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Canton, GA 30114
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Cherokee County Board of Commissioners Receives 2018 Optimas Awards

Cherokee County Board of Commissioners recently received two Workforce magazine Optimas Awards. The Board achieved the Gold Award in Benefits and the Silver Award in Business Impact. The prestigious awards program, now in its 28th year, recognizes companies that achieve successful measurable business outcomes through visionary and impactful human resources initiatives. Thirty-one companies were named winners from this year’s pool of nominees.

“For over 28 years, we’ve seen companies place increasing importance on human resources initiatives, realizing the potential a strong HR department can have on business growth,” said Rick Bell, editorial director of Workforce magazine. “This year’s finalists stand out in an ever-expanding field of qualified nominees, and we’re pleased to see so many organizations using innovative HR practices to improve their business.”

For more information on the 2018 Optimas Award recipients, visit

Military Spouses — Cherokee Veterans Community Is Your Support Connection

Cherokee Veterans Community (CVC) understands how tough deployment can be for military spouses. Most of the organization’s members have been deployed and know firsthand the stress, struggles, loneliness, fears, and other emotions that spouses experience.

During deployments, having a strong support system is critical. CVC offers support groups for both male and female spouses. Groups meet separately once a month, and CVC will assist in getting groups started in local communities.
CVC also helps military spouses with minor home repairs, car problems, and other issues that may arise. Other benefits include Operation Rally Point - Rally Boxes, which are sent to the deployed spouse.

All services are free. Attend an informational meeting on Saturday, February 16 at First Baptist Church of Woodstock (11905 Highway 92 in Woodstock) from 10:00-11:30am. Coffee and donuts will be served. There will be a play area set up for children. RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 678-494-2680.

New Board of Commissioners Members

The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners welcomes two new members: Harry Johnston, the new chairman; and Corey Ragsdale, District 4 commissioner.

Harry Johnston has held numerous city and county positions. From 2000-2014, he served as District 1 commissioner. From 1996-2000, he served on the Planning Commission, holding the position of chairman from 1998-2000. He is chairman of the City of Canton’s Board of Zoning Appeals and is a member of the City’s Historical Preservation Committee.

Corey Ragsdale has a professional background in engineering and business management with a focus on manufacturing. Currently, Corey is director of manufacturing for a custom parts manufacturing company.

Georgia Has Talent 2019 Fundraiser

Now in its eighth year, the Georgia Has Talent show promises to be the best ticket in town on March 2, with guest performances by Erin Kirby, Victoria Hill, and Belle Rousse. Ticketholders will enjoy 26 competitive acts including singers, dancers, martial artists, rock bands, a twirler, a beat boxer, a STOMP percussion performance, and a bagpiper.

The event takes place at Cherokee High School. The silent auction begins at 5:00pm, and performances begin at 6:00pm. With more than a hundred donations from local and national businesses, the silent auction includes musical instruments, massages, gift cards, and family outings. During the show, there will be a raffle for a weekend at a cabin in the mountains.

Proceeds are donated to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Over the past seven years, this all-volunteer fundraiser has raised about $50,000 for cancer research.

See to access the full lineup of performers, purchase tickets, and pledge a donation. The website also includes sponsorship information. Businesses interested in being a featured sponsor will receive advertising on the Georgia Has Talent social media streams as well as publication in the event program.

E.M. Barrett Store to Be Demolished for Road Widening Project

After months of collaborative effort among the City of Holly Springs’ elected officials, staff, and engineers, a decision was made to demolish a brick structure known as the E.M. Barrett Store in order to widen Hickory Road as part of the Town Center Road Network Plan. The building is located at the corner of Palm Street and Hickory Road.

“When engineers suggested this option, we asked them immediately if plans could be reworked to avoid the demolition of the E.M. Barrett Store,” said Mayor Steven W. Miller. “When the other option presented was the demolition of the Hardin House at the other corner of Hickory Road and Palm Street, we began to look at each building’s part of history within our city. While the E.M. Barrett Store was a staple in our community for many years, the building as it currently stands is not indicative of its importance to our history. We do plan on salvaging what materials we can from the current structure and integrating those pieces into a permanent feature in the redeveloped Town Center.”

The City of Holly Springs has reached out to Stefanie Joyner at the Cherokee County Historical Society for her input on the preservation of the materials salvaged during demolition as well as historic photographs and written history to document the building for future generations.

