 times in 2023. Bonebrake said they were able to confirm 17 qualified for CPR Life Saving Awards, however, there could be more.

E 9-1-1 Quality Assurance Manager Tammy Dodd reviews every 9-1-1 call that comes into the center. For the calls that required CPR to be administered prior to law enforcement and fire personnel responding, she coordinates with Cherokee Fire & Emergency Services EMS Chief Nate Sullivan who, in turn, works with the hospital the patient was transported to.

To be eligible for the CPR Life Saving Award, the patient must have been not breathing and have no pulse when the call was made and be released from the hospital.

The 2023 recipients of the CPR Life Saving Award are:

  • Jen Lasenyik (two saves)
  • Aaron Schwab
  • Tayla Morris (two saves)
  • Ashley Bradburn
  • Elizabeth McArthur
  • Selia Self
  • Todd Allen
  • Jennifer Cooper
  • Sarah Thomas
  • Nicole Wolfe
  • Kaylie Czap
  • Megan Zimmerman
  • Chelsea Maggard (two saves)
  • Ashley Ray

Photo caption: Front row, from left: QA/QI Manager Tammy Dodd, Tayla Morris, Ashley Ray, Linda Miller, Jennifer Lasenyik, Selia Self, Nicole Wolfe. Second row: Director Shane Bonebrake, Training Mgr. Heather Bradberry PSA Director Dana Martin, Elizabeth McArthur, Jennifer Cooper, Ashley Bradburn, Megan Zimmerman. Top row: Chelsea Maggard, Accreditation Mgr. Aaron Schwabb, Kaylie Czap and Todd Allen.


Reinhardt University will be closed on Tuesday, January 16, 2024

(Waleska, GA) To protect Reinhardt University students and employees, and due to the possibility of dangerous weather, including freezing rain, ice accumulations, and travel conditions, Reinhardt University will be closed on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. All classes, programs, and events are canceled.

The Gordy Dining Hall will operate during normal hours. Faculty will connect with their students regarding classwork, but no formal online meetings are required.  

The University understands that closures impact our entire community and do not make this decision lightly. Nothing is more important than safety. We will continue to monitor weather conditions and will keep the community informed of any further announcements. 

About Reinhardt University

Founded in 1883, Reinhardt University is a private, comprehensive institution grounded in the liberal arts. Reinhardt offers more than 40?graduate and undergraduate programs online and on campus, including business, education, music, theater, and nursing. Reinhardt’s 525-acre campus is ideally located in?Waleska?in the heart of Georgia’s high country and nearby the great international city of Atlanta. For more information, please contact Reinhardt at (770) 720-5600 or see  

Pickens County School District to have Digital Learning Day 1/16/24

Due to expected inclement weather, all Pickens County Schools will be having a digital learning day tomorrow, January 16th. 

District offices will open at 10:00 a.m. and 12-month employees should report at that time if they can travel safely.

Please note that all after school athletics, programs, and extracurriculars are also cancelled.

Announcing Visit Woodstock GA Event Dates for 2024

WOODSTOCK, GA – Visit Woodstock GA is pleased to announce the following event dates scheduled for the 2024 calendar year. These events are anchored by Visit Woodstock GA’s mission to inspire and promote travel to Woodstock. 

Two new shopping events have been created to help entice more visitors to the area during what can traditionally be quieter retail months. The first of these will be the Valentine Bingo Card Event, running February 1-14, 2024. The second will be a Lottery Scratch-off Discount Card Event in August (specific dates tbd). 

Next on the schedule is the Pub Crawl Series - Themed Saturday events focused upon promoting visitation to downtown food establishments, featuring food and drink specials. The dates for this four-part series are as follows: February 10 - Mardi Gras; May 4 - Cinco (Quatro) de Mayo; July 6 - Independence Day; October 5 - Oktoberfest. 

During the Summer season, Visit Woodstock’s Family Fun Night Series will return on the third Thursday of each month, May through August. This is a family-friendly theme night series with fun activities planned throughout downtown, and culminating with a movie on the Woodstock Arts Event Green. 

The Sip + Shop Series brings shoppers into Downtown Woodstock where participants receive specials and goodies offered by retailers. Food establishments also offer quick service specials for participants that keep them moving. There will be two dates for this series - The Spring Sip + Shop on March 21, and Holiday Sip + Shop on November 21. 

Visit Woodstock GA also offers a Walking Tour Series - Fun, informational small group tours focused on a particular topic of interest such as history, trail system, architecture/development, etc. The Walking Tours are scheduled for the fourth Thursday of the month, April through October. 

For food lovers out there, the Taste of Woodstock will return on September 12th on the Woodstock Arts Event Green and Market Street. This annual event brings restaurants from throughout Woodstock into one space to highlight their cuisines in small bites. The weekly outdoor Farm. Fresh. Market. will also return for its 11th season in Woodstock beginning April 22nd, and running every Saturday until December 28th. 

For up to date Visit Woodstock GA event information, please check:

Red, White and Blue BBQ Announces NEW Date for Fourth Annual Event, Oct. 11th & 12th

CANTON, GA - The highly anticipated fourth annual Red, White and Blue BBQ contest, dedicated to supporting veteran suicide awareness and prevention, is thrilled to announce its NEW date of October 12th. We have locked in the competition date for 2 WEEKS earlier than last year! 
Hosted by American Legion Post 45 and various veteran groups, the event promises a weekend of flavorful competition and community engagement at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds, 160 McClure St., Canton.

The festivities kick off on the evening of October 11th from 6 to 8 p.m. and continue on October 12th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Both days of entry to the fairgrounds are complimentary, offering an affordable and entertaining experience for attendees.

Sanctioned by the Georgia Barbecue Association, the competition will feature top-notch barbecue creations from skilled cookers across the state and region. Proudly sponsored by the 15,000-plus veterans residing in Cherokee County, all donations and proceeds from the event will contribute to mental health programs aimed at raising awareness and preventing veteran suicide within the community.

The professional flight of the competition, scheduled for October 12th, will engage teams in a thrilling showdown of traditional pork barbecue, competing for trophies and a generous $12,000 in prize money. Teams, having participated in statewide contests for months, vie not only for victory but also accumulate points towards earning the coveted title of barbecue team of the year for 2024.

With over 50 teams from four states participating last year, this annual event has become a must-attend on the Georgia Barbecue Association circuit. An esteemed panel of over 30 association-trained judges will meticulously evaluate entries across three categories, crowning the overall winners in each and ultimately declaring the pitmaster "Grand Champion" of the event.

In addition to the professional competition, the organizers are inviting 10 to 15 amateur teams to compete in a separate event, offering a chance for trophies and a spirited showcase of budding talent.

Registration for professional teams is $275 before September 30th, $300 before October 5th, and $350 after October 5th. Amateur entry is $95 before September 30th.

The two-day extravaganza will feature a delectable array of food and drinks, live music, and engaging games. We have also added a kids play station this year with bounce houses, games, and more! For those looking to savor the experience at home, pre-orders for pork butts are available at $35 each. To pre-order, contact Raymond Rollins at 770-841-5833, with pre-cooked weights ranging from 7-8 pounds.

For an added dose of competition, the night of October 11th will host a cornhole tournament, offering a chance to win a share of $500 in total prize money and coveted trophies. Team entry fees for the cornhole competition are set at $30 per team.

Join us for a weekend of camaraderie, competition, and community support at the Red, White and Blue BBQ on October 11th and 12th. Together, let's make a difference in the lives of our veterans.

Take a Look at the City Picture of the Week

Canton, GA (Jan. 10, 2024) - Meet the Canton City Council! Three newly elected Councilors and Mayor were sworn in at the first Council meeting of 2024 (Jan. 4). Travis Johnson (left), Ward 1; Shawn Tolan (third from right), Ward 2; Farris Yawn (right), Ward 3; and Bill Grant (center), Mayor, each took the Oath of Office and then spoke about their positive intentions for their terms, their goals to move Canton forward, and recognized their supportive loved ones.


Dwayne Waterman (third from left), Ward 3, was named Mayor Pro Tem. Bryan Roach (second from left), Ward 2, was sworn in, in late December, and has two years remaining on his term, as well as does Sandy McGrew, Ward 1.


The next City Council meeting will be held Jan. 18 at City Hall. Visit to view the agenda, minutes, or to watch live and past council meetings.