Foundation Donates $200,000 to Local Nonprofits

The LGE Community Outreach Foundation recently presented $200,000 to local nonprofit organizations representing the four counties LGE services (Cobb, Cherokee, Fulton, and Paulding).

Nonprofits receiving donations included Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center, Next Step Ministries, CASA of Paulding County, Mostly Mutts, The Zone/Davis Direction Foundation, the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia, and Warehouse of Hope.

The LGE Foundation conducts fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for the nonprofit organizations. Every dollar raised by the LGE Foundation is matched by LGE Community Credit Union.

Marine Corps League Detachment 1311 Elects New Officers

Detachment 1311 members elected five officers to serve the organization in 2019, including Rich Sabo who will continue his role as commandant of the organization.

Founded in April 2008 by 16 Marine veterans, referred to as “plank owners,” the Detachment received its national charter in September 2008. Its membership includes 130 Marine veterans, FMF Naval corpsmen, and FMF Naval chaplains. It is the largest and fastest growing Detachment in Georgia.

One of the major events that the Detachment sponsors is an annual George “Rip” and Barbara Masters Golf Tournament, which raises funds to sponsor worthy students for college scholarships. For more information, call Ron Welborn at 404-217-2246.

The Detachment also provides ceremonial rifle honors at Georgia National Cemetery and private grave sites for any honorably discharged military veteran whose family requests such a burial service. For additional information, call John Newport at 770-926-4752.

Local Student Receives Stamps Presidential Award and Scholarship

Lucy Renee Groves, 20, of Canton has been awarded Georgia Tech’s Stamps Presidential Award and Scholarship, which is the university’s top academic and leadership distinction. The scholarship includes full tuition, housing, books, meals, expenses, and $15,000 in travel of the student’s choice as well as sponsored attendance at numerous national and international conferences and events.

Groves also serves as the official campus liaison for the U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories, working to coordinate research for the Department of Energy in Georgia Tech’s nuclear engineering and cyber defense labs. In that position, she maintains federal security clearance and travels annually to headquarter labs in Albuquerque and Los Alamos, NM for training.

A technology and public policy major, Groves maintains a 4.0 GPA and the Zell Miller scholarship. She is a 2016 graduate of Cherokee High School.

17th Annual totes 2 tots Suitcase Drive

Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS) and Northside Hospital are gearing up for their 17th annual totes 2 tots suitcase drive for Georgia’s foster children on January 18 from 10:00am-2:00pm at Georgia Cancer Specialists’ office located at 228 Riverstone Drive in Canton. Last year, more than 6,000 bags were collected across the state. Donations of new or nearly new backpacks, duffel bags, and suitcases will be accepted

More than 14,000 children, from infants to teenagers, are currently in the foster care system in Georgia. Many of these children shuffle their belongings in garbage bags when they are removed from their homes — totes 2 tots aims to change that.

GCS and Northside Hospital partner with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to distribute the bags in the counties in which they’re collected. Tom C. Rawlings, interim director of DFCS, praised those who support the program, which helps to bring a measure of comfort and respect to Georgia’s foster children.

“The totes 2 tots program allows children in foster care the ability to transport their belongings with a sense of dignity,” said Rawlings. “By providing backpacks and luggage, totes 2 tots offers our children a sense of stability during an uncertain time.”

Chamber Names Volunteer of the Quarter

The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce announced that Joan McFather, a longtime Chamber member and community volunteer, has been named the Chairman’s Council Volunteer of the Quarter for fourth quarter 2018.

Members of the Chairman’s Council are accepted by invitation only from the Chamber’s board chair. In determining the Volunteer of the Quarter, attendance at Chamber events is evaluated for all members of the Chairman’s Council.

“Joan is a committed volunteer who gives 100 percent to the Chamber and its programs,” said Julianne Rivera, Chamber board chair.

Optimism is Growing in Holly Springs

Optimist International is a worldwide volunteer organization made up of more than 2,500 local clubs whose members work each day to make the future brighter by “Bringing Out the Best in Kids” through community service programs.

Optimist International believes the Holly Springs community would benefit by forming a new club. If you are interested in learning more about Optimists and how they are a positive influence in the community, and especially for kids, you are invited to attend a one-hour informational meeting to be held in the Harmony on the Lakes clubhouse at 1:30pm on January 8 or 7:00pm on January 16. To RSVP or for more information, please contact Bob Long at 404-502-9653 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services Announces New ISO

Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services (CCFES) recently announced its ISO rating improved from Class-4 to Class-2, which may mean lower insurance rates for homeowners.