Annual Downtown Canton Chocolate Walk

Canton, GA (Jan. 10, 2024) - It’s the sweetest event of the year! The Downtown Canton Chocolate Walk is coming up Sat., Feb. 3, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Visit Downtown, get to know your local businesses, and enjoy some sweet treats! Treat locations will be announced soon!


For more info. and to purchase tickets, visit the Facebook event page at

Kurt Lee Wheeler is a Cherokee county, Georgia-based singer/songwriter that crafts raw, vulnerable portrayals of life in the American Southeast.

Kurt Lee Wheeler is a Cherokee county, Georgia-based singer/songwriter that crafts raw, vulnerable portrayals of life in the American Southeast. His musical expressions range from country, to bluegrass, to rock. You can catch Kurt playing solo, duo, trio and with his band The Lathemtown Poet’s Society. Regardless of the musical iteration the songs and stories cut to the emotional core.

His song "Cherokee County," is now the Official Song of Cherokee County.

Cherokee County is available on all streaming services. Click here to learn more.

RE/MAX Town & Country Acquires Experience Realty Group, LLC, Expanding The Real Estate Brokerage to Jasper, GA

Office Acquisition Now Becomes 16th Real Estate Franchise Location, Expanding The Real Estate Brokerage to Jasper, GA.

Jasper, Georgia, January 3, 2024 –RE/MAX Town & Country, North Georgia’s most prominent and successful real estate brokerage, has acquired its sixteenth franchise location, increasing the value and services offered by one of the most experienced and productive real estate brokerages in the area. As a result of the acquisition, even more real estate agents and staff have joined the office. The office acquisition was finalized in late December of 2023. 

The new RE/MAX Town & Country office in Jasper takes over an existing office, which was called Experience Realty Group, LLC. The name will formally be changed to RE/MAX Town & Country (of Jasper, GA.) This office was acquired to further meet the demands of the expanding North Georgia real estate market.

“This office now completes the North Georgia office locations, which were already in the heart of the North Georgia Mountains. Now that we have a Jasper office, we can fully cover the area. Our slogan is: From the Metro to the Mountains, and now that picture has been completed by adding Jasper.” Said Broker/Owner Molly McGrory. 

“We’re excited about the opportunity to expand the North Georgia real estate market and continue to provide the best service RE/MAX has to offer,” said McGrory. “This office has a great location in downtown Jasper, and the local residents will appreciate the buying and selling power the RE/MAX brand can bring.”  

McGrory also wants to add a special message for local agents, “If any local agents are looking to affiliate with a new broker, we hope they will choose our team! Just call our office to ask for Molly McGrory!”


# # #

About RE/MAX Town & Country:

RE/MAX Town & Country is a locally owned and operated full-service real estate brokerage, with the home office located in Canton, GA. For more information about the Jasper office, please visit  or call Broker/Owner Molly McGrory for an interview. All RE/MAX franchise offices are independently owned and operated.


Flood Warning Issued for Rivers in Cherokee County

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City has issued a flood warning for Noonday Creek.

The warning was issued at 11:25 a.m. Tuesday for Noonday Creek at Shallowford Road near Woodstock, and is expected to affect Cherokee and Cobb counties.

Minor flooding is forecast in the Etowah River Basin including Woodstock, according to the NWS.

The flood stage for the river is 10 feet. According to Cherokee County Emergency Management, the river is expected to rise to a crest of 10.4 Tuesday afternoon and later in the afternoon fall below the flood stage level.

The following Woodstock trails are closed: Noonday Creek Trail, Towne Lake Pass Trail and Rubes Creek Trail, city spokesperson Stacy Brown told the Tribune. Olde Rope Mill Park is closed due to flooding.

A flood warning was also issued for the Etowah River in Canton Tuesday afternoon. 

The NWS issued a flood warning at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday for the Etowah River downstream of Interstate 575, affecting Cherokee County.

Minor flooding is forecast for the area.

Heritage Park in Canton is closed due to flooding, the city announced. The city also closed the eastward trail of Etowah River Park on the far side of I-575 because it was underwater.

Drivers should turn around if they encounter a flooded road.

Cherokee County remains under a flood watch and a wind advisory until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Attend the Downtown Master Plan Community Open House

Canton, GA (Jan. 9, 2023) - What do you love about Canton's Downtown? What needs improvement? Does there need to be more parking or more greenspace? A two-way main street or keep it as is? Less events Downtown or add a better variety of events?


On Wed., Jan. 10, from 4-6 p.m. at City Hall (110 Academy St.), you can provide your feedback on those questions and so many more at the Canton Downtown Master Plan (DMP) Community Open House. During this informative event, you can review our conceptual recommendations and let us know how you would like to see the Downtown develop!


Spread the word, as we want as much community input as possible!

Recognize Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

CANTON, GA (Jan. 9, 2024) - Police officers put their lives on the line every day for their communities. Their unwavering dedication to public service is often overlooked and underappreciated.


Regardless of whether they work at the local, state, or federal level, their duties require endless commitment. These positions can demand long hours and take them away from their families, and their roles can be unpredictable.


On this National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, Tues., Jan. 9, we have a unique opportunity to recognize and thank these individuals for their service. Let's show our appreciation and gratitude for their bravery and hard work by wearing blue, sharing love on social media, writing a note of appreciation, dropping off snacks and treats, or by just thinking of all those who serve our community.



"We appreciate the hard work by the women and men of this team and all they do to keep the peace, provide assistance, and represent our City as ambassadors." - City Manager Billy Peppers


Highlights from the Jan. 2 Board of Commissioners meeting

(Jan. 5, 2024) – The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners considered several alcohol license distance and residency waiver requests for new package store districts, created by ordinance following the referendum approval in November 2022. County staff worked much of 2023 on developing the ordinance and putting a process in place for those who wished to open a package store to sell distilled spirits.

Prior to being considered for a lottery, potential owners must file applications that include locations that adhere to the prescribed ordinance. The ordinance allows for variances and waivers in some cases.

The Board denied three of the four distance waiver requests. Per the ordinance, distilled spirits package stores must be 600 feet away from a residence. The Board approved, 4-0, Hickory Flat LLC’s request for a distance waiver for the location of 6875 Hickory Flat Hwy. in Retail District 3-Hickory Flat. The applicant’s location was 47 feet shy of meeting the 600-foot requirement. District 2 Commissioner Richard Weatherby, in whose district the location lies, made the motion, which was seconded by District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter. District 1 Commissioner Steve West was absent due to illness.

Weatherby indicated the location was at a major intersection and he saw no opposition to the request.

The Board denied, 4-0, Yogi 1921 LLC’s request for a distance waiver at 12400 Cumming Hwy. in Retail District 1-Free Home. The location is 521 feet from the nearest residence, however the Board heard from nearby property owners that they opposed the location to be used as a package store. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion to deny, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The applicant also was seeking an alcohol license residency waiver request, but due to the distance waiver being denied, no action was taken on the second waiver request.

The Board denied Pragnesh Patel’s request for a distance waiver of the location at 8921 Bells Ferry Road, which lacked 243 feet to meet the requirement. The location is in Retail District 4 – Bells Ferry/Sixes. Commissioner Carter made the motion to deny, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby. The vote was 4-0. Due to the distance waiver request being denied, no action was taken on the applicant’s request for a residency waiver.

VMC, LLC’s request for a distance waiver at 2740 Highway 92, Woodstock, in Retail District 6-Northpoint, was denied, 4-0. The location was 307 feet shy of meeting the distance requirement, and District 4 Commissioner Corey Ragsdale indicated the location was in front of the county’s approved park planned and in design for southwest Cherokee. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.

In Retail District 5-Bells Ferry/Highway 92, no distance waiver requests were filed, but the Board approved two alcohol license residency waiver requests at the same location, 5783 Bells Ferry Road, Woodstock. Jaspal Singh Banti and Yesha Patel both filed waiver requests for the residency requirement. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion to approve Banti’s request, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby. Commissioner Ragsdale also made the motion to approve Patel’s request, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. Both votes were 4-0.

A lottery will be held Jan. 16 at 3 p.m. for Retail District 5. The lottery winner must continue through the process to receive a Special Use Permit before being approved to proceed with permitting.