As a result of this change, CCFES Chief Tim Prather recommends that property owners check with their personal insurance agents to determine if there will be any significant change with their insurance rates. Most insurance companies have their own specific process in determining rates.

“ISO” stands for Insurance Services Office, a private corporation that evaluates industries for insurance rating purposes. There are approximately 46,000 fire departments in the United States. Approximately 242 departments have achieved the Class-1 status, and just over 1,325 departments have obtained a Class-2. CCFES now ranks in the top 4% of fire departments nationwide.

Deployment Send Off

On November 26, members of B-Troop, 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment (Rough Riders), 48th IBCT Georgia Army National Guard gathered at the Leland A. Bell National Guard Armory in Canton for a departure ceremony in route to Afghanistan. As family members and loved ones gathered inside the Armory, citizens were lining the streets in a show of support and solidarity for their fellow Georgians and their families.  

The turnout was a testament to the dedication these communities have to supporting those who give so much in the defense of our nation and way of life. These citizen soldiers have spent a great deal of time away from home preparing for this mission, whether individually or collectively. That absence has already begun to take a toll on the families, which is one reason ceremonies like this are important. They are to send a message to the family as well as the soldier that we, as a community, are here for them, to use the Rough Riders’ motto, “Come What Will.”  

The soldiers traveled to Fort Stewart to conduct necessary training and certification prior to their arrival in Afghanistan.

RFD to Install Free Smoke Alarms Through Operation Save-A-Life

Roswell Fire Department (RFD) will be installing smoke alarms free of charge for families in Roswell as part of the 2018 Operation Save-A-Life fire safety awareness campaign.

Five thousand smoke alarms were donated to fire departments in metro Atlanta through a partnership with WSB-TV, Kidde, Home Depot, and attorney Ken Nugent. The Operation Save-A-Life campaign increases public awareness of fire hazards and carbon monoxide poisoning, in order to reduce devastating losses that can occur as a result of these issues.

Smoke alarms are one of the best and least expensive ways to provide early warning when a fire begins. When properly installed and maintained, smoke alarms can help prevent injuries and minimize property damage.

While supplies last, RFD will install smoke alarms for Roswell residents in need. Families in need of a smoke alarm are asked to contact Lt. Ed Botts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 770-594-6225.

CCSD Adds App to Expand System for Reporting Safety Concerns

Reporting safety concerns to the Cherokee County School District (CCSD) is now easier than ever with the rollout of a new smartphone app.

CCSD’s SafeSchools Alert system allows students, parents, school staff, and everyone in the community to report safety concerns to CCSD school police and administrators by text, email, online message, or phone call, with the option to do so anonymously. To further increase accessibility, the system now includes a new smartphone app, which can be downloaded at no cost.

Through SafeSchools Alert, you now can submit safety concerns to CCSD five different ways:

1. By Phone - 1-855-4ALERT1, x1695
2. By Text - Text #1695 + your tip to ALERT1 or 253781
3. By Email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
4. By Online Message -
5. By Mobile App - Download the SafeSchools Alert app from the iPhone App Store and Google Play for Android phones. The first time you open the app after downloading, you’ll need to enter 1695 for the ID and confirm your district is the Cherokee County School District.

You can use the SafeSchools Alert system to report information about threats to school safety, bullying, harassment, drugs, vandalism, concerns about a classmate’s well-being, or any other safety issue. If you are experiencing an emergency, please continue to call 911.

Riverfest 2018 Raises Big Funds for Cherokee County Children

This year’s Riverfest event raised $126,962.82, all of which will go right back into the Cherokee County community to help underprivileged children. The funds will be used throughout the upcoming year to provide help with everything from health care and eyeglasses to rent and utilities for families.

Founded in 1935, the Service League of Cherokee County is the oldest volunteer service organization in Cherokee County. With its deep roots and rich heritage of caring for children, the League has grown to an organizational size of 100 women, all of whom commit to ten years of active service and contribute volunteer hours that collectively average 10,000 hours per year.

Wreaths Across America at Georgia National Cemetery

Wreaths will once again be placed to honor veterans at the Georgia National Cemetery on Saturday, December 15, as part of the non-profit Wreaths across America program.

At 11:00am, a prayer will be offered by designated leaders in each section of the cemetery prior to placement of wreaths, along with a moment of contemplation and expression of gratefulness. At 12:00pm, a short program will be presented at the assembly area. This year’s speaker is American Legionnaire Jim Lindenmayer, director of the Cherokee County Homeless Veterans.

The objectives of the program are to remember our fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve, and teach children the value of freedom. Members of youth groups, scouts, Young Marines, Civil Air Patrol, and ROTC units assist in unloading and unpacking wreaths and providing support.

The Georgia National Cemetery has over 15,000 interned. They need over 14,000 wreaths but currently have only 6,500. To help ensure every internment has a wreath, contributions for the live wreaths at the Georgia National Cemetery may be made at

Cherokee Patient Relations Representative Wins Statewide Hospital Hero Award

Northside Hospital Cherokee Patient Relations Representative Kyle Porter was awarded the prestigious Georgia Hospital Heroes Award at the recent Georgia Hospital Association’s (GHA) annual Hospital Heroes Awards luncheon in Atlanta. Porter, who was one of only five health care workers statewide to receive the award, was recognized for her innovative efforts in bringing a family together for a funeral via Skype.

In her role as patient relations representative, Porter works to ensure patients have everything they need to help them recover and to ensure their stay in the hospital is as pleasant as possible. She is a friend to patients and community members alike, keeping in touch with former patients and nurturing them for generations.

“Kyle Porter’s innovative ideas and ability to think outside the box have taken patient care to another level,” said GHA President and CEO Earl Rogers. “She has a remarkable ability to connect with her patients.”

Mountain Road ES Wins Cherokee Chamber Recycling Competition

The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce Going Green and Education Committees co-sponsored a two-day Plastic Bag Recycling Competition in partnership with Waste Management. Nine of Cherokee County’s elementary schools who collected over 105,000 plastic bags in the competition. This year’s competition was altered to award the school with the highest average of plastic bags per student. This alteration was due to the large variance of enrollment across Cherokee County elementary schools, with some varying by nearly 1,000 students. Mountain Road Elementary School collected an amazing 25,073 bags during the two-day event, which brought them to a phenomenal 57.38 bags/student. Congratulations to the students at Mountain Road. Indian Knoll Elementary School should also be commended for an excellent job, as they came in second with a higher total of plastic bags at 27,925, but a lower per student average at 30.03 bags/student.

Through further partnership, the plastic bags collected were donated to MUST Ministries, Never Alone, and Papa’s Pantry, which will use them to support their ongoing projects. R & D Mechanical Services, Inc. and Papa’s Pantry, Inc. volunteered their time and cargo vehicles to collect plastic bags and deliver them to their respective final destinations.

City of Canton Brush and Leaf Collection

City of Canton residents can call the Canton Public Works Department at 770-720-7674 to schedule pick up of weeds, grass, hedge trimmings, leaves, brush, and tree limbs by using the following guidelines:

  • Leaves, grass clippings, and yard waste (small sticks and brush) should be placed in paper lawn waste bags to receive expedited service. Paper bags can be purchased at hardware and grocery stores. The use of plastic bags for yard waste is prohibited. Rocks and dirt are not accepted (including plants and shrubs with dirt attached to the root system) and should not be placed in lawn waste bags.
  • Do not combine leaves with any brush.
  • A maximum of six bags will be collected weekly per residential property.
  • Loose-leaf pick-up can be requested as well but will be scheduled based on availability.
  • Brush and limbs must have a diameter smaller than six inches and a length no greater than six feet. The overall size of the pile shall not be taller than six feet or wider than six feet.
  • The City of Canton will pick up brush once a week per residential property, upon request.
  • Removal of leaves, grass clippings, brush, and trees cut by contractors will be the responsibility of the resident’s contractor.
  • Do not stack yard waste in the street, blocking sidewalks, near fire hydrants, cable or utility boxes, stormwater catch basins, mailboxes, or any other public utility receptacles.

Advanced Disposal will also pick up yard waste as part of your regular weekly service with the following guidelines:

  • Limbs must be bundled and tied with rope or string. Bundles may not exceed thirty pounds and cannot be greater than four feet long and four inches in diameter.
  • There is a weekly limit of eight brown recycle bags, bundles, or a combination of the two (not to exceed the eight bag limit for trash and yard waste combined).
  • Items must be at the curb before 7:00am on collection day.
  • Grass clippings and leaves must be in bags or placed loose in a separate container labeled “yard waste.”

    The following items will not be accepted: tree trunks, limbs greater than four inches in diameter, whole trees, logs, dirt, rocks, or Christmas trees.