During the Jan. 2 meeting, the Board also:

  • Announced the online public engagement survey for the Highway 20 Visual Preference Survey. The survey can be found at It will be open until Feb. 16. There are two public input meetings planned on Jan. 18 and Feb. 7. Both are from 6-7:30 p.m. at the L.B. Ahrens Recreation Center.
  • Approved, 4-0, electing District 3 Commissioner Benny Carter as the 2024 Vice Chair. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.
  • Approved, 4-0, the minutes from the Dec. 19 work session, executive session and regular meeting. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Weatherby.
  • Held a public hearing regarding Next Step Ministries, Inc.’s request to modify zoning conditions from a 1985 case. The zoning condition limits buildings on the property to a maximum 10,000 square feet. Next Step Ministries is requesting to building a 10,920-square-foot two-floor building to expand its services. Four people spoke in support, and three people spoke in opposition. The applicant and her attorney also spoke in favor. Commissioner Weatherby made a motion to table the case until Jan. 16, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. The vote was 4-0.
  • Tabled, 4-0, a board-initiated rezoning per a settlement agreement between Hazel Creek Properties, LLC and Cherokee County for a parcel located at 3202 Hickory Flat Highway. The approval rezones the property from R-40 to Office & Institutional and Neighborhood with conditions. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. Commissioner Weatherby asked that Hazel Creek Properties provide an updated site plan for review before the case is heard again at the Feb. 6 meeting.
  • Remanded back to Planning Commission with a 4-0 vote Hani Narmani’s request to rezone 9.14 acres on Cumming Highway at Wheeler Martin Road from Agriculture and R-80 to Neighborhood Commercial for a multi-use commercial lot. The applicant has indicated the plan will be scaled back. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, Trevor Hall’s request for Special Use Permit for a heating and air-conditioning contractor to be located at 711 Bascomb Commercial Parkway. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, Traton Homes’ request to rezone 0.39 acres on Priest Road near Highway 92 from General Commercial to Residential Townhomes. During the Land Disturbance Permit process, an error in recording the plat was found. This rezoning will correct that and allow four additional homes. The vote also included a concurrent variance reducing the zoning buffer from 35 feet to 0 feet, as the parcel is being added to an existing project. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, William Scott’s request to rezone 3.297 acres at 344 Charles Road from R-80 Estate Residential to R-60 Estate Residential to split the lot into two. R-60 allows for lot sizes of 60,000 square feet, while R-80 is 80,000 square feet. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, McDaniel Hwy 20, LLC’s request to rezone 5.39 acres at 11058 Cumming Hwy., from R-80 Estate Residential to Neighborhood Commercial for a lawn and garden center. The applicant also requested a variance to Article 7, which prohibits outside storage or a display of vehicles, equipment or merchandise for rent, lease or sale to be no more than 50 percent of the frontage, but the motion included denial of the variance. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, not hearing Jorge Serrano’s request to appeal a Zoning Board of Appeals case. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, the consent agenda, which included: a budget amendment to accept the EMS Annual Trauma Grant for Fire & Emergency Services totaling $18,632.83; surplus of various obsolete computer-related items and equipment for Fire & Emergency Services; a resolution to waive the alcohol license residency requirement for Publix Supermarket at 12424 Cumming Hwy., Canton; a resolution to waive the alcohol license residency requirement for Mapco Express, Inc. at 1430 Kellogg Creek Road, Acworth; and an update to the FTA Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan for CATS. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.
  • Approved, 4-0, the purchase of 30 2024 Ford Police Interceptors from Wade Ford on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office. The total is $1.4 million ($46,752 each). This is part of the Sheriff’s Office Five-Year Fleet Plan and is a SPLOST-approved project. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.
  • Approved, 4-0, an agreement with DC Pool Service, LLC, the low bidder, to replace the UV systems on both indoor pools at the Cherokee County Aquatic Center. This is a SPLOST-approved project. The cost is $88,497. Commissioner Carter made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Ragsdale.
  • Approved, 4-0, the purchase of networking equipment for installation at the new probation office under construction at 400 East Main St. The cost is $45,099. The project is funded by ARPA dollars. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, an agreement with Ashton Atlanta Residential LLC for the sale of 0.75 acres of a surplus portion of Patriots Park for $240,000. Commissioner Ragsdale made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Tabled, 4-0, a resolution allowing motorized carts on approved streets in Crabapple Falls subdivision. Commissioner Weatherby, in whose district the subdivision lies, indicated the Board requested they canvas the subdivision and collect information on who was in favor, against and had no opinion. He believed that had not been done and motioned to give the applicants until the March 5 meeting to collect the information. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter.
  • Approved, 4-0, a resolution allowing motorized carts on approved streets in the Southlands subdivision. Commissioner Weatherby made the motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Carter. Weatherby indicated the applicant canvassed the neighborhood and documented who was for, who was against and who had no preference. Eighty-two percent of the neighborhood indicated being in favor of the measure.


The Cherokee County Special Olympic DanceSport team performed a dance routine to "Run, Run Rudolph"

The Cherokee County Special Olympic DanceSport team performed a dance routine to “Run, Run Rudolph” sung by Kelly Clarkson at the Canton G. Cecil Pruett YMCA on Saturday, December 16. The team danced before Louis Van Amstel... three times Dance World Champion, Dancing with the Stars Pro and the Special Olympics Ambassador of DanceSport, before he taught his Holiday LaBlast Fitness Master Class. They received a standing ovation from Louis Van Amstel, LaBlast Master Trainers, LaBlast students, along with the dancers’ family and friends.

Laura Mikszan is the head coach of The Warrior Cats DanceSport team, Master LaBlast trainer, and the founder of non-profit Fitfully Forward, Inc. Laura Mikszan and Louis Van Amstel championed for DanceSport to become a Special Olympic sport in the state of Georgia and succeeded with Cherokee County having the first sanctioned Special Olympic DanceSport team in the state of Georgia.

At the completion of the performance, The BridgeMill Ladies Golf Association represented by board members Karyn Haydock and Amy Davidson, along with LGA member Di Brown presented a $400 donation check to Fitfully Forward, Inc. earmarked for the DanceSport team! Fitfully Forward ensures the underserved populations in our community (individuals with special needs, adults on the Autism spectrum, under-privileged children & families, the aging population, and Veterans receive opportunities for fitness and dance to improve overall health.)

The Cherokee County Special Olympics DanceSport team welcomes the public to attend the first Georgia DanceSport Invitational/Showcase on March 30, 2024 at River Ridge High School.

Craig Bennett named new Pickens High School Head Football Coach

In a called meeting on January 4, 2024, the Pickens County Board of Education approved the hiring of Craig Bennett to serve as the next Head Football Coach for Pickens High School.

Coach Bennett has served the last 12 years as the head football coach at Cambridge High School in north Fulton County. He has been one of the longest tenured head football coaches in metro Atlanta, serving in this leadership role since Cambridge opened as a school in the fall of 2012.

As the Head Football Coach at Cambridge, Coach Bennett has led his team to the state playoffs in each of the past four years and advanced to the second round of the playoffs in 2020, 2021, and 2022. His 2021 team finished #7 in the final state AAAAAA rankings. In 2022 Coach Bennett’s team won the Region 6AAAAA championship, and again finished #7 in the final state rankings. Coach Bennett serves on the board of the Georgia Football Coaches Association and has been named Coach of the Week by the Atlanta Touchdown Club and Region Coach of the Year by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association.

Coach Bennett also served as Associate Athletic Director at Cambridge. Prior to his time at Cambridge, Coach Bennett taught Social Studies and coached at Pope High School, Darlington, and Milton High School. In addition to coaching football, he has also served as assistant coach in girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball, track, and golf. While at Milton, Coach Bennett also served as the head coach of girls’ basketball and Athletic Director.

Coach Bennett is married to Shay, a special education pre-K teacher. Craig and Shay have two daughters. Rilee recently graduated from Coastal Carolina. McCall is currently a kicker on the Valdosta State football team. Coach Bennett is excited to join the Dragon Nation. “I look forward to getting to work on building the football program on hard work, character, and discipline. We are going to put a team on the field that will make Pickens County proud. My family looks forward to being a part of the community and joining Dragon Nation.”

2023 Goshen Highlights - The New Goshen Family Resource Center Opens

In 2023, with the support of many of you, we were able to complete the $2,100,000 capital campaign to purchase and renovate the Goshen Family Resource Center. Countless families have already been served in this beautiful space, and the number is continuously increasing.

Our mission in this space is to reduce the rates of foster care entry, addiction, and self-harm in our community. We are already offering mental health services, parent coaching services, addiction resources, and more. We look forward to finding new and innovative ways to use this facility to help strengthen our entire community in the future!

December 31st is the last day to donate to get your name on the donor wall inside the Family resource Center.

Your 2023 support has allowed Goshen to innovate, looking to new ways to help those in need in our community. As we continue growing our preventative programs, we would love your continued support. A donation today will help grow these services further in 2024. Thank you! 

Did you know that only 50% of youth in foster care graduate high school?

These 7 youth have overcome major challenges and setbacks to achieve this milestone, and we were able to surprise them with a scholarship to launch them into their next phase of life.
To hear some of their stories, visit
As a supporter of Goshen Valley, you've had an impact on our foster youth in a big way this year. Your unwavering support has played a crucial role in their journey, providing them with the resources needed to triumph over adversity. Let's continue to support and empower these resilient graduates as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.

100% Graduation Rate at Goshen

At Goshen, we celebrate a 100% graduation rate among eligible youth. 

This is why our Education program is so vital, and we couldn't do it without you. Donate today to help Goshen's future youth achieve great results within their education!

The Children's Entrepreneur Market, Spring Market, launches on February 1st at 8:00 a.m.

The Children’s Entrepreneur Market, a trailblazing nonprofit initiative committed to empowering children through entrepreneurial experiences, was launched in 2017 in Utah.  After successfully operating for 6 years, the market is positioned to be in 25 states, including Georgia, in 2024, giving more than 25,000 children an opportunity to try their hand at business.

The market staff specializes in identifying and securing venues that bring large numbers of a diverse community together where hundreds of authentic interactions are possible. Children develop valuable life skills in this family centered project as they practice the fundamentals of running a small business, all while having fun!

“We believe the Children’s Entrepreneur Market can positively influence a lot of young lives,” said Lynée Fife, Director of the program.  “The principles of innovation, leadership, and hard work are lessons that will stay with them throughout their lives.”

Children are offered additional support including a video course on how to set-up their business, scholarships for growth and a blog series to share lessons and experiences from kids, for kids.

The program aims to operate in every state by 2026, with a goal of being in more than 200 metro areas serving half a million children each year.  Learn more at

Our Spring Markets launch on February 1st at 8 am, and Cherokee County residents can expect to find some in a city near them!

Water Pollution Control Plant Administration Building Dedicated

The City of Canton recently dedicated the newly constructed administration building at the City's Water Pollution Control Plant. City Council, staff, and the plant's construction team gathered to officially open the building with a ribbon cutting and plaque dedication. 

The administration building, which sits on the front corner of the plant and at the entrance to Boling Park, is a little over 3,000 square feet, triple the size of the current admin. building. This state-of-the-art facility features a 550 square foot laboratory, central SCADA system, office space, conference and training room, storage, and a break room. 

Phase I of the Water Pollution Control Plant expansion is expected to be completed in early 2024. 

Newly Elected Council Set to Take Oath of Office

The start of 2024 means an organizational milestone for the City of Canton as a new Council is seated following the transition post-election. The City’s Charter calls for an organizational meeting on the first Thursday of the year following an election. 

During this meeting, Thurs., Jan. 4, recently elected officials will receive the Oath of Office prior to being seated. These officials include, from left: Travis Johnson, Ward 1; Shawn Tolan, Ward 2; Farris Yawn, Ward 3; and Bill Grant, Mayor (above).








Additionally, as is custom, the Mayor will appoint a new Mayor Pro Tempore to fill in during his/her absence, individuals will be recommended to fill existing vacancies on various boards, and newly elected officials are given an opportunity to address the community.

The City will host a reception for newly elected officials at 5 p.m., prior to the Council Meeting, and encourage the community to drop in and wish our newly elected officials well as they start their four-year term of service.


Resolve to Explore Canton in New Ways | Mayor's Moment

Happy New Year, Canton! I hope your holidays were happy and meaningful, and I wish you all the best for 2024.

As I prepare to take the oath of office for my second term as Mayor, I am extremely grateful to our residents for having the opportunity to serve our great City. After a decade in public service, I am still amazed by how far our city has come, but I remain humbled by the work ahead. I have started working on my State of the City address for later this month, and I am excited to share some of the stories and information that have contributed to our success. More importantly, I look forward to discussing what’s in store for the year ahead as we continue to address the priorities established by our residents in the Roadmap for Success that guides our work.

Opportunities for Resolutions

The new year offers an opportunity for resolutions, and I hope you will join me in resolving to find new ways to experience Canton like never before. Over the past few years, we have worked to enhance our community with new events, expanded parks and trails, exciting business collaborations, public art initiatives, additional opportunities to serve, and so much more. Quite honestly, it is challenging to keep up with it all at times. However, I invite you to explore our City with a fresh perspective and rediscover all that it has to offer.

If you are looking for a place to start, head over to to find a calendar of events, local restaurant listings, abundant opportunities for outdoor adventure, and trip planning tools for your out-of-town family and friends who may want to visit the Coolest Small Town in America. As you explore the website, you may find new things to do that you had not heard about before or an event that appeals to your interests. 

As you experience Canton in different ways, you may meet new friends, discover a great recently-opened restaurant, or better yet, just gain a fresh perspective about the wonderful community we call home. Of course, the best resolutions are those that impact others in a positive way, so I also encourage you to explore ways to contribute to our city by sharing your talents, kindness, and optimism as the year progresses. 

Mayor Bill

Thank You from Children's Haven and CASA

From: Children's Haven



As 2023 is closed out, Children's Haven wants to say Thank You for your partnership and support that allow Children's Haven to serve so many children and families in need in our community. 


Because of you we were able to:

  • Serve nearly 500 children through four programs and  Caregivers' Closet
  • Provide 357 in-home visits to families at-risk of foster care involvement; 97% of the families avoided unnecessary foster care, allowing children to remain with their families
  • Hold 1,200 family visits at our Visitation Center, providing families with a safe place to connect and maintain their family bond while separated from each other
  • Connect 25 teens with a trained, caring mentor to learn life-skills and build healthy relationships
  • Celebrate  CASA 30th Anniversary, honoring the over 800 CASA volunteers that have provided compassionate and consistent advocacy for the more than 2,900 children served over Casa's 30 years in Cherokee County


Children's Haven and Casa are truly grateful for each of you.

With your continued support, we will work toward 

Building Happy, Healthy Children together in 2024.


Click Here to View Report

Cherokee Town Hall meetings set to discuss possible sales tax

(JAN. 3, 2024) -- The Cherokee Board of Commissioners is seeking the public’s thoughts on the possible implementation of an additional sales tax to either offset property taxes or heavily fund transportation projects. The Board is mulling a Local Option Sales Tax, Homestead Option Sales Tax or a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and will host six town hall meetings this month to receive public feedback.

The first town hall will be held Monday, Jan. 8, from 7-8 p.m. in Cherokee Hall at the Cherokee County Administration Building, 1130 Bluffs Parkway, Canton.

Other town halls are set for:

  • Jan. 10, 7-8 p.m., Recreation Center, 7545 Main St., Suite 200, Woodstock;
  • Jan. 15, 7-8 p.m., Historic Hickory Flat Gym, 4835 Hickory Road, Canton
  • Jan. 17, 7-8 p.m., BridgeMill Fire Station Community Room, 9550 Bells Ferry Road, Canton (limited parking).
  • Jan. 22, 7-8 p.m., Oak Grove Fire Station Community Room, 100 Ridgemill Ct., Acworth
  • Jan. 23, 7-8 p.m., Victory Hall at the L.B. Ahrens Recreation Center, 7345 Cumming Hwy., Canton

The town hall meetings are intended to explain the three options and how each works, as well as gauge the public’s wishes on how to proceed forward. Cherokee County is one of three counties in Georgia that does not have an additional sales tax to help offset property tax/general fund expenditures. Cobb and Gwinnett counties are the other two.


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Ask the Doctor: Dr. Land Explains Hip Surgery

In this episode of Ask the Doctor, Doctor Land explains hip surgery.

Ask the Doctor: Dr. Daniel Nicholson from Northside Hospital, Orthopedic Institute, Sports Medicine

Ask the Doctor Anuj Gupta MD 1080p HD

Needing a joint replacement can be an intimidating prospect. But the technique a